Cruise Critic member in Israel, happy to answer questions

Welcome to Cruise Critic! If you'd like to participate on our forums by joining in the conversation, please Register Now! Be sure to visit our FAMOUS Roll Call forums, where you can meet other cruisers sailing with you and share a tour or shore excursion and SAVE MONEY!

** Please post your recommendations ONLY in response to request...do not start a new thread. Thanks!
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
All times are GMT -4.
The time now is 09:38 AM.
France
75 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
Hello!

I will be on a Red Sea cruise which stops in Eilat in February (on a German ship, the AIDAmar). Does anyone know of a private tour from Eilat, or example to Masada and/or the Dead Sea?

Thanks very much in advance, and Happy New Year!

Tanja
israel
1,179 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Originally posted by TEJKcruise
Hello!

I will be on a Red Sea cruise which stops in Eilat in February (on a German ship, the AIDAmar). Does anyone know of a private tour from Eilat, or example to Masada and/or the Dead Sea?

Thanks very much in advance, and Happy New Year!

Tanja

Hi Tanja!

Here are 2 operators that I found..

http://www.fun-time.org.il/

http://www.ahalan.co.il/from-the-port-of-eilat.html

I think that it's preferable that you contact them yourself and ask all the right questions - and then see how they impress you...

Maybe others will find some additional companies?

enjoy your cruise and your visit here!

miriam
South Australia
7,638 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Shalom Ruth (is that right?)

I believe we "spoke" on the Australian thread when someone was being rather silly about the situation in Israel before christmas and expecting you to have a crystal ball.

Anyway, this is what we have planned for our two day stop in Israel on the Holy Lands Cruise in July.

Tuesday: Haifa: Christian tour of Northern Israel. You can visit such beautiful and fascinating places as Nazareth, Capernaum, Tabgha, Sea of Galilee, Kibbutz, Mount of Beatitudes, Jordan River, and Haifa.

Wednesday: Ashdod: Jerusalem The Old City - we particularly want to visit the Western Wall, and a more Jewish experience. Then in the afternoon, visit the Dead Sea for a float!

We have approached Guided Tours Israel.

Any comments or concerns etc?
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Oriana 1980
Princess Dawn 2013
Queen Mary 2 2013 and 2014
Liberty of the Seas 2012
Celebrity Equinox 2014 and 2015
Diamond Princess December 2016
QM2 April 2017
Celebrity Silhouette July 2017
Wirral, England
1,428 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Hello,

Firstly can I say I hope alll has now settled down in Israel for your sakes as well as ours. It must be awful to live in such circumstances.

We are due in Haifa on the 18th and 19th February. Since the 18th has been rescheduled from Ashdod, the ship is running tours to Jerusalem that day. I have contacted P&O to ask about timings and they insist timings will be the same (1 hour was allowed for the journey to Jerusalem). Given that it appears to be 137 miles (~220 Km) from Haifa we presume that will not be the case, so have decided to spend that day in the Haifa area and do a land based holiday to Jerusalem another time. The second day we will probably do a ship's tour to Nazareth and Galilee as we have a very large onboard spend, but to use the onboard spend, we cannot book the trip until we embark on the 6th Feb, so there is a possibility that the tour may be fully booked by then.

We are thinking of taking the train to Akko on the 18th and spending some time in Haifa later if time allows - perhaps staying ashore in the evening.

We have read that trains are good in Israel and the trains to Akko seem to leave once an hour. Will the staff in the station speak English and do we just go to a ticket booth to buy a return ticket before the journey, or is ticketing done by machine in Israel - if so, how does the system work? We will probably have some local currency with us, or manage to use an ATM first.

We have also thought about the Tel Aviv/Jaffa area, which we may do on the first day if we cannot book the Nazareth trip (the ship will probably leave about 6pm on the 19th). We do not want an onerous itinerary ashore as we have 8 days in port out of 9 consecutive days at that stage, which are all new ports to us. Would we be better leaving the Tel Aviv area until we do a land trip to Jerusalem?

Sorry about the lengthy posting, but your brief thoughts would be appreciated.

Barbara
Tel-Aviv
856 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
Originally posted by tring
Hello,

Firstly can I say I hope alll has now settled down in Israel for your sakes as well as ours. It must be awful to live in such circumstances.

Yes, elections are over!! (I realize that isn't what you meant though - yes things are quiet, thank you - one learns how to do it, just as the Brits learned to get through the Blitz.)

