11 independent reviews for Egypt cultural vacation, small group

Reviews for Egypt cultural vacation, small group

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review 23 Sep 2019

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

It is hard to name just one! Abu Simbel, the Luxor Temple complex, the Karnak Temple complex or the Valley of the Kings ... all are fantastic. Yet don't discount the excitement of sailing on the Nile in a felucca.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

If possible, spend at least 2 full days in Luxor. There is so much to see that it is difficult not to feel exhausted by noon.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Local people benefited from our business, but reliance on single-use plastic water bottles is still a major issue. Everyone brought reusable drinking bottles but then had to purchase small plastic bottles of water to fill them.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

A brilliant, although exhausting, vacation.

review 9 Apr 2019

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Something tremendous happened virtually every day, from the visit to the Pyramids with the climb inside the Great Pyramid or taking a camel ride to the stunning Egyptian Museum through to the spectacular Sufi dance performance in Cairo at the very end.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

This is a fast-moving trip, as you travel all the way up the Nile to the border with Sudan, so it's sometimes exhausting due to very early starts and long road trips. The organizers build in a few recovery days, which helped. I would urge people to cough up for a few extras, like the balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings or the visit to Abu Simbel. Sleeping on the felucca was wonderful for us, but might be a bit basic for some (and bring mosquito repellent!) I wish we could have spent more time at the Egyptian Museum, but then I could happily have spent a month there, so I guess that's not practical.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Not really. We made a fast visit to a Nubian village in Aswan but I didn't see that it was of much benefit to the residents, and I didn't learn much about them or their lives. Felt a bit too much like a visit to a zoo or theme park. The excellent performance by Nubian musicians after the felucca trip was much more enjoyable, but again it would have been great to hear more from them. Finally, the beach where we had a great cookout was littered with trash from previous visitors and God knows what else--I'd have been happy to spend an hour picking it up and it would be great to bring along trash bags and incorporate that as a voluntary part of the trip, for those of us who like that stuff. I did very much appreciate the sign at the Hurghada resort showing how much food was wasted every day, it helped me eat responsibly.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Two things made this experience extraordinary: Egypt and its treasures, and the hard work of the tour guides/organizers. They killed themselves to solve problems and showed endless patience with the sometimes whiny/crabby tourists. Plus they were well-informed and fun. Various things went wrong on the trip, as far as I could tell, but they managed to change things up on the fly and keep the group mostly happy, which could not have been easy. I can't commend them enough. And Egypt itself is just a magical place, I'm so glad I got the chance to see even a little of it.

review 15 Mar 2019

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Visiting the pyramids, Sphinx, and iconic temples of course, but also the sleeper train and the sailing trip on a Felluca.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Dollars are useful. Be prepared for some very early starts.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I'm sure the vacation did benefit local people because the guides, hotel staff, and staff at all the temples and sites we visited were Egyptian.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

I loved the vacation. We saw so much in a short space of time and our guide was fantastic. Egypt is awesome!

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Marta, Thanks for taking the time to get back to us with your post-tour feedback, this is very much appreciated. I'm really pleased to hear that you had such a good trip and that you enjoyed the varied itinerary, including the Felucca and Sleeper Train. I hope that we'll be able to welcome you on another of our adventures in the future!! Anthony

review 16 Nov 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

There were many. Visiting Abu Simbel, night on a felucca, valley of the Kings, Luxor temple at night, snorkelling in the Red Sea, Coptic Cairo. Our amusing guide who was extremely well versed in Egyptology and a good organiser.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Be prepared for many early mornings, especially if participating in the optional extras. A full on trip with lots of different experiences and not much free time except the day at Hurghada.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The Nubian population benefitted from our visit.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Very good.

review 20 Oct 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

I think that there were many in fact....Night visit at Luxor, the balloon ride, and others

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Be prepared for early starts. Bring a minimum of clothing. Ignore the warnings about dress etiquette as nearly all tourist women worn shorts/tee shirts etc. The company needs to amend the comments in the briefing details so that less clothing needs to be taken of a 'modest' nature !!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I can only comment on the first one and it was good to see that all the staff were Egyptian and very helpful and friendly..particularly our guide Mohamed Karim and the other Mohamed at Hurghada.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

It was an excellent vacation if rather tiring with the early starts. Our guide was excellent, hotels very good and all staff only to willing to help..and smile !! The operator ran every thing very smoothly so I must commend the company for what was a very well run one with no hiccups at all ..

review 1 May 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The historical wonders e.g. the Temple at Luxor and the tombs in the Valley of the Kings take your breath away. The felucca experience provided some welcome fun and time to get to know the group. An outstanding feature of this vacation is the relentless pace of travel and sight seeing. Our guide Sharif was very good, judging well how much information to give.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Travel light - there is next to no time in the hotels and hardly any poolside time.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes we did. Lots of people were employed on occasional basis throughout the vacation, mainly in the role of security or escorts, as well as the drivers. Our guide tended to dissuade us from buying at the local stalls - I regret heeding his advice as it really doesn't matter to the tourist whether the prices are inflated or not; it's the worth of an object to you that matters, and it would have been good to have engaged more with Egyptian people.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

