Nile cruises

Mar 26th, 2005, 07:17 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 526
I wonder if they will take a credit card if you pay an extra percentage? I never asked but I would next time. The wire cost $45 I think.
It was stressful as it took forever nd I kept getting conflicting information from my bank about the length of time it would take. I did find out that the credit union sent the information to another bank who then sent the information to Bank of America who did the final wire. I would therefore do all my business next time from Bank of America direct. When I put a trace on the wire Bank of America told my bank that they had sent a request for information to the bank in Egypt and couldn't do anything until they got a reply from that bank. I then asked if I was liable if the wire got lost in cyber-banking and my bank never did respond to that question. The bank ICAN TRAVEL uses does seem to be reliable..I cheked it out and it had a website etc..
I bet this doesn't ease any of your fears, but as it was only half the total amount I didn't get too worried. The rest was a cash payment in dollars when we arrived.
We never did have any insurance. I printed out Blue Shields list of hospitals in Cairo, Aswan and Luxor and hoped for the best health-wise!
Philbill is offline  
Mar 27th, 2005, 02:02 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 15
You have been extremely generous sharing your knowledge of Egypt. I have more specific questions.
I have not been able to find ICANTRAVEL. Is there more to the web site address?
How many nights did you spend in Cairo? How many nights were you on the Nile cruise? Was 10 days enough for you to see what you planned?
marybren is offline  
Mar 27th, 2005, 08:19 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 526
Hope that helps. As i said, i was very specific with my requests.
We had the 4 night cruise so had 4 days plus an extra day in Aswan as we got the train back to Cairo at 6pm; one day at the pyramids and Egyptian museum; 1 day Citadel etc., &the Khan bazaar; over 1/2 day at Sakkhara (Step Pyramid, Alabaster Sphynx), Memphis; one day on our own in Cairo. I think we ended up with 9 full days and then travel days.
In a perfect world I would have spent more time in Luxor prior to the cruise as I would have loved to re-visit Karnak with extra time. There is so much to see in Luxor. But, I didn't feel we had "missed out" with the cruise boat tours of Luxor. The extra day in Aswan we went to the Nubian Museum, Nubian Village, Old Cataract, the mosque, bazaar etc..
We did not go to Abu Simbel. It is a trek for an hour and a half. The motorcades leave at 4am and 4:30am and it is a 3 hour ride each way. The people on our boat who flew got a 6:30am plane. We were planning to go but didn't. I heard mixed was wonderful or it was fine but not worth the exhausting trip. There is a 3 day cruise to Abu Simbel according to our guide and that would be a nice way to go. I'm sure there are many Fodorites who heartily highly recommend the trip and you can do a search for more input.
We would have gone to Sharm for 3 or 4 days if we had had time as my husband likes to scuba dive (not me!!).
A visit to Alexandria would have been nice.
An extra day in Cairo would have been a treat but as I said, we like history and to revisit places would have been just great by us and that is a personal thing. We loved the unscheduled day..we walked a lot around the area, swam in the pool, had a facial etc.!!
Two of the nights were in Giza at Le Meridien Pyramids and two in Cairo at the Cairo Marriott. Next time I would probably stay in Cairo, but that is again a personal thing. It was fun seeing the Pyramids from our hotel, but we did not have a room with a view. However, in Cairo we had a balcony and a view of the Nile (just lucked out I guess).
Yes, we saw all that we planned on in the 10 days. We did the tourist cartouches, papyrus, perfume and carpet tours but they did not take long. We were kind of interested in a BRIEF overview. If you don't want those 'touristy'visits then I would specify that ahead of time. As I said, they were of marginal interest and like the Sound and Light show I'm glad I went but wouldn't go again. We didn't buy except for a couple of papyrus paintings. The guides get a kick-back as far as I can tell, so I made sure our guide knew yes we wanted to go but we would not be buying.
I got my cartouches in the Khan el Khallili.
These are just brief thoughts and not well written but I have to go!
Happy planning!!
Philbill is offline  
Mar 28th, 2005, 09:52 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 15
Thank you again for the wealth of information.
marybren is offline  
Jun 30th, 2005, 08:50 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 7
I was hoping PhilBill might still be around. My husband and I are off to join the Oberoi Philae this August, for the Luxor to Aswan cruise. I was wondering whether you experienced a Black & White party onboard your cruise, we've been told my husband needs to wear a jacket and tie, not necessarily and tux.. if he just turned up in his nice (and new) blue suit, would that be ok? I don't really want to have to get him a tux or black suit just for one night on the cruise?

Also did you spend any time at the Old Cataract Hotel, we've booked in there just for one night, after the cruise? I would be interested to hear any stories?!

