Our first choice for the Eastern Mediterranean was a late-November Jade sailing. With troubles in the region early this year, NCL cancelled all but two of its ventures to Israel and Egypt. We were lucky to jump to this one and did not regret the chance for a moment.
The crew was terribly excited for the chance to visit the Holy Land. Several noted they were Catholic and awed by the opportunity. They knew this might be their only chance because the Jade will spend the rest of the winter on the milk runs to the Canaries and Greek islands.
The food, accommodations and service were all impeccable. We toured on private excursions arranged through the very large and lively Cruise Critic roll call group. We took one-day trips out of Haifa and Ashdod but elected to take a wonderful overnight from Port Said to Alexandria by way of Mena House next to the great pyramids. Fellow cruisers who paid the 100 percent premium for NCL excursions were not convincing in their protestations that it's better to travel in a guarded convoy of huge coaches rather than in a small, zippy van with half a dozen like-minded enthusiasts. We only took quick looks at two ports, Alanya in Turkey and Limassol in Cyprus.