Travel Forum

Our Travel Forum was created to provide you with the opportunity to connect with other travelers who share your passion for travel. Sign into "My Account" and you’ll be able to write reviews, share your travel experiences, and post questions for other travelers. Not yet registered? It’s simple to create an account, membership is free, and it only takes a moment to join. Once you do, you’ll be able to write reviews, share your travel experiences, and post questions for other travelers. If you have a specific customer service or quality assurance question, please contact our Traveler Support Team by calling 1-800-221-0814. We value the contributions of our travelers. Please familiarize yourself with the guidelines for participation before you begin.

Author: oceanwve

Joined: 5/3/2010
Posts: 1
Trips Taken: 3
Traveler Since: 2008

November 13, 2010

If you're going on the Ancient Egypt and Nile River Cruise trip and learn that  your guide will be Yasser Elgabry, insist on a different guide.  Yasser was the worst guide I've ever had on any of my frequent trips overseas.  He seemed to have memorized a half dozen mythologies and that's all he could talk about -- and he told them several times a day and every day.  Ask a question, and he'd just repeat the same thing.  And that's about all he could talk about.  He wouldn't even talk about what was outside the bus windows.  His seeming lack of knowledge was appalling.  And if you asked a question he didn't want to answer, he'd simply drone on and on about something else, pretendidng he was answering your question.

To top it off, as we'd get to a site, he'd make us stand outside for up to a half hour to show us pictures of what wasinside.  And then he'd take orders for the pictures that he'd sell us later.  We'd waste so much of our limited time at the sites while he showed picture after picture and droned on and on.  The guides talked about the 'vulture' vendors outside the bus selling cheap souveniers, but Yasser was the vulture inside the bus sellling us the same cheap souveniers and there was no escaping him.

When we went to the Valley of the Kings, our tickets enabled us to go inside our c hoice of 3 of the tombs.  We asked him for recommendations but he refused to tell us what they were until he walked us through the entire Valley that was empty except for the entrances to the tombs.  He wasted so much time, consequently I only had time to visit 2 tombs -- and I rushed through them -- before we had to leave.

The other two guides were excellent, but Yasser was awful.  His social skills seemed very limited and his actions were juvenile at times.   You should get an email from your guide before leaving on the trip.  If yours is Yasser, insist on a different guide. 

I'm not sure I'll go on another GCT because of this experience.  What a shame to have spent all this money and come back with so little other than what one could learn on his/her own.  The sites of Egypt were splendid but I could have learned so much mored with a competent guide.

Author: nancyf

Joined: 4/26/2010
Posts: 155
Trips Taken: 7
Countries Visited:

43 of the 50 United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, England , France , Italy , Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Africa (Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe. South Africa), Israel, Canada, the Carribbean, Peru, going to Egypt & Jordan in February 2011 ( canceled due to the unrest there, but I will take this trip later!), China, Russia, Kenya, Turkey, Greece, Malta, Sicily.

Traveler Since: 2007

November 15, 2010

How do you insist on another guide if he is already assigned to your trip? A friend of mine and I are going on this trip in February, and we would be quite disappointed to get a guide who was not good.

I have traveled with GC and OAT quite a bit, but it is her first time. I would doubly hate for her to have a bad experience with GC, after I have "bragged" about how good the trips are!!

Author: sealionlady

Joined: 8/1/2010
Posts: 102
Trips Taken: 12
Traveler Since: 2001

November 15, 2010

I know from past experience that GCT/OAT really does take customer comments into consideration.  We had one guide in Central America (I thought he was an excellent guide!) who had received some negative evaluations and was informed by OAT that he was now on "probation".  We found this out when he called the Inner Circle members together and asked for our advice.  We all agreed that he deserved another chance and gave him very positive evaluations.  I hope things worked out for him!

 

 

Author: grandcircle

Joined: 3/5/2010
Posts: 246
Trips Taken: 0

November 15, 2010

Hello Oceanwve -

We are very sorry to hear about your experience with our guide in Egypt.  We pride ourselves on our excellent Trip Leaders.  We will have somebody from our Quality Department contact you about your experience.

Kind Regards,

GCT Forum Moderator

Author: boleta

Joined: 10/1/2010
Posts: 13
Trips Taken: 9
Traveler Since: 2002

November 15, 2010

 Last year my husband and I took the tour to Egypt.  Our program director apparently was an Egyptologist who knew quite a bit about the hieroglyphics and history of Egypt.  He was very interesting, however, he was way too condescending for me..  When we arrived at the Nile River, we noticed a slight change in him.  He became a bit more friendly.  That's when I asked him why he had been the way he was in Cairo.  His response was that although he was born and raised in Cairo, lives in Cairo with his family, he didn't like Cairo because it was just a big, dirty city, with too many cars and too many people.   This could have been the case with the first person who wrote, although it did sound a bit different from our experience.  We, naturally, wrote our concerns to GCT but don't know what happened to our Egypt program director.  

