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“Royal Ruby Nile cruise”
Review of Luxor

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Coos Bay, Oregon
Level 4 Contributor
44 reviews
190 helpful votes
“Royal Ruby Nile cruise”
Reviewed February 18, 2009

If you are wanting a budget cruise, then this boat is OK. We booked a 5 star ship and willingly paid high season prices as a Christmas treat to ourselves. Our disappointment was immediate. We had to trek through 3 beautiful ships before we got to ours. They all had lovely lobbies and were decked out with cheery Christmas lights. Ours was drab with worn chairs and benches. A drab welcome. Our room was OK..barely 3 star, only shampoo for amenities. No balcony. We could look right out our window to the boat next to us and saw cabins with balconys. The dining area was in the bottom of the boat with no view at all of the passing scenery. It was like going into a dungeon. I couldn't wait to get out of there. The food was OK only and was definately recycled from one day to the next. One bright spot were the desserts. They were very tasty and lovely. We were told that there was gourmet food with a spectacular view of the river as we dined. Awful! The deck upstairs was abysmal. Worn plastic, uncomfortable chairs and many of the loungers broken. The bar area was uninviting, no decor at all and the same tired plastic chairs and worn tables. Service was almost nonexistent. We ended up going down to the dining area to get drinks.
We complained to our agent an left a very poor review. Lots of excuses about not having enough people to fill one boat. they offered no compensation and certainly did not care.
Avoid this line! Check with your agent! Find out what boat you will be on and know what you have paid for! the conditions on this boat dampened the enjoyment of the beautiful Nile cruise.

13 Thank fisches
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kettering, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
51 helpful votes
“No Hassle !!”
Reviewed February 13, 2009

We have spent an eye opening week in Luxor and have returned with lots of great photo's and good memories. Many reviewers have mentioned the amount of hassle from the locals and we were expecting some mad mob to be waiting for us every time we left the Hotel. How wrong they were.

We walked along the Cornich every day to go to the Temple, town centre, bars or the ferry and I would not class our encounters as hassle. Sure these boat owners and carriage drivers have to make a living, but there are so many of them they just want to get you first if you want their services.

We also ate out every night in Luxor at different places and never suffered any problems with the food. Drink some of the freshly squeezed sugar cane juice if you find it, it's great ! Also get some cakes from the bread shop on the back side of the Temple away from the Nile. Freshly cooked while you watch and about one Egyptian pound per item.

We were really lucky as on day two we met this guy on the Cornich near the ferry, called Mostafa. He owned his own mini-bus on the West Bank and spoke good English. Anyway, we haggled with him and decided to trust him to take us out in the West Bank for the day. He cost us 85 Egyptian pounds ( just over £10.00 ) in total for four of us for the day including his time and the mini-bus. He was really honest and said his fee was 50 Egyptian pounds for the day and we could give hime what we thought he was worth over that price. Incredible trust from him towards us from the start. We went to Valley of Kings, Hatcheput Temple plus Madinat Hebu, stopped at a bar for a drink at lunch time. He also dropped us at a local restaurant for dinner, waited and then took us back to the ferry. The dinner was 35 Egyptian pounds each so were were not ' ripped off '.

We went with him a second day and saw Valley of Queens, Nobles Tombs, Ramesseum, Sety 1. First though, as it was Tuesday he took us to the West Bank market. Everything from donkeys to apples were on sale and only the locals shop there. It was packed. We never realised that people live this way such a short way from the touristy Luxor centre.

Later that day he took us to meet his parents, then to his friends house ( with sugar cane branches for a roof ) to drink some tea and finally to his house where his wife put on a great dinner for us with chicken and beef, beers and cokes. All this, he said, was free and his gift to us.

This man made the real difference for us and made us realise that amongst all of the poverty people can still be happy and generous.

We also flew to Cairo for the day to see the Pyramids, sphinx, museum souk etc. We booked locally through Karnak Travel who were willing to haggle. Jolleys did not seem bothered. Total price for four of us was 4,000 Egyptian pounds so about £120.00 each.

A great place for sightseeing and seeing how other people live.
We loved Luxor for seven days and maybe we will go back one day when the good memories have faded away and re-live the experience all over again.

I don't know if any body is interested or if giving telephone numbers is allowed, but Mostafa has mobile [-] if you want to give him a try.

5 Thank Michael R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
50 reviews
79 helpful votes
“Luxor, Egypt - pros and cons”
Reviewed January 9, 2009

TO GO or NOT TO GO to Luxor ? That's the question.

GO to Luxor and Aswan...
1. If you want a relatively cheap vacation in a warm place in the middle of winter, close to Europe. the Mediterranean or the Atlantic could be cold and rainy in December. In Egypt you can suntan and swim in a pool anytime .
2. if you're interested in ancient art and and architecture, you might need a whole week to enjoy all the monuments of Luxor. It's a rewarding trip if this is your main reason to go to Egypt.
Luxor has the biggest concentration of temples, tombs.. which you can visit individually, on a bike or taxi. The walks over the mountain from the Valley of the Queens or Deir el Medina towards the Valley of the Kings are not difficult and they take you to to fantastic viewpoints. Buy a good guidebook and start exploring. We had one by the American Press in cairo.

DON'T GO to Luxor...
1. If you want a quiet, relaxing vacation. The moment you step out of the hotel/boat you are continously hassled by boat people, sellers of any kind of junk souvenirs, honking taxi drivers. People just stop you and start bombarding you with the same stupid questions "Where are you from ? Australia ? Good people. Wanna go Banana Island ?" You can tell them you are tired, sick or that your plane leaves in 2 hours, they drill your brain with the same story : " I take you banana island, good price".
Their English is limited to numerals and currencies (5 pound, ten euros, 20 dollars); to anything you say, the answer will be " No problem" which basically doesn't mean anything. You will still be cheated. Taxi drivers developped fantastic skills in diverting you from your destination to a "typical egyptian market, that takes place once a week". In fact they take you to the shop of their cousin. For Egyptians, foreigners are walking ATMs. You never get the right change for the goods you purchased (even at the valley of the Kings ticket office), boat people seem to never have the right change for your ride, gate keepers at the monuments are never satisfied with the backshish you just gave them. Even worse, 5 years old childred run yelling "money, money". That's when they don't throw stones at you or spit at you. I was coming over the mountain from the Valley of the Kings from Deir el Madina when 3 barefoot people came out running from the security point shouting "money, money". "Too late to walk here now, the boss wants to see you in his office". Two police agents at The Valley of the Kings invited us to take a photo with them, just the right pretext to ask for some pounds after. The Tumbs of the Nobles are less visited but very interesting, with artistic styles much more diverse than those of the Kings. When I heard that the Egyptian government is demolishing the village around the tumbs of the Nobles, I was outraged. But when I just couldn't walk from one tumb to the next because 5 people were yelling around around me begging for money, wanting to serve as a guide or trying to selll me postcards, I told myself that this destructive initiative might bring some peace to the poor tourist. In Aswan the ferry man simply refused to allow us on the ferry for one pound (the regular fare everyone pays). He wanted 5. I was asking other locals what was the right amount, hoping for a clarification, but they all answered, after looking at each other and hesitating for a few seconds "five". Ask for the price before buying anything. In Aswan we paid 15 dollars for 2 cakes and a glass of juice. Don't forget the backshish. For every service you get, you are expected to pay some extra pound. Refuse to do so and you'll get a "[--] you !". In temples, some guy in dirty flip flops is pulling you to some corner to show you things you find in any guidebook "This - Ossiris. This - Amun". What's worse, they even ask you to touch the carvings or the statue. After this priceless initiation in egyptology, you must open your wallet again.
2. If you are allergic/asthmatic
In Egypt it rains every 2 years. A thick dust lingers everywhere. Clouds of dust and sand raise at the slightest breeze. Cleanliness is still a neologism, especially in restrooms.
Piles of garbage are scattered about anywhere, in towns and villages.
3. If you travel with children or old people.
They will be traumatised by the agressive contact with the greedy locals. If you travel in winter, you will walk off the boat or ferry in the dark. Stairs to the boats or ferry are in poor shape, no handrails. Sometimes you will have to cross several motorbosts to get to the riverbank. I hit my head against the roof, to the laughter of the boat pilot. Cars drive at night with their lights off. Police agents just watch you struggling to cross busy streets. Pedestrian crossings are just Land Art, drivers hardly stop at them.

Conclusion : Luxor has unique artistic monuments, that you have to see at least once in your life. But the contact with the locals is traumatising. I will think twice before returning there. I saw fantastic things but this was not a pleasant vacation.

8 Thank arciboldi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
30 helpful votes
“Luxor to Aswan and back on a Nile River Cruise”
Reviewed January 2, 2009

We have just returned from a wonderful 7 night cruise on the Alexander the Great cruise boat organised by Discover Egypt. Wonderful boat, excellent cuisine, lots of space as the boat was half full. Comfortable and well equipped cabins. The excursions are wonderful in Luxor particularly. Our guide was knowledgeable and charming. The staff on the boat were very accommodating and friendly. The service was very good. Drinks on board a little expensive but that was the only negative. We would definitely sail on this boat again and would travel with Discover Egypt too. I won't forget the views from the sundeck of the passing vistas along the Nile - quite breathtaking. Highly recommended.

8 Thank CalGloucestershire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
24 helpful votes
“Luxor, Highs & Lows”
Reviewed December 23, 2008

We have just returned from a trip to Luxor, so I thought I would share our experiences to help fellow travellers interested in a trip to this city.

So to start!

My wife & I flew independently of a package deal so on arrival we used the local taxi service to transfer to our hotel. We had been quoted transfer fees of GBP 25.00 + (equivalent to around 220 Egpyt Pounds,LE) each way using tour operators' buses. We got a taxi & paid LE40 in total( GBP 3.50) for both of us. The driver initially wanted LE100, but at the time of writing LE35 to LE40 is the going rate. So, not only did we save a substantial amount we also made sure that our money went into the local economy,

On the tourist streets of Luxor, ie the Corniche and the 'tourist market' you will be constantly badgered to buy a trip, a Felucca ride, look in a shop, etc etc etc. This can be extremely wearing especially when you're hot and tired after a days sightseeing. My advice, if you are not interested, is to be polite, firm and tell them you are on your third trip to Luxor and that you have seen it & done it all before!
On our visit 'La Shokrun' i.e. "No thank you", doesn't work anymore.The best bet is to keep walking, but don't be rude. They are only trying to make a living and presently tourist numbers to Luxor seem to be in decline.
There are many Calleches (horse-drawn carriages). We went on a few, and they can cost anywhere from LE5 to LE15 depending on how long you require them for. They can be a fun experience, providing you agree a price first, but more importantly pick one whose horse is in good condition (you will see a number a malnourished horses in Luxor), and make sure the driver doesn't whip the horse or canter it along the road.
My wife & I took the local mini buses around Luxor. They cost less than LE1, that's 12p per couple! After a couple of days you suss out the direction of travel. They all head past the train station and Luxor Temple. To get on one just stand by the roadside stick your hand out & if they have space they will stop and you can jump on. They are a great way to involve yourself in the local culture.
We went on a number of trips that we organised ourselves using local taxis and a local guide.
Not to be missed; Valley of the Kings, Queen Hatshepsut's Temple, Tombs of the Workers, Felucca trip along the Nile at sunset.
One of the best trips my wife & I did was to take the local ferry, located by Luxor Temple. The fare is LE1 one way, over to the West bank. We hired a couple of bikes for the day at LE30 per person, then we cycled to Habu Temple. The roads are good & flat and it is possible to cycle to Valley of Kings or Queens etc. It is safe to leave your bikes and no one will touch them.
A lot of tourists book their tours through the main companies and are generally paying double the price than if they were willing to do a little ground work themselves. Also, using the local taxi drivers and a local guide, if needed, puts the money into the local economy.

On our trip we spent time eating in local restaurants, eating from the street stalls and experiencing Luxor away from the 'tourist' zones. We found the people of Luxor to be extremely friendly and accommodating. Not once were we hassled in any way, and not once did we feel unsafe at any time. Also we didn't suffer any sickness or dodgy tummies, because we took sensible precautions. After handling money clean your hands with Anti bacterial gel. Drink only bottled mineral water. We found the street stall food to be delicious, as well as piping hot.
One restaurant we would highly recommend is 'Sofra' , a superb Egyptian dining experience. The food is traditional Egyptian, and is quite simply delicious. Try the mixed meze!

For souveniers there are a number of 'Fixed Price' shops near Luxor Temple, where you can browse without any hassle. One shop in particular is the 'Fair Trade' shop which has a range of products made in Egypt at very reasonable prices.
As for the other shops where the products have no price stickers, this is where you need to haggle, usually involving some mint tea. Decide on what you are happy to pay, within reason, let them make the first price offer, then off you go, enjoy, it's an experience.

Overall we found Luxor to be the best and worst of Egypt. The historical sights are magnificent! Expect very friendly people, hard sell & hassle, breathtaking views of the Nile & the West bank, the contrast between the earthy back streets of downtown Luxor & the marble facades of luxury Hotels, blaring horns and frenetic traffic, and the smells of spices and incense.

15 Thank scotiadiver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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