Sail Date: July 2010
You dock in Port Said and drive for at least 3 hours to Giza in a long caravan of all the private guides and cruise buses together in line behind armed guards in jeeps, rifles in their arms. Suddenly, behind apartment buildings, there ... Read More
You dock in Port Said and drive for at least 3 hours to Giza in a long caravan of all the private guides and cruise buses together in line behind armed guards in jeeps, rifles in their arms. Suddenly, behind apartment buildings, there are the pyramids! We had private guide from Ramses and he was terrific. It was over 120 degrees and he had the air-conditioned car picking us up and moving us all around the site. He had water for us and we really needed it! Use sunscreen, a hat, and bring LOTS OF DOLLAR BILLS. You need to give a dollar to the child who pulls your camel,(DO take a ride! It is a HOOT!), to the woman who hands you toilet paper, etc. The word for tip is :BAKSHEESH and you will hear it often. The Sphinx is unbelievable. There is just nothing like it. This was the most exciting site we have been to yet. Spend time there. The people on the ship's excursion were herded through very quickly and that was a shame. We went to the Antiquities Museum and the King Tut exhibit and the Mummy Room. It was quite a memorable trip. We were going to the Bazaar but we were cutting it too close to the ship's leaving time so we skipped it. Cairo traffic is unbelievable: imagine three lanes that become five or six at any given moment, with no lights or stop signs, and people walking in front of speeding cars everywhere- and trucks with 6 men and young boys hanging onto the rear wall. It took over 3 1/2 hours to return to the ship. Warning: we brought sandwiches to eat in the car for this one port;we did not do an overnight. We met several people who did and got very very sick from the food. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
We docked in Port Said. We arranged to have our own guide for the day. This allowed us to spend as much time as we wanted at the Pyramids. It also allowed us to visit the Solar Boat Museum. Since you're driving over three hours each ... Read More
We docked in Port Said. We arranged to have our own guide for the day. This allowed us to spend as much time as we wanted at the Pyramids. It also allowed us to visit the Solar Boat Museum. Since you're driving over three hours each way from the port, we only had a limited amount of time at the Egyptian Museum and no time for other sites. If I had to do it over again, I would still choose to do it this way versus on a bus tour where you're allowed a few quick minutes to see the Pyramids. Plus the price is about the same. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
dirty dirty dirty, but what great sites, the pyramids , memphis, shakara. I am glad we did a private tour as the bus loads seem to struggle to get in everything and i would not have wanted to be limited into staying longer at certain areas... Read More
dirty dirty dirty, but what great sites, the pyramids , memphis, shakara. I am glad we did a private tour as the bus loads seem to struggle to get in everything and i would not have wanted to be limited into staying longer at certain areas Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
Can you go to Egypt and not see the pyramids? The problem is that everyone else is also there and there is a lot of panhandling. You can ignore it, or participate and laugh about it later.
Can you go to Egypt and not see the pyramids? The problem is that everyone else is also there and there is a lot of panhandling. You can ignore it, or participate and laugh about it later. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
We did the overnight in Cairo. As expected, Egypt is filthy and there is plenty of pollution in Cairo. We saw the pyramids as we entered the city limits, but by early afternoon it was too hazy to see them anymore. Our first day was a ... Read More
We did the overnight in Cairo. As expected, Egypt is filthy and there is plenty of pollution in Cairo. We saw the pyramids as we entered the city limits, but by early afternoon it was too hazy to see them anymore. Our first day was a near-disaster. The bus ride to Cairo is about 2.5 hours and the toilet on our bus was practically an emergency-only facility. (Our guide was a "modern" woman, an Egyptologist who was full of fascinating information and didn't sugar-coat her country's shortfalls, but also was very proud of its accomplishments.) Once we reached Cairo, our fist stop was to the alabaster mosque of Mohammad Ali. It is beautiful on the outside, but mosques are considerably less elaborate on the inside than Christian cathedrals. The first thing we realized about our guide is that it is imperative that you keep up with her as she plies you with information, then is off in a flash to the next point of interest, never looking back to see if her group is still with her! We had a few elderly people in our group, so this became quite a problem for them. The Egyptian museum was quite impressive, although extremely crowded with people (I would hate to see how crowded it is during peak season!). We mostly took in the King Tut exhibit, which was incredible. Wish we had had time to see more of the museum. Next: check into our hotel and have lunch. We arrived with the rest of the NCL tour buses slated to stay at this hotel (which was, BTW, an impressive, less than 1 year old 5-star hotel). There was a buffet lunch spread on