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Cruise Critic member in Israel, happy to answer questions


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Hi Ruth,

 

I'm going to be stopping in Haifa and Ashdod on a May cruise. If I just wanted to explore these port towns, what do you recommend for must-see activities? Also, are these walking cities, or would I need to hire a taxi or take a bus to get around? Thanks!

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We are doing the exact trip as the OP..I have a hotel in Jerusalem and am wondering if how much a taxi from Asdod and return to Haifa would be..we are perfectly capable of sightseeing on our own with the list I have from another board..or does someone have a very inexpensive guide for the 2 days..

Thanks,

Jancruz1

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Just wanted to mention that in a couple of weeks I'll be leaving on a 2 month trip :), so if you have any simmering questions, ask them now!

 

I'll check in here every couple of days until March 15; then not again until the end of May.

 

Enjoy your days, and your travels!

 

 

Hi all,

 

Just checking in for a few moments; sorry- no time to answer questions right now. Please keep in mind that I'm on the road for a couple of months :). I'll be happy to answer q's when I return home at the end of May.

 

Happy travels!

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  • 1 month later...
Hi everyone,

 

I wanted to introduce myself and let you know I'd be happy to answer questions you have about Israel and visiting Israel. (I'm not a travel agent nor am I associated with any agent, I'm just a smiling resident happy to help out.)

 

I moved to Israel from New Jersey almost 10 years ago, and live in a Jerusalem suburb. [i'm about to take my first cruise- to the Mexican Riviera :-).]

 

I'll try to check this board a couple of times a week, and while I'm sure I don't have the answers to all your questions, I'll be happy to answer those I can.

 

Israel is a beautiful country, and I'm sure you're going to love every moment of it!

 

[That's a pic of my town in my signature- we live in the Jerusalem hills.]

 

 

Hi,

We will be in Ashdod and Haifa in November and are looking to rent cars in both cities. The problem we are having is that all car rental agencies that I can find close at 6pm and we need the car until 8:30. Do you have any ideas? To give you history, my entire family is Israeli and I speak fluent americanized Hebrew, and have been to Israel many times, so getting around will not be a problem.

 

Thanks for your help in advance.

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Hi Ruth,

 

I'm going to be stopping in Haifa and Ashdod on a May cruise. If I just wanted to explore these port towns, what do you recommend for must-see activities? Also, are these walking cities, or would I need to hire a taxi or take a bus to get around? Thanks!

 

As far as I know, there's not all that much to see or do in Ashdod, though the only part of Ashdod I've been to is the beach across from a shopping mall. The beach was lovely, the mall small and pleasant (and, btw, a great place to get Israeli food- such as falafel and shwarma) but, I haven't been there in a few years....

 

Haifa is another story altogether- it's a nice sized city built on hills (it's often called the Middle East 'San Francisco'). You should definitely plan on seeing the Bahai Gardens, and there's a lovely promenade high on the hilltop. I also haven't been to Haifa in a while, but if the 'Carmalit' is still running- it's sort of a subway that runs uphill, inside the mountain- it's a great way to get around, and a fun experience. Haifa also has lots of beaches, and some great museums, too, as well as a neighborhood of Templar homes. I always got around by bus and Carmelit, but taxis in Israel aren't terribly expensive.

 

Yikes! I just realized that you said you would be in Israel in May- have you come and gone already??!! If so, what did you wind up doing?

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We are doing the exact trip as the OP..I have a hotel in Jerusalem and am wondering if how much a taxi from Asdod and return to Haifa would be..we are perfectly capable of sightseeing on our own with the list I have from another board..or does someone have a very inexpensive guide for the 2 days..

Thanks,

Jancruz1

 

 

Hi,

 

Sorry, but I have absolutely no idea how much the taxi fare for your trips would be! There may be sherut (shared van) service from Ashdod to Jerusalem, and from Jerusalem to Haifa (I think that's what you are looking for, yes?), but again, I don't know the cost. I do know that the cost for a sherut from Jerusalem to Ben Gurion airport (near Tel Aviv) is 50-60 shekels (about $15). [From the airport, you can get a sherut to Haifa.] Your hotel in Jerusalem might have more information, and also be able to make the arrangements. (A cab ride from Jerusalem to the airport is about 200 shekels, btw.)

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Hi,

We will be in Ashdod and Haifa in November and are looking to rent cars in both cities. The problem we are having is that all car rental agencies that I can find close at 6pm and we need the car until 8:30. Do you have any ideas? To give you history, my entire family is Israeli and I speak fluent americanized Hebrew, and have been to Israel many times, so getting around will not be a problem.

 

Thanks for your help in advance.

