I have some questions about this trip

I am debating between this tour and a tour offered by another company. This one seems to have a considerable amount of downtime based on what is listed in the brochure so I am hoping people who have been on this trip can tell me if that is true. It looks like people have breakfast, sightsee, come back for lunch, sightsee and then come back for dinner for around 5 total hours of sightseeing.

Here are my specific questions for certain days:

(1) Do people go in the 4,000 year old pyramid that just opened,
(2) around how much time is spent touring on day two,
(3) what do people do on day seven after flying back to Cairo from Abu Simbel
(4) around how much time do people spend at the Egyptian museum since that is the only thing scheduled on a day.
(5) how much time is spent touring on day 9,
(6) do people go in the Jewish temple on day 9,
(7) how much time is spent at Abu Simbel. There are around 4 flights there and 4 flights back.
(8) after flying back to Aswan on day 9 what else is planned or available for people to do. I don't want to just fly to Abu Simbel, see the temples, fly to Aswan and then hang out at the hotel. Alexander & Roberts, which is the other company I am considering, flies straight back to Cairo.
(9) how much time is spent touring per day on days 8 and 9.

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Comments

  • edited June 2020

    spencerwhittier
    7:01PM in Egypt: Jewels of the Nile

    Spencer, this forum is not well visited by former travelers, this tour restarted in January after an 8 year hiatus, and only a few departures launched before it (like Jordan & Egypt) was shut down due to COVID-19, so you'll be lucky if someone weighs in. Karen1672 and BlountvilleTN were on the Jordan & Egypt trip but haven't seen them post in awhile. ChicagoTravelers took the Jewels of the Nile in late January. Here is a link to a thread with some of her reports.

    I'll give one guess as to free time- It can get very hot in Egypt from Aswan to Luxor from noon to 4 pm depending on the month, but from late April to mid-October the temps can be easily over 100° F there. The tour involves a lot of walking too. So think of time on the ship as a chance to rest and cool-down.

    As to your other questions- here are a few answers from what I learned from one traveler and Tauck

    1) I think what you see depends on what is open the day you go. Chicago Travelers just visited pyramid of Teti I in Saqqara (not the 4700 year old Step Pyramid of Djoser, nor the 4600 year old Bent Pyramid which was re-opened in 2019 after being closed for 50 years, the Red Pyramid nor others.) In Giza she visited but did not enter the pyramids.

    4) That will likely change if the GEM has opened. If it has opened, you'll go to the GEM, not the old museum which will be converted into a cultural museum.

    7) 2 to 2.5 hr

    Your other questions will be a challenge for people to remember unless they made notes on their daily go sheets.

  • spencerwhittier I'm curious if this is your first Tauck tour? I've been on many and there isn't a lot of "down-time" with nothing to do. At many points on the itinerary, brief periods of downtime are welcomed to rejuvenate or go back to certain areas where you wanted to explore further. Tauck Tours can be exhausting--at the end of the tour is when you take your vacation :) You learn a lot, you walk a lot, you eat a lot and you meet wonderful people...but un-welcomed downtime is not something I've ever experienced during a Tauck Tour. I've also taken expeditions with Lindblad/National Geographic, again---not a lot of downtime. As the Captain on the Antarctica trip said one morning at 3AM when he woke us up to see a spectacular sight--he said, you paid a LOT of money to take this tour, you can sleep when you get back home.

  • There are several things I am thinking. First, there was another post from Spencer about this tour that mentioned another tour company that had now disappeared. I don’t know whether someone has marked it as spam or whether Spencer deleted it. Second, Many of Tauck’s tours may have to change their content going forward because of restrictions in the countries On numbers at sites, restaurants, even the number of people allowed in hotels or on the boats, so this is pretty irrelevant.
    Finally, Pure luxury, I am finding there is more free time on the tours than there ever used to be. On the couple of small ship tours I have taken with Tauck, there is far far too much down time.

  • One more point- the itinerary in the brochures and website, are only a rough outline of what the daily schedule looks like- As British and PureLuxury said, there is very little down time on a Tauck tour. When you do have some, it is typically welcomed by everyone.

