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Clients Letters, Testimonials and Photos - 2006




Michelle Calpis – Spain Portugal & Morocco – November 2006

The tour was fine. It would be good if Cosmos could cater also for perhaps the under 35s or so to the same destinations that u guys go to as u have a great variety of places that u cover which is excellent as not many of the other tour companies cover all three countries, and also go so late in the season. Over all I saw the countries that I wanted to see and you guys did that great. Thanks for all your help.

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Heather & Brigitte Nazar – Egypt – November 2006

We saw many wondrous things in Egypt, met interesting people, and have entertaining tales of our adventures.  M was an excellent guide and an entertaining and caring person.
                         
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Miguel Ruiz-Larrea - Egypt - November 2006

Everything was perfect, the arrangement worked very well and we were taken care throughout all the itinerary. I must particularly compliment the guide H, as he is a very enthusiastic person, passionate about his country and the ancient Egypt and very knowledgeable. Someone that I can recommend as he is very serious and ready for help in any situations. Also very serious with time keeping.

Something that can be better is the organization of the Nile Cruise, I guess that it does not depend on you but the reality is that the bottle neck is a lock located half way the river Nile, we arrived at 13:00 one day and there were more than 60 boats waiting so our turn was at 8:30 AM the following day that means that the temples upstream the lock are very busy at one period of the day as all boats stop at the same time, and all boats arrive to Aswan almost at the same time as well. I wonder if there is a better way to organize this particular issue.

Apart from that everything worked very well and I hope that I can use A-Z tours services again in the near future.

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Diane and Donald Pedley - Egypt  - October 2006

Over the years we have taken many tours, trips and cruises but I have to say that Israel and Egypt surpassed them all. Thanks for all the work you did personally to make it such an enjoyable experience.

We are writing this report on our journeys to let you know how things went for us during our tours of Israel and Egypt. You may use any part of this report as endorsement or for advertising, at your discretion.

In essence, this was a trip of a lifetime. From the planning and hard work of Carol to the execution of your people on the ground it was a resounding success. Throughout, the fact that we are physically challenged was appreciated and compensated for. The Israel portion went absolutely smoothly.  We were met and helped through the airport phase and driven to Jerusalem.  From there, your Guide took over. He showed his 32 years of experience over the next four days in explaining the various sites, their history and their importance while supporting us physically as necessary around the difficult areas of our tour.  We learned a great deal from him and he is to be highly recommended as a guide. The accommodation at the Prima Royale was comfortable and we appreciated the boutique nature of the hotel.

Our flight to Cairo was quick and simple.  We were met as planned and the visa and entry system worked well.  We met your agent who arranged transportation to the Mena House Hotel.  That in itself was a revelation; probably the most luxurious hotel at which we have ever had the pleasure of staying.  The train ride from Cairo to Aswan was not pleasant and we would recommend any one else to fly. 

We were met at Aswan by an exceptional guide and very hard worker. Over the next five days he introduced us to the sights, sounds and history of Upper Egypt.  He knew it all by heart could interpret the hieroglyphs and did everything possible to make our visit useful and comfortable.  Our hotels at Aswan and later at Luxor were first class and we had excellent rooms with views at both places. Our Nile Cruise was just excellent. The cabin was first class; the restaurant and bar service just great, the guide was with us for the cruise and for all the side trips.  That was an added benefit.

The guide was a great business manager.  He arranged all the tips and favours and smoothed our way in a most professional way.  With his fine driver, he finally transported us to Hurghada and left us there in the evening to return to Luxor and begin another tour.  He is a special guide. 

We spent four happy days at the Hilton Hurghada before returning to Cairo, great resort, great views, and great hospitality.  It was at the guides suggestion that we avoid the seven hour drive by coach to Cairo.  I had erroneously thought we would see something of the Suez Canal which proved not to be possible on the route the bus took. We therefore gladly allowed the guide to book us a 45 minute flight and were glad that we did.  The Red Sea Golden Voyages Guide,  took us from the Hilton to the airport.

Back again in Cairo, the Meridien Pyramids Hotel was not a possible comparison with the Mena House.  We obtained a room comparable to those at the other locations where we had stayed in Egypt and spent our last tour days in comfort there.  Our guide for one day showed us the Cairo Museum, the Citadel and the Mohammed Ali Mosque.  This was a pleasant day ending with a Sound and light show at the Great pyramid. For the last days of our tour our guide very accomplished and educated young man. He showed us through the Sakkara Stepped Pyramid complex, accompanied us to Alexandria and took us to El Fayoum. 

The plan was excellent, the accommodation first class and the guides could not be bettered.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and felt we had excellent value for our money. Thank you,

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Rev. Dr. K Bill Dost - Turkey - October – 2006

TURKEY was wonderful, Jerry’s people took amazing care of us and working around our foibles and issues. We’ve been dropped off at our cruise ship extremely happy!!!!!!  Seraph and our driver were amazing!

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Heidi Chapman - Prague, Vienna & Budapest - October 2006

We made home safely yesterday afternoon.  The trip was wonderful; we had a really great time!  I think we made some lifelong friends as well, it was really great. Thanks so much!

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Lorne Turcotte - Egypt - October 2006

We returned to Vancouver this past Friday. Our tour in Egypt was great.  Mohammed was a good guide – friendly, helpful and full of information.  He did a great job of working around the Ramadan shortened opening hours.  All the sites equaled or exceeded our expectations.  I would have no trouble recommending A-Z tours for this kind of tour.  We realize we barely scraped the surface of Egypt and all it has to offer, but what we saw and did were incredible.  Some day we hope to see more.Thanks

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Padmashri - Egypt - October 2006

Apart from one hotel, everything was perfect. I will not even think twice in recommending your company to my friends and family. And will also keep your company in mind, when I plan for any of my future trips. Thanks once again.

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Becky M Hogg - Italy - October 2006

We had a very nice trip; the Cosmos tour and our independent traveling all went well and I am pleased with the choices we made and grateful for the help you provided in the planning.  Thanks!  When my finances recover I’ll plan another adventure!

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Hooi K Tho - Canada - October 2006

I had a great time and thank you for writing to check. Everything went well and Diane was awesome.

