My wife and I have just returned from a week's Nile cruise on the 'Viking Princess'.
The advice given by Barbara was all correct and very helpful as this was our first trip to Egypt.
Certainly will not be our last as this was an amazing and fabulous holiday. On the boat the standard of food, hygiene, accommodation etc. were excellent with a very friendly and helpful crew.
The guides were brilliant and very helpful, a special thanks to Achmed for making this for me a holiday of a life time !
All in all, this holiday is highly recommended, no need for any hesitation, book it and go. You will not be disappointed !!
Doug & Siobhan.
Apologies for not contacting you before but I have felt “6 steps behind” since getting back from Egypt in the early hours of last Tuesday.
I want to thank you so much for all your assistance and advice prior to our holiday departure and for organising what we both considered to be the best holiday we have ever had!! We have now got the ‘Egypt bug’ and can’t wait to return, in fact, neither of us wanted to come home.
Everything you said about the trip was true and really I have to say that it was better than I had ever imagined. For your info, we thought the ship Grand Rose was absolutely fantastic in every single way – the food, the crew, the organisation, the cleanliness – everything. I am about to write to the head office of Grand Cruises to say so.
If you have a regular newsletter which includes ‘offers’, I should really like to receive it or if you have any special offers on Grand Rose please let me know.
Thank you again. I have already given your details to a number of people.
The holiday we recently spent on the “Royal Viking” was an immensely interesting and enjoyable experience. The detailed information provided on the www.nile-cruises-4u.co.uk website gave us a very good idea of what to expect and it was extremely useful as we planned for the trip.
All the arrangements worked very well. We flew down to London from Glasgow the day before our departure for Egypt; even the choice of airport (Gatwick) turned out to be correct, since the flights to Heathrow were cancelled due to snow (in London, not Glasgow!). The EasyJet flight to Luxor from Gatwick passed relatively quickly as we had plenty of guide books to read on the way and our worries over the carrier were not at all founded. Visa formalities were dealt with very efficiently by the representatives at the airport and we were soon transferred to the ship, ready to unpack in our cabin, and prepare for the evening meal.
The pattern of sightseeing trips was not too intense, but it could be much more demanding in the summer season when temperatures really climb. Our tour guide conveyed a real passion for his subject and made the visits to the various monuments really fascinating. We did not even mind getting a wake up call at 3 a.m. for the long trip by coach from Aswan to Abu Simbel. The sight of the huge statues of Ramses II at the gate to the Temple was one of the most awesome experiences we have ever had – we equalled it to our ‘Petra’ moment. Our guide was wonderful in many other ways – we had accidentally left some travel documents on the plane, and he did everything possible to smooth the way to allow us to travel home without any problems – Luxor to Bridge of Allan with only passports!!
On board, the staff were friendly, attentive and efficient, without being overly fussy. The food was varied over the week and of very good quality. No one was ill!!
One particularly nice touch was the arrangement of towels into shapes of animals (and humans) on the bed each day. It was clear from what the tour company staff said that they very much appreciated our visiting Egypt at a time of political difficulties there.
We were really impressed by the way all the many different departures were managed on the last day – no fuss just quiet efficiency – allowing us to make the most of our last few hours in the sun on the upper deck.
The only slight downside was the way that trips to the historic sights almost always involved running the gauntlet of street traders who wanted to sell you anything they could and were astonishingly persistent. Our tour guide gave us some good advice as to how to avoid getting involved in unwanted transactions and this was generally very useful.
Apart from wishing to see all the wonderful sights in Upper Egypt, we had intended that the Nile Cruise would be a good way to sample a cruise holiday. Neither of us regard ourselves as “cruise people”. By the end of the trip we had become converted. It is a real treat to have to unpack only once, instead of moving on from one hotel to the next. The ship acts as a calm haven to return to after exhausting shore trips. It is good to meet fellow passengers and talk about the day’s experiences over a meal or a drink. We even enjoyed most of the evening entertainment provided – perhaps the biggest surprise of all!!
We will soon be investigating the possibility of a river cruise for the autumn!
Nicholas and Margaret
Dear Colin & Barbara,
Just to say that we had an absolutely fabulous holiday and to thank you for helping us to arrange it.
