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pgoody Dec 10th, 2007 04:09 PM

A & K vs. Ker & Downey
I'm in the process of arranging a trip to Egypt next fall with an extension to Israel for myself and a group of 16 friends. We want this to be a luxury trip with no stones left unturned. Any opinions between these two tour operators. Even though I want this completely 5* I still want to get the best deal money-wise. Ker & Downey uses the M.S. Triton as the Nile boat.

nancy Dec 10th, 2007 04:41 PM

I took a trip to Kenya with A&K and it was terrific. All accommodations,food and sightseeing were great. I would go with them again in a heartbeat, if I could afford it. [email protected]

pgoody Dec 10th, 2007 05:17 PM

my problem right now with A & K other than the fact that they are very expensive is that In October and November they only have 3 NT Nile cruises that are still available. I was thinking that 4 is ideal. Also they use their own Nile boat, the M.S. Sunboat IV..with all different accommodation levels. The Triton is supposed to be special with everyone having the same level and everything is included including liquor and laundry.

I'm willing to look at other tour operators as well if anyone has a suggestion.

roderick Dec 10th, 2007 07:34 PM

This may start a bit of a war, but I just don't see how you can use either of those companies if you are looking for "the best deal money-wise".

I would be very cautious to work with any company that sells tours to places all over the world. That right there tells me that they are doing a lot of contracting out to local operators in the country you are choosing to go to. I have never used either of these companies for travel, but I have compared their prices to quotes I get from operators for tours I have been on in Africa as well as Asia. Their quotes are hands down more expensive than any I have ever received.

In the end it seems like you are paying a lot of money extras (hats, bags, extra spotting guide on safari...) that really doesn't need to be paid for.

I'd encourage you to get quotes from a local operator in Egypt and then compare this against what A&K and K&D are quoting you.

Doogle Dec 10th, 2007 11:46 PM

I can assure you that A&K will be using Akorn in Egypt, my mother and father went with Akorn and booked direct with Akorn in Egypt, they got a fantatic deal with all the bells and whistles and they had a trip of a lifetime, they loved it so much that they are going back next year!

sandi Dec 11th, 2007 04:20 AM

I can't advise re Ker & Downey for Egypt (I associate them with Africa/safari countries), but Akorn as mentioned above, is a division of A&K.

Many of the itineraries offered by tour operators or in-country outfitters are basically the same, but for the accommodations you choose.

As to the Nile cruise boat, the A&K Sun Boat is more like a luxury yacht, yet many mention their suites are small for the price paid. I recently posted some information that Oberoi has recently added the "Zahara" to their fleet, which is an "all-suite" boat and even outshines their Philae which was Oberoi's top of the line.

Why not take the A&K itinerary - where they visit, # of days, hotels at which they stay, sights visited - turn it over to an in-country Egyptian outfitter and have them price for you. I'm sure there will be a big savings. Egypt Highlights is one company that is mentioned here often.

For your time in Cairo, you can contact Debbie Senters of Casual Cairo Detours at [email protected] who can assist with your plans and other useful information. Debbie posts on Fodor's regularly with very helpful information.

Hope this helps.

pgoody Dec 11th, 2007 07:06 AM

Thank you so much for your suggestions. I was feeling the same way but unsure as to which local companies are reputable. I will check out Akorn and Egypt Highlights but if anyone has had a fabulous experience with a different company please let me know.

Louise Dec 11th, 2007 08:20 AM

I have recommended Maupintour before but will do it again. I have been on their 16 day trip and at differing times, friends also. Everyone raved about the trip. They use the Oberoi Philae for the river cruise and all other places were first class.

Benjy46 Dec 13th, 2007 05:34 PM

Going to Egypt with Lindblad in February and we will be on the Triton. Have traveled with them before and consider Lindblad an outstanding tour operator. If they use the Triton, I am sure its a wonderful choice.

sunshine007 Dec 14th, 2007 12:22 PM

Pgoody, if you want to go with A&K or Lindblad or K&D, by all means take them. They will provide you with a wonderful experience. And the most important thing is that you have confidence in those who operate your tour.

In Egypt I can assure you that A&K will provide the best in tour drivers, operators, guides, etc. (Debbie Senters, of course, is in a class by herself.) My Alexandria guide told me that A&K were "the best." He would have loved to have a job with them as he then automatically would be considered as an elite guide in Egypt.

Personally, I always avoided group tours until I discovered the tours given by ARCE, a Cairo based archeological society. They provide me with a group of like minded people, but I never would urge ARCE's trips on the readers of this site unless they wanted to hang out with people who can differentiate between Ramses II & Ramses III.

I just re-read your note & discovered that you're the one who's arranging a trip for 17 people. I'd definitely go with one of these groups -- you have too many who can and will complain if it's not up to their expectations. You can tell them to keep quiet because you've given them "the best." (said with a good deal of humor)

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