Preparing for your trip

Package: Athens & 7 Day Three Continents Cruise

Print this page and refer to it as you prepare for your trip!

Printed Jun 13, 2021. Please visit https://static.friendlyplanet.com/before-you-go/?tourId=1482 for the latest updates.

Checklist

Item Due
Ensure you have a current passport valid for at least six months after your return date. ASAP
Complete your registration. You'll receive a link to the registration form after you complete your booking. Within 5 days of booking
Make your final payment, if any balance is due. See your invoice
Request any additions or changes you may still want to make to your trip. by final payment due date
Obtain any necessary travel visas and review any requirements for entry. See below
Print your itinerary and other final documents, which we will send you via email by 14 days prior to travel. Prior to travel
Print your policy documents, if you purchased travel insurance, and carry them with you. Prior to travel
Enroll in The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), if you're a U.S. citizen or national, so the State Dept. can locate and assist you in case of an emergency. Prior to travel

In addition, if you booked flights with your package:

Item Due
Book connecting flights to your departure city, if necessary. (Please confirm your international flight schedule first!) After receiving your e‑tickets
Make advance seat reservations for your international flight, if you have a preference. After receiving your e‑tickets
Confirm your flight times and any special meal requests with the airline, and print and carry a copy of your e-ticket. 72 hours prior to travel
Check in for your flights online and download/print your boarding passes (if available). 24 hours prior to travel
Arrive at the airport, ready for the trip of a lifetime! 3½ hours prior to departure

Documents

For this package, you must have at least 2 blank passport pages for each country visited, for a total of 8 blank pages. Celestyal Cruises will obtain all necessary travel visas and handle passport control procedures at each port of call on your behalf, and visa fees are included in your package price. See below for more information.

Passport, Visa & Entry Requirements for Egypt

You must be in possession of a passport valid for at least 6 months after the date of travel with at least 2 blank visa pages. U.S. passport holders must have a visa to enter Egypt.

If you do not hold a U.S. passport, please see the entry requirements.

COVID-19 ENTRY REQUIREMENTS 

  • A completed Public Health Card, which you will present to Immigration upon arrival. You will receive this form during your flight.
  • A printed negative PCR test result from a test taken not more than 96 hours prior to your departure flight time to Egypt. In order to know your best option for getting the test and the correct documentation, find out now which lab in your area can comply with the requirements for entry to Egypt and then schedule your test for no more than 96 hours prior to your departure time. 

Passport, Visa & Entry Requirements for Greece

U.S. citizens must have a passport which is valid for at least 90 days after your return date, though we strongly recommend at least six months. U.S. passport holders do not need a visa to enter Greece for stays up to 90 days. See the U.S. Dept. of State website for more information.

If you do not hold a U.S. passport, please see the entry requirements.

COVID-19 ENTRY REQUIREMENTS 

  • Fully vaccinated travelers may enter Greece without a PCR test if they present a vaccination certificate. 
  • Non-vaccinated travelers must present a printed negative PCR test taken not more than 72 hours prior arrival in Greece. 
  • All travelers entering Greece must also complete the online Passenger Locator Form (PLF) at least 48 hours before entering Greece. The form will require travelers to provide an address of stay while in Greece; please provide the first hotel of the itinerary. Travelers will then receive a unique QR code via email on the day of arrival in Greece which must be presented to airport authorities for confirmation. Travelers should also bring a physical copy of the PFL confirmation email in the event the QR code arrives via email while in flight. 
  • All travelers must also complete the online Passenger Locator Form (PLF) at least 48 hours prior to leaving Greece. 

Celestyal Cruise Embarkation requirements:

  • A negative PCR test result from a test taken not more than 72 hours prior to your cruise embarkation or 1 day before the scheduled departure date from the US.
  • Proof of medical insurance.  If your personal medical insurance does not cover you while in international destinations, you should purchase travel insurance for coverage while you’re on the tour which will cover you for medical issues and much more. If you haven’t already done so, take advantage of our Travelex program or find your own coverage. But please make sure you have the coverage you need to enter Greece and even more importantly, to protect yourself. 

Passport, Visa & Entry Requirements for Israel

U.S. citizens traveling to Israel must have a passport which should be valid for at least 90 days after your return trip.  Friendly Planet Travel strongly recommends having at least six months validity on your passport following your return date for ANY international trip.  Israel grants tourist visa's upon arrival for U.S. citizens. you should have at least 2 free pages in the Visas section of your passport for any country you will be visiting.

Passengers who hold dual citizenship (U.S. and Israel) are required to enter and exit Israel using an Israeli passport. Please remember to take both passports with you when visiting Israel.

