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Mrs Machotspur and I are booked on Voyager from 26th Sept. 2019, from Athens to Rome.  The primary attraction of the itinerary was that it includes 3 days in Israel - Ashdod & Haifa - a country that we have yet to visit and one where a cruise visit seemed the most sensible method.

 

Things appear to be getting rather nasty out there again, particularly in and around Golan Heights - an area where Regent offer a range of tours, and Gaza (just 20 miles from the port of Ashdod). The UK Foreign Office are currently advising against any travel to these areas. 

 

We are therefore getting a bit concerned, both from a safety point, and the chances of the ports and or tours being pulled.

 

Has anybody experienced a Regent visit to Israel, when there are military troubles going on ? Also any experiences of ports or excursions in Israel being pulled - if so what rearrangements were made ?

 

Thank you !

 

 

 

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Yes - we have.  We were suppose to go to both Ashdod and Haifa but there were missiles being launched in Ashdod so that port was eliminated and we stayed in Haifa longer.  We were able to take the tours that we wanted but there were even farther away that normal (11 hour excursions).  Still, we had a great time.

 

We are booked to go back to the Middle East (including Israel) next year.  It is amazing how booked up it is (except for lower category suites).  Regent will not take you anywhere near where issues are occurring.  

 

If it is offered, I suggest going into Jerusalem and spending the night.  You can also do it on a private tour but I rather like having the security that the buses have (one of the few times that I prefer a bus to private transportation).

 

Enjoy your cruise!

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We were in Israel a couple of weeks ago with Regent.  All tours operated on schedule.  If you have never been there before, I recommend Guided Torus Israel.  You can find them on line.  I found the recommendation on cruise critic.  We did three days in Israel with them.  We booked our own hotel for the two nights.  Our guide was Hrud.  He was fantastic.  We never waited in line.  He knew all of the back entrances.  You can book with a credit card number as a guaranty.  You can cancel 24 hours before arrival.  If the ship does not make it in, they do not charge you.  We saw much more than the Regent tours.  We touched the Wailing Wall.  They only saw it.  At the Dead Sea we had black mud.  They only had silt.  Also lots of complaints about the changing facilities.  Ours were fantastic.  Can't say enough about how great our days in Israel were.  It was the highlight of our 131 day cruise.

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We did an RSSC cruise that included 3 days in Israel in 2012.  We did ships included tours and saw many sites both around the country and in Jerusalem.  We felt safe with the tours and this included the review of the bus by some type of military before we got into the port.  The day after we left there were some missile attacks.  We relied on RSSC to decide on the safety of the stops.

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Want to echo HotRoot 's recommendation.  Israel is one destination where you can really benefit from a private (or very small group) tour.  We had an overnight in Haifa last year (on Oceania), and had made arrangements in advance for a two day program.  We were able to cover a lot more territory than a group excursion, and you also have the benefit generally being able to avoid long lines.  We felt very safe with our guide, who was ex Israeli military.  The tour agency was Guided Tours Israel.  

 

If conditions are such that any cruise line deems a destination unsafe, they are certainly going to place passenger safety first and skip a port.  It happened to us on a different cruise last year where we were supposed to stop in Tunis.  I can understand your concerns, but situations can change between now and your cruise.  I hope you're able to visit Israel as planned.  It is an amazing, eye-opening experience.

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I would also recommend doing what HotRoot suggested above. Hire a private and do on your own, including overnight(s) from the boat. Personally I think Israel deserves 7-10 day.  (Me; Been there 4 times)

 

Safety question. Probably one of the safest countries in the world. Tourism is a top income producer and they know it. AFAIK no tourist has been injured in any kind of attack in 30 years. Far safer that being in France, Holland England or even the US.

 

J

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Hotroot, what was the contact info for your guide?

Thanks

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13 hours ago, merlot101 said:

Hotroot, what was the contact info for your guide?

Thanks

www.guidedtoursisrael.com

info@guidedtoursisrael.com

972=772-285-363

 

Our guide was Hrud.  You can request him.

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This topic is of great interest to me. We are also interested in cruising to Israel and in fact, have a reservation with another line but we will likely switch to Regent. Either way, I too have growing concern about the unrest in the area. The itinerary we are looking at also visits Turkey and other areas that are a little intense right now. 

