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We did the two-day tour with Ramses with an overnight in Cairo. When George sent us the email confirmation, he promised us a tour of a lifetime and he certainly was true to his word.
We are veteran cruisers and travelers and have visited 60+ countries, and I have to say this was the BEST tour we have ever had!!
We were with fellow CC members "Dorijo". We were not sure if we would be able to get off the ship at 7AM because we thought we might have to wait until all of the ship's tours departed first. There were no announcements, so we just went to the gangway at 7AM and were the first ones off the ship. We walked past all of the tour buses that were lined up until we came to the lined up mini vans. We spotted a van with our name in the window, met the Ramses staff, was introduced to our guide, Karim and driver, Ahmed, and off we went. We had a late model air conditioned mini van that was very comfortable for the four of us and our guide and driver.
During the first day we visited the Mosque, Museum, Coptic Cairo, the modern area around the Hard Rock Cafe, and watched the feluccas sailing on the Nile. We opted out of doing the felucca ride we originally wanted to do because it was starting to get dark and a bit cool and windy. Karim was ready to take us as originally planned, but we enjoyed it just as much to watch the beautiful boats sailing as the sun was setting. We ate an early dinner and then went to the Khan El Khalili bazaar, shopped, and picked up cartouches that had previously been ordered before arriving at the LeMeredien Hotel for the night. The hotel was very nice and modern and our room was very large and comfortable. There are also nice shops in the hotel if you wanted to continue to shop that night!!
The next morning, after a nice included breakfast, we went to Memphis, Sakkara, and several shopping stops in Cairo (at our request) on our way to the pyramids at Giza. We spent time at the pyramids and sphinx and rode camels near the sphinx before having lunch and heading back to Alexandria.
Karim took us to several special areas on the way back to Alexandria, so that we could see more of the local life and even made sure we drove by the lighthouse and library in Alexandria before returning to the ship. If we even mentioned wanting to see a specific landmark or location in Alexandria or Cairo, Karim made sure that we saw it. Ahmed's driving in the wild and crazy traffic was incredible!!
Karim took us to where we wanted to go and went the extra mile to make sure we saw and did everything we wanted to do. He asked us if we wanted to go to the papyrus factory and the rug factory and once we told him we did not want to go to either one, the subject never came up again. Once we mentioned we wanted to shop for something specific, he made sure he took us to a place where we could find what we were looking for. He also went the extra mile to help us order a cartouche ring during our last hours there and made sure it was ready in time for us to pick up before we returned to the ship. He was so enthusiastic the entire two days, and really wanted to make our tour a special one- and he certainly succeeded!!
We wished we had more time in Egypt. We found the people to be warm and friendly and never felt threatened or intimidated at any time. We met several other families/groups on our cruise who also did tours with Ramses, and everyone had the same favorable comments when we returned back to the ship and started comparing notes.
I highly recommend contacting Ramses and they will customize your tour to make it YOUR tour for what you want to do. We look forward to returning to Egypt again one day and when we do, we will be touring once again with Ramses.
If anyone has any specific questions or needs specific information, please give me your email address and I will email you directly with the info.
I'm going to book with Ramses Tours when we go on our cruise. I did get and e-mail right away about the trip and price. For those who all ready did the tours when you pay do you have to pay cash or is credit card OK. if it is cash what form of money US dollars,Euros. Sorry for the odd questions but I'm the type of person that likes to be prepared.
We just returned from an overnight with Ramses. We paid at the end of the tour with cash in U.S. dollars. I believe they want cash and dollars. I am going to email Karon the details about the cartouches.
A cartouche is a pendant that has your name in heirogrifics (the old Egyptain language). It can be in silver or gold. It is a elongated rectangle with the lettering running from top to bottom rather than across. It is a favorite purchase for tourists in Egypt.
