Do you think this Egypt side trip is worth it??

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Dec 13th, 2004, 03:36 PM
  #1
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Do you think this Egypt side trip is worth it??

We will be on a cruise soon which includes an overnight to Luxor and the Valley of the Kings. We have an option to book a side excursion at our own expense and can't decide if this would be worth it or not. I'd really like your opinions...we've never been to this part of the world. Thank you!
The excursion the following day reads as follows:

Abu Simbal & Cairo at The Four Seasons

Duration: 1 Night.
Difficult Walking, Flight.


This program is an extension of the included overnight stay in Luxor. Instead of returning to the ship with the rest of the guests, a private charter flight will whisk you from Luxor the Temple of Abu Simbal. Abu Simbal is a giant temple built by Ramses the second. It's carved into the side of a mountain and sitting guard in front are four giant statues of the megalomaniac pharaoh himself. It's an awesome thing to see these giants carved from the mountain. They all sit majestically, fully intact save for one of the four whose head now lies at his feet. After the visit you return to Luxor for a scheduled flight to Cairo. Spend the night in the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel on the banks of the Nile and visit the Pyramids the Cairo Museum including the Mummies Room the next day. Located on their desert plateau just nine miles west of Cairo. The three Pharaohs Cheops, his son Chephren and Chephren's son Mykerinus each built a pyramid to preserve their mummified bodies for eternity. Next just to the Southeast of the great Pyramids visit the Sphinx; it was carved out of a solid natural rock around 2650 BC. The Sphinx has the head of a man and the body of a lion, stretched out to a length of 240 feet; its enigmatic expression has been the topic of discussion for centuries. Next visit The Solar Boat Museum. It is thought that these boats transported Khufu's body to his pyramid, since it was common practice to bury all items connected with the Royal Funeral, close to the final resting-place of the king. One of the boats - made up of 1,224 separate parts was reconstructed by being stitched together using ropes made of vegetable fibers. After its reassembly, the boat measuring 142ft long is now housed in the Solar Boat Museum next to the pyramid.
Finally after a very full two days transfer overland from Cairo to meet the ship in Port Said an approximately 3 hours drive. It is important to note that taking part in this program you will miss the transit of the Suez Canal, though you will be well compensated by the majestic sights that await you. The program runs at a quick pace, as there are a lot of sights to see in a short time.

April 2nd 2005 - Luxor- Abu Simbal - Luxor - Cairo

After lunch in Luxor, proceed to the airport for your private flight to visit the great rescued temple of Abu Simbal after spending just over one hour there return on the private aircraft to Luxor airport to connect to your schedule flight to Cairo.
On arrival in the late evening take a direct transfer to the Four Seasons Hotel. Tonight dinner will be served at the hotel.

April 3rd 2005 -Cairo- Port Said
After an early wake up call as you have a full day of sightseeing take buffet breakfast in the hotel. After breakfast proceed to the visit Egyptian Museum to include a visit to the Mummies Room.
Lunch will be served at the historic Mena House hotel in the shadow of the great pyramids. After which you will visit the Pyramids, Sphinx and the Solar Boat so beautifully restored . There will be a short break to shop before starting the over three hour drive to Port said to re-join the Seven Seas Voyager( 30 mints )

Program Includes:

* Charter flight in modern turbo prop or jet aircraft Luxor-Abu Simbal-Luxor
* Schedule economy flight Luxor- Cairo
* One nights accommodation at the Cairo Four Seasons Hotel
* Breakfast, lunch & Dinner. House wine or local beer at lunch Beverages not included at Dinner in the Four Seasons
* All sightseeing and transfers as per itinerary


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Dec 13th, 2004, 08:34 PM
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Definitely go to Abu Simbel and you'll not regret it. It was one of the most spectacular sites, for me at least, that I visited in Egypt.

I stayed at the Four Seasons in Cairo during my visit and found the hotel to be a typical Four Seasons. Very comfortable and luxurious but not much sense of being in Egypt.

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Dec 14th, 2004, 04:36 AM
  #3
sandi
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Abu Simbel is a must see, but they sure are cutting your time with only 1-hr. and then 3-hrs. driving thru the desert to meet your ship. But out of curiousity, what is the charge for this "fast run thru Egyptian history?"
 
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Dec 14th, 2004, 06:12 PM
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Thanks for your replies! We will have 3 hours driving regardless from Luxor back to the port or from Cairo to Port Said. Also, I understand that we'll miss going through the Suez Canal if we opt for this since we meet back up with the ship in Port Said.

