Mediterranean Cruise from Rome

MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE FROM ROME

KOSHER CRUISE

AUGUST 21 - 28, 2019
7 NIGHTS

Norwegian Cruise Line Epic

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PROMO VIDEO
SCHOLARS IN RESIDENCE:
Rabbi Ahron Yoel (AJ) Kushner
Rabbi Abraham Cohen
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ITINERARY

Day 1, Wed, August 21
Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy
Departs 7:00pm

Day 2, Thu, August 22
Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy
Arrives 7:00am - Departs 7:00pm

Day 3, Fri, August 23
Cannes, France
Arrives 8:00am - Departs 6:00pm

Day 4, Sat, August 24
Palma, Majorca, Spain
Arrives 1:00pm - Departs 8:00pm

Day 5, Sun, August 25
Barcelona, Spain
Arrives 5:00am - Departs 6:00pm

Day 6, Mon, August 26
At Sea

Day 7, Tue, August 27
Naples, Italy
Arrives 7:00am - Departs 7:00pm

Day 8, Wed, August 28
Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy
Arrives 6:00am

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ACCOMMODATIONS

Select the Cabin Category you would like, and then scroll to the bottom of this form to select the number of travelers and submit it.

Inside Stateroom
CATEGORY
DESCRIPTION
PRICE
IF$2,710 
IE$2,720 
ID$2,735 
ICMid-Ship Inside$2,745 
IBMid-Ship Inside$2,770 
IAMid-Ship Inside$2,790 

Norwegian Epic Inside Staterooms are a great and accommodation for up to two guests. They feature a separate bathroom with shower and two lower beds that convert into a queen-size bed. Total Approx. Size: 128 sq. ft.

Balcony Stateroom
CATEGORY
DESCRIPTION
PRICE
BFSize: 203-230 sq. ft. Balcony Size: 37-79 sq. ft.$3,135 
BESize: 203-230 sq. ft. Balcony Size: 37-79 sq. ft.$3,460  Waitlist
BDSize: 203-230 sq. ft. Balcony Size: 37-79 sq. ft.$3,180  Waitlist
BCMid-Ship Balcony - Size: 203-257 sq. ft. Balcony Size: 52-65 sq. ft.$3,205 
BBMid-Ship Balcony - Size: 203-257 sq. ft. Balcony Size: 52-65 sq. ft.$3,240  Waitlist
B6Large Balcony - Size: 203-258 sq. ft. Balcony Size: 52-107 sq. ft.$3,265  Waitlist
BAMid-Ship Balcony - Size: 203-257 sq. ft. Balcony Size: 52-65 sq. ft.$3,265 
B4Family Balcony - Size: 188-248 sq. ft. Balcony Size: 37-97 sq. ft.$3,275  Waitlist
B3Family Balcony - Size: 188-248 sq. ft. Balcony Size: 37-97 sq. ft.$3,295  Waitlist
B1Aft-Facing Balcony - Size: 205-221 sq. ft. Balcony Size: 54-70 sq. ft.$3,355  Waitlist
B9Spa Balcony - Size: 203 sq. ft. Balcony Size: 52 sq. ft.$3,470  Waitlist

See the world unfold right in front of you. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors open to your own sweeping balcony. Well-appointed and spacious style awaits you back inside.

Mini Suite
CATEGORY
DESCRIPTION
PRICE
MDMid-Ship Mini Suite - Size: 241 sq. ft. Balcony Size: 52 sq. ft.$3,675  Waitlist
MCMid-Ship Mini Suite - Size: 241 sq. ft. Balcony Size: 52 sq. ft.$3,700  Waitlist
MBMid-Ship Mini Suite - Size: 241 sq. ft. Balcony Size: 52 sq. ft.$3,720  Waitlist
MAMid-Ship Mini Suite - Size: 241 sq. ft. Balcony Size: 52 sq. ft.$3,760  Waitlist
M3Family Mini-Suite - Size: 241 sq. ft. Balcony Size: 52 sq. ft.$3,780  Waitlist
M9Spa Mini Suite - Size: 241 sq. ft. Balcony Size: 52 sq. ft.$3,960  Waitlist

There's nothing mini about it. Spacious, stylish suites let you unwind with indulgences like fine linens, luxury bath, sliding glass doors and a private balcony.

