We traveled in a tour group of 6 people on both days in this port. We took a trip to the pyramids and the Museum of Antiquities in Cairo. Lunch was a hurried affair at a local KFC at around 2:00pm. I would recommend taking some food off the ship and packing it for snacks in case you don't get time for a lunch stop. The museum had fabulous treasures, but was also shockingly run down and needed lots of maintenance.
Our second day in Alexandria was was booked with Soha Solomon on a very nice private tour through the city. Lots of things were closed for Ramadan, like the Library of Alexandria. Our tour guide took us to quite a few sites around the city and it was a pleasant and relaxing day.
The Acropolis was a way too crowded because of all the tour groups up there. The Agora was practically empty and had a very nice museum with some really interesting artifacts of daily life.
We booked a private tour with 6 people through Avi Tours and drove from Ashdod to Qumran, Masada and the Dead Sea. Qumran is where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947. Masada is awesome and well worth the trip. The scenery on the entire trip is spectacular. After Masada, we went for a float in the Dead Sea. That was quite an experience. If you go, there are rules for floating, especially not to splash, get the water in your eyes (it really stings!)or get water on your face (it really burns!). The resort we stopped at also had an indoor pool and hot tub with the seawater which were very pleasant. I would not recommend the Dead Sea for children simply because of how the water stings and burns in your eyes and face. I tried as hard as I could not to get them on my face and did so a very painful three times!
There were no opportunities for any real shopping on this tour or port.
The next day was a stop at Haifa. Again, we did a small group of 6 with Avi tours and went to Jerusalem. We skipped the Bethlehem stop because we heard it really was not worth all the trouble to go and see. We first stopped at the Israeli Museum and saw a wonderful scale model of ancient Jerusalem. we also saw an impressive display of the Dead Sea Scrolls. We then did a Mt. Olive overlook and then went into the city. It was a very interesting tour. Our guide took us through the stations of the cross, but really rushed us through the Muslim quarter- which seemed to be where all the interesting shopping was. We had a nice lunch in the old city of Shawarma. We got back to the ship in plenty of time. If your like shopping, there is none within walking distance of the port, best to do it all on one of the tours.
We loved the drive through the Turkish countryside and villages. We weren't too happy about the forced stop at the rug factory- if you get a private tour, just say no to that part of the stop unless you're really interested in buying handmade rugs.
We arrived back at the port with plenty of time to spare for shopping. There are plenty of shops right next to the port, and as it turned out, was the best port on this trip for lots of shopping. None of the other ports had shopping so close to the ship. The signs for Genuine Fake Watches were quite amusing- they were everywhere!