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I was in Egypt for a conference and wanted to spend some time on holiday exploring Egypt with a friend. I booked this trip specifically for the itinerary. However, the tour operator, Middle East Tours changed everything and did not let me know. We were picked up from the train station in Aswan by a tour guide Magdy Big Mac who was wonderful! He was engaging, informative, friendly and an absolute pleasure. His sheer personality made us think this was the beginning of a great 4 day adventure. Please request Big Mac as a tour guide and you will have a fantastic tour. Shout out to Big Mac!!
However, after a truly pleasurable morning with Big Mac, we arrived at the boat and everything changed. We expected to check in, have lunch and begin our afternoon tour of Aswan and a Felucca ride. Instead, the boat left the dock and nothing in our itinerary was the same. Here is a list of what was on the Itinerary and what happened:
Day 1: Visit the High Dam Did this
Unfinished Obelisk Did NOT do this
Philae Temple Did this
Embarkation before lunch
Afternoon Felucca tour around Aswan Islands did NOT do this, VERY disappointing
Overnight in Aswan with opportunity to disembark or optional Sound and Light Show at Philae Temple Nope, the boat left Aswan and we saw nothing of the town or the Sound and Light show.
Kom Ombo we did this which was supposed to be Day 2.
We tried to contact the tour company with no luck. We called Viator and had an expedited situation. We told them our entire tour changed. We could not reach ME Tours either, we had NO idea what Day 2 was or where we were going or what to expect. ME Tours did not bother to call me, email me, text me, Whats app me, absolutely nothing, they completely ignored us until we complained to Viator. Viator also never bothered to follow up with me. Still has not bothered to follow up.
While the boat M/S Emilio was really great, the staff at the front desk was rude and very unhelpful. They claimed they did not have the number for ME Tours. We later learned they did.
Finally, later that night at 10pm we were informed that we would be getting a tour guide for the next day.
Sail to Kom Ombo and visit of Kom Ombo Temple Did this Day 1 in afternoon.
Sail to Edfu and visit the Temple of Horus did this.
Our Guide Amal was amazing and incredibly knowledgeable. Please request Amal, I cannot say enough good things about her. She was a real pleasure!
Sailed to Esna in the afternoon not on original itinerary and we had NO guide.
Sail to Luxor Overnight in Luxor
Visit the West Bank Valley of the Kings, Temple of Queen Hatshepsut- did this
Colossi of Memnon did NOT do this
Luxor Temple ME Tours added this guide Ghada was very good.
Felucca Ride to Banana Island - ME Tours added this
Overnight in Luxor with opportunity to disembark or optional Sound and Light Show at Karnak
Day 4: Check-out after breakfast
Finally, Heba from ME Tours called and while she did make up the Faluka ride as well as a few other things, which I appreciated, I found her attitude testy and defensive. She also tried to blame miscommunication on our first guide Big Mac. Nothing was his fault.
Overall, I loved the cruise, the boat was beautiful, crew funny and entertaining, the food delicious, and the tour guides were great. However, due to the complete lack of communication and disregard and total change of the itinerary, I will never use Viator or Middle East tours again. Ever. I still have NOT heard back from Viator.
The cruising part of the trip on the nile was great, the staff were nice. However, organisation, communication, and the quality of the guides was terrible. It made the trip stressful when it didn't need to be, I highly recommended that Viator reconsider how they are working in Egypt, who they are working with and their lines of communication. As what we experienced was unacceptable and I wouldn't reccommend anyone use Viator in the future for such a trip.
Firstly, I am sure that Viator don't know the companies that they are working with......So Viator partners with Middle Eastern tours, who partners with local agents in both Aswan and Luxor one of which was called 'On the go' who then contract freelancers to do the tours, so there is 4 layers of communication, commissions and 4 layers of issues. This communication impossible, which I will go into later.
To make it clear, for our trip it was: Viator - Middle Eastern Tours - On the Go - Micheal Freelancing guide.
I'll try and make this as brief as possible.
Communication - Before Tour
I rung Viator a couple of week before my booking to request to know which boat we were on, they told me that I would know as soon as I booked, so I did. My confirmation told me I was with Middle Eastern Tours, and not the name of the boat and when I again rung I was instructed to call Middle Eastern Tours, which I did and they told me that they would get back to me a week before my tour, which I was pretty unhappy about.
