Holy Land

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#2
Calabasas, CA, USA
11,761 Posts
Joined Dec 2002
Originally posted by Pretty Face64
Any hints, comments etc on excursions to Israel, Turkey, Greece, Italy???
First a note: Go to the Roll Call board for your sailing and find others on your cruise who may also be planning tours...

In many ports, the best option for a lot of folks is to hook onto small group private tours...Going in a group of 6 or 8 is better in a lot of ways than a big bus with 30 or 40...

IMHO, this is important especially in Israel...Find others with similar interests, form a group and find a local guide...there are many in Israel...They can customize tours for you that hit your personal interests...We used Joel Berman at jtours...

http://www.jtours.co.il/cruises.html

He put together some great tours for our group of six...
From Ashdod, Jerusalem and Yad Vashem...
From Haifa, the archaeological sites of Megido and Caesarea...

As a small group, we got around quickly, saw a lot and could always be close to our guide...

In two visits to Turkey, we've used a couple of guides...We really liked Ekol Travel...We had a couple of wonderful tours in Ephesus with them...

http://www.ekoltravel.com/

Greece and Italy are a little different...
In Athens, we've done ship's excursions and we've done private tours (there are a number of taxi driver/guides who can give you a good tour)...Other ports--the smaller islands--can be different...where are you stopping?

Italy has strict laws on licensing for guides and most "guides" are not really licensed...they cannot give you a tour inside sights like the Vatican, Pompeii, etc., so, sometimes, depending on what you want to see, a shore excursion might be a more viable choice...We've done both shorexes and private tours there...

Good luck...
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#3
Ontario
9 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Hey Steve, thanks sooooo much for all your info....
I am doing my homework and e:mailing but it just takes time for people to get back to me.....
In Greece we will be stopping in Nykonos from 7:00 to 5:00
#4
Calabasas, CA, USA
11,761 Posts
Joined Dec 2002
Originally posted by Pretty Face64
Hey Steve, thanks sooooo much for all your info....
I am doing my homework and e:mailing but it just takes time for people to get back to me.....
In Greece we will be stopping in Nykonos from 7:00 to 5:00
Mykonos is a small island...
We did not hire a tour or excursion there at all...
It is either a taxi, shuttle or long walk into town...or, if one wants to make it a "beach day", taxi to one of the many beaches around the island...

Most notable sight are the windmills which sit above the town...then it's a case of wandering the town and shopping...

More of a relaxing day than a touring day...
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#5
CANADA
231 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Originally posted by Bruin Steve
First a note: Go to the Roll Call board for your sailing and find others on your cruise who may also be planning tours...

In many ports, the best option for a lot of folks is to hook onto small group private tours...Going in a group of 6 or 8 is better in a lot of ways than a big bus with 30 or 40...

IMHO, this is important especially in Israel...Find others with similar interests, form a group and find a local guide...there are many in Israel...They can customize tours for you that hit your personal interests...We used Joel Berman at jtours...

http://www.jtours.co.il/cruises.html

He put together some great tours for our group of six...
From Ashdod, Jerusalem and Yad Vashem...
From Haifa, the archaeological sites of Megido and Caesarea...

As a small group, we got around quickly, saw a lot and could always be close to our guide...

In two visits to Turkey, we've used a couple of guides...We really liked Ekol Travel...We had a couple of wonderful tours in Ephesus with them...

http://www.ekoltravel.com/

Greece and Italy are a little different...
In Athens, we've done ship's excursions and we've done private tours (there are a number of taxi driver/guides who can give you a good tour)...Other ports--the smaller islands--can be different...where are you stopping?

Italy has strict laws on licensing for guides and most "guides" are not really licensed...they cannot give you a tour inside sights like the Vatican, Pompeii, etc., so, sometimes, depending on what you want to see, a shore excursion might be a more viable choice...We've done both shorexes and private tours there...

Good luck...
Hi Steve,

I was looking at the jtours site and it is a very good site. Did you use this tour company recently? I haven't been able to find reviews on them.

Thank you.


Christine
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01/04/2013 - Celebrity Constellation, Western Carribean *B2B*
27/09/2011 - Celebrity Silhouette, Holy Land
26/09/2010 - RCCL Liberty of the Seas, Western Carribean
28/09/2009 - Celebrity Solstice, Eastern Mediterranean
15/04/2007 - RCCL Mariner of the Seas, Eastern Carribean
#6
North Carolina
1,156 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
Christine,
Look up in the header banner. Click Ports, E. Med.
You will find editor reviews, and CC member port reviews, link to government tourism, etc. In short, everything you need to know about each Port of Call visited by cruise ships.
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Janet
Cunard Countess Caribbean Inaugural season 1976, Disney Magic Eastern Caribbean 1/01, Disney Magic Eastern Caribbean 1/02, Disney Wonder Bahamas 10/02, Norwegian Dawn Exotic Caribbean 3/03, Coral Princess Panama Canal 1/06, Celebrity Century Western Caribbean 2/07, HAL Zuiderdam Eastern Caribbean 12/07, Celebrity Solstice Eastern Caribbean Xmas 2008, Celebrity Century Western Caribbean 1/09, Celebrity Eclipse E&W Caribbean B2B 1/15 and 22/2011, Eclipse Western Caribbean 3/19/2011, Eclipse Eastern Caribbean 1/14/12, Celebrity Reflection 12/15/12, Celebrity Reflection 1/11/14, Celebrity Millenium 8/28/15 Alaska, Windstar Legend 1/7/17
#7
Calabasas, CA, USA
11,761 Posts
Joined Dec 2002
Originally posted by Summer1961
Hi Steve,
I was looking at the jtours site and it is a very good site. Did you use this tour company recently? I haven't been able to find reviews on them.
Thank you.
Christine
Christine,
We used them in the summer of 2009...
I originally contacted them after receiving two recomendations/referrals here in Cruise Critic.
It's a small company--one man--Joel Berman...
Joel is a little dry compared to some--very serious, but very knowledgable...His English is impeccable (born in South Africa)...he is prompt, organized...

