19 Viking River Viking Ra Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise as the best way to see the amazing sights in Egypt and to learn about its people. This holiday greatly exceeded our expectations. Michael, our guide was awesome in his knowledge and enthusiasm not just for the temples ... Read More
We chose this cruise as the best way to see the amazing sights in Egypt and to learn about its people. This holiday greatly exceeded our expectations. Michael, our guide was awesome in his knowledge and enthusiasm not just for the temples some of which he had worked on as an Egyptologist but also for giving us a comprehensive overview of Egypt more recently. The hotels in Cairo were excellent and the Ra is like a luxury hotel. The cabin (middle price) had a spacious bathroom and great balcony and sitting area. Food on board is superb with plenty of choice at every meal. The staff cannot do enough for you. All were faultless. On our anniversary they left a bottle of champagne and a charming note in our cabin.The on board talks and entertainment were great. We were the only non American guests and found out that most fellow cruisers had booked 2 years ago. Some had mobility issues but these were seamlessly taken care of by the staff,crew and guides. Only one criticism _ the WiFi was inadequate and patchy. In this day and age, one's expectations are of strong reliable connections. Other than this. Strongly recommended. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was our second Viking cruise and it was outstanding. We started with the optional Israel pre-cruise land tour. The tour guide, Jo Lane, was knowledgeable and outstanding. We visited all the biblical sites and more. The Dead Sea Scroll ... Read More
This was our second Viking cruise and it was outstanding. We started with the optional Israel pre-cruise land tour. The tour guide, Jo Lane, was knowledgeable and outstanding. We visited all the biblical sites and more. The Dead Sea Scroll Museum and the Western Wall did not disappoint. We stayed at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem which was elegant but somewhat dated. It appears that all Five Star hotels in the Middle East include breakfast. The King David had a fantastic spread every morning. After the 4 nights in Jerusalem, we flew to Cairo very early in the morning and checked into the Ritz Carlton. RECOMMENDATION: Since the first day in Cairo is free, we booked the Pyramid Light and Sound show via private car on TripAdvisor/Viatour a week before. This is really the only chance you will have to see it. We were picked up at 6:00 PM by our guide and driver and driven to Giza. We were given tickets to the show, the guide went inside with us, recommended where to sit and said he’ll be waiting outside for us after the show that started at 7PM and lasted an hour. He was and we were driven back to the Ritz. It was a memorable and great deal for about $52.00 each. The Ritz Carlton hotel was the best one we stayed at. It was very modern and had a great breakfast included each morning. BE ADVISED: Beer and wine in Egypt is moderately priced but spirits are stratospherically expensive! We never looked at the prices but just ordered a “double” martini at the bar at the Ritz. A “double” is misleading, since they pour very small shots, so we ordered a double just to get half a drink by our standards. The price? With service charge, VAT, each drink cost us $67.00!!!!!!!!!!!! The price for the same gin on the Viking RA was the same as the Ritz, so we purchased a beverage package on the ship, which turned out to be a steal. We flew to Luxor to catch the ship. The cruise ship was intimate and very nice. Everyone on the staff was outstanding. We both thought the food was also outstanding. We both did the hot air balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings and it was great. All of the included tours were excellent. The tour busses were first class with a restroom on board. Every single tour bus in Egypt has a government security man on board. They’re well dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and tie and have a small submachine gun tucked under their jacket! In addition, we had police escorts at many venues. Tourists are so important to Egypt’s economy, the government goes way out of their way to provide security and safety. Everything on this trip was top notch. You never hauled your luggage and there was a Viking person outside and inside each airport to assist. It was a great trip I would recommend to all! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We had been on other Viking Riverboats and knew they would do a great job taking care of us in Egypt. This trip had been on our bucket list for a long time. We had booked it over two years ago. We particularly liked having a small number ... Read More
We had been on other Viking Riverboats and knew they would do a great job taking care of us in Egypt. This trip had been on our bucket list for a long time. We had booked it over two years ago. We particularly liked having a small number of passengers. We got to know everyone. From the time we landed at the airport to the time we went through security to leave we were taken care of. The ports and shore excursions were very well planned. We had two groups and each group had an Egyptian Program Director. They were very knowledgeable. It was an experience of a lifetime. It was mind blowing to see the civilization and know how old everything was. The service on the boat was fantastic. The food was excellent and they accommodated any food choices. There was educational activities that helped us understand the culture and the people. I highly recommend this trip! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was a gift to me from my sister. Ever since I was about 10, I have read everything about the King Tut finding by Howard Carter in 1922. EGYPT could not have been more fascinating, PLUS augmented by our Program Manager (who is ... Read More
