We have never cruised with Thomson before, we usually cruise with one of the larger companies and chose this because of the itinerary as we both my wife and I wanted to visit Petra & as a bonus Cairo.
The check in facilities at Sharm el Sheik Port can only be described as very basic but the staff were very pleasant & efficient so soon onto the ship.
This is an old ship and although Thomsons have spent money doing some upgrading it still shows as there is a lack of attention to detail, i.e. our cabin had had a makeover but when you lay in bed you could see dirty finger marks over the ceiling & in the bathroom the toilet was badly stained. On the plus side our cabin steward was friendly & efficient and kept the cabin spotless.
Food is available round the clock in the Lido self service restaurant, the staff couldn't be helpful with the food choices to suit everyone. In the Meridian resteraunt overall the staff again helpful but the food was a letdown, the desserts looked as though they had been bought from Asda. One night I had the cheese board, my plate arrived with a couple of wafer thin slivers of cheese on it and a couple of crackers. We chose to pay extra to dine in Mistrals one evening & I can thoroughly recommend this. The head waiter is a star, he serenaded the diners and his staff & presentation of the meal was faultless as was the food.
We didn't really rate the entertainment & thought the theatre group pretty poor however we had a comedian from the North East who was excellent.
The ports we visited are pretty dire with no facilities for passengers on shore. Aqaba don't allow you off the ship unless on a tour but was by far the cleanest.
We both thought the tours were good value & Petra was every bit as spectacular as we imagined. One word of warning though remember its a long walk down, so remember you need to go back. There are horse drawn buggies which we sampled for the return journey which was an experience & the traders took no for an answer.
Cairo was an experience our coach driver must have nerves of steel, he threw a 56 seater coach round like it was an F1 car to avoid the other traffic. Again the Pyranids are spectacular but this is marred by the pedlar's who try every scam going to get your cash so be prepared to be very rude to get rid of them. Memphis was a bit of a disappointment.
All our tour guides were very good, they were all disappointed that the negative press regarding the political situation in the region had dramatically reduced tourists coming. Knowledge excellent & very friendly. Lunches off the ship were in Movenpick hotels again you couldn't find fault.
A nice touch was that when you returned to the ship as well as the towels & a welcome drink was a band & choir made up from the wine waiters serenading you back on board.
There were a couple of niggles. the adult only area was overrun by teenagers & the staff ignored them, although sunbeds were not to be reserved this was a common occurance The price of pictures was steep.
We rated this as a 3 Star, if you get a good deal then go for it but don't pay anything like full price.