Cruises & Custom Tours

Luxury Cruise Talk

Client Testimonials

Regent Seven Seas is pleased to recognize Keene Luxury Travel as our Key Account Partner of the Year for 2015. Keene Luxury Travel has been a longstanding partner to Regent Seven Seas and has consistently supported our three ships in the past and is having an exceptional year in 2016 including the Seven Seas Explorer. Their hallmark and strength are their groups, escorted by Ngaire and Ken and with each team member hosting a specific sailing date. In addition, their innovative marketing platform, Luxury Cruise Talk, is a great forum for discussion. When you combine this with their fantastic customer service, it’s a winning combination. We thank them for their continued support and are excited to recognize their accomplishments with this award.

Jason Montague

— President, Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Ken and I became clients of Ngaire and BK in 2006. We were looking for a luxury travel agent who could help us with our wish to spend more time seeing the world, someone who had a wealth of knowledge, excellent communication skills and who would make us feel confident that we were with the best person possible to help us. We feel incredibly fortunate that we found Ngaire. We could not have met anyone better to help us both for cruising and our land trips.
At all times, she has been fantastic to work with, answering emails almost as soon as I’ve sent them (amazing since we live in Australia), answering every question in detail however minor or insignificant, always willing to find out and advise when the answer isn’t to hand straight away. And most of all, has always made us feel that we’re important to her and her team.
On occasions when Ngaire has been away from the office, Clay or another of her [KLT] team has given us exactly the same level of service. We feel like we know them and we’ve never met. Whether it’s Ngaire or another member of her team, it's always been an absolute pleasure working with them.
We really appreciate that our cruise bookings are always monitored for price adjustments so that we always get the best deal. We are informed immediately if the price has been reduced and a new statement is issued at the time.
We have also been on many hosted land trips with Ngaire and Ken. Every time it's been a joy to sit back and have all the details taken care of whilst we just enjoy ourselves. So much work goes on quietly in the background to make sure everyone has the best possible experience. No one could fine tune a land trip as well as Ngaire – her attention to detail is incredible.
So, thank you Ngaire and your team for all the help you’ve given us in the past and for all the wonderful trips we have planned in the years ahead.

Sheila & Ken S.

— Noosaville, Queensland, Australia

When my wife and I were planning a trip on a cruise to Alaska, her first cruise, a friend of mine who works out with me, Joe Lasich, suggested that I call the Keene Travel Agency and work on a trip with Regent Seven Seas Cruises. I did and talked with Penny Stafford (at Keene Luxury Travel), and we arranged the trip on the Mariner and it was first class. At the end of the cruise, I booked a trip to London on the Explorer and the Regent Suite. Keene Travel Agency and Penny worked out all the details and it was perfect. The cruise from London was better than perfect. Thanks to Keene Travel Agency and Penny Stafford. It could not have been better. My next cruise whatever it might be will always be with Keene Travel Agency on a Regent cruise and working with Penny Stafford. Thanks to all of you so much with professionalism and pay attention to details.

Dr. Sam Pearson

— Azle, Texas

I just wanted to share with you the wonderful service I have thus far received from Kristyn and how fortunate I feel to have had her be my first connection with your agency. As I have very little cruising experience, Kristyn has been extremely helpful answering most of my questions before I could even think to ask them. She listens thoughtfully and answers completely with all details included. Because of her expertise, I was able to select a cruise option fairly easily and I look forward to working with her in the future. She is an asset to your organization. Thank you for your time.

Kimberly M.

— North Palm Beach, Florida

Would you use a travel agent whose office is a thousand miles from your home? That sounds awkward, doesn't it? Well, over the past fifteen years my wife and I have arranged fifteen cruises using Keene Luxury Travel, whose Dallas office is a thousand miles east of our Tuscon home. Why? Keene Luxury Travel provides the two things we most value in a travel agency - knowledge and responsiveness. The depth and breadth of their cruise industry knowledge has consistently led us to the right cabin on the the right ship with the right itinerary to best meet our interests. Communicating with them, whether by phone or by email, has always been prompt and efficient. So even if you live a thousand miles from Dallas, when you are ready to plan your next trip, consider using Keene Luxury Travel to help fine-tune the details. Our experience suggests that you will be delighted with the result.

Ed S.