Suite
CATEGORY
DESCRIPTION
PRICE
H6The Haven Aft-Facing Penthouse with Balcony - Size: 319 sq. ft. Balcony Size: 81 sq. ft.$5,595  Waitlist
H9The Haven Spa Suite with Balcony - Size: 317-378 sq. ft. Balcony Size: 79-140 sq. ft.$6,135  Waitlist
H5The Haven Courtyard Penthouse with Balcony - Size: 322 sq. ft. Balcony Size: 84 sq. ft.$6,255  Waitlist
H4The Haven 2-Bedroom Family Villa with Balcony - Size: 504 sq. ft. Balcony Size: 54 sq. ft.$7,515  Waitlist
H2The Haven Deluxe Owner's Suite with Large Balcony - Size: 852 sq. ft. Balcony Size: 121 sq. ft.$9,195  Waitlist

Indulge in luxury and privacy. Modern, spacious suites perfect for the two of you or the whole family. First-class amenities include large balconies, butlers and more.

Number of travelers in your room:

Book Your Cruise

  • Please enter a number from 1 to 100.
  • Rates are subject to change without notice.
  • All rates are per person based on double occupancy.
  • Gratuities not included – unless indicated.
  • $1000 per person deposit due at time of booking.
  • Single rate is 170% in all categories.
  • 3rd/4th person rate (all Categories) is $1950 (adult or child).
  • Capacity for 3rd/4th passenger may not be available for all cabin categories.
  • Travel insurance is strongly recommended.
  • These rates do not include port charges and taxes of $89.63
  • This rate does not include prepaid gratuities:
    • $14.50 per guest per day for any category up to a Mini-Suite stateroom.
    • $17.50 per guest per day for any suite or Haven category.

Cancellation Policy:
Bookings are refundable less $100 administration fee per person until 130 days before sailing. Less than 130 days: 100% of total - no refund.
We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance.

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VIDEO TESTIMONIALS

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BROCHURE

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TRAVEL INSURANCE

SCHOLAR IN RESIDENCE

Rabbi Ahron Yoel (AJ) Kushner

Rabbi Ahron Yoel (AJ) Kushner is an ordained rabbi and graduate of Telshe Rabbinical College. He continued his studies at Kollel Torah LIFE Institute, and in 2010 went on to become a rabbi at Agudas Achim Congregation in Canton, Ohio.
He is a member of the Agudas Harabonim of the Mid-West as well as the Vaad Harabonim of Cleveland.
He does various services for the Cleveland and Canton communities in addition to being a chaplain for the police department, prison system and the community hospital.

Rabbi Abraham Cohen

Rabbi Abraham Cohen was ordained from the Central Lubavitch Yeshiva, Brooklyn NY, in 1987. Since receiving his ordination Rabbi Cohen has worked as an emissary of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Following his Smicha, Rabbi Cohen married and settled in Montreal and has labored tirelessly with many members of the community to bring awareness and Jewish identity in their lives. Many families are in the path of Torah and Mitzvos thanks to his involvement and dedication with their day to day life.
In 1997, through the efforts of many dedicated members of the Jewish Community in Montreal, Rabbi Cohen led a campaign to build the first and only edifice in the country which houses the Chabad Seminary of Canada – Ben Weider Educational Centre. The Seminary, named in memory of the Rebbes wife, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneersohn , provides a post-secondary education of the highest caliber for hundreds of young Jewish women, coming from the world over, enabling them to contribute to the continuity, strength and growth of the Jewish people. The graduates are raising today proud Jewish families and assuming positions of Shlichus, emissaries of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, as well as occupying Leadership roles in communities throughout the world. Hundreds of Alumni’s have opened new schools and Jewish centers from Singapore to Prague and from California to Istanbul. Rabbi Cohen is responsible for the Administration and Finances of the Ben Weider Educational Centre.

In 2010 Rabbi Cohen was appointed spiritual leader of Congregation Zichron Kedoshim in Montreal. The synagogue, which was built in 1965 by survivors of the Holocaust, is dedicated to memory of the six million who perished. Over the years the synagogue merged as Chabad Zichron Kedoshim and Rabbi Cohen serves as Lecturer and Rabbi Emeritus. He is a dynamic speaker who engages men and women of all ages and backgrounds. Speaking topics have included the Origins of Tefilla, Kabbalah Mysticism, and Judaism 101. Rabbi Cohen speaks fluently in English, French, Spanish, Hebrew and Yiddish.