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Patrick & Patricia O’Donell - British Isles - October 2006

It was a great trip. The tour guide was great. My only complaint with Globus was the dinners provided were mostly the same every time-salmon, poultry and vegetarian. Thanks again for your help.

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Don & Carol Mahuron - Spain, Portugal & Morocco - October 2006

IT WAS AN ENJOYABLE TRIP. WE HAD A GOOD TIME. THANKS FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE.

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Shirley Lu Bataglio - Italy - October 2006

Everything went good, besides loosing our passports and take our time away by waiting for a replacement at the US council and police station. Other wise, it was a nice one. Too much to see and too little time.  And thank you for making this trip possible.  You have been helpful and wonderful. Very patient and not pushy.  We are very happy to have found you.  We are looking forward to work with you again for our next trip. Thank you very much.

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Linda Lowrimore - Myanmar & South East Asia - October 2006

Trips were both very enjoyable. Had a very good time. I was the only person on the Brendan tour of Myanmar, so I was able to forgo seeing the many temples and pagodas (and there were many!) and choose instead to see villages and the local haunts. It worked out very well – the drivers and guides were all extremely professional. 

The Globus tour had a very congenial crowd of 33.  Vietnam is a beautiful country and I was surprised at its growing economy.  Cambodia is a stark contrast – very poor, but of course, just seeing Angkor is well worth the trip. Thanks for your assistance. Will be contacting you again in about 6 months for my next trip to who knows where …?

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Fran Bobowski & Anne Dorrington - Canada - September 2006

Everything went very well. Anne and I enjoyed the trip very much. Anne, coming from Australia, where it is mostly flat and dry was particularly impressed with the number of lakes and rivers as well as the large rugged mountains we have in Canada.

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Becky LaGrand – British Isles – August 2006

Thank you. We did make it home as scheduled. It was a little scary and delayed but all went very well. It was a most enjoyable trip - must have done lots because I'm exhausted. We did lots of sightseeing in London and took advantage of every opportunity to see and do as much as the time allowed. We appreciate your taking care of all the details for us and making our trip so memorable.
 
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Stanley Paris – Egypt – August 2006

We had a wonderful time, words sometimes can never describe your experience, and this is one of those times. A-Z tours helped fulfill a dream of mine, which was visit Egypt, Jen and I wish to thank everyone affiliated with A-Z tours. I am going to use you guys again and again.

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Sharon – Europe – August 2006

We thoroughly enjoyed the trip to Europe! Everything was well planned and well organized! (Which I was appreciative of, since I was traveling with a friend who was over 60 years of age!!)
 
In the next year, perhaps for Easter, I will be interested in traveling to Egypt! I would be happy if you can show me various tours of this country! Thanks a lot! Have a great day!
 
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Claude & Rhoda Houge – Egypt – August 2006

HougeGreetings, all!  This is a bit about our recent trip to Egypt. For those of you who don’t know about this, we were scheduled to go to Asmara, Eritrea, last week with an Eritrean man who works in the LCMS World Mission office and also a good friend.  We were routed through Cairo, so I booked a 3-day tour on the way. Well, Claude wasn’t able to get his Eritrean visa because of complications, so we had to cancel that part of the trip, but the tour was already paid for, so we just took this short trip to Cairo at a very hot time for no real reason, and it was just great!  Kind of an expensive trip the way it turned out, but still a wonderful adventure. 

HougeWe landed around midnight and had to drive through the whole city to get to our hotel on
the other side. Cairo is over 15 million people, and most of them still seemed to be up and about, enjoying outside cafes, walking on the streets, or driving in the very close traffic. That was an experience right away, but it was so exciting to be in Cairo. 

Our hotel was really nice (lobby and pool were nicer than the rooms, but that was still pretty good), and we were told the pyramids were nearby. But we didn’t expect to see this when we left our room the next morning:

Yes – those are the pyramids of Giza, right from our hotel!  (One is behind a tree on the right.)  I almost cried with amazement. It
was really something. And that pool wasn’t too shabby either – it went all the way around the central bar with about four bridges.  We finally had time to enjoy it the last two days.


HougeWe booked with a tour company that was extremely helpful getting us through immigration at the airport, delivered us to the hotel, and then met us the first morning. Our main guide was a small sweet lady who has a bachelor’s in archeology and an advanced degree in ancient religions. She can read hieroglyphs and just knows everything. We were so impressed. Plus she was so friendly and ready to answer questions.
Houge

We headed to the Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx. The pictures speak for themselves at the size and awesomeness of these ancient monuments over 4000 years old.







HougeCan’t tell you how hot it was out there, but it was hot!! Claude made it inside one of the pyramids, but I turned around halfway down this tight little corridor that was stifling. I was afraid I’d faint, and how would they get me out?  People were coming and going all bent over, and at one point I met another large woman, and we nearly blocked the whole thing! That was a bit scary. So much for my tomb raiding career!

That night we had a dinner cruise on the Nile River, which was really lovely. (By the way - there were way too many buffets and lots of good food.)

The next day we went to the Museum of Egypt and saw many ancient statues, carvings, and such, including the unbelievable display from Tutankhamen’s tomb. The ornate objects and all the gold were just amazing. (No pictures allowed, but we bought a book!)

We also went to the Citadel, a fortress built on a high place in Cairo from around 1100 AD. There was a huge beautiful mosque there. (There are mosques everywhere. The country is 90% Muslim.)



Houge







HougeWe also visited an ancient Coptic (Egyptian Christian Church) which claimed to be on the sight where the Holy Family stayed in Egypt.

We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the church, but it reminded us of the Orthodox Church in Ethiopia with many traditions and connections to the Catholic Church in some ways. We also visited a very old Jewish Synagogue. Egypt is 8% Christian and 2% Jewish.

Other visits included a perfumery, a papyrus institute, and a large open market.



HougeThe third day we went just outside of Cairo to Memphis, the first capital of Egypt. The buildings there were destroyed long ago, but there are still some ancient statues. 

From there we went to Sakkara, the site of the first pyramids from 4000 BC. We were able to go inside one (a much easier journey) which was full of hieroglyphs.