We are due in Haifa on the 18th and 19th February. Since the 18th has been rescheduled from Ashdod, the ship is running tours to Jerusalem that day. I have contacted P&O to ask about timings and they insist timings will be the same (1 hour was allowed for the journey to Jerusalem). Given that it appears to be 137 miles (~220 Km) from Haifa we presume that will not be the case, so have decided to spend that day in the Haifa area and do a land based holiday to Jerusalem another time. The second day we will probably do a ship's tour to Nazareth and Galilee as we have a very large onboard spend, but to use the onboard spend, we cannot book the trip until we embark on the 6th Feb, so there is a possibility that the tour may be fully booked by then.

Given the whole issue of port security, I would say take the organized tours, it will save you time and worry about getting back before the ship sails if your tour is on that that. I am not a go along with the crowd type person, but I know when I am beat!

We are thinking of taking the train to Akko on the 18th and spending some time in Haifa later if time allows - perhaps staying ashore in the evening.

We have read that trains are good in Israel and the trains to Akko seem to leave once an hour. Will the staff in the station speak English and do we just go to a ticket booth to buy a return ticket before the journey, or is ticketing done by machine in Israel - if so, how does the system work? We will probably have some local currency with us, or manage to use an ATM first.

Train service is good, and the ticket clerks know at least nominal English. There are also machines at the station which take foreign credit cards. They speak a fluent English. You MUST buy a ticket before boarding. If you buy one on board there is a very stiff surcharge.

We have also thought about the Tel Aviv/Jaffa area, which we may do on the first day if we cannot book the Nazareth trip (the ship will probably leave about 6pm on the 19th). We do not want an onerous itinerary ashore as we have 8 days in port out of 9 consecutive days at that stage, which are all new ports to us. Would we be better leaving the Tel Aviv area until we do a land trip to Jerusalem?

Depends on what is important to you. I'm from Tel Aviv, so of course I am going to say TEL AVIV! TEL AVIV! We are in the final stretch in Citibanks Top Cities of the World Competition, too, and I forget which travel site or which magazine it is that awarded us the 7th best beach in the world status. We are also in the top ten for gay tourism, if that interests you (it means we got cool stuff for everybody).

Sorry about the lengthy posting, but your brief thoughts would be appreciated.

Barbara
Post as long a post as you want, and I'll try to get back to you with some useful links asap.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
"Life is a jest and all things show it,
I thought so once, and now I know it."
--- John Gay
Wirral, England
1,428 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Thank you for that Marion.

I know what you mean by elections - at least what we have in Britain is a trivial event compared to the American system and, of course, your politicians are very important to everyone's daily life, given the political problems of a country in the location Israel is situated.

I think we will probably leave Tel Aviv this time and, circumstances permitting, will consider a land based holiday which we could probably arrange ourselves to include Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Cruise stops are not the best way to see and experience a country.

Particular thanks for the train details. We once had great problems with an automated system in Lille, France, even though my husband speaks fluent French. We did not have the correct coins and even felt uncertain about the system which was fully automated. We were going into the centre for dinner from a hotel on the outskirts, so there were not even any locals around to help, as it was evening in a residential area. We discovered later that even the train was without a driver and that was some years ago!

I wish you a peaceful 2013 (and beyond),

Barbara
Tel-Aviv
856 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
I don't remember - am I allowed to recommend a restaurant here
?
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
"Life is a jest and all things show it,
I thought so once, and now I know it."
--- John Gay
Land of 10,000 lakes
5,023 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Anyone considering going to Jerusalem, please do so. It does not matter what your beliefs or religion may be, the experience cannot be compared with anyplace else. There is the immense feeling of love and compassion that everyone seems to share. For the historical buffs, you can see it all.

We made the trip from Haifa and even had time to make a short stop at the Dead Sea. Since two of us are disabled, we toured with Israel4All. Eli manage to make sure we got over a few bumps in the road and were able to see everything. My sincere appreciation for all his work.

Also, I would like to thank all those from Israel on this thread offering information. I personally found your input to be very valuable. Thank you!

