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Gracie115

Uniworld-Egypt

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This is wonderful information Fred, can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip!  Thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts and providing so much information.

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Thanks for writing about your trip Fred.  I agree with your ratings.  I was blown away by the Hot Air Balloon trip, which was not a planned part of our tour, and was so glad it was suggested.  It was neat to fly over Valley of the Kings and then once we landed, we took a bus to walk around that Site.  The whole trip for me was beyond my expectations.  Your posts bring back lots of wonderful memories.  How were the crowds because we had very little and it was so nice for our pictures with nobody in the background for a lot of them.  Thanks again.

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Crowds were not bad.  Much less than I expected.  Tourism is on the upswing but still lower than it was before the Arab Spring.  

 

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OK  here we go again.  

 

The river journey to Aswan was amazing.  Make sure to bring a camera with a lens that will allow you to take pictures of the camels, water buffalos, and birds along the route.  Truly unbelievable.  Our captain must have know most of the other captains on the river.  The other boats would blow horns and waive as we passed.  The only unfortunate sight on the river is the number of unused boats laying idle due to the slow tourism.

 

In Aswan, we again visited temples.  Each better than the one before.

 

We did four things of note in Aswan.  We visited Abu Simbal, had high tea at the Old Cataract Hotel, visited a Nubian village, and stopped (at the request of several passengers) at an Essential Oils factory.

 

Abu Simbal is a "must see".   Everyone on our cruise except two people went on the trip.  Uniworld had to split the group in two due to the number of airline tickets they had to get.  One group left at 5:30 in the morning and the other at 8:00.  Luckily we were in the 8 AM group.  Although, the 5:30 group had the site virtually to themselves.  The trip to the airport was short, but we again had to go through the Egypt security system which meant taking off belts, etc and getting patted down twice.  Seats are issued at check in but most people got to sit next to spouses/friends, etc.  Upon arrival at the Abu Simbal airport we went to the site and were give a quick overview by our Egyptologist and were allowed to roam the two temples at our leisure.  If you want to bring a camera into the temples, there is a 300 Egyptian Pound ticket you must get.  It is well worth it.  This is one of the few places where you need to get the photo ticket where anyone actually checks.  

 

We had about two hours on site and had to leave for a 1:00 pm flight.  We actually left for the airport at 12:40 and arrived there at 12:50.  Needless to say, this is a tourist flight and they held it until everyone was on board.  The Uniworld tour guides really know their stuff and let us stay at the temples until the last possible minute.  Great planning.

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High Tea at the Old Cataract Hotel was on Thanksgiving Day and quite a surprise.  We had tables overlooking the Nile.  Tea, coffee and pastries were served and we watched the sun go down as boats moved along the river.  Very nice stop and a great way to end the day.

 

The Nubian village trip was not what I expected.  I thought it would be a "tourist stop" when they would be selling stuff nobody needs.  In reality, we took a small boat up the Nile through the cataracts and looked for birds.  We were guided by a trained ornithologist.  Great picture taking opportunity.  At the village we went to a large house where the owners kept pet crocodiles.  We traveled back to the Tosca as the sun was setting and had great views.  

 

The other interesting stop was one that was not planned.  The Essential Oils factory/store sold oils, perfumes and hand made glass perfume bottles.  I had been to Egypt before and brought back perfume bottles for people at work but these were much better quality.  The oils were good and much cheaper than in the states.  They also shipped.  We received our box yesterday and everything came in unbroken.

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From Aswan, we had another early morning flight.  This time to Cairo for the last two days of the trip.

 

From the airport in Cairo, we had several options.  You could go to the hotel (and wait several hours until rooms were ready).  You could go on an optional tour to the Coptic area or you could ask the Uniworld rep to set up a different itinerary.  That is what we did.  Since we missed the first day, which included the Egypt Museum, we asked them to arrange a trip there for us.  They provided a van, a driver, and an Egyptologist to guide us through the museum.  The price was much lower than I thought it would be and was very reasonable.  After the museum, we were driven to the hotel in time to check into our room.

 

There are two Four Seasons Hotels in Egypt.  The first day in country we were at the newer one.  Due to a large expo in country, we stayed at the Hotel in the Giza area the second part of the trip.  Both hotels were super.  Due to the change, the Four Seasons set up a free dinner that night for after the Pyramid/Sphinx Light Show but we were to tired to start eating a two hour dinner at 9:00 PM.  We just ordered room service and tried to catch up on some sleep.  Best hamburger ever!!!

 

The last full day in country we again left early for the pyramids and the sphinx and beat the crowds.  People who wanted to were able to enter either the large pyramid (350 EGP) or the middle pyramid (Uniworld paid).  Also people who wanted to took camel rides ($10 + $1 tip).  Great photos.  Uniworld took a group photo which they gave us later.