— Tuscon, Arizona

Would like you to know how much Kathleen and I appreciated your assistance in making our Mediterranean Cruise a wonderful experience. It was flawless from start to finish. The attention to detail made it flawless. Your suggestions on excursions were right on. We would recommend the Regent line for anyone. I like the all inclusive. Great job. Our stay in Barcelona was perfect. Hotel Claris was a real highlight and centrally located to all attractions. Please refer anyone to us who might have some questions about the trip or Keene Travel. We would highly recommend you. Thanks to all who were involved.

Al H.

— Frisco, Texas

I first used Keene Luxury Travel in 2007 for a Regent cruise , after I had heard of Ngaire and KLT via fellow passengers on a Regent cruise around the southern tip of South America. They were so pleased with her service I started to use her as my travel agent. With over 200 nights on Regent cruises since 2007, I could not be happier with her knowledge and expertise in the cruise area. I have also used Ngaire for 50 nights on Silversea, a land tour of Egypt, a land tour of China and four safari trips to South Africa. For cruises, special land trips and safaris I could not recommend KLT more highly. Through my travels with Ngaire I have met so many nice, fun people that have become friends I treasure the decision I made back in 2007 to contact Ngaire. Of course I look forward to new places and experiences in my future travels but perhaps more important is the ability to spend time with the many special friends I have made on the past travels along with the new friends I expect I will meet that are clients of KLT. My life is much richer as a result of my travels during this important period of my life. I have had the good fortune to meet all of the agents at KLT and find them all equal in ability to Ngaire. Perhaps a small disclosure is needed. Because of the cruises and land trips with Ngaire and her husband Ken they have become much more than my travel agent they are very good close friends.

Ralph W.

— Long Beach, California

The worst day in our travel life will be the day Susan Walsh decides to retire, but until then (which hopefully will be far, far in the future) we will continue to have the pleasure of working with her. Her knowledge, experience, attention to detail, and efficiency are things we have relied on for many years and will happily continue to rely on in the future.

D. and Donna

— Cleveland, Ohio

With our love of all kinds of traveling came the headaches of making the arrangements. Even with the internet it was difficult to find the service we needed, the guide who was perfect or the accommodations that truly looked like the picture. Jim and I bless the day we met Ngaire and Keene Luxury Travel well over ten years ago. We know our trips will be well planned. As hassle free as possible with great traveling companions who have the same love of travel that we do. We also know that Ngaire will try to get us the best deal available and she and her staff continue to monitor our trip until we depart to be sure that all the details are taken care of and that we get all deals offered. Thank you Ngaire for making our travel life a dream come true.

Jim and Pam T.

— Asheville, North Carolina

My wife and I have been working with Brown and Keene since 2005 in planning our cruises. It was our luck to have been told about them by a fellow passenger in 2004 and since then they have helped us with all of our cruises. Most of our trips have been with Regent Cruise Line with some Oceania cruises and a Tauck river cruise added on occasion. Initially, we worked with Ngaire but as the years passed we have had the pleasure of involving everyone else in the office and now, most recently, her son Clay. Our upcoming cruise in July includes our children and grandchildren, thus coordinating the whims of eleven people in four families. Our following cruise in November involved cancelling an existing September cruise and setting up the subsequent cruise, a challenge in many respects. Needless to say these two cruises have required more than their usual efforts, patience and good humor. It must be said that the entire staff is very pleasant, very knowledgeable, very professional and represent your needs completely. It's a real pleasure to work with Brown and Keene and we sincerely and highly recommend them without any hesitation.

Rich and Barb E.

— Boulder, Colorado

Clay was recommended to my wife and I by friends who are avid travelers. Our experience with KLT, in general, and Clay, in particular, is that we have always gotten very knowledgeable service and with our best interests in mind.

Jim and Mary C.

— Potomac, Maryland

The team at Brown and Keene is simply amazing. They have earned this testimonial. We have used them on multiple vacations. They are incredibly timely, on-time, knowledgeable and go the extra mile. We thought we’d decrease the number of uses for travel agents but with Brown & Keene we are using them more because of their resourcefulness and special skills. We would highly recommend using them.

Larry S.

— Playa Vista, California

We have traveled extensively in the past but have never experienced the thoughtful, professional, and prompt service that you afforded us on our most recent cruise. Any questions or concerns we had were immediately addressed. In addition, your prices are as good or better than any other agent we have used. We would recommend Keene Luxury Travel's services unequivocally.

