Haifa doesn’t really qualify as a cruise destination. Certainly it has one extremely conveniently located pier at almost center of the harbor, center of the city. Considering how realistically paranoid the Israelis – getting through security was actually easier than most TSA screenings. But really, Haifa is simply a busy working port that doubles as a Navy base with a side of tourism.
The center of the city, the old German Colony (think Templars) and most locations are easily walkable. What is not walkable – like the beach or the top of the Bahai Gardens are reachable by free shuttle tour bus. Said bus, all one of it, makes a 90 minute loop with a few stops here and there. Take it partway then catch the next loop. What no one tells you is that there is nothing stable about either the route or the opening times of various exhibitions or museums.
Since this is a working port, most of the retail locations near the port are devoted to everyone getting off the ships. This means F&F. Food and Fashion for those of you whose minds went in another direction. Tons of small eateries via for sidewalk space with second hand clothing, discount shops and the occasional sea related specialty store (selling rope, GPS, sun block and electronics for entertainment as well as clips, pulleys and anchors).
The population total is under 300k according to the literature provided. The population has shifted from the 50/50 Jewish-Arab mix of prior to WWII (yes, before the founding of Israel) to 96% Jewish Israelis, most of whom are of Russian origin either recently or within the last couple of generations.
We will be here through tomorrow before hitting another day at sea.
Pictures later – I have limited band with here.
What you don’t see are many kippot, black hats, or stores with religious paraphernalia.