Jamila ship GREAT! Lady Egypt GREAT! more to come...

Jan 5th, 2011, 08:29 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 53
Jamila ship GREAT! Lady Egypt GREAT! more to come...

We just arrived last night from our whirlwind tour of Egypt with Lady Egypt tours. I will write a detailed trip report this weekend when I have more time, but I wanted to tell all those out there who are in their planning stages about our very positive experiences everywhere we went. The Lady Egypt tour reps were all fantastic (especially Mohammed in Cairo, our new little brother who bought Jeff cold medicine!), and our guides were also wonderful (Ahmed in Cairo - thanks for the amazing tameeyah sandwiches! yumm! - and Hossam in Aswan/Luxor - best teacher, very funny, great personality, I felt like I learned so much about Egyptian culture both past AND present from him! he really involved us in his explanations - didn't just "lecture" so it was easy to retain lots of information (with which we impressed lots of other people - ha ha ha!). So we give glowing recommendations to Lady Egypt for very smooth transitions everywhere we went.

Hotels: Mena House Oberoi - amazing! Beautiful. Great service. Moghul room restaurant very yummy. Movenpick Aswan - OK. Service hit or miss. Lovely location, though. And I really appreciated that breakfast box when I was on my way to Abu Simbel at 4:00 AM!! Jamila cruise ship - AWESOME! Beautiful modern decorn - very tasteful and minimalist. So much fun to see and meet people from lots of countries all in one place! Food very tasty, too. Then Sonesta St George - beautiful, great service, Italian restaurant just OK - The Lantern pub down the street - awesome!!! Finally Cairo Marriott - beautiful - great service - JW Steakhouse - Oh my! NEVER had service that attentive to detail in any restaurant in the US (including NYC!). Fabulous.

Saw the wreckage of the bus that had the accident en route to Abu Simbel two days before we went - horrible and tragic. Experienced a sharp increase in the number of guards and escorts after the bombing in Alexandria, and also witnessed local "unrest" in Luxor related to people's homes being destroyed to dig for the "Avenue of the Sphinx" between Karnak and Luxor temples (more on that in the full report), but always felt safe (perhaps I'm overly naive!!!).

So thanks to Lady Egypt and all its pre and during the tour staff, and the Jamila and all their staff, for an experience of a lifetime we won't soon forget.

I'm happy to answer any and all questions!
mmc923 is offline  
Jan 6th, 2011, 02:43 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
Thanks for posting great detail.

Trip Inurance is a must

for Egypt Travel these days.
qwovadis is offline  
Jan 6th, 2011, 11:17 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 396
Thanks for the preliminary report; so glad you had a great time. Will look forward to reading more about your trip, particularly regarding the aftermath since the bus crash and church bombing. We leave at end of March for two weeks (with Ahmed Yousif, not LE, though)!
nola77382 is offline  
Jan 7th, 2011, 05:04 PM
  #4  
Jam
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 57
Thanks for your very helpful posting. I would like to ask you a few questions. Did you send in your 50% deposit with LE by Money Gram or Western Union? I've never done this before and am trying to figure out which one is better. Was confirmation vouchers sent to you by email? You mentioned you traveled to Abu Simbal from Aswan, did you travel by van or take a flight? I am working with LE right now with an upcoming trip.
Jam is offline  
Jan 8th, 2011, 02:55 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 25,349
Jam, I planned my trip through LE and I paid by credit card - there was a 3% surcharge for doing so(so $180 on the $6,000 I paid), but it made me more comfortable having the security of the credit card. We got no vouchers at all. They were just "there", every step of the way (the first time I spoke to anyone at LE by telephone was when we missed our connection in Frankfurt and I called to tell them we'd be on a later flight -- they were there to pick us up at the right time).
sf7307 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2011, 03:05 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 3,902
I paid 50% of my deposit by credit card and LE never chased up the remainder. I was so hesitant at using LE as they were an overseas company I had never heard of. I thought worse case was I would lose my money and be ripped off, even though so many on the board here spoke highly of them. Best "risk" I took! When I got to Cairo Ahmed, our rep, said he'd bring his mobile EFTPOS machine and we'd make the remaining payment. After a day or two he bought the machine but our cards wouldn't work, so we tried every day for another day or two until it did work. He was not concerned. THis made me feel pleased with my decision... they were not all about the money.
MissGreen is offline  
Jan 9th, 2011, 01:48 PM
  #7  
Jam
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 57
Thanks so much sf7307 and Miss Green for your information. I have to admit I am a bit hesitant when some of the companies ask for 50% payment by Money Gram or Western Union. Using the credit card with LE makes sense. Still haven't heard back from them. Perhaps they work M-F and no one is in the office during the weekends. Lastly, I read on another posting that the Currency Exchange Rate is controlled by Egyptian Government. Did you find that to be true and did hotels mark up their services with a fee? I usually use ATM's but it sounds like travelers are having difficulty getting their cards to work at different times. That could make a problem if you should run out of EPs. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
Jam is offline  
Jan 9th, 2011, 02:04 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10,823
All banks, hotels, and ATMs should have the same govt-regulated exchange rate. As for ATMs, it can be hit or miss (just like anywhere), so it's best not to wait until the last minute to find an ATM. And it doesn't hurt to have some USD stashed away just in case!!
Grcxx3 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2011, 02:43 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 53
Hello again JAM. I like Miss Green and sf7307 paid by credit card with Lady Egypt. I split it into a 50% deposit when I booked, and the remaining 50% about two weeks before I left for Egypt. I was told I could have paid once I arrived as well, but it seemed like a good idea to just take care of it via credit card payment ahead of time - one less worry.

As to our Abu Simbel tour, we chose to do the "by road" tour, so we traveled the same way as the bus which was in the accident (which is why we eventually saw the bus on the side of the road). Lady Egypt had arranged for "private touring" for us the entire time, so we were not in a big tour bus, like the one in the accident; we were in a smaller mini-van type tour bus which was very comfortable, especially since it probably sat about 12 and it was jut the two of us, our guide, and two drivers (we found out the government requries 2 drivers on all vehicles going to Abu Simbel from Aswan so that at least one person is able to drive in case one gets sick in the middle of the desert). We were picked up at our hotel at 3:00 AM to meet a convoy that gathered at a certain point at 3:30 AM. The convoy started rolling at about 4AM. Our guide explained that the government issues a certain number of spots for the two morning convoys, and one afternoon convoys, and that an armed guard goes in the first vehicle, the last vehicle, and one in the middle. He also said that if your tour group misses the convoy for some reason (i.e. doesn't present itself to line up with the other vehicles on time), you can apply for a special permit to 'go alone" but that it is usually discouraged to do so. He said that the bus in the accident had a "special permit" to not travel in the big convoy, but I don't know if that is true or not. We passed many armed check points where the guards looked at a list of vehicles and checked them off as they went by. I thought the whole process was fascinating! That being said, I'd probably fly if I were to do it again. It was a beautiful site and we were happy we went, but it made for a VERY long and tiring day!
mmc923 is offline  

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