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Author: sylviad

Joined: 3/18/2010
Posts: 3
Trips Taken: 2
Countries Visited:

Venezuela, Egypt, England, Switzerland, Caribbean, Italy

Traveler Since: 2010

March 18, 2010

We just returned from our first Grand Circle Tour.  We met so many wonderful people who had been just about everywhere! 

Our Program Director, Hala, was wonderful.  (Hala, you need to smile more, you have a wonderful sense of humor!)  She made the trains run on time!  Such a small person with such a big personality!

The entire trip was interesting and very well planned.  We had an unexpected heat wave, but we left early enough each day to avoid the worst of it.  Grand Circle seems to pack a lot of clout in the area because we had the best tour times and the best docking facilities. 

I think we could have done without so many "factory" visits.  We visited a carpet factory, perfume factory, papyrus factory and an alabaster factory.  Perhaps these were ment to be respites from our strenuous tours, but I could have done without them. 

The riverboat Anuket was luxurious.  We had great food and great service.  The cabins were larger than expected.  And we had so much fun with traveler participation. 

All the historical sites were magical.  Who would have thought I would one day climb on a pyramid?

Great trip with many fond memories.  I hope I run across some of my fellow travelers on another grip.  They were all great.

 

 

Author: bernie

Joined: 3/19/2010
Posts: 1
Trips Taken: 1
Traveler Since: 2010

March 19, 2010

 I am taking my first trip April 24, 2010 to Egypt.  It sounds like the same trip you just came back from.  Did you have any extra time in Cairo, for I was thinking of passing on the Alexandria day trip.  Will there be any extra time outside of the group tour to do additional activities in Cairo.  I would like more time in the Egyptian Museum.  Did you  make use of Global side trips and can a participants arrange a tour from anyone else on the free time?  What did you visit while in Cairo and would you suggest any other attractions while there?  Also were all the days early times?  The day you flew to Luxor what time did you leave the hotel?  Was there any free time while on the boat?  What did the schedule look like on those cruise day?  Was there any free time once you returned to the ship?  I know, so many questions.  I am traveling alone and want to be prepared.  Who was your tour specialist?  Who would you recommend?  How was the Egypt Air flight over to Cairo?  Thanks,,

Author: harderf

Joined: 3/22/2010
Posts: 5
Trips Taken: 5
Traveler Since: 2006

March 22, 2010

I also would like to hear from someone concerning the flight from NY to Cairo. I've read other sources talking about negative things with the Egypt Air, but have not seen anything negative from GCT travelers. 

I'd also like to know if anyone has shipped anything back from Egypt while on this trip.  We have friends who love to buy MANY souvenirs and we're trying to find out about shipping things back.

Author: hootie

Joined: 3/7/2010
Posts: 133
Trips Taken: 8
Countries Visited:

China, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Serbia, Croatia, Romania, Transylvania, Bulgaria, Chech Republic, Slavakia, Bratislava, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Crete, Greece, Turkey, Istanbul, Italy, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Russia, Tahiti & French Polynesia/Society Islands, Hawaiian Islands, Bermuda, Alaska, Costa Rica, Mexico, United States, Panama Canal, Caribbean (extensively), Canada/Nova Scotia, Canary Islands, Gibralter, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Vatican City, France, Holland, Belgium, Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand, Ukraine, Russia.

Traveler Since: 2001

April 18, 2010

We did the Egypt & Nile trip a few years ago, so things may have changed.  It was a great trip, as usual, with GCT.  Security was excellent.  As a "heads-up"...I must say I was a little surprised by the amount of security!  Armed guards traveled with us on ALL excursions, including buses.  I was surprised that the riverboat had armed sailors with mounted machine guns across the back of the boat.  I didn't know whether to be fearful because all that security was needed or feel safe because we had it!  (I noticed almost ALL the boats traveling the river had a similar set-up.)  In any case, we were protected.  I just thought I'd mention it because it through ME at first...it wasn't something I expected.  My husband, of course, thought it was great.  (As did alot of others!)  We discovered that for $1.00 (U.S.), the sailors would alow you to take/have your picture taken with them/or the machine guns.  It was an unsual photo-op that most of us took advantage of. 

