Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
geric26

Shore Excursions Petra/Safaga

Recommended Posts

Looking at Silver Spirit October 2109 Athens - Dubai. Has anyone had trouble getting on the ship's excursions? The risk of delay on private excursions is a worry in these places as it would be a long chase to catch up with the ship if delayed! Who recommends private excursions?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Looking at Silver Spirit October 2109 Athens - Dubai. Has anyone had trouble getting on the ship's excursions? The risk of delay on private excursions is a worry in these places as it would be a long chase to catch up with the ship if delayed! Who recommends private excursions?

 

We did Rome to Dubai on the Spirit last November and because of the time and distance concerns we took ship’s tours to Petra out of Aqaba and Luxor/Valley of the Kings out of Safaga. We had no problem signing up for the tours but I had been watching MySilversea and signed up for both pretty much the first day they were available. You can see our website for our report on both. Here is Petra: http://www.klugsplace.com/Aqaba2017.html Here is Luxor/Valley of the Kings: http://www.klugsplace.com/Safaga2017.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Looking at Silver Spirit October 2109 Athens - Dubai. Has anyone had trouble getting on the ship's excursions? The risk of delay on private excursions is a worry in these places as it would be a long chase to catch up with the ship if delayed! Who recommends private excursions?

 

From our experiences on the Silver Spirit last June (detailed below on my live/blog), there was no problem with doing private tours. From doing five cruises with Silversea, plus with other lines, things work well for private tours. Several major reasons!! Generally lower cost, better value. Plus, it is easier and better to have a "conversation" with a good and knowledgable guide compare to a large ship tour bus with 20-45 people going at the speed of the slowest travelers.

 

We are also researching and preparing for doing an Athens to Dubai sailing. We will be on a Nov. 16-Dec. 5, 2018, Oceania Nautica 20-day cruise, including our first visits to the Holy Lands, Egypt, Middle East, etc. Yes, we are super looking forward to our stop to see Petra in Jordan. We are working with “Jordan Horizons” for doing our private tour. In theory, there is a potential that there could be a delay getting back to the ship. BUT, in all honesty, if some road delay, as a hypothetical example happened, it would delay the ship tour, also. These private tour people are 100% focused on getting you back to the ship with plenty of time to spare. I would not worry.

 

For Petra, one of the big questions is whether you do just Petra?? Or, depart a little earlier to allow seeing Waldi Rum on the way back. Below are some visuals to illustrate what could be seen at Waldi Rum. Does this look amazing??

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Lisbon, NWSpain, Bordeaux/Brittany: Finished June 2017 sailing on the Silver Spirit from Portugal to France along the scenic Atlantic Coast, plus great pre- and post-cruise experiences. Many interesting pictures and details on history, food, culture, etc., from my live/blog at:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2511358

 

From the Bing website, here are three views from the Wadi Rum area of Jordan. Reactions and/or experiences from those who have visited there?:

(Open your screen/viewer wider to see these pictures larger/better!)

wadi-rum%20Cliffs%206_zpsmdliyfja.jpg

 

Wadi-Rum%20stone%20arch%205_zpskq3v53tg.jpg

 

wadi-rum%20Overview%207_zpsh2fo95v2.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We did not get to visit Wadi Rum other than a short stop at an overlook area. Quite frankly doing Wadi Rum and Petra in a single day seems like a lot. We left quite early out of Aqaba and motored right along, about as quickly as one could drive the distance even in a private car. Petra was amazing and I can’t see cutting the time down there to squeeze in another stop. Possible? Yes probably but you’d be on a “dead run” to do it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We did not get to visit Wadi Rum other than a short stop at an overlook area. Quite frankly doing Wadi Rum and Petra in a single day seems like a lot. We left quite early out of Aqaba and motored right along, about as quickly as one could drive the distance even in a private car. Petra was amazing and I can’t see cutting the time down there to squeeze in another stop. Possible? Yes probably but you’d be on a “dead run” to do it.

 

Appreciate the great points, perspectives and added follow-up from Randy. Trade-offs? Pro/con factors? Yes, those exists as to whether to do Wadi Rum. Or, not?? We will have not decided what we will do at this port stop till early November. If we wanted to do Wadi Rum, we would need to get up earlier and depart the ship around 6:30 am. The net time in Petra would be the same either way. But, to accomplish Wadi Rum would mean a longer day and very early start.

 

In my mind, it might be worth that added time as we will have four sea-days doing the Red Sea and Gulf of Eden after this stop in Jordan. There will more discussions with my wife and the other couple traveling with us as to what best works and effectively fits. The great news is having both options and the flexibility to consider these various factors in advance of our travels. Plus, to get input from others who have traveled in this amazing region.

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

SE Asia/Mekong River, Etc.! Just completed a Jan. 21-Feb. 20, 2018, first adventure through Southeast Asia with stops in Hong Kong and Bangkok, before traveling all over Vietnam and Cambodia. This includes seven days sailing on the Mekong River. Lots of fun, interesting pictures!! See more at:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2591474

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Appreciate the great points, perspectives and added follow-up from Randy. Trade-offs? Pro/con factors? Yes, those exists as to whether to do Wadi Rum. Or, not?? We will have not decided what we will do at this port stop till early November. If we wanted to do Wadi Rum, we would need to get up earlier and depart the ship around 6:30 am. The net time in Petra would be the same either way. But, to accomplish Wadi Rum would mean a longer day and very early start.

 

In my mind, it might be worth that added time as we will have four sea-days doing the Red Sea and Gulf of Eden after this stop in Jordan. There will more discussions with my wife and the other couple traveling with us as to what best works and effectively fits. The great news is having both options and the flexibility to consider these various factors in advance of our travels. Plus, to get input from others who have traveled in this amazing region.

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

SE Asia/Mekong River, Etc.! Just completed a Jan. 21-Feb. 20, 2018, first adventure through Southeast Asia with stops in Hong Kong and Bangkok, before traveling all over Vietnam and Cambodia. This includes seven days sailing on the Mekong River. Lots of fun, interesting pictures!! See more at:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2591474

 

I think we left the dock at 7:30 AM so that was a plenty early enough start for us. Jordan was interesting from a security point of view and even getting out of the port required going through a security check point where everybody had to get off the bus and go through a TSA-like metal detector/bag x-ray drill. Not sure exactly of the hours of operation. We also had to stop two or three times at permanent highway checkpoints though it seemed to be not much more than the police checking the bus driver’s license, etc.

 

You did touch on one aspect of this itinerary and that’s the several pretty high energy consumption front loaded days of activity followed by several sea days. We really tried to prepare for this cruise by embarking on a pretty dedicated exercise routine six months before the cruise. Thank goodness we did because Petra really turned out to be a challenge. Not so bad walking the around mile and a half down into the main area but the walk back is probably one of the most strenuous of the dozen plus ancient sites we’ve visited all over the Med. We were really looking forward to several down days after several hectic days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jordan was interesting from a security point of view and even getting out of the port required going through a security check point where everybody had to get off the bus and go through a TSA-like metal detector/bag x-ray drill. You did touch on one aspect of this itinerary and that’s the several pretty high energy consumption front loaded days of activity followed by several sea days. We really tried to prepare for this cruise by embarking on a pretty dedicated exercise routine six months before the cruise. Thank goodness we did because Petra really turned out to be a challenge. Not so bad walking the around mile and a half down into the main area but the walk back is probably one of the most strenuous of the dozen plus ancient sites we’ve visited all over the Med. We were really looking forward to several down days after several hectic days.

 

Great additional details, comments and follow-up from Randy. Very helpful!! From being at Petra, what was your experience in seeing how the horse and/or carriage option worked for people in avoiding these long walks, etc. Insights? Interesting insights on the security process there.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Enjoyed a 14-day, Jan. 20-Feb. 3, 2014, Sydney to Auckland adventure, getting a big sampling for the wonders of "down under” before and after this cruise. Go to:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1974139

for more info and many pictures of these amazing sights in this great part of the world. Now at 200,754 views for this posting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Great additional details, comments and follow-up from Randy. Very helpful!! From being at Petra, what was your experience in seeing how the horse and/or carriage option worked for people in avoiding these long walks, etc. Insights? Interesting insights on the security process there.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

The horse and carriage transportation at Petra is probably safe enough but the carriage is not for the faint of heart. I guess if I were use either I’d do it on the way out as there are things to see on the way in that any guide, either private or ship’s tour, will want to point out. Should add that the horse/carriage transportation is not for full distance so you’re still going have maybe 1/4-1/3 of a mile slight uphill to the main entrance walking on what is a lot like gravelly beach sand.

