EgyptAir, Cruise West, Lindblad


I feel I have to respond to two letters, one dissing an airline (Oct. ’06, pg. 31) and one a cruise line (Dec. ’06, pg. 29).

• Although EgyptAir’s (800/334-6787, www.egyptair.com) business class isn’t exactly state of the art, it’s very cheap.

We flew it in November ’06, and we were preboarded and given preference through both security checks, going and coming home. The usual sequence is every coach passenger boards, then they come get you out of the VIP lounge and you are seated just before takeoff.

The food on both of our flights was the best I’ve ever had, and I mean not just airline food.

What you get in their business class is lots of room, and that’s what I pay for.

• Another letter badmouthed aspects of a cruise with Cruise West (Seattle, WA; 888/851-8133, www.cruisewest.com), which is my favorite! The ship Oceanus that was dissed is gorgeous and full of passengers that are repeaters. I was last on it in June ’05.

If you want what big cruise ships offer (and I can’t understand why anyone would want them), then stay away from eco-cruises and learning cruises.

• While I’m talking travel, one of my favorite tour companies is Lindblad Expeditions (New York, NY; 800/397-3348, www.expeditions.com). They really take care of you, and you learn so much.

I took a 15-day tour of Egypt with Lindblad in November ’06 and it was fresh and exciting. Lindblad provided a private plane for three flights within Egypt. The cruise portion (five days) was on a private all-suite yacht with 45 crew for 16 passengers. This cruise-tour included everything: every single meal and every entrance fee. Excluding international airfare, the tour cost about $6,000.

We saw and did all the usual: Abu Simbel, a felucca ride, Karnak, Luxor (and the wonderful Luxor Museum), the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, the Sphinx, the pyramids and the Coptic area. It was definitely first class. We also stopped at small villages to see how rural Egyptians live.

People who take Lindblad tours are the best.

DEE HORNBACK

Los Altos, CA