My sister, her husband, my wife and I took this cruise this past week and we really loved it. Everyone was very attentive and respectful. Our personal tour guide Mahmoud made everything feel welcoming and special. He is a very knowledgeable person and treated us like family. We highly recommend it.
We had a great time. The boat was comfortable and we really enjoyed it. The staff went out of their way to be helpful. The food was good. The guide, Abdul, was extremely knowledgable and explained everything to us, so that we had a good understanding of the archeological sites. Highly recommend him. Altogether a wonderful experience.
We booked the tour with significant reliance on the association with Viator. I must admit for the first time, we felt that Viator had let us down by associating with such cruise lines.
We were a group of 12 travelers consisting 8 adults and 4 children. The cruise was significantly below our expectations for various reasons - some within the control of the cruise operators and some probably beyond their control. But still they have to be blamed for being discrete about it. Now here are the details....
We got on board the cruise line M/S: Monaco at 1.30 pm on 30th. But the vessel did not sail until 24 hours later. This was only the starting of many surprises that were awaiting us over the next 3 days. Also after she barely sailed for 2 hours, there was extreme traffic on the course and we found that many lines were stranded across the river due to inadequate depth with water levels insufficient for sailing. There was absolute chaos in the middle of the river with lines coming from Aswan and going to Aswan moving unregulated looking for depth. For about 4-5 hours this continued till the police arrived and started regulating traffic. There was complete anarchy on the river till the police arrived, with the crew of different lines showering abuses at each other. Our line even went and hit though not at high speed another line which was stranded while trying to maneuver. This was my first cruise experience ever and I was disappointed that the new year eve turned out to be a damp squib thanks to such chaos.
If we thought we have had a bad day, there was more to come. The water supply stopped in the late afternoon. No one responsible from the crew came to us to inform of the situation. We followed up with crew for the status on various occasions but there was no definite answer. The planned party of the new year eve was cancelled because the conditions were not getting better. Finally after the journey resumed the water supply was restored - about 5-6 hours since it stopped.
We had a comfortable sailing after that, till we reached Kom Ombo on 1st January in the afternoon. Before even we reached Kom Ombo, we realised that once again there was no water supply. We also came to know through our tour guide and not from the cruise crew that the planned trip to Aswan will be cut short and the line will berth at Kom Ombo because of insufficient water levels to continue sailing to Aswan. Kom Ombo is a nearly deserted, rather unimportant and poor town ship with nothing to entertain tourists, except an ancient temple. We set out to see the temple, which was within walking distance from the berth. Some of the tourists including ourselves followed up many times with the crew management to know the status of the water supply. We were told that the stand by RO system to clean water had failed and by now apparently both RO systems of the ship was not operating. We had to have a serious discussion with the cruise manager that we will disembark if the matter was not resolved. Without a bit of aggression no one seemed to be serious about anything. After about 7 hours of disruption the water supply was finally restored late in the evening. But the cruise did not move an inch forward beyond Kom Ombo. So except for about 12 hours of sailing the 4 nights/5 day cruise was stationery.
The biggest disappointment was that the guest relation members were rather insensitive, clandestine and unforthcoming. Until the tourists started becoming aggressive and demanding explanation, no one seemed to bother. For a cruise claimed to be 5 star, and costing more than 6 thousand for the group, the tour was a rip off/a day light robbery.
M/S: Monaco, the line, warranted quite some touch up. The bathroom linen needed changing, the carpets in the rooms and corridors were worn out. The tea time on the sun deck was short only half an hour and what was being served during the tea sessions were of poor quality. The food spread in the buffet was good and the food was tasty. Again, the breakfast, lunch and dinner were all of 1 hour duration each offering no flexibility to the tourists.
On the whole, of the 8 day tour that we had to Egypt, 4 days was onboard and was supposed to be the highlight of the tour. But this was a great disappointment particularly with the big screw ups on the new year eve and the new year day with the water supply.
The F and B crew were though very friendly and accommodating. They catered to certain dietary requirements of some of us and was easy to deal with. The cruise manager was rather ineffective. On days where the tourists went out on day tours and therefore missed a meal breakfast/lunch boxes were provided which were ok, not great.
So, our first ever cruise experience was a big let down. There was only one positive - any other cruise can now only get better !