Rabbi Cohen lives with his wife and children in Montreal.

Norwegian Cruise Line Epic

Norwegian Epic is sure to dazzle. Awarded Best Cruise Ship Entertainment by Frommer’s, Norwegian Epic keeps the bar high with two new Broadway shows: Ballroom Blitz and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Not only is Norwegian Epic offering world-class performers but a new wave of accommodations as well – from Studios, designed and priced for […]

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Norwegian Cruise Line Epic

Norwegian Epic is sure to dazzle. Awarded Best Cruise Ship Entertainment by Frommer’s, Norwegian Epic keeps the bar high with two new Broadway shows: Ballroom Blitz and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Not only is Norwegian Epic offering world-class performers but a new wave of accommodations as well - from Studios, designed and priced for the solo traveler, to privacy in The Haven. This mega ship is a jaw dropping sensation and award winner.

For over 25 years Kosherica has pleased more Jewish Travelers than all other cruise and tour companies combined. We pledge a commitment to the Jewish community to always provide exquisite fresh Glatt Kosher, Cholov Yisroel, Pas Yisroel Gourmet cuisine (is the under the MGK). We will never compromise quality. This is the reason why our customers are deeply committed to Kosherica and return year after year. We give our guests an experience that is far superior to any other Kosher travel company.

Indulge in our Kosher cuisine, explore the magnificent Mediterranean or just luxuriate on this gorgeous ship. This cruise is bound to be a once in a lifetime experience.

  • Maximize your vacation by stopping in a port every single day! It actually makes Europe accessible and affordable.
  • Stop in the most romantic cities in Europe: Rome, Barcelona, Florence,Naples and Cannes. Glorious Florence is our hands down favorite!
  • Experience Jewish interest excursions on this trip with our customized tours.
  • Travel on the most sought after large ship in Europe.

Some highlights of The Epic:

Entertainment: Awarded Best Cruise Ship Entertainment by Frommer’s, Norwegian Epic always remains fresh and exciting when it comes to the award-winning entertainment. Acrobats soar while jaws drop during the dazzling performances of Cirque Dreams®. Experience the legendary Liverpool venue where the Beatles performed, The Cavern Club or side splitting comedy at the headliners club. Or laugh along with the new and acclaimed Broadway show, Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Your nights will be jam packed with first rate entertainment. This is not like any other ship in Europe!

What to do on the ship:

  • Casino: Norwegian’s largest and most innovative casino offers a wide range of thrilling casino games for every level of player.
  • Bowling Alley: During the day, all ages are welcome to bowl. At night, guests 18 and older enjoy funky lighting that illuminates the neon-colored bowling balls and decor to create an atmosphere that is full of energy.
  • Aqua Park: Suit up and splash down at our first ever Aqua Park. Choose from two pools, five hot tubs, kid's pool, three multi-story water slides including the the 200-foot Epic Plunge, the first bowl slide at sea.

What to do with Kids:

  • Splash Academy: Your little ones will have a blast inside Splash Academy where they’ll learn to juggle at Circus School, break a sweat with a wide range of sports and enjoy creative play and fun family activities in an age-appropriate atmosphere.
  • Kid's Aqua Park: They’ll splish. They’ll splash. They’ll definitely have a blast. Whether they want to zoom down a tube slide or get drenched by tipping buckets or water cannons, kids will have the best of times at our new interactive Kids’ Aqua Park. This watery wonderland has something to keep the kiddies entertained all day long.
  • Video Arcade: Stop by the video arcade and capture a few aliens, win a car race, play pinball and fly a jet fighter. Anything is possible.

Spa Time

The Thermal Suite offers a unique experience benefiting the mind and body. Feel the weightlessness and kneading effect of water in the Thalasso Therapy Pool and enjoy a warm waterfall cascading onto your shoulders in the Vitality Pool. Take a dip in the hot tub and leave the world behind as the warm water relaxes you. Then head to the steam room to relax stiff joints, improve your immune system and alleviate pains. If detox is what you crave, sit down in the dry heat of the sauna to sweat out your cares as your heart and sweat glands work together to purify your body. Then relax and bring your body to temperature with a nap on heated mosaic lounge chairs. In addition the ship has a state of the art full service salon and spa.. Soothe your body and soul with a hot stone massage, a rejuvenating facial, mani/pedi, acupuncture, BOTOX® and teeth whitening and lots more.