Betty
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Past cruises: Splendour OTS (Med) 11/01, Voyager OTS (Caribbean) 11/02, Majesty OTS (Bahamas) 1/03, Nordic Empress (Caribbean) 3/03, Noordam (Baltic) 7/03, Horizon (W Caribbean) 12/03, Horizon (E Caribbean) 2/04, Jasmine (Nile) 5/04, Empress OTS (S Caribbean) 12/04, Opera (E Med) 4/05, Maasdam (St Lawrence) 6/05, Sapphire Princess (Mexico) 12/05, Regal Princess (Amazon) 4/06, Rotterdam (Black Sea) 10/06, Rotterdam (Med) 10/06, Sun Princess (Caribbean) 1/07, Magica (TA) 5/07, Island Princess (Panama Canal east) 10/07, Mercury (So Pacific) 3/08 , Mercury (Hawaii) 3/08, Century (W Med) 11/08; Legend OTS (Asia) 4/09; Legend OTS (Asia) 5/09; Legend OTS (Mid East) 5/09; Rotterdam (Baltic) 8/09; Volendam (Japan) 10/09; Poesia (Caribbean) 1/10; Summit (Bermuda) 5/10; Concordia (W Med) 10/10; Century (TA) 10/10; Oasis OTS (W. Caribbean) 9/11; Carnival Valor (E. Caribbean) 9/11; Carnival Valor (W. Caribbean) 9/11; NCL Sky (Bahamas) 9/11; Majesty OTS (Bahamas) 9/11; Carnival Imagination (W. Caribbean)10/11; NCL Spirit (W. Caribbean) 10/11; Maasdam (Atlantic Coast/St. Lawrence) 4/12; NCL Jade (Med/Holy Land) 2/13; Infinity 10/13 (Western Europe); Liberty OTS 10/13 (Transatlantic); Maasdam 1/14 (S Caribbean), NCL Gem 9/14(Bahamas); Carnival Splendor 9/14 (New England); Carnival Pride 9/14 (Bahamas); Carnival Paradise 10/14 (Caribbean); NCL Star 10/14 (Panama Canal west); Equinox 1/15 (Caribbean); Constellation 2/15 (Caribbean);Serenade OTS 1/16 (Eastern Caribbean); Serenade OTS 1/16 (East/Southern Caribbean); Serenade OTS 4/16 (Transatlantic); Serenade OTS 5/16 (Norway); Enchantment OTS 1/17 (Bahamas); Navigator OTS 1/17 (Western Caribbean); Navigator OTS 1/17 (Caribbean); Eurodam 1/17 (Caribbean); Getaway 2/17 (Caribbean)
Wirral, England
1,428 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
I would just like to thank Marian Paroo again for her help.

The train journey to Akko went very well, but unfortunately the days of docking were changed to a Fri -Sat so it caused a small hiccup as the trains do not run from Akko to Haifa from 2pm on Friday to sundown on Saturday because of the Sabbath. We were told this ahead of time on the ship, so knew we would have to return earlier than planned, or get another form of transport back. With the advice of tourist information staff and local people we were able to get a cheroot (shared taxi) back to Haifa with 'special' taxis to and from the cheroot. It worked very well and we were very impressed with the helpfulness of the local people over that.

Now we are thinking of arranging a future land stay in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, possibly by our own arrangements, travelling by train between the two. Any suggestions of decent, but reasonably priced hotels regarding location and quality of stay. We are in our 60's so are not looking for anything too basic.

Thanks again for the help,

Barbara
Tel-Aviv
856 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
Originally posted by tring
I would just like to thank Marian Paroo again for her help.

The train journey to Akko went very well, but unfortunately the days of docking were changed to a Fri -Sat so it caused a small hiccup as the trains do not run from Akko to Haifa from 2pm on Friday to sundown on Saturday because of the Sabbath. We were told this ahead of time on the ship, so knew we would have to return earlier than planned, or get another form of transport back. With the advice of tourist information staff and local people we were able to get a cheroot (shared taxi) back to Haifa with 'special' taxis to and from the cheroot. It worked very well and we were very impressed with the helpfulness of the local people over that.

Now we are thinking of arranging a future land stay in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, possibly by our own arrangements, travelling by train between the two. Any suggestions of decent, but reasonably priced hotels regarding location and quality of stay. We are in our 60's so are not looking for anything too basic.

Thanks again for the help,

Barbara

My pleasure. Your spelling "Cheroot" like the See-gar had me smiling. It's Sherut. And speaking of see-gars, they sell Havanas here, and that is all I am going to say.

Travelling between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem by train is not practical. Long trip (but beautiful) and the trains don't run very frequently at all. Best stick with sheruts for that run.


Do you intend for J"m or for Tel Aviv to be your base? I can't make suggestions for Jerusalem, but I can for Tel Aviv.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
"Life is a jest and all things show it,
I thought so once, and now I know it."
--- John Gay
Wirral, England
1,428 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Marian

Thank you for your reply and correction of my spelling of Sherut. We had not long returned and I was keen to thank you again and let you know how well the trip went. We have since been to stay with my husband's parents for a few days and have just returned from there, so are still tired.

Regarding a land stay, it would be at least a year until we looked at it, but we would probably want something like two or three nights in Tel Aviv and perhaps five or six nights in Jerusalem as we would like to visit Bethlehem and Massada from there and we like to travel at leisure with an opportunity to take in the surroudings and the people etc. Our guide from the 'Nazareth and Galilee' trip said that there is currently an aggreement for free movement accross the Israel/Jordan border for travel purposes, so we have wondered if it would be feasible to couple a trip from the UK to both southern Israel and Jordan (Petra mainly), and perhaps even a bit of free time in a beach hotel (or something similar that may be inland) in either Israel or Jordan. We realise that the cheapest and easiest way to travel would probably be by organised tour, but we do not like being rushed and fussed and have a particular aversion to early morning starts - especially on a daily basis.

