The ship' owned by Royal Caribbean, left for her cruise from the city of Valetta, the Capital of Malta, with 2,850 passengers and a crew of 1,250. the ship's length is 315 meters and displaces 122,000 tons. In recent years there was a significant increase in the number of passengers frequenting the Port of Ashdod. In 2004 only 204 passengers frequented the port, as compared to 104,660 passengers in 2008. In addition, the company expects a 40% increase in the number of passenger ships docking at the port.
According to Police Commander (ret.) Yaacov Raz, Chairman of the Board of the Ashdod Port Company, "this is the largest and newest ship ever to have frequented the port. The Ashdod Port Company promotes the competition among the Israeli ports, and does everything within its ability to expand and diversify the services it offers to its customers. During recent years, we performed several actions in order to encourage passenger ships to arrive at the port, the central of them were the opening of the advanced passengers terminal and improvement of infrastructures in order to provide service to passengers arriving from the center of the country."
Shuki Sagis, General Manager of the Ashdod Port Company, added that "New passenger ship lines joined the port during this year: cruises of MSC, Carnival, Costa, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Holland- America, Oceania and Crystal. In addition, two passenger ships belonging to Caspi Shipping – the ships Magic and Festival operate from the port. Negotiations are being held with a new entrepreneur, who will, expectedly, start operating additional lines of Israeli ships that will dock at the port of Ashdod.
According to Uri Shnabel, General Manager of the "Sanorama" company, "the Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises are returning to Israel big scale. With them about 40 thousand tourists will arrive in Israel during the coming three months. They will make scores of trips in the country and enjoy tourist services worth hundreds of thousands of dollars."