Nile Cruise - yes or no?

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Sep 11th, 2004, 06:18 AM
  #1
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Nile Cruise - yes or no?

I'm planning a Feb. 2005 trip to Egypt. Have received quotes from both MISR Travel and Egypt Connections, both of which are very acceptable.

However, looking over many cruise lines' itineraries (they all seem the same), there seems to be a lot of time just relaxing on deck, looking at the Nile, and occupying evenings by the typical cruise functions. Don't get me wrong. Cruises are good for many people. I'm thinking I could make better use of my down time by actually being in the city itself rather than on a ship.

Is it practical to just get a hotel in both Aswan and Luxor (there is so much to see in each of those areas) for a few days each and see the same things the cruises do? I assume the hotels have tour desks. But has anyone done this type of independent travel
to places like VOK&Q, Colossi, Karnak, Edfu, Kom Ombo, Philae, etc. without the benefit of cruising?

Thanks for your help.
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Sep 11th, 2004, 07:04 AM
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It depends on your own preferences. I loved having the ship as a base. Thoroughly enjoyed "watching" the activities on the banks as we cruised the Nile stopping to see the different attractions. My sister-in-law however, found cruising a complete bore. Depends what you like.
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Sep 11th, 2004, 07:39 AM
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The only cruise we have ever taken was on the Nile.We flew Cairo to Aswan & the first 2 nights cruised towards Luxor.The crew were great but I couldn't sleep due to the generator noise of all the boats nearby.We called ahead & booked 2 nights at the Old Winter Palace in Luxor and to my great suprise the Captain did not bill us for the last 2 nights on the boat that we deleted.I am glad that we cruised the Nile and think you will probably regret it if you don't do it.
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Sep 11th, 2004, 12:20 PM
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The thought of a cruise would send me running in the opposite direction of a port. That said, however, the Nile Cruise isn't what one would consider a cruise. Certainly you could spend time in either Aswan or Luxor but the distances to get to the sites the boat/cruise covers, is way too long in caravans with security through the very hot desert, with nothing but lots and lots of nothing but sand out there.

We loved the cruise as it's not just lots of H2O out there. You can actually see both shores, the Nile isn't all that deep, it's a flat bottom boat, the views along the Nile are quite interesting and most of the cruising is done at night when you're asleep. We never heard anything (such as generators as above poster mentioned) while sleeping other then the hum of the a/c. And surprisingly, more time was spent on land tours at each stop then on the boat. The only extended time on the boat during daylight was getting through the Esna locks (maybe 2-1/2 hrs). And a short distance after, we were in Luxor.

I can guarantee if you attempted to visit these sites driving through the desert daily, you'd be exhausted by the time you returned to your hotel nightly. On the cruise, you don't have to do more then just visit the sites when you arrive at each.

And the boat was a great alternative to a hotel. When in Aswan, we had enough time to venture into the town on our own - to the souk, the Nubian Museum, then reboard for dinner. Likewise when in Luxor, we had more then enough time to venture around Luxor, again visiting the souk, went to the Light & Sound Show at Karnak Temple. Earlier we had high-tea at the Old Winter Palace, then met friends for "sundowners" on the hotel terrace - for people watching, the various boats and the beautiful sunset over the Nile.

A Nile Cruise is nowhere near what many would understand a cruise to be. Besides there are maybe 100+/- passengers per boat - almost like a big yacht. Go for the cruise!
 
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Sep 11th, 2004, 03:35 PM
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The generator noise I referred to is when all the boats are docked in close proximity to each other.They run there generators all night long.To a light sleeper like me it meant no sleep 2 nights in a row even with ear plugs.
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Sep 12th, 2004, 03:40 AM
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atlcity - yes, we saw many boats docked as such, but ours was docked at it's own private island in Luxor (no other boats anywhere) and at other stops we were at the bulkhead. And for us we had a cabin on the upper deck, so heard nothing. But I would assume as you've indicated that if on a lower deck and docked with other boats on either side - generators appear to to an issue. Something to consider.

kopp - I would suggest you ask for the Movenpick (own island) or the Sonesta boats (all three get bulkhead moorings) and upper deck cabins. If these boats not available, indicate your requirements to MISR and Egypt. Connections.
 
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Sep 12th, 2004, 04:05 AM
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Sandi: What was most disappointing was we were on the Sonesta (Nile Princess?)in the Presidential suite upper deck(the premier suite on the boat).My wife & kids slept fine,so I can only guess that most people will not have the sleeping problem that I had.I am a really light sleeper.
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Sep 12th, 2004, 04:07 AM
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The problem was not in Luxor it was the previous 2 nights on the way to luxor.By the time we reached Luxor I had already made arrangments to disembark and spend 2 nights at Old Winter Palace instead of on the boat.
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Sep 12th, 2004, 04:16 AM
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atlcity - so can I assume that your wife and kids enjoyed the cruise? and even with your problem sleeping the cruise is worthwhile? we certainly thought so. and with all that fresh air, sunshine, and amazing sites, we were exhausted enough to sleep, even if with the "help of my friends" - a pill. i always do, regardless where i'm traveling.
 
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Sep 12th, 2004, 04:53 AM
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Sandi:Yes,even with no sleep I would do the cruise again.Just the thought of cruising the Nile makes it worth it.I can't imagine why anyone who takes the time to go all the way to Egypt would skip a Nile cruise.
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Sep 12th, 2004, 09:41 AM
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I don't think you can get a sense of life in ancient Egypt without spending some time on the Nile, be it from a cruise ship or the more traditional Felucca. Seeing life along the river is, to me, an essential part of the overall experience. In many places, Nile life has changed little in thousands of years. Well, except for the cruise ship part.

