Press Release: CONTIKI VACATIONS ANNOUNCES 2011 PROMOTIONAL OPPORTUNITY – SUMMER EUROPE PREVIEW SPECIAL

 Contiki Invites Travelers to Save Hundreds on 2011 Trips by Planning Ahead

ANAHEIM, Calif. – September 20, 2010 Contiki Vacations, the leader in fun travel packages for 18-35 year olds, is pleased to announce the 2011 Preview Sale. By putting down a deposit for a summer Europe trip before November 15th, travelers have the unique opportunity to lock in 2010 rates. Contiki is also offering $225 in savings for select tours eight days or longer.

“We will match the deposit and provide an excursion voucher to use towards optional activities while on vacation,” says Michelle Murray, Director of Marketing and Key Accounts at Contiki. “Travelers who plan their Europe Contiki trip early will receive exceptional value.” The offer is combinable with Contiki’s early payment deal for trips booked six to 12 months in advance.

Contiki’s most popular trips are eligible for the Preview sale, including Greek Island Hopping, European Discovery, and Egypt and the Nile. For details, restrictions, and most importantly to reserve your spot, visit www.contiki.com/preview or call 1-866-CONTIKI.

About Contiki: Contiki has helped students and young professionals travel to the world’s most fantastic destinations for over 45 years. The trips are hassle-free and include the perfect mix of sightseeing, culture and free time.  Choose from over 190 itineraries throughout Europe, Russia, Egypt, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Canada & the USA. For more information, visit Contiki.com.

Employee Post: Egypt & The Nile

By Allyson C., Executive Assistant

Our Egypt and the Nile itinerary boasts all the Ancient Egyptian must-sees like the Pyramids, the Great Sphinx, the Temple of Karnak, the Valley of the Kings, and of course, the Egyptian Museum. Yet beyond the impressively designed and decorated temples and tombs, legendary pharaohs, and fascinating monuments, today’s Egypt is full of new experiences for the traveler.

Tempt your tastes buds and dazzle them with local cuisine. The Khan el Khalili bazaar is home to the best street vendors of falafel you’ll find. The fried balls of ground fava beans and chickpeas mixed with spices, stuffed inside a pita and topped with tahini sauce will not disappoint. Koshary stands are packed into the late evening in Cairo, serving up the national dish made of rice, brown lentils, chickpeas, and macaroni. In Luxor, take the tip of the tour manager and try a camel burger, sold under the name of kofta at McDonald’s. Craving something more exotic? Try the local delicacy of rice-stuffed pigeon. I know what you are thinking…the birds are raised like chickens.

Part of the appreciation and understanding of the culture comes from spending time with the locals. Egyptians are friendly people and have a wonderful custom of hospitality. At the traditional Bedouin home we stop at near Giza, try the mint tea which is super hot and seeped to perfection. The shisha, or hooka, is passed around and the experience with the Bedouins becomes the most relaxing time of the day. The optional excursion to the village near Luxor provides another opportunity for Egyptian hospitality of hot mint tea and homemade sun bread, as well as an insider’s look at the daily life of villagers. The visits to the mosques in Cairo provide insight to the Muslim faith and foster understanding, which is crucial in today’s global community. Not everyone you meet will be trying to sell you something, so be open to those who approach you in search of a conversation. My group was approached by a group of female students at the Aswan Botanical Gardens who just wanted to practice their English, and our interaction with the students became the highlight of our visit to the gardens. Other cultural exchanges can be had a street corner cafes while drinking tea or coffee, smoking the shisha, and playing a round of backgammon or two.

My experience in Egypt would have been less memorable without all my new habibi, or dear friends, especially the tour managers Sherif and Khalid. Both have a prefect blend of education and local expertise that make their knowledge priceless.  Their pride and hospitality shine through and they truly care that each of their passengers has the best time possible while traveling through Egypt. Try to stump them on a piece of artwork at a temple or the pricing of a souvenir from the bazaar and you’ll quickly learn that it’s impossible. Thanks to Sherif, I did find that special souvenir that seemed like searching for a needle in a haystack. Thank you for going the extra mile.

