CP Travel Ambassadors Marc and Roz Bokoff sailed the Nile River on a cruise to some of the most ancient and famous sites in Egypt, including the Pyramids, Memphis, Luxor and Aswan. Find out what they loved about this adventure and what tourists shoulld keep in mind when traveling to one of the most unique destinations in the world.
What specific cities and /or countries did you visit? Egypt
Did you travel via cruise ship? If so, please describe the experience and some of the standout features that you ere excited about. We were on Sonesta St. George.
What was your favorite memory from this trip? One of the most fun things was the Egyptian night where people wore galabiyas and they had some fun music, games and entertainment. Seeing the amazing temples and monuments in Egypt was fantastic!
Top excursions and landmarks/sites to visit: Must see sites are the Pyramids and the Sphinx, but you shouldn't miss the other sites in the Cairo area or along the Nile River. The rest of it is just as remarkable.
Temple of Luxor, Valley of the Kings, Edfu, Kom Umbo, Aswan are all worthwhile. We hoped to get to Abu Simbel, but due to dust storms had to cancel. Also, Memphis and Saqqara are not to be missed.
How would you describe the people and culture of this destination? Any interesting cultural lessons? People are warm and friendly. Sellers of tchotchkes in ports along the river varied from polite to very aggressive. Guides were very protective of us. Although we never experienced any problems, there was an armed escort with us at all times when we were on land. Many of the people there are looking for a "tip". If someone offers to take a photo of you, it's because they want money. If someone helps you with anything, they want money-- so be aware of that and are prepared.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about this destination? The pyramids are only a small portion of what there is to see...and not even (necessarily) the most important.
Top 5 Tips and recommendations for this trip:
1) Do NOT go yourself -- always on a tour / cruise with professional guides.
2) If you don't like middle eastern food, you might want to bring some snacks.
3) It could help to have a little background (or bring a cheat sheet) about Egyptian gods and pharaohs ... following the history can get a little confusing and you don't want to miss out on the great details.
4) Have small money for tips, either USD or Egyptian pounds
5) There are lots of locally owned river boats and we saw several. There are more that we'd consider sub-par than there are luxurious or recommendable. Unless you're using AMA, Uniworld or another "western" company, the quality is likely to vary.
What makes this destination a must-see in your opinion? Taking in the history of the Ancient Egyptian culture is like nothing else. The grandeur and attention to detail of what the ancients did is incredible.
Additional thoughts and insights? Again, this is NOT a destination to go without a guide/professional escorting you around. And, clients who want a Western level of service should probably stick to Western suppliers to make sure the experience matches up with expectations.