Any land based trip would obviously need much research beforehand, but we were just wondering how feasible independent travelling would be and what sort of Hotel costs are likely to be incurred.

Travelling by Sherut with luggage sounds difficult, unless we coud pay more for luggage space.

Thanks again,

Barbara
Ajax, Ontario, Canada
151 Posts
Joined May 2011
Hi,

My Mom and I will be back in Israel in November of this year. We actually visited last year while on Mariner of the Seas, this year on the Rotterdam. We did two excellent tours last year that encompassed pretty much everything we wanted to see.
This go around, we think we'd like to do a Dead Sea Spa day, as we did Dead Sea & Masada last year and can't think of a really good reason to revisit Masada.
We are in Ashdod one day and Haifa the next. It seems the Dead Sea would be a better bet from Ashdod. Is it doable from Ashdod? Do you know if there is transportation to the Dead Sea from Ashdod? Is the Dead Sea a good idea in early November?
Thanks for any assistance.
1,851 Posts
Joined May 2008
Originally posted by lt1218
Hi,

We did two excellent tours last year that encompassed pretty much everything we wanted to see.
This go around, we think we'd like to do a Dead Sea Spa day,

I urge you to reconsider this plan. Revisit Jerusalem. You could spend 3 weeks there and not see everything of interest. If you tell us what you visited, we could make some recommendations for additional fascinating sights.

We spent 1/2 day at the Ein Gedi Spa. It was fine, but rather mundane. Jerusalem is totally unique.
Israel
69 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
Originally posted by lt1218
Hi,

My Mom and I will be back in Israel in November of this year. We actually visited last year while on Mariner of the Seas, this year on the Rotterdam. We did two excellent tours last year that encompassed pretty much everything we wanted to see.
This go around, we think we'd like to do a Dead Sea Spa day, as we did Dead Sea & Masada last year and can't think of a really good reason to revisit Masada.
We are in Ashdod one day and Haifa the next. It seems the Dead Sea would be a better bet from Ashdod. Is it doable from Ashdod? Do you know if there is transportation to the Dead Sea from Ashdod? Is the Dead Sea a good idea in early November?
Thanks for any assistance.
Ashdod is a closer port to the Dead Sea so if you want to spend a full day in the Dead Sea coming from Ashdod will be better for you. The question is how do you plan to get to the Dead Sea? If you are considering a day in a spa hiring a guide for that will be too expensive and a waste of money. You have an option to take a taxi but that won’t be a cheap option to taking into consideration the waiting hours of the taxi at the Dead Sea. I have no idea how much this will cost but you can check the dispatcher and to my opinion even bargain a bit on the price.
If you are planning a full day in the Dead Sea without Masada I don’t recommend Ein Gedi Spa. Go on one of the hotels in Ein Bokek. They offer a spa package that include lunch, using of the private beach and all spa facilities for around 50$USD or less per person. I personally prefer one of the 2: Hod or Lot.
304 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
We will be in Israel for the next two weeks. We're staying with friends in Hadera, driving everywhere. I thought we'd spend at least two days and one night in Jerusalem. There are five of us. I figured that it'd be easier to drive to Jerusalem and park the car somewhere for the two days that we're there (must find a rental apartment, too) and use busses while we're there, or walk. Any idea where we can park for free or cheaply in the area?
Tel-Aviv
856 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
Originally posted by drbabe
Any idea where we can park for free or cheaply in the area?



Good luck on that.

Seriously.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
"Life is a jest and all things show it,
I thought so once, and now I know it."
--- John Gay
425 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
We are arriving Ashdod Port. I know that taxis are available there, but will any of the taxi drivers be willing to take passengers to north of Tel Aviv (Netanya area)? Or do I need to make arrangements in advance with a taxi company?

We are visiting friends, have been to Israel many times, and just need transportation (not a tour). We will meet the ship two days later in Haifa.
596 Posts
Joined May 2009
Originally posted by Jimbo59
We are arriving Ashdod Port. I know that taxis are available there, but will any of the taxi drivers be willing to take passengers to north of Tel Aviv (Netanya area)? Or do I need to make arrangements in advance with a taxi company?

We are visiting friends, have been to Israel many times, and just need transportation (not a tour). We will meet the ship two days later in Haifa.
I don't think that you should have a problem. The drivers are happy to do long haul trips. They go to Jerusalem from Ashdod all the time and Netanya is about the same distance and time

You should also have no problem getting a taxi from Netanya to Haifa