Our family (with 2 boys aged 14, 10) plan to spend around 10 days in Egypt.
We will not know till mid-September whether we can travel on our preferred dates - 1st week of November. Or have to postpone to the Christmas week.
As a back up, I'm also enquiring about booking the entire vacation through a travel company. However I'd prefer to follow our usual travel style of booking independently and supplementing that with local guides and drivers.
What follows is our tentative wishlist. Please give feedback on whether I should book these items independently or the best way to book the service.
1. Flights - Book independently
3. 4 day, 3 night Cruise from Aswan to Luxor with sightseeing guided by Eqyptologist - Should I book directly with a cruise company or through a local travel agent or an Indian travel company back home. I saw one of my shortlisted cruises offered at a much cheaper price on booking.com than listed prices on websites for travel cruises. Would booking.com be a reliable place to book a cruise?
4. Abu Simbel - Flights. Should I book these directly online? Or take an Abu Simbel package from travel agent, hotel or online seller? I have read that guides are not allowed inside the temple. So is a package necessary at all? Some cruise companies seem to offer Abu Simbel as optional add-ons. But they do not specify how they will fit it into the tour. Has anyone had any experience with this at all?
5. Visiting Pyramids at Giza - would it help to have a regular guide or an Egyptologist? Or just transport to the location? Should one book these through the hotel? Or how else?
7. Visiting Coptic and Islamic sights in Cairo with a hired car and driver - what's the best way to book this? And should we hire a guide as well?
8. Eqyptian museum - would it help to have a guide? And how would I connect with a good guide?
9. Perhaps a visit to the Valley of Whales - what's the best way to do this trip?
I would appreciate any advice to help me plan our travel.