Presidential Nile Cruises

, Nile Cruises
4 star
Presidential Nile Cruises

Traveller reviews

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Avoid at all costs

"Did a 6 day round trip between Luxor and Aswan as part of Saga's Land of the Pharaohs holiday.

To say I was disappointed is an understatement! You drive past some really beautiful vessels only to have your expectations cruelly dashed when you pull up beside an antiquated tub in need of a coat of paint.

The gangplank was literally that - a bit of wood covered with tired green carpeting (which may have been Astroturf in a previous existence).

All interior public spaces were heavy dark wood and worn red carpet, all external public spaces were 'carpeted' with the same green stuff as the gangplank. Trip hazards abounded, in places it was downright dangerous!

There is no lift in what is, in effect, a 4 story hotel.

The cabins were small, the walls and ceiling stained. The small old fashioned TV, no flat screens here, failed to work. Beware - there is a sill across the bathroom door, I managed to trip over mine and managed to seriously cut my arm on the lock plate which had been badly fixed to the door frame. The tour manager offered me a choice of several other rooms which all had the same razor sharp slice of metal. To be fair to the crew, the plate was repaired very quickly but the damage had been done.

The small fridge/mini bar contained a couple of bottles of water and a few cans of soft drink. There was no WiFi available anywhere on board.

The food was limited and monotonous, there was no choice in the evening although breakfast and lunch were buffet. We were told not to eat the salad so no choice there!

Some seriously luminous puds! lots of cold custard masquerading as cream.

Afternoon tea consisted of one slice of cake, (not sure what it was but it never varied) and 2 biscuits. WOW!

The crew, on the other hand, could not have been nicer. Friendly, enthusiastic, helpful and very talented in the old 'towel sculptures'

There were 2 entertainment nights - a Nubian folk group one night and a joint whirling Dervish and belly dancer on another night. We all refused to take part in the Bingo night.

Come on Sasga - surely there are better ships out there? We paid for a 4* experience but this definitely a 2* boat.

  • Holiday details: Jun 2015, booked with Saga
  • Advice: book someone else
3 / 10

1 reader found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

M/S Nile Admiral. Don't believe the photos on their website!!

"Holiday was run by Titan travel who must surely have to review their standards if they think this boat is of an acceptable quality. They have the cheek to display 5 stars on the entrance doors of the boat!

The "Standard of Excellence " certificate for food quality and hygiene they proudly display is dated 2006. The statement on the PNC website of " equipped with the latest Fire and Safety systems and have been officially approved by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS)." must mean that the ABS accepts lifesaver rings that are damaged showing the foam inside, no safety drills are needed, diesel fumes in the restaurant and cabins is acceptable and passenger gangplanks supported by blocks of wood is the way to passenger safety.

To be honest, we should have realized what was going to happen when we were sat in the filthy, rundown coach on the way to the mooring as we passed all the posh berths on the Luxor promenade area, through the run down areas, past the nice riverside gated moorings until we turned into an unkempt allotment, past a ramshackle shed and a cheap wooden "PNC" sign to stop in a dust bowl with a big patch of mud in the middle where they had to put out the small grass fire.

This mooring, by the way, had 3 other decommissioned PNC boats sat there looking like orphans of the Marie Celeste which had blatantly been cannibalized to bring the Admiral up (or is that down?) to their acceptable standard.

The realization dawned when we were then ushered up a clanking, creaking gangplank covered in threadbare green nylon AstroTurf supported by two pieces of 4"x2" to enter what can only be described as a 1970's low rent Blackpool guesthouse, complete with dark wood and stained red carpet.

The cabins displayed on the PNC website bear no relation to the reality even to the point that there are no flat screen televisions on the wall, just an small old dirty CRT TV perched on top of the small fridge, sorry, minibar.

Lights are hanging out of the ceiling, there are strange brown smears and splashes on the peeling wallpaper, the bathroom door needs to be held open with the fire extinguisher and you could drive a bus between the grouting and the wall. I felt a bit guilty wiping away the cobweb hanging from the air conditioning unit, but we were hot and didn't want flying freezing spider attacks to contend with.

