A number of people have contacted me about taking a private tour when their cruise ship docks at the Ashdod port. There are a number of ways of getting from the port to Jerusalem or other destination.
- I’m on a cruise ship that will be docking in Ashdod for the day – how can I get from the port and organize my own private tour of Jerusalem?
- What is the tour itinerary? Will I see as much as the people who take the cruise ship tour?
- Are other tours besides Jerusalem available?
- What about shopping?
- Is it easy and safe to hail a taxi for the journey from Ashdod port to Jerusalem?
- Is the intercity bus relatively easy to catch from Ashdod?
- How much (approximately) for each, and is US dollars the preferred currency to use or the NIS (New Israeli Shekel)?
- Do you recommend a certain company for a sherut (shared minivan) ?
- Is your guide rate fixed, or does it increase based on the number of people attending?
I’m on a cruise ship that will be docking in Ashdod for the day – how can I get from the port and organize my own private tour of Jerusalem?
Rather than joining one of the fixed bus tours (walking tour of Old City and Bethlehem being herded along with 45 other tourists) organized by the cruise company contact me to arrange your own personal tour, see the things you’re interested in, at your own pace and because you are a smaller group it is much easier to explore the city, experience the culture, interact with people, eat at local restaurants, etc.
I can make the arrangements for you to be picked up at the port and driven to Jerusalem; after your tour, the taxi will drive you back to your boat. If you’re more adventurous, you can arrange your own transportation which will work out cheaper (see below).
What is the tour itinerary? Will I see as much as the people who take the cruise ship tour?
The itinerary is similar but you’ll get to do and see a lot more and it’s a completely different experience. After their tour I emailed my clients the itinerary. Here’s what the client said:
Thank you so much for your email with the details of our tour itinerary, it will help no end in labeling my photos. I was expecting Jerusalem to be the highlight of the whole trip and it was. Your personal tour made the day and we will highly recommend you to anyone who needs a guide. We spoke to a person on the ship who had taken the cruise tour and was very dissatisfied due to the large crowds and inability to move about or to see properly, which only emphasized how lucky we were to have you guide us.
Pete and Milli
Are other tour destinations besides Jerusalem available?
Yes. A tour of Masada, Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea is a popular one but you don’t have to hope that the cruise ship will be able to organize an alternate tour. With a private tour you can work out whatever itinerary you are interested in, limited by the time available. Click here for some sample tours.
What about shopping?
It’s completely up to you – if you don’t want to take time out from touring we won’t; if you want time to pick up some gifts or souvenirs, we’ll do that. It’s your tour.
Is it easy and safe to hail a taxi for the journey from Ashdod port to Jerusalem?
There are taxis that will be waiting and happy to take you from the port to Jerusalem and I will meet you. Taxi fare one-way Ashdod-Jerusalem is about 350 NIS (approximately $100 US).
To arrange for a taxi you can call these Ashdod taxi companies at +972 8 852-111 or +972 8 854-0540 (from outside Israel) – take the shuttle bus to the gate to meet the taxi.
Is the intercity bus relatively easy to catch from Ashdod?
You would have to get to the Ashdod central bus station by taxi from the port. Bus 448 at 10:30, 11:30, etc. platform 2. It costs 19.70 NIS one way, slightly cheaper if you get a return ticket. Alternatively, there is also sherut (shared 10 person taxi/minivan) service.
How much (approximately) for each, and is US dollars the preferred currency to use or the NIS (New Israeli Shekel)?
Taxis and sherut will accept US dollars but they won’t necessarily give you the best exchange rate. The best deal is to withdraw cash from your US bank account with your Debit card at an ATM in Israel in NIS. For the current exchange rates click on http://www.bankisrael.gov.il/eng.shearim/index.php
I know the drive to Jerusalem from Ashdod is about an hour away, how long will it take the intercity bus?
The Egged bus company says an hour and 23 minutes (depending on traffic), but remember that is bus station to bus station, you’d still have to get from the port to the bus (by taxi) and from the bus station in Jerusalem to the Old City.
Is your guide rate fixed, or does it increase based on the number of people attending?
My guiding rate does not depend on the number of people (within limits). That is because I break out the costs for a tour and the client pays his/her own entrance fees, transportation, food and accommodation (on a per person basis). In this way the client controls the costs. In fact, if you can organize to share the cost of a tour with a few other people that you have met on the cruise that’s fine with me (just let me know the number of people so that I can help arrange the appropriate vehicle).