Sanctuary Nile Explorer
A beautiful ship with a contemporary design
All standard and suite cabins feature light wood floors which are really attractive, white walls and furniture of the right size for the room. All cabins have a hair dryer two light weight robes and slippers. Stand toiletries like shampoo, body lotion and small bars of soap are included. I asked why the soap was so small and the guide told me that the soaps comes from the dead sea and is very expensive. Toiletries are replaced as used. A mini bar is in all rooms. King bedded rooms have a night stand on each side of the bed with a ceiling mounted a lamp above and two halogen reading lights. The twin bedded rooms share one nightstand with a table lamp on the nightstand and two halogen reading lights. The hallways are in a light taupe carpet and taupe walls a little dark but okay.
The standard cabins – ranging in size from 170 – 190 sq. ft. All the standard cabins decks 1, 2, 3 and 4 have an identical layout and bathroom. The cabins work very well considering the size. The largest cabins are on deck 1 and then gradually get smaller as you go up the decks with the smallest cabins on deck 4. On river boats the higher you are the better you can see the scenery so it is a trade off size versus views. Deck 1 has a small higher window and decks 2, 3, 4 all have a large 8x4 picture window.
Across from the bed is a long desk with three drawers, a mini bar with a slide out shelf that could hold another computer, or camera and the top of the desk has lots of counter space. This desk size changes with the size of the cabin from 6ft to 9ft in length. The closets are the same in all cabins about 4ft wide so plenty of hanging space (bring some extra wire hangers) a cabinet with five shelves and a small safe. The nightstands both have a 2 ft useable drawer and a shelf.
The TV is mounted on the wall and is a flat screen is approximately a 28 diagonal screen perfect size for the room. CNN news channel, science channel, sports channel, five English movie channels. Moves are not on demand but change daily and are listed. The daily program shows on the television rather than a written paper each night. Wireless Internet in all the cabins. Worked fantastic while docked in Aswan, fast and even VPN access for those that want that. As the cruise progressed it changed from a great connection to a slow connection but we were able to get it more often than on the AMA river cruise. To use the phone to call the USA is about $4.00 per minute.
Two prong European plugs with 220 volt power. One at each nightstand, two outlets at the desk, one under the desk (used for the lamp but you could unplug that). So that is FIVE convenient plugs better than most large ocean liner cabins. With a small outlet strip (for 220 volt of course) on the desk you can have more than you would ever need.
All cabins can be made into kings. Again listed in the deck plan it makes it appear that the bedding is not flexible, however, once we got here we found that all cabins that have twins they can push together to make kings. The bed both Ken and I found very comfortable. The night stands are a decent size about 2ft x 2ft and in the kings there is a hanging lamp over the nightstands so no room is used for a lamp. Attached to the wall is a small halogen spotlight on a flexible rod that is wonderfully handy for reading. The twin bedded cabins have one night stand and a lamp on the night stand. They do have the halogen reading lights for each bed. Our cabin was on deck 3 the distance from the bed to the walls 3 ½ on the window side and 2 ft on the wall side. This will be more spacious on deck 1 and 2 and a little smaller on deck 4. Ceiling lights are halogen spotlights with two small lights over the desk and one over the wall in the bedroom area one in the hall way and the bathroom has two sidelights over the mirror.
Nice bathroom for a cabin this size approximately 7ft x 6 ft and feature a full size bathtub with shower head, a large single sink with very little counter space and one small shelf. Floor is wooden slats and all the bathroom walls are white molded fiberglass. Only problem here is that they do not have enough shelving in the bathroom for storing your toiletries.
Two deluxe cabins – deck two Located at the front of the ship on deck two these cabins have a semi-circle set of windows that gives the entire cabin a really nice spacious feeling and more walking around space. There is a vanity or computer table with mirror and a lower shelf, a cabinet that has a flat screen TV on top. The lower part of the TV cabinet has three open shelves and a double door cabinet and the same closet and shelving unit as the standard suites and an arm chair. The bathroom is fancier with blue tile, about 2ft longer that gives you more vanity top room an extra mirror unit with some shelving and a mounted magnifying mirror.
Two Presidential suites – Located at the front of the ship on deck four these are wonderful but also far more expensive. On entering the cabin you have a couch area, arm chair and a flat screen TV on top of a cabinet with open and hidden shelving. A hallway houses the closet and shelving unit and a desk with mirror for use as either a computer or vanity table. The bedroom area of the cabins features semi circle windows in the two cabinets with open shelves and shelving behind cabinet doors. The bedroom flat screen TV is on one of these cabinets. There is a door leading to a large semi private balcony at the front of the ship. There is a divider of planters between the two Presidential suite balconies but you can see the people in the other suite.
This is where this ship really shines. The floors are Spanish marble which is a beautiful taupe color that looks like wood grain or a light wood floor in the public areas of the ship. The ship has taupe walls with insets for decorate objects and has a warm and classy ambiance.
Deck one is primarily a cabin deck and the public rooms are the massage room and workout room that features a treadmill and a bicycle. Deck two is where you enter the ship where the spacious foyer and reception area is located with two reception desks and some sitting areas. This floor also houses the attractive dining room again featuring the Spanish marble on the four serving counters. In the foyer is a wide stairway leading to the upper floors. Deck three where the shop, two public restrooms and the main lounge are located. The main lounge is a large and stunning room in an inviting modern style with taupe, brown and light aqua colors with comfortable furnishing with lots of pillows and conversation areas. Outside of the main lounge is an outdoor seating area with two conversation areas that would seat seventeen people. Deck four features a small library and the fully covered outdoor dining area where a barbeque lunch is served on deck.
Food and Dining
Egypt is not a place that you visit for a wonderful food experience so you must adjust your expectations. That said I was really surprised at the food on this ship. The food is primarily western style with the exception of their Egyptian night that features a buffet with Egyptian food. What impressed me was the night before the Egyptian night the dining room manager asked all the guests individually if they wanted a western meal and that he would organize whatever they preferred. I ordered lamb chops cooked medium rare with mixed vegetables and was delighted with that option. Breakfast is buffet style with an option for eggs cooked to order including eggs benedict that was on a slice of potato rather than an English muffin but perfectly acceptable. Lunch is all buffet style with eight hot chafing dish offerings, salads and desserts. The food exceeded my expectations but that said this is of course not Regent.
There seemed to be more waiters and bar staff to the number of guests than I would expect. Of course there were the standouts but all were friendly and helpful. We had very good service and even when all the guests were off the ship at Edfu we went into the lounge and a waiter was on duty. The nuts were not peanuts but cashews, and there were a lot of classy touches like that. The dining room manager was everywhere a very handsome professional man who obviously wanted everything to be as perfect as possible. The general manager was very accommodating and had served ten years on the Salacia before coming to this ship and really seems to know how to run a really good cruise. As always there are some communication issues with the room cleaning staff and a few of the reception staff but overall the staff was very helpful.