Grand Circle Tour of Egypt

Old Feb 4th, 2006, 07:44 AM
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Grand Circle Tour of Egypt

Has anyone been on a Grand Circle Tour "Ancient Egypt and the Nile"?Please give me your impressions and is 5 days in Cairo too long? Any thoughts about the Nile Stephanie or River Anuket cruise boats? I'm not a lover of organized tours but might consider this one....
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Old Feb 4th, 2006, 08:07 AM
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Don't know anything about GCT - but do they have a schedule for the 5 days in Cairo? I loved Cairo but you can see all the major sites in 2-3 days. Maybe they are including some day-trips (Alexandria??).
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Old Feb 4th, 2006, 09:08 AM
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Is 5 days really 5 days? If flying from east coast US, by the time you get to hotel it will be mid-afternoon or so Egypt time (day 1). Then days 2, 3, 4 will likely be spent seeing things. Day 5 will likely be spent making an early flight to someplaces else in Egypt - so it is quite possible 5 days is really 3 days.

Egypt is the only place we have ever taken an organized tour. While I would love to return sometime without a tour, for our purposes and limited time (9 days) it was the most efficient way to see all the historic stuff.

Part of the charm and interest of Egypt is that everything runs on "Egypt time", traffic and transportation is far more chaotic than I am used to in US, and everyone has helpful advice that leads you off-track, sometimes to some very interesting place, but not necessarily to where you intended. The efficiency of a tour has its pluses and minuses.
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Old Feb 4th, 2006, 11:20 AM
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My wife and I went to Egypt (and Jordan) with Grand Circle's companion tour company, Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT). We have nothing but praise for the entire tour. OAT specializes in small-group tours; no more than 16 persons in each group. Have you investigated the OAT web site? It provides tons of information.
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Old Feb 4th, 2006, 09:48 PM
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Hi,
My two sisters and their husbands went and my husband and I went on Grand Circle trip to Egypt in May 05. It was
a trip of a lifetime. We took a train trip to Alexandria one day while we were
in Cairo. That trip was so interesting. We went on the Anuket ship on
the Nile for 7 days. We were in a group
of 30 people so we all fit on a bus. There were 4 groups of 30. Our guide was
great. He was our guide from the time we
arrived at Cairo airport until we left
14 days later. If you have any questions
I would be glad to answer. Hope you enjoy your trip as well as we did.
Carol
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Old Feb 5th, 2006, 03:22 PM
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We took the tour in 2002. It was an outstanding trip. The five days in Cairo is definitely not too long, particularly if you take the optional Sakkara and Alexandria tours. Alexandria was not available when we went. The Nile Stephanie is new since we went, but the River Anuket was excellent. It was not as fancy as some of the other boats, but the cabins far exceeded those of European river cruise boats. The cabins were quite roomy with twin beds that could be moved together to make a queen and with sliders that could be opened to enjoy the river and countryside going by. The ratio of passenger to crew was very low and the service was excellent.

The dining room was relatively plain, as it was om the lower deck, at water level, but the food and service were excellent. The lounge, where informational and educational programs were held was very comfortable, and the sun deck was well shaded, with a get wet' pool.

The program directors (guides) were outstanding, each with his own strong points, which were utilized as they worked as a team. The antiqities were absolutely amazing, many of which were very accessable from the docking sites along the river.

We had found, and were about to book a different tour, but when we compared Grand Circle, apples to apples, it was a much better buy. We enjoyed it so much that we have subsequently taken five other GCT tours with another scheduled in four weeks.

One thing that may be disconcerting is the amount of security. In Cairo, there is always a Tourism and Antiquities Police officer with you, armed with an Uzi under his sportcoat. In Aswan, we were escorted by a military motorcade when we travelled by bus, and when we went South of Luxor on the Nile, we had an escort of two Zodiacs and two machine guns mounted on the deck of our ship. This security reflects the dependence of Egypt's economy on tourism, and the realization that if anything happens to tourists, it can be disatrous to thier economy. You will also see much security in Cairo, not associated with your tour We did not feel threatened or intimidated by the security, once we got used to it.

In general the local people were friendly, as I walked around when we were in port, and, despite the fact that war was imminent between the US and Iraq, there was no animosity.

Grand Circle takes great effort to acquaint the traveller with the local culture and people, which we have thoroughly enjoyed. No subject is taboo in discussion with the progarm directors, whether it be religion, politics or economy.

If you go we would strongly recommend the following optional tours, Sakkara, Abu Simbel, the sound and light show at the Sphinx, and Alexandria, which was not available to us. We also would have loved the hot air balloon ride, but that was not offered at that time.

Up until this trip we had done independent travel, but since then, we have largely done organized tours.

We would be happy to answer any questions. either on this forum, or via Email, and, if you contact us by Email, by telephone.

Jack and Ann

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Old Apr 13th, 2006, 03:19 PM
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I was on a GCT Danube cruise in December and have nothing but praise for the trip. GCT does an excellent job of providing what travelers need and want at a very reasonable price, and there's no "herding."
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Old Apr 14th, 2006, 06:23 AM
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You might consider a custom tour with a local company where you can do what you want to do at your own pace. We had a minibus and guide all to ourselves and it was wonderful. We used Tut Egypt Tours, www.tutegypt.com
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Old Oct 22nd, 2007, 12:01 PM
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I am thinking of taking the GCT tour of Egypt with some lady friends. I have done other trips with Grand Circle and thought they were a good value for the money. I am mainly concerned about the ship they use for the tour . I would love to talk to someone who has done this tour. Thanks
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