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How safe is a cruise to Turkey/Israel/Egypt with a 3 year old

How safe is a cruise to Turkey/Israel/Egypt with a 3 year old

Jan 21st, 2011, 11:33 PM
  #1  
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How safe is a cruise to Turkey/Israel/Egypt with a 3 year old

My wife and I are thinking about taking a cruise to Turkey/Israel/Egypt. We have a 3 year old, and I'm not sure how safe it would be. I would think that staying with cruiseline-organized tours would be best. Any thoughts?
TennesseeVol is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2011, 03:46 AM
  #2  
 
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We did a cruise in october that included Egypt and israel and we used private tours...not with the cruise line, but with Ramses in Egypt and Guided Tours for israel. i only remember seeing two little girls who appeared to be much older than three.. As for safety..no problem...but whether the child would 'enjoy' the long excursions is another story. in Egypt to get from Alexandria to Cairo is a very, very long van/bus ride. The cruiselne tours are usually large buses and are not open to be personalized..
ParrotMom is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2011, 05:23 AM
  #3  
ira
 
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Hey TV,

Your child will not be kidnapped by Gypsies.

You will not be attacked and murdered by terrorists.

Your major problem will be keeping the toddler out of trouble on the ship.

Look for a cruise line that provides sitters for children.

Enjoy your visit.

ira is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2011, 06:57 AM
  #4  
 
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Anything can happen anywhere and if you choose a private guide I think you will find that all they do is try to provide a service to make a living like anyone else. We always go with a private guide where ever we can as you will get a better tour and at a cheaper price. If you go to cruisecritic and search the port boards you can find reputable guides. I wouldnot worry if I was in your situation.
jacketwatch is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2011, 07:04 AM
  #5  
 
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As long as you choose a nice www.cruisecritic.com

Line that has good toddler/child services and stick

with ship tours odds are overwhelming you will have

a grand time... I did when I was there on Princess

not too long ago... great deals up to 70% off on

www.priceline.com www.vacationstogo.com

Happy Hunting,
qwovadis is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2011, 06:45 PM
  #6  
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Ira,

Not sure what your problem is but you did very little to actually provide useful information that is usually shared on this site. Certain areas of the world have reputations for a reason. I realize that things could happen anywhere. We took our son on a cruise last year to Mexico/Costa Rica/Panama and everything was great. As for keeping him out of trouble on the ship, he did awesome and I saw quite a few adults more out of control than him. Don't mean to rant, but if you're not going to be helpful on this topc, stay away.

For everyone else, I appreciate any thoughts. We want our son to be very well-traveled. I think its only normal to think about safety anywhere you go. We took him with us on our excursions on last years cruise, and we got many positive remarks regarding his behavior. Thanks again for any advice.
TennesseeVol is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 06:38 AM
  #7  
 
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TV. I am not trying to be an apologist for Ira but I think his comments were directed in general to debunking commonly held misconceptions inre to travel abroad in so called "hot" areas. if you search his comments you will usually see helpful information. As for the comments about your child I read that as just another general comment inre to kids of that age. Often the limits of communicating on the net due not seeing facial expressions, body language or hearing voice tones lead to misunderstandings. I've been on that end too. No offense and best of luck. JM2C. Larry
jacketwatch is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 11:35 AM
  #8  
 
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We were in Tunisia this past summer and felt perfectly safe, ,but a few months later, revolution. I guess the question is, would you feel safe? Terrorists do operate in all parts of the world, but more in some places than others and Egypt, for istance, does not have a good record. I like kids, but in appropriate places. I do not subscribe to the idea that kids should go everywhere - and that the world should put up with them ( and love it).
Aristotle is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 01:59 PM
  #9  
 
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Hi TV,

While he really doesn't need defending (may not even want it for all I know), I just have to add that I honestly believe no offense was intended by Ira, one of the most caring and sharing of posters here on Fodors. His advice was actually quite good, as usual, and his posts have been helpful to me more times than I can even count. Please take Jacketwatch's thoughts as accurate.

