Israel Tourism and Norwegian Cruise Lines Team Up to Tout Cruising to Israel

L to R: Cindy Girard, Norwegian Cruise Lines Business Development Manager; Fiona Kosmin, Director of Marketing and Partnerships, Canada, Israel Ministry of Tourism; Johanna Levitt-Brooks, Executive Director, Canadian Friends of Shalva; and Gal Hana, Senior Director, Consul of Tourism for Canada, Israel Ministry of Tourism.

Norwegian Cruise Lines and the Israel Ministry of Tourism put on an in-person and on-line seminar for advisors and media, including Open Jaw, on 14JUN, laying out how a cruise makes for a great way to visit Israel, especially with a pre- or post-cruise extension.

NCL Business Development Manager Cindy Girard said NCL is back to cruising to Israel and makes stops in both Haifa (Tel Aviv) and Ashdod (near Jerusalem).

Cruise guests can go on amazing tours to see some of mankind’s most impressive and moving sights, including taking the ancient route from Jaffa to Jerusalem. Girard said guests can visit places where it’s believed that Jesus lived and preached, as well as enjoy panoramic views from the top to Mount Carmel.

Guests can wander the boutiques on Masada Street in Tel Aviv, or visit the artists’ village of Ein Hod, home to amazing glass blowers and other crafts people. NCL passengers also can visit historic places such as Nazareth and Galilee, or take a trip to the warm waters of the Dead Sea.

“You will always have something to match your taste,” she said.

Photo courtesy Shai Pal and Unsplash.

Norwegian gives guests an average of 14 hours in each port, Girard said, so there’s plenty of time to enjoy the destinations.

Norwegian ships carry 2,000 to 4,000 guests, who have up to 26 dining options and Starbucks outlets for people who can’t live without their favourite coffee beverage. Some ships have go-kart tracks, ropes courses, water parks, laser tag, and other attractions.

Girard said Norwegian has the youngest fleet at sea, and will soon launch the Norwegian Viva.

Fiona Kosmin Director of Marketing and Partnerships, Canada, Israel Ministry of Tourism, said a visit to Israel “is a journey you never forget,” with thousands of years of history, cosmopolitan cities, fabulous food, beaches, desert scenery, and rugged mountains. Visitors can do ATV rides in the desert, go kayaking in the Dead Sea, explore Amish-like German Templar villages, sleep in luxury hotels, hike the Israel National Trail, and swim in the Mediterranean.


As well, Israel recently hosted Pride events, and will be home to three Bruno Mars concerts in October, she said. “It truly is a destination that will surpass any expectations.”

Kosmin said advisors can become Israel destination specialists by going to this website. As an incentive, those who finish the program by the end of JUL can enter a draw to win prizes.

Agents and advisors who took part in the seminar also got to learn about the Shalva National Center in Jerusalem, the Israel Association for the Care and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities. Shalva provides an all-encompassing range of services for thousands of people with disabilities from infancy to adulthood and their families. Johanna Levitt-Brooks, Executive Director, Canadian Friends of Shalva, from the center said advisors can book visits for clients so they can see first-hand the transformative work being done.

Jim Byers

Jim Byers is a freelance travel writer based in Toronto. He was formerly travel editor at the Toronto Star and now writes for a variety of publications in Canada and around the world. He's also a regular guest on CBC, CTV News, Global News and other television and radio networks.

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