Nile cruises

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Feb 19th, 2005, 02:02 PM
  #1
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Nile cruises

We want to take a Nile Cruise for New Years. We are looking for a deluxe cruise line. Which do you suggest? We are looking to taking a 4-5 day cruise.

What deluxe hotels in Cario, Sharm El Shek, and Luxor?

What about spending 1-2 nights in Alexandria as part of the trip?

Which tour company do you suggest? I have looked into Travel In Style, A-Z Tours, Iexploreegypt (not part of iexplore). Want a private tour or one with 4-6 people.

We have a total of 16 days in Egypt. Going in December.



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Feb 19th, 2005, 02:14 PM
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Check out Maupintour's Egypt trip. We did it last April and there were 5 other people plus the guide. Their trip also includes Alexandria and a 6 night cruise. It was deluxe all the way.
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Feb 19th, 2005, 05:40 PM
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We will be on the Sonesta Moon Goddess in March. I will let you know how it works out and how the private tours are.
I understand this boat and the Oberoi Philae are the two 5 star deluxe cruise boats and the best.
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Feb 20th, 2005, 02:08 AM
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For the top cruiselines there are 2 : the Oberoi Philea and the 3 ships from Abercrombie and Kent. http://www.akegypt.com/ .Luxury hotels in Cairo: The Four Seasons. On the red see the Oberoi hotel near Hurghada is fantastic. check www.oberoihotels.com There is an Egyptian company that i used that offers the best rates, so dont look at the rates mentioned on those websites. The agency is called www.airlinktravelegypt.com and you should ask for Mr Fahrid, his e-mail is: [email protected] . He knows me by Alejandra. He will arrange private transportation for you and take you from hotel to airport to sightseeing etc. Good Luck
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Feb 28th, 2005, 02:28 PM
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alejandra-

i'm not sure which egyptian tour operator to use since my friends have warned me of unscrupulous tour operators. Can you tell me more about airlink travel egypt? I'm thinking of getting them but would like several references. Thanks!
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Mar 13th, 2005, 07:23 PM
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We just returned from the top rated boat Sonesta Moon Goddess. About 100 passengers and large rooms and bathrooms all with balconies. Use ICANTRAVEL to book everything in Egypt. They are based in Cairo.
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Mar 13th, 2005, 07:29 PM
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Oh, we also stayed at the Cairo Marriott...fabulous and the best breakfast anytime anywhere (except for the Sunday brunch in the Brown Derby at the MGM in Las Vegas which is no more!!). Other pax raved about the Winter Palace in Luxor and the Old Cataract is supposed to be good in Aswan.
We also stayed at Le Meridien Pyramids and that was just fine but not in the same league as the Cairo Marriott.
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Mar 16th, 2005, 05:31 PM
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Philbill