Marilyn and Joe Shockney

— Texas

We would like to express our sincere thanks and appreciation for the exceptional services you have provided on our behalf as well as the many little things that are above and beyond the call of duty. Not only have you been very professional, efficient and considerate: the personal attention and dedication you give to each client and booking is far superior to anything we have ever experienced. Time and again you have "gone the extra mile," to insure an enjoyable and memorable experience. All of our dealings have been pleasant and painless. The peace of mind we enjoy is due to the complete trust and confidence we place in you and your ability. We can't recommend your services enough and look forward to a long and happy relationship. Keep doing your "Magic"!

Shirley & Sebastian Pasqua

I am writing to express my appreciation and satisfaction of the numerous cruises Keene Luxury Travel has arranged for me. Our best cruises were the ones that you escorted. Your wealth of research, experience and knowledge of the destinations allowed us to use are time and money on the best tours and sights. Each vacation was well planned with no unpleasant surprises. Everything you promised, you delivered many times over. The quality of the companies that you represent are far superior to the cruise lines I used to use. See you in Alaska,

Ron Ritchey

— Dallas, Texas

Linda Litteken is absolutely the best! Linda ensures that every detail has been addressed and that your vacation is seamless without any hitches. We have now booked our fourth cruise through Keene Luxury Travel and are completely sold on their recommendations. We have employed travel agents in the past and were disappointed. Then we found Ngaire and Linda!

Mark Wolfe

— President, RE/MAX DFW Associates

I want to send you a short note indicating what a superb job Susan Walsh does for her clients. She is knowledgeable, thorough, demonstrates initiative, handles all items on a timely basis, and is very personable. I have great confidence in Susan's ability. It is a pleasure to deal with her.

Jim Murray

Ngaire, we just wanted to let you how much we appreciate the friendly business relationship we have had with you and Keene Luxury Travel Travel. It's a pleasure to work with people who know the meaning of efficiency. We would also like for you to know how pleased we are with the outstanding service Julie Rodriguez has given us. As usual, she has gone to great lengths to help us with our somewhat complicated Alaskan cruise details. We have always been able to rely on her courteous service and she consistently makes extra efforts to assist us. We will continue to recommend your company because of our total satisfaction with your staff's travel knowledge, efficiency, and courteous service.

Jimmy and Mary Ann Walker

Ngaire, you are wonderful (as I am sure hundreds have told you before) and incredibly prompt with advice and answers even before a booking is made. There are hundreds of websites and agents out there (some of which I have used) but Keene Luxury Travel are top notch.

Wendy Hill

I contacted Ngaire after seeing her agency recommended on a website and called to see what she could arrange for a Paul Gauguin cruise for our 10th anniversary. She was so pleasant to talk with, sent me an amazing amount of information and was very pro-active in securing me the best possible fare. Later, when my sailing was chartered, she really went "above and beyond" in notifying me as quickly as possible, making sure everything was as positive as possible given my disappointment and going to bat for me with Regent to make sure I was taken care of when re-scheduling. She has always answered my questions promptly, thoroughly and most importantly, pleasantly, no matter how small or even silly the question. I wouldn't hesitate to use her again and would give her my most sincere recommendation.

Lauri Campagna, M.D.

The amount of personal attention that I get from Ngaire is incredible. Honestly, I probably would have paid more for that kind of personalized service, but Ngaire's prices actually beat everyone else's! She's honest, prompt, conscientious, knowledgeable and she "goes to bat" for me as if I were her only client. Ngaire makes planning a vacation an exciting experience.

Sheri Taylor

— Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

I can’t recommend the services of Ngaire enough! I have told everyone I know about how wonderful she is and how much she did to make our cruise to the French Polynesian Islands absolutely perfect. She answered all of my questions to perfection and really knew the m/s Paul Gauguin much better than anyone we had previously spoken with. I went to Tahiti armed with all the knowledge and advice I could ever need and it didn’t take long to realize how invaluable her input was to our vacation. We were feeling confident with our travel agent expertise, but within a few days we discovered our trip was costing much less than any of our fellow passengers due to Ngaire’s negotiating and group discount. We loved the trip so much that we decided to stay a second week! I sent Ngaire an e-mail and she handled all the details without having to speak to me at all. I basked in the sun while she took care of every last arrangement. The best part is our two week vacation cost less money than most of the other travelers’ one week! It pays (in more ways than one!) to use a savvy travel agent you can trust, and I am 100% confident in Ngaire. We just booked for two more weeks in March! Dear Clay and Nicole, The second best thing that happened during our time in Paris was receiving the lovely bottle of wine from you both. The best thing was the fabulous trip that you crafted for us. From our arrival at the lovely (and quiet) Hotel Melia to the stellar seats on the Seine Cruise to the charming Valerie as our guide. It all went perfectly. Everyone was in their place at the proper time so it was not only a glorious trip but a stress-free experience. Thank you for all you both did to make it the trip-of-a-lifetime. Looking forward to more adventures!