Staterooms

Norwegian has opted for a contemporary, sophisticated design with the 2,175 cabins on Escape. Inside, outside and balcony rooms employ a color palette of dark blues and warm browns, and the result is a sophisticated and upscale.

MAJOR CRUISE QUESTIONS

What is included in the price of my cruise?

Virtually everything, with the exception of certain items of a personal nature, for which there is a fair and reasonable charge. Your cruise fare includes shipboard accommodations, ocean transportation, standard meals, services and onboard entertainment.

What's not included?

Items that are of a personal nature, for which there is a fair and reasonable charge. Not included in the cruise fare are items that are of a personal nature including gratuities, shore excursions, airfare, telephone calls, faxes, spa treatments, salon services, photographs, laundry and valet service as well as wine, liquor and other beverages.

Will I need a passport or visa?

You are responsible for obtaining all necessary travel documents and for complying with Customs and Immigration requirements. Guests with out proper travel documents will not be allowed to board the vessel. If for some reason you must leave the ship mid-cruise, you will be denied re-entry into the U.S. unless you possess a valid U.S. passport and no refund of cruise fare will be given to any guest failing to bring such documentation. All major cruise lines encourage all guests to obtain passports as soon as possible to avoid backlogs. For more information, please visit the U.S State department website at www.travel.state.gov.

CRUISING TIPS

Air Travel

Passports will be required for any air travel from the Caribbean as of January 23, 2007. ALL persons, including U.S. citizens, traveling by air between the United States and Canada, Mexico and South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda will be required to present a valid passport.

Cruise Travel

As early as January 1st, 2008, subject to U.S. Government amendment, ALL persons, including U.S. citizens, traveling between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda may be required to present a valid passport or other documents as determined by the Department of Homeland Security.

Can I phone home?

Ship-to-shore telephone service is available 24 hours a day while the ship is at sea or in port from your stateroom. You'll find a telephone and dialing instructions in your stateroom. If you need to be reached by people at home, have them call or fax the ship directly; or they can contact you via email through your own Internet Service Provider which you can then access via the Internet Café.

Is internet service available?

You can send and receive emails through your own service provider in the Internet Café for a nominal charge.

How do I plan my on-shore activities?

Naturally, you are free to explore many of the ports of call on your own, however, a variety of shore excursion are arranged for you convenience. Each excursion is carefully researched by our Shore Excursion Staff to ensure your experience ashore is as enriching and enjoyable as your stay aboard. You may pre-book your excursions online by selecting Personalize Your Cruise. You will need to enter your booking number and your name as it appears on your reservation. The excursion selected will be debited to you onboard account . Or, if you prefer, you may purchase the shore excursion onboard at the Shore Excursion Desk. Shore Excursions are subject to availability and not available on all ships and sail dates.

What about laundry and dry cleaning services?

Complete valet services including laundry, pressing and dry cleaning, can be arranged through your stateroom steward/stewardess and billed to your shipboard account.

For more information about our amazing cruises – CLICK HERE

For General Packing tips – CLICK HERE

For upcoming cruise dates – CLICK HERE

TRAVEL DOCUMENTS

You are responsible for obtaining all travel documents as well as compliance with Customs and Immigration requirements. You will be required to comply with all government imposed security measures, which may change without notice.

Visa Requirements

All passengers are responsible for obtaining all necessary travel documents and for complying with Customs and Immigration requirements.

Please check current VISA requirements with the appropriate embassies or consulates prior to departing on your cruise vacation. Kosherica is providing this application for your convenience.

