+
Kosher 28

Kosherica cruises

Cholent Fresser | Apr 25, 2015 11:14 PM

I'm not sure if there is a post re these cruises yet.
But I've been on two of them lately and I'd like to share my experiences and hear from others.
Simply put, kosherica "rents" out a part of a decent (sometimes) cruise line. "Kashers" (one hopes) one kitchen.
Offers 3 meals a day (sometimes more) and adds a room for a minyan and provides a rabbi or lecturer and maybe an entertainer.
For that they charge double or more (sometimes triple) than what the other guests pay.
We are a married highly observant couple with a few kids.
1) we went on their Greek isles cruise. It departed from Venice.
My family and I had a great time.
But it wasn't only because of kosherica it was simply a great trip with great stops
The ship was from the costa line.
Here is my report:
The ship itself was lousy. Very Nice rooms but everything else overcrowded no way to enjoy the mini pools
Everything on the ship was extra. Nothing was included.
No movies, shows, nothing.
The one main kosherica employee was a "rabbi" who used to live in Mexico now in Israel who was somewhat knowledgable in kashrut couldn't speak, daven or do anything other than advise on certain laws Etc
The "mashgich" were a coupe of yeshiva boys. I doubt they knew anything about kashrut.
The stops were amazing.
Now to the main event:
The food. Was spectacular. I will give credit where it's due
Great breakfasts lunches and dinner.
At each meal there was a chef making something fresh. Omelettes pasta or etc.
the dinners were delicious.
I have absolutely no complaints re the food.
The "Jewish" services were sorely lacking.
No Shabbat Chazan, no lectures nothing. They tried to get the guests (me) to do everything
But the food was great.
All in all even though the ship and the rabbi was lousy. The food and the islands more than compensated.
So

2) based on our experience of the Greek cruise 2 years ago we went on the "main" cruise of kosherica.
This is the one on January during yeshiva break that leaves from ft laudederdale.
The ship was huge a royal Caribbean I think one of the biggest in their line.
There were around 350 kosherica participants but there were around 1000 other Jews. There was also a sefardic contingent.
The rabbi was a modern orthodox guy who was "eh!" There was another guy who was something of a Chazan. But you got the impression that they didn't really put any effort in the "Jewish " stuff. They relied on the religious people there to do everything.
There was one guy a chabadnik who had a yartzait and he did everything
Another big lecturer spoke just twice.
I wasn't impressed at all.

A big singer a Freid had a "concert " he sang some songs for an hour and that's it.
Could've done with out it. My kids were let down
The food:
Breakfast and lunch were highly disappointing no fresh stations everything was pre cooked.
I can't say the food was bad. It wasn't, but it was nothing special.
Dinners however were excellent. Like going every night to the most upscale gourmet restaurant in New York. It was that good.
Prime rib, veal, sea bass the works with appetizers and dessert.
Here is the kicker
I saw a friend and assumed he was part of the kosherica program.
He wasn't.
He came on the same cruise. Paid a third what we paid. Got a suite and had kosher meals ( a step up from airline food. He said they were not gourmet but very tasty) made by the same caterer and he suprlemented with stuff he brought and he was fine. He went to the sedarfic minyan who posted a sign that "all are welcome" and he had a great time
That's not for me. But I wasn't too happy.
I dont feel we got our money's worth. I went to a kosher cruise for the package and while I got some great dinners I don't think I got much else
And the owner of the program was on this tour gave the impression of being a grouchy guy. Certainly didn't give the impression of being a Gracious host. There were some embarrassing incidents
Bottom line.
It was nice but not worth the thousands extra.
I'm considering doing another cruise just with my wife and using the savings to upgrade to an ultra suite. I'll bring a Torah and hope for the best....
Hope you will respond with your experiences
CF

Want to stay up to date with this post?