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A Royal newbie reports on Vision Cruise (photo review)
By librarylady19 , January 25, 2015 in Royal Caribbean International
We just returned from an absolutely fantastic 7 nights on Vision! I plan to write a full review with photos in the coming days. Let me give you a quick preview - this will definitely be the first of many RCCL cruises for us!!
Outstanding service, staff, food and entertainment, and some very enjoyable ports of call. I have lots of photos of ship (thanks to DH) and will start uploading them tomorrow.
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Cant wait to see your review. We sailed on the Vision in Sept for 5 night which was to short. Was the best service I've ever had on a cruise.
Looking forward to your review.
I am so glad that you enjoyed Vision. I so enjoyed her for my birthday cruise. I look forward to your long review.
Looking forward to your review. We are sailing on her in March.:)
Glad you had a good sailing. We board Vision in Feb, so looking forward to your review.
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Sailing her in March! Looking forward to your review.
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At Sea 4Ever
Looking forward to your review!
We sailed on the Vision on Jan 10. It was a great trip and the ship was wonderful.
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Cruise Itinerary: Jan. 17 - Jan. 24, 2015
Ports of call: Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Costa Maya, Belize
Much of the credit for this great cruise goes to my great friend Deirdre (dln929) who urged me to try RCCL. Once the smoking policy was tightened up, I was ready to give it a go. As any of you who also read the X Forum know, I'm a huge fan of the S Class ships, but was getting bored with the 7 night itineraries and X prices and was willing to branch out.
We booked this cruise more than a year ago, in the midst of the polar vortex that gripped Chicago last winter, and were able to snag a coveted corner aft on Deck 7 (7652) for a great price. Deirdre and her DH Rob booked the other corner aft, 7152.
Our group of four consisted of myself and DH Scott (both Library Directors) and our friends Deirdre & Rob who we actually met on CC prior to a Summit Bermuda cruise in 2012 and have visited/traveled with many times since. Rob & I are both English and we all share an interest in beer (esp. Scott an avid homebrewer) and travel! Deirdre and I also enjoy a bit of shopping and cruise planning. Deirdre is the tenacious researcher of the group who finds great deals on cruises for us all!
Here we are about to board the ship:
Deirdre on left; me on right
My son lives in St. Petersburg, so we flew in 2 days early to spend some time with him and visiting our favorite places in the Tampa/St. Pete area. We fly SW from Midway airport to Tampa which is a well organized, compact airport and definitely one of the better airports we have used.
While it was not beach weather (60s) it was a welcome improvement over Chicago area weather. Nice to see blue skies and greenery after looking at snow and gray skies for the last month for sure. We ate some great seafood, visited the Dali Museum (highly recommended) and tried some of the local breweries/pubs.
On sailaway day, we returned our rental car to the Tampa airport and took the Super Shuttle ($12 pp) to the port (Cabs are $25 I believe but we had far too much luggage to fit into one taxi).
We arrived at the port around 10:45 a.m., anxious to get on the ship. This was by far the easiest embarkation I have experienced (also sailed out of Ft. Lauderdale & Miami). The staff (both port and cruiseline personnel) were so friendly and efficient. There were no lines to check in and we were among the first to board as we are all Diamond members. Within 15 minutes, we were aboard the Vision, enjoying our first of many drinks!!
(Rob on left; Scott on right)
We had headed up to Deck 9 in search of sunshine, and discovered the bag of beers deal!! For $30, you purchase a cool RCCL bag (complete with bottle opener) that is filled with your choice of 5 bottled beers/cider on ice. Each refill thereafter is only $25. We made good use of those bags and they are a great souvenir too!
We'll be in cabin 7152 on the February 21st cruise. Love the aft wraps!
Fantastic cabins. I'll be posting lots of pics as soon as DH uploads them from his camera.
I enjoyed being on Vision twice. I am looking forward to more of your review. Unfortunately your photos are not posting.
I see the pictures..... No problem on my side.
We also have cabin 7652 on our TA in October. Hope you guys left them looking good!