We 'did' Egypt seeing all the major cultural sites. We had an excellent group of people on the trip and we three (ages 65, 62, 28) had a thoroughly good time. A more leisurely pace would have been better and it would have been nice to have been able to get to know a bit more of current day Egypt as well as its historical past.

review 23 Apr 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The entire vacation from begining to end was just soooo exciting. The pyramids and valley of kings was incredible - even better than anticipated. The culture, small and large details of sculptures / engravings, the local history, the felucca, the Nubian village and more - I will never forget it. Even the night train had its own charm.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

It is a really full action packed vacation from begining to end. I went with my sister and we really appreciated the restful moments hanging around by the hotel pool or not having to get up extremely early, whilst the rest of the group were doing all the added extra options. The options are of course great as well but you need to get the right balance for what you want from a vacation. Hundred percent action or few moments of down-time.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We had a lovely afternoon and diner with a Nubian family. They showed us their house, including pet crocodile, made us fresh mint tea and cooked us this wonderful dinner. They were of course paid for this. Also, our guide took us to a small workshop where the locals carved pots etc from the same rock as the temples were made from. They were really happy when we bought things as they got commission and that helped their families. The felucca was a great sailing experience and saved polluting the Nile with a large cruise boat. Our guide was excellent. He was Egyptian with a degree in English literature and Egyptology. He made all the pyramids, temples and tombs come to life with his wonderfull stories and humour. He even taught us to read hieroglyphs! Therefore all in all we were introduced to the locals in an environmentally friendly way and I am sure they benefitted from our visit.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent - I really recommend it. We were expecting much more tourism around the sites. This was not the case. I hardly saw a European all week. It felt like we were going back in time when we entered the sites: Egyptians, camels, donkeys and desert.

review 4 Feb 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Seeing the Pyramids and The Sphinx.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Be prepared for a fair amount of walking.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Local people provided some boat trips, and of course worked in the restaurants and hotels we used.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

The vacation was excellent, richly informative about Egyptian history and It was very well organised.

review 4 Apr 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Visiting the temples and tombs, especially Abu Simbel.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

If coming from the UK, take Egyptian Pounds, not US Dollars, as you will only end up changing them to Pounds as easier to spend locally.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Any money spent helps the local economy as the tourist trade has suffered immensely in recent years.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Very good although the felucca was a complete waste of time, went about a mile up the Nile before parking up, then everyone got mosquito bites at night. It should do a decent sail up the river then drop everyone back to the hotel for a decent sleep. Everyone felt the same!!

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Jeff, Thanks for your message and for taking the time to get back to us with your feedback, this is very much appreciated. Iím really pleased to hear that you generally enjoyed the tour and were able to give us a great 4-star rating, I agree with you about Abu Simbel, itís an amazing feat of engineering and the story of how UNESCO moved the temples is pretty incredible too. Iím sorry that you werenít happy with the night spent on the Nile. Many of our clients mention that this was the highlight of their trip, since the experience on the Felucca is quite unique. We do prefer to use the smaller Felucca sailboats rather than the larger Nile Cruises where possible, as it's a much more unique experience and benefits the local Nubian people around Aswan much more. However the Felucca captains are now quite restricted by the local authorities in where they are able to sail with passengers onboard and where they can moor up at night. This does mean that in the winter months if the wind isn't favourable and we don't get going early enough, we can't get that far downstream before we have to stop. On this tour we do offer the option of upgrading the Felucca to an extra night in Aswan and in the case of taking this option you would sail on the Felucca during the day before returning to Aswan for the night as you have mentioned. We donít include this option as standard as we do have many passengers who enjoy sleeping onboard the Felucca, however the choice is available for those who prefer a little more comfort. Overall itís great to hear about your time in Egypt and thanks once again for getting back to us with your feedback.

review 2 Apr 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Visiting the pyramids and the Valley of the Kings and some of the temples.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Read the overview. We stayed on a locally made boat for lunch, dinner and slept on it. Some people felt the overnight should not have been put in. We also travelled on a train overnight which someone did not like. But I think it was part of the experience.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I am not sure. However the local people were very pleasant.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Very good.

Read the operator's response here:

Hi Audrey, Many thanks for your review and feedback about your Discover Egypt tour with us. I'm delighted that you enjoyed your trip. A couple of the points on the trip that you've highlighted are in the tour specifically to help local people and reduce environmental impacts. Those are the overnight felucca sailboat trip and the overnight sleeper train. The felucca is owned and operated by local Nubian people from Aswan, who rely on the feluccas for their family income. And the sleeper train is there both to allow you to see more of Egypt as you travel through, and also to reduce the carbon footprint of the tour. We do offer upgrades to both of these for people who would like some more comfort - there's a hotel upgrade option to replace the felucca, and a flight upgrade option to replace the train. I hope we have the opportunity to arrange another vacation for you in the future. best wishes, Ralph

review 14 Nov 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Visiting the Valley of the Kings and the Temple of Karnak.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Go with an open mind and give Egypt a chance.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I definitely believe that the vacation benefitted local people as the Egyptian economy relies on tourism and currently there are very few tourists.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Wonderful. I thoroughly recommend it. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgable; we were in small groups (10 -11 people per group) and we were very well looked after. The sites are amazing, the weather is good. It was a brilliant vacation.

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