 

Next stops were Memphis and the Step Pyramid.  I must say, we were not pressured by vendors anywhere during the trip until we got to the Step Pyramid.  A good firm NO finally got them moving onto other tourists.

 

We had a 7:40 flight out the next morning and Uniworld had us leaving at 3:30.  They guided us all the way through the maze at the airport and got us all the way to final security.  A great job!!!

 

 

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My final thoughts on the trip.  Uniworld did an A One job.  Top quality in all respects.  Their staff went out of their way to help.  

Now is the time to visit Egypt.  Crowds are still low.  The country is safe and they love tourists!  Everywhere we went kids stopped to talk and were happy to meet Americans.  

 

Be prepared for early wake ups because it is better to tour in the early mornings and late afternoons when it is cooler.

 

Bring a good, easy to carry camera.  I felt sorry for people lugging around ipads, using them to take pictures.

 

Bring some tip money.  A dollar goes a long way.  Uniworld gives everyone an envelop full of 5 EGP notes for bathroom tips.

 

Have fun.  It is a great trip of a lifetime.

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7 hours ago, fred111 said:

My final thoughts on the trip.  Uniworld did an A One job.  Top quality in all respects.  Their staff went out of their way to help.  

Now is the time to visit Egypt.  Crowds are still low.  The country is safe and they love tourists!  Everywhere we went kids stopped to talk and were happy to meet Americans.  

 

Be prepared for early wake ups because it is better to tour in the early mornings and late afternoons when it is cooler.

 

Bring a good, easy to carry camera.  I felt sorry for people lugging around ipads, using them to take pictures.

 

Bring some tip money.  A dollar goes a long way.  Uniworld gives everyone an envelop full of 5 EGP notes for bathroom tips.

 

Have fun.  It is a great trip of a lifetime.

Thank you again for all the wonderful information....we have 11 months to wait but are already excited!!

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I also enjoyed reading this, fred111. We loved the Tosca, too, and all the staff. We didn't receive the bathroom tip envelope, a good addition. In my comment card at the end of the trip, I suggested staying at a hotel in Giza instead of the Cairo Four Seasons again, which would have eliminated travel time in the horrendous Cairo traffic, which we did twice, for the evening sound and light pyramid show, and then back the next day for Memphis, Saqqara and the pyramids.  You were lucky you got to stay at the older Four Seasons. Thanks for sharing your marvelous trip with us!

 

PS At the Old Cataract Hotel, I think you had a cream tea. High tea is an early evening meal with cooked food, bread and tea.

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I liked the Four Seasons Giza also.  Much more convenient for travelling to sites the last two days.  You might be right about the tea but they called it high tea.  I was really looking for a good gin and tonic.

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Wow!  Enjoyed your review.

Really gets my juices going for our January trip starting in Jordon and then onto Egypt for 2/2/19 start.

Can't wait.

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18 hours ago, sawtooth said:

Wow!  Enjoyed your review.

Really gets my juices going for our January trip starting in Jordon and then onto Egypt for 2/2/19 start.

Can't wait.

I hope you too will come back and tell us about your trip, we are doing the pre trip to Jordan and then Egypt in November next year.

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2 hours ago, Gracie115 said:

I hope you too will come back and tell us about your trip, we are doing the pre trip to Jordan and then Egypt in November next year.

Yes, I will be sure to share.  I am ready to give back...I learned so much from others on this site.

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It is nice to be able to help out fellow cruisers that have questions.  We had no surprises on our trip because of all the help we received here on CC.  One thing I would like to add that I did not know beforehand.  Yes I knew to bring a lot of $1.00 U.S. for tipping but if you are Canadian or British, etc., Egyptians are allowed to take foreign currency (no coins) to the bank and have it exchanged for EP's.  I wish I had known that ahead of time as being CDN and having a crappy dollar exchange rate against the U.S. dollar, I sure would have liked to have brought CDN dollars instead of losing so much on the exchange.  So if you have anymore questions, feel free to ask here and everyone will try and answer your questions.

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What about medical precautions? The Kaiser Travel R.N. recommends Typhoid (oral), inoculations for Tetanus, Hepatitis A and B; and Permethrin spray for clothing, as well as 30-35% DEET insect repellant. We will be traveling in April of 2019. Thank you in advance for any "buggy" input.

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Interesting question about medical.  Best bet is go to the CDC website and follow their recommendations.  The only medical problems people on our tour had were a couple of instances of "mummy tummy" and a couple of cases of common cold.  We gave out our whole supply of Day and Nite Quil.  For mummy tummy, your tour guide will get you antonyl (hope I spelled it correctly).  It works extremely well.

 

We had no problems at all with mosquitos.  At a couple of locations we were bothered by common flies.  I brought along Deep Woods Off but we never used it.

 

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