I see the pictures..... No problem on my side.
I can also see the pictures perfectly fine.
Correction: reviewed our statement and the beer refills are $23 (incl gratuity)
My son lives in St. Petersburg, so we flew in 2 days early to spend some time with him and visiting our favorite places in the Tampa/St. Pete area. We fly SW from Midway airport to Tampa which is a well organized, compact airport and definitely one of the better airports we have used. While it was not beach weather (60s) it was a welcome improvement over Chicago area weather. Nice to see blue skies and greenery after looking at snow and gray skies for the last month for sure. We ate some great seafood, visited the Dali Museum (highly recommended) and tried some of the local breweries/pubs. On sailaway day, we returned our rental car to the Tampa airport and took the Super Shuttle ($12 pp) to the port (Cabs are $25 I believe but we had far too much luggage to fit into one taxi). We arrived at the port around 10:45 a.m., anxious to get on the ship. This was by far the easiest embarkation I have experienced (also sailed out of Ft. Lauderdale & Miami). The staff (both port and cruiseline personnel) were so friendly and efficient. There were no lines to check in and we were among the first to board as we are all Diamond members. Within 15 minutes, we were aboard the Vision, enjoying our first of many drinks!! (Rob on left; Scott on right) We had headed up to Deck 9 in search of sunshine, and discovered the bag of beers deal!! For $30, you purchase a cool RCCL bag (complete with bottle opener) that is filled with your choice of 5 bottled beers/cider on ice. Each refill thereafter is only $25. We made good use of those bags and they are a great souvenir too!
Those bags are great! Do you know if you can get one with the drink package?
Looking forward too the rest of your review. We will be on starting Feb 21!
Thanks for the review!:D:D:D
The cooler bag is great! We got one a previous cruise! We sail on Vision in April and am looking forward to reading the rest of your review and the pics!
We are not buffet fans at all but we did get a bite to eat from Windjammer as we were pretty hungry. We didn't go back there after that, much preferring lunch in the dining room on sea days (more on our great dining experiences later....). The buffet is "old style" without the separate islands you find on newer ships; didn't find much of a selection but again, I'm not a buffet fan anyways. We did enjoy the soft serve icecream, (2 stations near the entrances to Windjammer) a few times and that was tasty.
We walked around the ship exploring and taking pictures until our cabins were ready at 1:00 p.m. Our first impressions of the ship were very favorable. We love the decor on S class ships and this was obviously very different but we really found it comfortable. We had tried Azamara last year and didn't care for the "country club" decor and the small size of the ship. This ship, although not new by any means, had been refurbished and I found few signs of wear and tear (and I did look believe me!!); the ship was well cared for and had new furniture and soft furnishings throughout. Another similar size ship we had sailed, the Celebrity Summit, was much more dated in comparison (even after its refurb) and I liked this ship much, much more.
First up, the outside areas on Decks 9 and 10.
The pools (indoor and outdoor) were saltwater. Hot tubs were pleasant, although I only went in them once. I really liked that there was a promenade on deck 10, enabling one to walk all the way around (or jog in the case of some people). There were plenty of chairs in both sunny and shady spots too.
We took advantage of the fact that there were not many people on board yet, to walk around and take some photos around the ship also.
The ship has 2 elevator banks, center and forward. Due to its small size (2,000 passengers) it was never a long walk and the ship was very easy to navigate. I learned my way around quickly.
The Centrum, the venue for many activities throughout the week, starts on Deck 4.
There was a lot of comfortable seating on each level of the Centrum.
R Bar is in top right corner..
Also on Deck 4 are the Casino and Masquerade Theater. We only walked through the Casino as this is the one indoor venue onboard where smoking is allowed and we didn't enjoy that.
This is the entrance to the Masquerade Theater. We really liked the decor and found the theater to be have very comfortable seating and line of sight to the stage (more on the entertainment later).
Inside the Masquerade Theater:
Upper Level (Deck 5):
We never had any trouble getting seats, even a few minutes before a show. (We never ate dinner before 8:00 p.m. so may have avoided the crowds that way, not sure).