This was a gift to me from my sister. Ever since I was about 10, I have read everything about the King Tut finding by Howard Carter in 1922. EGYPT could not have been more fascinating, PLUS augmented by our Program Manager (who is himself an Egyptologist) Sharif. Just talking to him in a group or privately is an education. The other PM was Mike, also a seasoned Egyptologist. EGYPT is one place it pays to go on a tour (I tend to just book my reservations and then buy a museum pass.) This trip was remarkable. We were made comfortable and kept informed of the day's itinerary the previous evening. Nothing, not even the transportation to and from the hotels to the boat was left to chance. Everything was done for us. Sharif was GREAT and I owe a good deal of the cultural enrichment to him. He knows everything. The food was also remarkable. Kai and his wife served up memorable and bountiful meals and if you can't find something you like either from the menu or the buffet, there is something wrong with you. Most of the gentlemen servers on the ship are named Mohammed, and I'm sorry I didn't get the name of the gentleman who was responsible for keeping our cabin neat and tidy. The ship's captain was on top of everything. He passed out cold bottles of water as we left the ship to venture to out to the tombs and pyramids. TWO important things to keep in mind: It is going to be HOT there. Bring lightweight clothing. Also, sturdy shoes. You will be walking up to a half mile from the bus to the tombs on some days and the ground is often uneven and rocky. ONE other thing -- as you walk through the venues, make sure you look down -- it would be easy to turn an ankle and spoil the rest of your trip. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We recently returned from our Nile River cruise on the Viking Ra, October 1. It was an amazing, eye-opening experience! We traveled with dear friends, booked the cruise almost 2 years ago while on another cruise. Our husbands were ... Read More
We recently returned from our Nile River cruise on the Viking Ra, October 1. It was an amazing, eye-opening experience! We traveled with dear friends, booked the cruise almost 2 years ago while on another cruise. Our husbands were thrilled, almost giddy with excitement at the thought of seeing the pyramids. The wives were a bit apprehensive and remained so until we arrived in Egypt. Yes, we did have armed security on the bus with us. In several locations we had police escorts in front and/or behind the bus. But really, at no time did we feel unsafe. Not even when some news outlets were exaggeratedly or falsely reporting "chaos" in Cairo the first few days we were there. We were in the location cited... No chaos! We were, however, unprepared for how extremely poor, beyond anything we had ever seen before!, Cairo and Egypt in general is. There is an enormous, enormous difference between what you see driving around and what you experience. Also, maybe because of the sand storms? it just seems so much...dirtier? I understand, I mean, how do you clean up after a sand storm? Especially since there will be another one right around the corner. But they also tend not to finish buildings, which lends an almost post-apocalyptic feel to the landscape. The Cairo hotels, the Nile Ritz Carlton pre-cruise and the Intercontinental City Star post-cruise were wonderful. Although the buffet was more extensive at the Intercontinental, I thought the food was better at the Ritz. Both rooms were beautifully appointed and very comfortable. Both had tight security. Anyway, the cruise and the ship. The program directors (PDs) and other ship staff are amazing! Our PD, Ahmed (they split you into 2 groups), was so knowledgeable and enthusiastic. His love of his subject (both are Egyptologists) and joy in sharing it shone through. He made the sites we visited come alive for us and adding immensely to our enjoyment of the trip. The rest of the staff, well, it's Viking. They were a mix of local and international. I did notice a few minor things that frankly I think would not be quite up to par with Viking European river cruises or their ocean cruises, but as I said, minor and everyone is extremely eager to please. And they really did a better job than some mainstream cruise lines I've been on. Our suite, on deck 2, physically, was lovely. As pictured and described. Two rooms, living room with small sofa, chair and coffee table, and a desk and chair. Closed storage shelves that we used for more clothing storage. Mini bar and TV. One thing I particularly liked was the storage cubbies by the door. We kept our hats, sunglasses, umbrella (for shade), my purse there, ready to to out the door. Also kept the hair dryer in one as they are next to the desk and I used that plug. Bedroom was nice, but a Queen bed, not a king. Hubby and I are both... large and used to a king but it was fine. Bedside tables have 1 small drawer that was difficult to open (both of them, maybe weather related?). I would have liked more closet space because I had longer hanging tops, not tunics, but hip length and they didn't fit next to or over the safe on the short side. Hubby's shirts didn't either. 