Nile cruises - change of schedule

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Oct 2nd, 2004, 01:59 AM
  #1
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Nile cruises - change of schedule

Hi

We are tossing up whether to book an organised tour or organise our trip independently.

I have heard of some instances where cruise ships change their schedules : ie - operated in opposite direction than advertised , etc.

Any help would be great - this will determine how we'll book our travel.


Thanks
freddofrog04 is offline  
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Oct 9th, 2004, 02:26 AM
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The cruises along the Nile from Luxor to Aswan alternate routes. Cruising upriver from Luxor to Aswan for a couple of days and then turning around and cruising downriver from Aswan to Luxor. Both cruises see the same sights. THe only difference is whether you see the "big" sites in Luxor 1st or last.

Occasionally, usually in June and December, the locks along the river are closed for repair. Most of the boats still travel during this time, but they may stop on one side of the locks and have you change to a boat that is on the other side.

From personal experience, I know that boats will change their schedule slightly (from the published schedule)to try to avoid long waits going throught the locks. NOt much you can do about that.

I don't know what difference it would make if you did it through a tour or on your own - except that on your own you could pick the boat.
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Oct 9th, 2004, 03:59 AM
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It is possible sometimes that, because of maintenance, repairs or other reasons, boats will indeed change their schedules as drastically as operating in a reverse direction. As an individual you would have to negotiate a refund and then passage on another boat. Or rearrange your transportation to and from the area along with any hotels on either side. A rout operator would do all that for you with a lot less hassle and cost, and probably better.

I've been both independent and on tours in Egypt and I always use an operator to make all arrangements in upper Egypt, but I feel very free to pick and choose when I stay with the group or not.
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Oct 9th, 2004, 03:59 AM
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sandi
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There were some threads back a few months where cruise schedules were changed because of repair at the Esna locks. Do a search at the box on the top of the page and those threads will appear at the left column for you to read. I believe the work on the locks happens over a 2-3 week period and it seemed that instead of going to specific sites on your Nile cruise boat - you went by bus. So you should check with whomever you book your cruise the exact period of time when the locks are closed.

The only difference in cruise schedule was clearly explained in the post above. They either go Luxor-Aswan or Aswan-Luxor and this is something you can request as it's important whether you fly from Cairo to Luxor for the first, or Cairo to Aswan for the second route.

I've mentioned this in previous posts - you can do Egypt on an independent tour, just you and your travel partner and it is still a tour versus a group tour which I believe you are expressing as an "organized" tour. With an independent tour you still have a set itinerary with your own guide & driver in Cairo, then when on your cruise (you can select the boat you wish) there will be a guide assigned to independent travelers (as yourselves) who speak English, another for those speaking Italian, or French or any other. And you will probably find some small group tours on your cruise boat, but they will have their own guide for their tours.

So just check the time of year when the locks are being repaired and book for another period of time.
 
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Oct 9th, 2004, 12:53 PM
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Sandi,
How does one book an independent tour as you describe above? As travellers with 2 teenagers, I think having an itinerary/hotel choice/cruise choice tailored to our preferences makes a lot of sense. I do want the assistance of an Egyptian guide/driver and Egyptologist when visiting pyramids, etc. So where do I turn? I have looked at OATS and EgyptConnection...but neither seem right for my family. What do you suggest?
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Oct 9th, 2004, 01:26 PM
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sandi
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padbrasher - I would definitely agree that an OAT tour wouldn't be appropriate with teenagers, but what in particular are you seeking that is different then, say a tour operated thru Egypt Connection? Or is it that the latter won't deviate to provide an individualized itinerary? Have you contacted MISR, which is an official tour operator that the Egyptian government recommends, though there have been pro and con comments posted by other Fodorites.

However, you might want to check out:

www.xoticdestinations.com

they do Egypt, Morocco and Lebanon - so select Egypt and notice they have a private itinerary with choice of hotels and cruise boats at different price levels. However, I've found in such situations you can probably mix 'n match from the three categories!

Finally, contact Debbie Senter at:

http://www.casualcairodetours.pyramids.net/

Debbie is an American living in Cairo a number of years now and has a wealth of information and can probably handle the Cairo portion of your trip; and no doubt she should be able to direct you to a reputable tour operator to handle your Nile Cruise portion.

So if you cannot get a positive response from MISR or xoticdestinations, then go to Casual Cairo Detours. Hope this helps.
 
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Oct 10th, 2004, 03:32 PM
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Sandi,
Thanks so much for all your terrific advice. I will go back to the drawing board to see who can help me book our perfect trip. And probably be back soon with more questions!

Patty
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