I liked the ship's decor and artwork which was maintained throughout the ship, including the stairwells:
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- Adventure Ocean -Deck 10 (18 pictures in photo gallery.)
- Aquarius Dining Room -Deck 4 (48 pictures in photo gallery.)
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- Art Gallery -Deck 6 (4 pictures in photo gallery.)
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- Casino Royale -Deck 5 (26 pictures in photo gallery.)
- Centrum -Deck 4 (40 pictures in photo gallery.)
- Centrum Balcony -Deck 6 (8 pictures in photo gallery.)
- Centrum Shops -Deck 6 (23 pictures in photo gallery.)
- Chefs Table -Deck 4 (0 pictures in photo gallery.)
- Chops Grille -Deck 6 (8 pictures in photo gallery.)
- Concierge Club -Deck 11 (5 pictures in photo gallery.)
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- Fitness Center -Deck 10 (14 pictures in photo gallery.)
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- Guest Services -Deck 5 (4 pictures in photo gallery.)
- Izumi -Deck 12 (16 pictures in photo gallery.)
- Jogging Track -Deck 10 (41 pictures in photo gallery.)
- Main Pool -Deck 9 (59 pictures in photo gallery.)
- Masquerade Theatre -Deck 5 (53 pictures in photo gallery.)
- Masquerade Theatre -Deck 6 (53 pictures in photo gallery.)
- Next Cruise -Deck 4 (5 pictures in photo gallery.)
- Nursery -Deck 10 (5 pictures in photo gallery.)
- Outside Promenade -Deck 5 (9 pictures in photo gallery.)
- Park Cafe -Deck 9 (5 pictures in photo gallery.)
- Photo Gallery and Shop -Deck 6 (7 pictures in photo gallery.)
- R Bar -Deck 4 (13 pictures in photo gallery.)
- Rock Climbing Wall -Deck 10 (15 pictures in photo gallery.)
- Schooner Bar -Deck 6 (26 pictures in photo gallery.)
- Solarium -Deck 9 (57 pictures in photo gallery.)
- Solarium Cafe -Deck 9 (4 pictures in photo gallery.)
- Some Enchanted Evening Lounge -Deck 6 (27 pictures in photo gallery.)
- Teen Center -Deck 10 (18 pictures in photo gallery.)
- Video Arcade -Deck 10 (15 pictures in photo gallery.)
- Viking Crown Lounge -Deck 11 (34 pictures in photo gallery.)
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John Cooper steps down from Vision Cruise
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John Cooper, the face of Vision Cruise on TV advertising channels, has left the business.
He was brand director for the cruise specialist for more than a decade.
Liverpool-based Cooper announced yesterday that he was leaving the company after making his final broadcast.
He said he was leaving “on really good terms”.
Cooper added on Facebook: “As soon as I know what my future holds, you will be the first to know.”
He thanked the Vision team “who have made the last ten years the most memorable in my life.
“I would also like to thank all the customers and friends I have met along the way, as well as all my former colleagues who I have really enjoyed working with.”
Cooper, a former radio presenter, than posted that he was flying on holiday to Orlando.
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The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more .
Ukraine-Russia war latest: New Wagner leader makes first video statement since Prigozhin death
Wagner boss Anton Yelizarov has announced a new headquarters is being built in Russia in his first video statement since former leader Yevgeny Prigozhin was killed in a plane crash.
Thursday 8 February 2024 14:05, UK
- Putin rival vows court appeal after being barred from election
- Wagner group leader gives first video statement and says group building new headquarters in Russia
- Tucker Carlson's Putin interview will air tonight
- Explained: What Carlson has said on Putin, the war and Ukraine
- Analysis: Do we really need to prepare for World War III?
- Live reporting by Jess Sharp
Ukrainian forces have claimed to have shot down a Russian attack helicopter in eastern Ukraine near the city of Avdiivka.