 

You might want to see if the car rental agencies would let you drop off the car after regular hours. Sometimes they have a drop box for the keys. Or, you might try a smaller, local agency- I've heard they are usually more flexible. {Sorry, but I don't have the names of any of the smaller rental agencies, but you might try finding one online, or by posting to one of the Anglo listservs in Israel (you can find them with a Google search.}

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You might want to see if the car rental agencies would let you drop off the car after regular hours. Sometimes they have a drop box for the keys. Or, you might try a smaller, local agency- I've heard they are usually more flexible. {Sorry, but I don't have the names of any of the smaller rental agencies, but you might try finding one online, or by posting to one of the Anglo listservs in Israel (you can find them with a Google search.}

 

Thanks we have tried that, I tried Tamir, Shlomo, Eldan and a couple of others. None of them allow after hours drop offs. I think in Ashdod, we are going to rent a car at 8am and drive to the dead sea, float for a bit and then head over to Jerusalem. We will have about 4 hours to see as much of the Old City as we can and then head back to the ship.

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I think in Ashdod, we are going to rent a car at 8am and drive to the dead sea, float for a bit and then head over to Jerusalem. We will have about 4 hours to see as much of the Old City as we can and then head back to the ship.

 

Sounds like a good plan to me!

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Welcome back Ruth! I hope you had a great trip.

 

 

Thanks, Jan- it was terrific! Paris, NY, Los Angeles, the Mexican Riviera cruise, hiking north of San Francisco...and I got to spend loads of time with my grandchildren :)

 

I'm already planning my fall trip :D

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Rutherford NJ Here!

 

We're on the Equinox coming to Haifa on August 25th, out of Ashdod on the 26th. I'm looking at a private tour / driver to get us around. Is this what you'd recommend? Here is the itinerary:

 

Driving from Haifa you will go first to Nazareth where you will visit the Church of the Annunciation and from here you'll go to Cana where you will visit the Wedding Church. After seeing Cana, you will head next to the Mt. of Beatitudes and Capernaum. You'll visit the Baptismal Site on the Jordan River and go from there through the Jordan Valley, passing by Jericho on the way to Jerusalem. Once in Israel's beautiful capitol city you will drive to one of the panoramic viewpoints (either Mt. of Olives or Mt. Scopus) and then you'll head to your hotel where you'll check in and spend the night. After a good night's sleep, you will check out of your hotel and begin your second full day tour, beginning with a tour of the Old City of Jerusalem beginning with Mt. Zion, then on to the Jewish Quarter (the Cardo, the Western Wall), the Christian Quarter (the Via Dolorosa and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre), the Arab Quarter (with its terrific markets) and Jaffa Gate. Then you'll go on a driving sightseeing tour of the modern western side of the city, seeing during this part of your tour Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum; then you'll head out of Jerusalem and drive on to Ashdod.

This is a pricey 1300 USD! Is there a better value or group out there? This is avitours. Thanks so much -

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Rutherford NJ Here!

 

We're on the Equinox coming to Haifa on August 25th, out of Ashdod on the 26th. I'm looking at a private tour / driver to get us around. Is this what you'd recommend? Here is the itinerary:

Driving from Haifa you will go first to Nazareth where you will visit the Church of the Annunciation and from here you'll go to Cana where you will visit the Wedding Church. After seeing Cana, you will head next to the Mt. of Beatitudes and Capernaum. You'll visit the Baptismal Site on the Jordan River and go from there through the Jordan Valley, passing by Jericho on the way to Jerusalem. Once in Israel's beautiful capitol city you will drive to one of the panoramic viewpoints (either Mt. of Olives or Mt. Scopus) and then you'll head to your hotel where you'll check in and spend the night. After a good night's sleep, you will check out of your hotel and begin your second full day tour, beginning with a tour of the Old City of Jerusalem beginning with Mt. Zion, then on to the Jewish Quarter (the Cardo, the Western Wall), the Christian Quarter (the Via Dolorosa and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre), the Arab Quarter (with its terrific markets) and Jaffa Gate. Then you'll go on a driving sightseeing tour of the modern western side of the city, seeing during this part of your tour Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum; then you'll head out of Jerusalem and drive on to Ashdod.

This is a pricey 1300 USD! Is there a better value or group out there? This is avitours. Thanks so much -

 

Hi!

 

The itinerary of your tour sounds great to me. As to the cost, I really don't have an idea of what guides are charging. How many people are you booking the tour for? Do you need more than one hotel room? Do you know the name of the hotel where you'll staying overnight in Jerusalem? Is the cost of the hotel included in the price? [if it is, you can easily find what the rates are for that hotel for the night.]

 

I know there are a couple of threads on tour guides in Israel; I think you'll find someone there who can tell you if the price you've been quoted is reasonable.

 

Sorry I couldn't be more helpful! But, please don't hesitate to ask me more questions- I'm happy to help (whenever I can).

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Just thought I'd mention-

 

If you're going to be traveling from Jerusalem to Ashdod, you'll be traveling right past the town where I live.

