Silver Wind Arrives in the Holy Land

Today, Silversea's Silver Wind docked in Ashdod, Israel - and I set out on an excursion to the holy city of Jerusalem. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Today, Silversea’s Silver Wind docked in Ashdod, Israel – and I set out on an excursion to the holy city of Jerusalem. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Aaron Saunders, Live Voyage Reports

After having visited ports of call in Oman, Egypt and Jordan, Silversea’s Silver Wind arrived in what is our fourth country on this 15-night Middle East voyage: Israel. Docking in the country’s largest port city, Ashdod, nearly every guest onboard was preparing to spend their time here exploring some of Israel’s most treasured sights.

Today was our first stormy, unsettled morning at sea...Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Today was our first stormy, unsettled morning at sea…Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

...but that would quickly change. Note the fantastic paint job on Silver Wind's bow. No more rust! Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

…but that would quickly change. Note the fantastic paint job on Silver Wind’s bow. No more rust! Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Here in Ashdod, Silversea offers 12 different shore excursions that cover Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the Caves at Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park, Jaffa, a winery and a traditional “kibbutz” community, Masada and the Dead Sea, and private car and van options so that guests can create their own tours. The latter two options aren’t inexpensive, but I’ve seen numerous groups on this voyage make use of this service, which Silversea has dubbed “Silver Shore Privato.” The response has been good: guests are willing to pay a premium for an even more exclusive (and intimate) kind of touring experience. For the rest of us, even Silversea’s regular excursions are designed so that coaches are rarely packed, and guides are typically top-notch.

Our first stop in Jerusalem: the Mount of Olives, which offers an incredible view of the city. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Our first stop in Jerusalem: the Mount of Olives, which offers an incredible view of the city. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Our coach also made numerous photo stops going from one walking destination to another. This is the Russian Orthodox Church of Maria Magdalene. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Our coach also made numerous photo stops going from one walking destination to another. The Church of All Nations is in the foreground. In the background with the gold domes is the Russian Orthodox Church of Maria Magdalene. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

To make the most of my time here, I decided that I would take a tour to Jerusalem. Initially, I’d booked Panoramic Jerusalem (ASD-A, $199), but thankfully Shore Concierge Farida contacted me midway through the cruise: Would I like to switch to A Day In Jerusalem (ASD-B, $199)? She explained that A Day In Jerusalem was for the more active traveller, whereas Panoramic Jerusalem featured a greater proportion of sightseeing on the coach. I was glad that Farida let me know about that – I hate being on the coach, and like to get off and walk every chance I can get. Plus, the two tours were the same price, departed at the same time, and lasted nearly as long. She also had other guests to call; just to double-check with them as she had with me.

Our next stop...Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Our next stop…Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

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Our Live Voyage Report aboard Silversea’s elegant Silver Wind continues tomorrow as we explore Haifa, Nazareth & the Sea of Galilee. Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.

 

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