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Everything posted by cwistyred

  1. Thank you for the information. Looks like this trip is unlikely to occur. Do not know for certain. So incredibly horrible for Israel, and the good people of the Middle East. God Bless.
  2. Thank you very much for the help and information. I think I have found a good accommodation in the Christian Quarter near the Jaffa Gate. Hopefully we will have access to at least a few open restaurants in that area.
  3. No, we are not Jewish. I am very familiar with the holidays however as I grew up in New York. The cruise is sailing on October 9th of next year. We are coming in on the 4th. Just the luck of the draw. Trying to be optimistic as we will have to deal with the limitations of the dates we will be there. That is why I wanted to know what area will be best to stay in, as I know transportation will be limited. We will be taking organized tours during our visit, so that part is taken care of.
  4. We will be taking a cruise out of Israel in Oct of 2024. We will arrive 5 days before the cruise to tour Jerusalem and all the major sites. We will be there during Rosh Hashanah, which will be exciting but complicate some aspects of the trip. We are older but mobile. What area of Jerusalem would you recommend to see the most and have to use transportation the least? We have looked at hotels near the big market - Machane Yehuda, the Christian Quarter and right outside the Damascus Gate. The holiday may make checking in at certain hotels on the date we plan to arrive - October 4th, impossible. Thank you for any recommendations!
  5. We would have been happy to go back to the airport to save us the grief and aggravation of thinking we were not going to get to the ship. Never offered to us. I thought I was being clever going a day early to the resort in Sokhna. Maybe that is why you are not seeing any other stories like mine as we deviated from the norm of going directly from Cairo to the ship. Also on our voyage although guests did get on in Sokhna, I would say the majority got on in Jeddah or Safaga, so not as many experiences to be shared. I hope for everyone’s sake that access to that port is improved - a lot!
  6. Yes, people on the cruise did use MSC transfers from Cairo Airport to the ship. This was never offered to me despite the numerous calls I made to MSC customer service. Most of the people who used the transfer booked their trip through a Travel Agent, which I learned the hard way is the only way to travel on MSC.
  7. Used the HOHO in Athens in April. Found it remarkably convenient as we bought the tickets and caught the bus right outside of the ship. Went to many areas of the city and then caught the bus back to the ship. I think the system in Athens was very well run.YMMV
  8. We were in Athens in April. Right at the dock we bought Hop On Hop Off tickets. From Piraeus it takes you to the main hub for all the bus companies. From there we caught the bus that stops directly in front of the museum. Then caught the bus later and visited other areas of the city. At the end of the day, went back to the main hub and caught bus back to the ship. Lots of buses, very convenient we thought. Reasonable price. I know in other cities, these buses can be hit or miss, but Athens seems to have this well thought out.
  9. Ahhhhh here is where the story went bad. I will tell you - MSC will tell you that they do not have transfers from the airport to Sokhna -they do. Force the issue and take their transfer. Sokhna port is very difficult to get to. I booked a hotel in Sokhna for the night before the cruise. MSC said there were no transfers and I wanted to get to the port early. Got to the hotel, which is 15 minutes from the port, during check in I said I needed a car to take us to the port in the morning. This started the misery. I was told point blank that the cars and taxis in that area cannot take passengers to the port. Special license needed. No one has one. Cannot drop you at the port entrance, industrial port. The hotel then spent over 6 hours trying to get anyone to take us to the port. Finally they got a hold of someone from MSC Egypt the next morning and they sent some guy who worked at the port to pick us up. I spoke to MSC USA and they basically said “ I should have booked a transfer”. I was told there were NONE. Told me they could not help me and this was my problem, Rough night thinking we would miss the ship and our shore excursion to Luxor. Moral of story - book the transfer!!! The $175 from Cairo with delivery to the ship sounds about right. But be sure it is directly to the ship - I do not think most hotels in Cairo know the rules. The shore excursion in Luxor and the 3 days in Cairo were wonderful. The hotel in Sokhna was sooooo beautiful (although we did not get to enjoy it). The staff of that hotel were the best. Saved that part of the trip. Great people.
