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    Cruise line drops Israel after shrapnel incident


    UPDATE: AIDA Cruises said it is discontinuing port calls to Israel in July and August. Ships that had been scheduled to visit Ashdod will instead call at Santorini, Greece, the line said in a statement.

    ORIGINAL POST: Passengers and crew on the German cruise ship AIDAdiva witnessed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict first-hand on Monday evening. As the 2050-passenger ship left the port of Ashdod, Israel, rockets were firing and some shrapnel landed on the cruise ship's deck.

    There were no injuries and there was no damage to the ship. "All 2,700 guests and crew members of AIDAdiva are doing well," the cruise line said in a statement. AIDA is owned by Miami-based Carnival Corp.

    Small particles were found on the passenger deck, which the cruise line said were believed to have come from missiles — though it was unclear who fired them. The shrapnel was examined by experts and determined to pose no danger, and the material was removed by crewmembers.

    The ship's officers informed guests of the incident, and the AIDAdiva continued sailing to its next port of call, Crete, where it is scheduled to arrive tomorrow as planned.

    "We are very sorry that the guests of AIDAdiva were witnesses to this incident," said Hansjorg Kunze, vice president of communications & sustainability for the cruise line. "We assure all our guests that for AIDA Cruises safety of guests and crew is our top priority at all times."

    Kunze added that the cruise line has been constantly analyzing the security situation in Israel and said that Germany does not have a travel warning currently in place for Ashdod.

    The US State Department currently has a travel warning for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.

    It was unclear if the shrapnel incident would impact itineraries of other ships scheduled to visit ports in Israel. The AIDAdiva is scheduled to visit Ashdod again later this month.

    By Fran Golden, Special for USA TODAY

    For more cruise news & articles go to http://www.cruisecrazies.com/index.html

    Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more

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    Scary! I'm surprised also, Cheryl, that they would still have been scheduled to visit there. So sad what is happening there. I always wanted to visit Israel...hoping and praying for peace.

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    Wow that was too close. We were scheduled to port in Ashdod in 2011 from the Connie but attacks from Gaza prevented that so we went to Haifa instead which we were supposed to go after Ashdod so we ended up spending 4 days in Israel as planned but all were from Haifa.

    I am so glad we could see Israel as it was one of the best experiences we've ever had from a historical point of view.

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