Sandi, back to your question...herein lies the problem. This is the MOST expensive excursion...something like $1.200 per person. It does include hotel, flights, meals, everything.. etc. but this is a LOT of $$ to spend for something that is perhaps 24 hours long (?). I'm having a really tough time justifying that the expense is worth it. I know Radisson does everything VERY first class so I'm sure this is no exception, but.......YIKES!! ??

Maybe seeing Luxor and the Valley of the Kings is enough for a "quick" exposure to Egypt?? Decisions! Decisions!
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Dec 15th, 2004, 02:10 AM
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Abu Simbel is a fantastic sight to see, also flying over Lake Nasser in the desert to get there is an experience; I too thought, whoa! private charter, what is this costing? but then the commercial domestic flight to Abu Simbel is not exactly cheap.
If your sight-seeing in Luxor and Valley of the Kings is not shortened (doesn't sound like it is) by taking this option, I think you should do it.
Although I've not been to the newer Four Seasons on the Nile, I hear it is luxuriant. And your time in Cairo will be filled with wonderful sights.
The option provides a great chance to see stupendous sights in addition to the Luxor cruise.
Another consideration: at that point in your travels would you prefer taking in more monumental sights or relaxing on a Suez cruise?
I'm an American living in Alexandria. I haven't cruised or driven along the Suez, yet, so I don't have a recommendation on that.
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Dec 15th, 2004, 03:10 AM
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In 2001,we flew via EgyptAir from Aswan to Abu Simbal instead of driving through the desert with a military escort. For me, it was a highlight of the trip. I also rented a horse and rode through the pyramids at sunset. Even though my husband doesn't ride, if I'd had time, I would have ridden to Sakara on a day trip.
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Dec 15th, 2004, 11:34 AM
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sandi
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petlover - That is a hefty price for such a short side-trip. For another $800 or less you can have a full 10-day independent itinerary in Egypt. This would include 4* or 5* hotels, with a few days in Cairo (Pyramids, Sphinx, Museum, Saqqara, Memphis, Old and Coptic Cairo and Bazaar w/private guide/driver, a Nile River Cruise (w/stops at Aswan, Kom Ombo, Esna, Edfu, Luxor [Valley of Kings & Queens), and trip to Abu Simbel.

May I suggest you do a search on this board for "Egypt tour operators" contact them and see if they can arrange the same itinerary, and the price they offer. It might cost less, or it might not. At least you'll have an idea whether the price the cruise line is offering is even comparable. Otherwise, it's up to you to spend a hefty chunk of cash (and the requisite tips) for 24-hours.
 
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Dec 15th, 2004, 03:22 PM
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I agree with sandi, that's too much money. Well, if you think that's the only time you'll ever go to Egypt, then do it. But if you think you'll have time to come back on a land tour, then wait.
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Dec 17th, 2004, 06:28 AM
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Our time is limited by the ship's schedule and an independent tour may not be realistic. At least we're getting a taste of Egypt. The excursion to Luxur which is included in the cruise fare is as follows:
Luxor & Valley of the Kings

Coach Transport, Difficult Walking, Meal Included.

This special event is included with our compliments for all guests.

April 1st. 2005
After an early disembarkation drive to Luxor by the desert and agricultural road a distance of some 180 miles, the journey will take approximately 3 hours. On arrival in Luxor check in to your hotel followed by lunch. Fortified and refreshed you now begin your very active touring program. A photo stop is made at the Colossi of Memnon, these two large statues of seated figures bear the marks and graffiti of centuries of tourists, still regal they stand proudly alone a symbol of there lost civilization. Next a stop at the spectacular Queen Hatshepsut temple is made. The temple is uniquely designed as a series of grand terraces extending up a cliff, with rows of square granite columns blending in with the mountainside.

Finally arrive at the Valley of the Kings on the West bank of the Nile. Coaches will drop you of at the gate and then there is a walk to reach the most interesting tombs. The Valley of the Kings, which is hidden in the foothills of the mountains of Gourma offers over 60 tombs of Pharaohs and noblemen. The famous tomb of Tutankhamen was discovered here in 1922 the tomb is empty and unremarkable and is not visited. The guide will select the more richly decorated tombs. There may be lines to enter the tombs.

Return to your hotel for afternoon tea and time to freshen up for dinner.