We also had a very nice young lady on our South America trip with GCT.  However, at that time, we had two ladies from New York City who always hogged the front seat of the bus (this was a bus tour).  Many of us mentioned it to our program director who nicely would ask that we all be given the chance for the front seat of the bus.  However, to no avail.  So, we travelers took the situation into our own hands--as many of us would get on the bus first, sit at the front seat and then ask the travelers if they hadn't sat at the front to please sit there.  As I said, our program director was quite young and maybe was a bit inexperienced. Unfortunately, when one travels, you are going to experience different types of people and sometimes have to take the initiative to do something about the problem.

This year we had no complains, just raves, about our program director.  If you are lucky enough to get as good a program director as we got this year, then you will thoroughly enjoy your trip.  If not, write GCT--they will listen.  Good luck on your Egypt trip and enjoy!  

Author: sfoster

Joined: 11/19/2010
Posts: 2
Trips Taken: 3
Traveler Since: 2008

November 19, 2010

We loved our trip to Egypt and the Nile.  Our program director knew so much.  She was highly educated and was an interesting person in her own personal life.  We went in June 2010 and it was 125 degrees in Aswan.  That may sound terrible but Grand Circle handled it well.  We were up and out early in the morning, always stood in shade when our Program Director was talking and managed to never suffer. Our goal is to study more about Egypt and do the trip again when we can better understand all the information we are provided.

 

Author: gobuckeyes

Joined: 7/7/2010
Posts: 152
Trips Taken: 12
Traveler Since: 2005

November 19, 2010

Re: We loved our trip to Egypt and the Nile.  Our program director knew so much.  She was highly educated and was an interesting person in her own personal life.  We went in June 2010 and it was 125 degrees in Aswan.  That may sound terrible but Grand Circle handled it well.  We were up and out early in the morning, always stood in shade when our Program Director was talking and managed to never suffer. Our goal is to study more about Egypt and do the trip again when we can better understand all the information we are provided.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I did the OAT Cairo & The Eternal Nile trip at the same time and can verify that 125 °F is not an exaggeration. It was freaking there; however, it still was a great trip.

Author: hawkeye62

Joined: 12/8/2010
Posts: 27
Trips Taken: 7
Traveler Since: 2006

December 08, 2010

I have to disagree with the original poster. My wife and I have visited Egypt on four occasions, three of which have been with Grand Cicle Travel. Of all my tour guides on these trips, Yasser Elgaby was by far the best yet. As well as being knowledgeable he was also the most down to earth guide we've had on any of out prior Egyptian trips. Other guides all seemed to dissapear at the end of the day and when they appeared they didn't mix with the tourists. Yasser was the exception, he was friendly and very personable and spent most of his spare time with the tourists instead of his fellow guides. We enjoyed his company very much.

Unfortunately I got sick early on while in the Cairo Marriott and Yasser must have phoned and or checked in on me at leat 10 times. His care exceeded all my expectations. One of the passengers fell while getting off the felucca, Yasser insisted that he go to a clinic and accompanied him there and stayed for a couple hours until he was discharged.

So many fellow tourists on the trip were very upset with the pressure tactics of the local vendors. They said they wanted to buy things but were turned off by them. Yasser went out and brought some of those items people aked about on the bus so they didn't have to deal with the vendors. I've never had another guide go out of his way like that before. On other trips when people complained about the vendors they would just say  "that's just how they are".

We visited all the sites and were very pleased with his performance. All  guides spend some time lecturing and explaining what you will be seeing inside, this is normal. But as a guide, if anything we had more time to tour the sites on our own then with our prior guides.

I can't say enough good things about Yasser and think everyone on our trip would agree. This was our best trip so far to Egypt because of Yasser.

Author: vsibbitt

Joined: 12/8/2010
Posts: 2
Trips Taken: 4
Traveler Since: 2006

December 08, 2010

Regarding the "awful" review of Yasser ElGabrey as a guide in Egypt.  I vehemently disagree.  My husband and I thought he was most knowledgeable as well as kind, caring and an excellent role model for his country and his religion.  He is very proud of his family and shared stories about them.  The last day that we were on the Nile, I came down with a UTI.  He had a doctor come onboard to treat me and then personally followed up with me on those last two days of the trip. 

I felt we had plenty of time to explore on our own.  When he held us outside of a site, it was because of the large number of people who were already there.  The "awful" post makes me think  of  a fellow traveller who didn't seem to want to hear instructions and information being  given to us and even kept us from hearing tht information.