That night we saw the Sound and Light Show at the Giza Pyramids. It was neat to see everything lit up against the night sky.

Our last day was mostly relaxing at the hotel with a little local sightseeing before our midnight departure. The trip was one we’ll always remember, and we hope to return to go to Aswan and the Valley of the Kings in the future. Thanks for letting us share!

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Nadine Ashton – Egypt – August 2006

Because of all the upheaval at all the airports, I missed the Casa connection, but Air France rescheduled me, and upgraded me to Business class, so I arrived home safe and sound. What a great experience, and all fully escorted, and the personal bodyguard with his little gun made me feel like Whitney Houston - without Kevin Costner!

But it really was a fabulous tour, exceeded my expectations, the sound and light shows were marvelous, everything was really good, the guides terrific: I think I must have given them a bit of a hard time; I teased them a lot, especially when requesting a personal Nubian slave to fetch me coffee before my early morning balloon ride!

Thanks for organizing my tour so promptly, I am off tomorrow for France, three weddings and relaxation in Lyon before the return to Casa and the long haul home to Oz. Best wishes,
 
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George & Mary Greenauer – Maritime Provinces – August 2006
Caribou to Wood Island ferry

Mary at Hopewell RocksThank you so very much for your services, they certainly contributed to the wonderful time we had in Atlantic Canada. You can tell by our smiles in the attached photos. Know also that there were several occurrences over the duration of the trip when we compared such things as brochures, tourist ads, Map quest directions and the like and always came to the question "what does Nicole say about this?", whereupon we'd refer to the "Nicole Papers".

Hard to put a finger on what or where we enjoyed the most, so I won't try! Nicole, once again, we really appreciate all you provided for us, and please know you are at the top of our referral list regarding travel in the Maritime Provinces.


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Delia - Europe - August 2006

I am continuing with my tour of Europe. The tour was very good. Denise was an excellent guide. I’m still in Santorini. Many thanks. Cheers,

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Lucinda Gilde - Nova Scotia - August 2006

We really enjoyed our trip and the puffin tour was unbelievable.  We saw an unbelievable number of puffins and we were very close to them so we were able to get good photographs of them. I would highly recommend the trip to Machias Seal Island. 
 
Thanks for all your help with this and I look forward to planning another trip with you in the future.  I still want to go to P.E.I.
 
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Dr. K. Bill Dost - Russia - August 2006

There were a couple of issues, in Moscow only, but the rest of the trip was terrific, in Moscow, on the first day we got off the train and no one showed up to pick us up. We called Julia (the contact you gave us and she called the driver) he arrived and was extremely rude. Then we ended up having dinner two nights at the Hard Rock Café and the food was really bad, we were told that unfortunately the service only had a contract with that restaurant in the district we were staying in. finally, we had a car transfer in Moscow from our hotel to the train station, EXCEPT the train station was literally next door. So it seemed silly.

However, we had a great time nonetheless and the rest of the trip was absolutely awesome! Dora did her best to correct things where possible and anyway the sights and everything were mind blowing! In the Ukraine we almost had a problem but the guide really worked things out for us twice actually, apparently St. Andrew’s church was not listed on her itinerary even though it was on ours, however she said don’t worry about it, I want to show it to you anyway. Talk about really impressive, and then when it was time to get on the train, it was crazy, our actual carriage didn’t arrive and so they were going to split us up, anyway our guide fought literally yelling at the conductor until he upgraded us to business class. The guide in Ukraine was awesome and I recommend her to all of your clients, her name was Natasha, also our guide in St. Petersburg who was also amazing. Like I said our trip was amazing! And we loved every second of it!

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Marcy Haffner - Greece - August 2006

We would like to thank you for all of your help in arranging this trip for us. We had a wonderful time - the tour guide - Rebecca was great. Everything went very smoothly, and our 17 year old twins gained an appreciation for travel. We are already thinking about our next trip. Many thanks,

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Mae Moroso - Nova Scotia & Prince Edward Island - August 2006

Arrived safe - a little scary at first but everything went normally and in good time. The tour was great, although, as a single, I would have liked more planned functions ie tickets and transportation to events and not so much free time. As this was my first bus tour, I hope this does not sound too negative, I did enjoy it and loved the Nova Scotian and PEI people. The accommodations and meals were great, Thanks for everything!

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Ted Zenuk - British Isles - August 2006 (During London’s security problems)

The trip was very good. The guide was excellent & the weather was good. After the initial panic over the terrorist plot, everything worked out fine. We only had a 3 hour delay sitting in the airplane prior to take off waiting for a clearance from the US on our passenger list.

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Hollis Miller – Nova Scotia & Prince Edward Island – July 2006

Thanks for the welcome home. We had a great time! You live in a very beautiful part of the world.  Even better was that we were treated wonderfully by everyone. I intend to give you a full update once I catch up. Thanks again.

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Joyce Reingold – Nova Scotia – July 2006

We had a fabulous time, thanks! Wanted to let you know that the Silver Dart Lodge was a big hit with the kids (I liked it too!) and Baddeck was a perfect launching pad for seeing the sights in Cape Breton. The Hilton Garden Inn worked out perfectly the last night, as well, and was very comfortable.

Funnily enough (ha, ha!!!) our whale watching trip from Brier Island was frightful. There were very nice people, nice concession, beautiful spot but horrible day -- rainy, windy and foggy. No whales and VERY high seas. The kids loved the roller coaster effect. We tried again the next day out of Digby, where we stayed and though it was a beautiful day (calm seas, sunny, no fog), the whales managed to elude us again. I think this is just our family whale karma.

HOWEVER, we did go on a trip out of Pleasant Bay in Cape Breton and saw a large pod of pilot whales and that was wonderful. The kids were elated, seeing their first whales in the wild. So while they were somewhat disappointed they didn't get to see any of the big whales, they were thrilled with the ones they saw -- plus all the eagles, seals, porpoises, lobster trap, etc.

They shared my love of Nova Scotia ... so green and beautiful, and the people, particularly in Cape Breton, so welcoming. Thanks again for your help!

