We spent an hour around Alexandria before leaving for Cairo and in hindsight that was unnecessary. Spend all your time in Cairo if possible. The pyramids were bigger and much more impressive that what we expected...but didn't have enough time there. The Egyptian Museum was also excellent but you probably need a whole day there, not just an hour or 2. We insisted that we go to the Cairo Bazaar and were very glad we did, if only for 30 minutes. It doesn't open until 1100AM and I think stays open until the wee hours of the morning. Lots of interesting stuff to buy but more impressive were all the local people. We did abit of shopping and took tons of photos.
We also did the Sound and Light Show...the 930PM show. Some that went earlier said it wasn't dark enough to get the full benefit of the lights so chose a later show. It was quite cold at 930PM (Feb 21st) so dress warm.
We also upgraded to the Mena Oberoi Hotel and loved it!!!!!! The fancier dining room (the only place that we could get a table) was excellent and reasonably priced. They had a fantastic singer as well as a whirling dervish and a belly dancer...both excellent! Couldn't believe that I got to see a whirling dervish. The Oberoi is over 100 years old and they have just completed a new wing. The new pool area just opened 3 days before we arrived. Although we didn't get to swim (or even relax around it) it was beautiful to look at from our balcony. Our room was totally soundproof too even though we faced a major street. I would stay there again in a heartbeat.
Give yourself lots of time to get back to Alexandria. We got stuck in a traffic jam so had some tense moments wondering if we'd make it back on time.
Also, be prepared to see lots of filth in Egypt. Lots of people commented that they hated Egypt because of the poverty and the kids selling stuff around the pyramids. I guess if you have never experienced this it would be shocking but isn't that the reason we travel, to see things that we wouldn't see at home???? At least by going to places like Egypt, we are supporting the local economy. If you are really appalled by 3rd world countries don't leave the ship in Egypt. For us it was a highlight and more than ever now I want to do a 2 week tour of Egypt.
Finally the sun came out in Athens and we had a wonderful day. We spent the morning at the Acropolis and the museum. Both were amazing. I still cannot believe the historical places we visited on the cruise. The museum was well worth wandering around, even though we got stuck in the elevator. There are security guards everywhere there and I'm sure our shrieking from the locked elevator could be heard throughout the museum!!!
We had a late lunch at the Plaka. The food was amazing. I was alittle disappointed that the shopping was so touristy at the Plaka but I guess that was to be expected.
We avoided the carpet factory but did go to a leather shop where they put on a fashion show for us, complete with disco balls and dimmed lighting!! Also went to pottery factory. Our friends bought some beautiful plates and bowls that they had shipped back.
The tour operator was Rome in Limo and they were excellent.
I heard that there were 6 or 7 passengers left behind in Italy as they missed the ship. The port is at least an hour away from Rome so be sure to calculate that time into your return to the ship.