Egypt - Cruise

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Dec 15th, 2004, 09:31 PM
  #1
gac1yahoo
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Egypt - Cruise

Hello all..
I am going to Egypt with my wife and two kids. Is the cruise trip necessary..? and don't be missed..?? Won't I be able to go all these place by land.?? why cruise..? Since everyone is going, there must be something I am missing..!!
 
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Dec 16th, 2004, 03:40 AM
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The cruise itself does not cover a really great distance - but it is actually the most efficient way to travel as it docks at various locations with easy transfer to the sites. Otherwise you would end up flying between Cairo, Luxor, Aswan. It used to be impossible, or at least impractical, to go by land between Luxor and Cairo - so most people end up flying to start and end of cruise anyway.

Several posts here about overland travel to Abu Simbel - but the Egyptair flight is a surprisingly practical way to do that as well.

And if you did not cruise, you would lose the incredible views as the banks of the Nile float by - (I guess it is the boat, not the banks that do the floating, but you get the idea). I spent hours watching farmers working the fields using methods unchanged in a thousand years.

If you look at a map with distances, Egypt is a large country - even if driving or taking a bus were possible, it does not really make sense time and geography-wise.

The cruise is not what one normally thinks of as a cruise - they are smaller river boats with few frills (no rock climbing wall, floor shows, etc.) and are really a pleasant means of transportation.
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Dec 16th, 2004, 05:47 AM
  #3
sandi
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gac1yahoo - Gail is so right. This isn't the normal cruise when one thinks of a cruise. And someplace you'd never find me. But the cruise along the Nile takes in all the sights you can't (or it would be most difficult to see, if even allowed)to get to otherwise. We're talking boats that have 200 people maximum, though 100 or less is really ideal.

After spending a few days in Cairo seeing the sights in and around, the cruise is ideal to see the rest. Depending on a particular boat schedule, you're best to fly to Luxor or Aswan, board your boat. You'll have a floating hotel room, your meals, and our land tours and various stops along the way. An English speaking guide will take about 20 people on the tours to temples... the time on the boat is yours to spend as you choose. Most cruising is done at night, but there is some day cruising and passing thru the Esna Locks is an experience.

Do make sure to do the trip to Abu Simbel either before or after your cruise. Best done from Aswan - a short flight, a few hours at the site and return flight. Quite an amazing site.

A good tour operator should be able to arrange this for you in addition to providing a guide/driver while in Cairo. There are a number of in-country Egyptian tour outfitters (do a search on this board for names) who can handles this at very competitive prices.
 
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Dec 16th, 2004, 09:38 AM
  #4
 
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During my Trip this past Sept/Oct we did not do the cruise trip for various reasons. One is that I didn't want to be confined to one place, I didn't like the idea of having to be docked with a bunch of other boats in Luxor and in addition I wanted a private tour and not be with a hundred other people. The boats just looked terrible in my opinion. We flew from Cairo to Abu Simbul then flew to Aswan. In Aswan we stayed in the OLD Catarcah hotel with it's view and gorgeous sunset. Which I would have missed had I taken a cruise and left the city immediately. We had a driver that took us from Aswan to Luxor. The road goes right along the nile, so we too got to see the fields and beauty of the nile, but also were able to experience the small towns and watch the people in their daily activities. It was very fun. On our way down we also stopped at a few sights that are missed on boats as well. In Luxor a number of the boats are docked one on top of ecah other. So if you are considering taking the cruise then make sure you get one with their own dock and aren't piled six deep. Also some dock outside of town so you will have to get transportation to the main town. We talked to a couple that had to do this and we're not very happy. We on the other hand stayed in the OLD Winter palace right down town and were able take lovely strolls each evening along the nile as well as walk to most of the sites in town.

I guess it's a personal choice but I wanted to put in my opinion about the cruises. They are not for everyone and there are just as lovely of ways to see Egypt without having ot take one and be with a hundred other people.

Good luck and have fun.
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Dec 17th, 2004, 06:04 PM
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My husband and I took the cruise from Aswan to Luxor. It was a floating hotel. One day, the cruise line had us wait almost three hours for more tourists to board. As a result, we ran aground before getting to Edfu. The cruise runs with the current, so you move along. There were activities for children if yours are young teens. At night, they had dancing and a "light show." A bit cheesy, but so was Luxor. With our hectic life style, my husband enjoyed reading a book on deck, drinking a beer, and watching Egypt float by. I, on the other hand, was bored and wanted to "do something." There was a lot of "leisure time," so we arranged side trips to other temples and sights. After we got home, we read about a train wreck caused by an alcohol fire. If I were to take our grandchildren, I'd go on the cruise for their safety.
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Dec 18th, 2004, 03:02 AM
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CWanderer - sounds like a great trip - I am jealous.

Suoma - your cruise was nothing like ours! Ours had no on-board planned activites, we never had to wait for boarding. It was an incredibly serene experience interspersed with great shore trips. Nothing to do at night but sit on deck and sip a beer - perfect for us. We had 2 teenagers with us and they met a few other kids. They actually enjoyed playing chess and board games since there were no electronic amusements.
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Dec 18th, 2004, 03:04 AM
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It seems a lot of people do the cruise as it's the most efficient way to travel the distance between Aswan and Luxor or vice versa as well as taking in Kom Ombo and Edfu. Plus one of the best experiences of Egypt for me was was watching all the life going on at the riverside villages etc.