If I go back to Egypt, I want Yasser for our tour guide.

 

Author: cheska13

Joined: 12/8/2010
Posts: 1
Trips Taken: 1
Traveler Since: 2010

December 08, 2010

 Yasser was my tour director on the Egypt trip. He was very inexperienced, more than anything! He spent an abundance of time with the younger guests, joking around and talking about music and the things 30 something year olds talk about.

He was very knowledgeable about hieroglyphics and was able to tell us, translate, many things we saw at the sites. He did repeat many of the myths we saw paintings and carvings of at some of the sites, but that was what was there. He was energetic and very caring. He often would take some of us outside the hotel to get some of the things we needed.

He shared some family stories which were wonderful, giving us a glimpse of what Egyptian life is all about. I really enjoyed that!!

He needs more training, not to be let go. He has many qualities that, with a little training, would make him a great tour director!! 

Author: photoimagist

Joined: 12/9/2010
Posts: 2
Trips Taken: 2
Traveler Since: 2006

December 09, 2010

I came to this sight to here from the people on the trip as a distraction, you see my mother who has cancer and I went on the trip in question as her final trip. She has many GCT and OAT trips under her belt, I have two. About three weeks back from the trip, she finds herself in hospice and has only weeks to live. Her greatest joy is replaying videos and photos of that trip. Every day I go to her, she talks about how that was the best trip she has ever taken and Yasser ElGabrey is the reason. He Took such good care of her knowing something of her condition. So it was no relief to read the first person's bit of ugliness. I agree with the above persons positive comments and as life long world travelers my mother and I recommend Yasser as a fine guide and a person I conceder a friend. 

Author: photoimagist

Joined: 12/9/2010
Posts: 2
Trips Taken: 2
Traveler Since: 2006

December 09, 2010

I feel that I need to follow up my posting. I have traveled the world as a photographer covering wars and wildlife.  And every where I went I would come across them. They complain, they get in trouble and have no sense of where they are. They have money and someone told them that they should travel. They are Ugly Americans. Yasser seemed to have more than his share of then on the trip in question. He was, if anything, to nice in catered to these persons.
 All my life I never  took tours, the nature of my work did not let me do this. My mom started to take them in her 60's I laughed at her for being lazy in her old age. As I get older too I look forward to taking tours with my wife, as we go into retirement. Its a pity that these Ugly Americans have to spoil it for all of us.

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 470
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

December 09, 2010

Forty some people traveling in a group do not all think alike or have the same expectations for the trip and the program director.

It's interesting that some posters enjoyed Yasser as their guide and also that one wrote that he may need more training. I'm sure GCT weighs the comments before making decisions about firing or keeping a guide.

I don't think it's fair to imply that the original poster is an "ugly American" because he/she didn't like the style of this particular guide -- everyone has right to voice their opinion and shouldn't be called names for doing it.

Author: leftybill

Joined: 8/26/2010
Posts: 3
Trips Taken: 4
Traveler Since: 2005

December 09, 2010

12-09-10  I am distressed to read the review of Yasser Elgabry.  We found him to be personable, knowledgable and a wonderful caring guide.  He shared his vast knowledge of Egypt with a passion that made us appreciate our fabulous tour all the more.  He also shared his personal life giving us a better insight to the Egyptian people and the Islamic religion.  This was our 5th trip with GCT and we have enjoyed all of our PD's but none more than Yasser.  As for oceanwve, this sounds personal to me and I would like it removed from the travel discussions site.  It is abusive and has no help for future travellers to Egypt.

Author: kellytemple

Joined: 12/9/2010
Posts: 1
Trips Taken: 1
Traveler Since: 2010

December 09, 2010

I chose Grand Circle Travel because of the positive recommendation I received  of Yasser ElGabry from a friend. She went on and on about how he had everything I was looking for in a guide; deep knowledge and understanding of the sites and history, a patient demeanor and a passion for sharing the culture and beauty of Egypt to whomever would listen. She was right. She also said that he helped her negotiate with the sticky vendors who are so intimidating to Americans. This is true also. I am certain this guy helped me save a lot of money in the bazaars.

I am saddened to read the posting of oceanwve on Yasser ElGabry. I have traveled extensively and this person was the most knowledgable, passionate guide I have had. What made Yasser special was his desire to make our group like his family. I watched Yasser answer many questions over and over again as if it had been the first time he had heard it asked. He was very gentle with our more elderly travelers and made himself available at any hour to help the sick ones. I was traveling alone for the first time (and fearful of my sometimes intense carsickness) and he committed himself to help me like a brother.

