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  #1  
Old June 24th, 2005, 03:58 PM
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LauraS LauraS is offline
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Arrow Cruise Critic's Africa & Middle East Resource Info

Voyages to the Middle East and Africa are among cruising's most exotic -- and as such pose a lot more questions than more well known destinations. Check out our brand new Middle East and Africa section -- right now stories just target Middle Eastern ports but we look forward to plumping it up with lots of Africa ports and trips in the future.


Africa & Middle East Ports of Call by Cruise Critic
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Last edited by LauraS; June 28th, 2005 at 12:14 PM.
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  #2  
Old July 12th, 2012, 01:18 PM
lindaship lindaship is offline
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Thanks, I've been traveling in this region a bit my self and there are plenty of beautiful cruises to be found there!
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  #3  
Old June 29th, 2013, 02:03 PM
luv2cruise391 luv2cruise391 is offline
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Default Are Visas needed for cruise to Egypt and/or Israel?

I am traveling on Holland America's Rotterdam RT Athens this fall 2013 (Oct. 31) and have had several varied answers to this question. The tour operator we are using while docked in Alexandria and Port Said (Ramses) says the ship will provide as long as have a vacant page in our passport book.
Holland tells me ONLY IF we book an excursion through THEM.
Since we are sailing from Athens, obviously we need to know since we would not have an opportunity at an airport to get one as I have had some say.
I called CIBT (Zier) and they have a quite detailed process of obtaining a Visa for Egypt costing almost $200 by the time you pay this and that.
I have had no luck finding on the travel.state.gov website any precise info.
Please advise! Thanks in advance!
Debbie in MS
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  #4  
Old September 12th, 2013, 08:18 PM
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crazzyd77 crazzyd77 is offline
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Ready to go!!
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  #5  
Old September 15th, 2013, 07:09 PM
Questor3000A Questor3000A is offline
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Smile Golden IRIS and Royal Iris of Israel

Dear All,

I am a Jewish American and Israeli and love cruising. I work in the technology sector and love cruises. For all of you who want to get away from the large costly megaships, I have a real alternative for you. http://www.mano.co.il/cruises/eng/ships.php departs from HAIFA with trips to Greece, Cyprus, Turkey and the ships have short two day weekend trips along with 10 day cruises. A first class stateroom on one of these ships is very inexpensive compaired to the MEGA ships. And the line is owned and operated by Israelis. If your feeling adventurious and wanting to have a good holiday, this is a great alternative.

The food is high quality and the passangers are international. This cruiseline is one of ISRAELS best kept secrets. The cruiseline is small but is owned by MANNO Marine. I would highly recomend it.

The security is tight, but not obtrusive like American security as Israeli's believe interviewing is a better method of stoping terrorism. I am very surprised that Cruise Critic has not approached MANNO Marine.



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Originally Posted by LauraS View Post
Voyages to the Middle East and Africa are among cruising's most exotic -- and as such pose a lot more questions than more well known destinations. Check out our brand new Middle East and Africa section -- right now stories just target Middle Eastern ports but we look forward to plumping it up with lots of Africa ports and trips in the future.


Africa & Middle East Ports of Call by Cruise Critic
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  #6  
Old September 15th, 2013, 07:17 PM
Questor3000A Questor3000A is offline
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Thumbs up

Egypt is a tough port right now. The muslim brotherhood situation is out of control. Hopefully order will be restored. I would like to encourage you to consider cruising out of israel.

http://www.mano.co.il/cruises/eng/ships.php



Quote:
Originally Posted by luv2cruise391 View Post
I am traveling on Holland America's Rotterdam RT Athens this fall 2013 (Oct. 31) and have had several varied answers to this question. The tour operator we are using while docked in Alexandria and Port Said (Ramses) says the ship will provide as long as have a vacant page in our passport book.
Holland tells me ONLY IF we book an excursion through THEM.
Since we are sailing from Athens, obviously we need to know since we would not have an opportunity at an airport to get one as I have had some say.
I called CIBT (Zier) and they have a quite detailed process of obtaining a Visa for Egypt costing almost $200 by the time you pay this and that.
I have had no luck finding on the travel.state.gov website any precise info.
Please advise! Thanks in advance!
Debbie in MS
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  #7  
Old November 10th, 2013, 03:58 AM
jlajr jlajr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Questor3000A View Post
Dear All,

I am a Jewish American and Israeli and love cruising. I work in the technology sector and love cruises. For all of you who want to get away from the large costly megaships, I have a real alternative for you. http://www.mano.co.il/cruises/eng/ships.php departs from HAIFA with trips to Greece, Cyprus, Turkey and the ships have short two day weekend trips along with 10 day cruises. A first class stateroom on one of these ships is very inexpensive compaired to the MEGA ships. And the line is owned and operated by Israelis. If your feeling adventurious and wanting to have a good holiday, this is a great alternative.

