We arranged a 4 night cruise through Hamis Travel in Cairo. They came recommended by the Lonely Planet. It was a planning disaster. After several email exchanges (with long periods of silence from them), we had arranged a price of $500 US for a 4 night cruise (per person). We were told the name of the boat and a very sketchy itinerary. We also had them arrange a trip to Abu Simbel (a day trip from Aswan), and a sleeper train from Luxor back to Cairo. When it came to payment, they wanted a bank draft or cash US$ payable on arrival. Not wanting to carry $1000US on us or pay exorbitant bank draft fees, we asked about credit card payment – 5% surcharge, which was manageable, but we’d have to do it in person when we arrived.So, we found the office right by the main train station (Ramses). It turns out, NOTHING had been booked. We had thought that we would spend 10 minutes paying by credit card, everything would be ready, and we’d be on our way. It took 3 hours. The Dutch owner Anny Abou Shaady was incredibly slow doing anything (owing to her inability to do anything herself, she had to keep calling the room next door and getting her employees to do all the work). The train had not been arranged – and in fact she didn’t even know the train times. She had no further information on the cruise (we wanted to nail down exactly what we’d be seeing). In fact, the cruise voucher she finally produced was for a different boat altogether – and in fact, wasn’t even the one we ended up on! The whole thing was a nightmare. At that point, we should have walked away from it, but I really wanted to do a Nile Cruise. I had no idea how much of a mistake it would end up being.
For more information on how this cruise turned out, please see our other blog posts: