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9th Annual Med Cruise
October 7-17, 2013
You are cordially invited to join our 9th annual Taste of the Mediterranean. culinary cruise with Taste & Traditions Expert Mara Papatheodorou on a unique voyage aboard the Regent Seven Seas Mariner, October 7-17, 2013. A former editor for Bon Appétit, Mara will act as your guide on this tantalizing journey from Istanbul to Rome featuring the cuisine of the Mediterranean. Exclusive in-port culinary events, meals and tastings are planned along the way.
UP TO 35% hotel & cruise savings!!
Destinations & Adventures is pleased to report tourism is coming back to Egypt!
We have just completed two spectacular Egypt trips for Condé Nast Traveler Magazine’s 25th Anniversary with rave review from the travelers. Full details for “Egypt: From the Pharaohs to Tahrir Square” are available at:
Why travel to Egypt now?
We take the opportunity to share with you a letter we have received from one of the Condé Nast travelers who traveled in May 2013. You may draw your own conclusions:
“For years, we wanted to visit Egypt and do it right! For some reason, none of trips we considered seemed appropriate for our interests and our timing. Then we read the Condé Nast Traveler’s 25th Anniversary issue’s description of Egypt: From the Pharaohs to Tahrir Square and we knew it was the perfect match. We called almost immediately and, even at that, had to make our reservation for the newly added, second trip.
Everyone—family members, friends, colleagues, even perfect strangers—told us NOT to go because it was much too dangerous. After emailing and talking with Destinations & Adventures’ Jim Berkeley and his wonderful staff about the trip, we had no doubts that we’d made the right decision.
We travel a great deal (42 countries and counting). The Egypt trip was the best of them all. The planning was flawless, the Egyptologist guides and staff were platinum class, the itinerary took us well beyond the postcard sites everyone sees, and we always felt safe and secure. There were only 11 of us on the tour. Frequently it was just the two of us with our own extraordinary guide and (given Cairo’s traffic) a miraculous driver.
On our way home, we tried to identify the two or three high points of our trip. We couldn’t do it and had to stop counting when we reached double digits.
How do you compare an early morning excursion to the Sphinx and Giza Pyramids—11 of us, five guides, Jim Berkeley, an onsite archeologist to take us beyond the fences and locked tomb doors—to an experience like the after-hours tour of the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities with an Egyptologist who introduced us to the mummies of pharaohs, the treasures of King Tut, and a multitude of artifacts from other dynasties?
How do you compare camel rides to the half-buried tombs of governors to a luxury boat trip up the Nile to Karnak Temple and the Temple of Luxor? We were the only group at Queen Hatchepsut’s monumental temple and, just when we thought nothing could be better, we had a private viewing of Queen Nefertari’s Tomb, the most beautiful tomb of all.
By the time we reached Sharm el Sheikh, we were ready for a rest but were too tempted by the prospect of snorkeling in the Red Sea. The next day, we left for St. Catherine’s Monastery at the base of Mt. Sinai. And yes, we saw the fully-revived burning bush. Yet, the most moving moments were those after the monestary was closed to tourists. There we met Father Justin, a monk (born and educated in Texas) who is the librarian of the monastery’s priceless collection of old manuscripts—only second to the Vatican in number. In his office, Father Justin showed us fragile parchment texts, including a copy of a psalm. We were staggered by the richness and weight of the writings we saw.
We spent our last day in Cairo near Tahrir Square. On a side street, we saw dozens of grafitti displaying the faces of young martyrs as well as bold challenges to the Morsi regime. Then we went to lunch with five activists whose courage and commitment to freedom humbled us.
We were treated like royalty. The best rooms in the best hotels. Everyone should spend a night at the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan, even if you haven’t read Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile. At one hotel where we belong to their international members’ club, they were sorry to tell us they couldn’t upgrade our room because we were already staying in that room.
There is, however, a sobering side to this story. Tourism has been decimated. The Egyptian economy is in jeopardy. Anger at Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood is palpable. As we sailed up the Nile, we saw people living no better now than they did hundreds of years ago. At the same time, every Egyptian welcomed us, particularly because we were from the United States. They were warm, gracious, and proud of their history and hospitality. When we had more than a few days to get to know some of them, we felt like part of their family. We shall miss them. As a result, we promised to bring home a message. Egypt is in the midst of a revolution that is struggling to make life better for everyone. Egypt is safe and a once-in-a-lifetime experience if you put your trust in a Jim Berkeley who lived in Egypt and has exceptional, expert contacts. Egypt needs tourists and we cannot imagine a better time to stand almost all alone in an ancient temple or tomb, in a treasure-filled museum, on a Nile cruise ship, in a 13th century Cairo mosque listening to an Imam sing, on a graffiti-colored street, and come face-to-face with the exquisitely preserved faces of pharaohs.
We personally extend our thanks to Condé Nast for choosing this perfect trip as their choice for Egypt.
IE & AK”
La Traviata at Masada!
SAVE THE DATE
June 12-16, 2014
Come and see the spectacular magic of OPERA AT MASADA in Israel! Enjoy a mesmerizing cultural experience showcasing Opera as it is rarely seen at one of the world’s most magnificent settings – Masada. Sales have now begun for the June 12-16, 2014 Opera Weekend at Masada featuring Verdi’s La Traviata with The Israel Symphony Orchestra Rishon LeZion under the baton of Maestro Daniel Oren. Let us create an unforgettable journey for you to the Holy Land featuring Opera at its most spectacular as well as the nearby world famous treasures of Jerusalem, the Galilee, Dead Sea, and Petra in Jordan!
News From The President
It was a great honor to travel to Grand Cayman in early January 2013 to accept the Conde Nast Traveler Magazine Award for Top Travel Consultant & Destination Specialist for Egypt & Jordan. This is my 12th year running to win this prestigious accolade, considered one of the top prizes in the travel industry. Out of the 150 travel and villa specialists selected by Wendy Perrin in the December 2012 issue of Condé Nast Traveler Magazine, 138 were present at the event. Click here to view our listing in the magazine.