Overall the trip was a success and very enjoyable. We surveyed over 4,000+ years of ancient Egyptian history, set foot in about six different cities, and traveled by just about every kind of transportation you could think of (plane, train, car, ship, and horse and carriage.) Ordinarily I avoid travel agents and do all the planning myself, but the logistics of this trip were so complex and the execution by this travel company so well done, I'm happy I didn't try to do that this time. This agent and his team are great professionals who went out of their way to ensure our constant happiness, safety, and comfort. He patiently worked with me over the phone to design an itinerary fitting exactly to my desires and needs and once on the ground in Egypt we had gracious and knowledgeable hosts. Our accommodations were also superb, especially the cruise.
The most enjoyable parts of the trip were the tours, specifically the time spent with our tour guides. Our guide in Cairo made an instant and lasting connection with my mom. She was extremely gracious, patient, and thoughtful and went out of her way to assist my mom (in her late sixties) with getting around, stay constantly engaged in friendly conversation, and to even make unplanned stops along the way to grab some items (like snacks and medical equipment) to fulfill her requests/needs. Our guide during our Nile cruise and was also extremely welcoming, considerate, and helpful. Both provided highly informative tours that managed to package a TON of information in concise and digestible formats.
Of course, beyond the guides the phenomenal sights themselves were unforgettable. While nothing can beat seeing and crawling inside the pyramids, we also loved the camel ride, the visit to Abu Simbel, and the experience of walking inside several pharaoh's tombs.
I would either shave off a day or two or rework the schedule to include an alternative to the last few days of my itinerary. Following the cruise we returned to Cairo, two days were spent touring Old Cairo's religious sites and the Egyptology museum, and a third day we drove up to Alexandria. While we enjoyed visiting all these places, compared to the first part of the trip they were sort of unimpressive. The visits to Old Cairo and the museum could have/should have really been combined into one day. Alexandria, while a nice city, is mostly devoid of anything to see/do outside of visiting the beach. In that sense it might have been a better use of our time to skip it altogether and just chill out in Sharm El Sheik or find another location with some cool temples or monuments.
I would also have planned a better meal experience. The food on the cruise was decent, and much better than the cuisine we had everywhere else. In Cairo and Alexandria though, the food was mostly subpar. Probably the best we had was the one lunch when our guide grabbed us some street food, falafel and bean sandwiches, which was tasty. It just seemed that every other time we were being fed some kind of grilled meat, which got old especially since none of it was ever particularly good. I would have liked the option to pick our own restaurants and to actually choose from a menu rather than be shuttled to a pre-selected place and given a choice of two things (mix grill or chicken). In theory we had such a choice a few times when meals weren't provided, but in reality all that meant was we'd order room service or risk venturing out into the chaotic streets of Cairo on our own, something we weren't about to do given the crazy traffic we observed.
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