This is CruiseMapper's list of "Holy Land Cruises", providing information on major lines' scheduled itineraries. Cruises to Holy Land are the most special group of Middle East cruises visiting ports in Israel and Egypt. Deals are generally inclusive of religious (Christian-themed) tours.
On these unique voyages passengers discover ancient cultures and some of the most impressive and magnificent architectural sites in the world. Holy Land tours feature visiting important Christian, Islamic and Jewish religious sites included as signature destinations in all themed shore excursions in the Middle East region. This review article is integrated with Christian Cruises, our hub for Theme Cruises and Suez Canal Cruises.
Middle East / Holy Land Cruises to Israel and Egypt
The Middle East features so many topographical contrasts- from vast deserts to lush valleys - this is one of the perfect destinations to become an adventurer! On some Middle East cruises you will be also transiting the Suez Canal (from Mediterranean to Red Sea, or the reverse).
Part of the "Middle East Cruises" group, Holy Land cruise tours deals may also include visiting Eastern Mediterranean ports in Greece or Turkey. When you have to fly a long distance for your Holy Land or Middle East cruise, better arrive at the departure port one or two days in advance, and you will have time to rest. Get oriented before you board the ship- most lines offer pre-cruise packages with hotel stays, and even guided city tours.
Holy Land voyages are derivative of Eastern Mediterranean itinerary group, but "Holy Land Cruises" always visit Israel and Egypt - calling on ports of Haifa and/or Ashdod in Israel, and Alexandria or Port Said in Egypt. A cruise ship vacation to Holy Land will promise a rich in history voyage and much adventure. The today's fate of Jerusalem is at the center of Middle East unrest. But in spite of all religious fighting and political maneuvering you will find the Holy Land cruise being an unmatched destination itself. This is a very special itinerary and an unique combination of history, climate, natural beauty, and meaning. After you visit Jerusalem, you will be changed forever. The Holy Land is a history destination, it will both educate and fascinate you.
While sailing on Holy Land cruises in the Eastern Mediterranean, guests are able to see some of the most beautiful and historically most special countries in the world! These Mediterranean voyages will not only take you to Holy Land's territories (Jerusalem, West Bank, Gaza). On Holy Land cruises as itinerary you will have the opportunity to see all major Mediterranean countries - Italy and Greece. Many routes also include visiting Cyprus in combination with Turkey and some of the most popular of the Greek Islands. See the Holy City of Jerusalem, the Pyramids of Giza, the Roman Colosseum and Parthenon, all while spending your fun exciting days at sea. The lines' onboard enrichment programs provide quality learning experiences from highly educated guest lecturers.
Get to know our offers for the "Lands of the Bible"- "Holy Land Cruises", with various departure points and lines to choose from. Travel aboard Holland America, Celebrity or Princess cruise lines ships, or the smaller but so popular for this destination Oceania Cruises ships. All of them offer affordable luxury cruise travel deals. MSC and Costa Cruises' Holy Land voyages are some of the cheapest on the market. Sailing aboard Azamara, Crystal, Seabourn or Regent ships offers a boutique style and more intimate cruising with all-inclusive luxury deals - and some of the highest rates on the market.
Holy Land cruise vacations reveal the charms of both modern and ancient world. Whilst these are not the traditional cruising call ports, Holy Land itineraries offer the unique chance to experience something different- just read and choose!
Holy Land Cruise Tours
The following map shows the cities and main religious sites visited on a classic Holy Land cruise tour.
- Rome, Italy. The eternal Rome has something for everyone’s taste- stunning architecture, ancient history, lots of art galleries and shops. Visit one of the many marvels in this extraordinary city, stroll its beautiful streets, enjoy the delicious Italian food.
- Alexandria, Egypt. Another spot with so much ancient history to discover! The catacombs and Pompey’s Pillar hold secrets of a different era. Visit the impressive fort, join for an excursion/tour to Cairo and see the Pyramids. Or enjoy a relaxing day on the beach! There is plenty of choice.
- Athens, Greece. A centre for the philosophy, arts and learning, home of Aristotle's Lyceum and Plato's Academy, widely referred to as the birthplace of democracy and cradle of Western civilization.
- Ephesus, Turkey. Ephesus is well-known for the Temple of Artemis, which is one of the seven wonders of the world and popular tourist destination. Add to this the opportunity for snorkeling or lazing on the beach is nearby. For the thrill seekers- try the Kusadasi's "Adaland" AquaPark.
- Jerusalem. One of the oldest cities in the whole world, is considered holy to the Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital. Israel's primary governmental institutions are maintained there, but neither claim is recognized internationally.
