Crystal Overland Adventures: Highlights of the Holy Land, Double Occupancy
Discover some of the most revered sites of biblical times with this one-night Overland Adventure, a journey that traces the steps of Jesus and illuminates the events of the ancient world. Explore Mount Zion and the Old City of Jerusalem, visit Bethlehem, experience the Garden of Gethsemane and appreciate views of the Sea of Galilee, the Golan Heights and Jordan Valley. Along the way, encounter such sights as the Church of All Nations, the Room of the Last Supper, King David’s Tomb, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Church of the Nativity and the Western Wall, seeing this latter sight at night, when it is most mesmerizing. You will even enjoy a float in the Dead Sea, marveling at both its mineral-rich composition and historical significance.
DurationApproximately 1 night/2 days
Depart Ashdod and make the journey to Jerusalem, stopping en route at the Mount of Olives to admire panoramic views of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.
From here, transfer to the bottom of the mountain to visit the Garden of Gethsemane, famous as the place where Jesus prayed with his disciples the night before he was crucified. Adjacent to this hallowed site is the Church of All Nations, also called the Basilica of Agony. Built between 1919 and 1924 using funds from twelve nations, the church features a domed roof, thick pillars and intricate floor mosaics, all of which give the structure a Byzantine flair.
Appreciate the church’s architecture and place in history before making your way to Mount Zion, the hill just outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. During a guided walk, discover all three of Mount Zion’s most famous sites. First, there is the Room of the Last Supper, a groin-vaulted, mostly empty space occupying the site where, according to the account of the Gospel, Jesus shared his final meal with his disciples.
Directly below the second-story room and reached by an interior staircase is King David’s Tomb, one of the most visited and venerated sites of the Jewish people.
Nearby is Dormition Abbey, a massive structure topped by an enormous conical dome embraced by castle-like towers. The Benedictine basilica is situated on the spot where, according to tradition, the Blessed Virgin Mary died, an event historically described as “falling asleep.”
Your Jerusalem visit next takes you to the walled Old City for a walking discovery of its primary highlights. Enter via the Zion Gate, scene of some of the fiercest fighting during the siege of 1948, and follow your guide by foot along the main thoroughfare called the Cardo and through the Armenian and Jewish quarters. In the Christian Quarter, see the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, site of Jesus’s crucifixion, burial and resurrection. Within this 12th-century 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. Golgotha is considered one of the most important of the 14 Stations of the Cross.
Exit the Old City through the Jaffa Gate and rejoin your motor coach for the transfer to a local restaurant for lunch.
After your meal, make the half-hour journey to Bethlehem, renowned as the birthplace of Jesus and David and site of the crowning of David as King of Israel. On arrival, walk from the motor coach parking area and up the hill to see one of the oldest continuously operating churches in the world, the aptly-named Church of the Nativity. Built over the birthplace of Jesus, the complex is comprised of two churches and the grotto where Jesus is said to have been born. During your visit, appreciate the facades and interior spaces of the main basilica, built in the Roman style, and the adjoining Church of St. Catherine, characterized by Gothic revival architecture.
Then walk back downhill to rejoin your motor coach for the transfer to a souvenir center, where you will enjoy about 25 minutes to do some browsing.
Perhaps with a memento or two in hand, make the motor-coach journey back to Jerusalem, passing the government district, Knesset (Parliament) and Supreme Court before arriving at your hotel.
After check-in and dinner at the hotel, become entranced by the evocative history and intrigue of Jerusalem with a scenic, nighttime drive around the illuminated city walls and monuments, followed by a moonlit visit to the Western (Wailing) Wall, one of the holiest sites in the Jewish world.
A day rich in cultural discoveries drawing to a close, return to your hotel for your overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Check out of your hotel and board your motor coach for travels that will ultimately deliver you to Haifa, where your Crystal ship awaits.
Along the way, venture through the Negev Desert and descend 3,600 feet toward the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth at more than 1,300 feet below sea level.
Here, you will have the opportunity of a lifetime—to experience the exquisite sensation of floating effortlessly on the buoyant 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. There will be some time to enjoy lunch at an area hotel and avail yourself of the hotel facilities, including the spa, beach and pool.
Refreshed, rejoin your motor coach and make your way north along the shores of the Dead Sea to reach the Qumran Caves, where in 1947, a Bedouin shepherd boy discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls, the world’s oldest known biblical transcripts.
Stop at a viewpoint over the caves and proceed via the Jordan Valley to the Sea of Galilee for your visit to the Yardenit baptismal site. Located on the Jordan River, the site hosts an average of 400,000 visitors a year from all faiths.
Next, head to Alumot, a kibbutz formed in 1936. Pause to admire panoramic views of the lake, the Golan Heights and the Jordan Valley.
Your two-day immersion in the storied traditions of Israel is drawing to a close. Make your way to the pier in Haifa with a journey of about one hour and 15 minutes, eager to share your impressions of the Holy Land with friends and family.
This overland commences in Ashdod and concludes in Haifa. Guests must be a minimum of 12 years old in order to participate. Although sights visited are manual wheelchair accessible, guests must be able to embark and disembark the motor coach with little to no assistance. All wheelchair guests must be accompanied by a family member or assistant and all manual wheelchairs must be collapsible and easily stored on board the motor coach. Advanced notice must be given to accommodate wheelchair guests. It is recommended that guests dress in conservative casual clothing, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen, as well as wear flat, comfortable shoes. Shoulders and knees must be covered; sleeveless shirts and shorts are not allowed. Guests are limited to one (1) piece of luggage per person, not to exceed 25 pounds in weight. Traffic conditions may affect the duration of this excursion. As this program involves extensive walking over uneven and sometimes steep surfaces, it is not recommended for guests with physical and/or walking difficulties. Single hotel accommodations are extremely limited. The order of sights visited may vary. This excursion will operate in all weather conditions. A minimum number of bookings is required for this excursion to operate. See information concerning special cancellation conditions below. This Crystal Adventures excursion MUST be pre-reserved.
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 email@example.com or you may fax your cancellation to (310) 286-2412.