By BRIAN BLONDY
While abroad on holiday, finding a suitable kosher restaurant is not a simple task for those with a discriminating palate.In recent years though, a travel industry is emerging which combines five-star gourmet kosher fare with travel to exotic destinations.With demand for catered kosher tours at its highest, tour operator Eddie’s Travel has announced five new kosher cruises scheduled for this summer.Produced in conjunction with Kosherica, a leading organizer of kosher cruises since 1995, the offerings include cruises headed for the Mediterranean, Alaska and the Baltic Sea, and tours along the US-Canada border.As one of the key movers in this industry, Eddie’s Travel CEO David Walles believes this sector is growing quickly because it is now becoming more affordable to travel completely kosher and to visit the array of destinations previously thought impossible due to a lack of culinary options.In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Walles explained that the uniqueness of kosher travel stems from its diversity in destinations and daily food options for everyone. Walles is ecstatic that the commonality of keeping kosher can bring people from all sectors of the Jewish world together.“Our kosher cruises provide a common denominator of people who want to observe Shabbat and kashrut and have a Jewish experience,” he said. “On board, we provide the framework for the experience by having kashrut-certified food prepared by winning Israeli chefs and a wide variety of customized Jewish entertainment options.”Walles said that an abundance of global travel destinations is often not considered optional by the Jewish Anglo community due to a lack of English being spoken there. He admits that finding kosher food is one of the biggest obstacles.According to Walles, a cruise holiday has weathered the storm of the recession, providing great value to acquire a total Jewish cultural experience.The travel packages are hosted on ultra-modern luxury liners from the top names in the industry, such as Celebrity, Holland American and Costa. With prices ranging from $2,000 to $9,000 per person, keeping kosher abroad, while relaxing at sea, can be available at all price points.“Our main focus has been on the Jewish cruise market, and providing hotels for Pessah and Succot,” said Walles. “Though now with kosher cruises, we have created a completely new niche for observant Jews. On our cruises there is something for everyone keeping kosher, and that’s the beauty of what a cruise can do for an observant family. Many families bring their whole family on board, from people in their 30s with their young families to great grandparents in their 80s bringing generations to all be together.”With distinguished scholars in residence, such as Rabbi Marvin Hier ofthe Simon Weisenthal Center, and Jewish entertainers Dudu Fisher andAvraham Fried on board, staying stimulated and entertained on board iseasy for all.In addition, Eddie’s Travel is organizing and designing separate landtravel kosher packages for 16 people and up, catering to once neverconsidered non-kosher destinations such as China, India, South Americaand Australia.While the tours may not be suitable for youngsters in their 20s lookingfor fun and partying, Eddie’s Travel scores by offeringkosher-observant families the opportunity to experience five-starkosher cuisine and luxury accommodations, while seeing some of the mostinteresting ports of call they never considered visiting.
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