Full disclosure - I was delighted when I saw that tour companies were returning to Egypt. My experiences while there - seeing the pyramids, the Valley of the Kings, and other monuments - were a dream come true. Viking provided cruise ... Read More
Full disclosure - I was delighted when I saw that tour companies were returning to Egypt. My experiences while there - seeing the pyramids, the Valley of the Kings, and other monuments - were a dream come true. Viking provided cruise directors who were Egyptologists and renowned archaeologists. The guides provided enough background on the history and mythology of Egypt to help us understand what we were really seeing at the monuments. The accommodations and meals at the hotels before and after the cruise were excellent. My husband and I felt completely safe while traveling with Viking. They provided armed guards to be with us at all times, as well as National police, who accompanied us on some of the long journeys.
However, I do not recommend that anyone travel to Egypt with Viking until they "get their act together" and provide a ship of their own for this tour. Just two weeks before the trip began, we were informed that the Lake Nasser portion of the tour had been cancelled due to "technical problems." This turned out to be the failure of Viking to secure an appropriate ship for that portion of the cruise. We lost four days of the tour that many people were specifically looking forward to. Instead, we were flown to the Abul Simbel temple on one day, and returned via a 3-hour bus drive across the desert.
The ship - The Mayfair - was far below expectations for a Viking cruise. The usual excellent Viking cuisine was reduced to dinners that were obviously pre-cooked and re-heated just before service. Many of the meats were tough and inedible. We had "splurged" on a cabin on the top tier, only to discover that there was absolutely no wi-fi on that floor! We had to get dressed and go downstairs to a lobby if we wanted to check email, etc. The usual amenities - plush towels, plenty of electrical outlets, evening entertainments - were barely available.
Overall, the Egyptian people, including the staff on the ship, were gracious and welcoming. Everyone in Egypt seems happy to that tourism is returning. You can get great bargains at the bazaars (as long as you're ready to play the "bargaining game," and for now the vendors are happy to accept American dollar bills for just about anything. Be ready for rather aggressive vendors and begging - the women at the Nubian village we visited were especially aggressive.
In conclusion, Egypt is ready for its tourists again. The Nile River is magical, with stunning views. The monuments and museums are well maintained and safe. I strongly recommend visiting, but make sure that Viking will keep its promises about the usually superb quality of their cruise. Read Less
We have been on a number of Viking River cruises in Europe, and in China; always enjoying their quality and high standards. So when it looked like a relatively safe time to visit Egypt, we knew we were in for a great adventure and ... Read More
We have been on a number of Viking River cruises in Europe, and in China; always enjoying their quality and high standards. So when it looked like a relatively safe time to visit Egypt, we knew we were in for a great adventure and "bucket list" tour. Viking did an outstanding job from the arrival days in Cairo, by putting the 65 of us up in the Cairo Ritz located downtown on the Nile River; to our later visit to Abu Simbel. Most of us had been with Viking before, and really appreciated Akmed our tour guide and all the Viking support staff along the way. It was a bit different not having Viking ships and staffs for the Nile and Lake Nasser segments; but the tour and sites made up for them. The food and level of service on both ships was not to Viking standards; but overall we received a very acceptable quality with both. The really important point to mention, is that we felt very safe on the entire trip. We had a police officer on our buses, and security on the tours. Never did we fear for our safety. Viking did an outstanding job of "blending" the security staff in a way to make them almost part of the tours. Also, my wife and I walked about 5 blocks from our Cairo hotel to a local Egyptian restaurant for an authentic meal. We felt very safe, and enjoyed mixing in with the locals and enjoying a great meal! We also went out on our own later, and felt totally safe. The Egyptian people were very warm and friendly, even helping us with directions when we got lost. This Viking trip to Egypt is outstanding, and everything we could have hoped for! Read Less