Incredible itinerary, excellent staff, wonderful memories!

Viking Ra Cruise Review to River Cruises - Egypt/Africa

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 26

Overall rating:

4.9 out of 5
Viking Ra

11 Night Pharaohs & Pyramids (Cairo Roundtrip)

Sail date: March 06, 2020

Ship: Viking Ra

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Review summary

This was a bucket list trip for a couple in our travel group so we went along with not very high expectations. The itinerary, planning and execution of this trip by Viking (amid some extenuating circumstances) plus the amazing sights and experiences were incredible. I will now encourage everyone to make this trip and enjoy the culture, temples, tombs, pyramids and history of Egypt. Viking has made sure that they include all the major sites, add on some bonus ones, cover all security issues, have extra staff to make each transfer seamless and have excellent onboard staff to oversee it all. The Ra is beautiful, comfortable and well designed. I'm hoping that the trip hasn't spoiled me for the Viking Homelands cruise in September and the Waterways of the Tsars trip scheduled next year!

Embarkation

5 out of 5
Ra is a small ship with only 26 cabins so embarkation is seamless.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

5 out of 5
There is one main dining room and a lounge. The food choices and quality were excellent. The Egyptian wines were a bit lacking and any other drinks were very pricey because of import taxes.

Onboard Activities

5 out of 5
These cruises are definitely structured to learn a lot about the countries you are visiting and the cultures that make them so unique. Onboard activities included talks on hieroglyphics, ancient Egyptian medicine, Egyptian women and Arabic. There was also cooking demonstrations, backgammon lessons and cocktail parties.

Entertainment

4 out of 5
The evening entertainment included Nubian dancers, whirling dervish, belly dancer and a local musical group. All were very good except the belly dancer.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
After a dozen cruises including 3 river cruises, this was the best staff across the board. The Hotel Manager was exceptional and handled a number of different problems with a calm, efficient and friendly manner (sandstorm, COVID-19 travel disruptions, medical problems). The Program Directors were not only well qualified but interesting and approachable. The restaurant staff was amazing - efficient, welcoming, capable.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
These are small ships but well laid out with a small coffee/snack area, library, pool deck, lounge, on board shop, and sun deck. The space was bright, clean and had several areas to hide away in.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
We loved that every room was a suite and the bathrooms were the biggest I had seen on a cruise ship. There was plenty of storage and all supplies were stocked each day.

Ship tip

I particularly loved the rocking chairs and couches on the top sun deck.

Ports of call

Luxor, Egypt

5 out of 5
There are several major sites at this port including the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens, Luxor Temple and Karnak Temple. The optional Hot Air Balloon Ride over the Valley of the Queens was exception and the highlight of our trip.

QENA, EGYPT

5 out of 5
Most cruise lines don't stop at Dendera Temple so we were particularly please to see the beautiful colors and design of this temple.

ESNA, EGYPT

5 out of 5
I did not tour the temple at Esna and it problably isn't a stunner when you compare it to Karnak or Phillea. We did enjoy the tour we took of the village and some time to shop in the market.

Aswan, Egypt

5 out of 5
Phillea Temple was beautiful and we enjoyed the optional sound and light show. The tour of the Nubian Village was really interesting as we arrived by boat and were able to see a local home and school. We also saw the Aswan Dam. Not really much to see but because it was important in the recent history of Egypt, we were glad we made the stop.

Edfu, Egypt

5 out of 5
The unique thing about Edfu is the carriage ride through the city and beautiful temple.

End Of Vacation

5 out of 5
Because Jordan closed its borders due to the Coronavirus, we did not get to do our extension trip to Petra. Disappointing but understandable.

Disembarkation

5 out of 5
Viking takes care of everything and does it to a very high standard.
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