I haven't been to Egypt, so can't realate any personal opinion. Friends who went recently had armed guards with all their tours. That seems a little nuts to me, but I don't know. I have cruised on Princess several times and don't remember seeing any babies or children under about three or four. Perhaps another ship is more baby friendly. Have you gone on www.cruisecritic.com? You might get a lot more first hand insight there.
Sassafrass is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 02:28 PM
  #10  
 
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One of the things you might want to consider and talk to your pediatrician is the fact your three year old child should have yellow fever, tetanus and everything else adults need or should have...for health reasons especially in Egypt and Turkey I would be concerned. And yes, there are armed guards on tours in Egypt. I myself would not want to expose my children at such a young age no matter how "well traveled" you would like him to be. What is he going to remember at 3 years of age. It doesn't make sense to me as a senior to expose my children to potential diseases a such a young age
ParrotMom is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 03:37 PM
  #11  
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Thanks guys. I hadn't thought about the health concerns aspect. And TRUST me, I don't want my child to anoy others (I'm usually not a big fan of other people's kids). However, my wife and I still want to be able to go to the places we desire, but realize some may have to wait until our child is older. Does anyone think a Greek Island or Baltic cruise may be better? We had a Princess cruise to the Panama Canal booked last year, but switched to Carnival after realizing it was more kid-friendly. Also, I really do appreciate your comments, as it feels I am asking friends for advice. What did we do before the Internet?
TennesseeVol is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 03:44 PM
  #12  
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FYI-the cruise we are looking is on Norwegian.
TennesseeVol is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 07:05 PM
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Just remember...other countries do not require mandatory innoculations for childhood diseases... and frankly I think you need to have time for yourself as a couple and not worry if the food you eat on shore will give your child an upset stomach...It would also be adviseable to check with our Government for any health warnings on the countries your interested in. I know before we were allowed to go on an Amazon cruise we had to present our yellow fever card before even flying.Is it the NCL Jade? I would check with them or your cruise agent to see if they recommend shots for all of you. Remember hospitals in these countries are not up to ur standards and if you do decide to go make sure you buy the best health insurance Our Mayor here in Boston scrapped his arm in Italy and it developed into cellulitus and was hospitalized with an infection for almost a week back home.
ParrotMom is offline  
Jan 24th, 2011, 05:28 AM
  #14  
 
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As long as your child is immunized for regular diseases, that's really a non-issue in any of these countries. Yellow fever is not present in any of these three countries, so any discussion of that is really a red herring. Malaria is not a problem in any of the more touristed parts of Egypt.

Contaminated food and water is not a red herring, and it's your major health issue in both Egypt and Turkey. If you do this cruise, then I strongly recommend carrying food for your child as well as water and having him/her not consume any locally purchased foods in either Egypt or Turkey. Israel will be no problem.

Children are really cared for well in these countries, and you may get a lot of attention, but certainly nothing negative. But I don't really think any European cruise is a very good choice for kids. Long, cultural excursions are going to be of no interest whatsoever to a 3 year-old. In Egypt, for example, it's a pretty punishing 10 to 12-hour day to visit the pyramids, and that's nothing I'd put a 3 year-old through. In general, a lot of European sights are far from the ports, requiring at least 1 and perhaps as much as 3 hours of travel on a crowded bus. That's just too long for a small child, in my opinion.

I would be cognizant of increasing political tensions in Egypt. This could throw a monkey-wrench in your plans if there are large demonstrations and strikes this summer. Plus, the heat is a real concern in all these countries, as it would be in Greece.

Until your child is over 6, I would actually skip the European cruises and stick to Caribbean and Mexico sailings.

Ironically, the kind of cruise that would be more friendly to your child is a river cruise, a type of cruise that has a reputation for drawing much older travelers. But most of these ships drop you right in the heart of town, where you can sight-see on foot in a quaint and sometimes small city. The weather in Europe tends not to be as hot. And I found out last week that Uniworld is actually running some family-oriented river cruises. But these tend to be far longer and more expensive than the typical NCL cruise.
doug_stallings is offline  
Jan 24th, 2011, 06:45 AM
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Well said Doug....frankly as a senior I don't think the cruise and destinations talked about would make a pleasant cruise/side trips for the child.. and whether on a crowded bus or a van especially in Egypt it would be extremely stressful. If I remember correctly we left the ship for an excursion in egypt at 7:00 am and did not return until after 9:30. p.m...most of it was on the roads and we did have lunch in Cairo....As for the yellow fever I sort of tossed that in, because we had done our Amazon trip and needed a booster.. but I would still be cautious.. and something that hasn't been mentioned.. if they have a stroller for the child...going over the cobblestone steps all over Europe is definetly a challenge I for one would not appreciate a cranky and crying child on a long bus ride. River cruises which are more $$$ tend to attract an older crowd don't they... I could go on and on, but the thoughts of taking my three year old child on any European cruise does not appeal to me unless you were on a Disney ship...
ParrotMom is offline  
Jan 24th, 2011, 07:06 AM
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I always check the US State department Consular reports for health and safety issues. You will be surprised at what you read, but they are helpful.
Aristotle is offline  
Jan 25th, 2011, 03:40 PM
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Reading from all the information above, I can safely assume that you are looking at the NCL Jade's 11 days Holyland cruise.