Needless to say but the tourist trade was very quiet, making it a great time to visit the sites without too many queues. On the security side, we could not visit Edfu because of some local problems and we restricted ourselves to the museum in Cairo, otherwise we felt perfectly safe at all times.
The itinerary (Nile cruise, Lake Nasser, Cairo & Luxor) worked perfectly and we would recommend it to anyone looking for a 2 week holiday seeing as many sites as possible. We debated if we should have done Cairo at a different stage of the holiday but I think it works best if you do the museum after you have seen some of the sites that the pieces came from.
Personally, I would not have liked to have finished the holiday in Cairo – it was too busy and polluted to be enjoyable but we could not miss seeing the pyramids or the museum.
A quick summary of the boats and hotels:The Ra II. It was about 70% full which was nice. Any more and it might have been a bit cramped on the sundeck etc. The Egyptologist (Mohammed) was excellent and we were in a group of between 6 and 14 depending on the excursion. Our first impressions were that the boat was a little “tired” but we soon got used to it. We particularly liked the fact that we had a Juliete style balcony and could open the windows. Some of the newer boats seemed to have full length windows that could not be opened. Fortunately, we only had one night when we were moored next to another boat.
The food was very good and the staff could not have been better. They managed the fact that we were on a 4 night cruise whilst most others were on a 7 night cruise very well. We saw Luxor and Karnak on the 2nd afternoon (while the 7 day cruises passengers had an afternoon off) and we could only see either Kom Ombo or Edfu (as Edfu had security problems, this did not affect us). Otherwise we saw just about everything, just with less leisure time. Sailing to Dendra on the first day was a bonus – not many boats seemed to do this.
The Omar al Khayyam.
As you know, we were moved to this boat from the Prince Abbas. I don’t know if it was a better boat than the Prince Abbas but it was very good and it is difficult to imagine a better boat. There were only 27 passengers on this 3 night cruise of Lake Nasser. We were told that there were 130 crew which meant that we got excellent service even though it surely could not profitable. The cabin was about twice the size of the Ra II and we had a small balcony which was big enough to fit 2 chairs on. We really enjoyed this cruise, it is more relaxing than the Nile and the scenery is different. We typically had one stop of about 2 hours to see the temples and would usually see 3 or 4 temples in one stop. The only slight criticisms of this boat were that the reception struggled to change English money into Egyptian (we eventually got £20 changed).
Mercure La Sphinx, Giza.
Well located and reasonable quality. Most guests seemed to stay for only 1 night which meant that the lounge area felt a bit like an airport transit lounge at times. The pool and gardens were a nice escape from the city outside the hotel. A good choice for 2-3 nights. A taxi into the museum took 50-60 minutes. The pyramids excursion that you arranged for us was very enjoyable. We had been warned that many of these excursions insisted on visiting the carpet / papyrus shops. We made it clear that we were not interested and it was not a problem. The guide asked what we wanted to do about lunch and drink breaks. We agreed to simply have a drinks stop for about 45 minutes and this worked fine. A little disappointed that we did not have the option to see the Solar Boat (he told us it was not open but other people staying at the hotel said that they saw it). Also, it would have been nice to have had the option to extend the day to include Dashur.
Very pleased that we went for the superior room with the Nile View, it finished the holiday off very nicely. Excellent hotel and we like that it was situated just out of town. As it happens, the Ra II moors next to the Sheraton. It appeared that the travel companies were pushing the hotel as a place for a family break in the sun. Given the state of the tourist trade, we could not blame them for trying but it did detract from the quality of the hotel at times (I know, I am a snob!). We did not feel confident enough to eat out in the evening but the on-site Italian restaurant was very good. We would have struggled to find somewhere we wanted to eat if we had been there for longer. The hotel were giving big discounts on food and drinks which made them quite reasonable.
As you told us they would, all the transfers went very well – from the moment we got off the plane until we checked in for our return. After a while we learnt to just trust things and they seemed to happen. The Rep in Luxor arranged a hot-air balloon ride for us at short notice – an experience not to be missed!
Thanks again for helping make this a successful and special holiday for us. We have already recommended you to friends who are thinking of an Egyptian holiday.