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Derek Gillies – Cuba – July 2006

Everything went great from start to finish. The flights were good and spot on time. The rep Edel in Cuba was a great help and everything went smooth. Thanks a lot for all your help during the booking process...etc and if we consider a return next year we will keep you in mind.
 
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Misty Zingsheim – Egypt – July 2006

The trip went great!  We had a wonderful time. We ended up doing a belly dancing show instead of the Safari trip. We had a great time and look forward to going back in the future. Hope all is well.

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Keisha Wells – Egypt – July 2006

We're back and we had a wonderful time. For the most part, everything went according to plan. The guide was there to pick us up at the airport (which is what I was most worried about) and our excursions were well organized. Thanks for being so flexible and organizing our trip so well.

The only excursion that was not particularly pleasing was the Desert Safari to visit the Bedouins. Our truck had mechanical problems so we weren't able to see any of the Bedouin entertainment. We had to go back in another group's jeep while they watched the entertainment. Also, I didn't mind going to the Papyrus shop, Carpet School, Perfume shop, but it'd be good if the guide presented it as what it is ----- an opportunity to shop for traditional Egyptian souvenirs --- vs. an "educational" portion of the tour. Thanks,

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Susan Morris - Amsterdam - June 2006

I just wanted you to know I had a good flight with Martinair. They provided tasty hot meals and free booze, as well as free headsets. Legroom was a little small but on my outbound flight, it was only half full and so I was able to stretch out on three seats and sleep. I found the staff to be friendly and helpful. I will fly again with them in the future. Thanks for your service, Michelle.

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Dale & Mari Eberhardt - Italy & Paris - June 2006

We had a wonderful trip and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!  Of course we're almost totally exhausted because we did 95% of the available excursions so each day was a LONG one! 
The trip was well worth it and I'm now sifting through the 500+ pictures I took (not to mention the 9 hours of video). Ugh. Thanks again for all your help...it really paid off when we actually got "in country"!
 
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Stan Starrett - Quebec, Nova Scotia & Prince Edward Island - June 2006

We had a great trip and we thank you....the hotel in Quebec was just great, and all went smooth...the train trip is really for younger people than us, but one night was ok....we appreciate your help.
 
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Caryl Theresa Olson – Egypt – June 2006

Just got back and had a great time. Thanks for helping make it a great trip.

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David Christiansen – Egypt – June 2006

The trip was wonderful and I had a very good time.  Thanks for all your help in setting it all up.

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Lisa Alvir – Egypt – June 2006

The trip was fascinating and a unique experience for us all.  It was definitely worth every penny.  Our guides were wonderful!  We felt comfortable and they took care of everything. We especially loved S…... Her youthful exuberance was contagious and M…..'s knowledge seemed to be endless!  Rachael even took notes!

Everything is never perfect - the flight over was horrendous - we got stuck on the runway in Minneapolis for 4 hours so we missed our Amsterdam City tour and the airline lost Rachael's luggage, but things like that are to be expected.

We tried to follow the tips you had provided concerning dress, tipping etc and we were treated well.  The people were friendly and helpful and so interesting to talk to. We were very pleased with all of our accommodations as well. Thank you again. I'm very happy I choose your company. 
 
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Ronald Crump – June 2006

Thanks for my wife and daughters. They had a terrific time, enjoyed the tour very much. They were tired from all the walking. Monograms had the tour well planned and very good tour guides, ESPECIALLY the one in Paris. He was very helpful when my daughter-in-law became ill. He promptly secured medical aid for her. My wife described him as the "sweetest tour guide". We will be looking forward to more tours with your group in the future. We are retired now and can travel at will. Thanks again for all your help in arranging a completely successful trip. The air travel, scheduled events and accommodations were super!

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Susan St. Claire – Egypt – May 2006

The food was great except the Nile cruise did not have a vegetarian entree until I requested one.
* the ancient sites were great
* snorkeling and hiking were great
* the trip went well with a few glitches

The guides were ok. The best one was the woman in Alexandria. She spoke good English, she was professional, she was well-educated on the information.

The Luxor hotel was the best.

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Kyle – May 2006

It was a great trip.  I made some good friends and saw everything I wanted to see.
 
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Lisa Franklin – Greece – May 2006

I really enjoyed my trip. Thank you for all your hard work. My tour guide was very nice.  I stayed at Hotel Pan, which is in a wonderful central location, but the people that worked at the front desk weren't very cordial. Other than that, everything was wonderful. If I should go back to Greece, it will be to island hop. Thank you again.

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Joseph Andrew Maderick – Egypt – April 2006

On February 10, 2006 my son Joseph and I embarked on a package provided by your company on a tour of Egypt.  I would like to take this time to report on the trip.

Let me begin by saying that overall the trip was spectacular and immensely pleasurable.  If you will I shall proceed step by step yet shall remain brief.

We arrived at Cairo International and were immediately taken back by seeing armed soldiers standing under the wing of the airliner.  This was to be the case everywhere we went.  Unknown to us the Egyptian Government has a large national police entity called the Tourism and Antiquities Police.  They were omni-present on our trip.  It was explained by the guides that Egypt will not allow a repeat of the murderous nonsense that occurred a few years ago and have taken more than appropriate precautions to insure complete security.  All of the tour people and even the policemen themselves with whom I spoke were adamant about ensuring safety of visitors. 

Maybe this could be communicated to potential tourists, concerned about such matters.  In spite of this presence I must say that at no time, even in the dark of late night were either of us particularly concerned about any dangers.  We felt at least as secure as one might in Los Angeles or New York.

We found the people to be absolutely wonderful and both conciliatory and helpful in every respect.  We were treated more than respectfully by everyone we met at every location.  Almost everyone had some command of English and when they did not; someone nearby did and offered help. 

Upon our arrival at the airport we were met by two representatives of the Egyptian Tour Company.  The two young men ushered us through Customs and onto our tour bus which delivered us to our hotel, The Mena House. To our absolute amazement the Great Pyramid of Cheops was just across the street from the hotel.  It literally provided a dreamlike backdrop for our dinner. The hotel itself was quite nice with every amenity.  It was very clean and well maintained. The restaurants were a bit pricey but provided excellent cuisine with excellent service.

