Just returned from I/J Nov.2022
We just returned from the I/J trip with no covid restrictions. Having been in Israel before we were less impressed with this tour than we have been with other Tauck trips. First the service was as excellent as we have been accustomed. The tour director Erich and the local guides were all first rate. The hotels as rooms and locations were fine. The hotel service showed the covid effects of being less than usual. The food was entirely boring, bland and disappointing. This may also be an effect of covid but was definitely not up to Tauck standards. The meals were virtually mirror images of each other and the variety of foods served was non existent. The mezze were the same each meal and the mains were similarly bland. I would surmise that Tauck did not choose the menus for each venue but let the local contractor do it. The meals were mostly 'family style' and this close to covid, that is a bad idea. Having been in Israel before I would have chosen some different venues to visit. You can't satisfy every one with the venue choices but I think some rethinking of which one's are on the tour and how they are done is in order. If the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is an important site for you, visiting it when it is wall to wall people is not satisfying. If the Temple Mount is important to you, rushing through it likewise isn't particularly satisfying. If the biblical history of Jerusalem is important to you, not visiting the City of David is a negative. This tour does do an adequate 'overview' and does it well. If one has something else in mind it may be less satisfying. On our trip only 5 of us chose to go to Jerash. We all enjoyed it greatly. The majority of the tour members however passed on it. This may reflect the five of us knowing what we wanted to see and it may reflect the others not checking out what Jerash was compared to a day at the Dead Sea resort. On the other hand they may have not been interested in the archaeological site. Having the choice was a good idea, offering more venue choices may well be the way to go. On the whole this is a very good trip. It does require continual oversight of content and performance. Parts of our experience with this trip, especially the food offerings could stand review and improvement.