He is the reason I have been recommending Grand Circle to everyone I know.  His knowledge of hieroglyphics was vast, so vast that at times the explanations required explanations. These were not memorized speeches but genuine interpretations of the history and stories behind the works themselves. Yasser is one of the few people in Egypt pursuing a fluency level in reading hieroglyphics. ( He has been studying it for 10 years).

As for the vendor side: there are many pesky vendors everywhere all selling the same variety of postcards knicknacks, etc. Yasser made it very clear that he personally did not care if anyone bought anything, but that there were a couple of specific vendors, one who was mentally handicapped, the other who was deaf , etc that he was willing to help out. Those are the postcards he held up in front of the bus, only the items from the disabled vendors. Apparently Egypt has no real system in tact to help these people.

I am aware that there were a few people in our group who seemed to find fault in many situations. I think that's what the writer above was talking about. I too agree that oceanwve's comments are sour and unfounded in my opinion. I too wish to see them removed. Especially from the headline page of the comment postings.

Yasser was the ambassador of GCT to me and since I left Egypt I have felt excited about saving my money and investing in an OAT journey. I hope GCT will see the wall of travelers who are passionate about the abilities of this person and not focus on one writer who seems to have some personal issue. GCT was very polished in all ways, especially in the selection of this guide. I hope the reviewers of these comments will continue to allow Yasser to show our citizens the caring, intelligent and joyful side of Egypt.

 

Author: maggie0102

Joined: 12/10/2010
Posts: 2
Trips Taken: 1
Traveler Since: 2010

December 10, 2010

I was in the October tour group to Egypt in October.  It was one of the most outstanding experiences of my life.  Yasser ElGabry was our guide and provided a wealth of knowledge at every site we visited.  His knowledge was very informative.  I can't beleive the comments that were made in the post.  My travel companion did not enjoy the trip as much as I did but she is a glass half empty person and I hope she was not the source of that awful post.  Yasser was very helpful when we had problems with luggage or needing to obtain something that was needed.  If I am fortunate enough to go Egypt again, I would like to request Yasser as my guide.  Three cheers for Yasser!!!

Author: nancyf

Joined: 4/26/2010
Posts: 155
Trips Taken: 7
Countries Visited:

43 of the 50 United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, England , France , Italy , Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Africa (Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe. South Africa), Israel, Canada, the Carribbean, Peru, going to Egypt & Jordan in February 2011 ( canceled due to the unrest there, but I will take this trip later!), China, Russia, Kenya, Turkey, Greece, Malta, Sicily.

Traveler Since: 2007

December 10, 2010

Well, from the postings on this, I am hoping that we DO get Assir Elgabry as our guide in February.. He sounds wonderful after all!!

 

Author: leftybill

Joined: 8/26/2010
Posts: 3
Trips Taken: 4
Traveler Since: 2005

December 11, 2010

Sorry Nancy, you will not get Yassir as your guide.  I have just learned that he has been fired.  Ocean got what they wanted.  GCT gives more credence to the complaint than to the praise.  I have always known that life can be unfair.  This is a terrible injustice.  Now I have been given a bad memory of our Egypt tour.  When we returned home, I couldn't help but miss the many new people that I met, and none more than Yasser.

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 470
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

December 11, 2010

"GCT gives more credence to the complaint than to the praise."

_____________________________________________________________

If Yasser was fired based on one complaint on this thread, I'm truly astonished. After all the glowing praise for him from travelers, it certainly would be unfair.

I think it shows that we really need to fill out the  trip review forms.

It would be nice to hear from the moderator on this issue.

Author: hawkeye62

Joined: 12/8/2010
Posts: 27
Trips Taken: 7
Traveler Since: 2006

December 11, 2010

I agree with you Luisa, IF in fact, Yasser E. was fired, I am extremely disappointed in GCT

and will have to rethink my future travel plans with this company.

I am also extremely disappointed, the Moderator did not come back and respond to any of us, all of whom are Clients and should  have a voice in this decision, after all,  they say

they care about all of us.

I might as well just throw away the 2nd request I rec'd for Feedback from this company, as obviously, the positive comments don't count and have no influence whatsoever, so what's the point in their feedback form?

Are they now showing some kind of bias here?  And IF so, then why?

You cannot Post or Reply, please sign in

Rules of Use:
Be Relevant

Please stick to the topic of travel when posting in our Forum. Stay on the relevant topic and do not disrupt a discussion in progress. If you have a specific customer service question or issue, please contact our Traveler Support Team by calling 1-800-221-0814.

Be Respectful

Use of any inappropriate language, personal attacks, and hate speech are not permitted. Respect others’ opinions and suggestions.

Be Mindful of Privacy Issues

Please do not post the personal information of other members (full names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, etc).

Help us help you

Please click on the ‘Report Abuse’ button if you see an inappropriate posting.