Duncan & Susan
If you are thinking of going to Egypt or are thinking of going again – now is the time!
The Nile is quiet, the temples and tombs are empty (except for their rightful occupants!).
We had a week on the Nile in September on the Sun Boat IV and what a wonderful week. Excellent food and accommodation, perfect service, an informative and enthusiastic guide. For 40 years I have always wanted to see the Nile and it’s temples, after a visit to the exhibition in the British Museum back in the 1970?s. It was everything I hoped for and more and the visit to Abu Simbel was unworldly.
The only “revolution” we came across was a small demonstration because some people’s houses were being knocked down as they were built on some 4000 year old tombs and a group of workers protesting about their poor pay in Hurghada (looks like democracy is taking hold). Nothing compared to what happened in London a week before we travelled.
Our second week was very different in the “Three Corners Sunny Beach” in Hurghada. Highlights were snorkelling on the Red Sea reefs, quad biking over the desert and relaxing on the beach. The downside was that most of Hurghada is a building site, the food in the hotel was bland although plentiful. This particular hotel was a bit “Butlins on the Red Sea”.
Thank you for a wonderful holiday, we are recommending it to all our friends. Next will be Cairo, Alexandria and the Nile Delta.
Jon & Sue
Just to say thank you for the welcome card you sent me and to say what a wonderful, hectic at times, holiday I had.
Though some people had tummy upsets, I was fine throughout the week. Everything you said it would be, it was. The wine, the excursions, the food on the boat, the weather, the local people, and not forgetting our representative Ahman. He was always there for us, polite, helpful, informative and knowledgeable on Ancient Egyptian civilisation.
The Nile is a beautiful part of Egypt. In fact, it is the life source of Egypt.
I would most certainly travel with you again. Egypt was an education and a wonderful life experience, and I have many, many photographs to remind me.
If you pushed me very hard to say something negative, well, THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING BAD I could say to disappoint you.
Very best wishes to you.
Just wanted to send you a quick message.
We have had the best holiday ever!!
My friend Edith and I had waited 23 years to go to Egypt and it was everything we had dreamed of and more. We honestly can't believe how much we packed into our ten days. The hotel in Cairo was great and how close to the Pyramids!! We have spent 10 days saying, "Oh my God" and "Wow!!".
The ship was brill, lovely cabin, great staff. Peter was really nice and so helpful and our guide in Cairo, Sally, was great. How much info can one person carry around in their heads? And our guide on the ship, Charley, well what can you say? He was amazing, a fountain of knowledge and handsome as well!
We did two extra things, hot air ballooning, that was WOW truly amazing, drifting over the Valley Of The Kings at 3000 ft as the sun came up over the Nile, oh my God, did I really do that? That was a once in a lifetime experience that we will never forget.
Then of course Abu Simbel. What can you say about that? Unbelievable.
We were impressed from the beginning of the holiday until the end by the well oiled, well timed organisation. We were met at the airport when we landed and taken to the hotel, again met by our guides when and where they said, our coaches were always on time, the tours on time, taken back to the airport on time, everything was really well organised.
I don't know if we will ever have the chance to return to Egypt, but never say never. But if we do we have already said that we would book through you again, no doubt.
Thank you so much for the help you gave us for our holiday of a lifetime that was way more than we could ever have hoped for.
Lynne & Edith
Thanks so much for the anniversary card and welcome home card.
We had a fabulous time. The boat was exceptional, as was the food and staff.
We were really spoilt because the ship was only a quarter full so we were waited on hand and foot. We met some great people and the itinerary was just right for us. Our tour guide was great too.
Thanks for a memorable holiday. We have and we will be recommending it.
Steve and Cath
Just to say that we had a fantastic holiday, MS Stephanie was a lovely cruise boat, people were really friendly.
Sofitel Hotel has now changed into the Mercure Hotel.
Thanks for your help
Shabana and Javed
It's now a week since we returned from our Nile Cruise and week in El Gouna and high time I gave you some feedback on our fabulous holiday.
My wife & I along with our 20 year old daughter had a wonderful time in Egypt the highlight undoubtedly being the Nile Cruise. After a comfortable flight we were met by the our Guide who informed us that the as the Viking Princess was in for maintenance we would be sailing on the Royal Viking instead.