Mindy & Brad

— Missouri

Dear Ngaire: Now that Carol and I are back home and recovered from the jet lag I thought I would drop you a note about how pleased we were with the entire experience. From our initial discussions where your extensive knowledge of So. Africa game parks helped me decide on the itinerary to your on-site escorting that allowed for a smooth relaxed experience of moving from point to point to the book received several months in advance about the trip that answered each and every question we had we could not be more pleased. The group on ROAR 2 was a large one (over 50 people I think) and to see how you managed this in such a seamless manner was a pleasure to observe. The fact that you are personally knowledgeable about each and every game park and have escorted many groups on similar South Africa trips is very apparent. I was especially impressed by the warm greetings from the management and staff you received at Birkenhead House and the game parks. Needless to say Carol and I are looking forward to our next trip to South Africa with you and Ken.

Ralph Webster

Dear Ngaire, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you and your staff for arranging what turned out to be one of the best trips Steve and I have ever taken. This was our first time in South Africa and our expectations were high. At every step of the way those expectations were exceeded. Every hotel you recommended was extraordinary, each transfer and tour was prompt, informative and above all, easy. I never had to worry if someone would show up or if the excursion would prove worthwhile. Everything went like clock work. Normally, when I return from a trip I reflect on the highlights. In this case the entire trip was one long highlight. Our time in Cape Town at the Cape Grace was a pure delight just as you predicted. The Birkenhead House in Hermanus was one of the most special places we have ever stayed. Not only was the service and food top rate, but because you arranged for us to have room number 1, the best room in the house with never ending views of the ocean, our stay was even more spectacular. And what can I say about Singita that hasn't already been said. Just as you promised we were overwhelmed by the magnificence of the property, the friendliness and professionalism of the ranger and other staff and the awesome beauty of so many spectacular wild animals in their natural environment. Spending five days at Boulders and Sweni/Lebombo was not enough, but still life changing. Perhaps no matter how long you spend in the Bush, it will never be enough. I know Steve and I plan to return, again just as you predicted. Ngaire, it gives me great pleasure to tell you what a terrific job you did in helping us plan this adventure. I am certain that without your guidance it would not have been the same. You have our sincere appreciation.

Henry S.

— Palm Springs, California

TO FUTURE TRAVELERS TO AFRICA:
We have just returned from a very memorable trip to South Africa, Zambia, and Botswana. Our trip was planned and organized by BK Africa. This represented THE trip of a lifetime for us. Our expectations were quite high as was our anticipation. From the minute we arrived in Africa to the minute our plane landed back home, we were on an incredible journey! Our expectations were exceeded beyond our imagination. To our absolute delight, each and every day was another “special” unveiling of a fascinating new experience for us. Words just aren’t enough to express the beauty of this journey. At each transition, we were met and easily positioned for transporting to our next destination. BK Africa’s tour operator on site in Africa handled these arrangements without a hitch. We never had to question, worry, or even “think” about the details that were involved with transferring to our flights, train, boats, and land vehicles. All that was necessary for us to do was to be there on time and wear a smile! We have never been treated so grandly!! All of the above was certainly not possible without a lot of hard work on the part of the professionals at BK Africa. Many, many details had to be decided and put into the works. Timing was critical as there were many points where we were dependent upon being met by the tour operator’s guide. This went absolutely like clockwork. It was very important. One day, we were transitioning through 4 countries! We were met punctually by eight different guides who took very good care of us with refreshments, transportation, and good English skills. It involved land rovers, boats, & buses. It turned into quite an enjoyable, fun, and memorable day. Our professional at BKAfrica responded without hesitation whenever we contacted her during the planning stage. She had excellent knowledge of the areas where we were going to travel. Ngaire Keene believes strongly that BK Africa must have personal knowledge of the properties they recommend so that they can speak knowledgeably of the product. This particular attention to detail proved to be quite invaluable. BK Africa’s best asset is that they can recommend a safari location that suits your personal likes, needs, and expectations. Attention to detail was another impressive part of our experience with planning a trip through BK Africa. We were contacted in a timely way whenever there was a need for more information. And, certainly not least, whenever there was an opportunity to get a better price for some part of the trip, BK Africa was right on top of it. If it was possible to realize a lower pricing for the same product, they were on the job. It afforded us a lot of trust and comfort in knowing that BK Africa was acting as our agent for our benefit. We are already planning our next adventure with BK Africa and its parent company, Keene Luxury Travel. We highly recommend its services to anyone considering investing in a trip of a lifetime to Africa.