The food is high quality and the passangers are international. This cruiseline is one of ISRAELS best kept secrets. The cruiseline is small but is owned by MANNO Marine. I would highly recomend it.

The security is tight, but not obtrusive like American security as Israeli's believe interviewing is a better method of stoping terrorism. I am very surprised that Cruise Critic has not approached MANNO Marine.
Hi.

I'm surprised and glad you mentioned Mano Cruises!

Only a few people would even think of doing this, but it is a great option. Do they even speak English on Mano?

It's a shame that only very rarely do cruises on international lines depart from Israeli ports. For example, Costa sails around the Red Sea, including Eilat, but as far as I can tell, you can only depart from Sharm el-Sheikh.

However, I recently saw that MSC had one-week sailings from Haifa this past summer. Unfortunately, I saw this the week after the last sailing.

Happy Cruising!
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  #8  
Old November 8th, 2014, 09:45 PM
Vineyard View Vineyard View is offline
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We just returned from a 21 day cruise that actually made it into Alexandria and Pt. Said. We were only the 2nd ship to make it in since the revolution, and heard that two ships following us were not able to make it in. We used a leading tour operator for a small group in Pt. Said to go to Cairo/Pyramids.
I would share with you that while being at the pyramids was an amazing over the top experience, be prepared for what else goes along with this choice:
1- more than 5 people in a tour requires armed security in your vehicle
2- guns - and a lot of them - will likely be pointed at your vehicle by military, security, and who knows who
3- you may be pulled over and delayed for no apparent reason and as a result you may miss your ship ( I know the cruise lines like to throw this one out there, but from experience, in Pt. said, that was close to reality for us!)

We used a lot of private tours in a number of ports - but Egypt is a very unsettled area right now. Some other passengers who were on a different private tour from us were told that their tour operator stated that they were from Another country instead of the U.S. To reduce possibility of problems.

I knew it would be dicey, but this was a bit more dicey than I am comfortable with. Just my humble opinion.
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  #9  
Old December 11th, 2014, 11:24 AM
lovelyday lovelyday is offline
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Default Concern about safety Egypt shore excursion - Real Egypt Tours removed all doubts!

We arrived in Egypt via cruise ship Oceania - Nautica November 2014. Samir greeted us immediately after docking. His communication is excellent. We typically book our own excursions and I wouldn't hesitate to book again with Real Egypt for your shore excursion. We had a reliable and excellent vehicle and driver. Samir is very educated and speaks excellent English. He is easy to understand and enjoyable to listen to. We were concerned about safety prior to arriving and never once did I feel like I was in danger. Samir knows the area well and you can be confident that safety isn't an issue. We only had one day in Cairo so we saw the Giza pyramids among many other sites. Samir is an Egyptologist and was able to take us to places where other tourists can't go. As an extra benefit Samir takes excellent pictures throughout the tour at no charge. He is the FIRST tour guide who has offered this to us and it is a great benefit! We have amazing pictures of us on camels in front of the pyramids. A once in a lifetime experience. This trip is breathtaking and exceptional. Right now is a GREAT time to visit Egypt. Few travelers are there so deals are good. A HUGE plus to booking with Samir is that he doesn't take you to the "shops". If you want to purchase something he helps you negotiate. The price was far better than the ship excursion and we had a significantly better custom tour! We only did the two of us but you could easily add two more couples for even better pricing. Booking with Real Egypt Tours and Samir Abbass is the ONLY way to go!!
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  #10  
Old February 13th, 2015, 06:39 PM
LilRoo LilRoo is offline
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Default How to Tour the Real Egypt, Safely, on a Cairo Shore Excursion

If you’re considering a shore excursion to Cairo from either Port Said or Alexandria, do yourself a favor and do it! Yes, security is an issue, but remember, this is Egypt. When isn't it an issue? VineyardView's observations about security precautions are correct. However, you have to appreciate that the Egyptian government sees tourism as a golden goose and will go to great lengths to protect it. When we were there in late October 2014, vans and buses traveled in a military/police convoy between Port Said and Cairo. No convoy was required between Alexandria and Cairo because it's further away from the border regions. There is a military/police presence virtually everywhere you go.