I was wary about the idea of going on a cruise beforehand and so I decided to opt for the shortest cruise option which was 2 nights. There wasn't much downtime with the temple stops and meals etc. Enough time for some relaxing on desk but not hours killing time where I was getting bored.
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Dec 25th, 2004, 06:21 AM
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Hi,
Just back from Egypt. We were in two minds whether to do the cruise or not, but my son really wanted it and so he got it.
I really think the nile cruise is not value for money.... we paid USD 200 for 2 adults, 1 child. The other disadvantages- joining the package tour world, getting caught in the Esna lock traffic, very little of actual cruising time.

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Dec 25th, 2004, 06:21 AM
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Hi,
Just back from Egypt. We were in two minds whether to do the cruise or not, but my son really wanted it and so he got it.
I really think the nile cruise is not value for money.... we paid USD 200 for 2 adults, 1 child. The other disadvantages- joining the package our world, getting caught in the Esna lock traffic, very little of actual cruising time.

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Dec 25th, 2004, 08:05 AM
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Maybe it just depends on the boat you are on and who you are with as to how much you enjoy it. We were a small 7 person group with guide. Our cruise was 6 days and we enjoyed every minute of it - in fact, could have stayed on it longer. Our tours at every stop were arranged just for us with private transport when needed. Sometimes it was kind of embarrassing as our guide would go to the front of every line to get us tickets. We never had to dock with any other boats and had no wait at Esna. Sorry you didn't enjoy it.
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Dec 25th, 2004, 09:22 AM
  #11
gac1yahoo
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Hello Mumbaigirl and Louise..
can you please let me know the cruise company that you have used..?

I have more questions, can you please provide more info on the cruises ..? ([email protected])

Thank you
 
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Dec 26th, 2004, 01:17 PM
  #12
 
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The boat we were on was the Oberoi Philae cruising from Luxor to Aswan. The actual 17 day tour was with Maupintour. There has been a lot of discussion on this board about the pros and cons of tours vs. arranging yourself. I think we received great value for the money but it is a higher although not highest price of tours. If you have any questions fire away.
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Dec 27th, 2004, 09:03 AM
  #13
gac1yahoo
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Thanks..is it advisable to get the visa for Egypt here and get it after landing..? How long does it take to get the visa..?

I am still struggling in deciding the package companies...their prices varies from $400 - $2000 land only packages for 8 days. I am not sure whether I agree with paying less gets you lesser value (or with paying more gets you more value).

The whole thing is dealing unknown travel companies...you don't know what you are going to get.

Currently, the company that's associated with Egypt Air (Karnak) is having a great deal, but don't have any references to Karnak anywhere..

Also, MUMBAIGIRL..I guess that you are from India, is the view from the cruises (the life along nile) is same as the view when you drive along the roads in India (I am from India). The view may be different or inspiring for people from the west but for people from the East are born and seen this all along. Please advise whether I am wrong.

Thank you all in advance
 
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Jan 6th, 2005, 03:34 AM
  #14
 
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hi gac1,
We used nabila cruises, king of thebes. no complaints about the cruise ship, the on board entertainment, vegetarian food etc etc. We also had a guide to ourselves and the sights were superb.
The Nile bank view is similar to india, maybe kerala, goa. The river also is as wide as in kerala and goa.
After seeing all the temples one starts wondering why doesn't anyone start digging in rajasthan!!!
Egypt is pretty easy to do by yourself. We checked several tour operators but decided to go by ourselves. Cairo used Conrad and booked a guide through the net. She arranged for a taxi for US 30 for the whole day and she charged US 25 per day. Did western desert side trp including desert camping in a tent through the net. They picked us in Cairo arranged everything in Bahariya, farafra for 3 days and dropped us back to Cairo. Went to Aswan by the night train, straight to the cruise.
Visa better get in your home country safer and mostly takes just 3 days.
Fire away with all your questions.
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Jan 6th, 2005, 06:03 AM
  #15
 
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Don't know whether there has been a change since April but it is so easy to get stamps in your passport at the airport upon landing in Egypt. It took us about 1 minute to pay $15 and be on our way. The other members of our group were very annoyed that it was so easy for us as they had sent their passports off before the trip.
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Jan 6th, 2005, 11:02 AM
  #16
 
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I'm with Louise on the Visa question, it's no hassle at all to get your Visa when you arrive in Egypt and you can pay in dollars if you wish so it doesn't matter if you haven't got any Egyptian currency before you arrive.
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Jan 6th, 2005, 03:53 PM
  #17
gac1yahoo
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Hello Mumbaigirl..
Can you please provide the link for the company that arranged your transport in Cairo..?

How did you get the cruise..?

What's the normal price..?

When did you get the train tickets..before going or after reaching Cairo..?
Thanks in advance.
 
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Jan 6th, 2005, 04:16 PM
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We got our visas in Egypt upon arrival - very easy for US citizens, but we do not know nationality of person inquiring about visa - it does vary by country.

When I tried to download visa application from website and it was in Arabic - that was enough for me. While it made me nervous to arrive without a visa, it made me more nervous to send my passport off to the Egyptian embassy with a form in Arabic.
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Jan 6th, 2005, 06:01 PM
  #19
 
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Louise
What company did you use? We are probably using one which says it has private tours at all the ports, but we understand that some of the cruises for March are full (and we need to go the first week in March). It is a holiday in Egypt so we have to wait a couple of days for confirmation. AAgh..patience is a virtue!!
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Jan 7th, 2005, 05:37 AM
  #20
 
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We used Maupintour. We had done two other trips with them before - Kenya/Tanzania and Greece/Turkey. I believe that last year their March Egypt tour was canceled from lack of participants. If you luck out you might get a small group of 7 like we did. We had a great bunch and it was almost like a private tour.
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