Don & Michele Dammeyer

Usually, I like to handle my own travel plans on land domestically and overseas without a middleman but I was having difficulty with our travel plans to South Africa. There are so many small planes used and so many different small camps that I became frustrated in waiting to get a response. Since I had used Ngaire for some past Radisson cruises she immediately came to mind as a viable choice to help us out. Not only is Ngaire knowledgeable but she is very efficient. She makes you feel like you are her only client. Ngaire has visited Africa numerous times and has first hand knowledge of the area and facilities available for all different price ranges. I would email Ngaire with suggestions and questions about the trip and she would usually answer me within a couple of hours. Our trip went very smoothly and it was a trip we will always remember. I would not hesitate to use Ngaire in the future and hope someday she will decide to handle China.

The Kneedy Family

Hello Ngaire, we have returned home safe and sound. I can hardly describe what a magnificent trip we had. It is such an extraordinary country, with such extraordinary people. The accommodations were perfect, as was the total organization of the trip. Your ears must have been burning, as we were singing your praises each and every day. We had no glitches, no problems and we have not a single complain. Thank you so much for your help in our excursion. We will be returning.

Janet Waters

"Ngaire, of BK Africa, planned our 17-day journey, with safari included, to Botswana and South Africa in April. She is the consummate professional. Every detail was attended to with efficiency and our travel arrangements were perfect down to the minutest detail. All of our questions were answered promptly and knowledgeably, and the whole trip went smoothly from start to finish. I would highly recommend her to anyone planning their dream sojourn to Africa."

Beth McCain

Our recent trip to Africa with Keene Luxury Travel was the trip of a lifetime. Before we left, every question we had (and we had plenty of them) was answered completely and promptly. The hotels, tours, transportation and all the other arrangements for the trip were perfect-- we traveled through most of southern Africa without a hitch. The one minor Visa problem we had in Zambia was handled by Ngaire before we even had a chance to get stressed--now that's service! It's so great to travel with confidence, knowing that everything is taken care of -- what a great way to vacation! Ngaire, thanks for a fantastic trip.

Jerry and Peggy Wolf

We compliment and recommend BK Africa to anyone considering a trip to either Africa or Egypt. Our journey to Zambia, South Africa and Botswana sparkled, thanks to great advice up-front and strong execution by BK and their agents on the ground.

The trip entailed safari camp stops, side trips to see the Cape of Good Hope, Capetown, the townships and communities in South Africa that continue to be home to many of South Africa’s residents. The meals were excellent and the shopping options very interesting and abundant in Capetown. We have rarely been able to see so many parts of a country on holiday. It was fascinating, to say the least. It was sobering to realize just how many steps were involved to make our dream trip happen. The folks on the ground were professional, cheerful, welcoming and helped us to feel most comfortable no matter where we went.

We asked many, many questions before, during and after our trip. Importantly, people responded promptly at every stage of the trip. We found knowledgeable, personalized advice that was well suited to our situation and to our goals for the trip. The trip was excellent value for the overall cost of the tour.

We, too, are planning another adventure with BK Africa to enjoy a cruise on the Nile. We have also had the pleasure of enjoying Regent Cruises booked through Keene Luxury Travel Travel. The services of BK Africa were certainly up to the same high standard we’ve enjoyed with our cruises. Thanks again with our cruises. Thanks again to all of the B&K team for putting this effort together for us.

