Positive: The crew is outstanding: skilled, caring and very good at their jobs.
The guide for the "Splendors of Egypt and the Nile" cruise, Mohammed Atilla Abdullah was knowledgeable and personable and gave us a great sense of the country and its history. He spent a great deal more time on the meaning of the hieroglyphic symbols and not as much on the architecture and function of the temple buildings as we would have liked, but he was very knowledgeable.
The size of the cabin was great. However, the shower could have been larger and safer; we would have happily given up the tub to have had a larger shower.
The itinerary included most of the important places one would hope to see on such a trip.
The Four Seasons was a lovely hotel to stay in while in Cairo.
Thank you for allowing the cruise to take place even with the diminished number of passengers.
These are challenges that need to be addressed:
Docking places for the ship. There were often 40-50 steps that were extremely uneven, without any lighting at all and without railings. In Luxor the danger was compounded by our having to navigate between multiple ships of different heights in total darkness – which happened. There were originally no staff to assist and no plank to make this a slightly less dangerous situation; that improved slightly toward the end of the cruise when one or two people were at the stairs, but it was still dangerous.
There was no elevator on the ship – something of which we were not aware until well after we had booked. There were many stairs to be navigated between our cabin on the 3d floor and the dining room in the basement of the ship – and this meant that we often just dragged our belongings with us rather than go back to the room to get them before leaving for the day. One of us is recovering from a broken ankle and frankly, we would not have done this trip if we had realized there was no elevator.
Schedule: extremely early mornings, often for no apparent reason. The worst situation was on the last day when we were called at 3:30 in the morning to fly on an early-morning flight to Cairo, only to sit for hours in a smoke-filled lounge at the Hotel while awaiting word that our rooms were finally ready. There was nothing scheduled until the Sound and Light Show that night and it was a total waste of one full day of our time. It would be appropriate for Uniworld to refund of one day of the cost of the cruise to the passengers.
Food: the food was just not very good. The soups had their moments and so did the desserts (particularly the apple sorbet, that people ate when they were not feeling well) – but breakfast, the main courses, even the salads, lacked taste and were not appealingly presented. At least not by the standards Uniworld claims.
It was a special cruise for us to take and, given the small number of passengers booked on it, we were happy it was not cancelled
The cabins are huge by any standards. The furniture is dated, but the bathroom has been updated. Unfortunately, it's the smallest shower ever and really not very safe. But the space in the room (and closet space) can't be beat.