Jewish Music Festival Cruise and more!

While there are many exceptional Kosherica cruises coming up this winter, we wanted to highlight two here:

First of all, we have the Jewish Music Festival Cruise taking place from January 19-27, 2012. We will depart from New York for this 9 night adventure. Enjoy some of the greatest Jewish entertainers of our day, like Avraham Fried, Dudu Fisher, Yaakov Motzen, Colin Schachat, Lipa Schmeltzer and Simon Cohen. The Scholar in Residence will be Rabbi YY Jacobson.

Our music cruise will explore destinations like San Juan (Puerto Rico), St. Thomas, St. Maarten and the Dominican Republic. More details and a full schedule for the Jewish Music Cruise Festival can be found here.

The second Glatt Kosher cruise we would like to highlight is the Australia & New Zealand Cruise from December 19- January 22. Join Kosherica on the elegant Holland America line as we explore the land down under. Revel in the cosmopolitan attractions of Sydney where history, opera, opals and koalas are ever present. Then venture to New Zealand, where nothing can prepare you for its majesty.

The experience is only enhanced by 5 Star Glatt Kosher cuisine and exemplary Kosherica customer service.
The Scholar in Residence will Rabbi Yehoram Ulman. A full itinerary for this 14 night kosher cruise can be found here.

For more details on all of Kosherica's Glatt Kosher cruises, see our website! We'd love to be in touch on Facebook and Twitter too. See you aboard!

Cyber Monday Kosher Cruise Deals

We are excited to offer a whole slew of Cyber Monday deals on our Glatt kosher cruises. The sale is for 48 hours only and ends on Wednesday (11/28) at 6:00 PM sharp!

Here are the details:

Last Chance to book a Caribbean cruise for $599 (ends this week)!

10% OFF June 12, 2013 NCL Star - Baltic Capitals
10% OFF June 16, 2013 NCL Pearl - Alaska
10% OFF July 29, 2013 Costa Magica - Greek Isles
10% OFF Aug. 11, 2013 NCL Pearl - Alaska
10% OFF Aug. 14, 2013 NCL Star - Baltic Capitals



For more info on all of our cruises, check out www.kosherica.com. If you have any questions, we are always listening in the comments below, on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Looking forward to seeing you aboard!

How do you say that again?


ONE of the pleasures of travel is being able to speak the language of the place you’re visiting — or at least say “hello” and “where’s the bathroom?” Whether your trip is in two weeks or two months, there’s no excuse for not broadening your vocabulary. But how? With so many methods — CDs, videos, apps, podcasts — picking one can feel more overwhelming than learning a language.

The systems below have been used by tourists, college students and F.B.I. agents. Some cost hundreds of dollars. Others are free. In trying to find the best, Web sites that were difficult to navigate or had distracting advertisements were ruled out, as were in-person classes because their cost and availability varies greatly. Whatever your budget or destination, there is a program to help you feel less like a tourist.

The less expensive option: Coffee Break Spanish and Coffee Break French (RadioLingua.com/shows) A search on iTunes will turn up many delightful (and free) language lessons, including these spirited podcasts from Radio Lingua Network, which promise “language learning with your latte.” Each 15- to 20-minute podcast encourages participation (listeners are asked to pinch their noses to achieve the perfect French “non”). The network also offers “One Minute” crash courses (really two to four minutes) in languages including Arabic, Greek, Mandarin and Irish. Bottom Line: The hosts are Scottish, so while you’re learning French or Spanish, you also may feel as if you’ve been transported to South Ayrshire. But you’ll enjoy smart, energetic, well-produced lessons. Digital Dialects (DigitalDialects.com) Visitors can beef up their vocabulary by identifying items in animated scenes. Choose Italian and a category like “Clothing,” and you’ll be asked to match the word to the fashions worn by a graying Italian lady (when red arrows point to her dress, select “il vestito”). Bottom line: Definitely more educational than playing FarmVille on Facebook. Still, the site may be better suited for children. Learn a Language (LearnaLanguage.com) Users choose a language (Japanese), then a category (“Japanese Words”), followed by a topic (“Travel”). Next, they decide whether to play an educational game or click through talking flash cards. There’s one word on each card, which can be flipped over with a click. For example, a card with “suutsukesu” on one side says “suitcase” on the other. Bottom line: The Web site is not as comprehensive as others, but it enables users to study key words and phrases without having to make their own flash cards. Living Language (LivingLanguage.com; click on “free downloads”) While this company primarily sells language products (about $20 to $180), it also offers freebies like pocket phrase guides and an “in-flight” series to help “learn before you land.” Bottom line: Living Language is not a free site, but the guides are a nice perk for those who can only afford to dip a toe. Livemocha (Livemocha.com) This networking site allows members to find language partners around the world, and offers basic instruction in grammar, vocabulary and conversation (users need a microphone). There is a fee for unlimited access ($9.95 for one month; $99.95 for a year). Bottom line: While the videos sometimes load easily and sometimes don’t, it helps facilitate learning by talking — a big plus. 

More expensive options: Pimsleur Approach (Pimsleur.com and PimsleurApproach.com) This audio-only program, based on the language retention theories of the linguist Paul Pimsleur, has been used by the F.B.I. The company claims that students who use the CDs for 30 minutes a day will begin speaking the language in just 10 days — no textbooks required. The idea is that adults learn language the same way children do: by hearing it in everyday situations (the CDs focus on about 2,500 core words and phrases). The program begins with a 30-day trial of Quick & Simple, eight lessons for $9.95. Then, every 60 days, users receive in the mail a higher-level course with 30 lessons, which they can keep (for $256) or return within 30 days at no cost plus shipping. Progress to the most advanced courses, and the entire system can end up costing upward of $750, depending on the language. Bottom line: This approach can be as expensive as a plane ticket, but if you want to learn fast, naturally and on the go, it just might be a match. Rosetta Stone (RosettaStone.com) You’ve probably seen the kiosks for this interactive software in malls or airports. It is available in 30 languages ($159 to $499) and has been used by government agencies. Students are not bogged down with translation and grammar. Instead, the emphasis is on “dynamic immersion” — connecting words with images to glean meaning. (Those who buy Version 4 can reinforce lessons with mobile apps.) Bottom line: Rosetta Stone is much more intensive than a vacation primer. But if you want to keep learning long after your trip, it’s a far better investment than a souvenir snow globe. Transparent Language (Transparent.com) “Our methodology was originally developed in some of our work for the Department of Defense,” said Chuck McGonagle, the senior vice president and general manager of Transparent Language. “It was all focused on building your vocabulary.” And the company’s primary product, Transparent Language Online ($149.95 for six-month access; $199.95 for a year), does just that. Users begin with the Essentials Course: lessons organized around everyday situations like greetings, shopping, checking into a hotel. For those short on time, there’s the Byki Quick Start course, or the free Byki Express program at Byki.com. Bottom line: This is one of the most affordable big-name systems, and it enables users to practice anywhere they have Internet access.

