Written on: 11/05/2012 by Wenda
I have just returned from a Nile cruise on the MS Royal Viking. This was a return visit as I enjoyed it so much last year. Chances are if I can save enough money, i'll be returning next year as well... It is exactly what i needed as a hloiday. I am not a lay on the beach type person, and this holiday gives you just the right mix of culture and relaxation. I went with a friend who normally takes foreign walking holidays, and was at first sceptical about whether she would enjoy the 'down time', but because there is so much to see just sitting in the sunshine from the top deck, she is now a convert. I don't know of any illness on the ship from either this year or the last - except for the man who had ice in his drink whilst at the Valley of the Kings in 2011. Sadly the large cafe there is now closed - the government have put the rent up, and no egyptian can afford to run it with tourism the way it is at the moment. The ship and her staff are fabulous, they really can't do enough for you. The only thing that I would ask for is proper coffee... nescafe just doesn't do it for me. Cafe prices are getting on to about double what they were in 2011, this is probably a reflection on tourism rates, which are running at about a fifth of pre revolution numbers. The trips are really good, and being accompanied by experienced guides is a real bonus. I thought that as we had already been, we would have heard all of the information, but different guides seem to focus on different things - therefore in about ten years, i'll be an expert! One of the real highlights of our holiday though was outside of the tour. A group of us walked down to the Winter Palace Hotel in Luxor, we were made to feel so very welcome, and had cocktails in the bar. The service and ambiance is of a bygone era, so fabulous that we returned on our last evening, and had drinks in the garden - so very beautiful. Please be aware though that there are some shop keepers that try to rip you off. I needed some after sun and tablets from the pharmacy at Karnak Temple, and the pharmacist tried to charge me 370LE. I ended up paying only 69LE for the tablets that I was desperate for. Later, accompanied by a sailor in Luxor, I visited another pharmacy, and got the same tablets for 11LE. The price on the box printed in LE under the expiry date had been blacked out by the pharmacist at Karnak Temple. Otherwise everything was wonderful, I will have no hesitation booking again. Thank you Royal Viking staff for making my holiday perfect - again.
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