The following day we toured the Sphinx and Pyramids and rode a camel. That evening we had a dinner cruise on the Nile.

Our tour representative arrived bright and early with our mini bus driver and the licensed tour guide.  Egypt requires tour guides to be properly educated and licensed.  Off we went to the Pyramids.

The guide provided reasonably good service, though she was suffering from a cold. We felt a bit pressed for time, but please understand she did nothing wrong in any way.  The representative was instantly at our bid and service providing us with all of our tickets and the “other” details on Egypt and Cairo. I highly compliment him on the excellent job of taking care of us while in his care. 

Although both my son and I opted to skip the camel ride but we were convinced to try it and went for a short jaunt across the sands.  I don’t know who was more dismayed me of the poor beast that had to bear me.  Yet it was good for a laugh or two.

The boat dinner was nice but did not qualify as a highlight by any means.  The dinner was ample and savory and typical of Egyptian fare.  The fact that a wedding party was seated at the next table made the experience most pleasant and is the thing that made it noteworthy.  Entertainment included set of “swirl” dancers, a disco band and female singer, and a belly dancer.  Again it was pleasant but otherwise unremarkable.

The next day we did the Egyptian Museum, the Christian sites, the Bazaar, Saladin’s Citadel and the Mosque of Mohammed Ali.  We had limited time in the museum and had to move briskly through the exhibits.  We skipped the Papyrus and perfumery, as they were traps to buy souvenirs and wares.  We had lunch instead. 

At the bazaar, which is a maze of close and narrow little streets choked with tourist shops.  My son purchased a Hookah, water pipe. When my son presented the pipe to our representative and was told the price, he took my son back to the dealer who ended up giving him piles of tobacco products and a second pipe with no further charge.  We advise that the tour companies should tell the tour participants to beware of overpricing. As a rule we found that a number somewhat less than half of the original asking price was usually fair.

They got us to our sleeper train and saw us off to Aswan.  Our blessings go to our driver whose name escapes me.  But he surely has an angel watching over him and he is blessed with the patience of Job as the traffic in Cairo is phenomenally bad and disorganized.  Typically there are three lanes painted on the pavement and traffic occupies six or seven lanes of cars all moving in rhythm like the muscles of a snake.  A car simply joins the movement then leaves the movement as it crawls along interminably slowly.  With all that we saw no significant accidents.  Amazing !  Don’t even think about driving yourself.

We arrived in Aswan and were swept away by our guide. This guide remained with us for the next four days and more or less took care of the tour representative duties.  At no time were we actually left alone.  He took excellent care of us and did a great job with his narratives and instructions.  The souvenirs and such we did purchase were under his tutelage and guidance.  He truly went above and beyond in his efforts to serve us and to show us as much as possible.  He was far more detailed and knowledgeable than the other guides. 

The Nile cruise should more accurately be categorized as a floating hotel rather than a cruise as such.  The accommodations were again very nice and quite clean.  The food service was adequate and ample.  Unfortunately, both my son and I fell victim to Ramses Revenge despite drinking only bottled water and having been warned that although the water is microbiologically clean the chemicals used to purify the water system are rough on our systems.  We probably picked up something from the fresh fruits or veggies. 

The ship was the M/S Hamees.  We did not see the quarries but did have an afternoon to ourselves and visited the Luxor museum.  The Karnak light show was at best novel.  It did not compare to the Light show at the Sphinx which was far more elaborate and entertaining.

We returned to Cairo for our last day and two nights.  We were met at the train promptly.  We toured Memphis and Sakkara and visited a carpet school. Our guide did a decent job for the short time we were with him.

That night we saw the light show at the Sphinx and as mentioned above was quite entertaining and beautiful.

We were now staying at the Meridien Hotel.  The hotel was very nice as would be expected of a higher-class place. 

There was a mix up in our departure time so we checked out of the hotel and had ten hours before departure.  We went to a café and discussed the problem for several hours over a pipe or two and a gallon of chai and coffee.  Alas, these things happen and we were not the least angry and undoubtedly felt as bad as they did for us.  They did their very best to make sure we were well served.  Finally, I insisted that we go to the airport where we sat until departure time. 

I would recommend these young men without hesitation.  We had great fun with them and thoroughly enjoyed their company.  They kept us out of trouble and well fed.  They were prompt and courteous.   So with no hesitation and being very objective in the matter I strongly commend the guides and representatives and driver for jobs very well done and I thank them for their service, professionalism and attentiveness.

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Jane & Alan Vogel – Egypt – April 2006

We had a simply terrific time and don't feel like we missed anything.   I must make a point to tell you how wonderful our guides were. They are now our friends and we communicate via email frequently.

Words cannot come close to describing how great the guides were they bought us farewell gifts. M…. was equally wonderful and writes us almost daily, telling us how much he misses us (and we him). They do your company proud and should be rewarded. They were exceptional. The drivers were equally good. Just getting us to our destination safely, considering how crazy EG drivers are, says volumes. 
 
Our tour was everything I had hoped for, and more. We have over 2,000 photos, so that should give you some idea of how much we enjoyed ourselves. Again, my thanks to you, A-Z Tours and our guides for memories that will last a lifetime.
 
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Buck & Margarita Keiser – Egypt/Jordan – April 2006

Our trip to Jordan was the best part of our trip to Egypt. This was due in large part to our guide. Our plans had to be changed at the last minute and he was right at the exit of the ferry to meet us and take us quickly through the immigration and customs procedures.

He made our day with the trip to the Bedouin camp and the attention to all the details that he showed. What I think impressed us most was his knowledge of a wide variety of subjects, such as history and geology. This was evident in our jeep trip to Wadi Rum. His help in our Petra tour was very useful, as he suggested to us that we should climb to the Monastery, which was worth it.

In our travels we have used many guides and even though our time together has been short, he has been one of the best. We are leaving with a favorable impression of Jordan.

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Sarah Fredell – Egypt – April 2006

We had a truly amazing time. This was the least stressful trip I've ever been on. It was wonderful to have everything taken care of for us: transportation, tickets, destinations, etc.  I have fallen in love with the Egyptian people and would love to go back again. Your agents in Cairo were fantastic and took very good care of us. We have made new friends, especially with our tour guide in Cairo. We will definitely be recommending you to all our friends and family.  Thanks again for a great spring break.
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Terry Pope – Egypt – April 2006

Everything was fantastic, we had a great trip. Everything was great. Thanks.