We'd read about the Royal Viking in your Nile Cruise guide and were not disappointed. We had two lovely middle deck cabins immediately opposite one another so we had a choice of views when we were sailing!
The ship was clearly of superior quality compared with some of the others we glimpsed as we walked through to get to and from shore. Without exception the staff were friendly and helpful and our daughter soon got involved in a lively competition with the cabin staff as to who could create the best towel sculpture. Kathryn was particularly proud of her Pharaoh's head and camel!
There was entertainment arranged every evening in the lounge and we enjoyed dressing up for the Galabaya party but it was so pleasant just to sit up on deck with a drink looking out at the Nile there was hardly any need for any organised entertainment.
Our tour guide Victor was excellent bringing all the places we visited to life and his genuine passion for all things ancient Egyptian was infectious. Whilst in early September it is still very hot, especially at some of the more sheltered sites, this is offset by the fact that everywhere is less busy than later in the year and we did not have to queue for any of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings or at Abu Simbel.
Its hard to pick a favourite from everything we did but the optional Hot Air Balloon trip, seeing the sun rise over the Nile and the birds-eye view of the Valley of the Kings is an experience none of us will forget.
I have already recommended a Nile Cruise and your website to a number of friends and relations since our return.
Our second week at the Three Corners Ocean View in El Gouna got off to something of a shaky start. After the 5 hour coach transfer we arrived at 2pm only to be informed that one of our rooms would not be ready until 5pm. The second room turned out to have no balcony and had clearly not been cleaned properly. After some debate and with the assistance of the local Discover Egypt rep we finally got into one room at about 4pm. The second room next door was finally ready for us at 6pm and thankfully this room did have a balcony overlooking the central courtyard. This was not the start we were hoping for to what was supposed to be the relaxing part of our holiday. Can I suggest that it is pointed out to anyone booking the Ocean View in future that not only might they not get said Ocean View but they also might not even get a balcony!
Subsequently looking round the hotel revealed that it does appear to have a majority of rooms with views of the sea, lagoon or marina but it was also apparent that several members of our party that transferred from the Nile ended up with rooms looking onto a courtyard or with no balcony.
Nevertheless despite this stressful start we did enjoy the rest of our stay at the Ocean View. The food and drinks in the all inclusive package are of a high standard and we would highly recommend using the 'Dine Around' option to sample the hotel's own separate Belgian (excellent steaks) and Italian Restaurants. El Gouna is a fascinating place with a lovely marina to stroll around and a complete contrast to the Egypt you see on the Nile.
All in all it was an excellent holiday and while memories of resorts and hotels start to blend into each other after a few years our cruise on the Nile in the Royal Viking is something all three of us will always remember.
Thanks again to you and Colin for all your help and advice.
Just a short note to let you know how much we enjoyed our cruise last week.
In spite of some very hot weather we were able to go on all the excursions with no ill effects from sunstroke!!
The ship may not have been one of the very luxurious but was well worth the money we paid. The staff were very friendly, it was clean and the food excellent.
We found the tours very enjoyable but all the more so as our guide, Toni, was very knowledgeable and informative.
Thanks to yourself for all your work in rescheduling this from April and I would not hesitate in recommending Nile Cruises 4u to any friends.
Hi Barbara & Colin,
Firstly many thanks for the post card awaiting us on our return last week. Better than the 9 postcards I posted in the box on the reception desk on Royal Viking 3 weeks ago!
Anyway we had a fantastic time. The first week was culture and the second was complete relaxation. Exactly what we had wanted and planned for with your assistance.
Nile Cruise: Royal Viking
From arrival at Luxor Airport it was a week of laughs. We had a great crowd on our table and all the multitasking crew were very friendly and entertaining but without a doubt it was our Egyptologist Mohammed (from Cairo) whose enthusiasm for the subject and our well-being helped to ensure we had the trip of a lifetime. His trademark blue umbrella together with his references to us as his Kings and Queens will stay in our memory for a long time.
The restaurant made a special event of any birthdays etc and it was pure luck that mine happened to be on the night of the galabiya party. Much fun and much appreciated.