Author: maggie1234

Joined: 4/30/2010
Posts: 1
Trips Taken: 9
Traveler Since: 2001

April 30, 2010

Have traveled to Egypt and had wonderful experiences there.  My traveling companion and I upgraded to first class and I'm so glad we did because we heard many complaints about coach.  We were traveling on an Egyptian airline.  Many of our fellow travelers told us that their seats were narrow, no leg room, very uncomfortable.  Just passing along my experience.  The country itself is absolutely beautiful, with so many antiquities - and they are standing - not just ruins!  The Nile cruise was another highlight .  We sat on the top deck of our river ship and watched the scenery as we sailed down the Nile for a week.  Awesome.  Hope you have a wonderful trip.  Etta Love

Author: harderf

Joined: 3/22/2010
Posts: 5
Trips Taken: 5
Traveler Since: 2006

May 19, 2010

I found a great blog of the Egypt trip that we will be taking on June 19- July3.  It is absolutely wonderful, including MANY pictures and videos.  Hope you enjoy.

Freda

http://www.royfc.com/egypt.html

Author: bowdom

Joined: 5/25/2010
Posts: 2
Trips Taken: 1
Traveler Since: 2010

May 25, 2010

We just returned from our Egypt trip.  You will love every minute of it.  Take as many of the extra excursions as you feel you can afford.  They truely enhance your understanding of Egypt and her people and history. 

There really is plenty of time in Cairo before and after the cruise, unless you really want extra time for something special.  We did the Alexandria trip and didn't feel that we had missed anything in Cairo.  We definatly would have missed a lot without Alexandria though. 

All of the guides are really good, well prepared and enthusiastic about Egypt but we are really partial to Attia.  He made everything come alive along with sharing information about his family and his experiences growing up in country.

Author: jobog

Joined: 3/26/2010
Posts: 5
Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2004

June 09, 2010

To the traveler who was worried about EgyptAir.  It is as good as any airline you will fly and better than some of the coach flights we have had to Europe and South America.  One suggestion - reserve seats on the aisle where there are only two seats together.  That way, if you are traveling with another person, there won't be a third person who will be getting up and down during the flight and you will be more comfortable.  

Author: oz

Joined: 6/14/2010
Posts: 1
Trips Taken: 5
Traveler Since: 2000

June 13, 2010

 6/13/10

We are taking the Egypt trip in September. It's great reading all your comments.

Did anyone take the pre-trip to Jerusalem? I would love to attend a Catholic mass while there. Has anyone done that? 

Author: bjpiper

Joined: 5/25/2010
Posts: 1
Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2003

June 26, 2010

We are taking the trip to Egypt in Sept plus the Pre trip to Israel in August and Post trip to Jordan.

I am wondering how to reserve your seat on Egypt Air ahead of time and also on Austrian Airline.  We have passive confirmation but no seats assigned yet.  I have always had seats confirmed by this time on our other trips with Grand Circle.  

Another question for past travelers. Any suggestions for womens dress on this trip.  Are slacks okay?

Author: wilhelmina

Joined: 7/18/2010
Posts: 1
Trips Taken: 19
Traveler Since: 2001

July 18, 2010

I too am going to Egypt in sept and want to know if I need take a skirt. When on sightseeing trips are there places to sitt or is it worth carring my fold-up stool,how abt  are there washers and dryers on board to do laundry?Do we need adapters and which ones??

Author: gobuckeyes

Joined: 7/7/2010
Posts: 158
Trips Taken: 13
Traveler Since: 2005

July 18, 2010

FWIW,  (copy of my earlier posts from the OAT board) did OAT's Egypt and the Nile trip on 13 Jun 2010; and called Egypt Air for my seat assignments. OAT does not do seat assignments. Egypt Air's number is 1-800-334-6787. Egypt Air uses a Boeing 777-200 from New York to Cairo. Their seats in economy are in a 3-4-2 configeration. See diagram:

http://www.seatmaestro.com/airplanes-seat-maps/egyptair-boeing-b777-200.html

It was nice to get two seats on the left side (i.e. "2" side, aisle and window). The plane from Cairo to Amman in configured 3-3 in economy. Also, they wouldn't give seats assignments for the two internal Egypt flights.  

I forgot to mention that Egypt Air is a member of the Star Alliance. You can earn frequent flier miles on other Star Alliance airlines; like United, US Airways, and Continental, etc.

http://www.staralliance.com/en/about/airlines/

When you call the airline to choose your seat know how the plane is configured and which seats are less desirable, etc.