 

As for security the real surprise was actually Cairo and Safaga where we had an armed, like in Uzi, plain clothes police officer on every bus. In Cairo we actually were joined just outside of the city by a police car or two that stuck with us the whole time. They’d “plow the road” ahead of us in bad traffic or tail right behind us and run vehicles away from the buses. For Safaga we had the armed guard but no police car escort. All the sites in Egypt were heavily guarded so we felt pretty safe between our guard the presence at the sites. I know the lot we parked in at the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut was the site of a horrible terrorist attack back in 1997. Other than the fore mentioned security in Jordan we didn’t have escorts in Oman or UAE and the overall security was a lot less visible or apparent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As for security the real surprise was actually Cairo and Safaga where we had an armed, like in Uzi, plain clothes police officer on every bus. In Cairo we actually were joined just outside of the city by a police car or two that stuck with us the whole time. They’d “plow the road” ahead of us in bad traffic or tail right behind us and run vehicles away from the buses. For Safaga we had the armed guard but no police car escort. All the sites in Egypt were heavily guarded so we felt pretty safe between our guard the presence at the sites. I know the lot we parked in at the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut was the site of a horrible terrorist attack back in 1997. Other than the fore mentioned security in Jordan we didn’t have escorts in Oman or UAE and the overall security was a lot less visible or apparent.

 

Interesting, Randyk47! This may help explain a shift I noticed from the 2019 to 2020 Suez Canal itineraries: no stops in Egypt, with more time (and overnights!) in Oman, UAE, and Israel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi

I also did a cruise with Silversea last November which went to Aqaba and Safaga...we did the Silversea shore excursion in Aqaba but did an independant tour in Safaga. The tour company was Ramasside, they were excellent and I highly recommend them. We had a driver, van and an Egyptologist for a private tour which was far less expensive than the Silversea excursion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks so much for the great information you have all given.We know the Petra trip will be quite tough, but the next day we will have to back up early again for Luxor. How tough are we?

Thank you for not picking on my "2109" date - I fear we and the Spirit may not be cruising then....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We did Rome to Dubai on the Spirit last November and because of the time and distance concerns we took ship’s tours to Petra out of Aqaba and Luxor/Valley of the Kings out of Safaga. We had no problem signing up for the tours but I had been watching MySilversea and signed up for both pretty much the first day they were available. You can see our website for our report on both. Here is Petra: http://www.klugsplace.com/Aqaba2017.html Here is Luxor/Valley of the Kings: http://www.klugsplace.com/Safaga2017.html

A special thanks for this reply as I have now had time to scan the reports on Klugsplace which give an amazing coverage of the two tours. I will be reading them many times!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Interesting, Randyk47! This may help explain a shift I noticed from the 2019 to 2020 Suez Canal itineraries: no stops in Egypt, with more time (and overnights!) in Oman, UAE, and Israel.

 

I certainly don’t want to leave the impression that we felt threatened or that we had any sense of danger in Egypt. I don’t have the exact numbers but our guide in Cairo told us that tourism had suffered greatly after the Arab Spring and the revolution. I think she said while tourism was recovering it was still only around 35% of what it once was. Cairo and Luxor had been particularly hard hit and was probably below even the 35% recovery. Israel was not on our itinerary but we did have stops in Oman (Salalah and Muscat) and the cruise ended with an overnight in the UAE (Dubai) though I can’t say there were a lot of tour options at those stops for our cruise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A special thanks for this reply as I have now had time to scan the reports on Klugsplace which give an amazing coverage of the two tours. I will be reading them many times!

 

Thanks for the kind words. All the credit for our website goes to Mrs K, she’s our webmaster and all I do is supply some of the pictures. I did probably participate more in the final product this time as my minor in college was archeology with an interest in Ancient Egypt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Interesting, Randyk47! This may help explain a shift I noticed from the 2019 to 2020 Suez Canal itineraries: no stops in Egypt, with more time (and overnights!) in Oman, UAE, and Israel.