More information about passports & visas.

If you do not hold a U.S. passport, please see the entry requirements.

Passport, Visa & Entry Requirements for Turkey

U.S. citizens must have a visa for entry into Turkey. Turkey visas must be obtained prior to departure. Have a passport from another country? Please review the visa requirements.

U.S. citizens traveling to Turkey by cruise ship and disembark for shore excursions may enter Turkey without a visa for a maximum period of 72 hours. U.S. passport holders entering Turkey via Istanbul International Airport (or any other border crossing), may obtain their Turkey visa online through www.evisa.gov.tr or through a fee based visa service such as our preferred provider, Visa HQ. A printed receipt must be presented to immigration control upon arrival as a proof of payment. See the U.S. Dept. of State website for more information.

We will send visa instructions for U.S. passport holders.

If you do not hold a U.S. passport, you are responsible for determining all entry requirements and obtaining any necessary visas. Consider using an expedited visa service.

COVID-19 ENTRY REQUIREMENTS 

  • Vaccinated travelers may enter Turkey without a PCR test if they present a vaccination certificate stating the vaccination was completed more than 14 days prior to arriving in Turkey.
  • Non-vaccinated travelers must present printed proof of a PCR negative test result made no more than 72 hours before arrival to Turkey or a negative rapid antigen test result made no more than 48 hours before arrival to Turkey. 
  • All travelers entering Turkey must also complete the online Travel Entry Form at least 72 hours before the flight. 

General Requirements & Guidelines

  • We provide visa & entry requirement information for the convenience of our travelers, and we try to keep it up-to-date. Ultimately, however, it is your responsibility to determine the passport and visa requirements that apply to you and to comply with them, including securing proper travel documents by the required deadlines and carrying them with you. Requirements are subject to change, sometimes without notice, and we suggest you verify them with the relevant embassy or consulate, the U.S. State Dept (if you're a U.S. passport holder), and/or with an expedited visa service such as VisaHQ. Airlines and cruise ships may deny boarding, your trip may be disrupted, and travel insurance may not cover your losses if your passport and visa are not in order.
  • To travel abroad, U.S. citizens must have a passport. In general, it should be valid for at least six months after your return date, and passports expiring before then should be renewed as soon as possible. We recommend that passports contain at least 2 blank pages for each country visited. If your passport does not have this many pages, you should obtain a new passport as soon as possible.
  • Any changes in names or passport information should be reported to us immediately. Airlines and cruise ships may deny boarding if the name on your passport does not match your tickets.
  • Minors (age 17 or younger) departing and/or returning to the U.S. without parents or with only one parent may be required by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) to present a notarized parental consent letter and/or unabridged birth certificate (more information). Many other countries have similar entry requirements, especially for minors traveling with a parent/guardian with a different surname; check with the consulates of all countries you'll be visiting to learn more.

Final Documents

Your final travel documents will be sent to you via email by 14 days prior to departure. These will include your daily itinerary, hotel and emergency contact information, and other relevant information. Please print your documents and take them with you. If you're departing in less than a week and haven't received your documents, let us know immediately!

Travel Insurance Documents

If you purchased travel insurance, please print and carry your policy documents, including contact information for emergency travel assistance and instructions on how to make a claim. If you purchased the travel protection plan we offer, we recommend you print the full policy.

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

We encourage all U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This free service allows you to receive important updates about safety and security issues in your destination, and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy, as well as family & friends, to contact you in case of an emergency. To enroll or get more information, please visit the STEP website or any U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Flights, Transfers & Arrival

Questions about your flights before you depart? Read the information below first. If you still have questions, contact our air specialists at 800-555-5765 ext. 2 or [email protected].

Tour Only Option

If you purchased this package without flights, you are responsible for booking your own flights in and out of Athens. The touring program will begin at the hotel in Athens on Day 2 of the listed itinerary and will end in Athens on Day 12. Generally, hotel check-in time is at 3 PM and check-out is at 11 AM. 

Find out what to do in case of arrival complications.

Flights & Tickets

If you selected flights with your package, we generally book your flights and issue tickets after your final payment due date.

If you requested flights from another city, our air specialists will research the best options and send you a tentative flight schedule and quote for your approval within 5 business days of your booking (or approximately 330 days prior to travel, if you booked further out than that).

Once we have issued your tickets, we'll send you an "e-ticket receipt" which contains all of your flight information, including times, carriers, an airline booking reference number, and an e-ticket number. If you have not received this, or have questions about the flights we booked for you, please contact our air department. You will not receive paper tickets. We recommend you print and carry a copy of your flight details, including the airline booking reference number and e-ticket number, as some airports require this to enter the terminal. You do not need to reconfirm your flights with the airline prior to your departure, as we will handle this for you.

