Written on: 26/02/2013 by Andy51drama (1 review written)
My husband & I have just returned from an eight day, all inclusive, Nile cruise (Luxor to Aswan & back), which we booked in January of this year (2013) with
Red Sea Holidays sailing on the river boat the MS Grand Rose. We had never visited Egypt previously but were aware of stories regarding poor hygiene, attitude of hotel/cruise ship staff, and being constantly pestered to buy souvenirs. In preparing for our holiday we ensured we had all the necessary products to help fend off bugs, internally and externally, and researched to find a holiday company that would provide us with the best possible service within our budget.
Overall we had great holiday, lots of fun, well balanced sight seeing itinerary (thanks to a fully qualified guide) and sufficient time to relax and enjoy the sun on the river boat and just about satisfactory catering and reasonably good service. While sickness and diahorrea were not rampant amongst passengers, there were quite a number who did lose one or two days of their holiday due to sickness. The river boat, MS Grand Rose, is advertised as providing five star plus accommodation and service. The Grand Rose is not a floating Hilton (not that we were expecting it to be) but we are now very curious as to how a cruise ship (river boat) or holiday hotel gets it's rating, and by whom, for the following reasons: towels, although clean & regularly changed, were grey not white, no dressing gown/slippers (so why put 5* plus?), complimentary toiletries were not full bottles & obviously the remainder of the previous guests use in the cabin, satellite tv was not available for the majority of the cruise, the bathroom was very tired looking & needed refurbishing, glue stains where fittings had been reglued in position, hot water was only tepid/cool in the evenings. On arrival, as advised, we wiped surfaces in our room with disinfectant spray & white tissues, twice over, as surfaces were black with dirt. Carpets in the public areas & cabin were dusty, along with all the colonial looking wood panelling. We constantly had to ask for service as opposed to being asked if we wanted service, in both the bar & restaurant. At the end of the holiday the restaurant manager intimidated guests requesting them to put 'excellent' throughout, on the satisfaction survey that was handed out. Evening entertainment is not nightly, a bored, gum chewing belly dancer on the first evening, an excellent Nubian group on another night, & then guest involved games for entertainment. Our guide, Sameh, could not have done more for us as a group - excellently & intelligently guided tours, support for those who were poorly, even offering to get us food when we decided to lie-in one morning & subsequently missed breakfast. We were advised to pay tip money at the beginning of the cruise, amounting to £20 each passenger, to avoid the worry of tipping to whom & when later on. This was taken by Visa card or cash. However, this did not stop the crew serving us intimating that they wanted money. On the last evening we did give the man looking after our room a little extra as his towel folding skills were very humorous. He then asked for more for his friend! Service fizzled out the final 24 hours, no replenishment of toilet rolls, sun deck towels taken away, surly waiters in the bar & restaurant. We would definitely return to Egypt, but will have to do a lot more research if we are going to expect 5* plus service. We seem to have paid over the odds for this trip, £300 - £400 more compared to some passengers.