My personnel favorite choice is speaking with locals on my many travels. Or finding someone who speaks the language you desire to learn. I know that when I am surrounded by a foreign language I feel more inclined to learn how it. This happened when I went to school abroad and all of a sudden my Hebrew became fluent and clear. Another favorite is finding a radio station that only broadcasts in your desired language. This way you can get a feel also for correct intonations and speech patterns. Do you have a favorite technique?

Moldova hides Europe's largest Jewish cemetery

One of the odd facts about Moldova is that it’s home to Europe’s largest Jewish cemetery. On the outskirts of the capital city, Chisinau, it’s a place many Moldovans I spoke with vaguely knew existed but had never visited. In a city with so few sites of touristic interest it was a bit stunning that this place where 23,500 people lay is nearly forgotten.

Prior to World War II, Moldova (then “Moldavian SSR“) was home to nearly 110,000 Jewish people before the Axis powers in 1941, including Romania, began an invasion of the Soviet Union. Estimates of the those who died as part of the Holocaust during the 3 years before the Soviets were able to occupy present-day Moldova vary widely. According to the Romanian government, 280,000-380,000 Jews may have been killed in what is a very complicated regional story. Like the history of this synagogue, only pieces of the story remain. And it seems there may not be enough left for it ever to be accurately reassembled.

Walking around the grounds of the cemetery can easily take more than an hour as it did for me; especially if you walk toward the graves that are quietly being eaten by the surrounding earth and trees deep inside. Several headstones stuck out, a pilot’s with a large propeller atop for instance, along with this synagogue that barely remains. Aside from the few beers bottles around and those who had drank them, it’s evident these graves don’t get many visitors.

Entry to the cemetery is free and to find the synagogue you’ll have to make an immediate left and walk about 10 minutes following the exterior wall. From Foxnomad.com

Swedish Hotel Allows You To Pay For Your Room With Art

If you're in the unique position of owning more artwork than actual cash, you may want to hear about an offer from the Clarion Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden.

For a limited time, the hotel will be accepting any piece of art in lieu of currency, which will be redeemable for 1 night of lodging. The GM's grandfather was an artist, and he decided to honor his memory with this unique promotion. And if you're not sure your piece of art will be good enough to pass their qualification guidelines, don't worry. Any art piece will be accepted.

 "Who are we to be judgmental about art?" explains Tess Mattisson, the hotel's marketing manager. "Accommodation is what we know and we're happy to provide it. Everyone is welcome here, from young and upcoming artists to those that are already established."

 All works must fit on an A4 piece of paper, and be signed by the artist. Pieces should be presented upon arrival to the hotel. If you're interested in submitting a piece, click here.

Kosher cruises will be departing for Stockholm and the rest of the Baltics throughout the summer!

Barcelona Travel Guide

Kosherica will be heading to the Western Mediterranean this summer, and one of the highlights is the beautiful Spanish city of Barcelona. The guests on one of our most popular kosher cruises will get to experience the city intimately. Here's a quick breakdown of things to do in Barcelona:
WHAT TO SEE One of the most attractive streets in the city is La Rambla. Here you can see street vendors alongside living statues and mimes. You can pick up trinkets and jewelry here, if you are ready to haggle. This is also the street for street performers. Is also home to the city’s opera house and bird market. The former is a 19th century structure, while the latter is an 18th century one. Both are worth visiting. At the end of La Rambla stand the Monument of Columbus and the city’s harbor. A visit to the Gothic Quarter is a must. This is the old part of the city and is famous for being the home of Picasso from 1895 to 1904. Even Joan Miro was born here and called it his home. In this area, you will be able to admire Gothic architecture from the 14th and 15th centuries. The old medieval buildings and cobblestone streets lend a unique air to the area. When you are in the city, you should visit Tibidabo. This is the highest hill in the region and offers a spectacular view of the city. It is also home to a family fun park and a cathedral. You can take a glass lift to go up 115 meters to the observation platform in the telecommunication tower here. The view from the platform is mind-blowing. SHOPPING The best time to shop here is during the yearly sale, which starts from middle of January and lasts till the end of February, and then again from beginning of July through August. However, you can also pick up great souvenirs from La Rambla. Here you can pick up porrons, ceramics and Catalan music CDs. If you want to take home authentic gifts, the best places are the shops around the museums. GETTING THERE The city has two airports – Barcelona Girona Airport and Barcelona International Airport. The former is around 103 kilometers from the city, while the latter is just 13 kilometers. Many airlines, such as US Airways, Air France, Air Canada and British Airways, service the city. If you are looking for budget plane tickets, travel to the city between March and April, October and November and from December to February. Of course, fares are high during Christmas and New Years, so it is best to avoid travel then. When traveling during off-peak season, buy airline tickets a few days before your travel to get the best discounts

Feature: Rabbi Basil Herring

We would like to feature Rabbi Dr. Basil Herring this week. His will be the Scholar in Residence on the Panama Canal Kosher cruise departing December 21st.
Rabbi Dr. Basil Herring is the Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Council of America. He has served in that position since July 2003. From 1994 till 2003, Rabbi Herring served as Executive Chairman of The Orthodox Caucus, a dynamic national group of leading rabbinic and lay leaders. In this capacity, Rabbi Herring was responsible for implementing a broad array of national as well as regional and local projects and initiatives on critical issues confronting the Orthodox and Jewish communities. Over the course of a distinguished 30 year career in the congregational rabbinate, Rabbi Herring led congregations in Kingston NY, Ottawa Ontario, and Atlantic Beach NY. Rabbi Herring has authored a number of books and articles on a variety of topics. These include studies in Jewish philosophy and Biblical commentary, several widely used and quoted volumes dealing with Jewish ethics and contemporary issues, a manual for rabbis and synagogues on practical aspects of the modern rabbinate, a volume of sermons, and another on Jewish prenuptial agreements. He has also edited and published a monthly subscription newsletter for rabbis. For more info, you can view Rabbi Basil Herring's profile at www.Rabbis.org

Credit Cards and International Fees

Credit cards that don’t carry foreign transaction fees are generally the best option for spending while traveling internationally. But even if you’re stuck with a card that charges the fees, you can still save more by using the card rather than by exchanging cash at banks and airport terminals.

That was the conclusion of an analysis from Card Hub.com, which compared the cost of currency exchange services from the major credit card networks with 15 large domestic banks and airport currency exchange outlets like Travelex.

Cards that don’t charge foreign exchange fees are the best bet. Card Hub says they’ll save you, on average, about 8 percent over exchanging cash at domestic banks, and 16 percent over airport exchange services. There are more cards now that come without the fees, like Chase’s Sapphire Preferred card and the Capital One Venture Rewards credit card. Roughly 82 percent of cards carry the fees, down from about 90 percent a year ago, CardHub said. Foreign transaction fees typically run from 1 to 3 percent. The average fee in the first three months of this year was 2.38 percent, the report found, down from 2.52 percent a year earlier.


Card Hub’s default list of “featured” no-fee cards may give higher placement to card issuers that pay advertising fees to the Web site. But users can make their own search by entering specific criteria, said CardHub’s founder, Odysseas Papadimitriou. The Web site NerdWallet is another source for information about cards with no foreign transaction fees.

Using cards that don’t charge the fees not only saves you money but avoids hassles, since the currency is converted automatically whenever you make a purchase, said Mr. Papadimitriou, a former card executive at Capital One.

Bill Hardekopf, chief executive of the Web site LowCards.com, said credit card companies are dropping the foreign fees on some cards in a bid to attract clients with solid credit, since those consumers tend to be more affluent and travel overseas. “They’re courting people with good to excellent credit more aggressively,” he said.

If you must use a card that still charges the fees, it will still save you nearly 6 percent relative to exchanging money at banks, and almost 14 percent compared with airport exchangers, the study found.

If you have to go with a bank, it pays to do some research. The best banks for currency conversion are Northern Trust and Harris Bank — the same as last year, the study found. The costliest are also the same: U.S. Bank and Fifth Third Bank. The fees that banks charge for currency conversion are, overall, unchanged from last year (Wells Fargo is an exception, according to CardHub, dropping its fee to $7 this year from $12 last year.)

On average, the analysis found, banks save consumers almost 10 percent over airport outlets like Travelex, which offer convenience but at a premium.

Mr. Papadimitriou advised consumers to avoid so-called dynamic currency conversion, which is what happens when a merchant asks you if you would like to have your purchase total converted on the spot into American dollars. Merchants generally use a high exchange rate and pocket a profit from the transaction, benefiting from tourists who don’t bother to check the math at the point of sale.

Are you planning foreign travel this summer? How are you planning to pay for purchases overseas?

Take Our Frequent Flier Quiz

Not an elite flier? You’re in the vast majority. Globally, only about 4.2 million out of some 320 million frequent fliers are elite; most of us are just hoarding miles in hopes of one day swapping them for a coach ticket. The multibillion-dollar airline-loyalty industry has been around for more than 30 years. How much do you know about it?

1. What was an early inspiration for frequent-flier programs?
a.) S & H Green Stamps, distributed at grocery stores and other retailers
b.) Toasters and other gifts doled out to bank customers
c.) Both a. and b.
2. What was the first mainstream mileage-based frequent-flier program?
a.) American AAdvantage
b.) United Mileage Plus
c.) Delta Frequent Flyer
3. How many frequent-flier programs are there today around the world?
a.) about 90
b.) about 140
c.) about 200
4. Between 1981 (when frequent-flier programs began in earnest) and the end of 2011, how many miles were awarded globally?
a.) 17.8 billion
b.) 930.5 billion
c.) 33.2 trillion
5. On average, what percentage of domestic tickets are purchased with points?
a.) 2 percent
b.) 6 percent
c.) 20 percent
6. What percentage of reward points and travel miles do Americans fail to redeem each year?
a.) 6.5 percent
b.) 10 percent
c.) 33.3 percent
7. What was the first airline to allow the transfer of frequent-flier points between same-sex couples?
a.) United Airlines (in 1999)
b.) Delta Air Lines (in 1993)
c.) American Airlines (in 1990)
8. What issues related to frequent-flier miles have been addressed by Congress?
a.) Whether they should be taxed
b.) Whether members of Congress should keep miles earned on business
c.) Both a. and b.
9. How many “mileage millionaires” are there?
a.) About 10,000
b.) 51,000
c.) More than 400,000
10. How many miles does the person with the most accumulated points have, and how were those miles accumulated?
a.) 70 million, through an airline program
b.) 20 million, through a credit card
c.) 120 million, through a credit card and a program.
Answers: 1. c. 2. a. 3. c. 4. c. 5. b. 6. c. 7. b. 8. c. 9. c. 10. c.

7 Ways Traveling Can Make You A Better Person

There is no better way to bring cultures together and to understand another person than traveling. Once you set foot in a foreign land and eat, drink and live like they do, many prejudices and misunderstandings are immediately dropped.

See if this applies to you – here are seven ways that travel has made me a better person:

#1: Better Communication
After living and traveling in numerous places where English wasn’t the first language, and I didn’t speak the local language particularly well or at all, my other communication skills had to improve. Spending time conversing across a language barrier means you learn not to assume someone’s meaning until they’ve got to the end of the sentence. And, even then, you might double check their meaning by asking them some questions before you assume anything negative. Becoming a better listener is also part of this learning curve. I’m sure I used to jump in half way through my friends’ sentences but now I’m more likely to sit back and let them finish talking first, which is a good start towards better communication.

#2: Accepting Differences
Dealing with people of many different nationalities, religions and all walks of life, as you tend to do when you travel through different foreign countries, means that you learn to respect all kinds of differences that back home would have concerned you. Before I taught Korean students, for example, I would have thought anyone who would contemplate eating dog meat was a terrible person! After all my travels and experiences I am much more accepting of the different habits and customs of the world’s cultures. This follows through to even simple differences of opinions with my friends back home, too. Now that I’m a parent, for example, the “old me” probably would have been extremely critical of different parenting styles – but the “traveler me” is much better at accepting that everyone will do it in their own way, and that’s okay.