A week before came, and I wrote to Viator about the boat I was with as MET hadn't contacted me, they were able to tell me that we were going to be on the Semiramis and that it is best, again to contact them....which I did only to get a flat line. I tried multiple more times when I got a hold of a MET representative who told me to text them our hotel address for pick up.
We then arrived into Aswan, with no contact from MET, no itinerary and no idea of what was going to happen. We also understand that we could add tours such as Abu Simbel and Hot air balloon rides with this company as mentioned on your site. However, with no communication not one call or email we didn't have this option, which left us to make our own arrangements to go the day before the tour.
On that trip to Abu Simbel we were told by our guide Micheal that he knew of our bookings as the local agent had spoken about us which is interesting, as they never spoke with us. He went onto tell us that it was impossible for us to be on the Semiramis as it sailed the day earlier. He then tried to figure out which boat we were on with the local company, which he couldn't.
The next day which was the day of the tour we are picked up by Micheal again who was contracted by this local company to take us to the boat and this is when, on the way to the boat, what our boat was called Grand Sun not Semiramis.
Communication - During Tour
We had absolutely no idea what was happening on each day, there was no plan, no times nothing and the staff on the boat had no idea who our company was, only that they had to provide us meals. Each location we went to everyone on the boats had guides structured for them. For the first stop at Kom Ombo we had a guide the turned up late, and didn't speak much english, so he couldn't explain anything to us, so we spent time listening to the French tour, as at least we could understand it better.
The next day, as 5am we arrived at Edfu, where our guide from the previous day told us the day before that there would be a guide for us, there wasn't, as noone showed up and we had to join another random group not arranged by your agents.
The following day we arrived in Luxor, still with no idea what was happening, when we arrived everyone left for their tours and we had noone again. We got the number of MET, who gave us the number of 'On the go tours' and the boat manager called him, where we were told that he would come at 4pm an hour later, of course he didn't arrive and ended up coming around 5pm to rush through the two temples in town. At least this guide was good, he spoke english and was very informative and luckily we had him for our final day of the tour.
I just want to add that Micheal from the first day mentioned that for tipping we had to put money in an envelope at the end of the tour for all of the boat staff, porters, guides and drivers. We were to find out that this wasn't the case and the drivers and guides were very mad when they weren't tipped.
We knew 5 star, wasn't 5 star, and to be honest we were too unhappy with the boat itself. While it wasn't very clean and facilities were old and deteriorating, we knew that it wasn't going to be a premium boat so we weren't too unhappy. However, the food was an issue, we both got very sick after the first 3 meals, and we weren't the only ones on the boat. We suspect it to be the re-heated/cooked food as we ate variations of the same things
This cruise was by far the best deal I've ever come across. My boyfriend and I were a little bit hesitant to book it as the price was so cheap and there were only 2 reviews at the time but I am so glad we did. This cruise was 100 the highlight of our Egypt vacation. Included in the price is all meals, tours to the sites with tour guide entrance not included and transportation. I wish I could give this 10 stars. We traveled on the Grand Sun boat--it was clean, spacious, and the staff was incredible. The buffet was delicious everyday and the deck with the pool was superb. Taking this cruise from Aswan to Luxor seems to be the better choice as we basically had the boat to ourselves it seems the Luxor to Aswan route is much more popular. It was definitely difficult to get in touch with the company after booking and it did seem a little unorganized with all the sites and timing of tours but all in all it was an amazing opportunity and we'd do it again a thousand times.
Also a special mention to Mac-our tour guide for the Philae and Aswan dam section and the drop off at the cruise ship- because he was incredible. He was so knowledgable and went out of his way for us at every turn. He was also a great buffer between us and the relentless salesmen at the sights which we were extremely thankful for! He even texted us later in the cruise to be sure everything was up to par and there was nothing that we needed!
Pros: Nile cruise is best, good service.and right in time. Tour guides are in good command in English and have fantastic communication skills
Cons: I will like to give only two stars because WE faced some difficulties. As a family with two kids,
1. Our planned trip was Aswan to Luxor. But hearing some excuses by the tour company we compelled to change our plan in opposite direction, Luxor to Aswan. This made some unpleasant experiences in the trip
2.There was no free wifi in the Boat. highly Paid wifi per day per phone was available only in reception lounge, not in the room. and even that interrupted when we go to the room and won't reconnect automatically. we have to search for manager to reconnect it and he was always busy. So I could use the internet a total less of than two hours in four days.
3.Paid advance to for a trip to Abu simbel, but last minute I got a call that was cancelled.
