Haifa (Tel Aviv), Israel
Information Not Currently Available
Approximately 2 Days/1 Night
"Masada is a rugged natural fortress, of majestic beauty, in the Judaean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea. It is a symbol of the ancient kingdom of Israel, its violent destruction and the last stand of Jewish patriots in the face of the Roman army, in 73 AD. It was built as a palace complex, in the classic style of the early Roman Empire, by Herod the Great, King of Judaea, (reigned 37 -- 4 BC). The camps, fortifications and attack ramp that encircle the monument constitute the most complete Roman siege works surviving to the present day."
Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity & the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem
"The inscribed property is situated 10 km south of Jerusalem on the site identified by Christian tradition as the birthplace of Jesus since the 2nd century. A church was first completed there in ad 339 and the edifice that replaced it after a fire in the 6th century retains elaborate floor mosaics from the original building. The site also includes Latin, Greek Orthodox, Franciscan and Armenian convents and churches, as well as bell towers, terraced gardens and a pilgrimage route."
"As a holy city for Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Jerusalem has always been of great symbolic importance. Among its 220 historic monuments, the Dome of the Rock stands out: built in the 7th century, it is decorated with beautiful geometric and floral motifs. It is recognized by all three religions as the site of Abraham's sacrifice. The Wailing Wall delimits the quarters of the different religious communities, while the Resurrection rotunda in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre houses Christ's tomb."
Day 1 (L/D)
Depart from Haifa port and drive to Jerusalem. Familiar names will catch your attention all along the way. Upon arrival in the capital, begin with a magnificent view over the Golden City from Mount Scopus.
Then, walk through the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus spent the last moments before his arrest. Early Christians were already holding gatherings here before the first church was built around AD 380. Visit the beautiful church that is here today and see some of the oldest olive trees remaining in Jerusalem.
Re-board your coach for the short drive to Mt Zion and a visit to the Room of the Last Supper and walk past King David's Tomb. Enter the Old City on foot via the Zion Gate and walk through the Jewish Quarter and the Roman Cardo to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher on the site of Christ's resurrection. The original vast sanctuary built here by Emperor Constantine was destroyed centuries later, but a replacement was eventually rebuilt by the Crusaders. Inside the church you will see the last five Stations of the Cross.
Walk through the colorful bazaar to the Jaffa Gate.
After lunch, drive to Bethlehem and visit the Church of Nativity, built above the place Jesus 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.
On your way out of Bethlehem, you will have an opportunity to shop for souvenirs before you return to Jerusalem.
Check in at your hotel, and after dinner, relax on a drive around the illuminated walls and monuments of the city, including a visit to the Western (Wailing) Wall. This is the last vestige of the ramparts that surround the Holy Temple. Observe the crowds who come to pray by the ancient stones. Dinner and Overnight at the Inbal Jerusalem Hotel (or similar) after an exciting and memorable day.
Day 2 (B/L)
After breakfast and hotel check out, you'll descend 1,400 feet to the lowest place on the surface of our planet -- the Dead Sea, in the Judean Desert.
On your way, you will pass by Jericho and Qumran, stopping to take a picture of the cave where the first Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947.
Continue driving along the shores of the Dead Sea to Masada. Visit the Masada Fortress, located a little to the north of ancient Sodom. The mountain fortress of Masada looms high above the Dead Sea's desolate landscape. It has often been described as the most spectacular archaeological site in Israel. Here, King Herod built a luxurious refuge complete with magnificent palaces, swimming pools and excavated rock cisterns to provide water supplies. Around AD 73, after a prolonged Roman siege, more than 950 Jews took their own lives at Masada rather than face a future of slavery. A cable car will convey you to the summit for a walk around the site of this last stand. Among the fascinating sights are the wall, bathhouses, upper palace, synagogue, church cisterns, western palace and Roman ramp.
Re-board the coach and drive to Ein Bokek in time for lunch at a hotel on the shores of the Dead Sea. After lunch, take a swim in these waters that are so mineral-rich, you can't sink. Following your Dead Sea experience, you will return to the ship in Haifa.
Please note: Due to this tour's popularity, exclusivity and strict booking conditions, tour bookings must be confirmed 45 days prior to the call with no cancellations permitted thereafter. Modest attire is required; knees, shoulders and midriffs must be covered. The Bethlehem part of the tour will be guided by a Palestinian guide. You will need your passport to enter Bethlehem.
Important: It is solely each guest's responsibility to obtain (before traveling) any visas, vaccinations or tourist cards that are required for participating in Mid-Cruise Adventures or Overnight Journeys, unless noted otherwise in the description. Please be aware that you may need a visa for any and/or all countries that you will depart from and travel through as part of your Mid-Cruise Adventure or Overnight Journey, and for the country in which you will re-join the ship. Your travel agent can assist you with your visa needs. If you require further assistance, Seabourn's preferred visa service is CIBTvisas. US and Canadian citizens can reach them by phone or email:
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Canadian citizens: 866 935 8472 or email email@example.com
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 our website, in the Cruise Preparation area. Applications and additional information can be downloaded from the CIBTvisas website at <https://cibtvisa.com/Seabourn>. You must advise CIBTvisas of your Mid-Cruise Adventures or Overnight Journeys, as the visa requirements for these vacation enhancements may vary from those required for your cruise.