Nile Cruise or fly?

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Jun 13th, 2005, 11:40 AM
  #1
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Nile Cruise or fly?

We will begin our ten-day tour of Egypt in Cairo next month (July 5). In addition to Cairo, we hope to see Alexandria (day tour), Luxor, Aswan, Abu Simbel. Would we miss an essential part of the "experience" by not cruising on the Nile? Most tours we have seen include multiple days cruising down the Nile and we would sleep on the ship. I'm somewhat reluctant because I have trouble sleeping in noisy environments and we have never been on a ship before. Any feedback on what you've encountered on your cruises?

Another possible negative for us is that we don't sun bathe either.

We're trying to be open-minded about it. Anyone else like us out there that enjoyed their cruises and would recommend it? Or should we go by air, trains, tour buses, etc.

If you have ideas, we would LOVE to hear them. I just hope we haven't waited to late to make a decision on booking a tour and possibly a guide.

Thank you VERY MUCH,

Joe
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Jun 13th, 2005, 01:19 PM
  #2
sandi
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I'm not a cruiser, but I do sun bathe. That said, the boat was quiet at night, we had no trouble sleeping, especially after full days out in fresh air and sunshine. As to the sun on the top deck of a Nile cruise boat, there is a covered area where many people place themselves; it will be hot in July. There is often a bar up here for refreshments. It's also nice to see life go on along the Nile while cruising. You can stay indoors if you choose... there is air conditioned space inside.

While there is lots to see in the Luxor area and two days here is good; there's about a day's worth of sights in the Aswan area - I wouldn't have missed the cruise on the Nile. There are stops along the route that you miss - Kom Ombo, Esna and Edfu - with great edifices - if you don't cruise.

Of course, there might be an option to drive to some of these places, but it gets complicated often with the need for a convoy of vehicles with military protection. I'd rather (as a non cruise person) be on the Nile then in a convoy through the desert.

What I don't understand - you claim to be beginning your trip in a month and you still don't know how you're getting around - air, trains, tour buses? What exactly does your itinerary look like? Post it here and I'm sure you'll get better responses and possible suggestions.

 
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Jun 13th, 2005, 03:53 PM
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Thanks for your response, Sandi.

We really have waited to the very last minute to make our plans. We have our plane tickets from the U.S. to Cairo (and return). We have never taken an organized tour/trip before. We always did things on our own. But this is our first trip to Egypt, and we're seeing that this destination might be enjoyed better if we're part of an organized group or with a guide.

We really like the sound of the Egyptian Highlights Classic ten-day tour (Egypt Highlights). That is what we are leaning towards and will probably try to confirm within the next few days unless we find something else we like better. I don't like the idea of wiring money to them in advance, but am hoping for the best. And I hope the ship they use is a good one.

Your response actually opened my mind a little, Sandi. I don't have to stress about sleeping on the cruise. If I don't get enought sleep at night, I can always snooze during the day.

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Jun 13th, 2005, 11:37 PM
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Since you are going in the very hot time of year, it is likely visitng sites from boat will begin early in AM - sometimes around 6 AM. You will likely return to boat before lunchtime and and some days see something else in late afternoon, early evening. So afternoons are available for napping.

The distance on Nile the cruisers go is really not great. We found our boat very quiet - and even when it docked it did not wake us (and if you note time of this post, it is about 3 AM - so I am not the greatest sleeper in the world!)

These are river boats - nothing like the huge ocean cruise boats. Consequently, it is not a party atmosphere - no fake games, noisy casino, drunks, oerdone shows - that some people associate negatively with a cruise. While boat was moving most people we met were content to look at the shore, read, nap, chat.
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Jun 14th, 2005, 09:44 AM
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I'm a new poster having just found Fodors and I'm trying to plan a trip to Egypt. I am also debating the Nile cruise. I have found this board and the information to be amazing and I thank one and all for the time you spend helping others. Looking for tour recommendations, I have been looking at all the posts from individual posters to see if other travel interests are compatible with mine. Doing this I found something very disturbing. ericfamily and pp_c (pamela) who first started posting April, 05, and carlat_uk, and williamburns, Febuary, 05, have never posted inquiries previous to their trips to Egypt or inquiries to any other destination. All of their posts are Egypt and most are pushing Egyptian Highlights, I don't think this board should be used by companies promoting their tours, especially in such a deceitful way. It makes it very difficult to make a choice based on real experiences. Once again I thank everyone for all the wonderful information.
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Jun 14th, 2005, 03:00 PM
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I have no feeling either way about Egyptian Highlights or whether the posts of which twofortheroad complains are from E.H, but there was an interesting article in the New York Times internet edition today on how hotels & airlines read & sometimes enter into an internet chat room that discusses their industry. Did twofortheroad read it?
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Jun 14th, 2005, 07:49 PM
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Sunshine--No I didn't read it, and I've been looking for it but can't find it. Can you direct me?
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Jun 14th, 2005, 08:52 PM
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Here's the web address: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/14/business/14chat.html. I agree it was hard to find.
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Jun 15th, 2005, 04:01 AM
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sandi
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twofortheroad -

You might have found a few responders who promoted Egypt Highlights having never posted previously - maybe they didn't know about Fodor's prior this first/only post or maybe they've never traveled elsewhere.