a large patio and tables set up with bus numbers on them. Our group ended up with only two tables instead of four, so our guide had to scramble to correct the problem. Needless to say, we were all tired and hungry by this time (it was 2:30 p.m.), and not pleased by the seeming lack of organization. We were allowed to rest until 5:30, then whisked away to our dinner cruise on the Nile (nobody was hungry since we had just eaten lunch!). This was a joke. Again, there was confusion as to where our group's tables were set up! No other bus was having this problem! Once situated, our tables had water but no drinking glasses. It took almost the entire cruise to have this rectified! The food was nothing special and the music that accompanied the traditional and belly dancing was excruciatingly loud. To end the Nile cruise, the musicians sang renditions of "Feelings" and "I Just Called to Say I Love You." The papyrus institute was interesting and we didn't feel too pressured into buying (although we did purchase some prints). The final stop for the first day was the Sound and Light show at the pyramids. I was tired by that time and I thought the whole thing was a little hokey. The second day was so much better. We first went to Sakara to see the stair-step pyramids (older than the Giza pyramids). Then to Memphis to see the fallen statue of Ramses (very cool!) and other statues and sarcophagi found in the area. And then off to the Giza Pyramids and Great Sphinx up close. It was an amazing feeling to be so close to such ancient structures. Be prepared: the vendors and other profiteers in the area are very, very aggressive. They will try and offer to take your picture for free, then demand money to give your camera back. Or certain camel rides will take you out a ways and then demand money to bring you back. If I were to do this again, I would choose two day trips -- one to Cairo to see the pyramids, Memphis and possibly the museum, and the other to explore Alexandria. You can skip the Nile cruise, sound and light show and Mohammad Ali's mosque. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
I would rate this a 5+ except it is a disappointment as far as how they handle the monuments in Giza. It seems there is no care taken around the pyramids as far as traffic control, parking lots, etc. There is garbage everywhere and the ... Read More
I would rate this a 5+ except it is a disappointment as far as how they handle the monuments in Giza. It seems there is no care taken around the pyramids as far as traffic control, parking lots, etc. There is garbage everywhere and the aggressive sellers can be annoying. Once we realized the games some of them played, we easily and politely said "no." You can spot the ones selling things, so that's not a problem. It's the men who come up and shake your hand and ask you your name and then want to wrap a towel on your head (if you're a male) and have you take their picture with you. Then they want to use your camera to take a picture of all of you. NEVER give anyone your camera. We knew that ahead of time and didn't do that. But in order to get your camera back, you will need to fork over some money. A couple of US dollars works great, so don't be too alarmed. There are also children selling things which is hard to resist. Most of the things they sell are for one US dollar. We also learned that some of these sellers will ask to see your ticket. NEVER give anyone your ticket either. They will appear to be official people (police even), but no one should need your ticket once you are looking at the pyramids. We hired an Egyptologist named Rasha El-Ashmawy who briefed us on all of this before we got out of the van. That was very helpful. She was very knowledgeable in Egyptian history as well and we learned so much from her. Cost was 130 USD per person per day; but it was worth it, that's for sure. She would go and get us our tickets while we would wait and we would be on our way. She hired all the drivers and even made sure we got checked into the hotel as well. We stayed overnight in Cairo at the Le Meridien and it was great. Interestingly, hotels in Barcelona and Cairo (the only two hotels we used) had no rooms for more than two people. It seemed to be a recurring theme and I wonder if that's normal. We had two rooms in both cities for the three of us. They weren't super expensive so that wasn't an issue. Just a curious thing. Back to our tour: After the pyramids and sphinx (wall to wall people), we got back in the van and Rasha had purchased us a "fast food" Egyptian lunch. It was pasta, rice, and a tomato sauce that was wonderful. We ate out of plastic containers and it tasted great! We headed to Cairo and the Egyptian Museum. WOW. Here is were you see the real stuff, that's for sure. The best was, of course, the treasures of King Tut. To see the gold mask and the decorated coffins was a real highlight. Yes, the museum is old and dusty, but you forget about all that when you see all the ancient treasures. Having a guide walk you through and explain everything is priceless. We headed to our hotel back in Giza and Rasha made sure we were in our rooms. She met us later to escort us to the Sound and Light Show at the pyramids. This was the highlight of our trip...not the show itself, but getting there early and just sitting and watching the sunset behind the pyramids with no one trying to sell us anything. It was quiet and clean and we just sat there and enjoyed the view of the three pyramids and the