The "cruise" is very pleasant and very interesting. Mine was well done and I don't remember any noises or discomforts (but had heard of others that weren't so nice). Food was excellent. My only complaint was the rigid scheduling of the day trips. That's true with any organized tour though.

If you're into photography, you will get some great photo ops of the people and villages from the deck.

The cruise is now part of my favorite memories of Egypt and never would have guessed that prior to going.

Regards, Bruce
http://www.brucegcollier.com/galleri...level2_all.htm
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Sep 12th, 2004, 10:19 AM
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I have just finished a trip to Egypt. I included all the things on your itinerary by spending one night in Luxor, two nights on a Nile cruise boat and one night in Aswan. One addition to your list should be Abu Simbel (my number 1 site of the trip closely followed by the Pyramids/Sphinx and Karnak Temple)

I have always hated the thought of cruises but I agree with the previous posters who say that it's probably not like your typical cruise holiday.

If I were to do it again I would spend more nights on the boat and see Luxor and Aswan from the boat if possible. The boat was of a very high standard and the cabins were very nice. In fact, the quality of the cruise accommodation was better than the 5* (Egyptian rating) hotels in Luxor/Aswan.

I didn't find there was too much time spent relaxing on deck but enough for me to get a real flavour of life by the Nile. I don't like to spend time sitting around on holiday so that's why I opted for the short two night cruise option.

I give a thumbs up to Experience Egypt too if you have considered using them.
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Sep 12th, 2004, 12:14 PM
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Wow, I am so impressed with all the wonderful comments! I look forward to re-contacting the travel companies tomorrow to make sure we include the cruise. I'm convinced it's the best thing for this situation.

We will have 11 nights days in Egypt. Here is how it looks to be shaping up:
--3 days Cairo (Nile Hilton)
--flight to Abu Simbel-then flight to Aswan-then 1 night Aswan (Old Cataract)
--3 days cruise Aswan-Luxor (Movenpick HS Radamis II)
---3 nights Luxor (Sheraton,Meridien or Sonesta)
---flight back to Cairo, 1 night Cairo (Nile Hilton) before departing for home
next morning

Whoa! What a trip!

Message for Bruce Collier: Loved ALL your photos. You've got quite a knack for capturing just the right shot! We're actually leaving this week for Bryce/Yellowstone/Jackson, so your photos of Bryce make me anxious!!

Happy travels!
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Sep 12th, 2004, 01:20 PM
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They allow 300 people per day to climb inside the great pyramid to the king's tomb.We arranged for a guide to get our tix.We did the same for the valley of the queens for the beautiful restricted access tomb of Nefretarri?
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Sep 12th, 2004, 02:34 PM
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Regarding the Tomb of Queen Nefretari - from previous posts within this past year, apparently this tomb has been closed again. For how long, don't know. When or will it reopen, don't know. But if this tomb has reopened, be sure to get tickets for this one. Tickets run about $30/person = 10x what the other tombs are, but worth it. Since trips to the VofKQ is done early before the heat, and the ticket office for this tomb is open by 6 or 6:30am, make this your first stop. Here too, limited number of people allowed in per day - believe it's 100 people. Also check for hours, as I believe when we visited, the tomb closed at 11am, not to reopen till much later in the afternoon, when it got cooler.

Note that unlike other tombs where you can bring cameras and purchase "camera fee tickets" (maybe $.50) NO cameras allowed inside this tomb, so do buy one of the books being sold so you have these memories. One would think these tomb paintings had been done within the past few years, rather than being almost 4,000 years old.
 
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Sep 12th, 2004, 03:51 PM
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Climbing inside the pyramid/tombs!! Sounds awesome! I've added that to my "ask the travel agent" list for tomorrow. This trip is getting better everyday!
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Sep 13th, 2004, 05:50 AM
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Nefertari's tomb in the Vally of Queens remains closed and there is no expectation to reopen it any time soon.

Most people are a bit disappointed with a trip inside the pyramids, unless it's to say you've been right inside. I can't really comment since I didn't go inside one of the big 3 pyrmaids. With the Pyramids entry ticket, you can get free entry to one of the Queen's pyrmaids (next to the Pyramid of Cheops). It's not the same as going in one of the main ones but one narrow, low claustrophobic tunnel is probably much like another.

I notice you have 3 nights in Luxor and 1 in Aswan. Luxor clearly has the best pharaonic sites of the two but apart from that, the town is not all that nice and the hassle you get from the fellucca touts amd markets is the worst anywhere in Egypt. The bazaars of Cairo and Aswan are much better too (and they all sell the same things). You can do the west bank sites in one day and the east bank sites in another unless you prefer to do things more leisurely.
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Sep 13th, 2004, 07:47 AM
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"Most people are disappointed with the trip inside the pyramid" That's a load of nonsense.
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Sep 13th, 2004, 08:06 AM
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Sorry, obviously that's not everyone's opinion. I was only repeating what a number of the other people that I was with and those that I spoke to said about the trip inside.
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Sep 13th, 2004, 01:27 PM
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Your back and thighs will thank you if you don't climb inside the great pyramid. That was the comment from most everyone exiting the pyramid.

For those who saw the Amazing Race when they were in Egypt, the teams had to climb up to the Kings Chamber to get a clue envelope. The only one for whom it was a breeze was the little person - the cousins. Everyone else was bent over and that's a long walk up to the top.

Consider this before attempting, and remember, there is stale air inside, and certainly no a/c.
 
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