Friendly Planet's toll-free number is 800-555-5765. The direct extension for our air department is 208.

Turkish Airlines - 800-874-8875

United Airlines - 800-864-8331

American Airlines - 800-433-7300

British Airways - 800-247-9297

Delta Airlines - 800-241-4141

Air France - 800-237-2747

Swiss Air: 877-359-7947

Lufthansa: 800-645-3880 

Want to reserve specific seats?

That depends on the airline. You can usually request a window or aisle seat, and sometimes specific seat numbers (but not exit row and bulkhead seats) ahead of time. Many airlines now charge a fee for this, and such fees are not included in your package price. If you have a seat preference, let us know when you book, in the special requests section, or email us at [email protected] after you book. Then:

If your airline does not charge a fee to pre-assign seats: We'll happily pass along your seat request to the airline and confirm they received it (though we cannot guarantee it will be honored).

If your airline does charge a fee to pre-assign seats: We'll let you know. You'll need to contact the airline directly to request your seats after we have issued your flight tickets, and fees are payable directly to the airline.

If you do not request specific seats: The airline typically assigns them within 24 hours of departure. If you do not like your assigned seats, you may be able to change them, subject to availability, when you check in online or at the counter. Learn more about Advance Seat Reservations.

Want to request a special meal?

You can enter special meal requests when you book with an agent or complete your online registration, shortly after booking. We will relay your requests to the airlines and our representatives abroad, but we cannot guarantee they will be honored. Please double check meal requests with your airline 72 hours before departure, and with our representatives upon arrival.

Looking to earn frequent flyer miles?

You may be able to earn frequent flyer points for your flights. Contact the airline directly once you receive your tickets to enter your frequent flyer number in your flight record, or enter it when you check in. As you travel, check your tickets or ask the check-in or gate agent prior to boarding each flight to ensure the number has been entered properly. And just to be safe, keep your boarding passes and passenger receipt as proof that you have actually flown the miles you want credited to your account.

Interested in upgrading to business class or premium economy?

Cabin upgrades may be available on your flights. Ask us about price and availability when you book online, in the special requests section, or contact our air department after you book. Please note that our special contracted airfare rates generally do not permit upgrading with frequent flyer points, and that upgrade requests may incur change fees if tickets have already been issued.

Flight Schedule

If you selected flights with your package, you will receive your flight schedule by email once we issue your tickets.

If you requested flights from another city, our air specialists will research the best options and send you a tentative flight schedule for your approval, and a confirmed schedule once we issue your tickets.

Airlines may change schedules at any time, even after flights have been confirmed, and we are not responsible for such changes. Please check for updates to your flight schedule prior to booking any connecting flights and again 72 hours prior to departure.

Connecting Flights

If you need to fly from (and/or return to) a different U.S. or Canadian city, we suggest you request those flights from us. If feasible, we will try to book all your flights together with a single carrier or a partner network on a single ticket. This ensures that your luggage will be transferred between flights for you, and more importantly, that if there are any schedule changes, flight cancellations, or delays that affect your trip, the airline(s) will adjust your flights to ensure you have sufficient time to make your connections and/or make alternate arrangements to get you to your destination. Besides offering the most peace of mind, this often yields lower fares than purchasing separate connecting flights.

If you plan to purchase connecting flights to your departure city, we strongly suggest waiting until after your final payment due date and after you receive the e-tickets for your international flights, to reduce the chances that that your departure might be cancelled or rescheduled or that your international flight times might change. Before purchasing connecting flights, verify the times for your international flights. Leave at least 3½ hours connecting time between flights, and if you're traveling within a few weeks of Daylight Savings Time changes (in March and November, when flight schedules may change even more dramatically), allow 5–5½ hours between flights. Nobody likes waiting around the airport, but missing your flight is far worse!

Airport Transfers

Scheduled airport transfers at the destination are included with this package. When you exit customs, please look for our representative holding a Friendly Planet sign, who will cheerfully escort you to your transfer vehicle and assist with your luggage. 

If you purchased the tour without flights and you submitted your flight itinerary no later than 30 days before your departure date, airport transfers will be provided. If you did not submit your flight itinerary or you are not arriving/departing from the same airport as the rest of the group, you will need to arrange your own ground transportation to the package start and end points. Note that there is no discount for any unused included transfers. Please send us your independent flight itinerary no later than 30 days prior to your departure date from the U.S. so that we can arrange your arrival and departure transfers accordingly.