DESTINATION INFORMATION

VENICE

Though you can still see the recesses in the walls where the hinges of the portals once hung, the Venice ghetto has not been a prison since Napoleon seized the city and tore down the gates in 1797. Today, no barrier or signpost marks where Venice ends and its ghetto begins. Cross a canal on an arched bridge, duck through a sottoportego (an alley tunneling through a building), disappear down a vent in the urban fabric — you come and go just like everywhere else in the maze of this island city. But linger long enough in the Campo di Ghetto Nuovo, the generous, frayed, tree-flecked plaza that anchors this corner of Cannaregio (the quiet northwest quadrant of the city) and you’ll feel the wall of the past closing in. Half a millennium of history does not transpire without stamping the soul of a place. Established by decree of Doge Leonardo Loredan on March 29, 1516, the Venice ghetto was one of the first places where people were forcibly segregated and surveilled because of religious difference. The term itself originated here; the area had been used as a foundry (“geto” in Venice dialect) and over time the neighborhood’s polyglot residents corrupted the word.

But in the course of my visit, what I became most curious about was the mood of the current Jewish community of 450 people. Venice is such an impossibly beautiful fantasy, it seems astonishing that ordinary people, Jews among them, actually live there. How, I wondered, did deep-rooted Jewish families feel about their past — and future — in this ancient, vulnerable city?

My first answer came inside the humble, rectangular sanctuary of the circa-1532 Scuola Canton, one of five synagogues still standing in the ghetto. The synagogues are open to the public only as part of guided tours offered by the Jewish Museum of Venice, and that morning just three of us (two other Americans and I) had signed up for the 10:30 tour in English. We were standing with our guide, Silvia Crepaldi, admiring the golden spiraling tree-trunk columns that support the arch over the bimah (podium), when the subject of rising sea levels came up.

“The city will be empty before it sinks,” Ms. Crepaldi said ruefully. “Venice is shrinking before our eyes.” The urban exodus of both Jews and gentiles has been going on for some time, though the pace has accelerated in recent years.

When the ghetto was at its height in the 17th century, 5,000 Jews from Italy, Germany, France, Spain and the Ottoman Empire carved out tiny, distinct fiefs, each maintaining its own synagogue, all of them crammed into an acre and a quarter of alleys and courtyards. Confinement was a burden, but it also provided an opportunity for cultural exchange unparalleled in the diaspora. As Jan Morris, a Venice devotee and one-time resident, writes in “The World of Venice,” the city was a “treasure-box” full of “ivory, spices, scents, apes, ebony, indigo, slaves, great galleons, Jews, mosaics, shining domes, rubies, and all the gorgeous commodities of Arabia, China and the Indies.”

Jewish merchants and bankers were vital to the flow of these commodities, but as Venice declined, the Jewish presence dwindled. By the outbreak of the Second World War, Jewish Venice had shrunk to 1,200 residents. Today, with the city’s total population hovering around 58,000 (down from 150,000 before the war), there are about 450 Venetian Jews left, only a handful of them residing in the ghetto.

“So now the ghetto is just a shell?” I wondered aloud as Ms. Crepaldi led us across the campo, over a bridge, down a street of intriguing-looking shops, and into a tighter, grimmer square (the Campiello delle Scuole or “little square of the synagogues”), flanked by the two Sephardic scuole.

VENICE The answer to my question was revealed inside one of these: the sumptuous Scuola Grande Spagnola (Great Spanish Synagogue), possibly the work of Baldassare Longhena, the renowned 17th-century architect of Santa Maria della Salute. After we had gazed our fill at the elliptical coffered ceiling and the black-columned pediment that frames the ark of the covenant; after we had craned our necks to glimpse the cherry wood balustrade and diamond-hatched panels that screen the upstairs women’s gallery; after our eyes had bathed in the silver gleam of candelabra and the soft glow of crimson-curtained bottle-glass window panes, Ms. Crepaldi pointed to the brass plaques affixed to the pews. “These are the names of families who pay to rent their own bench sections,” she told us. “These families still pray here. This synagogue is used in summer, and in winter they switch to the Scuola Levantina because it’s heated. The Venetian Jewish community may be small, but it’s still strong.” Calimani and Sullam — two of the surnames inscribed on those plaques — appeared in tiny letters by the buzzer I pressed at 10 o’clock the next morning. Riccardo Calimani, the esteemed historian of Italian Jewry and the author of a book about the Venetian ghetto, had given me very precise directions to his home off the Strada Nuova (a rare rectilinear thoroughfare stocked with shops catering more to residents than tourists).