What did you think of the Moon Goddess? Please go into detail. I will be on this ship in April.
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Mar 18th, 2005, 05:09 PM
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The Moon Goddess was FABULOUS. I may be wrong, but I believe it is the only boat where all the rooms have balconies. The rooms were great and the bathrooms large for a river boat or cruise ship. We cruise a LOT and were impressed. The AC worked well. Tell Atef on the reception desk that the English lady who was upset (another story..no reflection on the cruise!!) says hi...he will know who you mean!!! Tony on reception is very helpful and knowledgeable. We had Ahmed and Mahmoud for guides..both very good. You are assigned a table for all meals and we had a fantastic mix of British, Lebanese, Australians and us. Desserts and salads were great..they wash everything in mineral water and NOONE got sick. There is a lot of fried food for entrees...fine but not gourmet. Made to order omelettes for breakfast plus a wide variety on the buffet. Everyone sailing by on other boats looked envious...there are lounges on the sun deck(tend to get reserved before breakfast each day) and lots of chairs and tables in the shade. Personally I liked our balcony. Shallow, cool swimming pool. Three pieces of exercise equipment in the gym. Overpriced shop of course. Get your Gallibya outfit at Edfu at the shops across from where you dock. The rental for outfits on the ship is higher than what you can bargain for. I paid 30 Egyptian for the two piece outfit and 5 Egyptian for the head scarf with 'coins'. My husband wore a pair of Egyptian pyjamas (35) and my white cotton shawl (11 Egyptian) with a silk 'rope' head band. Some passengers did not dress at all, so if you don't feel like it..that's okay. Of course, we had the 'belly dancer' outfits too. Buy your water on shore (5 large bottles for 10 Egyptian)...you will have to bargain for anything you buy. Just start ridiculously low and then you go back and forth seller going down and you going up!! For water I just said this is what we paid earlier and that worked. You may have to settle for 4 bottles for that price. On the ship (boat ) it costs 12 Egyptian a bottle of water after the taxes. We purchased on the boat for meals and you can take the bottle down for the next meal if you don't finish it. Obelisk wine is the wine of choice on the boat...not that great and 125 Egyptian per bottle. We took our own wine from home for the cabin and stocked up on airline bottles on the flights over.
When we had to cross other boats to get ashore, it was quite obvious how superior our boat was. It is elegant and modern. It was very quiet in our cabin at night. Note that everything is very timely; if they say the tour departs at 3pm it does: no counting and making sure everyone is there!!. You have to vacate by 8am the last day, but you have the use of the ship the whole day and we left our luggage there (we got the train in the evening...a great experience).
Please ask specific questions. I'd be happy to respond.
My research indicated that this ship and the Oberoi Philae are the best, but I think this has the edge.
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Mar 23rd, 2005, 04:50 PM
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Thank you SO much for your detailed reply! Now I am very excited. What did you wear while on board? Especially for dinner? Also, did anyone wear shorts on the day excursions? Thanks for the wine alert. I am a big wine person but don't think I'll be hauling it from the US. How many people are in the group when doing the day trips?
Is there room service?
Again, many thanks and if you have any additional info, it would be appreciated.
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Mar 23rd, 2005, 05:08 PM
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I checked with the guide about the tours, and he said shorts were okay. We wore knee length type. In the mosques of course this is not appropriate, but for temples etc. fine. No shorts at dinner on the boat. We wore casual the other two meals. For dinner I wore black pants one night, I dressed for the cocktail party (2nd night) as I had to have the 'black dress' in New York which was the start of our trip (to see 'The Gates' by Christo). The Gallibya outfit the next night and pants and a nice top the last night. The Australians were travelling between 4 weeks and 4 months and they wore blue jeans every night (just about) including the cockttail party. By the way, the drinks are a dud!!!! They had one alcoholic drink and that was like a wine spritzer but supposedly had vodka in it!! One drink per person! The rest were juice mixes!!
The tour guide had 28 of us which was a lot to my mind, but many didn't have the interest in the history that we had. The following week the guide for English speaking had only 6 people! That was because there were some groups on board (if I understood correctly) which had their own guides. The wonderful thing was no announcements on the boat and only one language for the tours. Our guide told me sometimes he had one or two people and sometimes a very large group like our group. We much preferred our private guide in Cairo, but what can I say...it worked out okay. We just loved cruising along the Nile. We could have gone on for days. I would seriously suggest tsking some wine along. I had it in my carry-on and then I had to check it in New York when we flew to England (the second stage of our trip)!!!!! I never have to check my carry-on, but have never flown out of NY before! The wine made it fine as it was packed okay. The other thing is that you can stock up on small bottles of spirits on the plane too if you wanted to. We got several plane bottles of wine as I said.
You will have a FABULOUS time.
Take hand sanitizer..the grocery and drug stores have the very small bottles (2oz I think) which fit into a bag. We always take it on our trips, but noone in Europe (not to mention Egypt) seems to know about it.
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Mar 24th, 2005, 03:25 AM
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Pbill...Thanks again! I will consider the wine thing. But the small bottles might work better. One question you failed to answer...room service on board??? We are with a very small tour, Isram, and am hoping that our guide will be with us on the boat. I really don't have that clear in my mind. Again, many thanks.
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Mar 24th, 2005, 07:19 AM
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We were supposed to have a private guide for every tour, but for some reason our travel agency fell through on that. However, the price we paid was so great and all the other parts of the 10 days so perfectly orchestrated that we eventually calmed down about the lack of private tours off the boat.
Room service is available but I don't know exactly what is offered as we didn't use it. I don't know if there was a charge or not.
Lunch and dinner were at fixed times with afternoon tea of sorts at 5:30pm and breakfast was offered for about 1 1/2 hours at least I think! Most meals were buffet and there was a great barbecue on deck one lunchtime.....stuffed veggies were delicious as was the BBQ.
A lot of people drank the Obelisk red wine (a bottle at lunch and one at dinner so maybe I am being too harsh..it was kind of 2 buck Chuck level. I'm thinking it was about $25 US after the tax and service per bottle. The Swedes on board almost emptied the 'wine cellar'!!!! They certainly drank a lot more than anyone else.
Take insect repellent..we had next to no problem but it is recommended. We made the most of our time by taking taxis into Aswan for a couple of hours here and there. We sailed Luxor to Aswan, so if you are going that direction I can give you more of a timetable. It would be different on the reverse cruise.
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Mar 24th, 2005, 07:27 AM
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PS You can pack lightly..once you bargain 't' shirts and local Egyptian cotton blouses are just a few dollars each (under $5 for embroidered). Everyone bought light white Egyptian cotton shawls ($2 approx) which were great for the sun and the wind. There was a huge wind storm the day after we left which grounded planes in Aswan. We had wind the first day in Giza too. It gets cold at night in Cairo and Giza. I wore a jacket and needed it for the Sound and Light at Giza.
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Mar 24th, 2005, 02:53 PM
  #15
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Philbill,

