This was our second Viking cruise and it was outstanding. We started with the optional Israel pre-cruise land tour. The tour guide, Jo Lane, was knowledgeable and outstanding. We visited all the biblical sites and more. The Dead Sea Scroll Museum and the Western Wall did not disappoint. We stayed at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem which was elegant but somewhat dated. It appears that all Five Star hotels in the Middle East include breakfast. The King David had a fantastic spread every morning. After the 4 nights in Jerusalem, we flew to Cairo very early in the morning and checked into the Ritz Carlton.
RECOMMENDATION: Since the first day in Cairo is free, we booked the Pyramid Light and Sound show via private car on TripAdvisor/Viatour a week before. This is really the only chance you will have to see it. We were picked up at 6:00 PM by our guide and driver and driven to Giza. We were given tickets to the show, the guide went inside with us, recommended where to sit and said he’ll be waiting outside for us after the show that started at 7PM and lasted an hour. He was and we were driven back to the Ritz. It was a memorable and great deal for about $52.00 each. The Ritz Carlton hotel was the best one we stayed at. It was very modern and had a great breakfast included each morning.
BE ADVISED: Beer and wine in Egypt is moderately priced but spirits are stratospherically expensive! We never looked at the prices but just ordered a “double” martini at the bar at the Ritz. A “double” is misleading, since they pour very small shots, so we ordered a double just to get half a drink by our standards. The price? With service charge, VAT, each drink cost us $67.00!!!!!!!!!!!! The price for the same gin on the Viking RA was the same as the Ritz, so we purchased a beverage package on the ship, which turned out to be a steal. We flew to Luxor to catch the ship. The cruise ship was intimate and very nice. Everyone on the staff was outstanding. We both thought the food was also outstanding. We both did the hot air balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings and it was great.
All of the included tours were excellent. The tour busses were first class with a restroom on board. Every single tour bus in Egypt has a government security man on board. They’re well dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and tie and have a small submachine gun tucked under their jacket! In addition, we had police escorts at many venues. Tourists are so important to Egypt’s economy, the government goes way out of their way to provide security and safety.
Everything on this trip was top notch. You never hauled your luggage and there was a Viking person outside and inside each airport to assist. It was a great trip I would recommend to all!
Great cabin, conviently located near reception.