What Mr. Calimani had neglected to say in his email is that he lives in a palace: a light-bedazzled, soaring-ceilinged, art- and book-lined Renaissance suite overlooking the Grand Canal. As he ushered me into his princely study, the ample, urbane Mr. Calimani struck me as a kind of latter-day Jewish doge. “My father’s family arrived in Venice from the north of Italy in 1508,” he said, slowing his Italian down to a tempo I could follow. “My ancestor Simone Calimani was the author of a trattato morale [moral treatise], printed in the 18th century when Jewish publishing was flourishing here. My grandfather was the cantor in the Scuola Levantina, even though our roots are not Levantine but Italian and German.” The Venetian history of the Calimani family, I realized, coincides almost exactly with the history of the ghetto.

The palace belongs to his wife’s family, the Sullams, Spanish Jews who took refuge in Venice after the expulsion from the Iberian Peninsula at the end of the 15th century. I knew, from reading Mr. Calimani’s “The Ghetto of Venice” (1988), that Italian and German Jews, the first and poorest to settle in Venice, had been consigned to selling rags and running pawnshops, while the great merchants of Venice were later arrivals from Spain and the Levant. With tantalizing fragrances wafting out of the hidden kitchen and the velvety light of winter burnishing thousands of leather spines, I could practically taste the history that had made this room possible. The palace may be extraordinary, but the convergence of cosmopolitan currents in the Calimani/Sullam household is quintessentially Venetian.

Their families’ abandonment of the ghetto is also typical. As soon as the ghetto was abolished in 1797, Jews with means fled the high-rise tenements — the tallest buildings with the lowest-ceilinged apartments in Venice — for more elegant, and spacious, parts of the city. But the ghetto remained the anchor of Venetian Jewry. Since travel by gondola was deemed permissible on the Sabbath, the observant had no trouble floating back each week to pray at the scuola of their choice. Today, the Jews of Venice, though still a proud (if dispersed) community, are invisible. (The black-garbed Hasids you see in the campo are not Venetian but followers of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement who have resettled here from other parts of Europe and the United States.) Mr. Calimani, like every local Jew I spoke to, said he moves unremarked in and out of Jewish circles. “The Venice ghetto,” he told me, “was always more open to the city than the Roman ghetto, which was beset by the conversion mania of the church.”

The dispersal of the community had the unexpected benefit of sending me into unfamiliar neighborhoods in pursuit of interviews. I had been in Venice twice before, but far from growing accustomed to its gorgeous strangeness, I found it endlessly fascinating just to thread the maze, and inevitably get lost in it, on my way to appointments. Ms. Calabi became more somber when the conversation turned to the present. “Renaissance scholar Francesco Sansovino wrote that for the Jews, Venice was ‘quasi una vera terra di promissione’ — practically a true promised land,” she said. “But today Jewish Venice is a small community within a small city. The 500th anniversary is an occasion not to celebrate — you don’t have a festival for a ghetto — but to commemorate. An unbroken stretch of 500 years of history will not happen again soon.”

I heard similar sentiments voiced later in the week at a packed meeting of an informal discussion group that gathers at intervals to consider issues pertinent to Venetian Jewry. The members had assembled that night in a pretty little house on a canal in Cannaregio near the Gesuiti Church, a Baroque pile that presides over a quarter once inhabited by artisans and artists (Titian and Tintoretto among them). My Italian, though not quite up to the rapid flow of ideas, was good enough to register the passion and erudition that these 30 or so men and women brought to a discussion of their deeply rooted community. Amos Luzzatto, an esteemed Venetian-Jewish intellectual and the past president of the Jewish Community of Venice, was present, and we chatted for a few minutes about the small Jewish cemetery on the Lido, the “beit midrash” (study room) named for his family that is still in use in the ghetto, and the book by his renowned ancestor Rabbi Simchah Luzzatto that I had spotted in the Jewish Museum.

I didn’t have a chance to ask Mr. Luzzatto how he felt about the state of the ghetto today, but as I picked my way back to SS. Giovanni e Paolo through deserted echoing alleys and over black filaments of water, I thought of a comment he had made in a recent interview posted on YouTube: “The ghetto today belongs to the city of Venice — it does not belong to the Jews. The ghetto has become part of the panorama of Venice.” The panorama was its most ravishing the day I met Venice’s head rabbi, Scialom Bahbout, for lunch in the campo. Maybe it was the dazzle of another clear December day or the adrenaline of the holidays (Hanukkah was ending, Christmas still a week away), but the campo, which had struck me as rather forlorn on prior trips, now looked like a stage set waiting for a play. (In fact, this summer’s production of “The Merchant of Venice” will be staged right here, notes Shaul Bassi, a professor at the University of Venice who is spearheading the production.)