sphinx. The show we attended was in German so we rented headsets in English. I would highly recommend you go early to the first show and just enjoy the view. It was magical and the one thing I remember most about the whole cruise. The next morning, Rasha picked us up early and we headed to Saqqara and the Step Pyramid. We were early enough to beat all the buses. Rasha was very excited about this and took us to a tomb where she explained the reliefs and hieroglyphs and we were the only people in the tomb! Just as we finished, the big groups came in. My mom and I took a few minutes and visited another tomb where we had to bend over to climb down into it. That was fun. After that we headed to the complex of the Step Pyramid of Djoser. That was very interesting. We then headed to Old Cairo and the Alabaster Mosque. Another interesting stop and we enjoyed our time there. We headed back to Giza and another fast food lunch (seasoned beef in a wrap) and that was very good too. We parted ways with Rasha and began our three-hour trip back to Alexandria. Another memorable port was now a beautiful memory. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
The port is Alexandria, but we took the NCL Overnight to Cairo. We would recommend joining with other CCers and go in a smaller group for the same itinerary for less money. First, we saw everything that we wanted to see in and around Cairo ... Read More
The port is Alexandria, but we took the NCL Overnight to Cairo. We would recommend joining with other CCers and go in a smaller group for the same itinerary for less money. First, we saw everything that we wanted to see in and around Cairo and it definitely met expectations. We really enjoyed seeing the pyramids and the sphinx. Seeing them lit at night was especially impressive. They were the reason we took this cruise in the first place and they did not disappoint. The hotel was great and the two lunches were very good. Our guide Mondur was very very good. He was great a communicating about Egypt and preparing us for dealing with people at the sites (See note below). That hits the 'pros' of the NCL tour. Here are our the cons as we found them. Day one we visited a mosque and the Antiquities museum. One of these should be dropped if not both. There are some very interesting items at the museum and more time there might have been nice, but why put that before going to what people have really signed up to see? After lunch and checking in at the hotel, we headed to the sound and light show. The problem was it was not dark enough when it started to see any of the projections, so for the first half hour it was just a sound show. The good thing was, you got to see the sphinx and the pyramids in the background. But after that (now 7PM after a 6:30AM departure from the ship) we still had a stop at a Papyrus making demo and shop and a dinner cruise. While we thought the Papyrus making stop was interesting and nice shopping, but at the end of a long day was not the best time. The final stop was a dinner cruise on the Nile. Everyone was very tired, the food was very average, the entertainment was the same and there were no views to speak of from the boat. Our group was slowed by low mobility travelers which we likely be someday, but we hope they will group us only with similar passengers so we do not slow down others. Important Note: Beware the vendors at all of the sites in Cairo. They are very in your face and do not relent easily. They have many tricks that your guide should explain to you how to deal with. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
This stop is just a very different world. I would not stop here again, too bad the major sights here ....you have to deal with the beggars and dirty conditions, hustlers, thieves etc. We would like to see the ship spend only one day here, ... Read More
This stop is just a very different world. I would not stop here again, too bad the major sights here ....you have to deal with the beggars and dirty conditions, hustlers, thieves etc. We would like to see the ship spend only one day here, if that.   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
Alexandria\Cairo We were delayed for 5 hours at this port. ARGH! Very frustrating. Booked a tour with Ayman the guide. (NCL was $500 for the 2 day-hotel included pp, ours was $100 per person plus $40 entrance fees and $60 for hotel-$150 ... Read More
Alexandria\Cairo We were delayed for 5 hours at this port. ARGH! Very frustrating. Booked a tour with Ayman the guide. (NCL was $500 for the 2 day-hotel included pp, ours was $100 per person plus $40 entrance fees and $60 for hotel-$150 pp)He was fantastic. He was happy and did not seem put out at all for having to wait. The driver was happy too. He was very personable before (with emails) and on the trip. He was an open book and we felt comfortable asking any question about him, his personal life, culture, religious views, political views, etc. He was knowledgable and made sure we were happy and satisfied with each stop. We skipped the Mosque because of our delay and it was closing. Went to the Egyptian Museum. We weren't sure we wanted to go there, but so glad we did. Ayman showed us the highlights. We spent most of our time with King Tut's exhibit and then wandered on our own. This was a great place to take pictures outside in front of the museum. People of all walks of life were there. Great memories. We also bought papyrus\banana leaf pictures here for $1 each...gifts for the kids teachers. We