 

http://www.seatmaestro.com/

http://seatexpert.com/browse_by_airline.php

http://www.seatguru.com/

Notes:

1) I found Egypt Air to be as good (maybe even better) than the average US airline. They serverd free meals that were not too bad, they didn't charge extra for luggage (and they didn't lose it), and always departed/arrived on time.  These days what more can you ask of an airline?

2) In Egypt I used a type C adapter. I had one similar to this:

Electricity in Egypt is 220 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. An adapter plug does NOT change the current or voltage (this requires a converter) unless your appliance is dual voltage.

Good reference site: http://www.kropla.com/electric2.htm

 

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 536
Trips Taken: 8
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji

Traveler Since: 2006

July 19, 2010

"I too am going to Egypt in sept and want to know if I need take a skirt. When on sightseeing trips are there places to sitt or is it worth carring my fold-up stool,how abt  are there washers and dryers on board to do laundry?Do we need adapters and which ones??"

No, you don't need a skirt, but wearing a long, loose skirt might be cooler than long pants or capris in Sept. I went in October a few years ago and don't recall any women in our group wearing a skirt  and it was hot in and around Cairo. I wore linen and cotton pants and long sleeved linen and cotton shirts to protect my arms from the sun.

There aren't many places to sit at the temples and other sites so if your fold-up stool isn't too heavy, you might pack it and then ask your guide when you would need it.

I doubt that there is a laundry room for passengers on board but the staff may do your laundry for a fee. Check the gct handbook for the trip and if that isn't covered, call and ask a service rep. The same thing on adapters -- check the handbook. Yes, you will need an adapter. I have a set of small adapters but I don't remember which one I brought, possibly the same one that I use in Europe, but I'm not sure. If it's not in your handbook, try google.

Have a great trip.

 

Author: hootie

Joined: 3/7/2010
Posts: 133
Trips Taken: 8
Countries Visited:

China, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Serbia, Croatia, Romania, Transylvania, Bulgaria, Chech Republic, Slavakia, Bratislava, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Crete, Greece, Turkey, Istanbul, Italy, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Russia, Tahiti & French Polynesia/Society Islands, Hawaiian Islands, Bermuda, Alaska, Costa Rica, Mexico, United States, Panama Canal, Caribbean (extensively), Canada/Nova Scotia, Canary Islands, Gibralter, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Vatican City, France, Holland, Belgium, Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand, Ukraine, Russia.

Traveler Since: 2001

July 19, 2010

FOLD UP STOOL for Egypt (& other trips) can be useful.  As others have stated, there are areas where there is no place to sit with the exception of the sand/ground.  If it is really HOT and you have trouble getting up and down, a stool is the answer.  We went a couple of years ago and one traveler had a lightweight cane that had a fold-up seat.  I had never seen one before and I and alot of passengers offered to "rent" it!  It may have been a nuisance to carry, but well worth it overall.

I don't recall anyone wearing a skirt on our trip.  No passenger laundry.

You'll also want to drink LOTS of water.  The bus drivers or your guide usually have it and sell it for 50-$1.00.

NAME TAG ...In a previous posting, I mentioned how I had the program director write in Egyptian "No thank you, I have no money" on the BACK of my name tag.   I got tired of saying "no thanks" and still being pursued by vendors.  I would show THIS side of the tag to vendors if I wasn't interested.  In some cases, it helped.  In all cases, it got a laugh.  This trick came in handy in China also.

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 536
Trips Taken: 8
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji

Traveler Since: 2006

July 20, 2010

I forgot to comment on Egypt Air. It was no better or worse than any other airline I've flown. Coach was typical, not any worse than Delta, Air France, etc.

I had an aisle seat and had more leg room than I've had on some Delta international flights. The service was okay, meals were average airline food.

My only complaint was that on the return flight boarding was very disorganized and they were taking a lot of passengers' carryons away at the gate. Some people were just handing them over and then realizing on board that their meds or something else of value were in their carryons. I took my camera and meds out but couldn't find my lock so my little carryon went unlocked and I was relieved that nothing was missing. They were even taking small backpacks, so it wasn't a matter of size. 

Author: jrich303

Joined: 10/10/2010
Posts: 9
Trips Taken: 3
Traveler Since: 2009

October 22, 2010

I really enjoyed seeing royfc's blog about the trip to Egypt. I was especially looking at the pictures to see what the locals ( and the tourists) were wearing. It looks like slacks and a short sleeved, rather plain shirt for men, and similar for women. This will help me know what to pack for our trip next month.

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