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Hi does anyone have any guide in Israel to recommend? I know about avitours (and have contacted them) but would like to contact other recommended guides to get their views as well. Has anyone used www.tel-tours.co.il?

 

I've also posted this on the africa/middle east boards but decided to post here also in hope for a response.

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I sent him several e-mails and he never responded

 

Hi does anyone have any guide in Israel to recommend? I know about avitours (and have contacted them) but would like to contact other recommended guides to get their views as well. Has anyone used www.tel-tours.co.il?

 

I've also posted this on the africa/middle east boards but decided to post here also in hope for a response.

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We did Jerusalem tour from Ashdod with Avishai Levy. It was a lot of fun. For every place he has his very special story. His sense of humour is unforgettable.

the e-mail on his business card is avishai.levi@gmail.com

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We were in Haifa and Ashdod last September on the Azamara Journey. Six of us grouped together to hire Joel Berman as a private guide for both days. Very professional and knowledgeable, best guide I've had in a long time.

 

He is very flexible and willingly customizes his tours to meet client's expectations.

 

Link to his website:

 

http://www.jtours.co.il/

 

It usually takes him a day or two to respond to emails, but he does respond.

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greeneg........we are doing the same cruise on the Azamara Journey in October. Can you tell me a little about your tour and the cost? Did you do day tours or an overnighter?

 

Thanks, Carol

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We did Jerusalem tour from Ashdod with Avishai Levy. It was a lot of fun. For every place he has his very special story. His sense of humour is unforgettable.

the e-mail on his business card is avishai.levi@gmail.com

 

Zoomeer,

Was wondering how you found this guide. Is his English good? Is he very knowledgeable Vehicle air conditioned? Did you do an overnight and if so what was the charge for his hotel?

Can he accommodate 6 passengers.

Thanks for any advice.

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Hi Zoomeer-

My wife and I are on the Celebrity Equinox at the end of August and will be in Haifa/Ashdod over two days. We saw your posting on Avi Levy but we never saw his name pop up anywhere else. I did email him yesterday and received a prompt reply. His English is good and I liked what he said. However, I emailed him back with more questions about his background and experience and the vehicle he uses, etc. I see EDEN is asking about him, too. I would really like to hear a bit more from you if you don't mind since he appears to be an independent operator but you are happy with him. Originally, I thought he was the Avi in Avitours which is a larger operator that also comes highly recommended. There are a lot of Avi's in Israel.

If you want to email me directly, my address is stanbu@gmail.com

I'd really appreciate your help.

Stan

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Hi Folks, please keep the thread going on this topic. Wifey and I are looking at booking a small group tour in both ports and hopefully getting some more of our 19OCT09 Vision of the Seas shipmates to join in with us. We've had incredible experiences on private tours all over the world and we lend most of the credit to CruiseCritic amigos who have shared their experiences and recommendations.

 

I'd like to read some more in-depth narratives on what those of you who have already completed private tours, out of Haifa / Ashdod, have experienced. Your stories are extremely valuable to us and carry a lot of weight in our decision making.

 

Thanks!

Kyle

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greeneg........we are doing the same cruise on the Azamara Journey in October. Can you tell me a little about your tour and the cost? Did you do day tours or an overnighter?

 

Thanks, Carol

 

Hey Carol, we're on RCI Vision in October. Please share any success you have in arranging your tours and I'll do the same ok?

 

We used to live in PA, State College / DuBois. Which part of the "Commonwealth" are you in? :)

 

Cheers!

Kyle

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We were in Haifa and Ashdod last September on the Azamara Journey. Six of us grouped together to hire Joel Berman...

 

Thanks Ed. What all did did you see on the tour? I realize it's all custom but some ideas from those who have already been there, done it, is great!

 

Kyle

Tampa Bay

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Just an FYI for those heading to Israel. DO NOT allow the Israelis to stamp your passport. Often, they volunteer to stamp a card which you return when you leave Israel. But if they do not volunteer, please ask. They will do it with no hesitation.

 

There are countries in the world that will not allow entry or a visa with the Israeli stamp in your passport. Most are in the Middle East, but Indonesia has been known to deny entry.

 

And with all the new cruises that are Middle East itineraries-Crystal is spending 13 days in the Middle East, RCCL and Costa are both doing Middle East cruises-it would be prudent NOT to have the Israeli stamp in your passport. Just an FYI.