Arrival Complications

We make every effort to ensure our tours run smoothly and trouble-free. We don't expect any problems, and nor should you. But when things don't go as planned, here's what to do:

  • You miss your flights, or your flights are cancelled: Please call us immediately. If it's outside our normal business hours, leave a message in our emergency mailbox, with a phone number at which to reach you, and we'll get right back to you.
  • Your flights are delayed and you're worried about missing your included transfers: Please contact us to let us know about the delay, and we will notify our partners in destination. If you are arriving on one of our group flights, or booked your own flights and supplied us with the details, our partners will be tracking your arrival and will plan accordingly.
  • Your package includes transfers, but you can't find our representative at your destination: Don't panic—they may have been unexpectedly delayed. Wait up to 30 minutes. Then contact our local partners in destination, listed on the emergency contact page of your final documents. If you can't reach them, call us. If it's outside our normal business hours, leave a message in our emergency mailbox. If all else fails, make your own way to the starting hotel (or cruise port), and we'll refund you the cost of your transfer.

Packing & Luggage

Baggage allowance: In general, our tours & packages allow per person: one checked bag, not to exceed 44 pounds; one personal item such as a purse or camera bag; and one carry-on bag, which should fit under your seat or in the overhead compartment. If your trip includes domestic flights within your destination and/or travel by motor coach, your carry-on should also fit should also fit under your seat or in the overhead bins on those flights or coaches.

Learn more about Baggage Allowances on your international flights. Note that our baggage allowances may be less than those for your international flights. If you exceed the baggage limits, you may be subject to excess baggage charges levied by the airlines and/or by Friendly Planet.

Regardless of the limits—we recommend a smaller size and weight for both your checked and carry-on bags. It's so much easier and faster for you to get around when you have fewer, lighter bags! For your carry-on, consider a soft-sided bag such as a duffel rather than a hard clamshell-type case, which may not fit as easily into overhead compartments or under your seat, especially on buses. For your protection, we suggest your checked luggage have a TSA-approved lock.

Luggage tags: For your safety, we are no longer mailing Friendly Planet luggage tags to you. We encourage you to use your own. Fill in the luggage tags with your name and contact information and attach to each bag, including carry-ons and camera cases, so that your luggage can be identified should it get misplaced during your trip.

What to pack: Check out our blog post on our Top 10 Must-Haves for International Travel. Pack smart: put your travel documents, medications, one change of clothing, and other essentials in your carry-on, in case your checked baggage is misplaced. And pack light, for your own comfort and convenience. For clothing, we suggest packing a variety of separates with climate and comfort in mind.

What not to pack: U.S. law forbids you to carry hazardous materials aboard aircraft in your checked or carry-on baggage or on your person, including explosives, compressed gases, flammable liquids & solids, loaded firearms, poisons, corrosives and radioactive materials. Common examples include paints, lighter fluid, fireworks, mace/tear gas and oxygen bottles. Restricted materials may vary by airline and destination. Some items, in quantities of no more than 70 ounces total, may be carried within baggage, including medicinal or toilet articles such as hairspray, perfume and certain medicines that are necessary during your journey. Please check with the airline and/or visit the FAA website prior to travel if you have any questions.

While on Tour

What to Expect

This is a moderately-paced, independent package. Excursions with local tour guides include a reasonable amount of walking and requires and average level of physical fitness.

The Celestyal Cruise ships are generally smaller than typical ocean liners, because they are better suited for navigating the shallow waters and small ports of the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas. Most of your nights on the cruise will be spent at sea, as the ships cover wide distances so that you can experience a new region of Greece every day. Since you will be sailing at night, be mindful of your ship’s departure time, and be sure to return to the port with enough time for boarding. 

Cash & Currency on the Greek Isles Cruises: Upon boarding, passengers are required to create an account and provide a credit card number that will be pre-approved for a minimum amount.  The card will only be charged at the end of the cruise for the amount actually spent on board. Choose a card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, and be sure to advise your credit card company that you will be traveling outside of the country to avoid any charging issues. If you do not wish to use a credit card to create an on-board account, you can give a deposit of 50 to 100 euros per person in order to activate your account at the reception desk on board the ship. Any unused amount will be returned at the end of the cruise.

The hotels and some stores accept major credit cards. However, for street shopping, you will need local currency. You will be able to exchange US dollars to Euros in Athens. Although ATMs are available at the airport in Athens and at the different ports, we strongly suggest you bring enough cash. The ship has facilities to exchange limited amounts of US dollars to Euros.

Tourist Taxes: As of 2018, the Greek Ministry of Tourism has implemented a tourist tax on hotels/lodgings. We have included the tourist tax with the tour pricing, so that you will not have to pay the tax to your hotels upon check-in.  