By the way, this was room 407, A SUITE !! Best on the boat apparently.

The food consists of constantly recycled salad which gets wetter and greyer every day and a fixed menu in the evening. So much for a-la-cart!

Breakfast consists of fruit squash or tea or coffee, sliced hotdog sausages, small (undercooked) fried potatoes and eggs. Or you can have the fruit that wasn't eaten the previous day, OR..... you could have one of the yoghurts that remained. (We started with 20 and as the week went on the number went down because they weren't replacing them.) Oh yeah, there was toast as well.

Guess what? My wife went down with food poisoning after the first meal in the restaurant. They blamed the sun saying she wasn't used to it. We lived in Spain for 23 years.

I am currently in the midst of starting my official complaint to Titan which will be escalated to ABTA, Trading Standards, MI-5, NASA and whoever else is needed to put this PNC 5* Cruise joke of a company in the bin, as that is all their boats are worth.


  • Holiday details: May 2015, booked with Titan
  • Advice: Book into a decent hotel instead.
1 / 10

1 reader found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

Nile Commodore

" I have just returned from a 7 night river Nile cruise departing on the 30th January 2013. The boat was the Nile Commodore part of the Presidential Cruise fleet. The package was put together by the Thomson (Tui) company. The flights were from Manchester or Gatwick to Luxor, I flew from Manchester, the flight was on time, and transfers to the boat were both well organised and efficient. (passengers on the Gatwick flight also had no problems).

The boat wasn’t new but it was well maintained and kept clean, although some of the furnishings were showing signs of ageing. I was travelling alone and the single cabin (213) allocated to me was relatively spacious with three quarter sized bed adequate drawer/wardrobe space and a small but adequate bathroom (it was in fact larger than the bathroom on my last cruise which took place on Azamara Journey) with a vanity unit and a television which showed mainly Arabic programmes and fitted with a large window which could be opened. I chose this holiday company because the single supplement charged was significantly less than many of their competitors. Other facilities on the boat included open deck space which included shaded and open areas, a small swimming pool (not heated) which meant at this time of year the water was cold and many passengers including myself didn’t indulge in swimming. The ship had large lounge, restaurant, two small shops (one selling gold items and other Egyptian souvenirs and the usual small items you may have forgotten to pack). The colour scheme was dark wood and dark soft furnishings which probably reflected the trends when the ship was built rather than the lighter colours preferred by today’s designers.

The main reason many travellers pick a Nile Cruise is to explore the Egyptian artefacts as well as experiencing some welcomed winter sunshine. The weather during the day was pleasant ranging from 19-25C although appreciably cooler most evenings. A total of 45 passengers were on a Thomson package deal (other tour companies using the boat included Titan as well as Egyptian passengers). The group was split into two and each assigned their own coach with their own Egyptian tour guide. As a general rule the included tours (five half day excursions) were taken in the morning with departure times being from 7.30-8.30am. The tour sites visited were those most tourists would have on their wish list (The Valley of the Kings, Luxor Temple, Esna Lock, Karnak, Philae Temple, Aswan Dam, Kom Ombo, Hatshepsut, and Nubian Museum). The guides were informative and showed the group around the main points of interest in each site and allowed some free time to explore in your time. I found the timings suitable but I confess that I have only a passing interest in Egyptian history although those with more interest may have had insufficient time to study the sites further. In the afternoon relaxation was the order of day and involved nothing more strenuous than watching the Nile scenery pass by as we sailed gently to the next location. The boat was moored most nights although we did sail overnight on three occasions. Optional excursions were available [Abu Simbel, Hot Air Balloon Ride over Luxor (both £75) as well as others such as The Tombs of the Nobles and Nubian Village and Karnak Light show (both around £27-£30 for a half day trip)]. I did not participate in the excursion to Abu Simbel due to a 3:30am wake up call and unfortunately the balloon ride was cancelled due to high winds.

