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Old May 11th, 2007, 05:32 PM
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Default May 11 Virtual Cruise - Egypt

Virtual Cruise Report - NCL Jewel
May 11 - Day 5 - Alexandria, Egypt

Today reminded me again why I really dislike the big, ship’s organized shore excursions; the problem- your tour only moves as fast as the slowest person, and any disorganization has a tendency to snow ball because of that.

With a port of call like Alexandria, Egypt I was a bit unsure about booking private more intimate tours, so we booked the ship’s tour called “The Pyramids and The Nile in Style?.

It would be really difficult to screw up the actual spots we visited on this tour; after all it’s tough to mess with the magnificence of the pyramids, the Sphinx, The Citadel and Mosque, and an afternoon cruise along the Nile.

However the delivery of the product could have made the day even more pleasurable. I’m sure nearly everyone on the ship was going out on tour today, and it seemed everyone of those tours was assigned to meet in the Star Dust Theater. Our tour was to be a long one, from 8 A.M. to 8 P.M., and our tickets asked us to report to the Star Dust Theater at 7:45 A.M. We arrived promptly to find the theater packed with tour passengers lined up down the hall. As we slowly moved into the theater, we found they were still calling passengers for tours which should have already left. They were still searching out ticketed passengers for those tours, and thus delaying later tours. Our tour was finally called to leave the theater at 8:30 P.M, and made our way to our bus by 9 A.M.
We then found out we would be waiting until all the buses for this tour would be waiting until every bus going was full in order to form a convoy to Cairo. They said there were 600 people from the ship on this tour, so that is a “ship load? of buses. By 9:30 A.M. the convoy finally departed the port. By 10 A.M. every bus in the convoy had passed ours, and even a tailing escort had left us behind. No more convoy, that we’d waited around to travel in… though aside from the convoy, each bus, including ours, had a well armed (machine gun under the suit) security guard onboard.

We left the port late this morning, and then at several stops we were delayed further by passengers in the tour ignoring instructions on when to be back to the bus to move on the next sight. We were all reminded several times that we were trying to fit a lot sight-seeing into one day, so timing was an issue. Unfortunately there are always those who think rules don’t apply to them… and on these tours they are the ones who end up controlling the timetable for everyone.

The end result was a VERY long day, where we didn’t end up returning back to the ship until 9:30 P.M. Later this evening I spoke to some passengers, on the same tour, but on a different bus, and they returned to the ship by 7:30 P.M.
Frankly that extra 2 hours on a cramped bus, where some people wanted the air-conditioning on, and some wanted it off, left me pretty cranky.

A combination of a better system of disembarking the tours, and more considerate bus-mates could have made this a much smoother tour.

As I mentioned above, the sights our tour visited were quite fantastic and breathtaking. And because of the long day today, and early tour again tomorrow morning, I’m going to have combine the details of our two days in Egypt into tomorrow’s report. As tomorrow we’re only doing a half day tour, if it doesn’t turn into a full day tour by accident, I’ll be posting some very interesting photos and some fun stories to share, tomorrow afternoon on our return.

I really have to get some sleep now!
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