Throughout the day, we have been reporting on the intense battles taking place in the area, with soldiers fighting from street to street and Russia troops trying to cut off supply lines.
Ukrainian soldiers used a portable anti-aircraft missile to take down the Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopter, according to Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, the commander of Ukrainian units fighting on the southeastern front line.
The helicopter is one of the Russian air force's deadliest weapons, and is designed to destroy armoured and unarmoured ground targets, tanks, low-speed aerial targets, and personnel.
Ukrainian troops have been dug in around Avdivvka, which sits in the east of the country, for several months.
It is seen as a gateway to Donetsk city and is regarded as the area key to Russia taking full control of Donetsk and Luhansk.
The Black Sea continues to play a vital role in the Ukraine war.
Russia's blockade of the sea has halted Ukraine's grain exports - a vital source of revenue - and its ships have continually been targeted by Ukrainian troops.
Earlier this week, Kyiv's special forces said it blew up a drilling platform in the Black Sea that Russia was using to enhance the range of its drones.
In a statement on the Telegram messaging platform, the unit said equipment on the platform was used for drones involved in attacks on Ukraine's critical infrastructure and to control the northwestern part of the sea.
Today, the Ukrainian coastguard has been out patrolling the waters.
Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart have spoken by phone this morning and we are starting to get details of their conversation...
Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov said the Russian president and Xi Jinping both rejected what they called "US interference" in the affairs of other countries.
The two leaders also said they aimed to create "a multipolar, fairer world order" and they would continue to have "close personal interaction".
However, they said there were no plans for visits to each other's countries right now.
They also discussed the situation in Ukraine and conflict resolution in the Middle East and agreed to continue bilateral contacts, Mr Ushakov said, without elaborating.
In the eastern town of Avdiivka, Ukrainian troops are coming under fire from all directions, its mayor has said.
The situation has become increasingly "difficult and hot", Vitaliy Barabash said, as Russian soldiers try to cut supply lines and encircle dug in Ukrainian forces.
"The enemy is pressuring from all directions. They are storming with very numerous forces," he said.
Pounded by fighting in the region since February 2022, Avdiivka has already sustained heavy damage.
There are now only 941 residents in the town that was once home to 32,000 people and has a large fuel plant, Mr Barabash said.
Why is Avdiivka important?
Avdiivka sits in the industrial Donbas region, 15km (nine miles) north of the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk.
It is seen as a gateway to Donetsk city. Both sides regard the town as key to Russia's aim of securing full control of the two eastern Donbas provinces - Donetsk and Luhansk.
Troops have repelled 10 Ukrainian attacks over Russian-occupied Donetsk, according to Moscow's defence ministry.
The ministry said units had also killed or wounded up to 290 members of Ukraine's military.
It said Russian forces had taken "more advantageous lines and positions" and "hit clusters of manpower and hardware" along defence brigades in the region.
Donetsk is situated in eastern Ukraine and the majority of it is occupied by Russia.
Since the start of the war in 2022, it has been the site of many of the conflict's most vicious and protracted battles.
Belarus has been increasingly targeting Ukrainians living in the country over the last month and is actively "looking for informants", Ukraine's National Resistance Centre has claimed.
The organisation, which is part of Kyiv's Special Operations Forces, said cases of Ukrainians being summoned for questioning in Belarus had "become more frequent".
"The Belarusian special services are looking for informants among Ukrainians and plan, on the contrary, to involve them in cooperation," it said .
"Such actions once again indicate the complicity of the Minsk regime in this war against Ukraine."
Belarus has not directly entered into war with Ukraine, but it has been helping Russia in its invasion by deploying Moscow's equipment and troops from its territory.
Vladimir Putin's rival Boris Nadezhdin has said he has been barred from running in Russia's March election, and has vowed to launch an appeal at the country's supreme court.
The Central Election Commission (CEC) said it had found flaws in signatures that Mr Nadezhdin and his allies had collected in support of his candidacy and that some of the purported signatures were those of dead people.
