93 Jerusalem (Ashdod) Cruise Reviews

We visited Jerusalem by stopping at the port of Ashdod. We used a private tour from a company called Cruising excursions.com. Our tour guide was named Udi. This tour was fabulous and we saw many sites in the city including Mount of olives, ... Read More
We visited Jerusalem by stopping at the port of Ashdod. We used a private tour from a company called Cruising excursions.com. Our tour guide was named Udi. This tour was fabulous and we saw many sites in the city including Mount of olives, the Church of Gethsemane, the old city of Jerusalem and the old city of David and many others. Most Jerusalem tours require a significant amount of walking and Jerusalem is an extremely hilly area. If you are not capable of walking several miles with some of that walk being on steep hills then you need to inform your tour operator. Tours can be set where the tour van can drop people off at certain locations and pick them up prior to having to make extremely strenuous walks. People needing this service may not see absolutely everything, but it is better to let the tour guide know of physical liabilities rather than find yourself needing medical treatment in a foreign country. Note. If you plan a private tour from Ashdod port make sure you understand where your tour guide will pick you up. Some buses and vans are allowed close into the ship while others are kept at a holding area. Royal Caribbean charged a $10 fee to get to this holding area by shuttle bus. The Israeli authorities will not let you walk to this area. This didn't present a problem but is something that needs to be understood. Additional note. If you are going to book private tours make sure you have a cell phone that works in all the countries you intend to stop. A quick cell call can fix confusion immediately. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Having been there twice prior I spent the two days with my friend who lives there, while my other 2 friends took their tours with her husband. The 1st day I had a private tour of the Pediatric Oncology Dept at Hadassah Hospital as well as ... Read More
Having been there twice prior I spent the two days with my friend who lives there, while my other 2 friends took their tours with her husband. The 1st day I had a private tour of the Pediatric Oncology Dept at Hadassah Hospital as well as other parts of the hospital. The U.S. should take a lesson from Israel on how to treat their patients & for their innovative safety measures in times of crisis. That day we also went to the Old City (where I had been before), had lunch there & then coffee in a restaurant (in a mall attached to the old city) & waited for my other two touring friends to join us. In the evening we went to the Sound & Light Show at the Tower of David in the old city. It is amazing & must be seen by all who can make it. The second day while my friends were touring I took a cab to the train station & a train to Tel Aviv to meet my friend. We had lunch at a waterfront restaurant & then I returned to the ship the way I came. Be aware of the Taxi Drivers in Port. They wanted $80 U.S. to go from the Exit of the Port to Tel Aviv (one way). It cost 50 shekels from the Port Exit to the Train each way & being a Senior Citizen the train cost me 19 shekels round trip to Tel Aviv. (The shekel was about 3 3/4 to a dollar). The train ride was very comfortable even if they do not travel very fast, like we are used to. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
The port is really Ashdod which is worst I've visited. This is not a cruise port but a commercial port. The cruise lines use this port to save money. It is 1/3 the cost of Haifa & they also save one nights port charges. Takes ... Read More
The port is really Ashdod which is worst I've visited. This is not a cruise port but a commercial port. The cruise lines use this port to save money. It is 1/3 the cost of Haifa & they also save one nights port charges. Takes 45 minutes to get to bus station in Ashdod & 1+ hr to get to bus station in Jerusalem. Then it takes another 20-60 minutes to get to Jaffa gate in Old Jerusalem. One of problem was due to fact that we visited on major holiday. Took 3 hrs each way between port & Jaffa gate. Old Jerusalem is wonderful & fascinating. Saw most of the major sites here but didn't have time to visit other parts of Jerusalem. We were here overnight so 2 days in the city. Will come back here some time in the future but never back to this port. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Outstanding trip to Masada, the Dead Sea, the Old and new Jerusalem. The sun drenched beaches, the Negev. All outstanding!
