Excursion

Crystal Overland Adventures: Jerusalem & Highlights of the Holy Land, Double Occupancy

Some of the most revered sites of biblical times are featured during this Crystal Overland Adventure, a journey that traces the steps of Jesus and illuminates events of the ancient world that still resonate today. Discover the ancient clifftop fortress of Masada and stop for a float in the Dead Sea on your way to Jerusalem, where you will stay overnight for a chance to immerse yourself in the evocative history and intrigue of one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. A visit to Bethlehem rounds out a memorable Holy Land experience.

  • Code
    ASH-OD
  • Level
    Moderate
  • Walking Type
  • Activity Type
    All
  • Age
  • Duration
    Approximately 1 night/2 days

New for 2018 - One-night Overland Adventure - This Crystal Adventures overland MUST be pre-reserved.

Day 1

Leaving the pier aboard your motor coach, head southeast towards the Judean Desert, enjoying travels that will take you through the city of Arad, located 260 feet above sea level, and continuing to the Dead Sea, located 1,350 below sea level.

Along the way, visit Masada, considered the most spectacular ancient archeological site in Israel. Arriving after a journey from the pier of about 2½ hours, stop for an approximately two-hour visit to this magnificent mountaintop fortress. Ascend by cable car to its clifftop perch and then explore the ancient ruins, which include King Herod’s three-tiered palace, the synagogue, the baths, the defensive walls and the cisterns.

Your Masada experience complete, enjoy lunch at a hotel overlooking the still waters of the Dead Sea.

After lunch, you will have the opportunity of a lifetime: to experience the exquisite sensation of floating effortlessly on the dense waters of the Dead Sea. With more salt and minerals than any other body of water in the world, the Dead Sea is claimed to benefit health and wellbeing. This is your chance to see for yourself if this is true.

Re-boarding your motor coach after your swim, travel north along the shores of the Dead Sea to a viewpoint at the Qumran Caves. It was here in 1947 that a Bedouin shepherd boy discovered the famous Dead Sea scrolls, the world’s oldest known biblical manuscripts.

Departing Qumran, ascend the Judean Hills, climbing to an elevation of 2,400 feet and passing Jericho before arriving at your hotel in Jerusalem.

Following check-in and dinner at the hotel, marvel at the sights of the city in one of its most striking forms – at night, with its city walls and monuments warmly illuminated by lights. A visit to the moonlit Western Wall will surely prove to be one of your most memorable experiences in the Holy Land.

A day rich in natural and cultural discoveries drawing to a close, return to your hotel for your overnight stay in Jerusalem.

Day 2

After breakfast at your hotel, check out and begin another day of exciting discoveries centering on the monuments and sights of Jerusalem, starting with a drive to the top of the Mount of Olives. Here, you will stop for about 30 minutes to hear explanations and admire breathtaking views of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.

Then venture by motor coach down the mountain and to Valley of Kidron for your visit to the Garden of Gethsemane, famous as the place where Jesus prayed with his disciples the night before he was crucified. Adjacent to this storied site is the Church of All Nations, also called the Basilica of Agony. Built between 1919 and 1924 using funds from twelve countries, the church boasts a domed roof, thick pillars and intricate floor mosaics, all of which give the structure a Byzantine flair.

Appreciate the church’s architectural and cultural significance before making your way to Jerusalem’s Old City, where you will begin a walking exploration at the Zion Gate, scene of some of the fiercest fighting during the siege of 1948. Enter the Jewish Quarter and see the Cardo, the main thoroughfare in Roman and Byzantine times. You will also visit the Room of the Last Supper, where Jesus had his last meal with his disciples and where the descent of the Holy Spirit took place. On the ground floor, see the Tomb of King David, one of the most visited and highly venerated places for the Jewish people.

Continue your walk to the Dormition Abbey, a massive structure topped by a high-domed bell tower, a conical dome and corner towers. This Benedictine basilica is built over the place where Mary, the mother of Jesus, “fell asleep.”

Another iconic landmark is the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, situated on the hill known as Golgotha, the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection. Within the church are two of the most holy symbols of Christianity: the traditional site of Golgotha, also known as Calvary, where Jesus was crucified, and the Tomb of Jesus, or the Holy Sepulcher.

Exit the old city from the Jaffa Gate, concluding your approximately two-hour walk to rejoin your motor coach and transfer to a local venue for lunch.

Afterward, make the half-hour journey south to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus and David, and where David was crowned King of Israel. On arrival, walk from the motor coach parking area up the hill to the Church of Nativity. Built over the birthplace of Jesus, the church is aptly named, and is one of the oldest continuously operating churches in the world. During your visit, study the facades and interior spaces of the main basilica, built in the Roman style, and see the adjoining Church of St. Catherine, characterized by Gothic revival architecture. Should time permit, you might also descend into the grotto beneath, where Jesus is said to have been born.

Then walk back downhill to rejoin your motor coach for the transfer to a souvenir center, where you will enjoy about 25 minutes to browse for a memento of your Bethlehem experience.

Your Overland adventure concluding, make your way north back to Jerusalem. Pass the government district, the Knesset (parliament) and the Supreme Court before turning west for the last leg of your journey to Ashdod, where your Crystal ship awaits.

Important Notes:
Guests must be a minimum of 12 years old in order to participate. Guests should be aware that this excursion involves an extensive amount of travel by motor coach, including an approximately 2½-hour transfer from the pier in Ashdod to Masada, and an approximately 90-minute return transfer to the pier from Jerusalem; however, the fascinating sights included in this excursion are its main focus and more than compensate for the length of the journey. Traffic conditions may affect the duration of this excursion. As this overland involves extensive walking over uneven and sometimes steep surfaces, it is not recommended for guests with physical and/or walking difficulties. This overland is not wheelchair accessible. Guests should dress conservatively for their visits to the holy sites. Shorts and sleeveless tops are not permitted. It is recommended that guests dress in layered clothing and wear flat, comfortable shoes. Due to the popularity of sights visited, crowding may be anticipated. The order of sights visited may vary. See information concerning special cancellation conditions below. This Crystal Adventures excursion MUST be pre-reserved.

Availability:
Limited

SPECIAL CANCELLATION CONDITIONS
If cancellation of the above Crystal Adventure is made within 30 days of arrival in the excursion port, there will be a 100% cancellation fee charged to the guest's shipboard account. In the event guests cancel their cruise within 30 days of arrival in the excursion port, this cancellation fee will be charged through the Crystal Cruises corporate office.

All Crystal Adventures with Special Cancellation Conditions can only be canceled in writing to Crystal Cruises. Please e-mail your cancellation to
crystaladventures@crystalcruises.com or you may fax your cancellation to (310) 286-2412.