Ashdod (Jerusalem), Israel
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2 days/1 night
Day 1 (L/D)
On the drive to Jerusalem, familiar names will catch your attention all along the way. Begin with a magnificent view over the Golden City from atop the Mount of Olives; then, walk through the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus spent the last moments before his arrest. Re-board your coach for the short drive to Mt Zion, where you will visit the Room of the Last Supper. Enter the Old City via the Zion Gate for a walk through the Jewish Quarter and the Roman Cardo to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Emperor Constantine constructed a vast sanctuary here, on the site of Christ’s resurrection. The building was later destroyed but was rebuilt by the Crusaders. Inside the church you will see the five last Stations of the Cross. After a pleasant lunch, drive to Bethlehem. There, you will visit the Church of Nativity built above the place where Christ is said to have been born. The actual Cave of the Nativity is a small crypt with a vaulted masonry roof. Poor Bethlehem families used the rocky hollows of the region as stables or dwellings, so the tradition that places the Nativity in a cave is not at odds with the story of the manger. After checking in and enjoying dinner at your hotel in Jerusalem, you’ll set off on a drive around the magnificently illuminated Old Town walls, stopping at the Dung Gate for a moonlit visit to the Western (or Wailing) Wall. This is the last vestige of the ramparts that surrounded the Holy Temple of the Jews built by King Solomon. Take time to touch the stones before returning to your hotel.
Dinner and Overnight at the Inbal Jerusalem Hotel (or similar) after an exciting and memorable day.
Day 2 (B/L)
After breakfast, you’ll leave Jerusalem via the Judean Mountains and drive through the Sharon Valley to Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus. Called the City of the Annunciation, Nazareth is revered as the spot where the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, telling her that she would bear the Son of God. See the Church of Annunciation, sited where Mary is said to have lived, and where she received Gabriel’s message. You will also see the Church of St Joseph, where Joseph’s carpentry workshop is believed to have stood. Below ground level, an important Judeo-Christian baptismal basin is preserved. Next, it’s back on the motor coach for the drive to the Sea of Galilee, to enjoy lunch on its shores. Then you will drive by the Mount of the Beatitudes where Jesus gave his Sermon on the Mount. Continue to Capernaum, St Peter’s village, where Jesus lived during his ministry in the Galilee region. See the ancient synagogue and the archaeological excavations of the 2,000-year-old village. Finally, visit the Yardenit baptismal site by the Jordan River and, at the conclusion of two exciting days in Israel, your motor coach will bring you to Haifa’s port where you will re-board the ship.
Wear comfortable walking shoes. Modest attire is required; knees, shoulders and midriffs must be covered. The tour is guided; an escort from the ship's staff may or may not also accompany the group.
You must book this overland PRIOR to sailing. Tour operates subject to meeting a minimum number of participants. The cut-off date is 90 days before the ship's call at Ashdod. Due to the popularity of this tour and strict booking conditions, cancellation fees start 65 days prior to the call at Ashdod. Accommodation is included (hotels are subject to change). Transportation by air-conditioned coach, all entrance fees indicated in the itinerary, an English-speaking guide (unless otherwise noted), water on the vehicle, and meals (as indicated) are also included. Gratuities and personal expenses are not included. Bring your passport with you on tour.
Important information regarding visa requirements: It is solely each participant's responsibility to obtain any necessary visas, tourist cards and vaccinations, if required, to participate in Overland Adventures and/or Overnights and to keep apprised of any policy changes. Visas may be required for any/all countries your tour departs from and travels through and for the country where you will re-join the ship. Passports must be valid for at least six months beyond the completion of the cruise. Your travel agent can assist you with your visa needs. If you require further assistance, Holland America Line's preferred visa service is CIBTvisas. US and Canadian citizens can reach them by phone or email: US citizens: 866 788 1100 or email email@example.com. Canadian citizens: 866 935 8472 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. CIBTvisas phone numbers and email addresses for Dutch, German, Australian, United Kingdom, Belgian, Singapore, Spanish, Swiss and French citizens can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions section of Holland America Line's website, in the Cruise Preparation area. Applications and additional information can be downloaded from the CIBTvisas website at https://CIBTvisas.com/hollandamerica. You must advise CIBTvisas of your Overland Adventures or Overnights, as the visa requirements for these vacation enhancements may vary from those required for your cruise.