 

Actually want to thank you for the heads up. While I see a cruise that actually that stops in Safaga in October 2019 so Egypt is still on the map we saw a cruise on the Shadow we’d not seen before. 11-days Athens to Athens with stops in Israel. On the bucket list! Already planning and will be calling our TA Monday. Thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Actually want to thank you for the heads up. While I see a cruise that actually that stops in Safaga in October 2019 so Egypt is still on the map we saw a cruise on the Shadow we’d not seen before. 11-days Athens to Athens with stops in Israel. On the bucket list! Already planning and will be calling our TA Monday. Thank you!

 

Oh, Randy, that sounds wonderful! I'm looking at a repositioning B2B on the Spirit, from Mumbai to Dubai to Athens, for 26 days total. After the Suez Canal, we'll have a long day in Jerusalem (Ashdod), and nearly two full days with an overnight in Haifa (Tel Aviv/Nazareth). The 2019 version of that itinerary visited Egypt before the canal, then headed straight for Greece. I would have loved either, but I have to admit I'm more excited now about the 3 days in Israel. In the future, I'll hope to explore Egypt by river rather than by ocean. I'll look forward to your trip report, as you'll be visiting Isreal before I do.

Edited by Unibok
clarity

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi. I also did a cruise with Silversea last November which went to Aqaba and Safaga...we did the Silversea shore excursion in Aqaba but did an independant tour in Safaga. The tour company was Ramasside, they were excellent and I highly recommend them. We had a driver, van and an Egyptologist for a private tour which was far less expensive than the Silversea excursion.

 

Appreciate these great comments and follow-ups above, from Randy, etc. Keep it coming!! Very helpful as we prepare for our Nov. 16-Dec. 6 cruise from Athens to Dubai.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

For details and visuals, etc., from our July 1-16, 2010, Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise experience from Copenhagen on the Silver Cloud, check out this posting. This posting is now at 225,065 views.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1227923

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'll look forward to your trip report, as you'll be visiting Isreal before I do.

 

Well planning....actually a bit more like dreaming this far out.....is one thing actually going is another. Mrs K has to have her travel approved and it depends on the geopolitical events. I don’t remember what the issue was a few years ago but she was told she couldn’t go to Jerusalem the last time we researched a cruise that went to Israel. Obviously going to Jerusalem is one of the main reasons to visit Israel so we dropped that cruise. Maybe this time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Appreciate these great comments and follow-ups above, from Randy, etc. Keep it coming!! Very helpful as we prepare for our Nov. 16-Dec. 6 cruise from Athens to Dubai.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

For details and visuals, etc., from our July 1-16, 2010, Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise experience from Copenhagen on the Silver Cloud, check out this posting. This posting is now at 225,065 views.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1227923

 

Terry

I’ve just returned from a Silver Whisper voyage travelling from Muscat to Civitavecchia and would add my comments to your Aqaba plans...

We visited Petra last year and I recall a total of a minimum 4 hours travelling (2+ there & 2+ back) and at least an hour to walk down the siq and an hour to walk back, so at least 6 hours - and that doesn’t give you much time for looking beyond the “Treasury”. The walk back is uphill (slight in places, but uphil nevertheless) all the way with no respite! As already stated by Randy, a horse buggy will get you part of the way but if you can walk you should, so that you can photograph the rock formations and general scenery. Your reports always include great visuals and I suspect you’d be disappointed to miss these photo opportunities. Another thing to consider is the port load for the day you visit. We were there with a couple of other ships and there were nearly 9.5k people in port - most of whom (it seemed) were visiting Petra. Frankly, it was a bit of a zoo and might add time to your visit (avoiding people “strolling” down/up the siq)

Secondly, travel problems don’t always affect everyone. Our return last year was delayed with a vehicle breakdown - we stood (in the heat) on the side of the road while other travellers sailed past. We made the ship in time, but incidents like this are out of your control and can be quite stressful!

Lastly, this year we elected to visit Wadi Rum. This was a real treat - the highlight of our trip. But Wadi Rum needs time. We were exhausted after 4 hours there - and we didn’t even scratch the surface. My notes for the day (with data supplied by my phone) tell me that we walked just over 10km (about 6 miles) and climbed the equivalent of 92 (yes, that’s ninety-two) flights. We climbed sand dunes, rock formations (including stone arches - as in Aches National Park, Utah) and hiked through ravines; the scenery was simply magnificent with, what I believe Americans call a “big sky” everywhere you looked. Of course, as the sun moved across the sky, so the light changed the colour of the rock formations - I understand that sunsets in the Wadi are impressive also. There were other people there, but nothing like the Petra experience.