#3: More Patience
Traveling teaches you patience and having more patience is definitely one way you can become a better friend. It’s made me more patient with friends who are late (even though I’m still a stickler for punctuality); it’s helped me be patient with friends who make decisions which I think aren’t for the best for them; and made me more patient with friends who can’t even get around to making decisions.

#4: Generosity & Help
I am definitely a more generous friend thanks to my traveling years. I met so many people on my travels who helped me without any expectation of getting something in return. My gratitude to them makes me want to help others in the same way. Before, I may have been selfish both with my time and money even when I saw friends in need. But now I’m much more likely to offer to help friends in various ways without giving a thought to what’s in it for me. Along the same lines, I am definitely better at sharing my material belongings as well. Traveling for long periods of time makes you get used to being without these possessions and they become less important – so I’m happy to loan more things out to friends and not worry about the idea that I might need them in the meantime.

 #5: Making Friends Easily
Not only has traveling helped me to become a better friend, it’s also helped me develop the skills to become friends with someone much more easily and quickly. When you meet someone traveling, it’s often clear that you may only spend a day or two or at most a few weeks or months with them, so your friendship tends to accelerate a lot more quickly than it would if you were back home and making a new friend through work or study, for example. These days I’m much more confident in asking lots of questions to get to know someone quickly (without giving them the third degree, of course!) and swapping contact details to make sure we can stay in touch (and actually staying in touch, too!). I may have been quite shy around new friends before but travel has stripped that all away and I can get to know people well much more quickly and easily.

#6: Making the Most of Time Together
For the same reason – making friendships abroad when we knew we would only be in the same physical location on a temporary basis – I’ve grown used to maximising the fun of spending time with friends, and making the most of the time we spend together, even if we do live in the same city and have no plans to move. Travel taught me that relationships with friends are an invaluable part of life that need to be cared for. I had previously just grown up with some good friends and never thought too hard about what I’d do if they weren’t there any more.

#7: Being Honest and Authentic
Last but not least, my experiences abroad taught me to be more honest about who I am and not to try to represent myself in a way that will make people like me more. Having those “fresh starts” in places where nobody knows anything about you is a good way to do this. And I am now perfectly happy to tell people honestly about my interests and beliefs without worrying what they’ll think. If they think I’m odd, then we’re not meant to be friends anyway and that’s okay! If you liked this post, subscribe to our full feed RSS. You can also subscribe by email and have new posts delivered directly to your inbox daily.

Rabbi Berel Simpser Added To 8/6 Cruise

Rabbi Berel Simpser was recently added to the August 6, 2012 sailing of the Costa Fascinosa cruise to the Mediterranean! Departing from Venice, Italy and docking in ports such as Santorini and Croatia, this exotic journey still has cabins available.
Born and bred in the New York area, Rabbi Berel Simpser migrated first to sunny Florida, and then to the Midwest, working in Jewish communal work for over two decades. He founded the Des Moines Community Outreach Kollel in 1999 and was a staff member of the Greater Des Moines Jewish Federation for most of his 7 years there, as a communal educator and at Jewish Family Services. Sara and Berel moved to MN in September 2006 with their seven children to start AISH Minnesota. Berel, who has a two Masters in Talmudic Law, and is finishing a Masters in Communal Leadership, has taught a wide variety of inter-denominational classes – ranging from Basic Judaism, Hebrew language, Kabbalah, to ten years at the Florence Melton Adult Mini School. He has also developed educational programs for teachers, parents and students. Kosherica is the world's leading kosher cruise company!

Passenger Has Iphone Stolen, Recovered

An annoying incident has now turned into worldwide headline news aboard a cruise ship. A passenger had her iPhone stolen aboard a Disney Cruise in April, but she has since recovered it, all due to Apple's "cloud" technology. Katy McCaffrey had her phone stolen and posted a Facebook album titled "Stolen iPhone Adventures". McCaffrey reveals the man she believes is responsible, a Disney Cruise employee named Nelson, whose pictures taken with her phone were automatically pushed to her thanks to Apple's Photo Stream. "This is Nelson," McCaffrey wrote next to this sunset shot of the man, who is wearing a name tag. "Nelson stole my iPhone." McCaffrey also included pictures of a woman she refers to as Nelson's girlfriend, who also appears to work on the Disney Cruise, social gatherings featuring other employees, and even a man she identifies as the co-captain of the ship. There are twenty photos in all (subtitled: "how Nelson lost his job") and in the comments, the rightful owner writes, "I have alerted the officials of the Disney Cruiseline and forwarded them the photos. Hopefully I'll get my phone back and maybe some free passes to Disneyland." The moral of the story for wannabe thieves: better think twice before you steal something that may be smarter than you. Cruise travel is generally thought of as a very safe form of travel, and crimes (even petty ones) are extremely rare. For more info, head over to the world's #1 Jewish cruise company.

2013 Passover Filling Fast

Think your Passover was amazing? Try topping Kosherica’s grandiose holiday celebration at the spectacular PGA Resort and Spa in West Palm Beach, Florida, where 1,500 people attended. Featuring an all-star team of Foremost Caterers in partnership with Kosherica’s signature cuisine and an elaborate program for kids, teens and adults with top-notch lectures, entertainment, and even an amusement park on premises, the program received gushing reviews. As a result, the Passover 2013 program is already wait-listed.

Throughout the week, there were daily shows for kids, an amusement park with rides and slides and an all-star day camp that occupied children from 9-5pm. When adults were not busy schmoozing or hitting one of five tournament golf courses, they attended a full-scale lecture series covering a wide range of topics - be it psychological, political or rabbinical.

For more information on Kosherica’s Passover program and numerous kosher cruises throughout the year, visit Kosherica.com or call 877.724.5567.

Crusing Alaska's Glaciers

The first surprise is that they're blue—startlingly blue. A glacier in Alaska doesn't look anything like an ice cube in your freezer. That's because the ice in tide-water glaciers is so densely packed that it absorbs all visible light except the short, blue spectrum. There is some white near the surface, where the ice traps air bubbles, and there are patches of brown throughout from dirt and rocks and debris. It's all a reminder of how, on its slow trek downhill, the mighty glacier's movement scrapes up everything that lies in its path, including the earth.