2XL run long. But we managed to share. The bathroom was very nice. The rooms are smaller than they appear in Viking's photos, but certainly comfortable.Now for the negative, and it's a biggie! We were pretty much unable to enjoy our cabin anytime we were sailing! Sleeping was difficult. Whenever we were under way, there was a STRONG fuel odor in our cabin. Some nights of woke us up coughing, and we both use CPAP machines (changing the filters as soon as we get home). I finally complained and when they came and checked to see if it actually did smell, they asked if we had opened the balcony door. No. So an engineer came. His solution was to turn the AC fan to high, thermostat down to 50, and leave the bedroom and bathroom doors open. After 10 minutes turn the thermostat back. Surprisingly, that worked. For about an hour. Our friends, one cabin back opposite side, had the same issue. For another couple, one deck down, it was so bad, they were moved into another cabin! Did I want to spend all day in my cabin while we were sailing? Well, obviously not. But some days, I might have appreciated a nap, but I could not be in there because of the smell. And it was obnoxious to be awakened, gagging, on the stench of fuel on multiple nights. The shore excursions were handled very well. My husband's favorite excursion was the trip to Giza to see the Pyramids and the Sphinx. He had dreamed of it for so long and to actually finally do it was amazing! My favorite was Nefertari's Tomb. To see those amazing carvings and paintings, in situ, still so vibrant and beautiful, so many thousands of years later, well, words fail me. Everywhere we went, we had to brave the "Valley of the Vendors" and let me tell you, they are aggressive! They will follow you to the steps of the bus! We did several of the optional excursions as well. I felt the market and dinner was a bit overpriced. We had a short walk with our TD through part of the market then were on our own. We four walked for a few minutes, then our husbands went into a tiny shop while my friend and I waited outside. The security guard came by with a few of the group, He waited until our husbands came out and basically gathered us up to go with him. So we did (if your security guard indicates you should stay with him, maybe you should listen to him, right?). Dinner was good, but not great. Both my friend and I are scared of heights, but our husbands insisted we all go on the hot air balloon ride. In fact, my daughter told me I could not come home if I didn't do it! LOL Anyway, we did. We stood behind our husbands so we could not look down, which made it OK. We both had a little concerned when our pilot took us up higher than a lot of the other balloons, but settled fairly quickly. I got my pictures and after about 15 minutes was done and ready to get off. The ride went on for 45 more minutes! We both agreed we were glad we did it, but wished it had been just that 45 minutes shorter. However, our husbands loved it. Be warned before reading on, this may come under the heading of TMI. One thing, well, 2 things, you might want to take along with you. Immodium and electrolyte packets (they make Pedialyte for adults in packets). About half the ship was affected with...intestinal symptoms, and I don't mean stomach. Pharaoh's curse? If you forget or don't bring any Immodium, ask at reception. Totally different from an ocean cruise. They have anti mal pills that they will give out 4 or 6 at time. Ask as soon as you need them! They put bottled water in the bathroom. Use it to brush your teeth! I didn't to start with and regretted it. My husband and friend had no issue. Most people were able to carry on. A couple missed shore excursions. I missed Abu Simbel! Not just that. I found the heat brutal and the first 105° day developed a blinding migraine. Barely made it back to the bus. Temps at Abu Simbel were 110°. I hated missing it but was afraid that between the symptoms I was having and heat and possibility of another migraine, I just couldn't risk it. The rest of my party went and loved it. They all tolerated the heat better, but all said Abu Simbel almost did them all in. They looked wrung out when they got back. One woman actually did get a migraine from the heat/sun. she got back to the ship, took meds and we didn't see her until the next day. If you are sensitive you heat, plan accordingly. I know there has been a lot of chat about the alcohol on board. I am not much of drinker. I had a gin & tonic at the cocktail parties. I thought it was fine. The rest of our group had wine, both red and white with lunch and dinner and seemed to enjoy it. I know they were concerned because I told them what I had read, but no one seemed to dislike it. I found the food quite good, except no pork bacon or sausage, which I enjoy when I travel because I don't eat it at home. Just as well, I suppose. Of course, due to the number of passengers, choices were limited but to be expected. I did not find it to be a problem. And there was ginger tea and chicken soup available for the more ill amongst us. Remember hat, sunglasses, sunscreen even if you don't normally wear them. I think almost everyone had a hat and one man asked me if I'd gotten my hat in Luxor. His wife said he didn't want to bring one and now wanted one! Both of our husbands bought crushable Panama style hats with a wide brim (they normally wear ball caps), and my friend wore a hat, which she never does (I always do, migraines, remember?). Maybe a cooling towel? We had them. Maybe they helped a little. Or it was psychological. On our trip, our TDs took care of the bathroom attendants. We just flashed a V sign for Viking. But they give you a limited amount, maybe a couple of squares. I took the ends of about 10 rolls, flattened, in a large ziploc. I took a snack size ziploc put one a day in to carry in my purse. The TD suggested getting some from the ship. Our last day, a group of us went to the Grand Egyptian Museum. Warning: all purses, backpacks, etc. must be left on the bus! And no pictures allowed in the conservation area. We made a pit