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Pellegrino – Morocco – April 2006

Everything or almost everything was good. The two remarks we have are that the FES tour on the second day was very commercial. We spent the whole day visiting the Souk and going from the carpet sale to the nap sale we found that excessive. We had the feeling we could of visited more of the monumental FES, if there is one.

In Marrakech the hotel was terrible. We didn't say anything because it was already paid for but it was noisy and in terrible condition. The tour manager and guide were really great so that made up for it but we recommend to tell the supplier to cancel the hotel from the list. Agadir was great and relaxing. Thanks for your organization

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Nick Smith – Egypt – April 2006

Egypt great.  To our wonderful Guide H….. extraordinary. JFK awful. Plane from Salt Lake late we were last ones to board luggage did not make it. Coming home also late and Greer missed his LA flight Thanks for your help. I was very pleased with AZ.

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Marian Green – Egypt – April 2006

Thank you - thank you!!!! for the best e-mail of all!!  It was a wonderful trip.  All went very smoothly. We certainly have great and amazing things to talk about. Can't wait to see our video and photos. I bet they will be fabulous. Again, thanks for handling our trip.  

I have been telling people how our whirlwind trip planning to Egypt went along without a hitch!!!!!! You can plan and plan and plan and the.......  However, we are seasoned travelers and know what to expect and what can be left out and we know that that is not what you judge a trip by. We had a wonderful trip with nary a problem. And by the way,  let's talk, because maybe someone would like to talk to us personally about our experience and we could share that with them. Often times, this makes the wary traveler more secure. Have a great weekend. Will be in touch soon, 

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Susan and Lloyd Thomas – Egypt – April 2006

Thank you, thank you, thank you.  On a scale of 1-10, this holiday was about a 9.5! We were so pleased with everything.  We also met a guy from Miami who had booked with you and he agreed that all in all, the trip was great.

I am going to list (in point form) what we did like in particular, and things that we either felt could be improved. I do not do this as a "fault finding mission" or to complain....but, rather to offer suggestions that might make a similar trip better for others.

March 24.....great help to be met by polite and helpful guides and "whisked through", customs, visa etc. and taken right to the hotel and have them come in and see to it that we were registered and "all was well".  The hotel was great...big room...(a bit "tired"...soiled carpet etc. but....clean bed/towels etc. and a nice view and good food in the restaurant)  Certainly, the Nile Hilton is 5 star (North American standard)
March 25...on our own
March 26  we enjoyed our guides and the driver (a better command of English would have been great...but, we managed)...to Giza pyramids etc.  Picked up on time...good day all around.  (would have been nice to have a bit more time to go into the pyramids...and, to see the Solar Boat)  -- Nile Dinner Cruise was enjoyable.....nicer than we thought we "might" find it. 
We
admit, we had some misgivings about "boats" in Egypt, but, it was well maintained and we felt safe and enjoyed the meal and entertainment.
March 27...museum, Cairo tour, light show at Giza.  (a bit too much shoved into this day)
March 28....due to heavy rains last night, we got off to a late start...Still though...an interesting and enjoyable day.
March 29...to Alexandria....after seeing more of Cairo.  Hotel in Alexandria....wonderful...even better than the Nile Hilton!
March 30 ... new guide (still same guide from Cairo and same driver, but tour guides were new almost every day)  toured Alexandria....great day.
March 31...toured National Museum, Roman Theatre, etc. -- great day ....around noon...back to hotel and "free time".
April 1st...free day.
April 2nd...drove from Alexandria to El Alamein War Memorials...and back to Cairo.  Great to once again have A….'s help to put us and our luggage right on the train!  We really appreciated the attention given to us.  The train was also better than we envisioned.  (supper was so-so...but, breakfast was ok)
One "problem".....we learned while in Cairo....that the ferry would not sail on the day we had it booked.......our guide helped us by arranging (at a reduced cost) another night's lodging at the Marriot Hotel in Hurghada and booked ferry tickets for the next day.
April 3....met in Aswan ....taken to hotel to deposit our luggage, then toured the dams and temples etc.  Very nice!  Checked into the cruise ship.....again....far better than our expectations!!!
April 4...sailing -- enjoyable....meals were very good!
April 5...Luxor....we had this day off instead of the scheduled tours because the other "tourist" (the one from Miami) was off on another tour and they said, then we could all combine and see the things we should have seen today together.  We agreed, but, said we at least would like to do the Sound and Light show at Karnak that evening.  Even so, we found the next day that there was too much crammed into one day.  (the guy from Miami did all we did on the 6th PLUS the light show)
April 6...Luxor...checked into hotel.....very nice....again 5 star equal to North American standards.  (however, when we checked out....they made a mistake in our bill....they corrected it but advise your future clients to always check their bills.
April 7....Luxor...left for Abydos and Dendera.
April 8.....Luxor to Hurghada....agents were great.  I wanted to get "more cash" and they took us to a Thomas Cook office and helped us get our message across and took us back to the hotel.
April 9 (extra day in Hurghada due to change in ferry schedule) We took a tour.
April 10..too windy for the ferry......so.....once again, they took us back to the hotel and arranged another night's lodging there (at a reduced rate) and re-arranged the ferry.
April 11....we were taken to the ferry and "put on it" by our tour guides. Once in Sharm.....picked up and taken directly to the condo and they helped us get registered etc.
April 12......a "problem" occurred.....no-one’s fault.....but....we'd booked 2 tours....however, we did not realize that the condo does not change their clocks to match EGYPT'S time zone.....so, each time we were to be met and picked up to go on a tour.......no one came to meet us......FINALLY, it was discovered, that we were on a different time "zone" than the rest of the country.  Therefore, we'd go and wait for the pick up....no one would come and we'd go back to our room......the tour operator would come (an hour later)....not find us, and then call later to ask where we were!  This was a fault of the condo not explaining to guests that they "run" on a different time schedule.  The tour company was EXCELLENT...they made up for the confusion.....and were most helpful.  We had NO COMPLAINT with the Tour staff at any time.
April 13...14....15 at the condo....our time and some of it on extra tours booked directly.
April 15th checked out at noon....and headed out for St. Catherines.  We were a bit disappointed that the Monastery was not open on Easter Sunday....but, we did walk around it and saw it.  We also opted NOT to go on the mountain climb.
April 16 drive to Cairo -- great driver. A long drive. Great to be helped and checked into the Nile Hilton again.
April 17.....once again...great to be picked up and taken to the airport and to have them make sure we were okay before they left us.