The entertainment was limited with no day time activities but due the included or optional excursions I did not miss these. Evening activities included three “different” folkloric shows, an Egyptian theme night and most of the guests joined in and wore appropriate attire (myself included), other night’s included quizzes and bingo. I pre-paid the “all inclusive” option (approximately £12 per day) which meant that the cost of all beverages soft drinks, mineral water, tea/coffee, local beers, wines and spirits were covered. The quality of the wine and some of the spirits (e.g. local whisky were not of the highest quality) but I did consider the package to be good value. The recommended tips were extremely low in comparison to most ocean cruises (£15 per week for the ship’s crew and £10 for your tour guide). In fact I donated more than recommended since the staff and the tour guide all gave a good level of service.. The excursion bus drivers usually expect a £0.50 tip for their services. Importantly we did not experience any trouble considering the reports of clashes in the north of the country and the people were friendly and welcoming. The street traders could be persistent around the temples/sites but you eventually accepted the situation. A quick piece of advice if you wish to purchase a few souvenirs the small shops onboard allowed passengers to examine their potential purchases in a hassle free environment and had the further advantage of competitive fixed prices.

The only downside was the quality of the food served on the boat. Breakfast was the usual affair (understandably no bacon served in a predominantly Muslim country) although the choice was not as wide as your typical cruise liner. Lunch was a buffet with reasonable but not extensive choice. Most evenings a fixed menu was served with no choice. Meats were not of the highest quality and always over cooked. The soups were always tasty as was the desserts. Although I did not go hungry I never had high expectations when entering the dining room. Just to add a further comment I only ate cooked food and avoided the salads a decision which proved a wise decision since a couple of table companions who did eat uncooked food get develop “Egyptian Tummy”.

In summary an enjoyable and stimulating holiday only let down by “poor” dining but considering the cost of the cruise it was good value for money. I would do a Nile cruise again in future but would spend a little more to receive a higher dining standard.

Cruise Summary:

Ship 3.5 stars

Cabin 3.5 stars

Crew 4 stars

Cleanliness 4.5 stars

Excursions 5 stars

Food 2 stars

Value for Money 4.5 stars

  • Holiday details: Jan 2013, booked with Thomson
  • Advice: Don't expect great dining but you won't starve
  • Good For: , City Breaks
7 / 10

24 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes


"although the look of the boats are not the prettiest on the nile this was the best holliday i have ever been on. the room was good made better by the cleaners who were only to happy to help you with anything along with a different towel animal each morning as well as a turn down service at night, the bar staff and waitors could not help you enough lovely people made you feel at home on there boat. our tour guide osama was absoutly superb one of the funniest and knowledgeable egyptologist made egypt come to life with every temple we visited. food was amazing with a buffet lunch and a la carte dinners afternoon tea served on the sun deck. i cannot praise this boat enough and would recommend to everybody to go there and experience what we did during that week. AMAZING!!!"

  • Holiday details: Oct 2012, booked with Thomson
  • Advice: just show up and enjoy!
10 / 10

10 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

Nile Cruise September2012

"I am not able to find any fault at all with this cruise on Commadore. The meals were excellent and there was plenty of choice. The staff were curteous and friendly. The excursions were above expectations. Definitely would do this again and again, I enjoyed every single second of the week"

  • Holiday details: Sep 2012, booked with Thomson
  • Advice: Make the most of each day - and be prepared to get an early call !!!
10 / 10

9 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

nile commodore

"Had an absolutely fantastic time, we really didn't want to come home.

The Thomson rep Mohammed was with out doubt, the best rep the wife and I have ever come across hard working constantly smiling, funny and helpful if he could he would have lifted the valley of the kings and brought it to the boat he probably tried when we weren't looking.

Our guide Dahliah, without wishing to sound ridiculous also was the very best you could possibly hope for, from the way she calmly and beautifully brought the history to life with her beautifully flowing English you could not ask for more. She even took us out to dinner in Luxor to her favorite restaurant to try what locals really eat, and it was fantastic amazing flavors and wow it was shockingly cheap!

The Commodore staff were brilliant polite and kind to nothing was too much hassle the food was excellent and the cabins was spacious and clean and the towel arranging has to be seen to be believed.

We have had a lot of what you would describe as "Holidays of a lifetime",

but this one really did justice to that description from the friendliness of the staff through to the astonishing history you couldn't ask for more.

