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Home > Member Reviews > Ockham's Port Reviews of Santorini, Haifa, Jerusalem (Ashdod), Alexandria

Ockham's Port Reviews of Santorini, Haifa, Jerusalem (Ashdod), Alexandria
Celebrity Silhouette cruise in September 2012
Member Name: Ockham
Cruise Date: September 2012
Embarkation: other
Destination: Middle East
Member Review: Ockham's Celebrity Silhouette Review
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
Stunning island, easy to visit without a shore excursion. Ride the tram to the top for cheap and just walk around the small town looking at the neat churches with blue domed roofs, shopping, eating. Study up on your jewelry prices at home and really consider shopping for jewelry here. We got a very nice Topaz and Diamond Ring in 18k white gold that we had appraised back home for 2x what we paid. They have much good Tanzanite and Turquoise for very good prices as well.

Wish we would have also taken a cab to the town of Oi after talking with fellow passengers afterward.

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Nazareth and Galilee Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
Our guide Yair was awesome. We got a good mix of current events in Israel and ancient history -- particularly focusing on Jesus' ministry -- most of which was in this region. We fully circled the Sea of Galilee, stopped for a little wade in the Jordan, and visited key sites like Capernaum, etc. This is an unusually lush part of Israel and is a must see.

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Jerusalem (Ashdod)
Bethlehem Walking Tour Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
Visited Church of the Nativity which sits on the historical site where Jesus was born in a cave-like manger. This is in Palestine controlled territory, but stick with your tour guide and you have no worries. Save some money for a quality hand-carved olive wood Nativity set if you get a chance to go to a tour sanctioned store.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
Covers both where Jesus' cross was mounted in the rock as he hung on it and a tomb just downhill that historically is believed to have been where he was buried for 3 days.

City Tour Rating: 3.0 out of 5+
Just drove a little around larger Jerusalem and ate at a nice hotel. Interesting.

Garden of Gethsemane Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
Where Jesus prayed as the Jewish Sanhedrin came to arrest him. Looks like it would have been a peaceful place to pray back then with all the ancient olive trees.

Jewish Quarter Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
The Old City didn't really seem to be much bigger than many U.S. suburban neighborhoods. So imagine your neighborhood control being divided up between Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Frankly, I think the division almost has as much to do with tourism economics as anything.

Via Dolorosa Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
Walking where Jesus carried the cross up to his place of crucifixion down narrow stone streets with vendors on all sides. Stations of the Cross are marked where events described in the Biblical account occurred. It was really crowded due to the holiday, but still meaningful and worthwhile. I'd love to do this again on my own next time just to have more time to stop at everything longer. Much of the walk is in the Muslim quarter, but have no fear -- they just want to sell you stuff, not hurt you.

Western Wall Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
All that is left of the last temple is this foundation wall. Not one stone of the actual building was left by the Romans in their 70 AD destruction. We were there during Succoth (Feast of Tabernacles) where Jews remember their 40 year desert trek with Moses. Neat to see the devotion of the Hasidic Jews who were there in mass for the holiday.

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Cairo Day Tour Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
We did have armed guards with us, but I didn't really ever feel insecure. There are enough friendly Egyptian military guys at the key tourist sites. Maybe I'm naive -- not sure. Great to see the Sphinx and Giza Pyramids. We did a lunch cruise on the Nile, which was ok. I skipped the meal desiring to avoid any stomach ailments -- many who chose to eat did get sick the next day. Also, people who stayed overnight in Cairo and ate at the Marriott there got sick too. I brought peanuts and bottled water and skipped all other eating -- great move. Alabaster Mosque was interesting and great views from there. Bought some Papyrus at the Papyrus Institute -- there you can be sure they aren't fake. Good trip for once in a lifetime.

City Tour Rating: 2.0 out of 5+
Library is modern -- the ancient wonder is sunken under the bay. Neat, but not fascinating. The catacombs were kind of neat, but again, not fascinating. Alexandria is a filthy town -- all of Egypt needs to work on their sanitation. It would be neat to dive on the undersea ruins of Alexandria, but I'm afraid the bay water is polluted just looking at the city itself.

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