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14-Day Mediterranean & Israel - excursion question


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We are considering 2021 or 2022 on the Island Princess.  October.


My question is concerning the following excursion

Jerusalem, Bethlehem & Galilee Overland - Double Accommodation

23.5 hours | Jerusalem/Bethlehem (Ashdod) | AS1-800


I would like to hear from those who have done this overnight excursion - pros and cons.  And would like to hear from those who did single day excursions thru the cruieline in the holy land also.


Jerusalem and Bethlehem are the main reasons why we are considering this cruise.  Anybody have any thoughts on this?

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  • 3 months later...

I would recommend using Guided Tours Israel. It is cheaper, more intimate, and can be customized. I did a three days of shore excursions with them in Dec 2019. It was far superior than any ship excursion.  We also got to see more. 

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The ship excursions that include overnights are extremely expensive. I couldn't believe the cost when I sailed on HAL some years back. Just the one excursion was almost as much as the base cost for my entire cruise!


There are good and reliable private operators in Israel. They will work with you to design whatever itinerary you like OR they also often offer a number of pre-set small group tours that can be a good deal if they match up with your interests. I would certainly look into those.


I did private tours both times I visited Israel by cruise ship, primarily due to specific things I wanted to see. I had a wonderful experience and was actually able to see and do more than most ship tours and STILL be back to the ship ahead of them most days. From those on the tour I heard some comments afterwards that times weren't always adhered to and there was some rush at the end so that they were unhappy about the amount of time they were able to spend in Jerusalem (which on that particular tour was the last stop).



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7 hours ago, phabric said:

Do you remember any names for the companies you used?


I worked through a local guide that I first identified on TripAdvisor, but he was also fairly popular on CC at that time (I think there were more cruises going to Israel for a while... just before the Arab spring started). He listened to what my interests were and actually arranged for a guide for me whose interests and experiences matched up very closely to what I was interested in -- he was an expert on Roman archaeology in Israel. It was one of the best private tours I ever did, and I even hired the same guide again when I returned to Israel.


The guide who arranged things posts as Moti B on TripAdvisor and seems to still be active there. He also (Moti, not the guide I had) guided a private tour that my sister and BIL arranged on their visit and they were very happy with him.



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