stop before the tour. Our guide had to get paper towels (not TP!!) for us to use! In the museum! Granted it's the conservation area and the museum is not open but employees have to bring their own?! One woman commented that we all have TP, but it's in our purses on the bus. BTW, personally I do not recommend this excursion. WAY overpriced to see 3 conservation labs (NO pictures) and the (construction zone) entrance hall with the statue of Ramses II. My husband says he agrees it was way overpriced, but he does recommend it. And your feet and shoes will get filthy! Mostly just sand, dust, dirt, but sometimes you need to mind where you walk. Be aware if you have germophobic tendencies, you may want to take along your favorite wipes and save sandals for the boat. My friend alternated 2 pair of leather flats that she doesn't know can be saved. They look so worn and scuffed. They weren't brand new, but not old. I wore a pair of Rothy's (with a different insole). I actually rinsed them several times after a morning excursion and they dried by evening. Couldn't wait to wash then once I got home. SO glad I didn't wear my Tieks as usual, they'd have been destroyed. OK, now that I've written a novel if anyone still has anyone questions, please ask or PM me. Let me end with saying again that it was an amazing trip and the experience of a lifetime, something I never thought we would actually get to do! Cruising on the Nile River is fascinating. To see the date palms, all the beautiful green on the banks of the river, and the Great Sahara beyond...It's something I've read about, and quite frankly, never quite really believed I would ever see! There is a special beauty and I feel very privileged to have experienced this trip. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our first Viking cruise and it was amazing. We started our adventure with the optional Israel pre-cruise land tour. The tour guide, Jo, was amazing. We visited all the biblical sites and more. The Dead Sea Scroll Museum and the ... Read More
This was our first Viking cruise and it was amazing. We started our adventure with the optional Israel pre-cruise land tour. The tour guide, Jo, was amazing. We visited all the biblical sites and more. The Dead Sea Scroll Museum and the Wailing Wall did not disappoint. We stayed at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem which was elegant but dated. We had a great group of travelers which made a dream vacation even better. Then we flew to Cairo very early in the morning. We stayed at the Ritz Carlton were security was paramount and tantamount the the TSA.this hotel was the best one we stayed at. It was very modern. We had a tourist police with our tour the entire stay. The pyramids were amazing. We took the optional market place tour. I wouldn’t recommend it. We just walked down busy streets of a market where we were continually harassed to buy things. This was true of the entire trip. To exit any of the sites we saw we had to go through a market place with aggressive sellers. We referred to it as “running the gauntlet”. Take antibiotics and anti-diarrheal medicine along. Almost everyone was touched by the intestinal bug. We had to drink bottled water the entire time. The tour provided this at no cost. It was HOT. Be prepared for that. The wifi on the ship was poor. 3G. The internet at the hotels was great. The cruise ship was small but very nice. We flew to Luxor to catch the ship. We also took the Abu Simbel excursion and flew there for the day. My husband did the hot air balloon ride and said it was amazing. The food was very good but not exceptional. My tiramisu had been previously frozen and not completely thawed. The staff was top notch. They treated you like a queen or pharaoh. The temples and sites we visited were amazing. The guides were informative and friendly. They were experts in ancient Egyptology. We never felt unsafe which surprised me. Be prepared to see trash all over the place and extreme poverty. Our trip went smoothly and Viking expedited matters at the airports. We never waited for tickets as our guide had them. Be prepared for really bad bathrooms and always carry Kleenex. Our guide tipped the bathroom attendants but they still begged for more. Everyone everywhere had their hands out for money. Bring lots of dollar bills for tips. This was easi;y the best trip we ever have taken. I highly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We were met by a Viking representative as soon as we entered the arrivals hall at Cairo airport. But for his help, we might still be mixed up in the chaos there. We got to the Cairo Ritz Carlton about 2 hours after landing and found one of ... Read More
We were met by a Viking representative as soon as we entered the arrivals hall at Cairo airport. But for his help, we might still be mixed up in the chaos there. We got to the Cairo Ritz Carlton about 2 hours after landing and found one of our tour directors waiting for us. He gave us a briefing for the morning before we were taken to our spacious room with a river view. (All the passengers were equally well treated and situated.) We spent two days touring Cairo and Giza. Both tour guides had doctorates and were excellent. On the third morning we took an early flight to Luxor. After a long wait for luggage, characteristic of every Egyptian airport, we were taken on a great tour of the Temple of Karnack, followed by a film at a library (yes, I fell asleep during part of it) and then to the Viking Ra. The cabins are constrained by the size of the locks, something all river boats have to deal with, but were well designed and immaculately kept. There were ample tour activities throughout the time on the ship. In fact, there were so many that one morning we gave in to exhaustion and just slept in. While the lectures in the afternoons and evenings were very good, local entertainment left something to be desired. The food was ample and service was very good. However, the offerings were not up to Viking's European or Asian standards, perhaps constrained by the local supplies. The optional tour to Abu Simel was worth loss of sleep and the fee, as was the balloon trip over the Nile. (We have taken about a half dozen balloon flights, and the landing on the rocky desert was the smoothest we have ever experienced.) After return to Cairo, we took an optional behind the scenes tour at the as yet unopened Grand Egyptian Museum and that was exceptional. Despite being in Cairo in the hottest May in recorded history, this was a very worthwhile trip. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Very comfortable well run ship with an excellent crew. All but four of the cabins on the Ra are suites, with a separate living room and bedroom, and a balcony. The décor is clean Scandinavian, similar to the European long ships. Dining is ... Read More
Very comfortable well run ship with an excellent crew. All but four of the cabins on the Ra are suites, with a separate living room and bedroom, and a balcony. The décor is clean Scandinavian, similar to the European long ships. Dining is at set hours. There is a good variety of foods, including Viking standards (salmon, steak, burger) and middle eastern foods. The fresh made pita bread and hummus was especially delicious. Meals are usually a combination of buffet and menu. There is no room service. There was a pianist/DJ playing pleasant lounge music each evening. There also were special performances by local entertainers. The Ra has a small swimming pool and jacuzzi. The temperature was over 100 F each day of our cruise, so not much traffic in the jacuzzi. The crew of this ship was excellent. Our room steward was most efficient. The bartenders and dining room crew were fun and engaged. A special note about the two tour directors, Ahmed and Ihan. Incredibly knowledgable and outgoing. They made this cruise so much richer. I don't think there is any place in the world that can out shine Egypt for shore excursions. The Great Pyramids and Sphinx of Giza, Valley of Kings and Queens, Temples at Karnak, Luxor, Dendara, Kom Ombo - every one was more than we expected. Notes: Our suite had two very nice TVs, but no programming except soccer. Not even BBC. Children are not allowed on this cruise. The shore excursions require more physical exertion than you might expect if you have been on other river cruises. Sadly, many of our fellow cruisers spent most of the cruise on the ship because they couldn't manage the long walks with steps and very uneven footing. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Have always dreamed of seeing the ancient wonders of Egypt, but was hesitant to go until I saw that Viking offered a wonderful package that included three days in Cairo, then a cruise up the Nile from Luxor. The entire trip was ... Read More
Have always dreamed of seeing the ancient wonders of Egypt, but was hesitant to go until I saw that Viking offered a wonderful package that included three days in Cairo, then a cruise up the Nile from Luxor. The entire trip was meticulously planned and organized with a representative waiting for us, as we exited the plane, to take us to the Ritz Carlton. The Ritz is fabulous. Our room overlooked the Nile where we enjoyed watching the party boats at night. The air was unusually clear, and we could actually see the pyramids in the distance from the top floor of the hotel. We, of course, visited the pyramids, the Sphinx, and even rode a camel! Our program director, Yumna, was an expert on Egypt and careful to keep us all on schedule. Her wealth of knowledge helped bring the ancient Egyptians to life for us. Our flight to Luxor was slightly delayed so our tour of Karnak was too short, in my opinion. I would have preferred to spend more time there than to visit the library where we viewed a movie that showed the progression of their ancient civilization. From there, we boarded the Ra. The Ra is a beautiful boat, nicely intimate, but never crowded. I cannot rave enough about the staff who made us feel a valued member of their family immediately. I said to my daughter, my travel companion, that they made you feel like it was your birthday, every day. The ship is beautifully furnished with a restaurant that spoiled us terribly. Each day we visited temples, tombs, Valley of the Kings, little towns, and even Abu Simbel that is not only an amazing miracle of ancient Egypt, but again, a miracle in that they totally deconstructed it and moved it higher to prevent it from being underwater when the big Aswan Dam was built. I was hesitant to visit Egypt, but we never felt unsafe, partly due to Viking’s security, but also due to the Egyptian people who were very welcoming and appreciative of tourists returning after many lean years. The dollar is very strong in Egypt, currently, and the crowds are minimal. Great time to visit, just not in the hot summer months. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was a cruise we always wanted to go on and it did not disappoint. The excursions were just marvelous and our outstanding guide, Walid El-Batouty, made it all come alive for us. By the end of our cruise, we could all read the temple ... Read More