All the ports you will visit are safe. In the middle east, political unrest is common. There was a riot at the Acropolis in Athens, 2 days after we were there (last October). It was protest about the Euro bail out and budget cut.

While we were in Israel, the Israel Police was doing a full scale pratice on riot control, at least that's what we were told. The bus had to drive around as certain sections of Jerusalem were closed off. It could have been a real riot. We have to past through multiple check points to get to Bethlehem. They post armed guards in front of the buses where the buses had stopped. Weshouyld ahve known better and realize Bethlehem is actually in West Bank, Palestinian controlled territory.

There were armed guards everywhere in Turkey, Israel and Egypt. You go through metal dectctors and screening, from port facilities to Cario museum and a lotof stops in between.

All those places lsited above really cares about tourist dollars and they make every effort to make sure tourist feels safe, or is actually safe, so they will come back and visit and spend their money. It is a ajor source of their income and job creation. Thus the armed guard on the buses, police escorts etc.

If you book with a private tour company, you will save money and get a better tour. We have done it. However, if you book with the ship's tour, the tour company has a better network and they will have more resoruces to keep tourists out of trouble spots by changing itentary last minute, or call for help, or aviod travelling through trouble hot-spots.

As an example, in Israel, the Isreal security people took our tour guide's cell number before we left the port facilities. In Egypt, our tour guide was on the cell phone several times talking to someone, when our bus was stuck in traffic.

Doug and a few others nailed it when they said you will ride the bus anywhere from 1 to 3 hours to get to interesting places. That is on a best case scenarios when there are no traffic tie-ups. Our experience was more than 2 and a half hours from Athens to Delphi (normlly an hour and 15 minutes), Almost 5 hours from Port Said to Cairo (normally under 3 hours).

If your 3 year old can endure (or slept through?) the bus ride, you are good to go.

It is extremely safe as long as you keep the child within close proximity. I would be more worry about the child wander off in a crowd or get separated from the parents. Pick pockets are bad throghout Europe (Rome is really bad) and your young child maybe a way for the crooks to distract you.

The traffic, the "personal space" etc are not the same as in North America. Neither is the sanitation standard in Egypt and many other places (Rural areas).

A number of us had posted trip reports for Holyland here. You may want to search for it and take a peek at them. ParrotMom travelled within a week of my trip last year, visited similar ports but on different ships. She had post a trip report here. Below is the link to my trip report to Holyland if you care to read about the long bus ride, crowds and other oddities. Feel free to comemnt.

http://www.fodors.com/community/crui...in-october.cfm
Eschew is offline  
Jan 25th, 2011, 06:43 PM
  #18  
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Eschew, thanks for the advice. I actually read your trip report last Saturday at 3 am when I couldn't sleep! You guys had some amazing information. On one hand, it made me hesitant. But on the other hand, strangely some of your experiences are why I love traveling. I honestly think the bus rides may be my biggest hesitation at this point. We had a couple of long bus rides last year in Costa Rica and Panama, and it was tough at times to keep our son occupied. I guess we'll have to figure out something that works for all of us.
TennesseeVol is offline  
Jan 31st, 2011, 12:27 PM
  #19  
 
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I hope the trip report did not keep you up, or maybe it is boring enough to help you sleep ...

A long bus ride is an issue. But then, that's always been the an issue with cruising (except for sun destinations) as it takes time to go from port (shore) to attractions (in land).

We always try to make things interesting on our bus ride. If the scenery is not interesting, taking a nap would be the best option (mp3 player & eye patch works great).

We endured long bus ride from port to San Jose (Costa Rica) and the opera house and museum are fabulous. Is it worth the 2 to 3 hours bus ride? I guess so.

For Europe, with the exception of river cruisess, most desirable destinations are not really at port (except the Greek islands and some great port cities) and it will take time to get to the interesting stuff.

Persoanlly, I feel a 3 year old won't remember the experience. We took our young one to Disney at that age and he didn't remember a thing. However, his older brother at age 8 remembered a lot more.

Don't get me wrong, your 3 uear old will have fun. But they will remember a lot more if they are older. Good luck!
Eschew is offline  
Jan 31st, 2011, 04:06 PM
  #20  
 
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I guess that current events say don't go.
Aristotle is offline  

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