Outstanding trip to Masada, the Dead Sea, the Old and new Jerusalem. The sun drenched beaches, the Negev. All outstanding! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Spent two days walking in the footsteps of my Savior. Incredible experience. Was part of church group and was able to spend time in the Garden of Gethesame as a group. Bought a lot of olive wood carving at Jimmy's (best prices ... Read More
Spent two days walking in the footsteps of my Savior. Incredible experience. Was part of church group and was able to spend time in the Garden of Gethesame as a group. Bought a lot of olive wood carving at Jimmy's (best prices around). Eerie experience walking through the narrow alleys of Jerusalem at night. Visting the Western Wall (many call Wailing wall) on a Barmitzah (sp?) day - what an experience. All the singing, clapping, horn-blowing and candy throwing must be experienced! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We stayed in Jerusalem overnight at the Harmony Boutique Hotel, just outside the Old City walls. We used JJ Jonah, the Israel maven, as our guide. Find at jjjonah@israelmaven.com. The four of us agreed it was the perfect balance of ... Read More
We stayed in Jerusalem overnight at the Harmony Boutique Hotel, just outside the Old City walls. We used JJ Jonah, the Israel maven, as our guide. Find at jjjonah@israelmaven.com. The four of us agreed it was the perfect balance of education and fun. A full day in the Old City, rode a camel on the way to Masada, then floated in the Dead Sea on the way back to our floating luxury resort. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
This was our favorite destination of the cruise. We had three and a half days in Israel and two and a half of those were in Ashdod/Jerusalem. We caught a minibus the first half day into Jerusalem for some walking around time and the ... Read More
This was our favorite destination of the cruise. We had three and a half days in Israel and two and a half of those were in Ashdod/Jerusalem. We caught a minibus the first half day into Jerusalem for some walking around time and the driver drove us there and picked us up for 25 euro's each (round-trip, six to the vehicle). We entered the old city at the Jaffa gate and toured the Tower of David complex. A couple of guidebooks from Barnes and Noble that I'd brought along helped us know what was where. We shopped for trinkets, and some ended up spending hundreds on olive wood carvings and having them shipped home. My suggestion to you would be to wait to buy and not get to impulsive early. The shops closest to the main gates may not discount as much and I was told by one merchant close to the gate that he would only take shekels. Interestingly, there was a money changer next door that he recommended. Later, I found that most merchants take dollars and euros as readily. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of shops in the old town, so shop around before spending at the first shop. The better deals seemed to be away from the gates. Just for comparison, I bought several diet cokes in the old city (over two days) and the prices ranged from 3 shekels to 14 shekels (or roughly $1-$3+ dollars each). So prices vary widely. (The sheckel is worth about $.27- $.28 each right now). My best suggestion on shopping is to prepare to ignore the peddlers. If you make eye contact or do too much window shopping, it become difficult without being rude to break away. One merchant that had a sign that he sold stamps refused to sell me stamps unless I bought something else. I walked away. By the way, you can mail from the ship while you’re in port without buying postage locally. It did not seem that the churches inside the old city were enforcing the dress code as strictly as we thought they might. There were good sized crowds and many women had bare shoulders and knees and were not stopped. Out of respect, our group did conform to the recommended dress codes. There is a lot to see in the old city and it would probably be easy to get lost. Our guide service on the second, third and fourth days was “No Limits Tours” by Ahalan Olympus and could not have been better. Our guide was Yahav Zohar and what an energetic, well spoken, educated and informed Israeli guide! This firm used a newer, well equipped, air conditioned 20 passenger bus and charged by the tour, not by the person. So our friend Doug who we met through Cruise Critic was able to get us on the bus and we had a great group. The price was significantly lower than if we’d booked by the person on the cruise and I figure for what we got, my wife and I saved at least $1500 over the price of the cruise sponsored excursion. I noticed that as we passed by many guides used by larger groups (particularly in Israel, Greece, and Italy) had poor English skills and would have been hard to understand. Also some of these groups were much larger than our 16-18 person contingent. The places we visited are too large to mention here, but the Mt. of Olives, Via Delarosa, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Garden Tomb, the Western Wall, Masada, Dead Sea, Nazareth, Galilee, Mt. Carmel were particularly meaningful to us. Everything regarding the tours went well. We were extremely satisfied with our experience (even the mud and floating in the Dead Sea!). Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Ashdod, the port of call for Jerusalem , is very commercial and does not offer facilities like Haifa does ! We took a shuttle, then a taxi, then a public bus then the tramway to get to Old Jerusalem ! We toured the Old Town with a Free ... Read More
