Port Haifa is Israel's principal/main and largest seaport, both by cargo and passenger/cruise shipping volumes. The Port is located on the Mediterranean and along the north side of Mt Carmel/Mount Mar Elias. Depending on the cruise company, both Port Ashdod and Port Haifa are used as cruise ports to Tel Aviv-Yafo and Jerusalem (Israel's capital). By population (around 280,000), Haifa City is Israel's third-largest - following Jerusalem (~800K) and Tel Aviv (~450K).
Haifa is also the cruise port to Nazareth (approx 45 km / 28 mi to the east, or ~40 min drive distance). In Nazareth, tourists visit the Basilica of the Annunciation, the Church of St Joseph (the site of Joseph's carpentry shop) and St Mary's Well.
Port Haifa (locode ILHFA) is approx 90 km (57 mi to the north) from Tel Aviv and approx 150 km (90 mi to the southeast) from Jerusalem. The driving distance from Haifa to Jerusalem is 2 hours, to Tel Aviv - 1 hour. Tel Aviv is easily accessible from the railway station located near Haifa Cruise Terminal (train travel time is 40-60 min).
Haifa Port's current infrastructure includes two containership terminals, two multi-purpose cargo terminals, a R0-Ro terminal (serving vehicle carriers), and a cruise terminal. The Port has total quay length 2,9 km / ~2 mi and max draft/water depth between 11-16,5 m / 36-55 ft.
IMPORTANT: On July 14, 2022, Israel announced the sale of Haifa Port to APSEZ (Adani Ports & SEZ Ltd/Special Economic Zone/India's largest port operator and logistics company) and Gadot Group (Israeli chemical company) for Israeli shekels/ILS 4,1 billion (USD 1,18B). The successful bidding in the Port's privatization tender allowed the Adani-Gadot consortium (70/30) to buy all (100%) of Haifa Port Company Ltd's shares under a 32-year concession (through 2054).
In 2021, Port Haifa handled nearly 50% of Israel’s freight volume (1,46 million TEU-containers and 2,56 million tons of cargoes), most of which (~70%) is with Adani Ports and the remaining ~30% with Gadot.
Western Port (the old Haifa Port) was built in 1933 as Palestine's first modern harbor waterway. However, it blocked the city from the waterfront. Its wharves are narrow and outdated. New wharves for latest generation cargo vessels are planned for the new Eastern Port. There is a proposal for constructing a new Haifa Waterfront area. The development project transformed part of the port into a large public complex.
This city is ancient and special in its own right, with a famous fortress. In antiquity, it was known under the names "Sycaminum" and "Caiphas" (during the Christian Crusades in the 11th-12th centuries). In the 12th century, a castle built on the site by Crusaders was destroyed by Saladin, sultan of Syria and Egypt.
The city is also close to the Galilee Sea (aka Lake Tiberias/Kinneret/Kinnereth) - a freshwater lake encircled by a beautiful beach. In the past, the vicinity of the lake was well populated as some of Asia Minor's trade routes converged at the lake - a total of 9 cities flourished on its shores. The lake was also a center of an extensive fishing industry.
From Haifa, it is also possible to visit Jerusalem City - sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims alike. Most cruise ship passengers don't stay in Haifa, but instead book tours in Jerusalem or Bethlehem (up to 3-hour travel time). From Haifa start tours to Galilee, Acre, Nazareth, Caesarea. Due to the popularity of all these "Holy Land" travel destinations, many cruise liners stay in port overnight.
For season 2018, the cruise port had scheduled 34 ship calls with around 25,000 passengers. The port's record year was 2012 when it handled a total of 118 ship calls and approx 170,000 passengers. For season 2019, the port had scheduled 46 calls with around 60,000 passengers.
In Haifa is homeported the Mano Cruises ship Golden Iris. Departures are offered in the period March through November, with ~60 turnarounds (roundtrips) and approx 50,000 passengers annually.
Haifa cruise terminal
Haifa Port handles both ferries and cruise ships at its newly expanded cruise terminal. The facility is sized approx 5500 m2 (59200 ft2) and offers as amenities cafeteria, currency exchange, parking, terminal for tour buses, duty-free shopping, telecommunication center (free WiFi).
The nearest train station is under 5-min walking distance from the cruise terminal. The railway connects the seaport with Tel Aviv directly. The downtown is a 5-min easy walk from the Port.
Occasionally, complimentary bus shuttle service to the cruise port is also provided.
(NEW) Haifa cruise terminal
By the new redevelopment project for the old Western Port of Haifa, all new buildings are of warehouse design (industrial-looking linear structures) and 2-story high. The Port's old infrastructure (including gantry cranes, grain conveyors, roads, train tracks, etc) and all existing port facilities remained intact.
In the Port's east area, the 3 existing/abandoned warehouses were redesigned to form the "concrete cathedral" housing many public events and activities (bith commercial and cultural).
Among the project's main features are building a wide pedestrian waterfront promenade and spacious public space. The new promenade is lined up with small hotels, cafes, restaurants, outdoor food markets, among others. There are no shopping malls and new residential properties. The existing residential area (an Arab neighborhood) within the waterfront was renewed. The adjacent Navy Port will be also developed, with its wharves converted to a modern yacht marina.
Construction works also included building of pedestrian walkways, small streets and plazas. The plan was officially approved in 2013.
After its privatization in July 2023, Haifa Port contracted the construction engineering company Bermello, Ajamil & Partners Inc (1939-founded, subsidiary of BAP Development Inc) to design Israel's first purpose-built cruise terminal. BAP's cruise terminal design projects include the USA's ports of Miami FL, Seattle WA, San Francisco CA, NYC, Galveston TX, as well as Singapore.
Port Haifa cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Haifa, Tel Aviv-Nazareth, Israel. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
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