then went to the Khan el-Kahlili market. We went into the mosque there and enjoyed our shopping experience. I could have spent hours and hours here, but it was the championship soccer game between Egypt and Ghana and we were strongly advised we needed to get to our hotel before the end of the game. We got what we needed and Ayman was extremely helpful in getting us great prices: camel w\real fur for $6, soccer shirt $5, t-shirt $6, pashmina shawls for $2.25 (I bought 15 for friends at home), head beads for my girls $1. We were happy. Man were we very happy to be home before the end of the game. Egypt won, and there was celebrating like we've never seen before. It was so fun to see. 1000's of fans in the streets waving flags, blowing whistles, lighting aerosol cans with fire, the streets were packed. I guess everyone was very excited and the celebrating continued until 3am. We stayed at the City View hotel which was not your 4 star hotel, but a great experience. The staff took us out and showed us where the atm was, about 3 blocks away. We ate dinner at a fast food place called Felfella chicken shwarma $1.50, lentil soup .60, rice pudding .60, drinks .60. It was great. We walked around with the crowds for a while and then thought it best to get back. Enjoyed the Internet at the hotel to connect with the kids. Breakfast was included with our hotel price. Simple but tasty...breads, pastries, cheese, cucumber, tomato, eggs, fruit, etc. When Ayman came to the lobby to get us, he mentioned this was a great hotel for the price and location...compared to others he had seen. Visited the Saqqara pyramids, walked down to the tomb chamber. Easy climb, just climb in backwards. Ayman was terrific with his explanations and insight. Off to Giza. Loved taking pictures along the way of locals, donkey carts, kids playing, shops... The pyramids were awesome and the camel ride a must, the sphinx so cool. We felt like we had the place to ourselves. It was so deserted. Loved that! Bought a few more trinkets and then Ayman took us to another place for lunch. We ate falafel sandwiches and visited on our 3 hour trip back. Again, we talked with him non-stop and he was so gracious. Highly recommended. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
Pyramids at Giza were awesome except for the persistent peddlers and camels, buffet lunch in Cairo was far better than anything on board ship, The National Museum in Cairo had the entire King Tut exhibit open, but some of the displays were ... Read More
Pyramids at Giza were awesome except for the persistent peddlers and camels, buffet lunch in Cairo was far better than anything on board ship, The National Museum in Cairo had the entire King Tut exhibit open, but some of the displays were poorly lit, poorly documented and less than professional with hand-written descriptions. Could have done without the obligatory stop at the papyrus store and the jewelry shop where our guide Muhamed probably got a little cut of the action. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
In Cairo we did another tour with fellow CC'ers, this one with Memphis Tours. Our guide was good, but I do think in Cairo the guides are pressured to take groups to the Papyrus Institute, Cartouche Makers, and Rug shops, all who try ... Read More
In Cairo we did another tour with fellow CC'ers, this one with Memphis Tours. Our guide was good, but I do think in Cairo the guides are pressured to take groups to the Papyrus Institute, Cartouche Makers, and Rug shops, all who try to use high pressure sales tactics. Once our guide knew we were unhappy with this it went better. We did have 2 in our group who wanted Cartouche necklaces made, so this stop was worthwhile, although some in other groups were able to order and get their jewelry later, while we had to wait for it to be made. Standing in front of the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx was almost surreal...we all grow up seeing these things in pictures, but to be there in front of it was incredible, and something we will always be grateful for having the opportunity to do. We also enjoyed seeing Sakhara. The Khan El Khalili Bazaar was a must see for us, and it didn't disappoint. I think there were some in the group who were a little frightened - or intimidated, though I never felt threatened in any way. Don't pay more than about 35% of the asking price! Bargaining is part of the fun! The Bazaar dates back to the 1300's and should be experienced. The Nile Dinner cruise was all right, but for me the best part was the "whirling dervish" - the rest was just OK, and we were all a little tired besides. Staying at the Oberoi Mena House was incredible, it is a beautiful and comfortable hotel with Pyramid views and a great breakfast buffet, unfortunately we had too little time to enjoy it. The second day we really enjoyed the Alabaster Mosque and the Egyptian Museum, especially for us the Tutankhamen exhibit, complete with Death Mask, among other great sights. It was amazing to see! The Cairo experience is something else...from the horrific traffic, with cars and trucks, horse carts, to motorbikes with 3 or 4 people on them weaving through traffic and sharing the road in a mix of the ancient and the modern. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
All I can say is wow. We use Wedjat.com for a private tour overnight in Cairo. It was much cheaper than the cruise line. We had a great hotel. Ask for Hanaa and had Mohamad as our guide. Absolutly the best.