Hygiene and cleanliness aboard Royal Viking was excellent and the variety and quality of the food was very good.
There was so much to absorb from the trips and it will take revisiting the photographs to recall each event. Each one had something special about it and the planning of the itinerary very much developed like a crescendo culminating with Karnak. Even the early starts faded into insignificance as the treasures unfolded.
The highlight? Easy. The hot air balloon ride on the penultimate morning. It was a magical experience floating over the Valley of the Kings (that we had visited 5 days earlier) and the West Bank watching the dawn rise all guided safely by our Pilot. I recommend it to anyone including those not happy about heights (as we were).
There were a couple of negatives. Firstly the fact that there was little opportunity to open our window and enjoy the balcony and views as we sailed the Nile because much of mooring time spent alongside so many other boats.
Regardless we recommend a Nile Cruise and particularly aboard Royal Viking.
Red Sea: El Gouna
Then it was a five-hour coach journey to the Red Sea, but there was much to enjoy with the changing geography from the fertile lands of Luxor through the dramatic scenery of the Red Sea Mountains.
El Gouna is a very interesting place split as it is into two distinct zones. Downtown and the Marina. With a wide variety of restaurants serving excellent food at very reasonable prices.
Our week here was spent recovering from the active week and recharging batteries for the onslaught of Autumn/Winter in UK. This was easily achieved with the option of pool or sea areas for sunbeds and swimming. In fact we enjoyed mostly spending the day on Zeytouna Island with the clean and clear swimming and reasonably priced bar/restaurant.
As for the Movenpick it was not in the 5* bracket when we compare to Ritz-Carlton in Sharm-el-Sheikh and Elysium in Paphos which is what we had hoped for.
Our room was very nice and the view (we paid extra at last minute) spectacular but the service and attitude of staff at Il Limone and Spa Pool bar left an awful lot to be desired. The breakfast chef vanished for a full 5 minutes while we were waiting for eggs; coffee was in short supply and on many occasions had to ask for it more than once; tables were not reset complete until we sat down and then cups would be missing. At the pool bar after waiting 20minutes inquired where our food was to be told the restaurant was busy implying we had to wait for them to fit us in; I asked for Heineken to be told that the pump was broken. Small points maybe but not consistent with 5* standards.
We visited adjoining Sheraton Miramar and asked Guest Services if we could look around with possible future return in mind. The girl replied "of course, are you from the Movenpick!".
Says it all!
Would we recommend El Gouna? Yes. Would we recommend the Movenpick? No.
We will recommend Nile Cruises 4 U.
If you wish to use any part of this in your reviews feel free to so do. It's what helped us in our research and I believe in knowing rather than hiding experiences.
We are now looking to how and where to relax in 2011!
Andrew & Heather B.
Further to our telephone conversation yesterday I promised to write to express our great pleasure and satisfaction with the arrangements for our trip to Egypt recently completed.
We had a truly wonderful and memorable time. The reps were friendly and efficient and nothing was too much trouble even when we wanted to do something off schedule. The Egyptologists were fantastic - not only hugely informative but their enthusiasm for their subject was infectious and I am now looking for an evening class in Egyptology!
The Royal Viking boat was beautiful and we were delighted with everything - our cabin (big!), the food (delicious and plentiful!) the marvellous staff and the little extra touches like the artistic towel arrangements - different each evening!
The hotel in Cairo was perhaps the only (very slight) disappointment mainly owing to the food and service in the dining room. It was billed as 5 star but we felt 3-4 star would be more accurate. Having said that, the room was comfortable and the swimming pool and gym facilities were good. It certainly didn't spoil our holiday but I expect you want all the feedback even the less positive bits.
Richard and I would like to thank you for all your hard work to make our time in Egypt magical and I for one would certainly return to Egypt again and would recommend you to anyone who wanted a trouble-free and memorable holiday.
All good wishes,
Mary and Richard
I wanted to thank you for all your help and advice in booking our recent 3 centre holiday to Egypt.