This was a cruise we always wanted to go on and it did not disappoint. The excursions were just marvelous and our outstanding guide, Walid El-Batouty, made it all come alive for us. By the end of our cruise, we could all read the temple friezes! The variety of temples and tombs all helped to make Egypt's ancient history come alive. We were also very appreciative of having our questions about Egypt, today, patiently and thoroughly answered. At all times we felt safe and were aware of the unobtrusive extra care Viking took to allow us all to travel easily, comfortably and without worrying about our safety. Also, the visit to the new Museum of Egyptian Art (before its opening) was incredibly special. Standing next to King Tut's bed as it was being restored, is a memory I will hold precious all the rest of my life! We loved our small ship and the staff's excellent care. Thank you so much, one and all! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This is a fascinating, educational cruise. While there was plenty of down time for relaxation, we enjoyed the excursions very much. Abu Simbal was fantastic and worth the extra expense and travel. Onboard there were Arabic lessons and we ... Read More
This is a fascinating, educational cruise. While there was plenty of down time for relaxation, we enjoyed the excursions very much. Abu Simbal was fantastic and worth the extra expense and travel. Onboard there were Arabic lessons and we learned about hieroglyphics. The Temples along the Nile are fantastic. We enjoyed visiting Luxor Temple as the sun was going down. I learned to sharpen my bargaining skills. There was always a market at each temple. Decide in advance what you are willing to pay for something and stick to it. The vendors are flexible as long as you are firm. On the shore excursions, we traveled in two different groups -- each with a guide and sometimes extra security. The guides were Achmed (the bald) and Achmed (the beard). They each did an excellent job leading excursions and giving talks on board. They had very different styles of presentation, but both guides were excellent. The Ra is a beautiful ship. The food was very good -- both middle eastern and international. Also -- there was always home-made ice cream. The dining room manager - Priscilla - welcomed us at each meal as if we were dining in her home. The wait staff was wonderful. A few did not understand English that well, but we were very pleased. Some nights there was on-board entertainment. We specially enjoyed the Nubian singers and drummers. They had everyone up dancing. It was a great evening. The whirling dervish was also very interesting. The Nile is really special. My advice - Go! We also did the Petra extension. Since we spent 2 nights outside Petra we could spend more time there than the day trippers. Jerash is also fascinating. Hint-- you can get visas for Jordan at the airport through your Jordanian tour director. You don't have to get them in advance. We got visas for Egypt before the trip by applying online through the official site. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We had previously visited the Giza Plateau area on a one day excursion from an ocean cruise, but wanted to see more of Egypt and to visit Petra in Jordan for the first time. We had to sign up for the Viking “Pharoahs and Pyramids” ... Read More
We had previously visited the Giza Plateau area on a one day excursion from an ocean cruise, but wanted to see more of Egypt and to visit Petra in Jordan for the first time. We had to sign up for the Viking “Pharoahs and Pyramids” cruise on the Viking Ra more than a year ahead. We added the pre-cruise (Israel) and post-cruise (Petra) options. They were well worth it! Egypt visas are available from the country’s online site for much less than the price asked by US visa services. Jordanian visas are available at the airport in Jordan, but Viking had purchased a group travel visa. No visa was required in Israel. My wife was a little concerned about personal security, especially in Egypt. We were well protected with National Police escorts in urban areas and at cruise docking points. Accommodations in Jerusalem at the historic and luxurious King David Hotel and an excellent tour guide. Only downside-wet and cold. If you’re going in early spring, bring a warm rain jacket. Visited expected sites in and around Jerusalem. Then, flew to Cairo where we visited the National Museum, which is to be replaced (and needs to be) by the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) Interesting, but dated style of display. GEM was under construction. Visit there focused on laboratories for antiquity preservation. interesting. Quite interesting, but tickets clearly are priced to raise the maximum funds for GEM construction. Flew to Luxor to board Viking Ra. Karnak Temple and Luxor were spectacular. The burial site interiors were extremely ornate and colorful. Then, an optional dawn hot air balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings (and Queens!). My wife was apprehensive about going on the ride (height and motion sickness). She braved it - and would not part with the memory. Sailing on to visit several other temple sites. Most notable: Abu Simbel, which required a short air flight. Arrangements were well handled and Abu Simbel is not to be missed. The statues of Ramses II and his queen are truly once in a lifetime experience. The street vendors outside Abu Simbel were exceptionally aggressive and I paid too much for a book on the site. On day 15, we returned to Cairo and most of our tour went home. We opted for the Jordan excursion. Again, we’ll worth it. We visited Mount Nebo, the locale from which Moses viewed the Holy Land. (You’ll recall he wasn’t allowed to enter - but, he had a spectacular view!) Then, on to Petra, the locale of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. An approach walk of several miles through beautiful geology and a very complex necropolis. If one is not inclined to walk, there are donkeys or rickshas available to ride. Returned to the US from Amman with wonderful memories and so many great pictures that we’ve still not managed to get through them all. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We choose this awesome river cruise because it’s fun and adventurous to travel with Viking! The food and public rooms are a great feature to the learning about cultures and experiences. This is recommended over and over again for ... Read More