Egypt is experiencing a renaissance of tourism that hasn’t been seen since the 2011 revolution caused tourism to stop, cold. As you visit Egypt, you’ll see many, many groups visiting the same sites that you will be visiting. We ask for your patience if you find you need to wait at some sites. Nevertheless, our guides and tour managers will make sure you get your turn to see these worthwhile sites.

Remember that you're a guest in someone else's homeland, and that you're traveling to experience their country and culture. Be sensitive to local customs and manners, as many things may be done differently than what you're used to. And while we have made every effort to secure modern and comfortable accommodations and transportation, please note that the standards in other countries may be different from those you are accustomed to at home. Overall, you will find a polite, positive, patient, and open-minded approach generally yields the best travel experience!

Accommodations

Hotel: The hotels throughout Greece range widely and vary depending on location. The Royal Olympic Hotel boasts beautiful views of the Temple of Zeus and the National Garden, overlooking the Acropolis. Outside of Athens, you will notice a dearth of the skyscrapers, high-rise buildings, and shopping malls typical in the U.S. On the Greek islands, life moves at a slower, more relaxed pace, but you can always find something delicious to eat or try something new and exciting to do!

Cruise: The tickets for your cruise ship will be given to you locally upon your arrival. You can find more information about your ship here.

Eating & Drinking

The meals included with your package are listed in the itinerary.

Greek cuisine is reminiscent of Ottoman rule, with dishes based on vegetables, fruits, olives, cheese, bread, and seafood. There are many exceptional restaurants and taverns across Greece that serve both authentic Mediterranean meals and fusion fare.

Non-Included Meals: The cruise portion of your tour includes 3 meals daily, and your stay in Athens includes breakfast daily.  Your Athens hotel has a restaurant and a bar/lounge. Several restaurants and cafes offering variety of cuisines are located near your hotel in Athens. Average cost for lunch (not including drinks) in the local shops and cafes is about $15 - $20 per person, per meal. Average cost for dinner is about $25 - $35 per person, per meal. Your hotel accepts major credit card payments for not-included meals. Most restaurants and cafes accept major credit cards.

Please see above for special meal requests.

Tipping

You will be traveling through Greece in the company of professionals who are very committed to making your tour the dream vacation you are counting on. These people feel great pride in being given a chance to show foreign visitors their country. If your guide, driver and others with whom you are traveling are doing a good job, please take our suggestions for tipping seriously. Naturally, tipping is personal and completely voluntary, and if you have not received good service, your tip should reflect this fact. 

The recommended amounts are as follows: 

  • Local guide on the sightseeing tours/shore excursions: $6-7 per person per day 
  • Driver on transfers and touring days: $3-5 per person per day 
  • Restaurant staff: $1-2 per person per meal 
  • Porters: $3 per bag upon arrival and departure
  • Housekeeping: $1-2 per person per day
  • Tour Manager*: $8-10 per person per day 

*Some departures will have a tour manager who will stay with the group throughout the tour.  The tour manager will conduct the sightseeing tours in Athens.  However, the shore excursions will be conducted by local guides. 

Standard gratuity of $10 per adult or $5 per child, per day for the cruise staff is included in the tour price. Celestyal Cruise Lines does not recommend giving tips to individuals. Please contact the reception staff if you wish to change the suggested amount. In general, tipping is, of course, a personal matter and an expression of your satisfaction with services provided to you.

Optional Excursions

To enhance and make your visit more complete and memorable, your local guide will offer optional tours and cultural/dining evening activities. Payments for these tours should be made directly to your guide. Payment must be made by cash (US Dollars or Euro) or by credit card (MasterCard, Visa or Amex). Rates quoted on our website may be subject to currency fluctuation. Please note that tours may be subject to minimum number of passengers. These tours can only be purchased locally.

Independent Activities

Your Athens hotel is a short taxi-ride away from the Plaka. One of the oldest sections of Athens, the Plaka’s winding, cobbled streets are lined with taverns, cafes and shops. The shops range from stores that sell inexpensive souvenir items to exclusive artist-owned showrooms specializing in hand-made original pieces and copies of ancient museum pieces. 

You can leave the group and explore on your own at any time; however, should the group have planned activities for that day, please make sure to inform your Tour Escort in advance. There is NO refund for unused group arrangements. We recommend that you ask the front desk for a business card of the ship and the hotel with local phone numbers.

Every evening onboard the Celestyal Cruise ship, a daily program with scheduled events for the following day will be delivered directly to your cabin. This will include onboard services such as shows, a timetable of shore excursions as well as embarkation and disembarkation times at each port of call. The cruise ship will usually wait a very short amount of time to wait for those who may be late returning to the ship. Please remember that the ship sails on a set course and follows a strict time schedule, so we strongly encourage you to return to port at least 30 minutes prior to the departure time. 

