Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Day 8: Cairo Shore Excursion Information

We weren't sure what to expect of the ship's shore excursion. So, here are a few observations:

You will be on buses that are modern, air-conditioned, and have a clean bathroom (which you're encouraged to use).

You will be provided with drinks (water and soda) and snacks (fruit, crackers, candy bars) on the bus.

You will drive in an armed convoy to and from Alexandria.

You will have one or more “back-up” buses accompanying the convoys.

You will drive 2.5-3 hours each way between Alexandria and Cairo.

You will have an armed guard (in a suit) on the bus with you. He'll accompany you at the stops too.

You will have an informative and English-speaking guide. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

You will have three stops at the Pyramids (overview, up close, and Great Sphinx), a buffet lunch, some other site/activity, and a stop at a Papyrus Institute.

You will be able to order customized jewelry / clothing / souvenirs from the Papyrus Institute(s) while on the bus en route to Cairo.

You will be bothered incessantly by touts and merchants at every site.

You will be expected to tip for even small services provided (such as to the restroom attendants on the lunch cruise or “friendly” police officers who offer to take your picture).

You will be provided with a safe and edible, if not overly enjoyable, lunch.

You will not need Egyptian pounds, dollars and euros are widely accepted.

On balance, we were happy to do the ship's shore excursion. It was a very long day. But, it was well organized and the logistics were easy. Could you go independently to Cairo? I wouldn't advise it. Could you book an independent tour? I'm sure. But, I really don't think it necessary for a first time visitor.


  1. how many other people were on the excursion with you?

  2. I can't say that I counted the number of other guests. However, it was a "typical" tour bus. It was also nearly filled to capacity. As such, I'd say 50-60 people were probably on the bus.

    I should also note that the RCI sent many, many buses for each excursion. Again, I don't have exact numbers. However, I'd estimate well over 50% of the ship's passengers took an excursion to Cairo.