We choose this awesome river cruise because it’s fun and adventurous to travel with Viking! The food and public rooms are a great feature to the learning about cultures and experiences. This is recommended over and over again for its awesome and educational character and ongoing knowledge that continues to recreate the past into present and future styles! That’s why we choose Viking. It’s a 5-star featuring the best of the best. The food and drinks are amazing and the history is knowledge for us. I recommend the river cruise Viking RA and it’s neighboring cruise ships. Great pictures too. We actually shot some pictures of the pyramids. These are great for showing and even keeping as wall decore because you may never know if you will return to the Middle East and Egypt. And so opportunities arise but photos are worth a million words as they say and these are absolutely awesome location for photo and video shooting! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
After having a great experience with Viking in Russia, my wife and I again chose Viking for our tour of Egypt. We were met at Cairo airport at the arrival gate (before immigration) by Viking's airport representative, Amr, who ... Read More
After having a great experience with Viking in Russia, my wife and I again chose Viking for our tour of Egypt. We were met at Cairo airport at the arrival gate (before immigration) by Viking's airport representative, Amr, who guided us effortlessly through all required formalities and delivered us to our transport. From Cairo airport we were delivered to the Nile Ritz Carlton hotel (fabulous), in which we stayed for three nights while we toured the sights with Viking (pyramids, Citadel, museum and markets). On the fourth day we were flown to the Viking Ra in Luxor. This is a great little ship with all suite cabins, a great lounge and two exterior sun decks. The staff which consisted of both international and local personnel, were fantastic. The restaurant was very comfortable and the food very good. The cruise down the Nile was fantastic and all excursions were well organised and very engaging thanks to our program directors, Amr and Ahmed. We highly recommend the optional excursion to Abu Simbel and also the optional balloon ride over Luxor. Disembarking and returning to Cairo was also very well organised. And the accommodation and food at the Intercontinental CityStars was first rate. Transport back to Cairo airport also went smoothly. The only minor irritation was that some of our luggage was left at Luxor and we had to wait until just before we flew out of Cairo before we recovered it. Overall, a fantastic holiday with a great company. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We were in cabin 105 so only a window. All cabins are 2 room suites and lovely. Full size shower. Ship smaller in size so max of 50 people. The chef was a genius and some of the best food on a cruise. We had prime rib roast, lobster, giant ... Read More
We were in cabin 105 so only a window. All cabins are 2 room suites and lovely. Full size shower. Ship smaller in size so max of 50 people. The chef was a genius and some of the best food on a cruise. We had prime rib roast, lobster, giant prawns, lamb.....and my favorite was an Egyptian night with many delights. The tours were wonderful and the guides/egyptologists did a great job of navigating you through The Valley of the vendors. The balloon ride over The Valley of the kings was amazing as was the trip to AbuSimbel. On our return to Cairo some folks set up private tour to inside the Sphinx. We opted to go to the Coptic quarter which was very interesting and the prettiest Coptic Church we have seen. We also did Pretrip Jerusalem which is where I clocked 15000 steps. In Egypt i never made it past 10,000 while touring. You will be walking on stone and uneven terrain so those with bad knees/hips may find things difficult. At first we could not understand why this trip was more expensive than some of the Europe ones but you have a minimum of 2 in country flights. This is the fastest way to get around. We had private security with us daily and large comfortable Viking coaches with extra space between seats for comfort and USB ports and WiFi on the bus....better than the ship Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
The itinerary was inviting and did not disappoint. Did the pre trip Israel for 4 nights (King David Hotel)then on to Cairo for 3 nights ( Ritz Carlton Cairo ) then a short flight to Luxor to catch the Viking Ra which was lovely. We had ... Read More