Ashdod, the port of call for Jerusalem , is very commercial and does not offer facilities like Haifa does ! We took a shuttle, then a taxi, then a public bus then the tramway to get to Old Jerusalem ! We toured the Old Town with a Free Guided Tour that proved amazing ! On the second day , we took an excursion of Jerusalem and Bethleem ! It proved to be quite different from what we had done the previous day but as interesting Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We used Guided Tours Israel for all of our Israeli excursions. They were prompt with very knowledgeable guides and no more than 16 persons. The price was reasonable. The only complaint was that they changed our schedule and sites ... Read More
We used Guided Tours Israel for all of our Israeli excursions. They were prompt with very knowledgeable guides and no more than 16 persons. The price was reasonable. The only complaint was that they changed our schedule and sites without consultation. The only explanation was that the boss thought you would like this or that better or that we were avoiding the crowds. Nothing we could do about it. The result was a rather hurried trip through the Old City, although they did get us into the Tunnels below the Western wall which was fascinating. Highlight of Israel was floating like a cork in the Dead Sea. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
The port of Ashdod is quite a distance from Jerusalem but well worth the drive. What a treasure trove of history and religion. The only thing I would alert other passengers to if they opt to visit both Jerusalem and Bethlahem, you must ... Read More
The port of Ashdod is quite a distance from Jerusalem but well worth the drive. What a treasure trove of history and religion. The only thing I would alert other passengers to if they opt to visit both Jerusalem and Bethlahem, you must be handed off to another tour guide who is Palestinian. A bit unnerving, but went off without a hitch. The Palestinian side is quite dirty and carries alot of political influence. We happened to be there the day Palestine was in the UN requesting to be awarded statehood. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Jerusalem and Bethlehem were advertised as strenuous walking trips so I was worried about this in the heat but it was nowhere near as hard as I thought. It was amazing and well worth going. I don't class myself as religious but I ... Read More
Jerusalem and Bethlehem were advertised as strenuous walking trips so I was worried about this in the heat but it was nowhere near as hard as I thought. It was amazing and well worth going. I don't class myself as religious but I certainly felt it here. It was a lovely experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Jerusalem - our tour guide Adrian would have put Bethany Hughes to shame! We got a non stop class in the origins of religion -as the world knows it, very convincing, bit much for me to listen to so much as I tend to want to spend my time ... Read More
Jerusalem - our tour guide Adrian would have put Bethany Hughes to shame! We got a non stop class in the origins of religion -as the world knows it, very convincing, bit much for me to listen to so much as I tend to want to spend my time exploring than in the sun being tought, but he knew his stuff and it was very interesting.Lots to see here but not enough time in this tour to see it. I will definately go back. Good tour good guide, just not my cup of tea. Bethlehem - guide was a character - Ramsey. will sell you candles in the nativity church and sand to the arabs! Make sure you go downstairs to the birthplace within the church, I didn't know it was there as ramsey was selling candles, found out afterwards what we missed. I'll go back when there is more time to appreciate it. My mother did very well, Jerusalem is a stairway nightmare and she struggles with her knees ( ops) but still managed.This tour was different, the tickets prior to it had our bus number on it and we had travelled together. On this trip you get on the bus first come first served. They got on a bus as we were changing money and we only caught a fleeting glance of them on another bus all day. Stick together on this one. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We docked in Ashdod for 2 days. For the first day, we took O.'s shorex to Caesarea, Tel Aviv and Jaffa which is discussed above. On the second day, we took GTI's Jewish oriented tour of Jerusalem. First, we visited Yad Vashem ... Read More
We docked in Ashdod for 2 days. For the first day, we took O.'s shorex to Caesarea, Tel Aviv and Jaffa which is discussed above. On the second day, we took GTI's Jewish oriented tour of Jerusalem. First, we visited Yad Vashem and then Jerusalem. This tour disappointed because it was very rushed after Yad Vashem and did not give us a good overview of the old city. We had the feeling that many things were omitted, in the interest of adhering to a tight schedule. We did get to visit the Western Wall tunnels but in doing so, eliminated other important sights. Overall, I cannot recommnd GTI's Jerusalem tour. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
As I mentioned, we are experienced cruisers, who have done nearly 60 excursions. Some have been over the top great, most good, and a few very poor. Guided Tours Israel would fall into the last category. Zamir, our guide seemed like a ... Read More
