Dangerous Egypt: Norwegian Jade Cruise Review by mbleacher

Norwegian Jade 3
Member Since 2011

Overall Member Rating

Dangerous Egypt

Sail Date: October 2011
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Other
Originally, I booked Israel. That would have been great. Then my wife packed up and left after 18 years of marriage. My GF didn't want to go to Israel, so I changed to the Panama Canal with NCL. I had never been on NCL before, but I figured they'd be just like Carnival and Royal Carribbean, which I have cruised many times. I couldn't have been more wrong. When my GF left me, I switched the cruise back to the Medeteranean, which I love. The dates for Israel changed, and I booked Greece, Turkey, and Egypt out of Rome. 10 days. Egypt was off the State Department warning list and they were scheduled for elections 6 weeks before the journey, so I figured it was safe.

A month before the sail date, the military government refused to give control to the civil government and the announced that they'd retain the power to arrest and hold people with no charges and to summarily execute citizens and foreigners. RED FLAG. I called NCL. I wrote NCL. They wouldn't let me change More the itinerary without a stiff penalty amounting to basically forfeiture of the entire amount. They assured me it would be safe.

The week before I left, there were riots in Rome, Athens was burned out, and they were killing Christians in the streets of Cairo. Again, NCL promised it was safe.

We saw the homeless packed on the streets of Rome, we saw burned out government buildings and cops in riot gear in Athens, and Cairo? We had armed soldiers and police on our busses and military escorts to the tourist areas. The cops said it was to make us feel safe. Not only did it have the opposite effect, but we actually weren't safe. My travel mate was assaulted by a camel guy and several of the other passengers we spoke to were groped in public sexually.

The police and army were corrupt, attempting to extort money everywhere we went. The one exeption was Rosetta. While the town was poorer than border towns in Mexico, the people were nice and welcoming. I still didn't feel safe with the mountains of garbage and the lack of smiles on people's faces, but at least nobody accosted us. This was all very sad because it was literally one of the most beautiful places I've ever been, even with 6 continents and 55 countries on my passport; not to mention all 50 states.

Also, NCL does this thing where they charge you $15 for washing 4 clothing items the day before they do a special for $30 for an unlimited number of items as long as you can fit them in the laundry bag, which is big.

Additionally, there was no resin ship model in the gift shop. They were out. Who the hell runs out of ship models on a ship? It's the only ship I've sailed on where I don't have this souvenir. Not that I'll miss it.

The bright part of the cruise was the crew. Hector and JJ from Cruise Director Jill's staff were amazing. The food was excellent and the activities were a lot of fun. They didn't mention the rules during the blackjack tournament, so I had to enter 3 times and won twice, but that really threw off my game for the final. I was ahead until the last hand. I bet wrong and lost, but if I had bet right, I would have won! Lesson learned. LOL. Got free champaigne anyway.

My Elvis won the costume contest with my travel mate playing Lady Luck. Nice prize for that, but no trophies like they have on RCI and Carnival.

I will never risk my life or go on NCL again. Well, maybe if JJ gets a cruise director job. Less

Published 11/16/11
1 Helpful Vote

Cabin review: IC11019 Inside

Cabin was fine. Comparable in size and layout to other ships. Great hair dryer and bathroom had shower door, something Carnival should learn about. Plenty of storage and no key needed for the safe. Just a code. Could use a lightswitch by the bed and the moving map on TV sicked. Old style TV too, that was a surprise. Phone mounted on wall was kind of lame, so close to TV you couldn't read the numbers. No bathrobes. Also LAME.

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Port and Shore Excursions

What a disgusting pit. There's been no trash collection since January's revolution. (10 months). Since you have to pay taxes when you finish your building, none of the buildings are finished. DUH! Civil unrest is still a daily occurrence. I say skip Egypt and stay on the ship. It's dangerous. Really. I've been in combat and I don't ever want to go back here unless they get a non-corrupt government in place. Seriously.

There are shops in Athens, but very little direction or help to get to them. You can get a cab up to the Acropolis for 10 euros, but some of these banditos try to gouge per person out of you. There are lots of businesses right outside the gate, but you have to walk at least a mile to get to any good ones. There is a quaint liquor store there and lots of ATMs for euros. We met a guy there who had 2 friends with him he'd known since WWII. They were in grade school together, and still hang out. Plus, he's a nice guy who emptied out a water bottle so we could smuggle some vodka aboard. I can't believe they charge 4 euros to walk into the olympic stadium that you can photograph from outside for free. LAME. The government buildings are a mess and the people are suffering from 60% unemployment, so it's pretty depressing at the moment. If you go to the Acropolis, be sure to walk down to Mars Hill where Paul preached against the evils of Rome.

Turkey was surprisingly the best stop this time. No civil unrest. Turkey isn't really feeling the economic woes due to its non-participation with the euro. On this stop, I recommend the official tour if you go to Ephesus. We ran into a few people who took a cab and lost a lot of time. The port is nice, the shops and restaurants are right across the street and when they're open, they face the sea like Battery Park in Manhattan. Very pretty. Nobody speaks English though, and it is kinda creepy for women without male escort. Wifi is in all the restaurants though if you want to upload some photos and it's free and fast.
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Cute little town with a tiny beach right by the dock. The train (5 euros round trip) is just about 200 meters from the dock. Just don't miss it! It will take you right to the ruins of Olympia. Great little tourist spot there with Ouzzo and cute shops with cheap olive oil and silver jewlery. The souvinirs are cheap and the museum and ruins are very serious and well-presented like you'd find at the Met. Plus, you can go right out to the original stadium and race where the first marathoners did. I came in second out of 2. LOL. You can stand on the original medal stand, but you must have clothes on.

Rome is awesome. After you see the ruins elsewhere, get amazed here. Besides Pompeii, Rome has the best ancient ruins. Not the biggest, but the scale is amazing. Take the train, which is a short 1/2 mile walk we did even in light rain pretty easily, from the port entrance. There is a free shuttle from your ship to the port entrance. Then the train is 5 euros to Termini Station. From there, go to the very front of ALL the trains near Track 15. Go straight outside where the train would crash through the mall if it didn't stop. Trust me, it's a big station. Yes, keep walking. You probably came in on track 24. Once outside, there is a small stand to the left that sells the open top tour busses. They wanted 15 euros for an all-day, hop-on, hop off bus tour. Just remember where you stopped and don't miss the last train. I negotiated down to 12 euros for just 3 people. Maybe make friends with some people on the ship and save some dough. The busses go to all the big stops, the colleseum, the government buildings, the forum, The Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the circus maximus, the Vatican. Get off if something interests you. If you miss the last bus back to Termini, you can take the metro train. It's only a couple of euros for a one-day pass. We had 3 day passes for 10 euros. They don't take American Credit Cards in the machines, so have euro cash. Don't trade your cash at Termini Station. IT's a total rip-off. We went to a bank and got a much better rate. MUCH better. Hotels are a total ripoff and the train ride to the airport is 14 euros. They really get you there. Take the bus from Termini for only 6 euros. It's on the opposite side from where you get the open bus tickets, out the door by McDonalds. Rome is not to be missed. Just bring Euros and do your homework!

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