April 2nd 2005
An early wake up calls starts your second day, which is followed by a sunny breakfast on the Nile. Your morning is filled with temples starting with the Temple of Luxor. The temple was originally built during the reign of Amenophis III and was expanded by Ramses II, who added a statue of himself and two obelisks. Now only one remains in the temple, the other was sent as a gift by Mohamed Ali to Louis Philippe of France in 1831 and today stands in the Pace de la Concorde in Paris. In the 4th century BC Alexander the Great rebuilt the sanctuary, more restoration was done by the Romans and finally Muslims built a mosque within the temple. After your stop at the temple of Luxor visit the important and larger Karnak temple complex. The temple was the heart of the cult of the God Amon. Each Pharaoh added his own contribution to the temple, so on your visit here you will experience the works of over 2000 years. Sights include the largest hall of any temple in the world covering 50,000 square feet and containing 134 huge decorated columns which once supported a vast roof.

Return to your hotel for a quick check out and lunch before making the return journey to Safaga and the waiting Seven Seas Voyager.

Program includes:
* One nights accommodation in Luxor
* Meals as specified in the itinerary. (dinner to include 2 glasses of house wine or local beer)
* Air-conditioned coaches with restrooms

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Dec 17th, 2004, 12:34 PM
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petlover -

If the trip to Luxor with overnight hotel, meals and touring is included, then go for it. Just be aware that when you arrive at the site on Day-1 will be the hottest part of the day, so be sure to have a hat, sun protector with high SPF, plenty of water. Day-2 with an early start for sightseeing won't be as daunting, though you still have to protect yourself (as above) and have water with you, though this can be bought locally and is very inexpensive. Also remember to have a scarf or bandana, as April can bring sand storms - so be prepared; also keep your camera equipment protected in ziplock bags when not being used.

Is the ship also providing an option (if not too expensive/or is it included) for a trip to Cairo? If so you might want to do this - at least you'll get the opportunity to see the pyraminds and sphinx.

Otherwise, I would suggest you consider scheduling a separate trip to Egypt, when you can enjoy the country at your pace, where you want to stay, what you want to see, number of days you choose, and cruise either the Nile or Lake Nassar. Unfortunately, there are times that schedules and funds don't allow us to do everything all in one trip. Enjoy!
 
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Dec 18th, 2004, 04:17 AM
  #11
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No, it's not worth it.

Abu Simbel is a must see if you are on a trip to Egypt. When you're on a cruise with a one day stopover in Luxor as described, I would be content with that. If you enjoy seeing Luxor, you will want to go back and spend more time in Egypt; the time to include Abu Simbel is when you make that trip.

You will also find it much more reasonably priced at that time. There's nothing wrong with spending a lot of money if you can afford it, but the price for this side trip is really out of line unless you're quite wealthy.
 
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Dec 18th, 2004, 07:28 AM
  #12
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Thanks everyone.....I think we're going to cancel the side trip and just stick with visiting Luxor and the Valley of the Kings.

It is so much $$ and we certainly are not wealthy.
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Dec 18th, 2004, 07:34 AM
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Also think about this - now you have a reason/excuse to go visit Egypt again in the future!
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Dec 18th, 2004, 03:49 PM
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rfb
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If you're inclined to look at other peoples pictures, you might try this link.

http://oldenglishstudios.home.comcast.net/egypt1.htm

It has a lot of pictures so I don't know how long it takes to open on dial up. On broadband it's a snap. I'm generally pleased with the page, but then, I'm prejudiced
 
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Dec 19th, 2004, 01:39 AM
  #15
 
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I think you have made the right choice to decide against this side trip. I think the rushing around involved to fit everything into the two days and the cost of the trip make it hard to justify (of course, unless money's no object).

A better side trip would be to spend all the time in Cairo and absorb a bit more of what that has to offer. Abu Simbel is fantastic but it just doesn't seem to fit very well with this side trip from Luxor to Cairo.

The cost seems like a lot too. Egypt is a relatively inexpensive country to stay in and travel around. I spent 10 days there in September and including flights from the UK, accommodation, food, train travel between cities, entry fees, a 2-day Nile cruise and an add-on flight trip to Abu Simbel (all booked as a tour), this came to less than cost of the add-on side trip you're offered. I didn't stay in the Four Seasons like you have been offered but all accommodation was good.
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Dec 25th, 2004, 06:16 AM
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Hi,
We just returned from our trip to Egypt. While on cruise, a group from our cruise went to Abu Simbel by road while the ship was docked at Aswan. They left at 3 a.m. and were back to join the cruise at 12 noon.
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