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Cruise Critic member in Israel, happy to answer questions


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  • 3 months later...

I have moved my cancelled April 2020 Dubai to Venice cruise to April 2021.  I thought the hardest part was going to be respecting Ramadan, but the itinerary has us in Haifa on a Friday/Saturday  so public transport is going to be challenging to visit Jerusalem.  There is only me, so private taxi back to port on Saturday is pricey, and the local shared vans go to Tel Aviv then Haifa and wait until full - so a little risky.

At present, there is no ship tour to Jerusalem listed, though something might come up on the Roll Call, but as it is MSC, the roll call was pretty small for 2020's sailing.

I could live without Jerusalem, but with 2 days in port, it seems such a loss to not try to take advantage of the time.

I may just visit Haifa and arrange a bird guide for Saturday for the day, but open to suggestions or alternative.

Thanks.

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1 hour ago, bennybear said:

Just wondering how doable a trip to Masada is from either Haifa or Ashdod?  

I have been to Israel in 1985 and flew into Tel Aviv, then took land transport to Jerusalem.  That wasn't too bad.

However, Masada is a good distance farther South of Jerusalem.  I suspect that it might be difficult to do Masada from a cruise port.

 

Gate 1 has some great tours of Israel.  Check them out.

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2 hours ago, 4774Papa said:

I have been to Israel in 1985 and flew into Tel Aviv, then took land transport to Jerusalem.  That wasn't too bad.

However, Masada is a good distance farther South of Jerusalem.  I suspect that it might be difficult to do Masada from a cruise port.

 

Gate 1 has some great tours of Israel.  Check them out.

Masada is a lot closer to Ashdod than to Haifa. Transportation would be the issue.

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14 hours ago, mef_57 said:

I have moved my cancelled April 2020 Dubai to Venice cruise to April 2021.  I thought the hardest part was going to be respecting Ramadan, but the itinerary has us in Haifa on a Friday/Saturday  so public transport is going to be challenging to visit Jerusalem.  There is only me, so private taxi back to port on Saturday is pricey, and the local shared vans go to Tel Aviv then Haifa and wait until full - so a little risky.

At present, there is no ship tour to Jerusalem listed, though something might come up on the Roll Call, but as it is MSC, the roll call was pretty small for 2020's sailing.

I could live without Jerusalem, but with 2 days in port, it seems such a loss to not try to take advantage of the time.

I may just visit Haifa and arrange a bird guide for Saturday for the day, but open to suggestions or alternative.

Thanks.

That's a tough one, mef_57. The first thought that came to my mind is renting a car, but I don't know if any rental car offices in Haifa are open on Saturdays. Maybe, just maybe, you could take the train to Ben-Gurion Airport on Friday, rent the car from and return it there, and then take a shared taxi from the airport back to Haifa on Saturday.
All in all, it might be easier and might not cost that much more to hire a guide/private/small group tour. Or, you might want to "nag" MSC into offering a tour to Jerusalem.

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11 hours ago, bennybear said:

Just wondering how doable a trip to Masada is from either Haifa or Ashdod?  

In one day, from either port would be difficult using public transportation; maybe renting a car would work. Over two days, depending on the ship's docking/departing schedule, you could look into Masada tours offered by, for example, Abraham Hostels/Tours or Egged Tours.
If trying to do it in one day, you would likely be at Masada in the middle of the day. There is very little shade on top of the mountain. During the summer, it could be uncomfortably hot for you. While there is a visitors center on the east side of the site - which could take longer to get to/from - sometimes they do close the trails and maybe the top of the mountain due to heat.

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8 hours ago, jlajr said:

That's a tough one, mef_57. The first thought that came to my mind is renting a car, but I don't know if any rental car offices in Haifa are open on Saturdays. Maybe, just maybe, you could take the train to Ben-Gurion Airport on Friday, rent the car from and return it there, and then take a shared taxi from the airport back to Haifa on Saturday.
All in all, it might be easier and might not cost that much more to hire a guide/private/small group tour. Or, you might want to "nag" MSC into offering a tour to Jerusalem.

As mentioned, other than the airport, rental car offices are closed Saturdays; but heading to the airport to rent one is an option.  It still is time consuming and given I need to wait for the shared taxi to be full before it leaves, that is a little more nerve wracking to catch a ship. 

MSC is not known for its North American customer service, or websites, but it seems during covid they focused on it and now the Canadian site actually looks efficient for a change.  Numerous tours listed; but it may not be complete.  I would be surprised if they never added Jerusalem.  

I think I just need patience, but I thought I would reach out to see if anyone had private driver recommendations, or some option I hadn't heard about.

Thanks.

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