By Nazir Hussain
“We want to go away for Christmas this year” said Cameal. “Please come with me to the travel agent to check availability”. Ideally we want to spend Christmas and new year on a luxury cruise ship…. Good idea…nodded Rickie.
Turned up at the travel agent the following day… Cameal was late as always. What about a cruise in Egypt said the agent? OK… give us details.. “…7 day cruise on the red sea for £875 per person” or for a small supplement you can stay in the Sonesta Beach Resort for 7 days and then join the cruise ship…. What is the extra cost? £1025 per person… which means the extra 7 days will only cost you £150 each… A bargain we thought… we’ll take it….
We arrived in Egypt on the afternoon of 23rd December 2005… and could not wait to get to the hotel to start our holiday.. The hotel was built over a big area.. accommodation…. Chalet style.. It was just right.. The staff at the hotel were very attentive and we loved our stay at the hotel.
As we had booked the entire trip because of the cruising and cruise ship, we could not wait to go onboard the ship and start our cruise. Having previously been on Celebrity cruises, we expected the same treatment and service.
When we arrived to board the Thompson Spirit; out cruise ship.. we were made to wait at the entrance because passengers were still disembarking. This is odd… normally all passengers disembark… the ship is then thoroughly cleaned before new passengers come on board… Why did they not use a different door or gangway for passengers coming onshore from the entrance used by passengers coming onboard?
Anyway, when we eventually climbed onboard… there was an awful smell of stale cigarettes… a lingering smell.. the carpets were very dirty. But the most shocking experience was when we walking into our cabin and found twin beds… Twin beds? Surely this is a mistake… Let’s go to the main reception and ask them to change our cabin or move our two beds together so that we can have something that resembles a double bed. There were other issues as well like torn head rests… tacky and plastiicy desk and cupboards..
We chose to phone the reception instead…. Costas from the reception desk turned up to listen to our complaint….” We closed a business for two weeks for this holiday… we wanted something better than this”… we told Costas. He went away having taken not of our complaint….We received a letter from Thompson Spirit’s customer services by night fall… stating the reasons as to why they could not help us…
I am really hungary… Let’s eat some food.. All day buffet is open because it is after 2.30pm…. When we go there.. we found that the trays were very dirty… There were plastic plates which appear to be creasy even if they were not. We helped ourselves to some food and then looked for a place to sit… I could not believe my eyes when I looked at the huge tear in the cushioned backed sofa. Cameal was in tears at this point… she wanted to go back to the hotel…The hotel faired much better she said. After lunch we decided to walk around the ship and explore it all:-
Around the pool and Jacuzzi area there was stain marks... As if it needed a thorough cleaning.
The walking decks seemed to make a certain kind of noise as we walked along. Had wooden planks dislodged themselves because of lack of maintenance? Why were they distorted and twisted…? Is it safe to walk on them? May be the ship is too old.
The quiet room adjacent to the internet room… I did not see anybody use this room whilst I was there.. However, the covers on the chairs were worn and needed replacing.
Let’s see the gym said Cameal.. because I like to train and then go for a swim in the morning before breakfast.. We could hear a squeaking noise as we neared the gym.. Someone was using the walking machine.. and it was making a distinctive noise… Cameal was somehow put off the gym. One other major factor in her decision as she retorted… it is so dirty and smelly… Why don’t they clean it?
I wonder how the other guests saw it. Here are some feedback and comments:-
….I am really disappointed with Thompson… I think they have ripped us off..… a young girl on a family holiday.. said.. I could not sleep in my cabin because of the cigarettes smell. I have asked for it to be cleaned but it still smells..
…. This is like butlins holiday camp… the only difference is that this ship is really dirty…
….There was so many tables empty but I was made to sit with some people… I did not want to sit with anybody and make conversation… I just wanted to sit by myself and enjoy my breakfast..
…. Our ticket listed Luxor as part of the cruise itinerary. However, luxor was not part of our cruise. We managed to go there but we’ve had to pay extra for the luxur excursion….
Finally, the most absurd thing was that two men were put in a cabin with a double bed and they wanted a twin room. We, on the other hand, wanted a double bed cabin but we had a twin room. Our advise to actual and potential customers… avoid Thompsons and all its spirits. To Thompson.. we say shame on you for ripping off decent British folks. You should exit from the cruise market and now..
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