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8 Viking River Middle East Cruise Reviews

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
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
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
This was truly an incredible journey and it turned out to be everything the write-ups said it would be and more. Viking's Egyptian personnel were wonderful, they were on duty 24/7 and made it seem as if they were having the time of ... Read More
This was truly an incredible journey and it turned out to be everything the write-ups said it would be and more. Viking's Egyptian personnel were wonderful, they were on duty 24/7 and made it seem as if they were having the time of their lives just being there for you. Amr Shaheen, the Viking Egyptologist and tour leader was possibly the most knowledgeable, outgoing and personable guides we have ever had the pleasure to travel with. By the end of the second day of the trip, which began at the Sofitel El Ghizarah in Cairo, he established a bond with our group that stayed solid throughout the trip. Friends told us not to go because of the unrest in the Middle East, however due to Viking's security personnel, and Egypt's heightened military presence, we felt safe during the entire journey. We traveled on non-Viking ships, the Mayfair and the Omar Khayham, both ships have recently been refurbished and were clean and comfortable. There are no words to explain the many once in a lifetime moments we experienced, hot air ballooning over the Valley of the Kings, riding a camel into the desert, touring the archeological museum, a trip through the streets of the bazaar in Cairo, staring into the face of the Sphinx, wandering through the temples, learning about cartouches, and on and on until the brain reeled. This is a trip not to be missed. There was one thing that drove me crazy and that was the lack of local cuisine and a fine dining option. The meals were all buffet and although the quality of the food was good, it was pseudo-European/American style, three starches, meats drowned in gravy and heavy on desserts. The cost of the cruise shouldn't have had us dining cafeteria style, with no other options. Middle Eastern grilled meats, appetizers and, soups are excellent and much more suited to the climate than well cooked pot roast in gravy with mashed potatoes. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
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