  • Holiday details: Sep 2012
  • Advice: go on the commodore the staff are superb
10 / 10

12 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

Don't buy jewellery onboard

"I went on the Presidential Nile Cruises with my mother BACK IN 2010. The Thomson rep in the welcome meeting ensured that buying jewellery onoabrd is the safest way but this wasn't the case. On the final day of the holiday my mother decided to buy a 18k Egyptian Gold Cartouche pendant onboard were the jeweller showed the genuine display one but the jeweller distracted use by showing a certificate of genuineness for the pendant but this must of been when he swapped the genuine one with a FAKE one and before we noticed the pendant was fake it was too late. We contacted Thomson about this issue and said they would refunded use the full amount of the pendant but after nearly 2 years later we still haven't received any compensation."

  • Holiday details: Jul 2010, booked with Thomson
4 / 10

5 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

Nile Admiral

"We had a super time aboard the Admiral. The food was superb, with plenty of choice and well presented. The staff were very friendly. I celebrated my birthday on board and was given a birthday cake, which was a big surprise. The cabin was adequate although a little tired,but the bed was comfortable."

  • Holiday details: Feb 2012, All Inclusive, booked with Titan
10 / 10

7 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

Fabulous time, the crew are amazing

"Went in October on our first Nile Cruise, had a wonderful time, the boat and crew made our stay, the food was good and plentiful. To someone who has earlier mentioned sending out for kentucky and pizza, if thats what you were expecting book a fortnight in Macdonalds in Luxor. We loved the food and i put on lbs during our week! Evening meal was a set menu, but when in rome! The desserts where excellent. The crew couldnt do enough for us and were amazing. Our guide was a little disappointing but we cant fault the boat.

We were moored outside luxor but that was ok, Aswan we were right on the quay front.

Great holiday, we will definitely go back again and will hopefully go on the commodore again.

  • Holiday details: Oct 2011, All Inclusive, booked with Thomson
10 / 10

7 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

MS Nile Admiral

"We have just returned from a Nile cruise with PNC, and what a fantastic time we had. The staff were fantastic, attentive to our every needs, the food was amazing, the boat was very clean if a little tired in the cabins. The excursions were excellent, and all the transfers were well supervised by Kuoni, We would definitely recommend Kuoni if you want to do this type of holiday. We would also like to say thank you to all the staff who made our week so special, amongst others Mikey the best waiter in the dining room, Ramee the bar manager, and Hassan the cabin steward. All in all it was a superb holiday and we can definitely recommend it."

  • Holiday details: Nov 2011, Full board, booked with Kuoni
9 / 10

4 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

Don't go with Kuoni

"If you don't mind being stuck beside the river bank outside Luxor for three days, having your itinery altered, stopping at Edfu when it's dark so you can't visit the temple,and sailing at night most of the way there and back, having your buffet taken away and replaced by a no choice set meal, then you will probably enjoy yourself, we didn't , so be warned."

  • Holiday details: Sep 2011, Half board, booked with Kuoni
  • Advice: Don't go with Kuoni
1 / 10

11 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes


"Just recently returned from a week on board the Nile Symphony, booked with Kuoni, after Luxor visits, we were held up sailing by 24hrs to allow 65 Thompson all inclusives on board, their boat had been taken out of service due to low tourist numbers.

Our self service buffet dinner was removed and replaced with a no choice set meal.The delay meant we had to travel overnight both ways up and down the nile so missing out on our cruise, trip times were hurriedly rearranged and allowed no free time in Aswan. Kuoni refused to do anything about the upheaval, now trying to sort it out back home.

Advise don't use Presidential Cruises unless you don't mind being messed about. As for Kuoni's Luxor operation, a Shambles.

  • Holiday details: Sep 2011, Half board, booked with Kuoni
  • Advice: Don't go
3 / 10

6 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

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Average rating

8.5 / 10
(97 reviews)
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Ratings summary


Rating by feature

Room: 7/10
Service: 8.5/10
Food: 8/10
Value: 7/10
Cleanliness: 7/10
Top traveller tips for Presidential Nile Cruises
  • by AndyJ Birmingham

    " The temple of Dendrah is amazing, not one we'd heard of before we went! "

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