Early starts on Egypt and Jordan?

Wondering if anyone remembers if this is a grueling trip with very early morning starts, like the Egypt: Jewel of the Nile? I see in various trip reports there are incredibly early starts in Jewel of the Nile Tour ( one 3 am luggage collection with 4 am bus and multiple 6:30 departures from the hotels). Is the Egypt and Jordan trip similar, worse or less?
Thank you


  • Much the same, except I don't remember departing the hotels or Nile Cruiser as early as 6:30. Some of the reasons are so you don't waste too much time getting from Petra to Wadi Rum to Aswan and Luxor to Cairo. Another is to beat the crowds and beat the heat.

    I can dig out my Daily Sheets if you want specifics.

  • MotherOfPoodles - The Egypt portion of the two tours is much the same.

    I believe some of the early departures in Egypt are driven by EgyptAir schedules. Tauck doesn't have as much flexibility getting you from Cairo to Luxor and then Aswan back to Cairo on EgyptAir as they do getting you to/from Abu Simbel where they use chartered flights.

  • Just completed this tour a few weeks ago. looking at TDs handbook. Day 5 - Wadi Rum - 6:30am on coach, as later we took charter flight to Aswan. Day 6 - 6:30am on coach for charter flight to Abu Simbel. Day 10 - 5:45am on coach for flight to Cairo. Compared to what I have read - much more relaxed starts than Jewels of Nile. Not bad at all, for everything we were able to see.

  • edited December 2022

    You can always count on some adjustments and of course when you get up depends strictly on your own pace. Here are the details from the 17 Mar 2022 J&E (Small group aboard Oberoi Philea) so times may differ for a standard tour. There were certainly a number of long days- I loved every second of it! :D

    Day 1: 5:30 pm: Reception and Welcome Dinner
    Day 2: 8:00 am: Meet on the motor coach (on to Jerash)
    Day 3: 7:15 am:Tagged luggage ready inside your room. 8:30 am: Coach departs for Mt. Nebo and onwards to Petra
    Day 4: 7:30 am: Meet in lobby for walking tour of Petra
    Day 5: 5:30 am: Tagged luggage ready outside your room. 6:30 am: Coach departs for Wadi Rum and onwards to Aqaba (charter flight to Aswan
    Day 6: 5:30 am: Tagged luggage ready inside your room. 6:30 am: Coach departs for Aswan Airport (charter flight Abu Simbel)
    Day 7: 8:00 am: Meet in lobby for tour of St Simeon and Philea temple. Afternoon tour of Kom Ombo.
    Day 8: 9:00 am: Meet in boat's lobby for bus transfer to Edfu Temple.
    Day 9: 8:00 am: Coach departs for visit to Karnak & Luxor Temples. Return to boat for lunch them afternoon/evening visit VOQ & VOK.
    Day 10: 5:30 am: Tagged luggage ready outside your room. 6:30 am: Coach departs for Luxor Airport- TBA commercial flight to Cairo
    Day 11: 8:00 am: Coach departs for short drive to Giza followed by lunch at Palm Club and tour of Saqqara.
    Day 12: 8:00 am Coach departs for visits to Mosque and Coptic Quarter.
    Day 13: Depends on your flight arrangements. Many flights depart at 2:45 am :o

    We delayed a day, so had another full day to tour with a private guide. We used the GOT for our pre-stay on the Dead Sea, so had to pay for the post stay in Cairo even though we did not use the room for a full night since our flight left at 2:45 am and Tauck allows 4 hours- 1 for transfer + 3 for international check-in. It gave us a place to store our bags, rest, and get ready to fly home after a full day of extra touring.

  • AlanS Basically same as our 11/20/22 trip, except Day 10 starts earlier now with coach from Luxor to Cairo airport for our only commercial flight, due to move travelers now and lots of airport confusion.

  • The Jewels trip is much more rigorous. We were reminded often this trip was an adventure not a vacation.

  • Rigorous is not the word I would use, nor would I call it an adventure. I'd call it poorly planned and designed. There's really no excuse for it.

  • Our little group of 13 was so happy to be traveling again no one ever complained. But having luggage pulled at 3:30 in the morning is not a lot of fun. What was great was getting to Luxor before the crowds and seeing these amazing sights. Unlike BKMD, I loved this trip. But we had some mighty long days and very early mornings. I mentioned on my comment card the activity level or pace should be a 4 because of the early starts.

  • AlanS - Don't get me wrong. I am 100% in the keep-busy camp. That's why I don't do cruises - boring!
    However, being in a sleep deprived state for a good part of a trip doesn't contribute to its enjoyment. I still think it's poor planning logistics on Tauck's part. Instead of doing a 3 AM wakeup, why not get a flight the prior evening, either before or after dinner? If commercial flights aren't available, do a charter, as was done to/from Abu Simbel (or entire trips like Aus/NZ). There are ways to make it work.

    Of the 9 Tauck tours I've done, Egypt-Jewels of the Nile is on the bottom of my list, for travel logistics reasons, and I would not recommend it in its present form.