In a post on Telegram, Mr Nadezhdin said he disagreed with the CEC's decision and he is "not giving up" on his plans to run for president.
"I collected more than 200,000 signatures across Russia. We conducted the collection openly and honestly - the queues at our headquarters and collection points were watched by the whole world," he said.
"Taking part in the presidential election in 2024 is the most important political decision of my life. I am not giving up on my intentions."
He had surprised some analysts with his strong criticism of what the Kremlin calls its "special military operation" in Ukraine, calling the war a "fatal mistake" and vowing to try to end it through negotiations.
Nobody had expected the 60-year-old to win, with Mr Putin's victory widely seen as inevitable.
Mr Putin has been in power as either president or prime minister since the end of 1999 and controls all the state's levers.
The Kremlin had said it did not see Mr Nadezhdin as a serious rival.
Russian forces are trying to "break through" defences in Chasiv Yar, near the battered city of Bakhmut, Ukraine's land forces have said.
In an update posted after Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi visited Ukrainian troops in the area, the unit said Russia was using "local actions but small assault groups under the cover of drones and artillery" to bust through defences.
"The situation is tense, requiring constant monitoring of the situation and prompt decision-making directly on the ground," it added.
According to the report, the Russian forces have been using "kamikaze" drones and electronic warfare assets widely.
Two officers have been injured in a nighttime Russian drone attack, Ukraine's national police has said.
Sharing an update on Telegram, the force said Russia launched a "mass attack" on the city of Odesa overnight, damaging a six-storey building and an "educational institution".
It said the two policeman were patrolling and on their way to help residents when they were hit.
They have both suffered mine-explosive injuries but they are in a stable condition, it added.
It also shared a number of photos claiming to show the aftermath of the attack and officers working at the site, which you can see below...
The Wagner group is building a new headquarters for its fighters and the volunteer corps of Russia's national guard, the UK's defence ministry has said.
Anton Yelizarov, the mercenary group's leader, announced the move in his first video statement since Wagner's former owner Yevgeny Prigozhin was killed in a plane crash last year.
The MoD said the so-called "Cossack Camp" would "almost certainly" be based in Russia's southern city of Rostov and "co-located with the barracks of Russia'a 150th Motor Rifle Division".
It said the announcement "implicitly" confirms "Wagner's subordination" to the Russian national guard, also known as Rosgvardiya.
"The Russian state highly likely authorised the construction of Wagner's new base and highly likely perceives that by subordinating Wagner to Rosgvardiya, it has removed any potential threat Wagner night post to Russia's regime security," it added.
For context - here's what happened to the Wagner group
The Wagner mercenary group has fought on behalf of Russia in Ukraine and was key to the country taking control of the city of Bakhmut.
In June, Prigozhin, angered by what he said was the stupidity and incompetence of Russia's top military brass, took control of the military headquarters of the southern city of Rostov and then marched on Moscow in an attempted mutiny.
After the incident, Vladimir Putin cast the fighters as traitors and exiled Prigozhin from Russia.
On 23 August, the private jet on which Prigozhin was travelling to St Petersburg crashed north of Moscow, killing all 10 people on board.
After Prigozhin's death, the Russian president ordered Wagner fighters to sign an oath of allegiance to the Russian state.
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Booked a family holiday of a lifetime
Booked a family holiday of a lifetime. Vision Cruise committed to and identified a suitable villa for a party of seven including a disabled person, requiring walk in access to shower. Promised the earth delivered a different villa forcing disabled person to be washed down each day for a fortnight. Many other problems were encountered. Vision cruise responses were very disappointing.
Date of experience : 02 July 2023
Alls good until something goes wrong
Please don’t book as you take a big risk with this company. All is great when booking with the agents but when things go wrong no one is there to help you or they say they will come back to you and they delay until last minute when nothing can be done. They also do not fully understand the terms and conditions for the underlying cruise company as they focus on getting their fees through rather than making sure the customer is looked after. I’ve been on many cruises and never experienced a company who does not care about their customers.
