Written on: 22/11/2010 by VinR (1 review written)
Just returned after a week on the MS Monica 10-17th November All Inclusive. Had a good holiday on this ship but maybe we had been spoiled in 2005 on the then 4star MS Liberty. Some honest comments below:
FOOD: plentiful but not over tasty, deserts very good but be beware of queue jumping Germans! But you won't go hungry. Best meal of the day is breakfast except no bacon of course.
ALL INCLUSIVE DRINKS: Stella beer 'Egyptian version' OK, wine seriously watered down - lots complained and folk were buying their own! -much better on last night! Whisky and soft drinks surprisingly good - so overall Ok.
EXCURSIONS: superb, but optional light shows disappointing to some. Luxor City trip by horse and carriage brilliant, a real eye opener on city life. The monuments and tombs visits well organised and well worth the effort. A couple of the excursions were in the afternoon - not good as temperatures were at their highest.
CABIN: Ok, I'd rate as our 3*. Cleaning was minimal wipe-over, all towels replaced daily and wonderful towel sculptures. Patio doors and balcony a nice extra.
DOCKING: We were very disappointed on arrival at Luxor as the Monica was docked 8 miles outside Luxor for almost 2 days with nothing in the immediate vicinity - not even a bazaar! and no possibility of walking into and around Luxor in our free time after the morning excursions. I did complain and all the following dockings fortunately were excellent. (maybe lots more were not happy)
BAZAARS/SOUKS: Expect to get lots of attention from these sellers. All the excursions without exception have been designed to funnel all visitors through these purposely constricted areas so just repeat 'la shookran' if not interested (no, its not 'bogger off' its 'no thank you'. It's a bit of a shame really as there were lots of people like us who wanted to look at the stalls but when being continually confronted and your way barred by these guys we just got peed off with them and got through as quickly as possible.
TOUR GUIDES: Exceptionally knowledgeable, our guide was Amir, what a guy! We were the 'FAMILY' group and this chap just could not do enough for us. Any complaint we had he acted on and based on the Egyptian *star* rating I reckon he would be 10*!! I was a very bad pupil wondering off taking photos and missed a lot he was telling us about the various monuments but I would be interested in his theory regarding the reason for the careful chiselling off of the faces and bodies on some of the monument figures. We have heard several versions for these desecrations.
BAR STAFF: great guys especially Michael and Pijou, I learnt quite a lot of Arabic here, ok maybe the usual swearwords no doubt but lots of usable polite expressions so to you Michael and Pijou; "anta hellerwa, anna hellerwa, mama hellerwa"!
PHOTOGRAPHY: It has always been a rule that no photographs were allowed in any of the tombs to protect the remaining coloured sculptors from flash photography. Unfortunately, because of individuals who abused this rule all cameras are now banned when visiting the Valley of The Kings. This was very disappointing to me personally as a landscape photographer as I was denied the chance to retake previous shots in panorama mode that I had taken 5 years ago with a 'lesser' camera. So maybe I count myself lucky that thankfully I had already got a good panorama shot.
AIR QUALITY: I am surprised that nobody has mentioned this factor in previous posts. In 2005 there was a very faint hint of a blue haze around the Nile barely noticeable but more apparent in the town/city docking areas. This problem has now increased quite dramatically because of the 300 plus ships running between Luxor and Aswan with very large diesel engines running continuously 24/7 throughout the year. We were only there for a week, but the Egyptian people living in the towns where we docked suffer this pollution all year round. The diesel pollution in the Nile water itself is very evident in the ports. We noticed the air pollution fallout when I stubbed the soul of my foot on the bottom of one of the upper deck canopy supports. We had just left the sundeck pool barefooted and when examining my injured foot the soul was found to be pitch black! Many passengers including my wife developed chesty coughs. On discussing this issue with other guests at our table it was a consensus of opinion that the recently constructed dams reportedly delivering one third of the country's electricity needs would be better served providing electrical power to the docking ships to allow their lighting, heating and cooling systems to run without the need for diesel engines so protecting the health of the Egyptian people and its visitors. A very big issue against Egyptian produced electricity is the cost of installing equipment to allow its delivery to the ports against a diesel fuel cost per litre at less than 0.20gbp(20p) per litre.
INFORMATION MEETING: in the lounge on the first day. This was in the main a solid hour of sales talk that ended in a request that we pay the tip charge of £28 per person plus any addition optional trips. Our group voted not to pay the tips charge till the day prior to departure in line with normal tipping for services rendered and in line with the advertised documentation.
DAY OF DEPARTURE: At 12noon passengers still on board were allowed lunch with water or soft drinks. Anyone requesting wine had to pay. After lunch no drinks whatsoever including water were allowed unless you paid for them and our departure time was 3pm. The manager Peter was challenged regarding this issue but he refused to give way on this. This left a very sour taste in the mouths of those who had little left for the journey home and like us were ALL INCLUSIVE. So stock up on your free water while it is free and remember to save a little for the flight home. 2 cabins were made available for refreshing/changing after cabin vacation at 11am but only one set of towels were left for 40 odd people to use - people did complain but no more towels.
All in all, this holiday was definitely good value for money and the small disappointments were well outweighed by the tours, very helpful guides and serving staff and the superb evening entertainment.
Also copied to holidaywatchdog and Orbital Travel. Sorry its so long winded.
As rated by real users