Who did you use to book your travel through? Did you have to pay cash up front?

Thanks
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Mar 24th, 2005, 04:18 PM
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PB...You are the best with all of these tips. BTW, we are going from Aswan to Luxor. Was there one tour you wish you'd stayed on the boat instead? I don't want to get "ruined" out!
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Mar 24th, 2005, 08:46 PM
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We used ICAN (one word; an acronym actually) TRAVEL (head office Cairo). They have a web site and we got fantastic value. We did specify the hotels and the cruise boat as I had done a lot of research on the internet. We have found that using agencies in the countries in which we travel gives us much better value and also enables tourist dollars to go to the country itself which is only right
The program from Aswan to Luxor is scheduled a little differently and I'm not sure what you do on each day. I know Day 1 they went for the Felluca ride at 4pm. I'm not sure if they went on an earlier tour too. I would recommend every single tour. The way we were scheduled, on two of the days we only did one tour (Temple of Horus one day and Kom Ombo the other). The rest of each of those two days we were cruising the Nile. Wonderful!! Luxor was jammed full and Aswan was busy also, but with a little time off! Your direction is great in that you have magnificent Luxor at the end so you build up to it. We jammed all of Luxor into one day so we had hours of ruins!! This was in order to get ahead at the locks and the bridge and that worked out great. Other people in Aswan told us their boat had waited in line all day to get through. It is fun though watching the bridge open and all the boats lined up to go through.
Keep in mind that if you have concerns on the Sonesta Moon Goddess Tony is a good resource and then the boat manager is the person at the top. I can't say that we met the captain!! At the 'Captain's ' cocktail party the boat manager was the one who made the speech etc..
Next time we will spend time in a hotel in Luxor too and also go to Sharm. Syria was highly recommended by an Egyptian couple we met on the boat. I would have to check on the status of relations with Lebanon first I think!!
Anitas, people raved about the 'Winter Palace Hotel' (I think that was the name) in Luxor.
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Mar 25th, 2005, 02:27 PM
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Thanks for the info. Did ICANTRAVEL require a wire transfer? Or did they accept credit cards? Several agencies I have contacted want a wire transfer and rest either in cash or credit card with a fee of around 3%.
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Mar 25th, 2005, 10:40 PM
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anitas,
Yes they wanted a wire transfer for half the total. The wire transfer fee for us was $45 I believe. It was a big issue for us as the credit union used a bank who then used Bank of America to transfer and it took 3 and a half weeks!!! Not unusual for a wire transfer as I came to know. ICAN TRAVEL was very understanding about the time it took and continually told us not to worry that it was still keeping out reservations. I would therefor use Bank of America next time.
The remainder was due in cash in Cairo.
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Mar 26th, 2005, 06:25 AM
  #20
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Philbill

Thanks for the info. I guess I will have to figure out my comfort level for wiring money. My concern is if we have to cancel for some reason how do we get our money back. I will take travel insurance but that doesn't cover getting your money returned to you.
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