Having established the type of cruise, hotel and resort we liked you quickly made specific recommendations. Your choice was spot on and surpassed our expectations. the quality of accommodation and facilities on the Royal Viking definitely deserved it's category of 5 Star Plus and your promise of a double cabin was kept. The inclusive guided trips were well organised and led by very knowledgeable guides. The choice of the Sofitel Le Sphinx in Cairo was perfect with our balcony view of The Pyramids and the excellent rooftop restaurant with a truly special ambience.
As if that was not enough our 4 nights at The Movenpick Resort and Spa in El Gouna was fantastic. It was a beautiful resort with wonderful facilities. We tried the range of restaurants and were delighted with them all.
We loved it so much that we did not want to leave and are hoping to visit there again in the near future!!
Elizabeth and Brian
Nearly a week since we returned from a wonderful holiday - thank you very much for your advice and help.
Cairo was great, the hotel perfect and the guide on our Giza and Cairo tours was excellent.
All the connections and pick ups went perfectly.
The Nile cruise on MS Stephanie was fantastic, frankly I don't think we got 'Templed out' but it was certainly very hot. The guide Aymen was as passionate about his subject as he was interesting and funny. The boat was great.
The last week at the Sunrise Garden Beach at Hurghada was also very good, the facilities are really good, the gym was well equipped and needed given the 'full board' excesses. Pools were good and beach great, bars everywhere. In particular their 'a la carte' restaurants are really worth booking but we didn't know to book straight away and they cost no extra so people book and clearly don't turn up. Also worth knowing is that guests can also book the restaurants at the 'Sunrise Mamlouk' next door which doubles the opportunity.
Once again many thanks, I have already given your details to two colleagues this week and would recommend you to anyone holidaying in Egypt.
We will be going back as our other two 'kids' (20 and 18) must see the sights as well.
Dave and Claire
We were both very impressed with your service and both enjoyed the holiday.
We have been on a Nile cruise twice before and knew what to expect but this was better than the others.
The ship, (MS Da Vinci) was great and we had a wonderful time. It was all well organised and our guide was brilliant.
The food on the ship was good and we had a fair amount of choice.
The waiters did all they could to ensure that we were happy.
Ruth and Graham V.
Hi Barbara and Colin
I just wanted to drop a line to say how very, very pleased and impressed I was with my Nile cruise on the MS Stephanie.
The vessel, the food, the standard of accommodation and the boat was so very good and the staff went out of their way to make everyone's trip extra enjoyable. The organisation was superb and great consideration was given by all the staff to make the whole trip the best.
Both our guides on the excursions, Waheed and George, were so knowledgeable and so helpful, making every excursion an adventure and a delight.
Peter Barnett gets singled out for his attention to detail and his constant involvement that everything was as it should be. He was very efficient and friendly too, taking a personal interest in people and ensuring their holiday was the best it could be.
I then went on to a week at the Hotel Jolie Ville on Kings Island, Luxor and this too could not have been better. Again the accommodation, the grounds, the location, the food and the staff were superb. It was a peaceful hotel but with enough to do in the evenings so one did not get bored. I especially liked the "sunset hour" when everyone watched the sun go down over the Nile whilst classical music played, the birds sung and in the distance one could hear people being called to prayer. It was a delight. I would certainly go back again.
My special thanks go to Barbara Maddocks who organised this for me and I have to say she was extremely efficient and so helpful. I was impressed and will definitely use the company again.
Many thanks and regards,
I just wanted to thank you so much for all your hard work and the trouble you went to in making our holiday in Egypt run so smoothly. As you know, we booked very late in the day and although we weren't able to stay in the "brochure hotels", the substitutes you found for us were just as good, if not better, and suited our requirements much more.
Our boat, "Alexander The Great", was fabulous. Small and intimate but you didn't' live in each others pockets - your description of it was just perfect. The staff were very helpful, food fantastic, but our overall thanks must go to "Yasser", our guide on board, who was fun, knowledgeable and so enthusiastic that it was infectious. We certainly didn't' feel "templed-out" and "Angels" has come to have a special meaning to us.
We were also very well looked after in Cairo. "Hany", our guide there, ensured that we were well looked after and our day trip to The Pyramids, Saqqara and finally the Sound and Lights Show was very good value.
Thank you once again - it was a real pleasure "doing business" with you and will have no hesitation in recommending you to my friends.
Lesley & Peter D.