Libya ??

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Mar 16th, 2005, 04:32 AM
  #1
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Libya ??

Can anyone suggest an independent guide/driver for our short stay in Libya. We will be going on the Oceania Cruise line in NOvember but LOATHE to go with the ships occupants unless there is no other way. We are stopping in Benghazi, Libya
and Tripoli, Libya

And, does anyone know if we need a separate visa and/or what the red tape is if we do NOT use the ships tours?


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Mar 16th, 2005, 05:37 AM
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I would think that the best way to answer this question is to ask the cruise line. I'll be visiting Libya with Clipper cruises in April and I know from the pre-trip paperwork that the ship handles everything and we get a group visa. Probably to all the stops we make. By the way, I thought it was interesting that if there is an Israeli stamp in your passport, you can forget about getting off the ship in Libya.
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Mar 17th, 2005, 04:09 AM
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Thanks Louise. Appreciate the reply. If you wouldn't mind emailing me when you return to let me know how you faired in Libya, impressions etc. I would greatly appreciate it. [email protected]
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Apr 5th, 2005, 06:24 AM
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I'm also booked on the Regatta in November and I read on another website that you have to be on a group tour in Libya - the visa will be a group one for the cruise.

Sounds like you have no choice but to go with the loathsome occupants of the ship. Sorry
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Apr 5th, 2005, 07:20 AM
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It's not that our fellow passengers are in any way loathesome, but that we hate going on an itinerary that someone else has set with a large group of people.

It seems like there's always too much time at the spots we're not as interested in, not enough timne at the ones we are, and wasted time while everyone gets off/on the bus at every sight and the rest room.
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Apr 5th, 2005, 08:11 AM
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According to my pre-cruise information, there are no private companies providing tourist services yet. Also, good English-speaking guides are at a premium. And, it also says that the cruiseline has secured some of the best guides available. Many guides are teachers and professors at the local shcools and university. The cruise I will be on has about 100 passengers. ldtc2 - I did make note of your e-mail to hopefully give you some information when I return.
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Apr 5th, 2005, 11:28 AM
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A friend and her sister just returned from a private (small [25 people] group) tour to Libya... out of the UK, traveling on British passports. While the Roman sites are amazing... I saw the video over the week-end... the country really isn't quite set the tourists. Tripoli is fine as are most of the hotels there, but once outside of main hubs, you have only goverment run hotels that need to be greatly improved.

Depending on the sites you will be visiting, you're not likely to run into many other groups, whether from ships or independent travelers, but these sites are large and can/do take quite some time to navigate. Not unlike Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, you will find lost with uneven ground, so have good walking shoes. Also be appropriate in your clothing... long pants, shirts with sleeves - no abbreviate clothing. And (for women especially) keep a scarf in your bag for visits to mosques. The sun is strong, so have a hat, and sun protection.

One good thing - there aren't that many touts to deal with as one finds in already established tourist destinations, but souvenirs are to be found. Enjoy and do report back.
 
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Apr 25th, 2005, 07:08 AM
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Just returned from the Clipper cruise which included Libya. We were warned before that be prepared in case we should be turned away but that was not to be. Upon docking, the officials came aboard and promptly sealed off anything that held liquor. This was to remain in affect for the two and a half days we were there. I believe we might have been the first group of Americans with a cruise group to visit but might be wrong. There is a wonderful museum there - be sure not to miss it. Sabratha and Leptis Magna were amazing. We had wonderful guides and our group used 3 tour buses. English is taught in school so had no problem. In fact, our guides spoke almost the best of any country we visited. The name of the tour guide which I got is Bashir Al-Khattabi, P.O.Box 545, Sabratha, Libya. Tel: 00218.91.3209404. I just loved the way if you smiled at people they would respond "thank you for coming". We did have a group of tour guides and one was a very handsome tall young man. I shook his hand at the end of the tour and thanked him and he gave me a kiss on each cheek and told me how nice I was. A great memory.