 

Does anyone think it’s good to wait a couple years in the hope of settling down?

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Thank you for the information.  My husband is a little nervous about this stop, so we will wait and see.

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We had an experience similar to what Travelcat said on our first cruise with Regent. There was bombing going on around the Gaza Strip so stayed in Haifa but still did all the tours that we originally planned. Made for very long days but worth it. We stop in Isreal for one day this fall on our Barcelona to Dubai cruise.  Once again we are stopping at Haifa and have booked a long all day tour to Jerusalem.

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I would not wait two years.  After all, things in the Middle East change on almost a daily basis.  In fact, I just heard that things have settled down (as of yesterday).

 

One comment regarding Regent excursions vs. private excursions to Jerusalem ....... the TS indicated that the Regent tours did not get to "touch" the Wailing Wall.  While I have no reason to doubt the TS, our Regent tour gave us time at the Wall and we certainly could touch it.  The difference may be tour operators.  We found Regent excursions in Israel to be amongst the best we have had on Regent (and this is from a person who does not like included excursions).

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1 minute ago, Travelcat2 said:

I would not wait two years.  After all, things in the Middle East change on almost a daily basis.  In fact, I just heard that things have settled down (as of yesterday).

 

Thanks to everyone for the very interesting/useful personal experiences.

 

This comment from Travelcat2 is very sound, and exactly how we saw things when we made the decision to book this itinerary.

We met a couple of Israelis from Tel Aviv on a trip last year who laughed at us when we said we were concerned about safety, and advised that even when there was military action taking place tourists would be oblivious to it.  (OK - that's enough of trying to convince myself we've made the right decision !).

 

We will go with the flow and wait to see what happens very near to the time. As has been said one rarely hears of any harm coming to tourists in Israel, and one should surely feel even safer in the care of a cruise company tour. On this occasion though we wouldn't be up for taking a private tour of any kind. 

 

       

 

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Ironically, our first trip to Israel came about when Regent rerouted our cruise to Istanbul due to unrest.  I thought that maybe going to Israel instead of Turkey was kind of a 'out of the frying pan' thing but as it turned out we had no troubles whatsoever.  As TC said, things can change from day-to-day.  Our first trip to Istanbul occurred right after all of the riots near Taksim Square.  Our friends fell into two groups - those who said we were crazy to go to Istanbul and those who said we'd be okay in Istanbul as long as we gave Taksim Square a wide berth.  Guess where our hotel was?  Literally right on Taksim Square.  Again, zero troubles.

 

We're booked again next spring to not only Istanbul but Athens, Haifa, Ashdod, and Alexandria.  I'm just assuming that things will be cool by then, and if not, well, we'll see where the tides take us...

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Posted (edited)

My husband and I, our children and grandchildren traveled to Israel in August 2014. During the height of the Gaza war.  We traveled from tel aviv to haifa to Jerusalem and to Masada and the Dead Sea. We traveled with a private guide. 

When we returned after an wonderful, uneventful trip, the children created a photograph book. They titled it - What War?

Sheila and Herb

Edited by Bellaggio Cruisers

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I noticed it was mentioned with Regent that the Port of Ashdod was eliminated and more time was spent in Haifa. Haifa is less than a hundred miles from Ashdod. Does this make that much difference from a safety standopoint? 

 

On an Oceania with a similar itinerary this July with 8 and many are quite concerned!

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Posted (edited)

A hundred miles is a long way.  When we visited a kibbutz in Israel on the border of Syria, we questioned the safety of the people living there (they do have a huge bomb shelter).  We were told that there have not been issues in this area but 50 miles away was a different story.  

 

If, after reading this thread and newspapers from other countries - not just the U.S., and you are still concerned, simply don't go.  This is your choice and if you will be anxious or upset to be there, it likely isn't worth it.

 

Speaking for myself, if I didn't travel to places where there have been problems (including in the U.S.), there would be few places where we could visit.  We were 15 miles from Nice (for the Explorer christening) when a car (or truck) ran down and killed many people.  We had to go to Nice for our flight.  There was so much security that it was likely safer than it had been for years.

 

We will be in the Middle East in November, 2020.  The only thing that would stop us if Regent cancelled the port in Israel.  Regent knows a heck of a lot more about safety in the world than we do and they would not hesitate to change itineraries to keep their passengers, crew and ships safe.

