Sail on Kosherica Cruises

Couple on a Kosherica cruise.
Couple on a Kosherica cruise.

Kosherica Cruises is the brainchild of Yehuda Shifman, who 14 years ago decided that he was tired of eating reheated frozen airline dinners when he attempted to take a cruise. He wanted to feel as pampered as the rest of passengers.

Certainly, one of the main attractions of Kosherica Cruises is that expert chefs prepare gourmet kosher dishes daily. The food is Cholov Yisroel and Pas Yisroel so it meets the standards of most Orthodox Jews.

About 90% of the passengers on Kosherica Cruises are Orthodox Jews and the rest come either to be with their families or simply to enjoy the Jewish atmosphere. Kosherica is really offering a cruise within a cruise. Shifman has collaborated with Celebrity Cruises, Holland-America and Costa Cruises, an Italian cruise line, depending on the cruise destination.

The concept is that kosher cruises take place on a secular cruise company’s regularly scheduled voyage. The kosher cruise operator brings its own chef, mashgiach, plates, entertainment, rabbi and lecturers to complement the cruise line’s numerous programs and amenities. Kosher cruise guests have the best of both world’s they can choose between the Jewish activities and the secular activities.

Kosherica passengers have their own beautiful restaurant where they can dine lavishly. In addition to the typical cruise ship amenities such as fitness centres, pools, art galleries, shopping and visits to great ports, Kosherica caters to its Jewish clientele by offering minanyim, shows with renowned cantorial singers and lectures by well known rabbonim and professors on stimulating topics. Past singers have included: Dudu Fisher, Mordechai Ben David, and Shlomo Simcha. Even separate swimming and Woman’s Israeli dancing have been on the roster.

Fine dining on a Kosherica Cruise.
Fine dining on a Kosherica Cruise.

These cruises are also extraordinary because they cater to both Jewish singles and families. Shifman’s daughter, Helit Edelstein, founder of coordinates an itinerary for singles in conjunction with Kosherica sailings each year.

The combination makes it easy for families and singles to travel together. JSingles group activities include SpeedDating, games and even a workshop with a life coach, who also offers dating advice via telephone pre-cruise. The formula seems to be working.

With the motto: “Have fun. See the World. Meet your Beshert”, JSingles cruises has
celebrated four marriages and one engagement since its inauguration in August 2004. The amalgamation has been a blessing for families, as now an unmarried family member can travel with his or her family and still take part in all of the singles activities.

There are programs that help singles on the ship get to know each other and of the international nature of cruising means that singles are meeting people that normally would not cross their path. At the same time, there is a lot for families to do and specialized children’s and teen’s programs to give parents a break.

But back to the food! I feel that I must explain just how good and plentiful it really is on these cruises. The gourmet cuisine is under the strict supervision of Maritime kosher, but the food is not just typical Jewish style–many nationalities are represented within the menu choices. Sushi, churasco steak and Italian specialties are popular. A typical breakfast offers omelet stations, blintzes, fresh salads and cheeses. Moreover, just like on regular cruises, there is afternoon tea and a midnight snack, so there is no fear of ever going hungry.

Kosherica has a tempting line up for 2008, including trips to all parts of the Caribbean, as well as Europe, Alaska and the Mediterranean just to name a few destinations.

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Copyright 2007 by Neilia Sherman. Published November 11, 2007. All Rights Reserved. Photos courtesy Kosherica Cruises.