Celebrity Cruises canceled summer port calls at Haifa, Israel, by its Millennium ship, saying the itinerary change was meant to ease passenger fears about political violence in the region. Miami-based Celebrity, a unit of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL)
, said the 2,040-passenger Millennium will instead stop at Limassol, Cyprus, on five, 12-night cruises beginning on May 31. Limassol, with 10 miles of coastline, is the second-largest city on Cyprus.
"This change is designed to ease any concerns our guests may have about safety in that area, while continuing to satisfy their interest in exciting ports of call, such as Limassol," Celebrity President Rick Sasso said in a news release. At least 382 people have been killed -- 318 Palestinians, 51 Israelis and 13 Israeli Arabs -- since political violence erupted in September amid a deadlock in peace talks between the Israel government
and Palestinian leaders. In 1999, the war in Kosovo caused North American cruise operators such as Carnival Corp. to shift itineraries away from that area, but they still had a disappointing summer season in Europe. Other port calls by the Millennium, which sails from Istanbul to Barcelona, were unchanged, Celebrity said.