Israeli cruise ship to sail for Egypt

First Israeli foray into market will dock in Alexandria and Port Said.

By RON FRIEDMAN
August 17, 2010 02:49
2 minute read.
Passenger ferry [file]

311_cruise ship. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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For the first time ever, an Israeli cruise ship will voyage to Egypt. Yeshtours, the operators of Israel’s luxury cruise ship Magic 1, announced on Monday that it would commence voyages to Alexandria and Port Said starting mid-September.

With demand for voyages to Turkey falling after the Israeli raid on the Turkish flotilla in May, the company was searching for new destinations for its many returning customers, CEO Itzik Lugassi told The Jerusalem Post.

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“The solution that lent itself most readily was Egypt,” he said.

“Currently, we voyage mainly to Cyprus and the Greek Islands, but since many of our passengers, roughly 30 percent, are returning clients, we saw a need to diversify. Our product presents an attractive alternative for tourists who are accustomed to the all-inclusive resorts in Turkey. For $350, clients get a four-night vacation in a floating resort and also get to visit some of the most desirable tourist destinations in the world. You can’t find a bargain like that anywhere else, now that Turkey is no longer on the map,” said Lugassi.

The first voyage is scheduled to leave the Ashdod port on September 12. Its first port of call will be Alexandria. Afterward passengers will voyage overnight to Port Said and dock there, before returning to Israel.

“Because of its proximity, Egypt is the best alternative destination we can find. Unfortunately, the other countries that surround Israel tend to be enemy states, where we can’t visit,” said Lugassi.

“We believe there will be much demand for the voyage, especially among Jews of Egyptian heritage and Arab Israelis."



“The journey will include guided tours of the pyramids and other archeological sites as well as visits to the local and colorful markets, which are stacked with the cheap and varied products much loved by Israeli tourists. The tour will also include visits to Egypt’s famous nightclubs, which host the best belly dancers,” said Lugassi.

“While on board, the passengers will have a chance to enjoy all the luxuries our ship has to offer, including three rich meals, a talented entertainment crew, a day-care center for children, a spa and a casino for those who like to gamble.”

Lugassi stressed that all security requirements were met and that the company had received the required permits from the Transportation Ministry.

“We have security staff on the ship and are in contact with Egyptian agents on the shore who arrange all the travel requirements for the tours. All the passengers need to worry about is issuing a visa prior to the voyage.”

Lugassi said that so far the response from customers was favorable and that people started booking cabins for the voyage as soon as the offer was published on the company’s Web site.

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