Everything you ever wanted to know about Jewish-themed cruises but were afraid to ask your rabbi.
By Alison Lowenstein
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 mitzvah cruise, bar or bat.
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 (kosherica.com) 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 (slkosher.com), 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.