Edited by Travelcat2

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We were in Israel in 2016 and although we docked in Haifa and not Ashdod, we traveled extensively there for about three days via a combination of Regent and private cruises.  We had one tour guide who suggested (jokingly?) that we could head up to the Syrian border with a picnic lunch and listen to the war.  We declined.  But in traveling from Acre to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, all around Galilee we never felt threatened or saw anything we'd consider sketchy.

 

It was a great trip and I can't wait to get back in 2020.

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We are doing the 2020 cruise as well.  Very intrigued with this thread.   We were in Israel on Voyager in 2016 and had an overnight in Haifa.  We took two Regent tours - one to Jerusalem and one to Tel Aviv and Jaffa.  We had originally planned to do two Jerusalem tours, one Jewish centric and the other Christian centric.   The day was VERY long for the Jewish centric tour but one of the best tours and guides we have ever had.   The trip to Tel Aviv and Jaffa was much shorter and very enjoyable as well.  

 

We are strongly considering private guides for this trip.   I’m intrigued with visiting the Dead Sea and Masada but that is another very long day.  

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We have been to Israel once with Regent and are scheduled again in 2020.  Not concerned about the recent unrest as the trip is over a year away. 

I sort of liken the missiles being fired in Israel to our tornados in Oklahoma.  Yes, you could get killed or injured by one, but the odds are really very small.  And I don't want to miss Israel because of something that might happen.

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1 hour ago, RachelG said:

We have been to Israel once with Regent and are scheduled again in 2020.  Not concerned about the recent unrest as the trip is over a year away. 

I sort of liken the missiles being fired in Israel to our tornados in Oklahoma.  Yes, you could get killed or injured by one, but the odds are really very small.  And I don't want to miss Israel because of something that might happen.

 

Which cruise are you doing that stops in Israel?  We are on the Barcelona to Dubai itinerary in November, 2020.

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We are doing Rome to Barcelona on Splendor in June 2020

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3 hours ago, forgap said:

We are doing the 2020 cruise as well.  Very intrigued with this thread.   We were in Israel on Voyager in 2016 and had an overnight in Haifa.  We took two Regent tours - one to Jerusalem and one to Tel Aviv and Jaffa.  We had originally planned to do two Jerusalem tours, one Jewish centric and the other Christian centric.   The day was VERY long for the Jewish centric tour but one of the best tours and guides we have ever had.   The trip to Tel Aviv and Jaffa was much shorter and very enjoyable as well.  

 

We are strongly considering private guides for this trip.   I’m intrigued with visiting the Dead Sea and Masada but that is another very long day.  

On our Regent cruise that had a 3 day stop in Israel, a few years ago, one of the days we did the Dead Sea and Masada tour and it was very long. Masada was a fascinating place and the highlight for me. My biggest complaint on that tour was we stopped for lunch after 3 pm (after a 7 am start) and by then i was almost sick to my stomach and had totally lost my appetite. It was the last time i took a long tour with anyone where i didn't have plenty of snacks  with me.  I had brought some things to nibble on but nothing that could replace lunch at a reasonable time after walking all other the top of Masada. It was still worth it to me. 

 

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Would love to do Masada but the excursion is simply too long. May check out private excursions.

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On 5/8/2019 at 4:07 PM, 1982CruzStart said:

On our Regent cruise that had a 3 day stop in Israel, a few years ago, one of the days we did the Dead Sea and Masada tour and it was very long. Masada was a fascinating place and the highlight for me. My biggest complaint on that tour was we stopped for lunch after 3 pm (after a 7 am start) and by then i was almost sick to my stomach and had totally lost my appetite. It was the last time i took a long tour with anyone where i didn't have plenty of snacks  with me.  I had brought some things to nibble on but nothing that could replace lunch at a reasonable time after walking all other the top of Masada. It was still worth it to me. 

 

 

Hmm, I'll have to look carefully at any trips we take in 2021.  The Overland trip we're currently booked on goes to Masada in the morning and then takes us to lunch before going on to a Dead Sea visit for a swim, then on to Jerusalem.  This seems like a good schedule since that day is Saturday so there won't be a lot going on in Jerusalem I guess.

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