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Crystal Cruises focuses on Jewish history during select European excursions

Courtesy of Crystal Cruises

With this being Passover it seemed only fitting to inform those who recognize the Jewish spring festival about Jewish Heritage excursions being offered by Crystal Cruises in Europe this summer. Fueled by growing interest in the popular shore adventures, the company has created spiritual journeys aboard the Serenity’s May 7 and June 22, 2014 sailings that include:

  • Centuries-old Jewish heritage that visits Ahrida Synagogue – Istanbul’s oldest, dating back to the early 1400’s – boasting a refreshed splendor since its 1992 refurbishment.
  • Ashkenazi heritage which includes visits to Eskenazi, the last remaining active synagogue of its kind in Istanbul; and the “Tailors Synagogue,” founded by a group of Ashkenazi Austrian clothiers in 1900 and now serving their traditions as a fashion art gallery and research center.
  • The city’s Jewish quarters, then and now that explores the Balat quarter, where the Jewish culture began to thrive during the Ottoman Empire, and the Galata district, where a modern bustling Jewish community has increased since the 1950’s.
  • The juxtaposition of Turkey’s Jewish and Muslim cultures that takes passengers to the Quincentennial Foundation Museum of Turkish Jews, celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Jewish odyssey from Spain to Turkey, along with exhibits of the country’s corresponding Muslim history.

“We continue to respond to the increasing popularity of spiritually-based experiences ashore with new opportunities to gain insights into the impact that faith has had on the world in which we sail,” says John Stoll, vice president of land programs. “Istanbul has been a religious mecca for centuries, as the home to sites and stories that are not only profound for our Jewish guests, but also historically relevant for non-practitioners.”

In addition to those offere4d in Istanbul, there are five other bespoke offerings in Europe aboard several 2014 Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity sailings, such as:

An intimate glimpse inside the lives and stories of a Jewish family in St. Petersburg; Otto Weidt’s broom factory in Berlin, where many disabled Jews were employed and protected from deportation; The Amsterdam house where Anne Frank hid and penned her famous memoirs; Stockholm’s memorial to 8,500 Swedish Holocaust victims; andOne of the best preserved Jewish quarters in Europe, from Palamós, Spain.

Several excursions during Crystal’s summer season of 25 European cruises, will explore Christian heritage via exclusive experiences. For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit

Happy Passover to those of you who celebrate it.

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