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
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
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
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.sharpdl41
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
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
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
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