Jim & Karon-51 Cruises -- 495 days at sea
We found them in 18KT yellow gold, sterling silver and sterling silver with yellow gold lettering.....I believe some places may have white gold also, but we did not see any....yellow gold is more prevalent in that part of the world. We had the option to have them single sided or double sided.....with a choice of names in hieroglyphics, English or Arabic.....most got single sided in hieroglyphics....a few got double sided with hieroglyphics and English and I got double sided in hieroglyphics and Arabic.....a wonderful souvenir of Egypt and a nice conversation piece. You can also do an on-line search for "Egyptian cartouche" for additional information and see the hieroglyphic alphabet. Also a bit hit for a special gift for someone.
Used Ramses Tours for an overnight tour to Cairo for two persons. Picked us up directly from the Alexandria Port from the NCL Jade (Dec. 15). When you e-mail Ramses they will reply with a standard overnight tour with extra cost add-ons. While some of the add-ons would be standard on some ship tours the overall cost is cheaper using Ramses and you get to decide what you want to add on. Paid $780 for two persons with pyramids, Sphinx, Citadel and Mosque, Eygptian museum on the first day and then on the second day Memphis with shopping. All meals were included except for dinner. We paid for upgrade to stay at the Oberoi Mena House next to the pyramids ($50 per person) and visit the solar boat ($20pp by pyramids) and mummy rooms ($20pp in Egyptian Museum) which is the actual cost of admission. I recommend stay at the Oberoi Mena House even though when we went we only saw the pyramids from the hotel in the morning (sunset was 5 pm). The location made it easier to get to the pyramids and Memphis without being caught in Cairo traffic.
Our guide was Marawan Mohamed who has intimate knowledge of Egypt - so read up on ancient Egypt and ask questions, you'll get an education.
Overall it was an excellent tour, considering that the boat left Alexandria at 6 pm and to allow for uncertainities he had us back at the boat by 4 pm (It's 3 hours to Cairo from Alexandria).
While initial e-mails were acknowledged reasonably, within a day or two, confirmation of add-ons and tour wishes was slow or didn't occur until after repeated e-mails.
Payment is in cash - so take a money belt. I took cash from home left it in the room safe in the ship.
While we saw everything that was promised the order may change due to weather or where you stay.
Welcome to Cruise Critic. I appreciate your report.
Can you give us your opinion about the value of the solar boat and the mummy room? We're setting up our itinerary with Ramses.
Many thanks. Kathy
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The Solar Boat next to Cheops Pyramid is a definite go see and worth the admission. The Mummy Rooms in the Egyptian Museum was OK, but if you've seen a mummy before spend more time in King Tuts room. It just mummies with short descriptions (though if the museum is hot it is the only air conditioned rooms.)
Considering doing over night with Ramses. Could anyone give me an idea of the time that the sight and sound show is presented and then what time is the Nile dinner cruise? I am assuming that one will follow the other if I opt to do both of these optional tours. Any advice or comments on doing both?
Thanks for any info
Jim & Karon-51 Cruises -- 495 days at sea
Karon - The light and sound show is at several different times and in several different languages. We did not do either, but Ramses can tell you the times on both. I think the English version of the light/sound show may have been at both 7:30PM and 9:30PM but not sure. I think they have different times on the dinner cruise also. If those are the times, you will probably need to do the dinner cruise first and then the 9:30 light and sound show, so you will have to have it timed with the rest of your sightseeing earlier in the day. If some in your group want to do this and some do not, they can take some to the hotel first and then take the others to the dinner and or light/sound show.....you will just need to tell Ramses what you want and they will coordinate the times to make sure you get to do it all.....they will also give you the prices for both so that everyone can decide if they want to do this option or not.
Google the light and sound show. there are different times depending on the time of the year. we went last month and the english show was at 6:30. we went with ramses and the implication was that there was not time to do both. we have friends that were on the same trip and they did do the nile river cruise. they were not as impressed because it was dark and they couldn't really tell that they were on the nile. the light and sound show is a little cheesy, but the view of the pyramids is great. if you have one, bring a tripod. we got great pictures setting the shutter on 8 seconds. it was well worth the extra $4 US charge
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On our one-day tour to Cairo from Alexandria, we had lunch at the Hard Rock Café in the Hyatt on the Nile. I had inquired ahead of time where and when we would have lunch and was given the same answer as you.
