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Luxor, Petra, Valley of the Kings How to Do


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Hello all.  We are on a cruise out of Dubai to Jerusalem and we want to see Luxor, Petra and the Valley of the Kings in a small group tour (not ships tour). Below is our ship itinerary.  Does anyone have suggestions of how to do all three locations.  We are willing to spend a night off the ship in Safaga if necessary.  

Any recommendations of tour companies would be helpful as well.

  Muscat, Oman 12:00 PM 8:00 PM
  Cruising the Arabian Sea    


Salalah, Oman 10:00 AM 7:00 PM


Cruising the Gulf of Aden    
  Cruising the Red Sea    
  Cruising the Red Sea    
  Cruising the Red Sea    
  Luxor (Safaga), Egypt 6:00 AM 11:59 PM
  Luxor (Safaga), Egypt   9:00 PM
  Aqaba, Jordan 10:00 AM 10:00 PM



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Posted (edited)

Luxor is about 3 1/2 hours from Safaga, most of it across open desert. 

We rarely use ship's excursions, but this was one occasion when we chickened-out for our one-day port-of-call. Ship's coach excursion was surprisingly good.


There are no sensible public transport options.


If you're going to fix up a small-group tour, do research operators carefully including trusted reviews and ensuring that they're long-established & verifying advertised membership of any tourism organisation. Start by checking out cruisers' experiences on this forum https://boards.cruisecritic.com/search/?q=Luxor&quick=1&type=forums_topic&nodes=19

It needs to be a proper tour operator with English-speaking guide, the sites aren't well signed and you really do need background etc or much of what you see will be pointless. 

Yes, to avoid wasting up to 7 hours of boring travel and to enjoy an evening in Luxor (and the Karnak Sound & Light Show?) by booking a Luxor hotel.


We made a decent fist of a single day in Luxor, including Luxor Temple, the Temple of Luxor, the Temple of Hapshetsut, and of course the Valley of the Kings,

With two days you can achieve so much more, including a more-leisurely pace.


Petra is about 2 1/2 hours from Aqaba, again mainly across open desert - so similar care is required in choosing a tour operator. The route is just a little more scenic, including panoramic overlooks in the high desert.

Whilst you have only a single day in Aqaba, that's plenty. 


There's a great deal of walking, including a walk of about 40 minutes from the entrance & down the narrow siq to the treasury building at the head of the wide valley/canyon.

The path down the siq  is smooth, but in the valley it's rough & stony. Despite having plenty of time, those with a degree of walking difficulty might stray little further than the Treasury but will still find the experience well-worthwhile. The walk back up the siq seems endless, it's shaded but quite tiring.  I understand that the two-passenger horse-drawn buggies which ply the siq have been replaced or supplemented by a more-comfortable and more-organised alternative but my quick google search didn't provide any detail - hopefully a recent visitor can answer that, or you'll need to do a thorough google search.

Facilities in the valley are very limited. but excellent in the town.

The Petra entrance fee for those visiting Jordan for just a single day is high - do check that the entrance fee is included in tour quotes.


We were berthed overnight in Aqaba - on the second day we visited Wadi Rum (Lawrence of Arabia, Seven Pillars of Wisdom) including a 4WD jeep trip through the high desert and a Bedouin camp - a great experience.

Wadi Rum is only about 18 miles / 30 minutes  off the route to Petra. Some folk have visited both Petra & Wadi Rum in a single rushed day. Since your back-on-board time will probably be 9.30pm  you may have more time to do both, but that will depend on sunset time and operating hours for both places, and perhaps Wadi Rum first which isn't ideal.


The high desert can be surprisingly cold, including early or late snow. So take a warm coat, altho you'll probably want to leave it in your vehicle at Petra.



For all ports you will be hassled by vendors, that's simply a fact of life.

If you show interest in something you will be hounded by persistent vendors for a while - therefore there's a tendency not to look, making their efforts counter-productive. I have some bits & pieces I picked up in Egypt, from a vendor who didn't hound me.

For small trinkets from street traders & stalls you can use euros or GBP including one or two-euro & pound coins, or USD.

Some wares are ingeniously re-purposed to create souvenirs.

If a kid asks you to change-up coins to bills that's not a con, banks don't accept foreign coin - so do please help them out if you can.


You'll be invited to take a short camel ride in a few places. Be very very wary, ignore offers to sit on a camel or just take a photo with a camel "free of charge" - you will be aggressively asked for money. 


Do check your cruise RollCall for fellow-cruisers seeking sharers. Or - if you feel confident - to tentatively book a small-group tour & seek sharers yourself


JB 🙂


Edited by John Bull
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