The itinerary was inviting and did not disappoint. Did the pre trip Israel for 4 nights (King David Hotel)then on to Cairo for 3 nights ( Ritz Carlton Cairo ) then a short flight to Luxor to catch the Viking Ra which was lovely. We had cabin 105 and it was near crew/stairs/elevator but very quiet and a beautiful 2 room suite. The Egyptologist guides were top notch and took care of bathroom tips along the way. The only thing you had to pay was “camera” fees at some sites to take photos inside. They told you well in advance so you could get money in local currency. The ship staff were guided by seasoned Viking reps who did an outstanding job with training the local Egyptian staff. Drinks a bit prucey due to Egyptian taxes but I brought 3 bottles of Italian wine and a bottle of Jamison’s Irish whiskey with no issues. The local wines were fair. The bus drivers on “Viking” bus stay with you so you tip them at the end. There is also a restroom on the bus. Water in bottles is handed out on bus and ship and you should never need to purchase any. Temps in late Dec were perfect high 60-low 70’s. Food on the boat was great with the Egyptian night offering a ton of tasty treats. We used ATM’s along the way to get local currency’s and brought $100 in Dollar Bills and never had a problem with any being accepted. We did the optional Balloon ride over The Valley of King/queens and it was amazing. Also did optional trip to Abu Simbel via short plane ride, which was well worth it. We had security with us who watched over us and never felt worried, or unsafe. We ventured on our own into a couple of markets in Cairo and Aswan and had no problems. Please do not hand money to kids in the street as it encourages begging from tourists. There is a school visit so bring things like pencils crayons coloring books to donate. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
The Ra is wonderful - large and comfortable two-room cabins, but only 26 of them. Beautiful, typically Viking understated elegance throughout. The guides are spectacular; Viking recruits Egyptologists to serve as guides, and their ... Read More
The Ra is wonderful - large and comfortable two-room cabins, but only 26 of them. Beautiful, typically Viking understated elegance throughout. The guides are spectacular; Viking recruits Egyptologists to serve as guides, and their knowledge is encyclopedic -- you stay with one guide/teacher throughout the cruise. The clientele is a typical Viking Cruise crowd -- mostly affluent Americans aged 55-80. Be advised that this cruise is go-go-go; in the 3 Cairo days and 8 cruise days there are only two free afternoons to relax and recharge. Several very early-morning departures (4am to 6:30 am). The on-board restaurant is excellent, offering both Egyptian specialties and more familiar "Western" options at every on-board meal. The off-board meals are mixed -- all buffets of varying quality. Egypt itself is overwhelming. You stay in a bubble of splendid luxury, but outside it, urban Egypt is largely impoverished and surprisingly squalid. Egypt 30-40 years ago was a 2nd world country with 1st world ambitions. Today, except for a small elite, the cities are decaying and third-world. You do feel safe, even outside the bubble, although you will be constantly harassed by vendors selling cheap China-made trinkets. The two offered add-ons (Jerusalem before and Jordan after) are super, but if you do both add-ons and the cruise you will be exhausted most of the time. Both Israel and Jordan are lovely, clean and modern. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This is a new Nile River ship and takes only 48 people in 24 cabins. We did the pretrip in Israel, then flew to Cairo for 3 days. We saw the pyramids, took a camel ride, went to Saquarra and the Sphinx, the Egyptian museum to see Tut’s ... Read More
This is a new Nile River ship and takes only 48 people in 24 cabins. We did the pretrip in Israel, then flew to Cairo for 3 days. We saw the pyramids, took a camel ride, went to Saquarra and the Sphinx, the Egyptian museum to see Tut’s mask. Then we flew to Luxor for a 7 night wonderful cruise. We also flew to Abu Simbel (optional) and saw the Temple of Horus. Crew and staff were wonderful, the ship is very well appointed. All cabins are suites with 2 TVs. Breakfast and lunch are buffets except at lunch you can order about 3 items off the menu. Dinner is sit down at 7 pm for all with open seating. After the cruise we flew back to Cairo and had a hotel room for the day. Our flight left at 2am the next morning so we didn’t get a full night but at least we had a place to shower and rest. A buffet lunch and dinner were included. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose Viking River Nile cruise because of a great experience on the Grand European cruise last September. Viking commissioned a new river boat - The Ra - with the promise of an early. March launch. About 5 weeks before our June cruise ... Read More
We chose Viking River Nile cruise because of a great experience on the Grand European cruise last September. Viking commissioned a new river boat - The Ra - with the promise of an early. March launch. About 5 weeks before our June cruise date we were notified that Ra launch was delayed but not to worry - they substituted the Amarco II. We were offered a small refund and future cruise credit because of the change. I cannot express how disappointed we were when we arrived at the boat. The AmarcoII is VERY dated and worn. The amenities we paid for based on the Ra are not available. The boat smells moldy, bath tub is filthy, furniture frayed, bed is lumpy and very uncomfortable. The dining room is dreary with no view and the lounge is dark with very dated furniture - not one thing INVITING or Viking quality on this boat. Only positive is the staff - they are hard working , kind people - they knows the guests are disappointed and they are trying to accommodate us as best they can under terrible circumstances. This was an expensive cruise and we expected a qualityViking experience. Viking knew there were problems with the cruise and they withheld the information from the guests until the last minute and at in our case, we were not offered another option. We were planning 2 other Viking cruises - now we’re not so sure - the lack of accountability from their Corporate office makes us wonder whether they truly understand customer service. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Viking Ra Ratings
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