We all think we know what a glacier looks like—how many times have you watched Titanic? But seeing South Sawyer Glacier in person—in one of the last wild places on the planet—is nothing like you expect. At first, the glacier looks almost like a toy. As you head out on the Disney Wonder cruise ship, you pass sparkling blue bergs bobbing like ice cubes in a punch bowl. On a few of them, you spot seals and eagles sunning themselves lazily on their icy rafts. As you get closer, however, the mood changes. You're confronted with what looks like a massive blue river of ice pouring down the mountains. The individual pieces are indeed pretty—you can see why the slang for a diamond is "ice"—but they are also threatening, with their jagged peaks and sharp crevices.
Yet for all the visual drama, what's surprising about getting up close and personal with a glacier is how it hits the other senses. Listen carefully, and you'll hear low groaning and popping and maybe even a distant roar that sounds like thunder. That's the sound of an impossibly large force hauling its weight around the world. You can feel a glacier, too, even when you're not touching it. Even in the middle of the summer, you shiver in your hat and gloves, due not as much to the cold as to the chilling realization that you're witnessing a kind of raw, natural power that makes everything else feel insignificant.

At no time is that sense of helplessness greater than when a glacier calves. Calving (a term that has nothing to do with cows but is related to the word cave, as in cave in) happens when massive icebergs are set loose from the motherland. You see it first: a spray, like a frozen mist or fine sleet, shimmying through the air. Then comes the violent sound of a hotel-size piece of ice falling into the water. If you're close enough, the glacier says good-bye in ripples that rock your boat, as if you'd strayed too close to a waterfall. You don't realize until afterward that you were holding your breath. And then it really hits you: The glacier is dying. Whether that's the result of global warming or the natural ebb and flow of nature is a matter of debate. But there's no question that what you've been witnessing is a piece of earth fading away. Like Luca Brasi in The Godfather, a part of South Sawyer Glacier has just gone to sleep with the fishes.

Join a Kosherica cruise to Alaska while you can still witness the stunning beauty of glaciers.

June 24 Alaska Kosher Cruise Coming Up Quick

April is already coming to a close, which means that summer is just around the corner. Time seems to be flying in 2012, and it's time to think about a vacation as the weather warms up.
Kosherica's June 24 Alaska kosher cruise is the perfect opportunity! America's grandest state is beckoning, and whether or not you've been before, Alaska always has more to offer. Eagles soar over massive glaciers, mountains and waterfalls while grizzly and black bears forage in the dense forests. The last true wilderness in the United States can be enjoyed from the comfort of a luxury cruise liner, departing from Seattle. With numerous day trips from the ship, whale watching and much more, Norwegian Cruise Line's Pearl will be your home for a week as you cruise through the beautiful Inside Passage. Rabbi Mordechai Shifman is Kosherica's featured Scholar In Residence and will add another level of excitement to the cruise. Learn more today!

When should you book your trip?

Everyone seems to have advice on the subject of the best time to book a trip, but what is the real truth? For every person that tells you to wait until the last minute for the best deal, another person will tell you that you should book as far in advance as possible. A new study was recently completed by the Airlines Reporting Corporation that compared hundreds of travel sites, airlines and agencies to finally reveal the best window to book your trip.


For domestic flights within the U.S., it turns out the most ideal time to book is roughly 6 weeks from the date of travel. The study gathered data from the past 4 years and found the average lowest price was in the "sweet spot" of 6 weeks. So, is the 6-week rule in play for international flights as well? The answer is no, as the study found that the ideal booking time was much farther in advance, in the range of 24 weeks from the date of travel. Although it's long been a tactic to try and wait for a last-minute sale for international flights, experts say that is becoming a risky approach with less chances of success than in previous times. A trip to Europe in the summer should be booked as early as possible, with fare increases common throughout the Spring. The ideal window is 21-22 weeks out for flights to major European cities.

If you're looking into traveling to the Caribbean to escape the cold U.S. winter (perhaps for a kosher cruise), plan on booking 11 to 12 weeks in advance. The most popular destinations, such as Costa Rica and the Bahamas, are exempt from airfare wars generally. Unfortunately, the fares are high year-round and deals are very difficult to come by.

Several tools are available to assist you in your airfare research. Bing.com offers a Price Predictor that uses algorithms to determine how likely a fare is to rise or fall during the next seven days. It applies to flights from more than 250 cities in the United States and to top domestic destinations and major hubs in Europe.

For the cheapest dates to fly, go to Itasoftware.com, which allows you to scan an entire month’s worth of fares. To buy, you must go to the airline’s Web site or online agencies like Travelocity.

Rabbi Mordechai Shifman On Alaska Cruise

RABBI MORDECHAI SHIFMAN has been added to the June 24 Alaska kosher cruise!
After studying in Jerusalem under Harav Yochanan Zweig Shlit'a, Mr. Shifman moved to California where he is currently the Head of School Emek Hebrew Academy Teichman Family Torah Center in Sherman Oaks. In addition to seeing the beautiful scenery of America's wildest state, you'll be in the presence of an amazing scholar in residence. Learn more about this amazing Alaska kosher cruise today!

Baltic Russia and Norwegian Fjords Kosher Cruises

Join Kosherica for our 2012 Glatt Kosher Cruises and Tours to the Baltics.Sail this winter on our five star Glatt Kosher Baltics Cruises. Visit destinations from Russia to Norway, Denmark to Finland and the rest of Northern Europe.

Baltic Capitals Round-trip Copenhagen Kosher Cruise - 6/24/2012 aboard Holland America's ms Eurodam for 10 Nights Join the Glatt Kosher cruise leader on this incredible cruise. Depart from Copenhagen. Spend Two days in Russia! Explore cities like Stockholm, Berlin, and Tallin with our specialized Jewish interest excursions and uncover the wonders and history of the Baltic. This cruise is a once in a lifetime Glatt Kosher Vacation!

Russia & Baltic Adventure Kosher Cruise Kosher Cruise - 7/31/2012 aboard Holland America's ms Eurodam for 10 Nights

Baltics and Norway Kosher Tours - 7/31/2012 aboard Holland America's ms Eurodam for 17 Nights

Norwegian Fjords Kosher Cruise - 8/10/2012 aboard Holland America's ms Eurodam for 7 Nights Kids Sale Free (3rd/4th on Aug 10 Eurodam. Expires March 20)

New Room Type for Jewish Singles Cruise Travelers

Kosherica is happy to announce that we now have a new room type available for our Western Mediterranean Kosher Cruise. It is a Single Stateroom for the Jewish Singles Cruise Traveler--all prices are normally Double Occupancy, but now we have a room for the Single person – and the Single Supplement (normally about 170 percent of the two-person rate) does not apply! Learn more at www.Kosherica.com.

Jewish Vacation Cruises Featured in Cruise Magazine

Kosherica, the leader in the Glatt Kosher Cruise & Industry, is proud to have received honorable mentions in a recent article featured in Porthole Cruise Magazine. The article brings to light the rising trend in Jewish cruises for singles and kosher travel cruises for families.

"It's everything you ever wanted to know about Jewish-themed cruises but were afraid to ask your rabbi."

Kosherica offers unique Jewish travel packages and some of the best kosher travel cruises all around the world.

Luxurious Travel With Kosherica

For over 15 years, Kosherica has been in the forefront of the travel industry both on land and the high seas—bringing joy, comfort, and pleasure to those who have traveled the world with them. Their tours have featured some of the world’s most exciting performers and most talented orators and educators, creating a wholesome travel experience for both body and spirit aboard the world’s most luxurious cruise liners. Their tours are both pas Yisrael and chalav Yisrael, catering to a diverse clientele—all of whom have expressed satisfaction in their experiences.

Merely mentioning the company name Kosherica conjures up visuals from their ads and billboards. Yet the Kosherica experience outperforms the expectations created by the ads. This is what sets Kosherica apart from their competitors.

There are various reasons why one would choose to travel with Kosherica. A world-class lineup of speakers, unparalleled entertainment, and culinary perfection is a winning threesome. We are usually satisfied getting just one of these components in our travels and getaways. Kosherica surprisingly brings them all together for a week of endless joy, while visiting some of the world’s most historic and breathtaking destinations.
Some of the recent cruises that Kosherica has successfully executed were to Alaska, Holland, and the all-new Canada/New England regions traveling through Maine and up to Nova Scotia. My wife and I just returned from this cruise on Sunday, August 1.

The cruise began in Bayonne, NJ and after a day and a half at sea, we pulled into a port of call in Portland, ME. From Portland we sailed through the night until early Tuesday morning when we arrived in Bar Harbor, ME—home to Acadia National Park, one of the world’s most historic sites with opportunities for biking, hiking, or kayaking nearly a hundred miles worth of terrain and breathtaking scenes. From Bar Harbor, we made our way to St John, New Brunswick—home to the Bay of Fundy which, with its reverse rapids falls, is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Other tourist attractions include a Jewish museum datelining the history of the Jews in New Brunswick containing actual artifacts and interesting history about their once vibrant Jewish community.

Our last port of call was in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The streets were brimming with tourists and local summer traffic. Everyone came out for the annual buskers festival which featured a mini merko loco (Spanish market) with various vendors displaying their wares for purchase while the passersby enjoyed live entertainment by various amateurs displaying their talent. We toured Halifax on Friday, after which we embarked over Shabbos back to NJ reaching port on early Sunday morning from where we disembarked capping off a summer vacation that will be remembered for some time to come or at least until the next cruise that we join.

The itinerary in and of itself would suffice to constitute a packed summer travel program. However, aside from the time spent touring the various cities along the way, the staff at Kosherica had prepared a full program including stimulating lectures by the Orthodox Union’s Steve Savitsky and Rabbi Steven Weil who tackled very timely topics such as marriage and outreach as well as an interesting expose from Rabbi Weil into the history of the Haftorah and various interesting traditions with regard to the daily setup of our prayers. In addition, there were daily concerts featuring the world renowned Cantors Yitzchak Meir Helfgot and Ben Zion Miller along with the world renowned accompanist Daniel Gildar, as well as fully orchestrated performances by Avraham Fried, Lipa Schmeltzer, and the famous Broadway star from Les Miserable, Israel’s very own Dudu Fisher.

Beyond all the luxury, amenities, and the pampered environment aboard the world class Celebrity Summit, there is one detail that is shared not only by my wife and myself but many others whom we have spoken to during and after the weeklong excursion—the warmth and personal attention that was felt by the sold-out crowd thanks to the courtesy of the staff including Mr. and Mrs. Yehuda Shiffman, Aliza Klein, Cheryl Gold, and Offie Schiffman who synchronized the scheduling as well as listened and considered the feedback of each guest. They all helped make this cruise run as flawlessly as it did.

When you give Kosherica a call, you will be prompted by their automated hold feature which tells you to wait to speak to one of their cruise specialists. Until I actually boarded the cruise liner and realized the work required to smoothly arrange, execute, and satisfy all of their travelers this terminology was actually a source of amusement. But once you experience what it takes to bring all the details together and execute it to the satisfaction of all the guests, clearly these specialists are needed to get the job done.

So pick up the phone now and secure your position well in advance of their upcoming cruises. The only thing you will regret is the suspense leading up to the day of embarkation. For more information, see the ad on Page 95. Then call 305-695-2700 or 877-724-5567 and book your cruise today!

What's it like to travel with Kosherica?

Taking a vacation can be very fun. People work hard and want to feel relaxed worrying about absolutely nothing. In the year 2012 anyone of Jewish descent can have their own personal cruise voyage. This concept allows Jewish people to unite and have fun at the same time. Kosher cruises 2012 is something to try. They are just like other trips and they advocate fun.

Jewish people are proud people. They like to have fun and relax like other races. They have a unique history and on this trip they can share their stories and cultural experiences. In the new year, younger Jews can meet older members of the race and learn about their history.

There are lots of activities planned for this cruise in 2012. There are catering rooms where people can get the best kosher food on board. Some of these gourmet meals are free and there are even plenty of drinks of every kind. Some people love to dance. There are nice dancing rooms where people can get together and do traditional dancing from their cultural background.

The rooms on board are very nice. They have lots of space and are very comfortable as well. Some of the sweets are so nice they have king size beds, closets with sweets inside and nice big windows where people can see the ocean.