Many thanks
sniper is offline  
Jul 8th, 2005, 08:07 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 526
I don't recall a Black and White party. We did have a Galibaya (sp??)party where you could rent Egyptian garb from the ship (we bought ours for just a few dollars each from a local shop). We did have a night where there was a welcome aboard party and there was everything from suits to 'T' shirts (some people were travelling for a few months and had nothing even semi-formal) but a suit (def. not a tux) would be fine. I know Phil had a suit as we had been in New York and I had a black dress (cocktail mid-calf type) and that was fine.
Have a fabulous time. Yikes it will be hot in August won't it?
We went to see friends briefly at the Old Cataract. It is the place to stay. We ate at a cafe much higher up the hill with the same view, but the hotel was elegant (the part we saw).
Can't wait to go back. What a trip!!
I will be cruising Aug to Sept (5 weeks) from Bangkok to Cape Town with time in both cities before and after the cruise.
Take care and have a great time.
Philbill is offline  
Jul 15th, 2005, 12:03 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 7
Thank you for your reply, glad to hear a tux won't be necessary for my husband... he will be relieved!

We were planning on going mid September, but due to a house move, we've had to bring it forward... and Boy, it's going to be hot! We were in Sharm a few years back in August, so I know what to expect.

We're really looking forward to the trip, though I do worry about the security and safety side of things now. Did you ever feel wary in Luxor/Aswan?

sniper is offline  
Jul 15th, 2005, 06:22 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 526
No. It's a bit disarming at first as armed guards are everywhere..when you step off the ship, as you walk up to the street level etc and on the train the guard was 'big time' armed. You do get used to it very quickly. In fact, they look so young and inexperienced that my husband was sure they didn't even know how to fire their weapons!! Taxis have to stop at gatehouses on the way in to the hotel grounds and are searched sometimes.
I asked in the Khan in Cairo (near the recent bombing) if there was a problem with pickpockets and the shopkeepers looked shocked and said of course not. They told me if anyone was doing that he would be 'taken down' by the merchants before he had chance to get away!!!! They are trying so hard to prove themselves safe for tourism and it seems like the aftermath of the 1997 tragedy still prevents this.
In Aswan we used local taxis by ourselves or with another couple. We never felt unsafe there nor in Luxor or any of the other ports. We went shopping on the street across from the cruise ship late at night in one port, but other than that were back on the ship by 7:30pm (for dinner!).
Nowhere in the world is totally safe, but just exercise caution as you would after dark in NYC or LA or anywhere else for that matter.
Philbill is offline  
Jul 16th, 2005, 10:13 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 7
Thank you for your reply, Philbill. As we're British, especially after London getting hit, I'm feeling quite wary about going to Egypt now. My husband is actually army, so he's not at all worried, but I just get a bit nervous when I see on the news about Brits getting blown up by suicide bombers in Turkey. I have heard that Egypt are really hot on the security and safety of tourists, so I guess it's like anything, there are risks in most things.

Just don't want to spoil the holiday by me being constantly looking over my shoulder.

sniper is offline  
Jul 16th, 2005, 01:27 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,094
Egypt tries very hard to make tourists both safe and feel safe. They recognize how important it is to their economy. I agree that the armed guards do at the same time look imposing and inexperienced.

Street crime is much rarer than in most American and European cities - scams are more common, but it is easier to avoid them.

Have a good trip.
gail is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2005, 05:11 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 526
Thinking about you, Sniper, after the latest events.
It's a tragedy.
Philbill is offline  
Jul 26th, 2005, 12:16 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 7
Thank you for thinking of us. I'm very sad to say that we've decided to cancel our trip to Egypt. I hate to let any terrorist influence what we do in our lives, but I would just spend the entire time looking over my shoulder and worrying. My husband (who is in the Army) is slightly less worried about things, but it was my decision, so I pulled the plug on the whole trip. We're lost about £700 all in all, but I just think of those poor innocent people in Sharm, they didn't even get a chance.

It's sickening, it really is.

sniper is offline  
Jul 26th, 2005, 03:11 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 526
Sorry to hear that, but I totally understand.
Did you have travel insurance? That should take care of at least some of the 700 pounds. I assume England has a travel advisory out recommending no travel to Egypt.
My heart is with all those who suffered. I am also sad for those Egyptians who have tried so hard to increase tourism, and whose livelihood depends on it. We had such a wonderful trip in March thanks to the people.
Philbill is offline  
Jul 28th, 2005, 10:53 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 7
We had arranged travel insurance to start the day of the trip, so as for cancelling it, we were uninsured. Also our Foreign Office has not come out and said that no Brits should travel to the region, they can hardly say that with what has been happening in London, although I think if London hadn't happened, the FO would be saying no travel to Egypt. Apparently so long as your government says it's safe, the insurers aren't obliged to pay out, so we've lost the lot.

I'm sure we will get there one day, but for now, we'll just holiday in the UK (away from London!).

sniper is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 12:55 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 526
Interestingly enough in our paper yesterday it stated that the US State Dept. "strongly urges" Americans to avoid Egypt's South Sinai, but a travel warning has not been issued.
Philbill is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2005, 02:21 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 161
I just returned from trip to Cairo and all the cities on the Nile River cruise. I had been a bit worried since the recent attacks, but there were so many tourists and the security is truly excellent. I wasn't worried a bit. Our guide stayed with us all the time and made sure we were always safe. Everywhere we went there were hundreds of tourists. Don't miss Egypt! It was truly the best vacation of all! We stayed at the Mena House with a wonderful view of the pyramids right from our balcony and Bed. can't beat that! 5 star hotel. Very nice!
Wanda1 is offline  

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