I’d like to say that the guides I’ve had in my 2 trips to Israel have been absolutely terrific, some of the best I’ve ever had (and I’m generally pretty tough on guides). They really do their utmost to help you come up with the best itinerary and accommodate you in any way they can. And they know their stuff.
I visited Israel on a cruise last September with stops in Haifa and Ashdod like you. I worked with Moti Bar-Tuv (a licensed guide who posts occasionally here as motib) to set up itineraries for my days as what I wanted to see was somewhat different from the “pre-set” tours. He had suggestions for a great day from Haifa (geared to my interest in Roman history), and also helped me put together a day in Jerusalem that would be more appealing to others but also include some things I was particularly interested in seeing.
Although by the time I was able to confirm the tours, Moti had already been booked by others, he helped me find another guide, Aharon (who turned out to be an expert in the Roman military in Israel!). And what’s more, while I was onboard ship I found out about a festival that was to take place in one of the spots we planned to visit from Haifa (Akko), that would have closed all the places I most wanted to see — so at a day’s notice, I emailed Moti and we were able to rearrange the day’s schedule.
Everything about the 2 days was top-notch, and completely worth the $$. (Keeping in mind I paid the entire amount for a one-person tour from Haifa, and shared with 2 others in Jerusalem). So much so that when I returned to Israel a few weeks ago for a longer trip, I again arranged to spend an entire day touring with Aharon.

Published on Cruise Critic – Africa & Middle East Board