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European Explorer/Egypt Optional Excursions - what to choose?!

16 Nov 2007 graciejm asked

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Hi Everyone!

I'm booked for the European Explorer departing May 23/08 and the Egypt tour departing Jun 27/08. These will be my first contiki tours and my first time overseas (and first time travelling alone!) Just wondering if anyone can help me out with what optional excursions I absolutely can't miss and which ones I could probably do without. Here's the list!

European Explorer
Paris - Moulin Rouge (Euro 130.00)
Barcelona - Tablao de Carmen (Euro 54.00)
Monaco - Monaco Restaurant (Euro 32.00)
Venice - Gondola Ride (Euro 21.00)
- Venetian Restaurant (Euro 28.00)
- T-Shirts (From Euro 17.50 - 26.50)
Florence - Souvenir Group Photo (Euro 11.50)
- Space Electronic Disco (Euro 12.00)
- Tuscan Meal (Euro 38.00)
Rome - Guided Imperial Tour (Euro 12.00 (10-19
people)/ Euro 11.00 (20+ people))
Sorrento - Restaurant Meal (Euro 34.00)
Pompeii - Guided Tour of Ancient Pompeii (Euro
18.00 (19-34 people)/ Euro 17.00 (35+
people))
Athens - Athens Plaka Meal (Euro 33.00)
Dubrovnik - Dubrovnik Cruise (Euro 20.00)
Vienna - Old Vienna Schnaps Museum (Euro 6.00)
- Dinner and Mozart Concert (Euro 60.00)
Lucerne - Mt. Pilatus (SF 46.00)
- Cruise to Lucerne (SF 24.00)
St. Goar - Wine Tasting (Euro 8.00)
Amsterdam - Volendam Restaurant (Euro 31.00)
- Canal Cruise (Euro 27.50)

Egypt
Cairo - Group Photo (US $11.00)
- Cairo Sound and Light Show (US$25.00)
Aswan - Ramses II at Abu Simbel (US$201)
Luxor - Hot Air Balloon Ride (US$150.00)
- Camel Ride (US$15.00)

Also, about the optional dinners, they seem a little on the expensive side...does anyone know what the percentage is for people attending the dinners? Are there a lot of other places to eat where we'll be staying?

I'd really appreciate any advice!

Thanks!
Grace
  • 16 Nov 2007 Michael_B said

    Michael_B

    Although I have been on different trips than you, many of the excursions overlap the ones you are doing. These are the excursions I did on my trip:

    Venice gondola ride…How often are you going to be in Venice? If you were in Pisa, would you take a picture of you pretending to hold up the Leaning Tower? Of course you would! =)

    Florence group photo: I’m really glad I got mine. They took a shot of us up on a hill that had a beautiful view of the city in the background.

    Space Electronic Disco: The only complaint I had about this place was that they planned it for Contiki people coming in. So expect lots of American/Aussie music. I was hoping to let loose to some Italian dance music, but was disappointed.

    Rome Imperial Tour: I did it (we had 30 ppl do it), and it was fun and informative. Got to see the Colosseum and the Forums among other places.

    Mount Pilatus – I did it, although I thought 40+ Franc (what’s that, 30+ usd?) was way too much to simply ride to the top of a mountain and play in the snow. It was fun (40 man snowball fight hehe) but there were a large group of Arabic people (200+) who were very rude to all of us. Got some great pix at least.

    St. Goar Wine Tasting: Lots of fun. The wine cellar reminded me of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney lol. We got to sample a lot of wine and cheeses, and I bought a few bottles for great prices.

    Amsterdam Restaurant – I was highly disappointed with this place. Way too much money for food that wasn’t all that good anyway. I wouldn’t do this one.

    Canal Cruise – This was an absolute blast. It started off with everyone doing an alcoholic energy shot…simply awesome hehe. There was about 4 cases of wine (with cheese/crackers) and at least as many kegs of Heineken on board. Within the first hour, all of us, including the tour guide, servers and even the captain himself, were all drunk and having a blast. You absolutely must do this one.

    Hope that helps a little bit. Have a great trip!

  • 16 Nov 2007 graciejm said

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    Thanks Michael_B!!

    That does help! Did you end up doing a lot of the optional dinners on your tour? I was just wondering if most people join in or if they try finding other places to eat in the area.

    That Canal Cruise does sound like fun and a really awesome way to end off the trip! Most of the excursions sound like fun…oh if only money were no object Wink<!--graemlin:;)-->

    I can’t wait for my trip!

  • 16 Nov 2007 Gryphon said

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    I would suggest that if money is a concern, the one must-do optional is abu simbel, it’s a really magnificent sight.

  • 17 Nov 2007 Jeremy said

    Jeremy

    I haven’t been to either yet but I intend to over the next couple years (Taking the Whirl next year and wanting to do Egypt the year after).

    In Egypt I would say that the group photo and cairo sound and light show are not necessarily worth it if you are on a budget. I have heard over and over again that Abu Simbel, Hot Air Balloon, and Camel Ride are absolute musts.

  • 17 Nov 2007 graciejm said

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    Thanks for the comments!

    As excited as I am for the European Explorer (which is VERY) I think I’m most looking forward to the Egypt tour (I was even Cleopatra for Halloween this year!). I’ll definitely have to save up for Abu Simbel and the Hot Air Balloon Ride Cool<!--graemlin::cool:-->

  • 17 Nov 2007 cdm115 said

    cdm115

    The sound and Light show is cheesy so you could definitely skip that one. The photo is nice since it has the pyramids and sphinx in the background.

    Moulin Rouge is a bit pricey, it’s a good show, but if you’re not really into that type of show, I would skip that. You could also try to book that on your own to save some money.

    The Venitian dinner wasn’t very good on my tour, and I found that only about half the tour did that one.

    The dinner in Florence was good and everyone from tour did that one.

    I didn’t go to Space, I heard it wasn’t that good.

    The cruise in Lucerne was nice (would have been better if the weather was better), but not great. You go on a boat and glide around on the river. it’s enjoyable, but on a budget might not be worth doing.

    St. Goar wine tasting – it’s a cave and wine, you can do it anywhere. But the wine was good and there isn’t much else to do in town.

    I liked the canal cruise in Amsterdam. I think that’s more of a socially fun optional then anything else.

  • 17 Nov 2007 Michael_B said

    Michael_B
    quote:
    Originally posted by graciejm:
    Thanks Michael_B!!

    That does help! Did you end up doing a lot of the optional dinners on your tour? I was just wondering if most people join in or if they try finding other places to eat in the area.

    That Canal Cruise does sound like fun and a really awesome way to end off the trip! Most of the excursions sound like fun…oh if only money were no object Wink<!--graemlin:;)-->

    I can’t wait for my trip!



    I only did a handful of the dinners (Amsterdam, Florence, Monaco). The only one I would vote against is Amsterdam

  • 17 Nov 2007 Shannon said

    Shannon

    This post has been really useful – thanks!!! I am going to do as many of the optionals as possible I think, so really should get saving!! And Grace, I was Cleopatra too at a work function just recently (I have very long blonde hair so wearing a short black wig was great fun!!. I even named my cat Cleopatra, so I am really looking forward to Egypt too!! Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

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