  • Hello. I will try to respond to everyone. @Alan, thank you for providing all of that information and the link. I enjoyed reading that person's descriptions of her days. Do you know when the GEM is going to open? I know it has been delayed but I couldn't find anything online regarding the estimated opening. I spent months planning a trip to Dubai for January of 2021 and it was totally booked and we even went so far as selecting restaurants and looking at menus but since we were going to see the Worlds Fair and it was moved a year because of the pandemic, we now have to find a substitute. We would hate to fly to Cairo and be told one of the largest attractions in Cairo isn't open so we are thinking of going in the beginning of March. The end of March would have better weather in Cairo but, if weather.com is correct it looks like Luxor and Aswan will be too warm in late April/early May because the temps get into the upper 80/early 90s. I hope the renovations of the Karnak temple will be done by March. The rams were recently removed and one website said they might not be back until June of 2021. I know it is a large area and there are other things to see but I think they look pretty lining the path.
    Oh, you mentioned that Chicago Travelers went into certain pyramids. I know from reading her trip report that tickets are required to enter them. Do you know if the participants get to pick which ones they go in?

    @British, I signed up yesterday so that I could post. If there is some other Spencer who was posting it was not me. I do not know if my travel companion posted a comment using my account. The individual knows I was going to ask questions and is aware of what password I use for things like tripadvisor so it is possible she guessed I would use the same password to post here. I did post questions on Tripadvisor about Tauck, Artisans and Lindblad's trips to Egypt so that might be where you saw questions by someone named Spencer.

    @PureLuxury, you are correct that I have never been on a Tauck trip. if you have been on Tauck's Egypt tour can you provide me with details about your experience with Tauck's Egypt tour? For example, can you inform me if I am correct and people do have breakfast, go out for a few hours, have lunch, go out for a few more hours and then come back and get ready for dinner? I have only used guides one other time in my life and it was a private tour in India. I did a private tour because I, along with the person I was traveling with, wanted to go out first thing in the morning around 8-8:30, not stop for lunch, and continue sightseeing until around 7:30-8pm at night. I realize that a group tour will include stops for lunch but I am still trying to figure out around how many hours people actually spend sightseeing so that myself and my traveling companion can make a fully informed decision with as many facts as possible. Artisans of Leisure was wonderful when we went to India but a relative has friends she plays bridge with that mentioned Tauck goes to Egypt but they have never used Tauck so I thought would ask details on this forum. I realize the schedule is only a rough guide but if you have been on this tour can you please shed some light on what occurs on the day people fly to Abu Simbel? Alexander & Roberts flies back to Cairo after seeing Abu Simbel but Tauck flies back to Aswan. The brochure does not mentioning anything occurring beyond checking into the hotel in Aswan. What did you do when you got back to Aswan? I checked the flight schedules and it is possible people will be back in Aswan by 2:30. Turning to day eight, it says people fly to Cairo, goto a museum and then spend the rest of the day at leisure. The flights to Cairo arrive in the morning which means people in theory could be out of the museum by the very early afternoon.

  • Hello Spencer, welcome to the forum. I have taken many Tauck tours, but not to Egypt, I’m one of the few people who has no interest in seeing it. You have mentioned another tour company, Alexander and Roberts. I looked at their website when I saw your post about them yesterday. They seem very high priced indeed. I looked at the Gorilla one to compare what I took with Tauck a few months ago, my tour was two weeks with many days on Safari before the Gorilla trekking part, I think the A and R one was less than a week and was way more expensive for what you get.
    I’m wondering if you might be better taking a private tour because you wan to spend a lot more time site seeing than you would get from Tauck or pretty much any other tour company.
    There are many posts about Egypt on the forum including many many about the GEM.and from Alan in particular who always does loads of research and like he says, it is a new tour. Tauck did not go to Egypt for quite a while due to the unrest there. It’s good to wade your way through the forum posts, there is always something to learn in them, but it takes time.
    You have completely forgotten what I am calling the Covid factor, that could still be putting the spanner in the works so early as next March, in which case, Tauck is a good option since you can guarantee you will get your money back if the tour does not go, unlike some tour companies. Finally, from what Alan says, most tours of Egypt with Tauck are already full for next year.Most people book about eighteen months in advance for the popular tours.
    I hope you find my comments helpful and not negative.