4. When we were in Aswan, no guides came to pick up to show the unfinished obelisk even till 2 pm we were simply sitting in the boat.
5.No helps from guides to book my train ticket to Luxor.
6. No pickups from Luxor. we took a taxi and reached hotel.
7. No person came to collect at out hotel to Karnak temple tour at 12 pm. at 2 pm we started walking towards The temple. When we finished the sight seeing, we saw our guide with other two people. he offered back transfer to Luxor temple, but before that he brought us to a papyrus museum and wasted the time.
8.Most of the terrible thing was as promised at 6 am to our airport transfer,nobody came till 6:30 . I have to take a taxi my own and given a huge amount as last minute bargain.
9.The crew in boat was not friendly and had issues on check out. They demanded tips about 5 Dollar per person per day even for kids.As it was a demand from their side,I was shocked.100 Dollars as a demanded tip! And in party and belly dance programe, nobody considered us and we just sit down as unwanted spectators.
Sorry for negative comments, May the this will be helpful to improve your services.
This was by far one of the best deals I have received in my life. I honestly have no idea how they were able to pull off such an amazing trips in terms of price, value, and experience. We took the riverboat the Semiramis I. Whenever I looked it up on TripAdvisor I became very nervous with the reviews. The boat did seem a little older but it was in no way about to breakdown and no one guilted us about tips, etc. I honestly wish we would have left more gratuity for what was included in this amazing experience. One complaint that I had was that it was hard to communicate with the company once I made the booking but it really wasn't an issue for me it was their loss. I had wanted to inquire about Abu Simbel and the hot air balloon ride but was unable to get in touch with them so I booked it through another company. Other than that we had a trip of a lifetime on our first river cruise on the Nile River. The tours were all included as well just not the admissions to the monuments and temples which was not an issue as everything was fairly inexpensive in Egypt in general. I would definitely recommend this experience for everyone and would definitely do it again in a heartbeat hoping to travel to Egypt again this summer.
My advice: just don't! There is no doubt that the Nile is beautiful, but if you want to see it in comfort and luxury, then don't book this one! Despite being told that hotel pick ups and drop offs were included in the price, no one showed up to do it and when I did finally get someone from the company they insisted that I pay. The boat itself, the M/S Suntimes, cannot be described as luxurious by any stretch of the imagination. It is tatty, dirty, old and in need of a complete refurbishment. The restaurant is equally awful with food which made school dinners seem like gourmet food. The other issues I had are too numerous to list, but the whole experience was far from the relaxing, luxurious trip they promise.
It was a beautiful trip to Alexandria. The driver and guide were very nice people. The tour guide did a great job with her explanations during the tour and we learned a lot from her. We ended the day with a nice lunch at a restaurant with a nice view of the Mediterranean Sea. It was a wonderful day!
This was a great tour! Our guide Muhammad was very friendly, intelligent, and flexible with the schedule! The hotel we stayed at was the Hotel Iman which was very clean, with comfy rooms, and really great food! They do take you to a lot of places to spend more money- Rug Making, Essential Oil Perfume and Glassware, Papyrus paintings, Gold Jewelry, and an Alabaster. I would also be prepared to spend more money on the camel rides to the Pyramids and for tipping.
to start the tour, he spent way too much time with several pieces in the museum. the statue of Ramses II , we were there for over 12 minutes. we missed many parts of the museum because he didn't manage his time correctly. I told him to do a quick pass of the oldest mosque in Africa, Al-Azhar he gave us zero info, but went on to preach the teachings of Muhammad, which I had to put a stop to 15 minutes in. then he rushed us through the Bazar which we expressed we wanted to spend the most amount of time. Avoid this tour like the plague.
I wasn't able to do it because the company didn't know that the pyramids were going to be closed that day, super unprofessional
Sights were amazing, whole tour felt very rushed as It was only around 5 hours. Only got a photo of the step pyramid from the car and didn't even get to go up to the grand entrance and other moments around it.
Very good trip. Only thing I would say were to cut out all the factory and shop stops as it wastes time from exploring the sites.
Great tour. Very safe. The owner was very generous and always checking to make sure I was happy. My guide Azez was very knowledgeable and friendly. BUT I will say that if you book this tour, be prepared to spend extra money, they don't tell you the camel ride to the Pyramids is an extra $160 USD.
excellent in every way ! - Great driver - Great guide Mahmood we had lunch at a great buffet restaurant and mint tea an a shisha at a little Egyptian cafe. A real must for any traveller to Cairo- A