Anne Drennan and Gary Kohler

Details on the Nile, March 2012 Specially Arranged by Ker & Downey for [Keene Luxury Travel] Escorted by Ken Hutyra and Ngaire Keene Hutyra
I have finally gotten the chance to put into words what an incredible trip NILE was. Mark and I had always wanted to go to Egypt, and walk where the ancients had walked; nothing was so awe-inspiring to us, as citizens of a very "young" country. We were always a little uneasy about how to go about planning a trip like this; so much to see, how do you get from one place to another, and how safe is it, anyway? When we found out that NILE was going to happen, that was all we needed. What could be better? A group of friends, our favorite travel agent, and history all around us.
From the minute we stepped off the plane in Cairo, we felt like celebrities. Not for us the bus to the terminal, the line for immigration, then the line for the visa, then pick up luggage and find transportation. We were whisked away from the foot of the stairs as we came off the plane, and taken to an air conditioned lounge, where we waited in comfort with our drink of choice. Our passports were taken, all necessary things were done, luggage was collected, and we met up with it at the mini-van. We had a driver and and escort, who told us what we were seeing (after he presented me with a bouquet of flowers) on the way to the hotel. Once we got to our hotel, we were again escorted into a lounge while being checked in. Then we were escorted to our room, to make sure everything was just right.
Every tour, every excursion was done with our comfort and happiness in mind. We had a "do it all, top speed" group and a "do what we can, at our own speed" group. Each group had a driver, an Egyptologist to tell us what we were seeing, an escort from the Egyptian government, and most of the time there was a tourist police car escorting us. We were never really told about all of this, it was simply done because South Sinai Tours thought it was the proper way to treat us as their guests.
We had our own, very private showing of the "sound and light show" at the Giza Pyramids, in a venue that would hold about 2500 people. There were 27 of us, we all had front row seats. We were invited into the private home of Mr. Antoine, the president of South Sinai Tours, for dinner with him and his staff. His home is amazing, and the gardens are beyond description. He made us feel like honored guests in his home, and the food was some of the best we had, during our entire trip. On the way there, we were all on the "big" bus; I looked out the window and commented that the smaller bus was beside us in traffic. I was told that Mr. Antoine provided that in case somebody got overly tired and needed to go back to Cairo early.
Every single thing that one of us thought we might need, South Sinai had already thought of it and provided it.
For our trip out of Cairo, to see Abu Simbel and cruise the Nile, we had our Egyptologists along (one for each group), and Mr. Antoine sent along our good friend Hossam (he met us at the airport and delivered us back when we eventually headed home) to make sure every single moment of our trip was perfection itself. We never checked ourselves into a hotel room; we sat and chatted while it was done for us. On our Nile cruise, we ended up having the boat to ourselves, at every stop South Sinai was there with two buses and more of their staff to accompany us. Our escorts had assistants! Every bus had a refrigerator on it with an endless supply of cold bottled water.
The boat cruise along the Nile was wonderful. The food was perfect; I would go to every meal planning to eat lightly. I would roll myself out of the dining room after every meal; there was no way to eat lightly, the food was simply too good.
Every hotel we stayed in was 5* at least. Breakfast was included, and some dinners; I honestly don't remember how many dinners, but there were a lot of them.
If I were telling somebody who was planning a trip to Egypt who to talk to, it would always be [Keene Luxury Travel], because they would use Ker & Downey, and South Sinai Tours. There are none better.

Pam & Mark L.