Mothers pushed strollers in and out of shadows cast by the teetering ghetto “skyscrapers.” Booted and scarfed Venetians clicked their heels across a bridge and disappeared into the inviting trattorias that line the fondamenta (bank) of the Rio della Misericordia canal. A small knot of tourists hovered by the entrance to the Jewish Museum, a charming warren of rooms stuffed with precious objects and books (and slated for a major makeover later this year under the aegis of Venetian Heritage, an international organization dedicated to preserving the city’s cultural riches). I had just enough time before lunch to duck down an alley and browse the elegant Judaica pieces in glass and gold at Arte Ebraica Shalom. The one jarring note was the makeshift police booth at the far end of the campo.

Though there have been no attacks here, the booth is staffed around the clock by Italian police, rarely seen elsewhere in Venice, and the Jewish community has brought in its own private Israeli security guard. The juxtaposition of the armed police and the two Holocaust memorials (a series of bronze reliefs on either side of the Jewish old-age home that encloses one side of the campo) is apt. During the Nazi occupation, some 250 Venetian Jews, including its beloved chief rabbi Adolfo Ottolenghi, were seized from the ghetto and elsewhere in the city and sent to Auschwitz and a Trieste concentration camp. Eight returned. The conversation touched only briefly on the Holocaust in the course of my leisurely lunch with the rabbi at Ghimel Garden, the popular kosher restaurant that opened recently beside the old-age home.

Davide Federici, a local journalist, and the Venetian sculptor Giorgio Bortoli were present, and Rabbi Bahbout, who is highly regarded after two years in the community, seemed entirely in his element as the talk rambled around art, politics, history, cinema and food. “Did you know sarde in saor” — sweet and sour sardines, a ubiquitous winter appetizer in Venice — “is typically Jewish?” the rabbi asked as the first round of plates appeared beside our glasses of prosecco. I was aware of the influence of ancient Jewish recipes on Roman cuisine, but it never occurred to me there was anything Jewish about the food of Venice, where shellfish (not kosher) figures in so many dishes. I’d also never seen an Orthodox rabbi sipping prosecco. By the time the pasta arrived, the conversation had moved on to the rabbi’s dream project: a Jewish university in Venice. “The challenge today is to sustain the vivacity of our culture and carry it into the future. What better way than with an international Jewish university?”

In Venice today, conservation tends to dominate other concerns — “but what we really need is to construct the next 500 years.” The rabbi’s American-born wife, Lenore Rosenberg Bahbout, joined us for pinza, a thrifty confection of stale bread and spice. We were chuckling about all the celebrities (Barbra Streisand, Donna Karan, Diane von Furstenberg, Barry Diller) whom Toto Bergamo Rossi, the charming director of Venetian Heritage, had tapped to fund the ghetto restoration project. “It’s wonderful,” said Mrs. Bahbout. “But it would be even more wonderful if this money could be used to restore the soul of the ghetto.” I contemplated the soul that Saturday morning, my last in Venice, at the Shabbat service in the Scuola Levantina. The high, dim sanctuary was about a quarter full, perhaps 40 men scattered around the benches that ran the length of the room between the massively carved bimah and the red-curtained ark of the covenant, with 15 or so women peering down at us from the upstairs gallery.

I’d been in Venice less than a week, but already I recognized faces — Paolo Gnignati, the current president of the Jewish community; Elly, the strapping Israeli security guard who had warned “no cellphones — they’re Orthodox!” before letting me enter the synagogue; and of course Rabbi Bahbout, distinguished and elegant in his fedora as he chanted the Sephardic liturgy. Every Venetian I spoke to, Jew and gentile alike, had expressed deep pessimism about the city’s future. But as I sat in this sacred space in the hushed, carless city, listening to the Hebrew prayers and Italian murmur, I felt reassured, not discouraged, by the evidence of time. Since the ghetto was first established, doges, merchant princes, Shylock, Napoleon, the Austrians, the Nazis have come and gone (and in Shylock’s case, will soon return).