I know the temptation is to cover as much as possible and your time in port may be sufficient, but there is a danger of cutting the time spent in one place too much and missing the complete experience.

Happy to provide any further help I can.

 

WT

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm trying to decide between this cruise and similar ones on Seabourne and Crystal. This itinerary you do not see the pyramids. How do/did you all feel about this-I don't suppose there are private excursions which can get you over to the pyramids? Is the Valley of the Kings as impressive as they also seem to be, such that I would not miss my possible once in a lifetime chance to see the pyramids?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you don't go I guarantee you will regret it, particularly if you like history. Valley of the Kings is stunning, it is unassuming on the outside but once you enter the tombs with all the hyrogliphics it is simply amazing. Egypt is experiencing a down turn in tourists so the pyramids, Valley of the Kings etc is not crowded. From all my travels around the world this was a highlight

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi

I also did a cruise with Silversea last November which went to Aqaba and Safaga...we did the Silversea shore excursion in Aqaba but did an independant tour in Safaga. The tour company was Ramasside, they were excellent and I highly recommend them. We had a driver, van and an Egyptologist for a private tour which was far less expensive than the Silversea excursion.

 

Hi, Misseli We're doing Silver Shadow April 2019, Dubia to Athens. We've done Petra before so will take the ship tour to get there and then do our own thing when we get there. How much were they charging for the Petra tour? and what was the cost comparison for Safaga between the ship and the tour you did privately. there will be 5 of us so a private tour might be the way to go if they guarantee return to the ship in time. Interested to hear any recommendations. We want to Do Luxor, valley of the Kings, as much as possible. Hopefully we'll get there this time, last time with Seabourn 6 years ago (when there was a war on!) Safaga didn't happen :-( although One group did leave the ship and rejoin 3 days later having done a full Nile Cruise! Thanks for any suggestions Hilary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
.... so a private tour might be the way to go if they guarantee return to the ship in time.

 

And herein lies the rub, and a constant dilemma for me. I would often prefer independent touring, but there is simply no way a local tour company can "guarantee" a timely return. They can try their best. They can be honest and knowledgable. But stuff can happen, and there's no predicting whether or not the ship can or will wait.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have done Pretra two times and hope one day to go for a third.

 

It is one of the most interesting places we have ever visited.

 

I would make it the one place you visit that day and not run to see other places.

 

I have a view and that is to smell the roses. In other words don't rush through it to see anything else.

 

The drive to Petra from Aqaba is about 90 minutes each way. A good part of the drive is in very remote areas although the roads are terrific. You will get a sense that you have gone back a couple of hundred years in time.

 

Our two visits were on another cruise line. We didn't want to be in a group because it is very distracting and if you want to spend more time in certain parts of it you are at the mercy of the tour guide while if you want to get to certain areas that is not always possible.

 

We were concerned though doing it privately and the ramifications of not getting back to the ship on time. Things can happen such as a vehicle breakdown.

 

We were able to arrange through the ship to use the same tour operator they do for the group tours but to do it privately with the ship. We had a driver and another person who gave us wonderful information on the way to and from Petra. As part of the tour when we arrived to Petra we had a Bedouin take us on a tour of the lost city.

 

We have done it twice this way. First time was just the two of us. Second time was with another couple.

 

We had the ship prepare us lunch as we didn't want to waste precious time stopping for lunch but the town outside the lost city does have lots of restaurants.

 

As to the Pyramids I would do this through the cruise line even though we are at the stage of our lives that we mainly do private tours. I would do it this way for the added security.

 

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you don't go I guarantee you will regret it, particularly if you like history. Valley of the Kings is stunning, it is unassuming on the outside but once you enter the tombs with all the hyrogliphics it is simply amazing. Egypt is experiencing a down turn in tourists so the pyramids, Valley of the Kings etc is not crowded. From all my travels around the world this was a highlight

 

I plan on doing a cruise in later 2019, but still unsure if I want to do Silversea Spirit vs Crystal Esprit vs Seabourn. The Esprit cruise allows seeing the pyramid--but Sprit goes to the Valley of the Kings. If anyone here has been both to the Valley of the Kings and the Pyramids, I am interested in hearing what they think of itinerary's that include one but not the other.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • 2019 Cruisers' Choice Awards
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...