— Olive Branch, Mississippi

Dear Ngaire,

Ray and I would like to thank you and Brown and Keene for the wonderful trip to Egypt and Jordan this past March. When we did a Suez Canal cruise back in 2005 Ray said, “we are coming back to do a Nile cruise and land tour”. Return we did and what a wonderful experience it turned out to be.
From the time we stepped off our BA flight, only to be met at the gate by Hossam, our wonderful logistic’s man from South Sinai travel, who led us to a VIP Lounge while he took care of our visas and luggage to our deposit at our beautiful hotel, the service was excellent. Felt like a celebrity or a movie star with this VIP service.
I think the fact that you arranged for two buses and two Egyptologists was the greatest thing for us as Ray was able to “do-it-all” with Hany while I could do just “the highlights”with Henry on those days I felt like it. The guides as well as the people we met in Egypt and Jordan made us feel truly welcome.
Egypt, for me, was awesome as well as magical. Our private Sight and Sound tour of the Great Pyramids sitting there, in front of the Sphinx, where Cleopatra as well as Napoleon once stood made you realize how insignificant we are. Hard to believe we were the only ones there when it normally holds hundreds. As if this wasn’t enough, to be taken to a private yacht for a dinner cruise on the Nile was the perfect ending to a perfect day. Another wonderful night was being a guest of our host, Antoine Riad, Chairman of South Sinai Travel, in his beautiful home for dinner. What a delightful man he is, so warm and welcoming to all of us.
I would be hard put to choose the most outstanding sites, from the Aswan Dam, Luxor, Cairo to Petra in Jordan and our fabulous Cruise up the Nile...shades of Agatha Christi....was fantastic.
If I had one complaint it would be, that the time flew by so quickly....it always does when you are having such a wonderful time with great people.
I have started a Blurb book on Egypt and Jordon and will let you know when it’s completed. Once again, many thanks Ngaire, to you and Ken for putting together this outstanding Nile tour.
Till our next adventure together,

Pat & Ray M.

— Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Ngaire,
I have been somewhat remiss in not sending you a note expressing Cheron and my appreciation for our trip to Egypt. I had intended to write a commemorative poem to express our pleasure but the loneliness of being away from Ken and you blocked my creative juices so I am herewith being more conventional.
As you know, NILE was the first group endeavor for Cheron and I. We could not have been more pleased. Not only were our fellow travelers truly a joy to be with, the services provided and the extra activities you created could not have been duplicated on our own.
We fully expected to be impressed with the many wonders of Egypt's past but we had not really expected the high level of travel services and friendliness of the Egyptian people. Tourism is the principal business in Egypt and it appears that everyone wants to leave a positive impression. I had a distinct feeling that Egyptians have a real fondness for Americans. We have been asked by several people if Egypt is safe to which we emphatically answer in the affirmative. At no time during the trip did we feel at all ill at ease. The local tour company with whom you associated, South Sinai Travel, had incredibly talented personnel in Hany, Henry and Hossam. Each was attentive, knowledgeable and friendly and each had a great sense of humor. The warmth and generosity of the Egyptian people could not have better displayed than by South Sinai's owner, Antoine, who opened his home to us for a wonderful dinner and evening of conversation and I presume it was Antoine who orchestrated the private sound and light show just for our group's viewing.
I think a true testament to the success of NILE is the fact that when it was time to return home, we both were sad that we had not extended our trip to Jordan. Often toward the end a trip I get antsy to get home but in this case, whether it was Egypt and the Egyptian people or you, Ken and all our fellow travelers or both, neither of us were anxious to leave the group. Thanks for the experience.

Mark & Cheron K.

— Greensboro, Georgia

Ngaire,
With our move from Houston to Hilton Head Island, June and I have neglected to tell you just how much we treasure our experience a couple months ago on NILE. In a word, it was fabulous. June often tells friends and acquaintances that It was the very best trip we've ever taken, whether cruise or land tour.
The tour group of 27 people was friendly and compatible, and everyone got along tremendously well with each other. The Egyptian travel agency we worked with, South Sinai Travel (SST), was extraordinarily efficient, We were met at the Cairo airport and even before passing through immigration and customs, we were whisked to a private lounge. While we waited comfortably there, the SST representative secured our visas, then escorted us as VIPs through immigration, helped us locate our luggage from the carousel, and then accompanied us quickly through customs. A very nice private minivan carried us across Cairo to our hotel, the Four Seasons in Giza, which was on the Nile and whose service and accommodations were outstanding in every imaginable way. The tone for our entire tour was thus set at the highest level from the outset, and so it remained.
The SST tour guides included very well educated Egyptologists who spoke English fluently, and at every site we visited they were able to give us a very knowledgeable description of what we were seeing and the history behind it.June and I were with Ken's "do it all" group, but our friend Adelene stayed with your smaller group for people who couldn't manage strenuous activity, and both groups benefited from having an outstanding Egyptologist along.
After several days in Cairo, we flew on a domestic Egyptair flight to Aswan. We and our luggage were expedited through airport security and the airline check-in, and both the aircraft and the airports were excellent. At no time throughout our twelve days on NILE did we feel uneasy in any way about our safety or security. The SST guides managed every detail smoothly.The group tours in Cairo, Giza, Aswan, and Luxor were outstanding. Our hotel in Aswan was first-rate, and the Nile cruise ship provided recently refurbished staterooms and truly excellent food and service.
NILE was a tremendous value and a wonderful experience from beginning to end. The only thing I would have changed was our choice of airlines from JFK-CAI and then from CAI-JFK. June and I had chosen to fly on Egyptair, primarily because it had a direct flight, The aircraft were OK and the food service in Business Class was generally acceptable, but, it being Egyptair, there was no alcohol served on board during those two long international flights.
We loved the trip, Ngaire, and we would do it again. Thanks so much for this truly fabulous travel experience.