Bringing your family along is a great option. What better way to have fun and celebrate your culture then by going on a luxury kosher cruise. There are plenty of nice offers that allow you and your family to eat, sleep and relax comfortably.

There are literally thousands of Jewish people ready to travel. They want to have fun and meet nice people at the same time. Kosher cruises 2012 is expected to be a huge success and generate a lot of money.

The next time your are making plans for a holiday, you should think about going on one of the Kosher cruises 2012 options provided by Kosherica! In addition to sailing to great destinations, including the Mediterranean and Australia, their packages come with kosher food and offer Jewish-focused discussions and Jewish-themed music concerts and performances. Book your next great Jewish holiday trip today!

Exotic Kosher Cruises

I sat high atop an elephant plodding through the jungles of Thailand last month, not hearing the distant rush of a waterfall, not smelling the scent of raw nature, not seeing the palm trees and natives in their tropical habitat--just trying to remember what exactly I was planning to do for dinner.

Would I have a succulent tongue appetizer? Hot zucchini soup? Fresh salad with pears and glazed pecans? Barbecue ribs? Hot brownie dessert with whipped cream, chocolate syrup and a strawberry on top?

Yes, that was it. I looked down at my insulated lunch bag with the word Kosherica emblazoned on it and smiled with satisfaction. What would I do without Kosherica? I wondered. Tuna and crackers, I knew. And maybe some vigorously washed and peeled fruit from a local market.

For someone who loves to travel and appreciates world-class vacations, Kosherica’s pampering and handling of all the cumbersome details presents the ideal solution. They take care of everything for you - from five star kosher meals to minyanim, intriguing Jewish lectures, the logistics of spending Shabbos away from home, and interesting groups of people that are a pleasure to get to know. I love it.

And now, in addition to their ever-popular cruises to the Caribbean, Alaska, the Baltics and the Mediterranean (be sure to reserve a spot for this summer - they sell out fast!), Kosherica continues to pave the way in glatt kosher cruising with even more exotic destinations like the Asian Orient cruise in January and the Australia & New Zealand cruise come December 2012.
Every Day a New Destination
Our Asian Orient cruise departed from Singapore on January 8 and ended in Hong Kong 14 days later, with numerous stops along the way in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China and Hong Kong.

The adventure began with a pre-cruise Shabbat magnificently hosted by Rabbi Mordechai and Simcha Abergel at Singapore’s beautiful Jewish center. The venerable synagogue next door is a well-kept edifice built in the 1800s in Britain's Late Renaissance style by wealthy Jewish merchants from Iraq. It is currently run by the rabbi and his wife and a diverse yet remarkably united Jewish community.

Kosherica also arranged a Sunday morning tour around Singapore where we took in the sights such as the Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands, Botanic Gardens, Chinatown and other cultural areas before dropping us off at the cruise terminal.

At our first port of call we found Thailand to be every bit as titillating as they say it is. There are palaces and temples, noisy markets and lively aromas wafting everywhere. The wildlife is as varied as it is exciting; we rode elephants through the jungle, interacted with monkeys that blithely climbed towering trees and picked coconuts, watched a fierce tiger show and discovered exotic birds and marine life. Thailand’s beaches are particularly alluring and they are known for their spectacular resorts featuring distinctive Southeast Asian service.

Cambodia, our next country, is a poor kingdom recovering rather quickly from a bitter civil war known as the Khmer Rouge. Tourism is their second-greatest source of income after the textile industry, and we certainly did our part to contribute to the effort. We docked in Sihanoukville in the southeast, a city that features several popular beach resorts and the photography-inducing Tumnuk Rolok fishing village.

As an American, our next country was a particularly compelling destination. Vietnam’s portrayal of the Vietnam War, in museums and other historic sites, is decidedly one-sided; particularly in Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon, where you can view fascinating representations, and the many gruesome repercussions, of modern-day warfare. Vietnam has invested a great deal in the tourism industry, so if that’s not your thing you can find many other worthy attractions. These include traditional water puppetry performances, the coastal region of Nha Trang and the UNESCO World Heritage Site called Halong Bay, which translates to “Bay of the Descending Dragon.” The bay is dotted with more than 3,000 limestone islands, their jagged cliffs rising mystically out of the water on what was for us a perfectly overcast, misty day. A stop at one of these islands reveals the Thien Cung Cave with its illuminated stalagmite and stalactite formations, which locals have the habit of naming and sometimes worshipping.

Our second-to-last stop was Sanya, a lush city considered to be the “Hawaii” of China. Located at the southern tip of the massive Hainan island, the palm trees, beaches and splendid vistas do indeed evoke that sense of paradise. Several world-class hotels are sprouting up along the coast, including an over-the-top seven star hotel being built by the designers of the world’s first seven star hotel in Dubai. Although the city could benefit from a few improvements to be comfortable for westerners, a tour of Sanya can include a pleasant visit to the ethnic minority village with its vibrant native dance performance, the Pearl Culture Museum, the Seashell Exhibition Center and Butterfly Valley.

Our final stop, Hong Kong, is a portrait of consumerism at work. The skyline glows with flashing skyscraper lights and laser shows, merely hinting to the excessive focus on brand names and “stuff” in this part of the world, but the sheer energy of the city is rather captivating. Some people in our group headed straight to the airport while others stayed on to check out the many attractions the city has to offer, including dinner at the JCC and the Peak Tram pulled by steel cables climbing 1,200 feet above the vivid skyline.

In all these exotic countries of the far east, there were ample opportunities for bargain-hunting at the colorful outdoor markets. Ladies loved the difficult-to-distinguish knock-off purses and men enjoyed designer shirts on the cheap. One of my favorite experiences was visiting the Chabad Houses in these far-flung communities, each one a testament to the pure dedication of the Rebbe’s shluchim. The Chabad Houses are often the best source of information about local culture and attractions, and are a great place to meet fellow Jewish travelers - always a joy when you’re so far from home.
All You Can Eat
I know what you’re thinking: With all these exotic destinations, Kosherica might arrange kosher food, but - it can’t be that good. I mean, are you really served kosher succulent tongue in middle of the South China Sea?

Actually, we are. And that’s only one of the choices for the appetizer of a five course meal, which we have every night at dinner time. Not to mention the full spread at breakfast and the lunch buffets, as well as afternoon and late night teas. Each meal is a feast for the eyes and taste buds. For days when you’re out exploring on land, Kosherica gives you a lunch bag to be filled as you wish.