Through that half-millennium of history, Jews have gathered on Sabbath mornings like this one at the serene cusp of winter to pray and gossip in the Venice ghetto. The Jewish Museum of Venice is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 1 to May 31 and until 7 p.m. from June 1 to Sept. 30. Hourly guided tours of the synagogues (in Italian and English) start at 10:30 ( museum admission is €4; museum and synagogue tour is €10). The museum also offers tours of the Jewish cemetery on the Lido, with advance booking. Closed Saturdays and Jewish holidays. For more information, museoebraico.it/english/museo.html. The Kosher in Venice website, kosherinvenice.com, lists kosher restaurants, hotels and food shops in the ghetto, including Ristorante Ghimel Garden, the recently opened Giardino dei Melograniguesthouse, and Panificio Volpe Giovanni, a bakery and grocery.

FAQ'S ABOUT YOUR KOSHERICA CRUISE

New Passport Requirements

Very important! Please read the following information regarding changes to passport requirements. These changes impact U.S. Citizens and non-U.S. Citizens. For more information, please see the U.S. State Department website for passport information. Expired passports are not acceptable.

WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND CARRYING A PASSPORT VALID FOR SIX MONTHS BEYOND THE DURATION OF YOUR TRAVEL.

Kosherica cruises requires that all guests travel with a valid passport during their cruise. This will enable guests to fly from the U.S. to meet their ship at the first port should they miss their scheduled embarkation and allow guests that must disembark the ship before their cruise ends due to an emergency to fly back to the U.S without significant delays and complications.

For more information, please visit www.travel.state.gov/passport or call the National Passport Information Center toll free at 1-877-487-2778 or TDD/TYY at 1-888-874-7793.

For travel outside of the western hemisphere countries, U.S. and Canadian citizens must have and carry a passport valid for six months beyond the duration of the cruise.

Non-U.S./non-Canadian citizens: You must have and carry a passport valid for six months beyond the duration of the cruise. Please carefully verify the existing identification requirements for your particular travel situation. In addition, non-U.S. citizens who have previously been admitted to the United States for permanent residence must carry their Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551), commonly known as a Green Card. Resident aliens not in possession of this must obtain one at the nearest office of the U.S. Immigration Service.

Visas: Some countries require that you obtain official authorization (called a visa) before entering the country. Usually there is a fee required. You are responsible for obtaining any necessary visas. If your itinerary requires a visa prior to boarding, Holland America Line will send a visa information letter to your travel agent. The visa letter will have information for U.S. and Canadian citizens. Citizens of other countries should contact the nearest representative embassies or consulates for the proper information.

Non-U.S. or Canadian citizens may be required to hold a Canadian visa when traveling to Alaska or Canada. Please visit the Canadian government website at http://canada.gc.ca to verify your nationality’s requirements.

Schengen visa holders (applies to those EU-member citizens only): New requirements pertaining to proof of medical insurance coverage have been adopted for all Schengen visa holders. This requirement does not apply to U.S. or Canadian citizens. All guests should keep themselves advised of changes in government requirements. If you have questions about visa requirements, call Zierer Visa Service at 866-788-1100 or local 202-745-4470. You may also choose to send an e-mail message to: [email protected] or visit their website at: www.zvs.com.

Travel Restrictions

  • People with medical conditions or women who are in the last weeks of their pregnancy are asked to consult a doctor before sailing/booking a cruise.
  • Women cannot have begun their 24th week of pregnancy at any time before or during the cruise. If you are pregnant or sailing with a guest who is pregnant they must provide a physician’s letter stating the expected due date, medical fitness to travel and the pregnancy is not high risk. Please also include your name, booking number, ship and sailing date.
  • Infant Policy and Booking Procedures.
    • Infants must be at least 6 months of age on the day of boarding.
    • Infants must be at least 12 months of age on the day of boarding if the cruise has 3 or more consecutive full days at sea.
    • NO EXCEPTIONS will be granted.

Please note, babysitting is not available for children age 2 and under.

  • For more information on NCL travel restrictions and other FAQ for NCL cruises – Click Here
  • For more information on Royal Caribbean travel restrictions and other FAQ for Royal Caribbean cruises – Click Here
  • For more information on Holland America travel restrictions and other FAQ for Holland America cruises – Click Here