All I can say is wow. We use Wedjat.com for a private tour overnight in Cairo. It was much cheaper than the cruise line. We had a great hotel. Ask for Hanaa and had Mohamad as our guide. Absolutly the best. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
Dirty filthy disgusting place where I would never want to go again. Armed guards every where, garbage everywhere.
Dirty filthy disgusting place where I would never want to go again. Armed guards every where, garbage everywhere. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
The guide (Celebrity Excursion)on our trip to the Pyramids ripped all of us off for an additional 5 Euros, but gave it back after he was caught in his scheme! Though we traveled in Egypt with an armed security man, he was asleep portions ... Read More
The guide (Celebrity Excursion)on our trip to the Pyramids ripped all of us off for an additional 5 Euros, but gave it back after he was caught in his scheme! Though we traveled in Egypt with an armed security man, he was asleep portions of the trip, and on the phone constantly and I thought that he was worthless. Cairo? Whew what a cesspool! The Pyramids? Ahh...I finally saw them! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
This is a very interesting place to visit. armed guard on the buses and they all go to the pyramids together...it is a long way to the pyramids but worth it. They are incredible to see and touch. However be prepared for continuous ... Read More
This is a very interesting place to visit. armed guard on the buses and they all go to the pyramids together...it is a long way to the pyramids but worth it. They are incredible to see and touch. However be prepared for continuous harassment from the venders at the pyramids - they are EVERYWHERE and you can't get away from them. We couldn't even carry on a conversation it was so bad. and don't even think about a camel ride - some it cost $50 to get off and some $100 to get OFF....if you take a picture of one and their owners see you they harass you for money. It was very unpleasant there because of the harassment but evidently no one cares enough to stop it. I heard one lady was let in the restroom but because she didn't have egyptian pounds they wouldn't let her out until someone from her bus went and got her out. Be ware but definitely go and enjoy the best you can. The hotel buffet is great and NO Mummy Tummy for us. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
We decided to go with DeCastro tours because of several recommendations on cruise critic. At first we were a little concerned because we had opted not to take the ship's tour and if anything happened we would be stranded in Egypt. We ... Read More
We decided to go with DeCastro tours because of several recommendations on cruise critic. At first we were a little concerned because we had opted not to take the ship's tour and if anything happened we would be stranded in Egypt. We were pleasantly surprised by the very personal service we received and DeCastro exceeded our expectations. We wanted to have just a family tour so the cost was a little higher than the larger group , but we had a large minivan all to ourselves. We had a wonderful and personable driver, Ahmed and a well informed guide, named Rasha. At every stop we made, DeCastro's representative was there to meet us and make sure we were on schedule. Our hotel was 5 stars with a balcony view of the pyramids. Our Nile River dinner was great. We saw belly dancers, whirling dervishes and a traditional band. People from the ship's tour complained about their dinner and they paid a lot more than we did. The Pyramids and the Sphinx were just incredible and the highlight of the overnight. Wish we could have had more time in the Egyptian museum. Did not like the Khan el Khalili bazaar. The vendors were way too aggressive for me. We would love to go back on a Nile River cruise to see Luxor and the Valley of the kings. Read Less

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