- Tel Aviv, Israel. In 2003 the "White City" was designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it comprises the largest concentration of Bauhaus buildings in the world. Tel Aviv is also known as an economic and technological hub, home to Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, research centers and corporate offices.
Additional itinerary information - a list of feature Mediterranean ports on cruises to Holy Land, with local coach transfers to the pertaining city:
- Haifa is the port for Jerusalem, Israel
- Ashdod is the port for Tel Aviv, Israel
- Alexandria and Port Said are cruise ports for Cairo, Egypt
- Piraeus is the port for Athens, Greece
- Ephesus is the port for Kusadasi, Turkey
- Other visited ports for this destination are: in Cyprus (Limassol), in Turkey (Antalya, Alanya or Marmaris), and also the Greek Islands (Patmos, Rhodes, Santorini, Mykonos).
- The most popular and convenient Mediterranean cruise ports of departure to Holy Land are Rome (Chitavecchia port transfer), Athens (from the Piraeus port) and Istanbul. Sometimes (although rarely) Holy Land itineraries may start also from Venice, and UK (Southampton roundtrip). The longest itineraries start from Florida ports (Miami or Fort Lauderdale mostly) combining the pilgrimage voyage to Holy Land with a Transatlantic crossing.
"Holy Land Cruise" Itinerary Maps
The following maps show Holy Land cruise itineraries leaving out of:
- Port Civitavecchia (Rome, Italy)
- Port Piraeus (Athens, Greece)
- Port Istanbul (Turkey)
- Port Southampton (England UK)
Next are shown itinerary maps of Israel cruise tours to Holy Land.
Holy Land's Significance
- The description "Holy Land" as a distinct geographic area which encompasses the Palestinian territories, modern-day Israel, Jordan, and parts of Syria.
- "Holy Land" is the term that in Judaism refers to the Israel Land. Non-Jews and Jews traditionally refer to this area as Palestine- "The Holy Land, or Palestine, with the Ancient Kingdoms of Judah and Israel in which the twelve Tribes have been distinguished.
- The term is used also by Christians and Muslims alike to refer to the area between Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, i.e. it includes modern Palestine and Israel.
- The Holy Land significance stems partially from Jerusalem's religious significance- the holiest to Judaism city, the site of Jesus's ministry. Because of the holiness of this land to Christianity, it was a part of the motives for Crusades against the Muslim Suljuq Turks- European Christians wanted to win Holy Land back. After defeating the Arabs, they had taken it over- Muslim Arabs in turn, had taken control from Christian Byzantine Empire.
- Many Holy Land religious sites have been pilgrimage and tour destinations for a long time and adherents of Abrahamic religions- Christians, Jews, Muslims, have often visited them. Pilgrims who visit this sites on group guided tours to Holy Land want to connect personally to Holy Land, touch and see the physical manifestations of faith; to confirm their beliefs with collective excitement.
- Regarded as the holiest cities of Judaism, are the Four Holy Cities in Israel: Hebron, Tzfat, Tiberias, and Jerusalem (considered especially significant as the site of Temple). Jerusalem is Mount Moriah, according to Jewish tradition this is the location of binding of Isaac. In the Hebrew Bible it is mentioned about Jerusalem 669 times.
- Christians consider the Land of Israel holy because they associate it with the birth, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. All Christians regard Jesus as the Savior (Messiah). According to the Bible, the Holy Land territories are the land of the Jews, God's people. Christian books (including Bible's editions) often had Holy Land maps, considered to be Samaria, Galilee, Judea.
And this is what the wise Wikipedia guys have to say on the subject of Holy Land and the world's major religions - Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
Note: In the following table, all links are CruiseMapper (internal). They lead to the ship's cruise itinerary schedule where you can compare all dates and prices per person).
lines / ships (CruiseMapper internal links)
Regent Seven Seas / Seven Seas Navigator
Regent Seven Seas / Seven Seas Voyager
Celebrity Cruises / Celebrity Silhouette
Celebrity Cruises / Celebrity Constellation
Holland America / ms Prinsendam
Oceania Cruises / Oceania Insignia
Oceania Cruises / Oceania Nautica
Oceania Cruises / Oceania Marina
Oceania Cruises / Oceania Sirena
Seabourn / Seabourn Encore
TUI Cruises / Mein Schiff 1
TUI Cruises / Mein Schiff 3
AIDA Cruises / AIDAaura
AIDA Cruises / AIDAstella
Azamara Cruises / Azamara Journey
Azamara Cruises / Azamara Quest
Phoenix Reisen / Amadea
P&O Cruises / Arcadia
Crystal Cruises / Crystal Serenity
Crystal Cruises / Crystal Symphony
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises / ms Europa
Thomson Cruises / Thomson Spirit
Viking Cruises / Viking Star
Viking Cruises / Viking Orion