Although interested in ancient history, I never considered myself to be an Egyptophile. In fact, my mom was a bit in disbelief that my first Contiki would be to Egypt since my first Egyptian museum experience as a kid was a bust. After traveling through Egypt over the holidays, I have a new found appreciation and understanding of the intriguing Egyptians, both ancient and modern. Now, I read about every new archeological discovery in the country and try to use it as an excuse of why I have to go back. Lastly, my suggestion to anyone considering traveling to Egypt, do it sooner than later. The Supreme Council of Antiquities can close any of the famous sites in order to preserve it. As tourist numbers increase, the likelihood that one or more of these renowned sites will close becomes inevitable.

Contiki of the Week: Eastern Mediterranean Cruising

10 Days from $1870/person

Discover 3 Continents in 1 tour and all from the luxury of your cruise ship. Cruising by night and sightseeing by day gives you the maximum amount of time in each of the fascinating cities this tour visits. Start your cruise of the continents in Athens, Europe then journey to the African shores of Egypt before discovering the treasures of the east in Israel, Asia. Wonders of the past are at your fingertips from the Parthenon in Athens to the Great Pyramids and Sphinx in Alexandria to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. So many photo opportunities, so many memories….

Full Itinerary:

  1. Depart for Europe

    Jet off to the trip of a lifetime awaiting you in Europe!

  2. Arrive Athens

    Check-in to your hotel and spend the afternoon getting a sneak peek at Athens, Europe’s oldest city.

    Athens is crammed with myth and ancient wonders, and busy with modern, urban soul. With a free time, keep exploring this open-air museum. You could honor the birthplace of drama by climbing around the massive Theatre of Dionysus or get the background on Ancient Greece at the National Archaeological Museum. Otherwise, experience Athens’ urban heart, take off into the streets and find a hole-in-the-wall food joint, where you can try the famous souvalaki

    This evening meet your Tour Representative and fellow Contiki travelers.

    Start your tour off with a night to remember and get to know your group at an optional dinner in the rustic district of Plaka. Perched on the shady slopes beneath the Acropolis, Plaka is full of traditional tavernas that spill out onto the pavements. Tonight’s festive atmosphere is perfect for toasting the start of the tour.

  3. Cruising to Istanbul

    Board our cruise ship bound for Istanbul, settle in to your cabin and watch the sun set over the Aegean this evening. Then kick off the cruise with your new friends in the ship’s nightclub.

  4. Istanbul

    Drop anchor in Istanbul, the last stop on the Silk Road and the only city in the world to span two continents. With a day here, there’s plenty of time to get a real feel for this cultural melting pot.

    Begin with an optional tour of Istanbul and get an insider’s angle on Istanbul with our Local Guide, who’ll show off the city’s core sites. Cross the Galata Bridge for stunning views, check out Emperor Constantine’s Agia Sophia and then eat at the magnificent Topkapi Palace, former home of the sultans.

    Our Rep shows you one of the city’s major draw cards, the stunning Blue Mosque. It’s an amazing building with a series of domes and minarets dominating the skyline, complete with a breathtaking interior of tens of thousands of blue tiles.

    After that, we head right into the heart of the city and plunge into several kilometres of shops at the Grand Baazar. It’s an unforgettable shopping experience, where tacky trinkets and authentic treasures are sold side by side. With carpets, jewellery, spices, music, electronics and more, the place is buzzing, so make sure you’ve got your haggling hat on.

    Otherwise, live a bit of Istanbul’s daily life. Try your hand at backgammon in a sidewalk cafe and watch the crowds go by as you sip on Turkish coffee. Chill out in a tea garden, or take to the time-honoured tradition of the hamam (steam bath house) and get scrubbed down on heated marble stones.

    Tonight, head to Greece’s stunning islands and sail between two continents on the world’s narrowest navigated straight.

  5. Cruise to Mykonos

    Mykonos is famous for its blissful beaches and party culture. No matter what you’re after, chances are this island has got it! You’ll soon understand why this happening hub draws people from all walks of life, from jetsetters to backpackers.