Date of experience : 28 May 2023
Ive used this company for many cruises giving them much revenue..Had to cancel cruise booked due to P&O state of vessel being used for world cruise..as i booked this £40,000 cruise for 2025..cancelled a few others to afford this one..but as now cancelled they have charged me & husbsnd £25 pp..on all cancelled cost me another £200 plus ccard fee..very short sighted due to how many bookings ive had with them wont book anything else with them..very disappointed with their attitude
Date of experience : 01 March 2023
I’ve booked with Vision cruises quite a…
I’ve booked with Vision cruises quite a few times before. The customer service agents are usually rude and deal with customers queries with attitude. I’ve only ever spoke to one agent that was upbeat and polite. After my telephone conversation today with Sophia this will be my last time booking or dealing with vision cruises. So rude the whole team need customer service training.
Date of experience : 17 May 2021
Good company in general
Claims there are amazing deals but even when ringing straight away they claim that the deal was sold out but can offer you something else. We did end up booking in the end and the proccess from there was smooth and very good but was just dissapointed at the apparant deal not being available
Date of experience : 03 October 2020
52 minutes ago Shocking lack of concern for its customers regarding the corona virus. I am cruising on P&O Ventura in 8 days through Vision and I am chasing information. Considering people are dying and cruises are being quarantined it's a discrace we get nothing from Vision or P&O.
Date of experience : 07 March 2020
Fantastic service, wow I have used this company a few times but wow I have received amazing service from a fantastic team. They are such a nice bunch to talk to very very helpful. Thank you so much. From the Grossi family
Date of experience : 17 February 2022
Have booked with Vision Cruise (Liverpool Cruise Club) for the past 3 years. Have never had any trouble and they have been helpful. P&O from Southampton was my favourite cruise and got a great deal from the golden envelope on TV. Will use again..
Date of experience : 07 April 2015
BEWARE, BEWARE, BEWARE, I can only say after having to cancel my holiday because my wife went into hospital , the customer service is not so good . They are very fast in taking your money but not so fast in helping you to get it back for insurance . BEWARE , Our holiday was cancelled on 16th June 2018 and it is now 17th of September and i have just been told to wait another couple of weeks . I have had to telephone this company so many times , to be told we were refunded in mid July and they kept saying check with my bank , so i did and all the statements , when last week i exhausted all avenues , i finally got them to look into it for them to realise i had not been refunded . When you phone customers service you can be hanging on the phone for so long before they answer ......
Date of experience : 17 September 2018
Absolutely brilliant. I have had excellent service from Gina at Vision Cruise. She helped me sort out a refund and was exceptional, attentive and committed to resolving my issue.
Date of experience : 11 November 2021
Great company to book your next cruise…
Great company to book your next cruise with. Very efficient friendly staff
Date of experience : 29 September 2020
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Israel's war with Hamas
US Supreme Court hears Trump case
February 3, 2024 Israel-Hamas war
By Chris Lau, Nadeen Ebrahim, Andrew Raine , Adrienne Vogt , Matt Meyer and Tori B. Powell , CNN
Our live coverage of Israel's war on Hamas in Gaza has moved here.
US strikes anti-ship cruise missile in Yemen
From CNN's Jalen Beckford
US forces struck an additional Houthi anti-ship cruise missile in Yemen early Sunday local time, according to US Central Command.
The strike was conducted in "self defense" against a Houthi cruise missile "prepared to launch against ships in the Red Sea" at 4 a.m. local time on Sunday, US Central Command said in a statement.
US forces determined the cruise missile presented an "imminent threat" to US Navy ships and other vessels in the region.
The strike is a part of the US military's effort to deter the Houthis from further disrupting the global shipping lanes in the Red Sea.
Israel says it has hit multiple Hezbollah targets in Syria and Lebanon since Gaza war began
From CNN's Michael Rios, Lauren Izso and Charbel Mallo
Israel’s military has attacked more than 3,400 Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon and more than 50 in Syria since the war in Gaza broke out 120 days ago, Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Daniel Hagari said.