  • Spencer - This "I did a private tour because I, along with the person I was traveling with, wanted to go out first thing in the morning around 8-8:30, not stop for lunch, and continue sightseeing until around 7:30-8pm at night.", is definitely not Tauck. The start time is similar to Tauck, with some days, based on the tour starting a bit earlier. I would estimate that a typical Tauck day includes 6-8 hours of activities. Some days are only half that, with the rest of the day planned as 'Do as you please' time. One, two, or three meals may be provided by Tauck. It varies from tour to tour and day to day. In addition, based on the tour, Tauck oftentimes provides some sort of evening entertainment - a special dinner at a special location, some type of performance, admittance to some special location when the general public isn't present, etc.

  • @British, maybe it is the Covid factor but all but only 2 of the around 20 Tauck Egypt tours are sold out for 2021 so I have a little bit of time. However, I know I can't wait until the last minute even though I would love to wait to book anything until there is a vaccine.

  • Spencer - we were scheduled to go to Australia (Tasmania and Kangaroo Island) in February 2020 and cancelled it because of the fires. We then scheduled Egypt: Jewel of the Nile in its place for March 2020 and had that cancelled because of the virus but we rescheduled Egypt for March 25, 2021 on the Philae. We have never been to Egypt and are very excited about it. Tauck started a Jordan and Egypt trip which we did not consider because we went on the Israel and Jordan trip last year and didn't want to return to Jordan. From everything I've read and watched this is going to be a great trip. We also spoke with our Travel Agent (a registered Tauck travel agent not working for Tauck) and he told us the company owner of the business has worked with Tauck for many years and personally went on aspects of this trip when it was in the planning stage and reported it was fabulous. I would not be very concerned about schedules and activities and times in various places. That's what Tauck does (and why you have decided not to do it on your own) and they do an outstanding job at it so just sit back and let it happen.

  • edited June 2020

    spencerwhittier
    1:03AM

    . . . . Do you know when the GEM is going to open?

    I check regularly (including just now), but there hasn't been anything new for a few months- the opening "has been pushed into 2021" is all that I can find. Work is being done by local Egyptian firms and a significant number of foreign contractors and engineering firms, and continues, but due to COVID-19, at a much slower pace. So, its anyone's guess when it will be open. The sad part, is that less and less will be available to view at the old Egyptian Museum in Tahir Square downtown. If I were a betting man and more of a pessimist, I would put my money on 2022- the 100th anniversary of Carter's discovery of Tut's tomb.

    We would hate to fly to Cairo and be told one of the largest attractions in Cairo isn't open so we are thinking of going in the beginning of March.

    You'll be lucky to find any openings in Feb or March 2021- though the website shows "limited" availability, I know for a fact there is only a spot for a single traveler on one date. If you do any more traveling with Tauck you find popular tours sell out quickly often more than a year out. Some departures like many for Egypt and Jordan & Egypt sold out before going live on the Tauck website. When our March 2020 tour was cancelled, we re-booked immediately for 2021 and were lucky to find any openings and are on a waitlist for our desired date. In any case, I had already rationalized the GEM would not be open by the fact when I started planning the trip over a year and a half ago, I didn't know about the GEM.

    The end of March would have better weather in Cairo but, if weather.com is correct it looks like Luxor and Aswan will be too warm in late April/early May because the temps get into the upper 80/early 90s. I hope the renovations of the Karnak temple will be done by March.

