Mazel Tov!

Porthole Magazine
April 2012

Everything you ever wanted to know about Jewish-themed cruises but were afraid to ask your rabbi.

A Seder at sea? It’s not unheard of. Forget cruising’s misconceptions and start dreaming of Shabbat on a ship. From Passover to Purim, Jewish travelers are riding the waves of a travel trend marked by a surge in Jewish-themed cruises.

Skip the matchmaker and sign up for a Jewish singles cruise. Dreidels on deck give a special spin to a high-seas Hanukkah celebration. Even Moses couldn’t come up with a better way to come of age than on a bar/bat mitzvah cruise.

No longer are observant eaters stuck with shrink-wrapped brisket as gentile cruisers line up for lavish buffets. On a designated kosher cruise, observant Jews can feast on Glatt Kosher meals with food prepared by kosher chefs. Kosher travel has gotten on board and now you can have your pick of cruises departing from around the world without having to sacrifice the dining experience.

Complete with tailored itineraries to historic Jewish spots at various ports to evening activities including social events and lectures, there is much to offer the Jewish cruiser beyond large portions of good food.

Getting Spiritual at Sea

Go beyond the obligatory visit to temple on the high holy days and get spiritual at sea on a Jewish-themed cruise. Kosherica offers several Kosher cruises throughout the year, taking travelers to ports around the globe. From Jewish music festivals featuring famed Jewish musicians like Dudu Fisher to Glatt Kosher cruises to the Baltic where you can take land tours that highlight Jewish history and culture in the region, Kosherica offers a wide range of cruises that are geared for Orthodox and practicing Jews.

Kosherica brings their own Kosher chef and makes a part of the ship’s galley Kosher. Helit Edelstein of Kosherica says that in addition to the fine cuisine made by world-class kosher chefs, the other appeal of their cruises is the “great programming, scholar in residence lectures, concerts, mixers, and prayer services. We put our hearts into our product and I believe guests feel that.”

Another option is Suite Life Kosher Cruises, which also offers kosher cruises around the world. If applicable, they have Jewish-themed land excursions and all cruises include a scholar and an entertainer. Suite Life Cruises include special events in the evenings for guests, and hosted Shabbos meals as well.

Meeting a Mensch

Amazing Journeys in Antarctica

If you’ve spent the last few years perusing JDate and haven’t met a mate, try hopping aboard the love boat. Amazing Journeys (amazingjourneys.net) offers various cruises for Jewish singles. While its cruises aren’t Glatt kosher, (these cruises appeal to the less observant Jews), Amazing Journeys will work with travelers with special dietary restrictions.

 “Amazing Journeys allows (Jewish) singles in their specific age categories to see the world with a group of people who they have so much in common with,” says Malori Asman, who founded Amazing Journeys over a decade ago. “Our vacations do more than make memories and foster friendships. They change lives.”

The company offers an annual popular summer cruise to Alaska for Jewish singles in their 30s, 40s, and 50s who enjoy social events, meals, and land excursions with other singles on the ship. Even if you don’t find your true love, you’ll no doubt meet people who you can travel with on your next vacation.

More observant Jews should book a JSingles cruise which provides an onboard dating coach and various social events where singles can mix. However, the company refers to the cruise as the “non-singles singles vacation,” which means the appeal isn’t about simply finding a love match, but having a great vacation. The Glatt Kosher singles cruise partners with Kosherica to provide guests with an experience where they can not only meet other singles, but also partake in Shabbat services and dine on kosher cuisine. The cruise appeals to singles in their mid-30s to 50s.

By Alison Lowenstein
Porthole Magazine, April 2012