At a press briefing Saturday, Hagari said Israel has been trying to stop Hezbollah's “supply chain of ammunition and missiles,” which he alleged were being smuggled from Iran to Syria and then to Lebanon.
Hagari also said the Israeli military has deployed three divisions along the Lebanese border since October 7 -- instead of the usual single division to try to thwart Hezbollah's capabilities and protect people in northern Israel.
For the last four months, along with the war in Gaza, we have been waging a very intense battle on the northern front, aimed at reshaping the security reality so that the residents of the north can return to their homes safely,” Hagari said, adding: "So far we have attacked more than 150 terrorist units and eliminated more than 200 terrorists and commanders."
Hezbollah on Saturday said it had launched at least eight attacks on Israeli positions.
The IDF acknowledged that “a number of launches” were identified crossing from Lebanon to northern Israel, but said no injuries were reported and that it struck the sources of the fire.
UK says strikes on Houthis in Yemen are about protecting innocent lives
From CNN’s Jomana Karadsheh and Morayo Ogunbayo
UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said Saturday that strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen are about protection.
“The Houthis’ attacks on commercial and military vessels in the Red Sea are illegal and unacceptable and it is our duty to protect innocent lives and preserve freedom of navigation,” Shapps said in a statement after the United Kingdom and United States conducted the strikes against the Iranian-backed rebel group.
Shapps also said the strikes were "not an escalation," adding that they have "already successfully targeted launchers and storage sites involved in Houthi attacks" on ships in the Red Sea.
In a separate joint statement with the US-led coalition, the UK said that Houthi attacks constituted “an international challenge” and issued a warning to Houthi leadership.
“We will not hesitate to continue to defend lives and the free flow of commerce in one of the world's most critical waterways in the face of continued threats,” the coalition said.
The Houthi rebels have said their strikes on Red Sea ships are in response to Israel's military campaign against Hamas in Gaza.
"We will meet escalation with escalation," Houthi senior official says in response to strikes in Yemen
From CNN's Eyad Kourdi
Mohammed Al Bukhaiti, a top member of the Houthi Political Council, said the group will continue its military operations until the siege on Gaza is lifted and vowed to respond to the latest US and UK strikes in Yemen.
In the group's first reaction to the latest wave of attacks, he warned: "We will meet escalation with escalation."
Al Bukhaiti wrote on X:
"The US-British coalition’s bombing of a number of Yemeni provinces will not change our position, and we affirm that our military operations against Israel will continue until the crimes of genocide in Gaza are stopped and the siege on its residents is lifted, no matter the sacrifices it costs us." "Our war is moral, and if we had not intervened to support the oppressed in Gaza, humanity would not have existed among humans. The American-British aggression against Yemen will not go unanswered, and we will meet escalation with escalation," he said.
US strikes make it difficult to reach a political solution in the region, Iran tells UN
From CNN's Artemis Mostaghian, Jennifer Z. Deaton, and Hande Atay Alam
Recent strikes by the US military in the Middle East make it difficult to reach a political solution in the region, Iran's foreign minister told the United Nations' special envoy for Yemen on Saturday, according to Iran's state-run news agency.
Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian made the comments prior to US officials confirming the latest strikes Saturday on Houthi targets. The attacks follow multiple joint US-UK airstrikes on the Iran-backed rebel group in Yemen last month.
During their meeting in Tehran, Amir-Abdollahian told Special Envoy Hans Grundberg that the US strikes and its decision to designate the Houthis as a terrorist organization have "complicated the situation and made it more difficult to reach a political solution," the state news agency, IRNA, reported.
Amir-Abdollahian also called US strikes "the continuation of Washington’s wrong and failed approach to resolve issues by force and through militarism," IRNA reported.
Remember: The US also conducted major airstrikes on 85 targets across seven locations in Iraq and Syria on Friday in response to a drone strike in Jordan that killed three American soldiers.
