Thought I would start a new forum so people who have been on the MS Monica could write reviews rather than them being hidden amongst other discussion forums.
The forum posts which I read before I went almost spoilt it for me before I even set off, so I wanted to reassure everyone before they go that they are going to have a brilliant holiday. We returned home yesterday from our Nile Cruise on board the Monica and have had a truly wonderful time.
Before I went, I was so wrapped up in whether or not the boat was 5* that I almost forgot what I was going for - to experience the wonders of The Nile and of Ancient Egypt. The tour guides on the Monica were so enthusiastic and knowledgeable that it was a pleasure to listen to them go into raptures about their favourite subject! (Even if they did go on a bit too much at times!)
The whole experience of seeing and exploring the sights and sounds of the Nile is totally awesome and the Monica is one of the best boats on the river. The food, drinks, rooms and entertainment are totally acceptable and when you see the conditions the local people live in, I felt guilty for moaning on about the whole 5* thing. The people working on the boat must think they are providing us with paradise and must be really upset when they receive criticisms. The excursions are out of this world - you must savour every moment, because believe me, when you get home, you will wish you were back there!
A few hints and tips to ensure you have the best time ever:
1. All the boats are noisy - the engine noise can be really irritating at night, so be prepared and take some earplugs, or just stuff cotton wool in your ears like I did!
2. The food and drink are totally acceptable and varied, but some days you may have breakfast at 6.30am and not have lunch until 1.30pm, with no snacks in between, so take/buy a few crisps/biscuits/snacks to accompany your All Inclusive drinks between meals!
3. Take some binoculars to see the sights as the boat travels down the Nile.
4. Take a few extra coat hangers as there are only a few in the wardrobes and be prepared to live out of your suitcase as the wardrobes are quite dark inside and it's difficult to see your clothes!!
5. There are two shops on the boat, but one sells jewellery and the other sells traditional Egyptian clothing and scarves, so make sure you take all the essentials, as it's not easy to stock up on other things. Mosquito repellent and creams were essential at the time we were there, so if you are susceptible to mosquito bites, take the necessary treatments.
6. It was starting to turn cold in the evenings, particularly in Luxor when we were there, so if you prefer to sit on deck rather than in the Lounge Bar, take something warm to wear.
7. Beware the local Egyptian stallholders - shopping is not a particularly pleasurable experience as they are very full on and intimidating at times.
8. Talk to people, join in and make new friends - we met some lovely people and had such a laugh. All the ingredients of a "normal" holiday can easily be fitted in to the week if you want to -sunbathing, drinking and socialising as well as experiencing the Wonders of The Nile and Ancient Egypt.
We loved it, enjoy! :)