Our Abercrombie & Kent Small Group Journey to Egypt turned out to be much more than I thought it would be. Dreaming of seeing pyramids with my own eyes one day since childhood, we did that the first night. Arguably a star of the show, gigantic pyramids were just one tiny part of the overall experience but served as a wonderful starting place. As our day-by-day live account of what it is like to visit Egypt comes to a close, let’s take a look at the expectation set in advance by A&K compared to the actual experience.
A High Level Of Security
Appropriately, Abercrombie & Kent staffers along with tourism-oriented security personnel were seen close by us every single day, at every place we went. Every day we traveled by motor coach to one place or another, often led and followed by security escort in addition to an armed guard on each bus. On walking tours, guards kept a bit of distance from us but were always witrrhin sight.
Pesky Venders A Good Trade Off For No Crowds
Egypt’s once booming tourism industry experienced the same slump as many other popular destinations around the world during the recent worldwide recession. Had that been the only recent variable to head south, recovery would have been rather quick. Dealing tourism a near deathly blow, Egypt’s civil revolution can be blamed for desperate vendors on the way in to and out of every attraction. Still, the far fewer crowds of a struggling tourism industry had a positive side: no crowds at places obviously set up to handle massive numbers of visitors.
Complicated Unadvertised Scheduling A Part Of The Deal
Much like how a European river cruise hardly ever goes exactly by the simple place-to-place itinerary advertised, what we did every day in Egypt turned out to be different than anticipated. I mean that in a very good way: what we actually did turned out to be better. A good example is our visit to Abu Simbel which required an early morning flight there, time on the ground, returning to one airport with time to kill filled by a boxed lunch then on to the next place by air. If left land travel, we either would not have seen the marvelous attraction or would have spent hours on a bus to do so and chewed up a good part of the day to do so.
More Events Than Anticipated
On an ocean cruise the itinerary is pretty much set in stone right down to the anticipated time of arrival and departure of each port of call. In the Caribbean, for example, we sail from Florida to Cozumel, Grand Cayman and some cruise line’s private island with a couple days at sea spent getting to that part of the world. For the most part, it takes a hurricane or mechanical problem with the ship to change that.
Make the jump over to European river cruises and we learn rather quickly that the planned itinerary is rather fluid, changing due to a number of variable factors that are difficult to nail down in advance. Higher or lower water levels than normal can make passing under bridges or even sailing at all impossible. Passengers often get off the ship for a tour via motorcoach then the ship sails away, meeting up with them later.
On our Abercrombie & Kent small group tour, we began and ended on land, bookending a river cruise that was just 4 days of the total 8-day experience. Interesting to me, while I thought the river cruise would be a major part of it all, it was not. Driving and flying to different places, we saw much more than would have been possible had we done just the river cruise and nothing else. In that way our experience has been sort of like the Princess Cruises escorted Alaska cruise tour we took five years ago.
The Guide/Escort Is A Huge Part Of It All
Like that escorted Alaska cruisetour, our Abercrombie & Kent small group travel experience brought an Egyptologist with us every step of the way. In addition to providing qualified, insightful content as we traveled, Ibrahim kept us on schedule with a daily briefing to begin each day. At the end of the day, he set the expectation for what we would experience tomorrow. Redundancy has it’s charm.
Little Things That Mean A Lot
Often the little things a travel company does add up to a big advantage. In the case of A&K, there is no shortage in this area, beginning with strong and sturdy luggage tags sent to our homes before travel. That focus on detail continued throughout the small group journey in a number of ways.
Encouraging us to drink plenty of the provided bottled water throughout the day while on tour, that meant frequent restroom stops. Like in Europe, in Egypt using a public restroom (Water Closet/WC) required a one Egyptian pound coin. On day two of our journey, Ibrahim gave each of us a dozen of the coins.
At Abu Simbel, photos are not allowed in the temples. To compensate, A&K provided prints of the major exhibits along with a group photo taken at the site to bring home with us.
On a fun Egyptian Night, passengers were given their choice of colorful galabiyyas (traditional Egyptian robes) to wear and take home after.
At a number of times throughout our tours, A&K provided sampling of local fare as we passed areas where those products were made. At the Valley of the Kings on a hot day, frozen ice cream cones (not actually made there) were a welcome treat.
There are other little things, surprises along the way that I’m just not going to tell you about. I don’t want to spoil all the fun! Come visit Egypt while the crowds are away with a travel company that knows what they are doing here: Abercrombie & Kent.
Coming up: While we’re not quite done with Egypt, we have arrived in Jordan for a short visit called a ‘Jordan Extension’. It’s part of Abercrombie & Kent’s Signature series of travel products; something we have not done before. Come along and discover it with me ok?
Follow Along On Our Abercrombie & Kent Journey:
At ChrisCruises.com via these previous posts:
- Social Egypt And Jordan, A&K Style: Your Guide To Our Journey
- Our Luxury Small Group Journey: Detailed Itinerary
- Abercrombie & Kent Luxury: Arriving In Egypt
- Abercrombie & Kent Luxury: They Do Your Homework
- Abercrombie & Kent Luxury: They Can Turn On A Dime
- Abercrombie & Kent Luxury: Speaking Of Kings And Queens
- Abercrombie & Kent Luxury: And Then He Paused
- Abercrombie & Kent Luxury: Chris Wears A Dress
On Facebook– see ChrisCruises for updates and these image collections, added to as time and Internet connection permit (so check back later too):
- Photo Album: A Day In Egypt With Abercrombie & Kent
- Photo Album: The Temple Of Luxor
- Photo Album: Favorite Images From Egypt
- Photo Album: The Temples Of Abu Simbel
- Photo Album: The Cairo Bazaar
- Mena House Hotel Cairo
- On The Streets Of Cairo
- Egyptian Museum Of Antiquities
- Lunch On The Nile
- Karnak Bazar
- Cairo Street Scenes
- Mit Rahina Museum
- Step Pyramid
- Tomb of Ka Gimni
- Carpet School
- Aboushakra Egyptian Lunch
- Giza Pyramids
- The Solar Boat
- A Camel Ride In Egypt
- The Iconic Sphinx
- Valley of the Kings
- Mena House Dinner
- Temple Of Karnak
- Sanctuary Resorts Sun Boat IV
- Seen On The Nile
- Sun Boat IV Culinary
- Egyptian Night
- Sunrise On The Nile
- Scenic Cruising On The Nile
- Luxor By Day
- Temple Of Goddess Hathor At Denderah
- Nile Dining On Deck
- Sundown On The Nile
- Luxor At Night
Check These Other Social Sources From Us As Well
- On Twitter – @OrlandoChris – A Florida travel writer taking you deep inside cruise vacations
- On Instagram- ChrisCruises as well
- Pinterest photo boards- ChrisCruises too (coming soon)
- Exposure Photo Narratives – ChrisCruises again (coming soon)