Boycott Watch  
June 10, 2010
Princess Cruise Lines Boycott Based on False Information
Summary: An email is circulating claiming a cruise line is boycotting Israel, but that is not the case. Boycott Watch reviewed the boycott call and we are posting our complete findings here.
    It is not uncommon to see boycotts started based on false or incomplete information. Making sure boycott information is accurate is the primary goal of Boycott Watch, thus this report. As part of Boycott Watch being the undisputed leader when in boycott reporting and monitoring, we are also the undisputed experts in the Arab boycott of Israel, about which we have heavily reported. Additionally, our subsidiary site Divestment Watch has been built to monitor the illegal foreign campaign to boycott Israel. That is important to note because this time instead of exposing another illegal or false Israel boycott attempt, we are busting a false claim of a company boycotting Israel. In this report we will show that the claim of Princess Cruises boycotting Israel is false, and therefore the counter-boycott against them is wrong. Let's examine the case and claim.

   For starters, we need to understand the circumstances at the time before reading the boycotters email. Early morning, May 31, 2010, a flotilla of ships heading toward Gaza was boarded by the Israeli Navy to enforce Israel's and Egypt's joint blockade which is 100% legal under international law. In summary, fighting broke out and people on both sides were killed. Boycott Watch is not discussing the politics of that situation here, as it will distract from the boycott call and our report. The event became world-wide headlines.

   At the time of the incident, Princess Cruises has a passenger ship heading to Israel as part of their regular seasonal Holy Land Cruises, which have been an active part of their business for more than twenty years. As are many itineraries in the cruise industry, it is seasonal, operating between May and November; and the company has ten such cruises scheduled for 2010. The tour starts with Italy, and makes stops in Croatia, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, and two stops in Israel, thus making stops in religiously significant places.

   Let's now examine an email that is circulating:

Email circulating:

Email content:



Subject: PRINCESS CRUISE LINES Date: Thursday, June 3, 2010, 10:45 AM

Yesterday, 6/2/2010, the Pacific Princess, carrying 700 passengers, canceled a stop at Ashdod, Israel. Instead, they informed the passengers they would stop in Egypt as an alternative. Princess is now bowing to pressure and boycotting Israel. Please pass this on to all Jewish Americans in order to let them know that there are alternatives to Princess. Thank you.

   In response to the boycott emails, Princess Cruises released the following press release:

News Article


Statement on Cruise Calls to Israel

In response to recent inquiries, we would like to clarify why we cancelled the Pacific Princess' call to Ashdod, Israel on June 2. The ship did call at Haifa, Israel the previous day on June 1.

Just two days prior to our scheduled call to Ashdod, a violent incident occurred between the Israeli Defense Forces and a flotilla of ships carrying aid to the Gaza Strip. This unfortunate event resulted in several fatalities.

Upon careful review of the situation and information provided by the US State Department and other sources, we were concerned about potential violence in reaction to the incident. Our decision, which was not politically motivated, was made in the best interest of the safety and security of our passengers and crew.

Pacific Princess is scheduled to call in Israel at the end of June, and we expect to maintain the published itinerary. However as with all of our ports of call, we continuously monitor information that may affect our ships' routings. Should a decision be made to make any adjustments, affected passengers would be advised as soon as possible.

   Boycott Watch President Fred Taub, who is an expert in the Arab boycott of Israel, was concerned with the reports and contacted Julie Benson, Vice President for Public Relations at Princess Cruises. He asked some very tough questions and the following is our report:

   The basic fact that the ship did not stop in Ashdod is correct. Boycott Watch, however, points out that the rest of the boycott email contains false information, thus the resulting boycott call is false. The day after the flotilla raid, June 1, the Pacific Princess ship was docked in Haifa where the passengers reportedly had, as expected, a wonderful and safe excursion. That day though, the flotilla news was centered on Ashdod which is where the flotilla ships were taken and arrests were made. Ashdod was the center of international news and were concerns, including those of Israeli police, of potential violence there. The pacific Princess ship was scheduled to be in the Ashdod port the following day, a fact which rightfully created security concerns for the cruise ship company. The fact is nobody knew what was going to happen next.

   Princess Cruises, like every good company, is concerned with the safety and welfare of their customers. They were scheduled to arrive in the Ashdod port, and, naturally, started to ask experts if they felt Ashdod was safe the next morning. After consulting with Israeli police, their own on the ground people among others, they decided to skip Ashdod in this one cruise only in order to play it safe. Let's face it - any complaints about skipping the one port of call would be better than having to deal with potential liability issues after the fact, thus the company acted prudently.

   The boycott claim says the cruise line should be boycotted because they are complying with the Arab boycott of Israel, but that is not true. The cruise line cancelled one port of call on one trip, and then continued on to their next port of call for that itinerary, which is Egypt. The change in their itinerary is actually part of their policy and in the contract every passenger signs.

   In the contract, the term "Carrier" means "Princess Cruises" and the contract states:


Carrier visits a large number of ports in numerous countries around the world. At any given moment there are likely to be "trouble spots" in the world in terms of war, terrorism, crime, Act of God, civil commotions, labor trouble, and/or other potential sources of harm. Local conditions and infrastructure may also create hazards to Passengers while off the ship. Accordingly, it may be necessary to change, cancel or terminate the scheduled cruise or any activities related to the cruise, including without limitation shore excursions and port visits. Although Carrier endeavors to provide reasonable protection for Your comfort and safety onboard its ships, Carrier cannot guarantee freedom from all risks associated with war, terrorism, crime or other potential sources of harm. Carrier reminds all Passengers that they must ultimately assume responsibility for their actions while ashore. The United States Department of State and other similar government agencies regularly issue advisories and warnings to travelers giving details of local conditions in specified cities and countries according to such agency's perception of risks to travelers. Carrier strongly recommends that Passengers and their travel agents obtain and consider such information when making travel decisions."

   Princess Cruises, therefore, acted without regard to politics, but for what they saw as a potential safety concern. While some people may not agree with their judgment call, it was just that. More importantly, the next cruise making the two stop in Israel will be at the end of June, and Israel remains a popular destination on the cruise line schedule. The cruise line is not, therefore, taking part in the Arab boycott of Israel as claimed, thus the call to boycott Princess Cruises is unfounded. Boycott Watch urges those who have forward the erroneous report to link to this article and not just forward this, as we will post updates if and as needed.

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