As I mentioned, we are experienced cruisers, who have done nearly 60 excursions. Some have been over the top great, most good, and a few very poor. Guided Tours Israel would fall into the last category. Zamir, our guide seemed like a nice individual, but someone missing the basics of providing a professional tour. Yes, he could tell you the plants with the white stuff on top were cotton, and trees were almond, avocado or orange and some basic stories from ancient history, but he generally waited until we had questions to point anything out. Most of the time, he was listening to the Israeli news station on the radio or taking calls, which he always put on speakerphone as he and the party conversed in Hebrew. Ironically, although he was taking many calls, he refused to provide me with his cell phone number. For obvious logistical and for potentially unexpected situations, having the guide’s cell number, even if never used, is something I consider basic protocol. Even if his phone blocked international calls, not giving your clients your cell phone number is an odd decision for someone whose clients only have international lines. As our travels continued, it was also clear that our guide had a touring agenda. We had expressed a preference for certain places and sites. No matter, we were seeing sites he wanted to take us to -- even when we affirmatively identified a disinterest in the place. When we got to our preferred attractions, it appears that such was no more than a coincidence with his agenda. For example, we expressed a desire to ride a camel and he said he knew of no place where we could find a camel. However, when we stopped at one of Zamir’s designated sites, a gentleman was offering camel rides. We spoke to the gentleman and rode his camel – an individual that Zamir says has been offering such rides in that location for more than a dozen years. At times, we felt hostage to this driver and his own personal plan. Day 3 in Haifa was the worst. The day prior and at the start of day three, we expressed a desire to go to the beach, even if it was for a short time. He told us that the kids would better like Rosh Hanikra grottos, where a cable car takes visitors to see grottos formed by the sea. Therefore, he took us there, despite a continued press for time at the beach. The cable car ride experience: 1 hour drive there, 45 minutes in line outdoors in the heat with some shade produced a grand total of 75 seconds in the cable car, and the grottos themselves are interesting, but nothing worth spending a half day getting to for a short time of exploration. There was no plan B. We had scheduled these days way in advance. At that moment, we tried to look for the positive and conclude that the driver was having an off day. The final insult was the repeated denial of our request to go to a grocery store. The driver continued to identify that he did not know where one was, despite our passing some on main roads. At the very end of our tour, he took us to some trashed out bodega a few blocks from the ship -- and when the bodega did not have what we needed, our guide was out of solutions. Therefore, we asked to return to the ship, a few hours before our time was to expire, paying him for the unused time. Toward the end, the guide kept hounding us to send an email to his bosses letting them know what a great job he was doing. He wanted us to do it from his van on our smart phone - an interesting request from a guide who never gave us his cell phone number. In sum, this may be one of the worst excursions we have ever taken, and certainly the most expensive bad excursion we have ever taken. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
The main reason we picked this itinerary. Three days in Israel. Not anywhere near enough. You cannot truly understand the Holy Land unless you go there. We had a private tour with Guided Tours Israel. our guide, Michal, was the best. A ... Read More
The main reason we picked this itinerary. Three days in Israel. Not anywhere near enough. You cannot truly understand the Holy Land unless you go there. We had a private tour with Guided Tours Israel. our guide, Michal, was the best. A Sabra (native born) , she knew everybody. No exaggeration! We had a great three days with her and will book her again next year. Masada, swimming in the Dead Sea, The Old City, the Western Wall at the Temple Mount ,Tsfet, Kinneret. A truly life changing experience no matter what your belief. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
this was the whole point of going on the cruise and we loved the visit to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The first day we had a tour of Jerusalem and the second a half day tour of Bethlehem all arranged through the ship. Getting to ad from ... Read More
this was the whole point of going on the cruise and we loved the visit to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The first day we had a tour of Jerusalem and the second a half day tour of Bethlehem all arranged through the ship. Getting to ad from Jerusalem took a while but the guide used it to tell us info about Israel. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
We stayed overnight in the Jerusalem YMCA in order to maximize our limited time in Israel. The reserved ticket Western Wall Tunnel tour is a must. Our private tour guide took us to the Dead Sea (it was just too hot to climb Masada) and ... Read More
We stayed overnight in the Jerusalem YMCA in order to maximize our limited time in Israel. The reserved ticket Western Wall Tunnel tour is a must. Our private tour guide took us to the Dead Sea (it was just too hot to climb Masada) and then back to the old city of Jerusalem for a Western Wall visit and shopping in the 4 quarters of the city. You have no control over when the cruise ship stops in Jerusalem but if it is a Friday (as it was for us) everything starts to shut down in Jerusalem for shabbat (day of rest). If you want to shop on Friday you need to get it done before 2 or 3pm in the afternoon. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