Best of all, it’s glatt kosher, chalav Yisrael and pas Yisrael under the strict supervision of MGK (Maritime Glatt Kosher).
Luxury Liners, Lavish Amenities
What does one do on a ship for 14 days, you ask? Glad you did. Well, besides for the incredibly liberating ability to travel to multiple destinations without having to pack and schlep suitcases between each one, every ship comes loaded with places to hang out and be entertained.

Looking for excitement? Today’s cruise ships come with anything from water slides and pools to rock climbing walls and even ice skating rinks. There are shows every night after dinner and shops where you can purchase necessities as well as luxury splurges. A spa and fitness center will help you stay in shape, while the casino and numerous lounges will give you opportunities to let your hair down and relax. Libraries, free movies, cooking shows and classes are available on many ships as well.

Ships also have a shore excursion desk to assist you with planning your days at port. If you’re bringing your brood along, children’s programs and teen areas will keep them busy during the days at sea. For the rest of the time, your private luxury cabin will keep you rested and comfortable with a level of service not often found on land. Think adorable folded towels and thoughtful turn-down service every night. Trust me, you’ll miss it.
People and Programs Just Like Home

Kosherica knows there’s nothing like a vacation with all the spiritual components built in. You won’t need to go looking for a minyan for mincha or a chavrusa for daf yomi - that’s all arranged for you. Their lecturers offer a wide range of topics that will inspire you, entertain you and enlighten you. They’ve hosted both historians and world Jewish leaders, as well as kosher cooking gurus and spiritual luminaries. They’re also famous for their popular music festivals at sea, featuring Jewish superstars like Avraham Fried, Dudu Fisher and Chazan Yitzchak Meir Helfgot. These singers infuse the already-packed trips with the sound of music that elevates you to new heights. On Shabbos you’re treated with extravagant meals and meaningful services.

Every morning at breakfast you’re greeted by the familiar faces of the members of your group. At night you have dinner with them and recount the adventures of your day. After a few days they begin to feel like family. Over the years I’ve kept in touch with people I met on cruises long after we first got to know each other. Now I have friends to visit in the UK, Gibraltar, South Africa, Australia, Argentina, Israel and all over the U.S.

I’ll probably visit some of them on my next kosher cruise vacation.

Rochelle Ginsburg enjoys writing and travel - especially combining the two. Her love of working with people is evident in her varied capacities as journalist, public relations and marketing consultant, tour guide, volunteer and executive editor. She resides in New York and, as often as possible, explores the world. rochelleginsburg@hotmail.com | linkedin.com/in/rochelleginsburg

Itching to do a dream vacation like this? Contact Kosherica now to reserve a summer or fall cruise - they get booked months in advance. They’ve got a deal with coupon code RG5772 that gives you $50 off your next reservation. Go to www.kosherica.com or call 877-724-5567.

Why Jewish Travel Cruises With Kosherica?

Why does Kosherica enjoy the highest rate of guest return in the Kosher travel industry? It’s simple. The Kosherica experience is unique. First, there’s the innovative, fresh, beautifully prepared Glatt Kosher, Cholov Yisrael, Pas Yisrael gourmet cuisine. Next, is the renowned scholars-in-residence, inspiring services, and our non-stop program of lectures, entertainment, and activities that are both fun and edifying. Then the itineraries that visit the world’s most magnificent destinations. And all on the newest, best-equipped, safest, and best-appointed ships at sea today. Of course, there’s also this: the warm, personal, and generous hospitality that makes every Kosherica guest feel that they are truly on the kosher vacation of a lifetime.

Join Kosherica this summer or winter on cruises to Alaska, Australia, Caribbean, Croatia, Finland, Greece, Italy, Russia, Spain, Sweden just to name a few.

For more information visit www.kosherica.com or call 877 SAIL KOSHER or 305-695-2700.

Kosher Cruises in 2012

Taking a vacation can be very fun. People work hard and want to feel relaxed worrying about absolutely nothing. In the year 2012 anyone of Jewish descent can have their own personal cruise voyage. This concept allows Jewish people to unite and have fun at the same time. Kosher cruises 2012 is something to try. They are just like other trips and they advocate fun.

Jewish people are proud people. They like to have fun and relax like other races. They have a unique history and on this trip they can share their stories and cultural experiences. In the new year, younger Jews can meet older members of the race and learn about their history.

There are lots of activities planned for this cruise in 2012. There are catering rooms where people can get the best kosher food on board. Some of these gourmet meals are free and there are even plenty of drinks of every kind. Some people love to dance. There are nice dancing rooms where people can get together and do traditional dancing from their cultural background.

The rooms on board are very nice. They have lots of space and are very comfortable as well. Some of the sweets are so nice they have king size beds, closets with sweets inside and nice big windows where people can see the ocean.

Bringing your family along is a great option. What better way to have fun and celebrate your culture then by going on a luxury cruise. There are plenty of nice offers that allow you and your family to eat, sleep and relax comfortably.

There are literally thousands of Jewish people ready to travel. They want to have fun and meet nice people at the same time. Kosher cruises 2012 is expected to be a huge success and generate a lot of money.

The next time your are making plans for a holiday, you should think about going on one of the Kosher luxury liner tours 2012 options provided by Kosherica! In addition to sailing to great destinations, including the Mediterranean and Australia, their packages come with kosher food and offer Jewish-focused discussions and Jewish-themed music concerts and performances. Book your next great Jewish holiday trip today!

Australia & New Zealand Cruise


australia 
Join us on the elegant Holland America line as we explore the land down under. Revel in the cosmopolitan attractions of Sydney where history, opera, opals and koalas are ever present. Then venture to New Zealand, where nothing can prepare you for its majesty. The experience is only enhanced by 5 Star Glatt Kosher cuisine and exemplary Kosherica customer service.

Alaska Kosher Cruises


Aboard the wonderful Norwegian Pearl.

You will see Alaska's breathtaking natural beauty- glaciers glowing blue and magnificent wildlife-from your vantage point aboard the five-star Norwegian Pearl. Whether you're touring the rainforests of Ketchikan, helicopering over the stunning Mendenhall Glacier or seeing whales up close, you'll understand why Alaska is so sought after. THE PERFECT CRUISE FOR FAMILIES!




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