It would be best to get to the sights early as they become quite crowded as the morning goes on. Please excuse my spelling but the biggest selling item in our group were Omar Khadafi T-shirts and watches. We laughed that the $10 price of the watches could probably bring a big profit on E-bay. Not much in the way of local made souvenirs and there will be absolutely no pressure. Tipping is not accepted (yet).

Any other questions? Louise
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Aug 1st, 2005, 06:42 PM
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Hi Louise,
Glad to hear about your trip to Libya.
You sound very enthusiastic about what you saw.
I am interested in learning how difficult it was to get around at Leptis Magna and some of the other ruins. I have been to Cambodia where much climbing was required in order to see the sights. Is Leptis Magna like that or are there paths? How strenuous is the trip? I imagine it was quite hot when you were there. I too am going on the Oceania cruise in November and have heard that the weather is a bit cooler. Were there enough buses to accomodate all who wished to tour in Libya? Will await your reply.
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Aug 3rd, 2005, 09:38 AM
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Hi, Sidsgal - it was not difficult to get around Leptis Magna at all or Sabratha for that matter. Very little climbing. The weather when I was there in April was actually not hot. Can't answer about the buses. There were about 100 on our cruise and 3 buses so we had plenty of room. It was nice because there was a bus for slow people and the others were for more agile people and they kept the groups seperated for the walking tour.
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Aug 4th, 2005, 01:29 PM
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Hi Louise,
Thank you for your prompt reply. So glad to hear that Leptis Magna is not so difficult as had been said in ship literature. I am in training to be in condition for the trip. I have another question for you. Did you have to wear sleeves on your clothing or could you wear sleeveless in order to not offend
when touring? Any suggestions of things you wish you had known prior to your trip? We have chosen to go to Tocra as our second tour from the ship.
Did you go there? Where else did the Clipper take you? Did you do independent tours or ship tours? As I type the questions just flow!! We are about three months from departure date.
Did you feel you required shots for any
diseases? That's all I can think of,
and again thanks for your prompt response. By the way, my name is Judy.
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Aug 4th, 2005, 05:07 PM
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Hi, Judy - we only visited Leptis Magna and Sabratha. But, if possible, don't miss the museum in the downtown area. I was very impressed with it. Also, we wandered the streets in the downtown market area. It was a bit scary at times because the children kept letting off firecrackers so be prepared. I always wore at least short sleeves and long pants as did the other passengers. Can't think of anything else it would have been nice to know beforehand. All our tours were included in the cruise price - there was no option. We were to anchor off of Leptis Magna and land by zodiac but the Libyan government wouldn't let us. Don't know whether they feared for our safety or didn't want to lose control over us. Clipper prices may be expensive but we went from Portugal to Morocco, Spain, Tunisia, Libya, Sicily and Malta with never any extra expenses for anything including tipping (except liquor). Our pre-cruise information said "no vaccinations are required for travelers on this adventure". Just returned from an Alaska trip with Clipper in which we stopped at a Russian town in Siberia and I will be doing Antarctica next February. The Alaska trip had just over 50 passengers which is half what they carry normally. Funny thing is I met two people from the Libyan trip on the Alaska trip. I know you will have a wonderful time. Louise
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Aug 4th, 2005, 06:01 PM
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Louise,
Once again thanks for sharing your information. We are also going to Malta, Tunisia, Gibraltar, Casablanca, most of the same ports that you went to.
Your Clipper journeys sound great, so few passengers, almost a personal tour.
This is our first distant trip since 9/11. Our last trip was to Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. We have not done Alaska or Antartica. You have picked interesting trips. I will look into Clipper next time I am at a travel agency. Again, many thanks for your travel info.
Judy
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Aug 4th, 2005, 06:52 PM
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Judy,
Are you on the Regatta Nov 5 Barcelona to Lisbon cruise? We are--three months from tomorrow!!
Andee
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Aug 5th, 2005, 06:59 AM
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I'm off with Explore to 2wks in Libya in Oct - not sure about organsing independant trips if your with a cuise though ....
I don't understand why ur loathe to do tours with the passengers with for the rest of the cruise ....
mind u can't understand why anybody would go on a cruise so maybe its all lost on me ...
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Aug 5th, 2005, 04:43 PM
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Hi Andee,
Yes, my husband and I are on the November 5th Regatta sailing. We have chosen the three tours in Libya and are going to wing it on all the other tours.
Safety is our only concern so we will make up our mind on whether to do ship tours or taxi tours as we go along.
What have you decided? Have you been to any of the ports that we are stopping at? We have only been to Casablanca, but it was several years ago on a land tour. I have been following the Yahoo Board as well as Fodor and Cruise Critic. Any other sites of interest? Boston Globe travel section had a full page spread about Libya. Too bad we are not allowed off the ship on our own as I am sure it would be interesting to roam about at leisure. Are you planning to spend time in Lisbon at the end of the cruise?
Louise was very helpful in sharing info about her Clipper trip. Cannot think of any more questions for you.
Judy
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Aug 5th, 2005, 08:08 PM
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Hi Judy,
We were in Malta on an Oceania cruise in October. Valletta was very easy to do on our own, so we're hoping to explore some other areas.

