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Ashdod to Jerusalem On Your Own?


meliss35
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We will be on a Norwegian cruise that stops at Ashdod from 6am to 11pm next April. 2022 Is it safe to go on your own to Jerusalem for the day? Or do you recommend a tour? We are booked on a tour but if they don't have enough people then it won't go. If it is safe to walk around Jerusalem, what is the best way to get to Jerusalem from Ashdod?

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This info is pre-pandemic, try to get confirmation.

 

A pre-booked tour or transfer is by far your best bet.

But if that (ship-sponsored ?) tour is cancelled at short notice due to insufficient numbers, take the port shuttle to the port gate, where you'll find taxis. There will be a limited nuber of taxis, so be amongst the first off the ship in order to snag one. I don't recall the cost - and if I did  it's almost-certainly out-of-date. It'won't break the bank, but will be cheaper if you find sharers.

Ashdod to Jerusalem's walled-city is about 75 minutes by taxi, ask to be dropped at the Jaffa Gate (it's near the Tower of David). Probably best to book the driver to collect you at a pre-determined time for the return journey, but there are passing taxis at the Jaffa Gate & elsewhere just outside the walls. 

Just outside the Jaffa Gate you can pick up a free (just tip the guide) walking tour of the walled city. It covers all the main sights. IIRC there's one at 11.00 am. They also offer (payable) private tours. 

https://www.neweuropetours.eu/sandemans-tours/jerusalem/free-tour-of-jerusalem/

Currently not operating due to the you-know-what virus, but hopefully back before next April.

If you can fix up that - or another - tour, should you arrive early don't be tempted to explore too far on your own - it's a maze of shops & stalls & alleyways, and extremely easy to get lost.

 

I don't think there's any train service between Ashdod & Jerusalem, and service buses might not be suitable although you do have a late departure time. 

 

Israel, and especially Jerusalem, is safe most of the time but goes thro periods of turbulence. Unfortunately its not possible to predict turbulence, so any changes are likely to be at very short notice.

The main concern is whether for safety reasons the ship will skip the port if/when there's unrest.

If it ports in Ashdod you can feel tolerably safe.

If it skips Ashdod it might instead port in Haifa, in the north of the country. Haifa, and the north generally, is nowhere near as volatile as Jerusalem. There's plenty to see from Haifa, such as Nazareth, River Jordan baptisms, & Sea of Galilee, and the crusader fort at Akka (Acre). Jerusalem is possible from Haifa but for reasons of timing as much as safety I suggest only by ship's excursion.

 

Hopefully  Cruise Critic's resident expert, Happy Trailer, will chip in with better information

 

JB 🙂

 

 

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9 hours ago, meliss35 said:

Thanks for the info!! So you don't think it is a good idea to walk around on our own either before or after this free tour or a private tour?

 

 

No, not a big problem - in fact if time isn't pressing, getting lost in the walled city can be fun..😏

 

But alleyways are narrow, with multiple twists & turns & junctions. And the wares of stalls hung on the walls make one alleyway look like any other 🙃.  So on your own you'll need to ask for directions every few hundred feet - and you won't want to be late for your tour. 

By the same token, make sure you don't get separated from your guide.

 

This is all about within the walls of the old city - elsewhere seems much like many other cities.

 

JB 🙂

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So after this tour, its not a problem to walk around the old city? The ship doesn't leave till 11pm so we would totally be back way before the ship leaves. It also gets in at 6am. When you say to go outside to catch a taxi that is limited, do you mean as soon as we dock like 6am? If so we will be there way before this 11am tour. 

 

Do you recommend a tour besides this free tour that will pick us up at the ship in Ashdod? 

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On 11/5/2021 at 4:55 PM, meliss35 said:

So after this tour, its not a problem to walk around the old city? The ship doesn't leave till 11pm so we would totally be back way before the ship leaves. It also gets in at 6am. When you say to go outside to catch a taxi that is limited, do you mean as soon as we dock like 6am? If so we will be there way before this 11am tour. 

 

Do you recommend a tour besides this free tour that will pick us up at the ship in Ashdod? 

 

Correct - after this (or any other) tour its not likely that you'll be pressed for time. 

BTW, the last stop on our free walking tour was the Church of the Holy Sepulchre - the tour didn't go inside, so we memorised as best we could the way back to it from the start/finish point of the tour. And its well worth going inside ! !  If you take that tour - and the itinerary is the same -  consider tipping the guide when you get to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre & leave the tour at that point.

 

Unless things have changed since we were last there ......;

Forget ship's arrival time - it won't be cleared for disembarkation until about 8am, and you cannot walk out of the port - everyone not on a ship's excursion has to take a port shuttle to the dock gate, where taxis will be waiting.

So aim to be on the first shuttlebus.

A line to get off the ship will very probably form (30 - 60 minutes?) before the ship is cleared for disembarkation.

A few days before getting to Ashdod, stop off at guest relations to check the format -  immigration / passport arrangements, Covid vax cert. or test requirements, approx disembarkation time,  transfer to port gate etc. These things do change and our experience is unlikely to be up-to-date on all matters.

 

Sorry, can't help with other tour suggestions, whether starting in Ashdod or on arrival in Jerusalem.

Check ship's options - a simple "Jerusalem on your own" transfer if offered would be less risky than winging it. Or a complete excursion of Jerusalem or even Jerusalem plus Bethlehem.  Because of your late departure, Jerusalem plus Bethlehem would work - but you can't do that on the fly with a taxi because  Bethlehem is Palestinian-controlled and only authorised vehicles can enter.

Check your cruise RollCall, you might find folk looking for sharers. And post on there as well, if only to say hi to your up-coming shipmates. 

Ask Google  for "Jerusalem tours from Ashdod" But be aware that some first-page adverts will be by tour consolidators like Viator and cruisingexcursions - they're not tour operators, they sell tours on behalf of tour operators, and its generally better to deal direct with tour operators.

 

Happy sailings

 

JB 🙂

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