    Sign up for a trip to the uninhabited island of sacred Delos. It’s one of Greece’s most important archaeological sites, situated right in the centre of the Cyclades.

    In your free time, head into Mykonos town and wander through the maze of tiny streets lined by whitewashed cube-shaped houses. Maybe grab a table for lunch in the village and feast on fresh local specialties, like olives, feta and tzatziki dip.

    Chill for the afternoon with friends on the island’s world famous beaches and cool off in the azure waters. Before our late-night sailing, there’s time to wrap up the day with a drink at one of Mykonos’ great bars, while watching the sun go down.

  6. Cruising to Israel

    There’s a day’s sailing ahead of you, so take advantage of the fantastic facilities available on the ship. Position yourself poolside and make the most of views from the deck or have a go at one of the activities on hand.

  7. Arrive Ashdod for Jerusalem

    We arrive in Israel early this morning and head to the ancient town of Jerusalem. A spiritual crossroads, Jerusalem is holy ground for Christians, Jews and Muslims. Added to its labyrinth of old lanes, bustling markets and alleys, the unique mix of cultures and beliefs gives this place its distinct atmosphere.

    Get into the spirit of this place as the group checks-out the city’s holy sites. You’ll see the Mount of Olives and the Via Dolorosa, thought to be the last route Jesus took, as well as the iconic, gold-domed Dome of the Rock. Check out the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the most important religious shrine for Judaism, the 2000-year-old Wailing Wall.

    Experience a slice of the local lifestyle with a traditional lunch at a Kibbutz and then cruise on to one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Bethlehem. Here, we’ll visit the oldest working church, the Church of the Nativity, which was built on the spot where Jesus is believed to have been born.

  8. Arrive Port Said for Cairo

    Chaotic Cairo keeps a mass of experiences coming at you thick and fast. Leap from one time to another in this intense jumble of ancient and new.

    Uncover the Pharaohs’ glory with your Tour Manager in the Egyptian Museum’s amazing collection that includes Tutankhamen’s treasure. Get up close to royal mummies and jewels raided from their tombs.

    Later, dive right into the heart of old Cairo with a visit to the ancient Khan El Khalili bazaar with our Local Guide. Smell the spices as you walk through the ancient souk and get pointers on where to go. Back in the 14th century, this place was the center of world trade and today continues to serve up bargains from across the globe, as well as a combination of kitsch souvenirs and real treasures. You could snack on mouth-watering mezzes (plate sized nibbles), Egyptian bread and hummus dip or sip on some shai (tea).

    Next stop: the iconic Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza. They are the only survivors of the 7 ancient wonders of the world and are on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Our Local Guide will crack open the 4600 year old history of these massive monuments, that 20,000-30,000 workers took over 80 years to build.

  9. Cruise to Crete

    Relax on board this morning as we make our way to the biggest of the Greek Islands, Crete.

    Choose an optional excursion to the Palace of Knossos where our Local Guide will tell you the story of this 4000 year old mythical Minoan Palace where the minotaur (half-man/half-bull) was slain.

  10. Arrival into Athens

    After breakfast and a farewell to our hosts, we disembark in Piraeus and head to Syntagma Square, right in the heart of Athens and home to Greece’s parliament, where our tour ends.

    For those who are keen to learn more, there’s a chance to step back in time to the birthplace of democracy in an optional activity. Get the run down on the Parthenon and the Acropolis from our Local Guide, as you wander around the famous columns perched above the city sprawl.

Contiki joins Chapman University on Race Day

We made an appearance over the weekend at the Toyota of Orange Chapman University 5K race and were able to show our support for the 2K race attendees and participants. We encountered several past passengers (even a client from 20 years ago!) and were able to introduce ourselves to many new faces. We passed out Contiki water bottles and key chains to the weary runners and checked out the other sponsors that included Minute Rice and Yoga Works (can you say health conscious??). All in all, it was a good morning despite the 6am start time but, like they say, the early bird catches the worm. Too bad worms are gross.

Chapman University

5K Starting Line