I'd like to do the ports (other than Libya, of course) independently. Did you feel comfortable in Casablanca?

We're getting to Barcelona two days early and staying in Lisbon two days after the cruise. How about you?
Andee
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Aug 8th, 2005, 05:25 PM
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Hi Andee,
We were on a land tour through Morrocco and felt quite comfortable and safe, but it was before 9/11.
Any reccomendations on what to do for first timers in Malta? Where else did you go on your first Oceania cruise? Was it on the Regatta? You must have enjoyed the line as you are doing a second cruise.
Which tours have you chosen for Libya?
That's all for now,
Judy
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Aug 8th, 2005, 08:16 PM
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Hi Judy,

This is our second Oceania cruise--we were on the Insignia Venice to Athens cruise in October. The ship was in Venice for two days; then we went to Ancona, Dubrovnik, Split, Corfu, the Amalfi coast, Malta, Siracusa, Santorini, Rhodes and Mykonos.

Fabulous itinerary, and we loved the ship so much that I'll go just about anywhere Oceania is sailing.

In Benghazi, we've booked the Cyrene tour, in Tripoli, Leptis Magna. We haven't decided about the Highlights of Tripoli: $69 seems outrageous for a two hour tour, but we'd hate to miss anything. How about you?

Valletta is very easy to do on your own. We did a self-guided walking tour that I found in some guide book. Stops included the Great Siege of Malta, the Manuel Theater, the Grand Masters Palace, the fort, the Upper Gardens, the market, another palace still being lived in, and The Malta Experience.

Where are you from? I grew up in a suburb of NYC, my husband in Chicago, but we've lived in the Milwaukee area for 31 years.

Andee
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Aug 9th, 2005, 01:49 PM
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Hi Andee,
Thanks for the Malta info. I will be
looking into what we want to see very shortly. Since we have decided to do only ship tours in Libya, I will have to do some heavy reading to decide what we wish to see.
I wish I could recall more info for you on Casablanca but it was so many years ago that it will feel like a new port to us.
We have chosen the Tocra tour, Leptis Magna and the Highlights. I agree that the cost for the latter tour is steep but the alternative is staying on the ship.
My husband and I live outside of Boston.
We are flying Iberia, using FF miles.
We will be in Barcelona for a day prior to sailing and two days post cruise in Lisbon. Where are you staying?
Have you found any good websites about places that we are visiting? I am trying to do this trip using the computer in order to avoid carrying heavy tour books. Also trying to pack less STUFF to keep the suitcase lighter.
Bye for now,
Judy
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