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Any hints, comments etc on excursions to Israel, Turkey, Greece, Italy???:o

 

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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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

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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...

Edited by Bruin Steve

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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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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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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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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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