That said, yes, there are times we find some posters specifically promoting "their companies'" services - these are quickly noticed and the poster is advised that such promtion is unacceptable and not permitted on Fodor's. These posters get the message and almost never apear again.

Except for these few occurences, most posters are "actualy travelers" who have used the services of the companies they recommend, suggest and promote.

However, in the end it still comes down to the person researching information - the final determination, through further questioning here on Fodors or directly with the supplier, has to be yours.
 
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Jun 15th, 2005, 04:26 AM
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Sandi, Fodor's seems to have agreed with my conclusions on the 4 fake posters touting Egypt Highlights. All of their posts have been removed. I'm sure that they'll use new posters and continue on with this farce. I question the honesty and integrity of any company that uses such methods to obtain business. I entered my thoughts to let others be aware, read the 4 posters and decide for themselves.
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Jun 15th, 2005, 04:55 AM
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Sunshine--Found it! Interesting article. I saw that you stayed at the 4 Seasons, Sharm. We're considering it. Are there any ATMs in the hotel? If not, was the exchange rate given comparable? Is there an ATM in Sharm airport? This will be our point of arrival.
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Jun 15th, 2005, 05:08 AM
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Very interesting. I was all set on booking with Egypt Highlights next month. We are going to Egypt in Dec. 2005. I have been e-mailing Walla for the last 6 months about our trip. Not sure if I should book with them now. Any suggestions on who to use? I have quotes from STI and See Egypt. Anyone hear of those companies?
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Jun 15th, 2005, 06:09 AM
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Anitas, I can't help you with a tour company,I'm trying to figure this out myself. I was hesitant to voice my opinions, but when Joe said he didn't like the idea of wiring money and Egypt Highlights, via 2 of their posters (now removed) told him to go ahead, all would be well, I felt it would be irresponsible if I didn't post my suspicions. Look this may well be a very legitimate company, but why use such underhanded methods?
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Jun 15th, 2005, 08:12 AM
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The Ritz Carlton in Sharm is secluded & well out of town. It was quiet and fairly large, but spread out out with building 2 stories high.

There were a few children & a couple teenages for the first 4 or 5 days, then the British schools let out & more well mannered children arrived. There's a children's club which seemed to keep them entertained.

It's not the center of night life by any means. But I was looking for relaxation & not partying. The staff was very nice & very able.

They have an on-site travel agent who can make arrangements for a number of different trips -- to the desert, scuba, snorkeling (snorkling?), glass bottom boats & a dinner in the desert which was a little hokey, but fun.

I liked it so much that I extended my stay another 4 days.

It has an ATM & a bank. I believe that I read on this site that the government sets the rates for banks & ATMs, so they give a better rate than private exchange places. I could be wrong on that.

I'm sure the Sharm hotel has an ATM. there are international flights that fly directly there.
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Jun 15th, 2005, 12:18 PM
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I'm like sandi: I'm not a cruiser but I do sun bathe! And yes, it adds to the experience. I wouldn't have missed the Nile cruise either!
IMO a Nile cruise is the easiest/most comfortable way to visit all the sites along the Nile. It's not a 'Love Boat' type of cruise! No partying at night (except for maybe one Egyptian night with a belly dancer) 'cause the guests need their sleep after the tiring excursions, that usually start very early in the morning because of the heat. At night the boats rest ashore, there's no noise of the engines or so.
You don't have to book a week long cruise from Luxor to Aswan and back. I'm sure there is a possibility to cruise Luxor/Aswan and fly back.
Whatever you decide, Egypt is a fascinating country. Enjoy!
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Jun 16th, 2005, 09:08 AM
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Sunshine--Thanks so much for the good information. I think I confused your post with another--we're thinking of the 4 Seasons. Did you visit by chance? Anyone else stay at 4 Seasons Sharm? Should probably start a new post for this.
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Jun 16th, 2005, 10:00 AM
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Juse as long as you don't think I'm a company shill for Ritz Carlton hotels!
(tee hee)
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Jun 16th, 2005, 03:16 PM
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Sunshine--Only if your name is Marriott!
I must tell you that I realy enjoyed your trip reports. Your trip sounded fabulous. I hope ours is as wonderful.
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Jun 16th, 2005, 03:29 PM
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Thanks! I had a fabulous time & liked it so much I'm moving to Cairo in January. Learn some basic
Arabic before you go -- the Egyptians were very pleased that I had learned some. Smile a lot. Things will go wrong, but relax & look at it as an adventure.

The Four Seasons has been viewed as the best place in Sharm
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Jun 16th, 2005, 11:17 PM
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Sorry that this is off-topic but am replying to anitas and twofortheroad's concerns.

Like anitas, I found recommendations for Egypt Highlights on this forum, booked a short tour with them for early June (I booked the non-Cairo portion on my own separately). I wired the money to them based on the recommendations on the forum here (or rather the recommendations that were here if they have since been removed).

I just came back from my trip and it was fine - they're a legit tour company and very professional.There was a company rep that met us everyday together with the tour guide. The tour guide was very good too and spoke excellent English.

However, if you're uncomfortable with wiring money to them, there are other Cairo-based tour companies who require no payment until your arrival in Egypt (you pay them in cash on arrival). I did this in my previous trip and that was a good trip too (though I was happy with the previous tour company, I thought I would give a different one a go so that I'd have something to compare).

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