"Jimmy" : Egypt online/Orbit tours

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Nov 3rd, 2004, 05:02 AM
  #1
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Join Date: Oct 2004
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"Jimmy" : Egypt online/Orbit tours

I have read mixed reviews in this forum about Orbit tours. Everyone seems to agree on onething, that "Jimmy" promptly and patiently answers all the questions. About the experience in Egypt, there are different opinions.

Their offers and itinerary are good. I am planning a week of "private tour" in the first week of December. Does anyone have recent experience with them, after they started the "private tour" group Egypt online tours?

Thank you for your time.
sunil_sivadas is offline  
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Nov 4th, 2004, 01:03 AM
  #2
 
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We used "Jimmy" for our two week trip to Egypt and Jordon in September. It included several days in Cairo, a Nile cruise, and several days in Jordon. Of course there were various excursions in between these destinations. Overall, everything went well. This is the first time we have ever used any kind of guide or organized tour. It would be tough to tour Egypt without a little help. Most of the time it was just the two of us with a guide and driver. Feel free to E-mail me. I can give you details and a few lessons learned.
Clif
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Nov 4th, 2004, 02:30 AM
  #3
 
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Hi Sunil

I posted earlier on Orbit Tours asking others about their opinion before I went for my trip.

We did use Orbit Tours in the end after weighing what we read in the various forums. We went for our 2-week trip to Egypt and Jordan in October and overall it was good.

Jimmy planned a very compact itinerary and it was much better planned than one that some other friends went on around the same time (and paid more for what they got). We went to Cairo, Nile cruise from Luxor to Azawan, Abu Simbel, Mt Sinai, Petra in Jordan, Alexandria and camping in the Western Desert - hectic some might say but we did design it to be such as we wanted to fit as much in as possible in the 2 weeks we were there.

What Orbit Tours / Egypt On-line offers is very good value for money.

That said, it was not hunky-dory all the way. Two of the guides we got were pretty bad (one was very grumpy and the other kept getting his facts wrong) but we did have a couple of excellent ones - we did get the e-mail addresses and names of the good ones and we'd be glad to pass them on to you.

None of the guides are employees of any tour company - the guides are all independent contractors and any tour company can hire them depending on who's available (so if you get a good one, get their contact details). Their guide licences are also location-dependent so you won't get the same guide throughout your trip.

The other thing that was annoying was that we had to constantly ask the drivers to switch on the AC although our transport was supposed to be private vans with AC for most of the time (with the exception of the trip to the Western Desert). It's not particularly hot at this time of the year but it's dusty when the windows are open and the air is very polluted - it's especially tough if you wear contact lenses.

I think the way it works is that the Orbit Tours gives the drivers a certain sum for gas etc so if they don't turn on the AC, they'll save on gas.

When we did have problems, we would call Ahmed - he's the one you hand over your money (the cost of the tour) to when you arrive and also one who you call to solve your problems, if any. Ahmed assures you at the start that you can call him at anytime if you have problems and we did - at 11pm one night when we had an unacceptable guide during the day and he resolved it by 8am the next morning.

All in all, I would recommend Orbit Tours. Feel free to ask any questions here and I'd be glad to answer them.
susumiki is offline  
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Nov 4th, 2004, 03:15 AM
  #4
 
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We met many people in Egypt going by name of "Jimmy" - I think it may be a name people adopt when interacting with Eglish-speaking customers. I just have this feeling that there may be more than one "Jimmy"
gail is offline  
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Nov 4th, 2004, 11:33 AM
  #5
 
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Has anyone who used Orbit-
1)Stayed at Siag Pyramid hotel in Cairo. If so, would you recommend it?
2)Was the train ride from Cairo-Aswan convenient, or would you recommend flight?
3) Was the Nile Cruise boat good?
Replies to any of above appreciated!
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Nov 5th, 2004, 03:10 AM
  #6
 
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To r1u2c3 - I used Orbit Tours - arranged by Jimmy

1) I stayed at Pyramids Hotel and Victoria Hotel in Cairo. They are rated as 3-star hotels I think. I would recommend Victoria Hotel in downtown Cairo - it's a bit far from from the Giza pyramids but closer to the museums and subways to get your round town.

2)The train from Cairo to Aswan / Luxor is convenient as you just bunk in for the night and wake up at your destination - we had a sleeper compartment. However, neither the compartment or toilets are that clean.

3) Nile cruise is good - we stayed on board the Magic II managed by the Flash Group. Boat itself is great, staff excellent but food is mediocre - nothing like what you'd get on a sea cruise. The scenery along the Nile is very pretty and it's a great way to get to the sights along the way.
susumiki is offline  
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Nov 17th, 2004, 06:44 AM
  #7
 
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Does anyone have any experience with De Castro Tours in Egypt? I have two very similar offers from Orbit Tours discussed earlier, and De Castro. But I am finding it very hard to choose. I have no idea as to which is more reputable. Any advice would be greatly appreciated... My main criteria are good accommodation, transport and travel guides.

Thanks

Vijay
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Nov 17th, 2004, 07:23 AM
  #8
 
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Message: susumiki
By chance are you from southwestern Pa? I don't hear "hunky-dory" too often.
Dick
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Nov 17th, 2004, 08:58 PM
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message:rsnyder

Hi Dick

No, am not from southwestern Pa

Regards
susumiki
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Oct 17th, 2005, 08:40 AM
  #10
 
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I took a "private tour" with EOL this summer. I would not recommend it. 1) I was told that for part of the trip I would be joining other people, but that didn't happen. 2) if you're not prepared to shell out lots of money in tips (their drivers and guides think in US dollars or euros), you will get stuck in taxis that are not air conditioned and are not the private van you were promised. Expect to pay every day tips to porters, guides and drivers and sometimes a special “handler” who takes care of your transfers 3) the guides do not tell you any more than you get from the lonely planet guide. at the pyramids, my guide sat in the van while i went for 20 minutes by myself. other guides would tell me things like "you can't take pictures now, you can take them when I’m finished" 4) most of the sites EOL sets you up to see in egypt are free or totally cheap. what you don't know is that to actually see anything in the valley of the kings and in many other places, including the pyramids, you have to pay extra site fees. These are not included. 5) expect to pay for your drinks at the hotels and on the cruise - EOL's board does not include drinking water. 6) expect your drivers or guides to tell you how much to tip them even when they don't deserve it (maybe two of my guides deserved a tip). 7) don't stay at the siag pyramids - it is very much a dump. 8) you must have access to cash. I took AMEX travelers checks to pay the tour fee because I didn't want to carry around >1,000$ in cash. Because of this, I had to pay an extra $80 to EOL due to conversion fees. 9) expect to take lots of extra shopping excursions to the perfume palace, papayrus institute, an alabaster factory, etc. etc., places where EOL makes a profit off everything you buy.

In short, pay the extra money to be with a large tour company. With EOL, you’ll end up saving a couple hundred dollars, but you have to worry about getting ripped off. The only way I see EOL working is if you are traveling with a large group. I would’ve had much more fun alone – when I did have alone time, which was more often that you’d think looking at the paper itinerary, my experience was extraordinary. On the organized tour outings, you will not have many opportunities to meet people.
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