 

I live in Mevaseret Zion, which is the first town outside Jerusalem. You'll see it on your right, after the first few turns as you leave the city. You'll see red-roofed homes cascading down a green mountainside (although the first glimpse will be of our newest neighborhood, which is more densly built).

 

[The first town you see on the right as you leave Jerusalem is actually part of Jerusalem itself. It's called Ramot, and spreads across several hilltops. Then you'll see a Palestinian town, and then, around the next bend, Mevaseret comes into view.]

 

That's a photo of my town in my signature, and you can read about it here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mevaseret_Zion

 

Quick note: the article refers to Mevaseret as a 'settlement'- that seems to be the term the article uses for 'town'.

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I just booked a last-minute cruise out of Ashdod on a VERY small cruise line.

4 nights to Rhodes, Cyprus, and Turkey. :D

 

Turns out there are 2 small cruise lines which are based in Israel; one sails out of Haifa, and the other Ashdod. They use large refurbished ferries, and the one in Haifa also just started sailing a small liner from the 70s.

 

I leave this Sunday (June 7) and return Thursday, so will be offline from Saturday night until a day or two after I get back home.

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I will be on the Royal Princess late August and was wondering how far it is from Jerusalem to Bethlehem and is it worth it to go to Bethlehem or use the extra time in Jerusalem. Both options are shore excersions.

thank you.

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I will be on the Royal Princess late August and was wondering how far it is from Jerusalem to Bethlehem and is it worth it to go to Bethlehem or use the extra time in Jerusalem. Both options are shore excersions.

thank you.

 

 

Bethlehem is right outside of Jerusalem, as short as a five minute drive, depending on your approach.

 

I'd say the choice of whether or not to visit Bethlehem depends on how important it is to you to see it. If you are a devout Christian, wanting to visit the holy sites, then you might want to include it in your plans.

 

(Bethlehem is another place I haven't been to in about 40 years, so I'm not sure how much time you would need to spend there, or how much there is to see.)

 

BTW- I took a quick look at the excursion options for your cruise, and a

couple of the excursions don't seem to go through the modern city of Jerusalem at all- they limit the day to the Old City. That's a shame, because modern Jerusalem is a great city, with plenty to see and experience!

 

HTH!

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My dh is from Ireland and would like to go to Bethlehem, I am Irish American(also Cathlolic) and History was my major, so that is my focus. Although i would like to see the new city, would i have time? I am starting to look for independent tours. thank you.

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My dh is from Ireland and would like to go to Bethlehem, I am Irish American(also Cathlolic) and History was my major, so that is my focus. Although i would like to see the new city, would i have time? I am starting to look for independent tours. thank you.

 

There's absolutely enough time to do both old and new Jerusalem, and also Bethlehem, though of course you might not be able to see everything in a great deal of depth.

 

Even if you just get a chance to drive thru the new city, and make one or two stops, it's worthwhile. The juxtaposition of the old city and the new is one of my favorite things about Jerusalem, and it's especially relevant if you're a student of fairly modern history (from the mid- 1800's on).

 

BTW- are you planning to take a tour of the Galilee from Haifa? It's just about the prettiest area in Israel, and it's filled with historical and Christian sites.

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Hi Ruth

I was also born in Paterson NJ and lived there until I was five. Then I moved to East Paterson and grew up there. Anyway, my DH and I are on a cruise stopping in Haifa and Ashod in October. I would love to see Massada, the Dead Sea as well as Jeusalem. It seems that it is too far to go to Massada and the Dead Sea from Haifa and the overnight tours are very expensive. Would we be able to go to Massada and the Dead Sea from Ashod and do Jerusalem from Haifa? Would we have enough time to do justice to Jerusalem if we have to travel three hours each way? Any suggestions? Thanks!

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Hi Ruth

I was also born in Paterson NJ and lived there until I was five. Then I moved to East Paterson and grew up there. Anyway, my DH and I are on a cruise stopping in Haifa and Ashod in October. I would love to see Massada, the Dead Sea as well as Jeusalem. It seems that it is too far to go to Massada and the Dead Sea from Haifa and the overnight tours are very expensive. Would we be able to go to Massada and the Dead Sea from Ashod and do Jerusalem from Haifa? Would we have enough time to do justice to Jerusalem if we have to travel three hours each way? Any suggestions? Thanks!

 

 

Wow- a real 'landsman'! Hi :)

 

My recommendation would be to book a private overnight tour (or a do it yourself tour with an overnight in Jerusalem)- I know that some have done that, and I think there is a thread on tour guides in Israel (and I think it might have been discussed on bit on this thread, too).

 

You can certainly go to Masada and the Dead Sea from Ashdod, but personally I feel that touring Jerusalem from Haifa is really not a great idea.

 

However, there is someone on these boards who has done that, and he seems to be pleasantly eager to share his experiences. You can find his posting on this thread:

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=996187

 

HTH!

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