When not contributing to Israellycool, I work in a company that arranges private tours of Israel. Yesterday my boss – who also happens to be a tour guide – was guiding some visitors who had arrived in the country on the luxury cruise ship – Seven Seas Mariner, of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. That morning upon docking in Haifa they were surprised to have the following flyer slipped under their door (apologies for the quality of the scan).
The reason they were taken aback was that Haifa was not the first port of call. They had set sail from Athens, and had already called at Santorini and Crete, but this was the first port where they had been warned that health standards were “not up to the standards that we have come to expect in our home countries”.
Our tourists felt that this was insulting to Israel, and I have to agree with them. For the information of Regent Seven Seas Cruises:
- The tap water in Israel is quite drinkable. It may not taste very good, but its perfectly safe to drink.
- Fruits and vegetables in Israel are of a superb quality and are the envy of many Northern European countries who import them when their own ground has frozen. Despite our small size, and that only 20% of our land is arable, Israel is self sufficient AND is a major exporter of fresh produce. In addition, our agricultural technologies are exported all over the world wherever crop yields and quality are problematic.
- If you are telling your passengers to avoid the local cuisine and only eat in “major hotel chains, international resorts and restaurants”, you may as well tell them to stay on your ship. Israeli cuisine is superb, and even the street food is perfectly safe to eat. Imagine not eating a felafel when in Israel!!
Next port of call is in Cyprus and then Turkey before returning to Greek waters. We’ve asked our tourists to let us know if they receive this “warning” in other ports and I’ll keep you posted.