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Thanks Greatam. That is important as I know someone who flew into Tel Aviv and the Israeli Customs Officer stamped his US Passport. He had some pending trips to Dubai, Malaysia, Indonesia, and other destinations and had to get a new passport for travel to some of those countries.

 

As our itinerary, on RCI Vision, has us in Israel and then Egypt and Turkey, I imagine this has already been thought out by RCI but it's good to keep aware on what's being stamped where. It's very possible that an Israeli official will come onboard while we are in Cyptus, while the ship has our passports collected, and will inspect and stamp each with a card. I know Turkey and Israeli have diplomatic relations and Egypt and Israel do as well, wlbeit on a more restrictive level.

 

Last year, an Egyptian Customes Officer boarded our ship in Mykonos and stamped all of our passports prior to our arrival in Alexandria. That has me thinking, I better check to make sure the Israelis are fine with my passport with the Egyptian Visa stamped in it. Better check on that.

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When you are going on the Journey. We are leaving October 11, 2009. If you are on this cruise, have you booked any tours yet?

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We were in Haifa and Ashdod last September on the Azamara Journey. Six of us grouped together to hire Joel Berman as a private guide for both days. Very professional and knowledgeable, best guide I've had in a long time.

 

He is very flexible and willingly customizes his tours to meet client's expectations.

 

QUOTE]

 

 

We have booked Joel Berman for the same ports this October, based upon recommendations from this board. Might I ask which of his tours you took from Haifa, and what you thought about the itinerary? We know that we are taking the Jerusalem tour from Ashdod, but we can't decide which of the Haifa tours to take. Any help you can provide would be appreciated.

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I have been reading that Israeli guides and Israeli's can't go into any Palestinian Authority areas (ie Bethleham), and that they will turn you over to a Palestinian guide at the borders. Are ship exursions able to avoid this better than local guides?

Do the private tour companies advise you of this when booking? Has anyone had this experiance?

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Thanks Ed. What all did did you see on the tour? I realize it's all custom but some ideas from those who have already been there, done it, is great!

 

Kyle

Tampa Bay

Hello Kyle,

 

We're also on the 19 October sailing . . . RCI Vision of the Seas. So, if interests and logistics work out, we are also in the market for tour(s) of the holyland sites: (a) out of Haifa on 22 Oct 09; and (b) out of Ashdod on 23 October 09. We are two persons traveling . . . we do not have a large group.

 

We have heard thru this board that some people are finding a tour and then posting it to see if others will join to help reduce the rates, or, joining someone who has already lined up an interesting tour. These tours can be a lot less pricey than the ship's tours - more personal, without the bus hassel, the guide you can't hear, etc. Some folks on this blog came up with Israel tours - who they say will put together a personalized itinerary. This is a website we have seen that may be interesting if we can post an itinerary and get a few people together.

http://www.travelisrael.co.il/index.html

 

With the right itinerary, we'd be interested....would you be interested also? The minivan is $650 per day with a max of 11 persons. Even with 4 people, it's almost a breakeven with the ship's prices (for the large bus approach)! There may be others interested also.

 

We have already checked with Joel Berman (who has been also recommended on this blog), and he does not have our dates available.

 

Let us know what you think.

 

Kind regards,

 

Zeke and Barbara

e-mail: bakomjathy@aol.com

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We used Avitours this past September and highly recommend our guide Joel from Haifa. He was amazingly! He knew everything and everyone. We were able to see so much in the two days we were with him. We were exhausted, but got every penny worth. He tailored his discussion dependent on your beliefs and what you wanted to get out of the tour. We definitely would use Avitours again and would request Joel as our guide.

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I have been reading that Israeli guides and Israeli's can't go into any Palestinian Authority areas (ie Bethleham), and that they will turn you over to a Palestinian guide at the borders. Are ship exursions able to avoid this better than local guides?

Do the private tour companies advise you of this when booking? Has anyone had this experiance?

 

Our guide last week had taken a Celebrity bus group the day before, and he said the same thing, that he had to turn over to a PA guide in Bethlehem. Incidentally, the guide, Nadav Hillebrand (nadav.hillebrand@gmail.com), was quite good. He was raised in both Israel and the US and speaks English fluently. He is young, but he knows his country and its history, and is funny and endlessly patient with questions. We did an overnight in Jerusalem from Ashdod, and he picked us up at our hotel the next morning and took us to Beit She'an, Beit Alfa and Beit She'arim, on the way to dropping us off in Haifa at the passenger terminal. With no car of his own, he uses air-conditioned rental cars, and will accomodate the car to the size of the group.

Edited by rsquare

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