I boarded the deluxe MS Mayfair in Luxor at the start of a four night Nile cruise, after a late night Egyptair flight from the UK. First impressions were of a vast, spacious lobby, with a gorgeous spiral staircase that led up to a kind of viewing gallery filled with plush, overstuffed sofas and chairs flanked by floor to ceiling picture windows. From stem to stern, the boat was immaculate.
Just aft of this was a large main lounge with a bar set against the back wall. On either side, sliding doors led onto partial promenades that overlooked the Nile. Beautifully furnished and expansive, both are oddly aimed at smokers. Surely one of them could be made non smoking?
One level up is the boat’s absolute crowning glory; the bow to stern sun deck. There is an upper deck bar, a forward facing pool, and a pair of centrally sited hot tubs that proved ideal for languid afternoons spent cruising along Egypt’s fabled, ancient waterway. Along both sides, rows of four poster beds with slatted roofs provided a comfort factor seen on few mainstream cruise ships. Cushioned sun beds and wooden loungers were in plentiful supply, with small groups of tables and chairs sprinkled in between the canopied grassy areas. Plants fringed the edge of this deck, and the sum total was an area totally hazardous to activity of any serious kind.
Afternoon tea was served here at five o’clock every day. With a decent selection of free cakes, salt scones and cookies, it was quite something to just linger up here and watch the blood red sun sag behind the date palms.
Down one level from the lobby, the main dining room spanned the whole width of the ship. And, while breakfast was a buffet affair, a set lunch was waiter service at tables, course by course. Dinner- which offered a choice of two main courses each night- was ordered during lunchtime. For both lunch and dinner, desserts were self service from the central buffet, with tea and coffee served at table.
Food as a whole was actually very good indeed; the fruits and breads in particular always outstanding. Service throughout the boat was deft and attentive- there always seemed to be plenty of wait staff on hand right through the day and night.
The ship features two deluxe suites, and generous sized, all outside cabins that are actually more comfortable than those on many cruise ships. Intelligent design and classy application of dark colours and neutral lighting makes them appear bigger than they actually are- a neat touch.
Most cabins feature Juliet balconies, but mine- right forward on three deck- actually had a small balcony that curved inwards, towards the bow. Truth be told, this was actually more of a ledge, as you could not sit and face outward. Two cane chairs and a small, round table filled the space. I got round this by putting the table inside, just beyond the sliding doors, and put my drinks on there. From this small, spectacular vantage point, I savoured some of the most magnificent, spellbinding scenery anywhere on Planet Earth.
There was a plasma screen TV, but it almost always seemed to have no signal. No biggie, that; the really compelling viewing is right outside your windows.
The double bed was deep, warm and gifted me some sound, quality sleep. There is also a kettle, plus tea and coffee, even if you do have to really hunt for a socket to plug it in. A fridge and a couple of comfy chairs filled out the lounging side quite nicely, thank you. I should also mention that the floor to ceiling drapes were excellent at keeping the room cool, dark when necessary, and mercifully mosquito free as well.
A decent sized bathroom featured a nice bath/shower combo with rain head shower, a slatted wooden floor and good size, fine quality towels in plentiful supply. There was also a hair dryer for those that wanted it (I didn’t) and good quality, Elemis toiletries. And a waffle bathrobe was a very welcome little surprise as well.
Storage space was more than decent, with a trio of wardrobes adjacent to the bathroom door. Oddly, these had glass fronted doors that made them look more like display cabinets, but there was plenty of room. There was also an in room safe located here.
All things considered, the MS Mayfair really is a very fine five star boat. Beautifully decorated, well served and very spacious, she elevates the experience of sailing the Nile into an elegant adventure all of it’s own. Highly recommended.
This trip was organised for me courtesy of the lovely people at Orbital Travel UK. The website: http://www.orbitaltravel.co.uk