The strikes in Yemen are distinct from the attacks in Iraq and Syria: The former is a response to ongoing Houthi attacks on international shipping and US warships in the Red Sea, while the latter is a retaliation for the deadly attack on US troops. But both target Iranian-backed groups in the Middle East.
Biden approved Saturday strikes earlier this week, officials say
From CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez
US President Joe Biden gave the green light for Saturday's strikes earlier in the week, according to two senior administration officials.
The strikes are separate from the retaliatory measures the United States took on Friday in Syria and Iraq, and are related to ongoing actions to defend US ships and international commercial vessels in the Red Sea, according to one administration official.
They mark the third set of strikes as part of a coalition that includes the United States, the UK, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, the Netherlands, Denmark and New Zealand.
The senior administration official stressed that the US does not want escalation, and that the strikes are in direct response to the actions by the Iranian-backed Houthis.
The strikes occurred as Biden visited his campaign headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware. The president is currently en route to Los Angeles, where he's expected to participate in campaign fundraisers.
What to know about the Houthis
From CNN's Christian Edwards
Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels say their strikes on ships in the Red Sea as in response to Israel's military campaign in Gaza. There are fears that the attacks could escalate Israel’s war against Hamas into a wider regional conflict.
On Saturday, the US and UK struck over 30 Houthi targets across Yemen, while the US also struck six Houthi anti-ship cruise missiles that the group was prepared to launch against ships in the Red Sea, according to US officials.
This is what you should know about the rebel group:
Civil war: The Houthi movement, also known as Ansarallah (Supporters of God), is one side of the Yemeni civil war that has raged for nearly a decade. Yemen’s civil war began in 2014, when Houthi forces stormed the capital Sanaa and toppled the internationally recognized and Saudi-backed government, triggering a civil war. The war has sparked one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, leaving hundreds of thousands dead and pushing parts of the country into famine.
Backed by Iran: The Houthis are backed by Iran, which began increasing its aid to the group in 2014 as the civil war escalated and as its rivalry with Saudi Arabia intensified. Iran has provided the group with weapons and technology for, among other things, sea mines, ballistic and cruise missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or drones), according to a 2021 report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Shipping attacks: While the Houthis may not be able to pose a serious threat to Israel, their technology can wreak havoc in the Red Sea. There are fears that the Houthi drone and missile attacks against commercial vessels, which have occurred almost daily since December 9 , could cause an even greater shock to the world economy. The Houthi strikes could be intended to inflict economic pain on Israel’s allies in the hope they will pressure it to cease its bombardment of Gaza. Championing the Palestinian cause could also be an attempt to gain legitimacy at home and in the region as they seek to control northern Yemen. It could also give them an upper hand against their Arab adversaries, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who they accuse of being lackeys of the US and Israel.
US defense secretary says strikes send "clear message to the Houthis" to end attacks on shipping routes
From CNN’s Haley Britzky
The additional strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen send a clear message to the Iran-backed militia, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Saturday.
Austin issued the following statement:
"These strikes are intended to further disrupt and degrade the capabilities of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia to conduct their reckless and destabilizing attacks against U.S. and international vessels lawfully transiting the Red Sea. Coalition forces targeted 13 locations associated with the Houthis' deeply buried weapons storage facilities, missile systems and launchers, air defense systems, and radars. "This collective action sends a clear message to the Houthis that they will continue to bear further consequences if they do not end their illegal attacks on international shipping and naval vessels."
Coalition statement: In a separate statement, the US, UK, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands and New Zealand said.
"These precision strikes are intended to disrupt and degrade the capabilities that the Houthis use to threaten global trade, and the lives of innocent mariners, and are in response to a series of illegal, dangerous, and destabilizing Houthi actions since previous coalition strikes on January 11 and 22, 2024, including the January 27 attack which struck and set ablaze the Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker M/V Marlin Luanda." It added: "Our aim remains to de-escalate tensions and restore stability in the Red Sea but let us reiterate our warning to Houthi leadership: we will not hesitate to continue to defend lives and the free flow of commerce in one of the world's most critical waterways in the face of continued threats."