Special Needs & Requests

Please see above for special meal requests and seat requests. If you have any other special requests, including wheelchair or electric cart assistance, please mention your request when you book with an agent, or in the special requests section when you book online. We will do our best to accommodate them!

Country FAQs

Fast Facts about Egypt

Overview

Capital: Cairo
Population:  95.69 million
Currency: Egyption pound (LE)
Languages: Egyptian Arabic
Drives on the: Right
Time zone: EET (UTC +2)

Health Precautions & Vaccinations

According to the Center for Disease Control, “A limited risk of malaria exists in parts of Algeria, Egypt, and Morocco. Taking an antimalarial drug is not recommended as the risk for travelers is considered to be extremely low. However, travelers should use insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites.”

Do not swim in fresh water or ocean water, as parasites are prevalent. Skin infections are common; even the smallest wound should be disinfected and covered with a bandage.

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

Weather

Egypt generally has a warm and hot weather with cooler nights. There are 2 seasons in Egypt, winter which is from November to April and summer from May to October. Average temperature during winter ranges from 60’s to 80’s while in summer, average temperature will be from 80’s to 90’s. During the months of March & April, there will be periods of sand storms blowing in different places due to the Khamsin.

Money & Credit Cards

The official currency in Egypt is the Egyptian pound. Hotels and some stores accept credit cards (Visa or MasterCard only). However, for “street shopping” you will need local currency or U.S. Dollars. Hotels, banks and foreign exchange bureaus will be able to exchange cash to local currency. We highly recommend that you bring along crisp, new bills. Old, torn, crumpled bills may not be accepted. Be sure to call your credit card providers to let them know you will be traveling abroad, the places you’ll be visiting and the dates of your trip. This is important for your own protection. For small purchases, we recommend that you use the ATM machines to get cash in local currency so that you can avoid using your credit card in unknown shops where there is a higher risk of having your credit card numbers “borrowed” for unauthorized purchases. Traveler’s checks are no longer widely accepted. If you intend to use traveler’s checks, please be sure to verify that they are still accepted in the places visited on this tour.

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card abroad.

Shopping

You will have ample opportunity during your visit to Egypt to shop for souvenirs, including artwork, handicrafts and even jewelry. If you purchase such items, do so with the understanding that these items may not have the same high value you were led to believe. A good rule of thumb when shopping abroad is to choose items that you love and that will remind you of the destination. If you want to shop for high value items, better do so from a trusted merchant at home unless the pleasure of the happy memory of your trip will keep you from regretting your purchase.

While we take great care in arranging the components of your tour, we have no relationship with the shopping venues you’ll encounter, and we cannot be liable for any purchases you make. Your guides will no doubt have some favorite shopping places, where the vendors are known, provide good quality merchandise and probably pay some sort of commission from sales to the guide. This should not surprise or offend you, as this is how business is done throughout the Middle East and other regions around the world. Please keep in mind that many, if not most stores outside the U.S., will not allow exchanges or refunds for your purchased items.

Tips for Bargaining: Bargaining is a way of life in the Middle East. If you want to purchase something, whether in a shop or a souk (or bazaar) and you think the price you’ve been quoted is too high, thank the vendor and walk away. Generally, he/she will come after you with a lower price. It is usually considered good bargaining policy to offer half the asking price, and negotiate from there. Negotiations should be done in a respectful way.

Electricity & Power Adapters

220 volts. Plug C. You will need a voltage converter and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit.

Learn more about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? See our blog posts on using your cell phone abroad and the top 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Photography

Cameras and video recorders are permitted, and photography is generally permitted everywhere except at airports and military installations. Memory cards for digital cameras will be available in major cities.

Did you know?
  • The ancient Egyptians invented the 365-days a year calendar in order to predict the yearly floodings of the Nile river.
  • Egyptians used hieroglyphs containing over 700 symbols (with no vowels!) to write and communicate, making it one of the earliest languages to be used. 
  • Calling all fashionistas! Aged over 5000 years, the oldest dress in the world is found in Egypt.
  • The Great Pyramid of Giza still has unexplored passageways, making it the only remaining ancient wonder of the world.
  • Although Egypt is known for its pyramids, the country has neither the tallest pyramid in the world nor the most pyramids in the world: Mexico is home to the tallest pyramid, and Sudan hosts the most pyramids.

