April 19, 2024
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April 19, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Charting a Course to Great Kosher Cruising: Dalia Stelzer Takes You on a Travel Journey

The world of cruising has undergone a remarkable transformation for kosher travelers in just the last couple of years. In the past, the typical offerings on top cruise lines of frozen kosher meals stood in stark contrast to the lavish buffets enjoyed by fellow passengers. For those without a large budget for private kosher programs, the experience meant settling for “airplane food” while others dined gourmet.

However, a visionary shift by executives of the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line has redefined kosher cruising for the better. Recognizing the untapped potential of the kosher customer base, Royal Caribbean (RCL) devised a direct-to-consumer kosher package that offers fresh kosher meals three times a day on several of its world-class sailing itineraries. This initiative, in collaboration with Rabbi Dovid Weberman of Miami Beach, a veteran in upholding kashrut standards, heralds a new era for kosher vacationing.

RCL chooses a few sailings each year for the kosher program—typically, a few cruises during January and a few during August—and they continue to add more options each year. Under Rabbi Weberman’s supervision, three daily fresh kosher buffets are now prepared in dedicated kosher kitchens for the entirety of the cruise, adhering to strict kashrut protocols with a full-time mashgiach present. Dairy offerings are cholov stam. Each cruise also offers a reserved space for daily tefillah, including a sefer Torah. The kosher program is offered as an added fee to the regular room rate of about $70 per person per day plus gratuities (less for children). (For those who would prefer not to pay the extra fee or who might get closed out of the program, in addition to the standard frozen kosher meals, each of these kosher sailings offers fresh kosher pizza gratis to anyone on board at the ship’s Italian pizzeria.)

On these cruises, guests can indulge in the full array of ship amenities. From ice skating rinks (on the Wonder) and nightly shows, to excursions and zip lines, to fitness options and kids’ clubs, there’s an activity for every age and interest. The newer vessels, such as the Oasis and Wonder, also feature innovative attractions like a “Central Park” with real trees, a “boardwalk” complete with a carousel and water slides on the pool deck.

Fortunately, our community has the advantage of having Dalia Stelzer as a direct link to RCL. Dalia, who leads the Travel Journey travel agency, has been in the travel world for years, and knows the ins and outs of kosher cruising better than anyone. With her extensive travel expertise, Stelzer has become the go-to authority for kosher cruise planning. She offers not just competitive rates, but also expert guidance to assist travelers with everything from booking to on-board activities. She is sometimes able to get discounted rates and/or on-board credit and, above all, she always gives her clients top-notch service at no extra charge.

Since the RCL kosher dining room only allows for approximately 350 guests on each sailing, these kosher cruises usually sell out within weeks of being announced. The kosher dining room on the January “yeshiva week” 2024 cruises sold out last June, less than a month after being announced!

For summer 2024, the Ovation of the Seas sailing to Alaska (August 16-23) is now waitlist only; the Oasis of the Seas (August 18-25) departing from Barcelona and traveling to several ports in Italy has limited availability and is selling quickly; and the “Wonder of the Seas” (August 18-25) departs from Port Canaveral/Orlando and tours the Caribbean.

Responding to frequent requests for updates on kosher cruise schedules, Dalia has established a WhatsApp group for her clients. This allows her to promptly share announcements of upcoming kosher voyages by Royal Caribbean as soon as they become available.

Not only has the cruise industry embraced kosher-friendly options, but numerous resorts throughout the Caribbean and Mexico now—incredibly—proudly offer kosher dining year round, even featuring Shabbat meals to ensure a vacation experience without compromise.

Dalia has shared insights on two exceptional upscale retreats for couples in Cancun—the NIZUC Cancun Resort & Spa and the Banyan Tree Mayakoba—with the latter particularly popular for its private pools in each unit. Additionally, she highlighted two family-oriented resorts with on-site kosher dining options. The Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen, also in Mexico, with its reasonable rates, boasts an upscale kosher restaurant and proximity to 10 other kosher-dining restaurants. Also, the Baha Mar Resort complex in the Bahamas offers both a kosher restaurant and a dairy kosher food truck, coupled with an on-site water park that adds to its family appeal. Dalia’s inside track ensures great rates and/or additional perks at all of the above hotels.

Seeking a stress-free, kosher vacation to destinations like the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, Europe, Israel or others? Reach out to Dalia for her expertise. Her extensive network with hotels worldwide often results in added amenities at most five-star accommodations. With Dalia Stelzer’s expertise, the dream of a luxurious, worry-free kosher vacation is now a vivid reality. You can reach Dalia at 917-930-4059.

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