Our Most Challenging Cruise and Trip to Date: 22 days from Rome to Israel
In November 2019, we had been on a wonderful B2B cruise in the western and eastern Mediterranean on the MSC Grandiosa and the NCL Spirit. We were excited to return to Israel to see more sites and experience history and culture, so we booked the NCL Epic from Nov 3-15, 2022. This 2022 cruise was far more challenging than the 2019 cruise, and I hope you can learn from our experiences.
We decided NOT to use the NCL BOGO cruise offer as they only let you do a two-day deviation on each end. Our airfare was just $300 more, so it seemed like a good idea to go with Delta. All of our Delta flights were fine, but they partnered with ITA (Italian airlines) for the NYC to Rome flight. I will never go with ITA again. They won’t let you select your seats ahead of time because of a “glitch in the system” between the two airlines. I was finally able to select flights about two weeks ahead of time because of some CC advice.
We upgraded to a balcony about three days before sailing. Except for that shower/toilet situation in all non-Haven cabins, we enjoyed the rest of the room. The beds and pillows were comfortable, and it was quiet.
We went to the National Archaeological Museum. While interesting, we were shuffled out at 3:30 PM- winter hours.
One warning: take the tram! The traffic to the port at the end of the day is a nightmare.
The port of Haifa has to be the most tedious and stressful port around. We were fortunate to have been clued into the shuttle that takes you up the ramp. Also, we took off our own luggage and were allowed to go through this magical gate whereas others who had their luggage taken off the night before were subjected to a very long line.
I would give it a five but you are at the mercy of taking a tour or being on a "scheduled taxi." Our tour was fine, but those who took taxis were given insufficient time to visit the two main sites. They were told when they had to be at the assigned place. No flexibility. I tried looking for a private company on Patmos and was unsuccessful. We took the ship tour.