In October 2011 there is some exciting Mediterranean Cruises that stop for two days in Haifa Port and another two days in Ashdod Port. The typical land excursion offered by the cruise ship is over $150 USD/day/person. Marilyn and I offer you some more exciting options.
Let us take the example of the ships that first stop at Haifa Port. This is the gateway to the Galilee (e.g. Tzipori, Nazareth, Cana), including the Sea of Galilee (e.g. Mt. of Beatitudes, Capernaum, Tabghe, Peter's Primacy, Kursi) , and Golan Heights (Gamla Nature Reserve, Talmudic Village, Peace Village). It is convenient to return to overnight in your cabin/suite on your ship following the first day. The second day.
The second day would include the fabulous national archeological parks at Caesarea, Megiddo and on to overnight in Jerusalem - we recommend the Three Arches Hotel at the Jerusalem YMCA (across from the King David Hotel and within walking distance of the Old City.) We have a special rate at the Three arches for you at $120/room.
Day three starts with the Mt of Olives, a walk in the Old City, the City of David, the Davidson Archeological Park, Israel Museum, Yad Vashem and other fabulous site selections.
The final day of the tour is to the Dead Sea - Masada, walk in the nature reserve at Ein Gedi, visit the archeological site atQumran where the Dead Sea scrolls where found and the home of the Essene scribes. Oh, and of course, a dip in the Dead Sea!
Returning to Haifa Port for the first night is, in fact, very doable as the port is easily accessible and in the center of Haifa. This would permit one day of touring the Galilee including Christian sites around the Sea of Galilee and Golan Heights area and a second day at Caesarea, Megiddo and other sites south of Haifa.
Staying in Jerusalem is a wise decision. For one of the the two days in Jerusalem we could depend on taxis/buses and save some money on driver/vehicle. This would permit a through tour of Jerusalem day 3 and finishing up with the Dead Sea/Masada/Ein Gedi/Qumran Day 4 then back to the ship in Ashdod.
So my advice is for you to work out you7r plans with up to 10 other guests.
My guiding fee is set at $400/day. Vehicle/driver hires for a day are typically around $400. This is for a 10 passenger air conditioned van for 12 hours of service - maximum permitted by law.
Four days of guiding service is $1600 USD. Three days of vehicle/driver is $1200 USD. One day using taxis/buses in Jerusalem @$100 USD. Entrance fees per site (typically $10/person) Hotel in Jerusalem $120/night/couple.
I believe that none of the ship land excursions here offer any day trips for less then $125/person/day or the opportunities a private licensed guide can offer. That is what we can offer you.
Still interested - Great email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, call to my mobile 972-54-590-0223 or Skype me at mzober.
Thank you for considering visiting Israel.