  10. To be honest I have not heard or read about that company. We recently used Egypt Tours Portal for private day tours in Cairo, and a small group tour for an overnight to Luxor from Safaga. Highly recommend this company. Good rates and totally reliable for us.
  11. We just recently used Egypt Tours Portal for our overnight from Safaga to Luxor. Pickup right at the ship. Excellent company and tour guide. Small group, wonderful hotel. Used them in Cairo as well. We are Seniors too. Most difficult part of the trip were the aggressive vendors!
  12. We booked three days worth of private tours through Egypt Tours Portal. We chose what to see on what days. We booked the hotel through an online booking site. We then booked a car to drive us to Ein Sokhna to catch the MSC Splendida. Pretty easy to arrange on your own.
  13. Just did this in April. We disembarked in Bari, stayed there and Matera. The day before we left Bari, we walked over to Bari Centrale and bought first class tickets on the high speed train to Rome. We could have gone second class but we had a lot of luggage and thought there might be more space there. Seems that was true. Very pleasant trip and quick. Do not stress over this. Just go to the station and ask for help. I purchased our tickets from the machine.
  14. We were there in April and did a land trip in Cairo pre cruise. We had a private guide and driver for three days and stayed in a hotel looking out over the Pyramids. We caught our cruise in Sokhna and then did a small group tour to Luxor. In neither case did we have any armed guards with us. Prior to the trip I confess I was a little nervous about safety. Once we arrived in Egypt, I never even thought about it. Always felt safe. I was more concerned about having my pockets picked by over aggressive vendors in Luxor.
  15. That is good news! Thank you for the information. Still hate to miss that fabulous restaurant for lunch. ☹️
  16. Glad to see Levant is still giving tours of Ephesus. He was our guide back in 2013 and he was excellent. We are going back next year on an NCL cruise, however we are only in port from 6AM to 12:30PM. Not sure if we can get to Ephesus and back in that short amount of time. Also we would miss the wonderful local restaurant that Levant took us to in Selchuk. Seems a shame to cut time in this amazing port so short.
  17. Good evening, We are on a cruise in a few weeks that stops in Bari. It is not the final stop, but we are planning to disembark there. For those of you who have had Bari on your itinerary, did you actually dock there? Just trying to determine if there is a significant risk that this port could be cancelled. Some ports are just more prone to weather issues. I have a backup plan, but fingers crossed that we do not have to use it. Thank you!
  18. Good afternoon everyone, Has anyone used Egypt Tours Portal for any trip? I found them online and they have been very responsive. Their overnight shore excursion from Safaga to Luxor looks like just what we want in a tour. Just curious about anyone else’s experience. Thank you!
  19. We are also trying to change elements of the trip. We are happy that they have added Bari, as that is where my family is from, and we have never been there. We are trying to change our embarkation to Sokhna instead of Safaga. Not having much luck at this point, but have emailed MSC with our request. As to leaving the cruise early, from everything that I have ever heard or read, that has to be arranged ahead of time. I would definitely call and email again. I cannot imagine that this is something you would do on the fly.
  20. Good afternoon everyone, Next April we are taking a cruise that departs from Safaga Egypt. We are coming in early to visit Cairo and Luxor. The cruise line has not made any information available if they are going to offer transport from Luxor. In case they do not, has anyone hired a car service, used a bus or any other mode to get to the port? Thank you for any advice.
  21. Good afternoon everyone, Tried to find this answer online as well as on this site, but as we know MSC can be cryptic and non-specific.regarding, well…… most everything. For those who know, does the non-alcoholic package include frozen drinks? Also it says it includes ice cream, from what venue please? Thank you!
  22. We are on this trip as well. We are embarking in Safaga. Received our update email this morning from MSC. Added two nights to our trip, and one additional port. No additional charge. Since I have not really booked any additional travel plans for this trip, we are okay with the changes.
  23. Good evening everyone, Just booked a cruise on MSC for the first time. The embarkation port is Safaga in Egypt. It is three hours away from Luxor. No major transportation to the port. Does MSC offer transfers from major airports to the ship? I did not find any information regarding this on their website. Thank you for any information.
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