Egypt: Abercrombie & Kent

About twelve days ago, I received the below advertisement from Abercrombie & Kent. Since then, I have debated whether to post it.

I think the trip could be interesting for someone and for this tour operator, this might be a deal.  I  caution all readers interested in this trip to ask Abercrombie & Kent for a definition of Egyptologist, then decide if you are okay with that definition.

 

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Spend three nights cruising the Nile on board luxurious Sanctuary ‘Sun Boat IV,’ with enriching guidance from an Egyptologist
See the treasures of Tutankhamun at the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, where artifacts date back to 4000 BC
Marvel at the Great Pyramid of Cheops, the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still standing
Explore the interior of one of the three pyramids at Giza
Visit the Solar Boat Museum and behold the Great Sphinx
Board a motorboat to the Island of Agilika, where you explore the stunning Philae Temple
Get a taste of local cuisine when you attend a hands-on Egyptian cooking demonstration
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Egypt: What is an Egyptologist? (Research Part Deux)

Egypt has been the hardest country to research because of my criteria. This post should be titled Egypt and Jordan but I am too tired to research Jordan this week.

The biggest issue with Egypt is the definition for Egyptologist. It appears that licensed tour guides in Egypt call themselves Egyptologist.

My idea of an Egyptologist is different.

I want an Indian Jones or the chick from the Mummy. Basically, a PhD that has studied Egyptian history and artifacts extensively and maybe gone on a dig (archaeology).

Apparently, my definition of Egyptologist means that they are not a dime a dozen.

I could only find the people I wanted with companies that specialized in education or archaeology tours.

Also, Egyptologists are pricey  because it was impossible to keep the original budget. There is a  strikethrough in Criteria under cost to mark the revision.

I researched a LOT of tour operators before compiling the below list.

Criteria

Cost: must be less than US$3000

Entrance fees: must be inclusive of the tour price

Guides: must be an Egyptologist in Egypt and must speak  English

Presence: must have an online presence

Itinerary: if a packaged tour, it must be reasonably paced

Transport:private and air conditioned vehicles

Occupancy: pricing for single, double,and group

Egypt Tour Operators + Tours

  1. Andante Travels
  2. Archaeological Tours
    • Archaeological  Tours is an American company. Tours are led by scholars from universities and museums.
    • Group Tour: Splendors of Ancient Egypt -17 Day Tour
    • Dates: February 10 – 26, 2017
    • Cost: $5995 (double) or $6880 (solo)
  3. Far Horizons
    • Far Horizons specializes in upscale, educational tours throughout the world
    • Group TourUndiscovered Egypt Tour – 14 Day Tour
    • Dates: TBD
    • Cost: TBD, but this year’s tour is about $13,000 including airfare. There is a $1395 supplement for solos.

Of the tours listed above, I am the least interested in the one from Far Horizons. I think the tour cost is exorbitant for the offering.

Finally, Lonely Planet Egypt was not a good source. At over 500 pages, I believe the definition for Egyptologist should be presented largely and clearly on page 2. I still haven’t found it.

 

 

Egypt and Jordan: Research

To effectively research my travel options  for Jordan and Egypt, I have released all preconceived notions. I am re-examining information that I discarded.

Sources

I am using traveler feedback, travel guides, travel sites and tourism boards.

Specific sources are:

  • TripAdvisor forums
  • Fodor forums
  • Lonely Planet Egypt Guide
  • Jordan tourism board

Tour Operators

I have compiled lists of Tour Operators that service Jordan and Egypt.  I have contained the lists to a spreadsheet with three tabs, Jordan-based Tour Operators, Egypt-based Tour Operators, and US-based Tour Operators.

Only one tour operator  is on all lists, Abercrombie and Kent.

Criteria

Tour Operators are selected for further review based on the following criteria:

Cost: must be less than US$3000

Entrance fees: must be inclusive of the tour price

Guides: must be an Egyptologist in Egypt and must speak  English

Presence: must have an online presence

Itinerary: if a packaged tour, it must be reasonably paced

Transport:private and air conditioned vehicles

Occupancy: pricing for single, double,and group

 

 

Egypt and the Nile: Still want to go

Last week, I posted a too good to  be true deal from FriendlyPlanet.  Well, too good to be true for me anyway since there is no way I would fly on EgyptAir.

But it got me thinking about going to Egypt or Jordan this year.

Egypt

When I think of Egypt and the  Nile, Abercrombie & Kent or Uniworld come to mind.

But yesterday, I read a post about Abercrombie & Kent in Africa. Let’s just say the post was derogatory.   A lot of things were said but the main point was boring. I would hate to spend a bunch of money to be bored. I have heard that the pacing of some of their tours can be slow. However, they have been lauded by many as being the premier tour operator for Egypt.

Uniworld is mentioned a lot as having a good product in Egypt.

The Uniworld trip Splendors of Egypt & the Nile is 12 days and costs about $5200

The Abercrombie & Kent trip  Signature Egypt and the Nile is 10 days and costs about $8000.

Today, I looked at Memphis Tours  which is a reputable tour operator for the Middle East and Egypt. They have two packages that really interest me.

  1. Jordan Classic Tour and Hiking Travel Adventure   – Accommodation B   – $1475
  2. Round Trip Nile Cruise and Pyramids  – Accommodation B – $1495

This is a fraction of the price of going on Abercrombie and Kent or Uniworld. Honestly, you can bore me for $1500.

Egypt: Understanding a Deal

I really want to go to Egypt and Jordan. I know it is not on my list of places posted on this site but it is on the list I carry in my heart.

This morning, I saw a screaming “deal” on Friendly Planet for Egypt and the Nile.

It is a 10 day trip to Egypt with a cruise of the Nile for $1999 including airfare.

So let’s break this apart.  This is the deal:

  • Round trip flights from New York (JFK) via EgyptAir, including fuel surcharges and taxes and fees
  • Arrival & departure transfers with meeting, assistance and porterage
  • All intra-Egypt flights and ground transportation
  • 5-star hotel accommodations at the Fairmont Nile City Hotel
  • 4 nights aboard a 5-star Nile cruise ship in an outside cabin
  • 16 meals: buffet breakfast daily and all meals aboard the cruise
  • All shore excursions on Nile Cruise
  • Comprehensive touring program including entrance fees
  • Professional English-speaking Egyptologist tour director and local guides

The first thing you need to ask yourself is “Do I want to fly on Egypt Air in coach?”

As you may remember, on May 19,2016  EgyptAir flight 840 crashed. We are awaiting a determination as to why this happened; was it terrorism or mechanical failure?

But even if that did not happen, EgyptAir has two problems for me.

  1. They do not serve alcohol.
  2. Smoking is allowed.

In theory issue, 1 and 2 should be switched because I really can not breathe if you smoke in an unventilated area. However, one of the best things about international flights is the free alcohol.  Knowing these things, I guess the flight is the cheapest part of this deal because very few people in developed countries want to fly for 10 hours and 40 minutes sucking down second-hand smoke.

Did that blow this deal for you?

If you don’t care how you get to your locale this might be a deal for you.  Make sure you check the itinerary and make sure you research  the boat.