From Ashdod, he picked us up promptly from the ship and took us directly to Yad Vashem...From there, we went to the Old City of Jerusalem and did a fairly comprehensive walking tour through all the quarters, visiting (among other sites, the Western Wall, David's Tomb, the Via Dolorosa, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, etc.)...Joel kept us going at a pretty good pace...Following the tour of the Old City, we did a "driving tour" therough the newer parts of the city and up to the view on the Mount of Olives before returning to the ship...

The next day, Joel again promptly met us at the ship in Haifa...We drove to Megodo (Great archaeological site--"Armageddon" and the inspiration for Michener's "The Source")...then to an historic Kibbutz...then to Caesarea--Herod's great Roman seaport...then back to Haifa for a short driving tour of the city and photos from the view point high atop the city then back to the ship...

In all, we had a very satisfying two days and Joel did an excellent job for us...
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Next:
12/22/17 RCCL Navigator OTS-S Caribbean 9 nt
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7/8/19 Celebrity Reflection British Isles 12 nt

HAL Maasdam 7 nt Canada 7/17*RCCL Jewel OTS 7 nt Greece 7/17*RCCL Jewel OTS 7 nt W Med 6/17*Ruby Princess 8 nt Mex Riviera 12/16*Celebrity Constellation 13 nt Iberia 7/16*Celebrity Silhouette 7 nt W. Carib 3/16*Star Princess 5 nt Cabo 11/15*Celebrity Xpedition 10 nt Galapagos/Quito 7/15*Celebrity Millennium 7 nt Alaska 6/15*Crown Princess 3 nt Baja 1/15*Golden Princess 3 nt Baja 11/14*Viking Emerald 17 nt China 6/14*RCCL Allure OTS 7 nt E. Carib 1/14*Golden Princess 3 nt Baja 11/13*Celebrity Silhouette 13 nt Adriatic 6/13*RCCL Mariner OTS 7 nt W. Carib 12/12*Celebrity Eclipse 14 nt Iceland/Norway 7/12*Celebrity Century 13 nt Australia/New Zealand 12/11-12*Oceania Marina 16 nt W. Europe 8/11*Carnival Paradise 3 nt Baja 2/11*RCCL Allure OTS 7 nt W. Carib 1/11*Celebrity Eclipse 14 nt Baltic 7/10*Celebrity Summit 7 nt S. Carib 3/10*RCCL Mariner OTS, 7 nt Mex Riviera 1/10*Oceania Nautica 14 nt Med/Egypt/Israel 6/09*RCCL Mariner OTS 1 nt Pre-Inaugural 2/09*Sapphire Princess 7 nt Mex Riviera 12/08-9*Celebrity Constellation 14 nt Baltic 7/08*RCCL Vision OTS 7 nt Mex Riviera 3/08*Carnival Liberty, 8 nt Panama 7/07*RCCL Liberty OTS 7 nt W. Caribbean 6/07*RCCL Monarch OTS 5 nt Baja 1/07*Oceania Nautica 14 nt Med 7/06*RCCL Monarch OTS 3 nt Baja 4/06*Celebrity Constellation 14 nt N. Europe 7/05*Celebrity Constellation 7 nt S. Carib 3/05*Celebrity Summit 13 nt Alaska Cruisetour 7/04*RCCL Monarch OTS 3 nt Baja 1/04*Celebrity Millennium 13 nt Med 8/03*RCCL Grandeur OTS 7 nt Mex Riviera 7/02*Crown Princess, 10 nt Baltic/Russia 8/01*Carnival Elation 7 nt Mex Riviera 8/00*RCCL Grandeur OTS 7 nt E. Carib 8/98*Carnival Jubilee 7 nt Mex Riviera 7/97*RCCL Viking Serenade 4 nt Baja 7/96*RCCL Viking Serenade 3 nt Baja 6/94*Norwegian Southward 3 nt Baja 12/89*Premier Big Red Boat Atlantic 7 nt Disney 3/89
#8
CANADA
231 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
I have sent him an email. His website requests advanced planning and we might be too late to plan for our upcoming Sept. 27th cruise, but its worth a try.

Thank you so much for your reply.

Christine
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01/04/2013 - Celebrity Constellation, Western Carribean *B2B*
27/09/2011 - Celebrity Silhouette, Holy Land
26/09/2010 - RCCL Liberty of the Seas, Western Carribean
28/09/2009 - Celebrity Solstice, Eastern Mediterranean
15/04/2007 - RCCL Mariner of the Seas, Eastern Carribean