This was the reason we chose this itinerary. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza about a half mile from the Old City. it was very nice, big rooms all with balconies over looking the Old City, but not as convenient as other hotels. ... Read More
This was the reason we chose this itinerary. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza about a half mile from the Old City. it was very nice, big rooms all with balconies over looking the Old City, but not as convenient as other hotels. Just being in Jerusalem is surreal. we went to the Wall, browsed and shopped in the souk, (dont pay more than 35% of what they ask for anything) and just absorbed the atmosphere around us. we sat and had falafel on Ben Yehuda street and walked all over. The next day we drove to Masada, hiked it and then down to the Dead Sea. Thanks to the security fences you can now drive all over pretty quickly to get to the south from Jerusalem without anxiety or delays, we drove from the Dead Sea back to the ship in Ashdod in about 21/2 hrs. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Punters on the coach were prevented from shopping by the tour guide who threatened to leave them behind! (nice man). He also lied about souvenirs being cheaper at the end...my wife paid £20 for 3 fridge magnets, we could have purchased ... Read More
Punters on the coach were prevented from shopping by the tour guide who threatened to leave them behind! (nice man). He also lied about souvenirs being cheaper at the end...my wife paid £20 for 3 fridge magnets, we could have purchased them for 1 euro each in Israel...so we purchased Israel Magnets,,,In Palestine! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Great tour guide and a great city to visit. We were overwhelmed with the amount of history and places to visit on our excursion. This tour provided us with so many wonderful memories of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Visiting Old Jerusalem ... Read More
Great tour guide and a great city to visit. We were overwhelmed with the amount of history and places to visit on our excursion. This tour provided us with so many wonderful memories of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Visiting Old Jerusalem City is quite amazing. Stepping foot on so much history...it's overwhelming. Our guide was so informative and enjoyable to listen to. If you get a chance to visit this country, do so. I don't believe you will be disappointed. Had lunch at a kibbutz...fresh food...very enjoyable. You will notice lots of armed Israeli guards in this country. The people in Israel feel comforted by their presence. It takes a little getting used to as we do not live this way in the US, but seeing them there does bring some comfort. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We used Guided Tours Israel again, but our guide this day was Elad. He wasn't quite as personable as Eyal (our guide from the day before out of Haifa), but he was full of information! He had plenty of maps to show us on our drive ... Read More
We used Guided Tours Israel again, but our guide this day was Elad. He wasn't quite as personable as Eyal (our guide from the day before out of Haifa), but he was full of information! He had plenty of maps to show us on our drive from Ashdod to Bethlehem. Since our guide wasn't permitted to enter the Palestinian Authority area, he hopped out at a bus stop and we picked up a guide named Esa upon entering the walls. Everyone makes a big deal about going to Palestine, but honestly, I felt just as safe there as I did in Jerusalem. You can do the sites in Bethlehem in about an hour, but if you are guided, you are legally required to stop at the shopping area for nearly 30 minutes (*le sigh*, which is a lot of time on a short trip and involves being hassled by all sorts of vendors hanging outside the building). I think we may have left a little early and managed to grab some shwarma and falafel pitas before heading back to Jerusalem, where we rejoined our guide for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, traffic was horrible and we lost about two hours just awaiting traffic. Our 9-10 hour day turned into 11.5 (felt sorry for the guide) and that involved nearly having to run through the sites within the walls). Ultimately, I think it's really impossible to see everything in a day out of Ashdod and you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't go back! We'd like to go back for 2-3 days to take our time & see some museums. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
The port was Ashdod and then an hours ride to Jerusalem. It was interesting but a lot of walking. Going from the Wailing Wall to the east gate was interesting and would liked to have taken our time going thru the markets and stopping at ... Read More
The port was Ashdod and then an hours ride to Jerusalem. It was interesting but a lot of walking. Going from the Wailing Wall to the east gate was interesting and would liked to have taken our time going thru the markets and stopping at various points of the stations of the cross. Lunch was at a hotel and better than expected. Bethlehem could have been better with more time at the church but we were hustled off to a souvenier stand for 30 minutes. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011

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