It's approximately a three-hour drive each way, to and from either port. So to maximize your time, it's best to do Cairo as an overnight (try to stay at the Mena House, a fantastic old hotel/hunting lodge right next to the complex at Giza). This method works great if your ship calls on both Alexandria and Port Said (leave the ship at one port and return to the ship at the next) or if your itinerary includes two days at either port. It's easy with the proper planning. You simply need to find a reputable guide and let your cruise line know that you plan to overnight off the ship. An overnight also gives you the time to travel further south to see the fantastic pyramids, temples, cemeteries and mastabas in Saqqara and Dashur (with Memphis thrown in for good measure).

If you've never seen the pyramids and all you have is one day, then we would still wholeheartedly recommend going as a long day trip -- it's worth it.

We are independent travelers who have recently started using cruises as a means of easily and cheaply getting from one place to another. But even we understand that a private guide is essential if you are new to a place like Egypt. We refused to waste our time with “private” or “semi-private tours” made up of a vanload of strangers who are invariably herded around like cattle, forced to visit rug and perfume “factories,” jewelry “studios,” papyrus “schools,” and “local” restaurants that are all part of a complex chain of tourist traps and commission kickbacks. You are not an honored guest on these tours; you are a wallet or purse to be emptied.

Using a truly exclusive private guide that does not put shopping (and extra commissions) ahead of history and culture, allows you to tailor your interests and available time into an itinerary that is interesting, experiential, and workable. The problem is finding the right guide.

That’s why it’s so important to read Tripadvisor and other reviews carefully and to communicate directly with those guides you’re considering. We must have exchanged nearly 60 emails with over 20 different prospective guide companies before we settled on our guide: Samir Abass of Real Egypt Tours.

We had many places we wanted to see beyond the usual highlights. Unlike other “private” tour companies that either tried to shoehorn us into one of their standard packages or convince us that our list was unworkable, Samir Abbass helped us to come up with a schedule and a price that worked. Yes, we got up early and stayed out late, but we covered it all and saw places and experienced things that most people never do. When you’re the only foreigner for miles around or a stand-out in a sea of locals, you know it’s real.

We found Samir to be a man who knows and loves his country, his people, and his history. He’s highly educated, speaks great English, welcomes all questions and responds with insight and intelligence. He’s a big guy with a big heart who immersed us in his country and his culture, all the while keeping our comfort and safety his first priority. Cairo as a shore excursion can be intense. But with Samir’s help we could simply sit back, do as little or as much as we liked, and enjoy.

There’s no need to worry about getting back to the ship on time either. Contingency plans are typically in place to ensure that you’ll be delivered safely back with plenty of time to spare. Ask your prospective guide about them and be sure to check out Samir Abbass of Real Egypt Day Tours when doing your research. You'll be glad you did.

All travel involves a certain degree of risk-taking, and yes, your guide may tell authorities that you are from a country other than the US to expedite matters. But don't let that keep you from seeing one of the most spectacular historical regions in the world. When will you return to this area? Will you ever return? Don't miss out. Do it while you can.
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  #11  
Old February 13th, 2015, 07:27 PM
Vineyard View Vineyard View is offline
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LilRoo - sounds like you had a totally amazing experience. I am glad that worked for you and you had no hiccups!
Yes, our guide took us to papyrus museum, and wanted to take us to a perfume factory. None of us wanted to do this. This was Ramses tours.
We started out in a convoy. For some unknown reason, we split from it and were never with one after - which I believe is when it started to go south.
Tourism represents 35% of Egypts economy - so yes, it is vitally important to the country. But tell that to all the people who are pointing guns at you - but that was just our experience. The guns are not just in the hands of the military.
My point was, just be warned and aware. If you found a great private company then I wish we had known about them! My alternative to that is suffering with a bus load of people and safety in numbers. We are still super grateful we experienced the pyramids and museum....and made it to the ship on time...even though we were the last onboard!!!
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