    Check WeatherSpark. I think you are underestimating the weather in the south in April/May - I suspect it could be in the mid to high 90's and even over 100°F in Aswan. (it is 106° F in Aswan at 4 pm today.) As to Karnak, I don't put much faith in local schedules, there is an Islamic expression that is appropriate- "Inshallah." There is an incredible amount of work going on at every major site, so you never know what you will find- while the Rams may be back up, something else could be blocked off. Supposedly, Egypt is disinfecting all open sites and using this time to continue repairs- the problem is there are just so many incredible sites to work.

    Temps in Aswan:

    I know from reading her trip report that tickets are required to enter them. Do you know if the participants get to pick which ones they go in?

    You get what you get. Like in the Valley of the Kings, the additional (2) tombs beyond Tut's that the Tauck people may visit are selected/designated by the local guides/site administrator, since the visit is after hours and not all are open at that time. In some places it may be a ticket that covers one attraction or multiple attractions (e.g. Jordan pass, etc.) but I can pretty much guarantee that any needed tickets will be held by the TD and everyone will stay in a group, if for no other reason than security and safety. Depending on what we see with Tauck, we plan to take a post-tour excursion on our own with a private guide to see more of the Dahshur and Saqqarra necropolis.

    I did a private tour because I, along with the person I was traveling with, wanted to go out first thing in the morning around 8-8:30, not stop for lunch, and continue sightseeing until around 7:30-8pm at night.

    With the exception of Tauck Bridges family tours, you must remember, the typical Tauck traveler is in their 60's- this is not your "grab your backpack and dash off to climb Mt Kilimanjaro" group. Compare the typical time of "Free Time" with the hottest time of day. :) With a few exceptions, on this and most Tauck tours- breakfast usually opens between 6:30 or 7:30 and the buses depart between 8:00 and 8:30. In at least one case lunch will be a boxed lunch since no suitable places are available or close by. If I can read my scribbled notes I'll add the schedule for Day 8 and Day 9 (Abu Simbel) provided by a Tauck phone rep- remember schedules can and will change. The is for a Jordan & Egypt tour but is slightly different than the regular tour, because the Egypt portion of this departure starts in Luxor and travels south to Aswan, like the Jewels tour.

    Day 8:
    0800 depart west bank by boat
    Visit St. Simon Monastery
    visit Nubian Village/cultural center
    11:30 leave pier and return to the river boat for lunch
    After lunch tour Philea Temple (1+ hr)
    Free time
    Sunset cruise aboard a felucca
    Dinner aboard

    Day 9:
    0630 depart river boat and transfer to Aswan Airport
    Fly to Abu Simbel (private charter)
    2+ hour visit to Abu Simbel
    Box lunch at the airport
    Fly back to Aswan
    Photo op at the Aswan Dam
    Check in at the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Hotel
    Free time
    1830 Dinner at the 1902 Restaurant

  • AlanS You're awesome with your responses. I'm not in the typical Tauck Traveler category yet...but hope to continue traveling with Tauck when I get to that milestone. B)

  • spencerwhittier Unfortunately I cannot answer any of your questions as I'm scheduled for the December 2020 Jordan/Egypt Tour...Fingers crossed it will not be cancelled. This week I will probably place a deposit on the December 2021 Tour just in case....

  • Those of you who are placing deposits for the same tour but the following year. Do you have to take out the insurance as well?

  • edited June 2020

    British
    1:33PM

    Those of you who are placing deposits for the same tour but the following year. Do you have to take out the insurance as well?

    Yes, as far as I know. I forgot to ask but wasn't told otherwise. In fact, unless the agent is particularly aware or you tell him/her, he/she may not know you are already booked on a different departure of the same tour.

  • Are deposits fully refundable when you cancel multiple date bookings of the same trip. If so, until how far out?

  • I wonder whether in future the insurance will be refundable

  • edited June 2020

    BKMD
    3:24PM

    Are deposits fully refundable when you cancel multiple date bookings of the same trip. If so, until how far out?