Art & June S.

— Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

I have always been a lover of ancient Egypt. Having had a taste two times off of cruise ships, I really wanted to spend at least two weeks with a Nile cruise to see the ancient and new that I hadn't been able to with a drop in and out in one or two days. People say "Aren't you worried about going to Egypt?". To be honest, I knew that on a [Keene Luxury Travel] trip I would be well taken care of. From meet and greet, to our great guide leading us through departure, we were well taken care of with great security. The Egyptian government doesn't want anything to happen to tourists. We are an important economic driver.
We stayed at lovely hotels in the nicest parts of town. My husband and I walked along the Nile, went to markets and even the Zoo where we were the only non-Egyptians there and never felt uncomfortable. They did want to take our picture with their children. Your chances of being hit by a car is far greater than an attack. Crossing a street is an adventure. Being with a group is a plus. Not only is it well organized so you do feel comfortable, but it fun to share this adventure with other people who are well traveled.So if you are considering a trip--GO. The time will never be better.

Pam & Jim T

— Asheville, North Carolina

Dear Ngaire,
Just a quick note to thank you for the awesome trip you organized. Jim and I are still talking about what a wonderful time we had in Egypt on NILE; it was one of our best "land based" vacations ever!
The guides from South Sinai travel were fantastic: in-depth knowledge, infinite patience, inexhaustible energy, and always smiling and willing to share their wonderful country with us. The private Sound and Light show at the pyramids was amazing. With only our group right in front of the Pyramids of Giza at sunset with the call to prayer in the background - priceless!
The sites were as awe inspiring as we expected. It's still incredible to think we were walking through temples that were many thousands of years old and the product of an advanced civilization with exceptional engineering and scientific knowledge before the Greek empire began its rise.
We were impressed with the quality of the accommodations, the food, and most of all the people of Egypt.We didn't really know what to expect - you get a very distorted view watching American television - but once we arrived it was clear the whole country is really dedicated to and organized for tourism. I was surprised to learn it was their biggest "industry" and also surprised at the truly international nature of the tourists themselves. We felt very safe everywhere we went and that allowed us to relax and enjoy learning about the history and the culture of the country.
We always look forward to our adventures with you and are eagerly awaiting our next journey.

Mary Ellen G & Jim M.

— Milford, Massachusetts

Egypt has long been on my wish list, but since I was a woman traveling alone, safety was a major concern for me. When I learned that Ngaire was organizing a trip to Egypt, I jumped at the opportunity. Knowing Ngaire's organizing skills, I knew that the trip would be first-class from start to finish. I can now say that my expectations were not only met but far exceeded.
The itinerary was excellent and well-executed. We were on a schedule to see the best that Egypt had to offer, but I really never felt rushed or overwhelmed. The hotels were excellent and well-located. The tour guides we had in Egypt were flawless. Not only were they personable and knowledgeable, they were genuinely caring and catered to everyone's needs. They streamlined airport arrivals and departures (no small feat in a country with tight security).
We had security with us when we traveled in certain areas, and they were watchful but never intrusive. At no time did I ever feel unsafe.
A real highlight and treat was dinner at Antoine's house, the owner of the tour company. It was a lovely evening, with wonderful food and spectacular gardens to stroll through.
Another great moment was the private sound and light show at the pyramids. Since we were the only people there at the time, we sat right up front(now I know how royalty feels!)and enjoyed the spectacular pyramids lit up in different colors.
The Nile cruise was very enjoyable, and I wish I could have spent more time in Luxor. It is an open-air museum and I could have stayed here for another week. There is just so much to see in Egypt.
All in all, this trip was definitely one of my favorite trips ever. My thanks to Ngaire and Ker and Downey for planning this amazing trip!

Susan F.

— Windsor, Ontario, Canada

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