Fast Facts about Greece

Overview

Capital: Athens
Population: 10.75 million
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Languages: Greek
Drives on the: Right
Time zone: EET (UTC +2)

Health Precautions & Vaccinations

There are no health requirements for entering Greece. However, you might want to consider getting a hepatitis vaccination. Ask your physician when planning a trip to Greece.

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

Weather

Greece enjoys relatively mild winters and lovely, temperate autumn and spring. Average temperatures between January and March tend to range between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit, with rain most likely during January. Rain is less likely during February and March. Average temperature in April thru August is about 80 to 90 degrees. In September through November temperatures can range from the mid 60’s to 80’s.

What to wear

Since the weather can be unpredictable anywhere in the world and to be sure you are comfortable during your trip and prepared for all types of weather possibilities, we suggest that you carry a small folding umbrella and take with you a lightweight jacket or sweater. If you have two pairs of comfortable (broken in, not brand new) walking shoes, by all means, take both pairs. Packing to dress in layers is another way to prepare for a variety of weather conditions. Finally, remember that comfort and convenience should dictate your wardrobe for the tour, and casual clothes are in order for most every occasion as you travel.

Please Note: Please dress modestly when visiting religious sites. Arms and legs should be covered. Shorts and sleeveless tops are not permitted. Covered shoulders and skirts below the knee for women, shorts below the knee for men are highly suggested.

Tipping

A small gratuity to your guides and drivers will be greatly appreciated by them. The recommended amount is 7-10 Euros per person per day for the local guide and 2 Euro per person per day for the driver on optional day tours. It is also customary to tip the hotel staff. Our recommended amount is 1EUR per person per day for housekeeping. The same amount is recommended for restaurant staff. In general, tipping is, of course, a personal matter and an expression of your satisfaction with services provided to you.

Money & Credit Cards

The official currency in Greece is the Euro.  Major cities have ATMs. The hotels and some stores will be able to accept major credit cards. However, for street shopping, you will need local currency. You will be able to exchange US dollars to Euros at the airport, bank, or foreign exchange bureau. Although ATMs are available in major cities, we strongly suggest you bring enough cash. Traveler’s checks are not widely accepted in Greece. If you intend to use traveler’s checks during your trip, please verify they are still accepted in the places visited on this tour.

Note for those on the Greek Isles Cruises: Upon boarding the ship, passengers are required to provide a credit card number that will be pre-approved for a minimum amount.  At the end of the cruise, you will only be charged for what you actually spent.  The ship’s reception can exchange a limited amount of USD for Euros.

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card abroad.

Shopping

You will certainly have time for shopping, and Greece offers a great variety of goods to satisfy different tastes and price ranges. It is always a good idea to comparison-shop, and exercise the “buyer-beware” rule, just as you do at home. Be sure to inspect the merchandise before you leave the store. Most stores will not allow you to return or exchange purchased items.

Electricity & Power Adapters

The electrical current at the hotels in Greece is 230 volts with 50 cycles. On the cruise ships, the electrical current is 220 volts with 50 cycles. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit.

Learn more about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? See our blog posts on using your cell phone abroad and the top 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Photography

Cameras and video recorders are allowed almost everywhere in Greece, and in fact, you will want to take plenty of pictures of the magnificent panoramas you’ll encounter as you travel. Photography is generally permitted everywhere except at airports and military installations. Memory cards for digital cameras will also be readily available, especially in major cities.

Did you know?
  • The Olympic Games originated in Ancient Greece, with the first event held in 776 BC in Olympia near Greece’s southwest coast.
  • About 16.5 million tourists visit Greece each year, which is more than the country’s entire population.
  • Greece is one of the sunniest countries in the world, averaging more than 250 sunny days per year!
  • Olive trees have been cultivated in Greece since ancient times, and some planted in the thirteenth century are still producing olives today!
  • There are over 2,000 islands in Greece, but only 170 of them are populated.
  • Although 170 of the islands are inhabited, 40% of Greece's total population can be found in Athens.

Fast Facts about Israel

Overview

Capital: Jerusalem
Population:  8.38 million
Currency: Israeli new shekel (ILS)
Languages: Hebrew and Arabic
Drives on the: Right
Time zone: IST (UTC +2)

Health Precautions & Vaccinations

There are no vaccination requirements for travelers to Israel.

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

Weather

Israel's climate varies from the northern region to the southern region. Recommended months to travel are March thru April which is wildflower season and September thru October. The peak summer months of June through August are usually too hot to enjoy, especially in the Negev desert. Winters are wet, cold, and occasionally snowy.

Tipping

When tipping, pay cash, not credit. In restaurants tip 12-15%, however some automatically include a 12.5% service charge.

Money & Credit Cards

Most banks have ATMs and are open every day except Saturday.