I had also asked if we could get something a bit more 'local', but once there, I understood that a precise time and place might be difficult to commit to. Traffic is horrendous and depending on where you are in the city, it might be wiser to change plans.
Hard Rock Café has an 'Egyptian Food' all-you-can-eat buffet and that's what was included in the price of our tour. We had to pay for beverages. For a cola and a beer it was close to 20$. Food was OK at best. Our guide didn't eat that, he ordered a hamburger!! And that's what I would do next time. But by the time we got there (past 2h30) I was so hungry, that I would have eaten anything!!
But the location was great - we had a great view of the Nile and after lunch, we walked for 5 minutes to the Feluccas for our ride on the Nile, which was absolutely fantastic!!
Looking forward to:
12/12/2013 Explorer of the Seas - Caribbean 10 days
04/27/2014 Ruby Princess - Transatlantic
07/15/2014 Celebrity Silhouette - Greek Isles
10/14/2014 Celebrity Constellation - Black Sea
10/25/2014 Celebrity Constellation - Holy Land
02/02/2015 Celebrity Infinity - Antartica
Great memories of 296 days at sea on :
27) 10/24/2013 Celebrity Infinity - Transatlantic Harwich to Miami
26) 07/2013 Celebrity Summit - Bermuda
25) 03/2013 Celebrity Infinity - South America and Canal crossing
24) 10/2012 Brilliance of the Seas - Canada and St-Pierre Miquelon
23) 05/2012 Celebrity Silhouette - Mediterranean & Adriatic
22) 10/2011 Celebrity Silhouette - Holy Land
21) 12/2010 Emerald Princess - Southern Carribbean
20) 10/2010 Celebrity Equinox - Transatlantic
19) 06/2010 Azamara Journey - Norwegian Fjords
18) 10/2009 Azamara Quest - Ancient Empires
17) 01/2009 Azamara Quest - Asia, Hong Kong to Tianjin
16) 08/2008 Sea Princess - Iceland, Greenland Transatlantic
15) 04/2008 Navigator of the Seas - Eastbound Transatlantic FLL to Barcelona
14) 12/2007 Emerald Princess - Southern Caribbean
13) 10/2007 Serenade of the Seas - Circle Hawaii
12) 02/2007 Golden Princess - South America & Cape Horn, Strait of Magellan
11) 08/2006 Golden Princess - British Isles
10) 11/2005 NCL Star - Mexican Riviera
9) 05/2005 HAL Rotterdam - Mediterranean:Venice, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Italy
8) 01/2005 Costa Magica - Mediterranean (Egypt,Turkey, Cyprus, Greece)
7) 08/2004 HAL Zuiderdam - Hurricane Frances Eastern Caribbean
6) 05/2004 Sun Princess - Alaska Southbound
5) 05/2003 Regal Princess - Baltics Russia
4) 12/2002 Celebrity Constellation - Southern Caribbean
3) 10/2001 Golden Princess - Eastern Caribbean
2) 03/2001 Carnival Sensation - Western Caribbean
1) 04/1999 Costa Romantica - Western Caribbean
Last edited by Marie-Claude; January 17th, 2010 at 10:16 AM.
I posted this separately, too:
We did private excursions in both Ashodod and Cairo and had a stellar time (and got back earlier than the Costa excursion folks in BOTH ports.)
We went with Kalman Goldner (private guide) in Ashdod. Nice new-model van-type car, excellent reliable and pleasant guide. Seemed more geared toward the Jewish sights and less enthusiatic about Chirstian/Moslem ones, but we went to all the places we wanted to see, so it was fine. We went to Western Wall, Via Dolorosa, Chruch of Holy Sepulcher, Mount of Olives, Yad Vashem (Holocaust Museum) and the a funky and fast local restaurant for lunch. You need to strongly express your preferences with him, otherwise he goes his own way. Here's how I'd rate him. Scale 1-5. (Cost was $500 USD for up to 6 people. Same fee whether you had 2 or 6.)