    Only time will tell, and I think it depends on what the current policy is at the time and whether there is a special COVID19 policy in effect. As I understand it, the basic insurance covers cancellations "for any reason" if you have the insurance which is put in a DreamSaver if you cancel. As to how much you really get back and in what form (cash or voucher) is up to interpretation. This is the reason I really didn't want to mention this topic. I don't want someone else taking my suggestion, then complaining if it doesn't go as expected. YMMV!! It also locks up a considerable chunk of money especially with some of the pricier tours requiring final payment 4 months prior. Then, you must figure in the air, especially if not booked through Tauck.

    Remember, the intent is to take a Tauck tour now or later and not game the system. I think everyone who booked a trip subsequently cancelled by Tauck is at an unfair disadvantage- you are now thrown into the booking process with everyone else booking future tours, but potentially much later (too late?) in the game especially when tours are cancelled late in the cycle. As I have found and the number of waitlists attest, that reduces your chance of getting a departure that fits your requirements, or for that matter, in the worst case, any departure at all in the following year. Tauck doesn't give nor will likely ever give booking priority to anyone. I don't know how they could do it that would be equitable to everyone, at least at this stage of the game. They could hold back a certain number of spots for people whose trips were previously cancelled, but if this goes on for much longer that would be tough- you can't fit two departure's worth of people into a single departure- the only way to do it would be to increase the number of departures which in some cases would be impossible- as it is, Tauck must compete with other tour companies for port/docking, hotel, attraction etc., etc. space.

  • Alan, I do indeed see your point because policies may change, so nothing anyone writes here should be thought of as Gospel and they should talk with Tauck before making any money decisions. As I understood it, and here, I mean my husband and and I.....and it took a second phone Call to clarify and we still are not totally convinced we get it now.....if you have money in your Dream saver from a cancelled Tour, you can only apply it to another tour the once and then it is gone, it cannot be applied to another tour if the tour you applied it to gets cancelled. We have one insurance already in our Dream saver, will shortly be getting another Insurance in it when they cancel our October tour. Then if they cancel our Israel and Jordan next April, that‘s a lot of money that you have to risk putting to another tour that might be cancelled.....this is why we are reluctant to book any more tours until we see how things proceed in the future. I’m just not so optimistic as most people about this returning to normal. To have a vaccine that works and that everyone can receive on the planet In such a short time seems remote. If only some people in some countries receive a vaccine re will not be a sufficient Herd affect to do away with social distancing, limited people allowed on ships, museums etc etc. I do so hope I am wrong, it’s lonely our here thinking this way!

  • edited June 2020

    Perhaps there is a difference between taking a ‘dream saver’ and paying for an existing reservation. When our September “Treasures ...” trip was cancelled, all of the funds including insurance, but minus the air which will be refunded separately, went into our “Antarctica” trip in 2021. They actually added $500 per person because “Treasures” was fully paid for. Had we only made the required deposit plus insurance they would have ‘only’ added $250 per person.

    I just checked the math, and the above is correct. All of the funds including insurance cost, plus $1000 dollars, went into Antarctica. Had I requested a refund, the insurance would have gone into a dream saver account, and no $1000 dollar (500 each) voucher.

  • Yes, that was the. Voice we were given, but we took our deposit back. What I don’t understand is whether once you apply anything from the Dream saver, whether you get that back or whether that is also gone.

  • British - What you say about the Dreamsaver may be correct, you can only apply it once, but I sure hope not. That would be unTauckian. That is more like a con or shell game approach. As long as it is Tauck cancelling tours and not you, I would think you would be able to continue paying it forward so to speak, moving the same stuff back into and out of the Dreamsaver over and over. I would try one more time with Tauck, perhaps you get a different or clearer explanation. Your current explanation, seems, like I said, isn’t something that Tauck would do.

  • I reread your previous post. Unless you are more concerned about Tauck going out of business, I would suggest that not taking a refund, and transferring the funds to an existing reservation, if you have another trip cancelled, may be a better option. Depending on the timing of your trips, it occurs to me that it might me better under some circumstances to pay off the trip early if you fear it might be cancelled. A ‘free’ $1000 bucks if you transfer, and don’t request a refund. But I’m an optimist, or I would never have made that first carrier landing. (;-)

  • I agree with Sealord. That is what happened with our March 2020 J&E (we had already made the final payment)- the deposit, insurance, 2 X $500 special credit, cruise price, everything, went towards our Jan 2021 J&E. We still owe a tad, because we haven't paid for the post tour stay (Mena House rates haven't been set) and the price of the tour increased by about $900 per person.