We would certainly recommend your company to anyone thinking about traveling to Egypt.  We were also very pleased with you, Carol and all the assistance, information and help you gave us to get our trip planned and customized to our needs.

One more question.....do you do tours in other countries?  We are thinking of a trip (in a year or two) to Australia and New Zealand.  Do you do tours there also?

It is the only way to travel......someone there to "hold your hand" and help with any problems that might crop up.....to take you places, explain things, and yet, let you go where YOU want to go and do what YOU want to do.

We enjoyed the experience, the guides and the assistance from A-Z . Thanks again.

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Ali Mor – Egypt – March 2006

Our trip was wonderful.  The cruise and the its staff were great.  The guides were friendly. They were very trustworthy.  We added another excursion to our cruise itinerary at the last moment and they were very accommodating.  It was also a very nice surprise that my friend and I were given our own private guide to the temple sites.  I would recommend the cruise to anybody.  Thanks for helping us with a great trip!

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Richard Perreault – Egypt - March 2006


The trip was spectacular.  I’m not in the category of “extensive” traveler, but I think I’ve traveled somewhat greater than normal (Egypt was my 36th country), and I truly saw things beyond my expectations.   At first, I was a little thrown off by having a driver, guide, and in some cases company rep all to myself, but once I got used to it, I learned to use it to my advantage.  The crew in Luxor were particularly great.
 
My first day in Cairo was cooler, windier, and therefore sandier than I would have liked – the weather thing is always a dice roll (Last October I spent a week in New England when it rained every day and floods washed out some of the roads).  Fortunately I got back to Giza my last day, so my memories of the plateau will not forever be of squinting into a sandstorm.  I think if I had gone a little later in the year, Cairo might have been nicer, but the southern part of the trip would have probably been too hot – so overall, my weather timing was pretty good.  The only constant negative was the cigarette smoke.  I’m highly allergic, and I swear Egyptians must come out of the womb with a lit cigarette in their hand.
 
My only uncomfortable moments involved the whole “tipping” culture.  I don’t know how you can adequately prepare people for that situation.  I had intentionally stocked up with small bills, so it really wasn’t much of an issue.  I think the worst part of it was I got to where I didn’t want to talk to anybody, for fear of an expectation of some gratuity.  Once, I sent a young man away in a huff because I wouldn’t tip him when he told me to “duck” getting onto a boat.  In hindsight I guess I only got “trapped” twice (trapped meaning accepting a small courtesy, then having the person ask for a HUGE tip), and once was at the airport on my way home, and my defenses were down.  There’s an airport employee in Cairo probably still ticked at the ugly American who wouldn’t give him $30.00 for being led to a security gate where the ugly American was already headed, and was in no rush since he had a four-hour wait for his flight.
 
All-in-all, the positives far outweighed the negatives, and the trip will go down in the “success” column of my ventures. Thanks again for all your help.
 
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Patricia Barbosa – Egypt – March 2006

First, I would like to state that I very much enjoyed my trip in Egypt and had few problems or concerns during my month long stay.  I do have some suggestions and comments on some of my travel arrangements and my evaluation of the services I received:
 
1.    Itinerary:   I made some changes in my trip that costs me additional money ($200) and changed the sites I eventually saw.  I was scheduled to travel to Saint Catherine’s, a 6-7 hour car trip and then return to Cairo and then go to Alexandria.  The amount of travel was too much for so short a time, and basically meant I would spend 2 days in a car.  I decided to spend an additional 2 days in Alexandria, but I would have much preferred to go to Saint Catherine and then go on to Sharm El Sheik instead of spending time in Hurghada
 
2.    Hotel accommodations:  With the exception of the hotel in Luxor, I had very good hotels and very good service.  I chose to upgrade to the deluxe hotels and found them clean, safe and very comfortable.  However, I had a very bad experience at the New Winter Palace in Luxor. Although the hotel is considered a luxury hotel, the room I was given was hot, shabby, and very below par.  The hotel lobby, the garden and the restaurants are fine, but the room given to your tour company and assigned to me was far below what I would expect from a 2 star hotel.  I suggest that you not book travelers at the New Winter Palace as they do not give your tour guests decent rooms, and do not care if we complain.  I complained at least 4 times about problems and never had my complaints addressed.    
 
3.    Tour operators:  I had very good service from the tour operators with the exception of the tour operator in Luxor.  I had some excellent tour operators that deserve special thanks.  First E really tried to take care of my trip to ensure that I enjoyed the sight seeing and my time off.  He was really a great guide and made the changes to my schedule quickly and without complaint.  Without his tireless work on my behalf I would not have been able to enjoy the sight seeing and have been so comfortable during my time in Cairo and Alexandria.  Secondly, A worked very hard to make sure my trip was enjoyable and easy.  I am very thankful for the great work of all of the tour operators that managed my trip so well.
 
4.    Tour Guides:  I had very good tour guides throughout my trip and had three especially good guides that should be commended for their good work.  H in Luxor made my sight seeing very enjoyable as she was not only qualified, but so kind and sweet that my travel with her was a special treat for me, and made the bad hotel not as important as H balanced out the difficulties.  Secondly, A in Cairo really made my visit to the Egyptian museum a special adventure.  He is very knowledgeable and a very companionable guide.  Last, S in Alexandria was such a good guide and provided wonderful insight into the life of regular Egyptians.  I did not have any bad guides, but those mentioned above were far superior and made my trip so special, much thanks to them all.  
 
