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First Ship to Sail Directly from an Egyptian to an Israeli Port Arrives in Ashdod

The Greek cruise ship Stella Solaris arrived at Ashdod this morning from Alexandria, the first ship to sail directly from an Egyptian to an Israeli port. The vessel, carrying about 400 American passengers on a month-long luxury cruise of the Mediterranean, left Alexandria at 10 p.m. last night and dropped anchor off the Israeli port early this morning. Later tugs nudged her alongside the quay normally occupied by freighters and tankers.

The organizers of the cruise reported that when the itinerary was first announced, the Egyptian authorities had refused to clear the Stella Solaris from Alexandria unless she called at a way port before proceeding to Israel. In the interim, however, the Israeli-Egyptian Sinai accord was signed and the Egyptians dropped their demands. As a result, the Stella Solaris’ passengers–mostly physicians or lawyers and their wives–were able to tour Cairo and the Pyramids on one day and Jerusalem the next.

The group will be in Israel for three days and re-board their ship at Haifa. The Stella Solaris was the second passenger ship to call at Ashdod since that port was opened in the 1960s. The other was the Queen Elizabeth 2 which arrived there two years ago on a cruise marking the 25th anniversary of Israel’s independence.

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