Written on: 29/06/2009 by frank alderson (2 reviews written)
My wife and I are experienced cruisers and were looking to find a Nile cruise ship compatible with the one we had been on two years previously, named the Crown Prince. The Crown Prince was classified as 4-star. It was beautiful, well maintained with good food and excellent service. It was also moored outside the New Winter Palace, unlike the MS Monica, which was moored at the end of a dirt track some 3 km from Luxor.
Unable to book the Crown Prince this time we checked on-line for a similar ship and found the MS Monica advertised through Classic Cruiser4U, a subsidiary company of the Cooperative Travel Group.
According to the blurb, the MS Monica was supposed to be a 5* plus Nile Cruise ship, which had been refurbished in May of this year and which was supposed to have been inspected by a Cooperative Travel representative: what we found was a cruise ship that my wife and I would class as a very poor 3 star, if that. We should have known better when we could find only one review of the ship, and that one a poor review. But we contacted the Cooperative Travel Group and were assured that the ship was excellent and that the one review we had seen did not reflect the state of the ship now.
So to the holiday itself. On arrival in Luxor we were met by representatives from Orbital Travel (who were acting on behalf of Cooperative Travel). They escorted us to the ship and then promptly left us. Entrance and egress from the ship was through another cruise ship that was being refurbished. The passengers had to make their way through dust, past open machinery and over spliced power cables.
The MS Monica itself, after you see past the ornate reception facade, was a tatty ship in much need of a complete overhaul. Our cabin, on the top deck of the passenger decks was barely wide enough to swing the proverbial cat. The wallpaper was torn in places and had been patched up in other places; the bedstead, the mirror and the wooden furnishings were all damaged, the doors themselves did not close properly; one of the power sockets in the cabin was hanging out of the wall and was in such a dangerous condition that it was unusable. The bathroom was equally poor, with an added bonus of the faint odour of human faeces permeating from it. It was a requirement, as notified on the bathroom wall, to place your soiled toilet paper in a waste paper bucket not down the toilet basin (a sure way to catch any virus). Suffice to say, neither my wife nor I followed that particular guideline. The toilet brush holder contained dried faeces, which from the amount plastered on its inner face, must have been there for a number of years.
As for the food, that is another story. To say that it was barely edible is an understatement. The menu choice was poor; chicken, beef or pasta seemed to be the only choice, concocted in differing ways but essentially the same mixtures. What you did not eat for dinner was served up for breakfast and lunch. As for the farewell meal the night before departure it was, basically, fish and chips and poor fish and chips at that.
If you wish to complain, forget it. There are no holiday reps onboard. The two guides were not interested in any problems encountered; their standard stock phrase was ' we are freelance guides and any complaints should be addressed to your travel company ' . Their only interest was in getting the guests to part with £28 per person in cash, ostensibly as ' tips 'for the crew. These ' tips 'were not asked for at the end of the holiday (by then they had jumped ship), the payment was requested on the second day of our holiday. My wife and I did not pay it because we were suspicious of their motives.
I should also like to point out that there are no banking facilities onboard the ship, and if you wish to get hold of any cash then you will need either to get a taxi into Luxor or wait until you dock in Aswan.
Finally, my wife, a hardened traveller, came down with sickness and diarrhoea, and spent 4 days of our 7 day holiday confined to her bed. So if you intend to sail on the MS Monica make sure you take plenty of sickness tablets and a course of antibiotics because, without doubt, my wife ' s illness was caused by ill prepared food.
If you are looking for a good holiday then book through a company that have reps onboard the ship, such as the MS Crown Prince or, if you want to travel independently, try the MS Adonis a truly 5-star luxury ship. Forget about taking a holiday on this ship.
As rated by real users