Finally, I want to thank the Tour Operator.  My trip to Egypt was a trip of a lifetime.  I spent a month in a foreign country and traveled extensively without ever missing a train, boat or car.  I did not lose my luggage, did not have any bad experiences with any Egyptians and found the country and its people wonderful.  I would recommend your tour agency to my friends and family.
Thanks for your great services,  
 
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Sharon Koch – New Zealand – March 2006Mike & Sharon Milford Sound Tour

Our "native" guide, Robin the bus driver, was amazing!  He was knowledgeable, laid back, accommodating and helpful, and took us to some places along the way, that our overall guide, Wanda, had never been to, although she's been doing this tour for a long time.  He was a font of information, and knew his route so well, he could tell us what to look for up ahead.  He put a lot of energy into giving us a wonderful trip. Because of him, we experienced more of NZ than some of our friends.  Wanda, our head guide, was a little loud, but she was okay. She wasn't overly organized..........
 
We really enjoyed our time in New Zealand. We had only 1 day of rain on the tour....the rest of the days were mostly sunny. The Kiwis are very friendly and nice, and we enjoyed meeting them.  The bus was comfortable, and we traveled with a nice group of people.  We had two very long days of travel, but I understand that Collette has already changed the trip from Wellington to the South Island.  We went all the way to Franz Josef, and I think it was about 13 hours.  The hotels were very nice, and the beds at the end of each day were very comfortable!Huka Falls




 
Thanks for all your help prior to the trip.....
 




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Dr. Rajesh Nehete – Egypt – March 2006

After returning from Egypt we immediately went to India. After coming back from holiday is always a busy time at work and our wish to write to you is not becoming a reality. Egypt trip was very nice. We hope to give detailed feedback at an earliest opportunity

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Frances Roux – Egypt – March 2006

The trip was GREAT!  We LOVE Egypt. Our Guide was most personable, professional, and he made sure everything ran smoothly. S. ranks among the best tour guides we've ever had. The tours were more that we had envisioned and the weather even cooperated. The hotel, Pyramida, was perfect: great location and great facilities. I emailed the hotel before I left to find out about getting a room with a Nile view. They asked me the dates and tour company. I gave them that information but did not hear from them again before leaving. When we arrived, we were given a suite with a Nile view. We thoroughly enjoyed the view. Thank you very much.

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Thomas LaCour – Egypt – March 2006

Loved the tour, everything with one minor exception worked perfectly. The exception being a mix-up in pickup time to get to the airport on departure.That worked out fine too, after a phone call, so I hope the gent that took us there didn't get in any trouble.

Egypt was a much poorer country than I had expected. I really thought it would be up to the standards we encountered in Turkey and it comes no where close.

The Tour Operator did a fine job and I would recommend them, and YOU, very highly. Thanks for all your efforts Carol.Take Care,

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Ivan Milkovich – Egypt – March 2006

Thanks for your message. Yes, everything was fine and I enjoyed the trip. Thanks for a well organized trip. Best regards,

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Marjorie Schnapp – Egypt – February 2006Alexandria Library

Cam on Camel
The trip was great, and was just as I requested.  Our only hitch was me getting a cough and losing my voice for a couple of days.  I saw an Egyptian doctor both in Cairo and then again on the Nile cruise and both prescribed meds that helped a great deal (and were very inexpensive, compared to the U.S.).   We had excellent guides all the way through and a couple of them took good care of Cameron when I was feeling "not so active".  I feel that we saw all the major places in Egypt and got an wonderful overview of the country, from Alexandria in the north to Abu Simbal in the very southern tip.
 
Thank you so much for your thoughtful arrangement of this trip.  Cameron had an experience he will never forget, and he tells me he left a boy and came back a man!!! (since he had his 15th birthday when we were in Hurghada).  I can't vouch for that, but I do know he had a great experience, and through him, I did too. If you ever want to use me as a reference for a proposed traveler, feel free to do so.  Thanks again.
 
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Paul Kuuisisto – Egypt – February 2006

Yes I enjoyed my trip.  The Egyptologist in Alexandria was exceptional. The cruise was great.  The tour guide on the cruise boat was terrific.  I did think I was to have my own tour guide at each stop but Robbie was so good I didn't mind.  When I returned to Cairo, I was coupled with a father and son to tour the Egyptian Museum etc. All said and done the trip was arduous but stimulating and fun. Thanks.

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Jason Fletcher – Greece – February 2006

Once I got out of Baghdad (delayed three days), I had a great time!  Antonis met me at the airport and rearranged the schedule to maximize my time in Athens.  Unfortunately, I missed the Athens tour, but these things happen. I was pleased with his services.  I may take a 2-3 day excursion to Jerusalem in April or May - I'll be in touch!
 
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Keith Snider – Egypt – February 2006

I had a great time. The guides were exceptional, as was the driver.

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John Richard Huff – Hawaii - December 2005

Our family of seven were exposed to a delightful vacation and consequently, to the world. Our host, Judy, was a real 'Mother Hen'. She saw to every detail. The weather was great and then we came back to a dreary Cleveland. Thanks for making all the plane arrangements for Mahala, who had a cast put on her foot the day before we left. We are grateful for all the care a handicapped person receives. Never realized that every place now has handicapped facilities. Thanks again for a great tour.

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Lisa Franklin – Egypt – December 2005

Thank you so much for such a wonderful trip.  We had so much fun.  Everyone there was so nice.  I especially loved our tour guide in Cairo.  She was such a sweetheart. Thank you again.

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Jason McAuliff – Egypt – December 2005

Trip was terrific. Thanks for taking care of everything on such short notice. Everything went without a hitch. Thanks again.
 
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Marissa D’Mello – Egypt – December 2005

It was a very good trip - I am very pleased.  There were some areas that I had wished I had known in advance, but other than that, it was wonderful.  Thanks for all your help!

The tour guides and leaders in Egypt were especially good and helpful and ensured that everything went smoothly – the guide certainly made the trip very enjoyable and memorable!

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Janet Tatem – Egypt - December 2005

All went well. The Sleeper Train was not the most comfortable trip imaginable, mainly due to a very rough track! The ship on Lake Nasser was great and virtually empty. Once again thanks for all your organization. Until the next time!



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