Bathroom breaks: 5
Knowledge of area/history: 5
Adventuresome (felt somewhat by rote): 1
Communicates the "plan": 4
Shopping: 2 (he kinda didn't seem too thrilled with shopping or food)
In Port Said/CAIRO we booked with George of Ramses Tours. We had a fun guide named Kareem and a driver. We were offered an armed guard to come with us, but we declined. Our only complaint with this tour is that the vehicle had issues with safety belts and general comfort of the seats (there's a lot of driving involved.) But otherwise, the lunch, the camel ride and the stop at the Alexandria Library were superb. Really, really excellent and worth every penny. Cost was about 145 Euros per person including a 50 minute camel ride. Here's how I rate this tour:
Vehicle : 3
Bathroom Breaks: 4
Knowledge of area/history: 5
Adventuresome (in a good way): 5
Communicating the "plan" 4
Food (lunch): 5 (A buffet restaurant in Giza, not Hard Rock; food okay)
Kalman likes to talk on the phone to make arrangements; George handled everything via email. I would use both these guides again, though this time I would be more assertive with Kalman regarding my preferences, and I would make sure we had a newer vehicle with George.
We went with Ramses in November and they consulted us before going. I did not want the Hard rock Cafe, but something Egyptian. We were taken to the Peace Cafe near the Museum. It was excellent. They had a hot and cold buffet. Our lunch was included in the price of our tour.
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2016 Land tour in Argentina and Chile: cities and Patagonia
Sailed: Dragon's Pearl Halong Bay, Vietnam 2014 Azamara Quest Far East, March 5, 2011 Victoria Empress, Yangtze River, March 25, 2011 Azamara Quest Ancient Empires, Nov. 14, 2009
Independent land tours:
Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam 2014
New Zealand and Australia 2013
Argentina and Peru, 2007
Europe, 1985, 91-92, 95, 2001, 2003, 2008, 2011
numerous in US and Canada
Guatemala and Mexico 1971, 1972
Just returned from NCL trip 3 days ago. Used Ramses for both days (we stayed on boat overnight). They were GREAT- our guide for both days was a young man named Islam -I can not say enough about him! He knows SO much and was so excited to share his wealth of knowledge! Our Cairo day was cut 4 hrs short by fog not allowing the boat to dock until 11AM rather than 7AM, so it cut short some of our activities, but Islam made the best of the time allowed. Also the driver who's name I can not remember (this was Jan 10th & 11th I think) was wonderful. We felt very safe. There were 10 of us in our group and we had a bus that can fit about 20 people! Have a wonderful time!
We also used Ramses Tours for a 1 day trip on the late arriving Jade Jan.10th.
4 of us in a minivan with a great driver and our guide Mohammed Khamis Doma..He had so much knowledge and seemed to love sharing all aspects of his culture..
Mohammed said they are independent guides, so work with all tours.
Since we were 5 hours late, he got us to the pyramids before closing, and the Egyptian Museum...no lunch stops or shopping stops.
We were not bothered much when we stayed close to our guide..He was able to help us skip lines, payed entrance fees, and knew where clean restrooms were located, even gave us Egyptian money for restroom attendent.
Our day ended about 9:30 pm back at our ship.
Ramses Tours and our guide made up for the late start, as the pyramids were one of our main reason for taking this cruise.
We were happy customers.
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2012 Carnival Glory, 2012 Ruby Princess 2012 Brilliance of the Seas
2011 Emerald Princess,2011 NCL Jade
2010 NCL Jade, 2009 Diamond Princess, 2009 NCL Dawn, 2008 Caribbean Princess, 2007 MSC Lirica,2006 Tahitian Princess,2006 Sapphire Princess, 2004 NCL Dream, 2004 Grand Princess, 2002 NCL Norway, 2000 Ocean Princess, 1995 RCCL Sovereign of the Seas