  • Hi. I called Tauck and the woman I spoke with confirmed there is lots of free time. She went through the day by day schedule, which is more detailed than what is on the website. For day two, she said there are 5.75 hours of tour time . On day seven people are free as of 3:15pm. On day 8 people spend 1.75 hours with the guide and are free after visiting the museum that morning. On day nine people are free from 2:45pm on. If anyone has specific questions about the times at each site let me know because I wrote them down. Oh, on day two you visit the inside of one pyramid in the morning and she thinks one in the afternoon you also visit the inside of one but she is not positive and her manager also was not positive. She was very helpful.

  • Spencer - one thing you need to be aware of is schedules can change at the last minute for a multitude of reasons, so it's risky to buy timed tickets for free time. I've been on trips where the schedule for a couple of days in a city were swapped.

  • Yes, it’s quite common for schedules to switch around, especially on new tours as the Tour Directors realize that some times and schemes don’t work in the field. You get to see everything but In different orders. I still think that this far out, the tours may have to be changed considerably because of the Virus causing new restrictions on the number of people allowed in sites at one time, for the foreseeable future. Are’t there any scientists out there to confirm this?

  • One other aspect of timing I forgot to mention- Tauck schedules both the Jordan & Egypt and Egypt, Jewels of the Nile tours in the fall, winter and spring because of the extreme daytime temperatures at other times of the year. Check out sunrise and sunset during those months- your hours of daylight will be much shorter than if you went in the summer.

    As to schedules changes- as British and BKMD say, most tours are subject to change- some tours can be worse than others- the Classic Italy tours spend almost 3 days in Rome, but the two visits to the Vatican and Vatican Museums are controlled by the Papal staff and can totally change, time and day, at the last minute disrupting the three day schedule. This Egypt tours are starting fresh, are essentially new tours, so who knows how things will go.

    Maybe one of the few travelers who has done this tour will weigh in, but during the Nile River cruise portion of the tour, you will not likely be allowed off the boat to wander into town in your free time, especially after dark. You'll need to spend your free time at the bar or pool on the top deck of the river boat. I suspect the only usable free time will be in Cairo.

  • We have had our March 2021 Egypt:Jewels of the Nile trip booked for weeks now having moved it from March 2020 and hope it happens. Just this past week we booked our Business Air for the trip and got a great price and schedule and already have received our seat assignments. Equipment and schedules might change so we are ready for that. The great thing is that in the past we had to pay for the air in full to get seat assignments but this time we paid nothing for the Air and only have to pay for the Air when we have to make the final payment for the Land Tour. Either the airline or Tauck probably made that change given all the cancellations and reimbursements of the past few months. Of course, we booked Air AND Land through Tauck so we wouldn't have to deal with any airlines on our own. We wouldn't do it any other way.

  • Hi Virginia. Am I correct that March is better weather than April? I am confused because companies charge more to travel in April but it is so hot then and it isn't like the temples or pyramids have air conditioning
    I noticed the Tauck tour does not contain Memphis or the other pyramids in that area. Did anyone independently go there? Did anyone see if Tauck would add them when you took the tour? Did anyone who saw them independently think they were not worth visiting?

    The day in Giza does not say people went in any of the pyramids there. Did you have time to go in them? The Great Pyramid looks like it has a narrow interior but I would like to go in it if possible.
    Day three does not mention going in Seti or Ramses VI. Did anyone ask Tauck to get tickets to them? Did people have time to go in them?
    Has anyone been told what museum will be visited while in Cairo see the new Grand Egyptian Museum will allegedly be finished with the construction this year but may not be open until the fall of 2021?

  • spencerwhittier - Here is the climate data for both Cairo and Luxor. You can get answers to your weather questions.


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