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card abroad.

Shopping

Israel is famous for its exclusive lines of bathing suits (Gottex, Gideon Oberson), skin-care products made from mineral-rich Dead Sea mud, silver jewelry, diamonds, glass, art, leather coats, painted tiles, embroidery, religious items and antiques. 

Electricity & Power Adapters

230 volts. Plugs H & C. You will need a voltage converter and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit.

Learn more about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? See our blog posts on using your cell phone abroad and the top 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Did you know?
  • Israel is home to the highest number of museums per capita in the world.
  • Israel is the only country in the world that has more trees today than it had 50 years ago.
  • The Dead Sea in Israel is the lowest place on Earth.
  • Life expectancy in Israel is among the highest in the world, averaging at 82 years!
  • The cell phone was developed in Israel, as well as voicemail technology.

Fast Facts about Turkey

Overview

Capital: Ankara
Population:  78.67 million
Currency: Turkish Lira
Languages: Turkish, Kurdish, English, German, Dutch and French
Drives on the: Right
Time zone: UTC +3

Health Precautions & Vaccinations

Immunizations are not currently required for travel to Turkey. However, you may wish to consult your personal physician or local public health authorities about possible vaccinations against typhoid and hepatitis. We also suggest bringing insect repellent.

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

Weather

The weather in Turkey varies greatly depending on the region.  Almost all of Turkey experiences sunny, dry summers.  In Istanbul, the summers are especially hot and humid.  Eastern Turkey has short summers and bitterly cold winters. Some regions, such as Central Anatolia, are dry and hot in the summer and rainy and snowy in the winter.  If you plan to visit beaches, June through September is the best time to travel. Generally, the best months for touring are April-May and September-October, due to less rainfall and more pleasant temperatures.

What to wear

We recommend packing clothing that can be worn in layers and a folding umbrella in order to be prepared for all types of weather conditions.  Turkey is a predominantly Muslim country.  Therefore, it is important to dress modestly, especially when visiting mosques and other religious sites.  It is recommended that women do not wear shorts or halter tops even if it is very hot.  Jeans, slacks, or skirts are recommended, and T-shirts are considered appropriate. 

Please Note: If visiting the Blue Mosque and other sacred sites, kindly ensure to dress appropriately – no shorts, no sleeveless tops for both men and women. A head covering will be required for women, which is available at the mosque or you may bring your own shawl. Visitors are required to remove their shoes upon entering the mosque.  You may want to bring tissues or wipes to clean your feet afterwards.

Money & Credit Cards

The official currency in Turkey is the Lira. Your hotels, some restaurants and some stores accept major credit cards, such as Visa and Mastercard. For “street shopping” you will need the local currency. Your hotels will be able to exchange currency for you, and ATMs are available in major cities. 

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card abroad.

Shopping

Turkey is a shopper’s paradise!  From unique, handmade items to fine leather, there is something to please everyone.  Popular items include handwoven rugs and kilims, copper, and brass.  Please be aware that some items labeled “antique” are fake.  If you purchase an antique, be sure to obtain an official permit to export it.  It is always a good idea to comparison-shop, and exercise the “buyer-beware” rule, just as you do at home. Be sure to inspect the merchandise before you leave the store. Most stores will not allow you to return or exchange purchased items.

Electricity & Power Adapters

230 volts. Plugs C & F. You will need a voltage converter and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit.

Learn more about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? See our blog posts on using your cell phone abroad and the top 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Photography

Cameras and video recorders are generally allowed almost everywhere in Turkey, and in fact, you will want to take plenty of pictures of the magnificent panoramas you’ll encounter as you travel. Photography is generally permitted everywhere except at airports and military installations. Memory cards for digital cameras will also be readily available, especially in major cities.

Did you know?
  • Turkey is home to one of the world's oldest and largest malls, the Grand Bazaar located in Istanbul and dating back to 1455.
  • The longest word in Turkish contains 70 letters: Muvaffakiyetsizleştiricileştiriveremeyebileceklerimizdenmişsinizcesine, which means “as if you are from those we may not be able to easily make a maker of unsuccessful ones”.
  • Istanbul is the only city built on two continents: Asia and Europe (although it is mostly located on the Asian continent).
  • Santa Claus, also commonly known as St. Nicholas, wasn’t born in the North Pole, but in the Southwestern part of Turkey, Patara!
  • Turkey is home to over 82,600 mosques

Fine Print

Terms & Conditions: Please review our terms & conditions for this package.

Cancellations: If something comes up and you need to cancel your trip, please let us know as soon as possible. All cancellations must be made in writing. Cancellation fees vary by package; please see the cancellation fees for this package.

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