  • BKMD - I doubt that any after dinner flight would work on the Jewels of the Nile tour unless dinner is going to be at 4pm. If you have a 6:00PM dinner, realistically bags couldn't be in the lobby until 8:00PM. Getting to the airport and through security even for a charter flight will take at least an hour, but more like 1.5 hours. Then you have 30 minutes to board which means your flight commences at 10:00PM. You have a 1 hour flight or 1.5 hour flight depending on if to Luxor or from Aswan. For the Aswan case you'd land at 11:30PM. They you have to deplane and wait for luggage, board a bus and drive to the hotel, then get to your room and get settled. I don't see getting to bed before 1:00AM.

    How is going to bed at 1:00AM better than getting up at 3:30?

    The only way to eliminate the early departures and see the same stuff is to lengthen the trip. Lengthening the trip, makes days less packed (which you don't like either), but allows time for flights that have more reasonable departures. I think the trip would have to have at least an extra 2 days, perhaps 3 days.

    Extending the tour 2-3 days, IMO means the price would increase $2-$4K per person.

    This is one of the tradeoffs that Tauck has to look at. What price point allows a well paced tour, but isn't so expensive that very few people are willing to take it.

    BKMD - That's why I don't do cruises - boring!

    Yet you took this tour that has a large component being a river cruise.

    Perhaps Tauck could offer a land based tour, eliminating some of the sights along the river like Edfu. This might allow a more preferable timing, but at the cost of the cruise. I'm sure lots of people felt that the cruise portion of the trip was one of the drawing points for this tour.

  • edited December 2022

    Wow, I guess you are really not a fan of getting up with the sun! :D

    It appears many of the flights depart Luxor in the morning- the Bernoullis are kinder in the morning when it is cool. How would you feel about an evening flight, that was delayed so you didn't take off until after midnight and didn't arrive at your hotel until around 3 am?!?!? I suspect Egyptair scheduling is handled by the same software used by Southwest! :D On the J&E tour the schedule, lunch and the tour of the old Egyptian Museum, can be easily adjusted to deal with flight delays like ours.

    The commercial flights are tough because you must deal with Egyptair or other local commercial carrier and extremely crowded airports. Our J&E small group arrived at Luxor Airport with plenty of time to check in, make it through security (twice). etc. but for awhile it looked like some of us might not make it. There were large numbers of people checking in and very long and very slow lines at the counters. Some of us in one line ended up not moving for over a half hour because one large family was having problems with tickets or passports, etc. Our TD was getting really nervous but she and our local expeditor helped us move to near the front of a line that was moving, albeit slowly, but without causing an international incident. We made it though with just enough time, but as it turned out, our flight was delayed! So you can see two major issues right there, that Tauck has little control over.

    I don't know how it might affect the cost of the tour, but my suggestion to Tauck is to use charters for all on-tour flights in Egypt. Also, when flying from Luxor or Aswan, use the new Sphinx airport on the west side Cairo. It was finished a few years ago but is finally now in operation. It is slightly closer to Giza than Cairo International but I don't know about the roads. It might remedy the problems with commercial air.

  • Sam - Yes, I did a tour with a cruise component, as I couldn't find any better options. When I went to Alaska, I did it with another company that offered a land-only tour.

  • Have you checked out the roads/drive time or train from Cairo to Luxor or Aswan- waaaaay worse than flying and Nile River cruiser- and the scenery is just a lot of empty dessert. Post-tour, we went with a private guide from Cairo (Mena House) to Meidom which is south, down near the top of the Faiyum Oasis, to see a pyramid. There was nothing to see along the way (the pyramid was interesting, however- the first of Sneferu's 3 - 4 pyramids.)

  • edited December 2022

    Our J&E small group trip started a few days after cuzin GJ and our day 10 schedule was bags out and breakfast at 5AM and bus departing for the airport at 6AM. Since it was an Egyptair flight, check in for Star Alliance Gold members was super fast. For all others there were long lines.

  • Haha! Leaving this week, and now I know I won't have to worry about jet lag, as we'll be up all hours anyhow. Will report in, just on the chance the new year brings some adjustments. Happy travels in 2023!

  • Have a great trip!!!

  • mazalea Safe travels...it's a wonderful trip. I don't remember the early starts---guess it was a non-issue for me. I was so happy to travel again December 2021. Agree with SAdivr...If you're a Star Alliance Gold Member, check in with your number and you'll get quicker service, better seating and miles...

  • That is a great tip about Star Alliance! Too bad Egyptair is not Skyteam! :D

  • We've been back from Egypt and the Nile for 2 weeks and I forgot to post that the schedules have changed. no 3:30 am bags, added charter flights, I guess we were really pampered. Our guide on the Nile was fabulous. A former Director of Antiquities, he knew everyone everywhere, had been involved in oversight of many locations, absolutely superb.

  • mazalea - Was this you guide on the Nile? From you description it sounds like him. We had him last fall and he was spectacular. Probably the best local guide I've had.

  • Thanks Mazalea, after reading BKMD report I was kind of bummed. Please add any report on this trip. Any suggestions you have for me. Leaving tomorrow, but trip doesn’t start till 5th. You’ve given me hope again.

  • Thanks Mazalea for the update on departure times. Hoping AustinGirl will share when she returns if those changes held. (Actually, come to think of it, hoping AustinGirl made it thru Heathrow! 🤷‍♀️)

    We are on 3/5 trip but spending the first couple nights in Paris. The flight into Cairo lands at midnight and our return to Paris is 2:20am. Kept our room since airport departure won’t be till after11 I imagine.

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