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Louis Cruise Lines

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      14.04.2004 01:58
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      Our recent holiday to Paphos in Cyprus attracted us because of the option of a two-night cruise to Egypt. I have or am currently writing reviews of our accommodation (Paphian Beach Hotel) and our destination (Paphos) as well as our visit to Cairo. Two and three day cruise are offered by Louis Cruise Lines from Limassol to Port Said. They also offer cruises to other destinations around the eastern Mediterranean. Their fleet consists mainly of small and "well-used" ships. Although they offer extended cruises, I have to say that, due to the relative lack of facilities I would not consider them for these. For instance, there is no swimming pool. Also, the sun-loungers have seen better days. The crossing to Egypt left Limassol at 3pm, so giving plenty of time to get to Limassol from our hotel in Paphos. We arrived at the port and were instructed by the Louis representative to proceed through passport control and wait to board. There is duty-free shopping before you board if you want it but we didn't find the prices especially good. 3pm came and went. We asked a couple of glamorous gate controllers when we would be boarding but were simply told that we would have to wait until they were ready! Eventually we were ushered on board, only to find that we didn't have a vital stamp on our boarding passes. It turned out that we (and loads of other passengers as well) had managed simply to walk straight through the controls without any checks or challenges. So much for security! Having finally got on board The Princesa Marissa that was to be our home for the next few days, we discovered that we were each paired with one of the ship's staff, who took our bags and showed us to our cabin. The cabin was similar to others in whic
      h I have travelled, compact, with an en suite (at extra cost) and with two beds. We had an outside cabin and so had a view of the sea. The cabin was clean and in reasonable repair, more than adequate for two nights. Having settled ourselves in, we made tracks for the restaurant for a late lunch. The staff are very attentive and well presented. Throughout the cruise I found them generally very helpful and concerned to make our experience a happy one, so no complaints there. This lunch was the only extra cost other than drinks in the bar. All other meals were included in the price (260 Cypriot Pounds, about £325 for the two of us). The meals are all buffet style and the food was good but not especially notable. Wine was extra and of good quality. We went back on deck for the departure from port but went below again shortly after as by that time the sun was setting. I have to say that watching the sun go down at sea is a memorable experience. The evening meal was similar to lunch. We were allocated a table for the rest of the cruise so it's pot-luck who you get as your companions on the table. You are also assigned a waiter as well. Fortunately they all seemed to be friendly and competent but then, of course they were expecting a tip at the end of the cruise. They weren't disappointed. We did notice that the ship rolled somewhat on the crossing despite the weather being fine and the sea calm. It is a relatively small ship and probably doesn't benefit from the modern system of stabilisers that are fitted to most modern super-cruise ships such as those of Royal Caribbean. Be aware of this if you are not a good sailor. Fortunately neither I nor my wife suffer from this problem. The evening entertainment was in the Ledra Lounge and consisted of a floor-show of singers and dancers. 
      7;hilst sitting there enjoying the show we suddenly noticed that the dancers were the very same gate controllers that we had seen at Limassol. Clearly the employees are expected to demonstrate multiple skills! The singers and the band were professional and would not be out-of-place on any British club circuit. The dancers were attractive and clearly knew their "trade". They could also sing a bit. We watched most of it before retiring to our cabin. We got a good night's sleep and woke around 6.00am to see the approach to our mooring at Port Said. The city was stirring as we docked. We had breakfast and then were loaded onto coaches for the drive to Cairo. Our return trip to Limassol was very similar to the outbound one. The show on the return leg didn't offer much difference compared with the outbound one so we called it a night a little earlier. I'm glad the cruise wasn't any longer, there would have been little the line offered to keep us amused beyond this. There is a duty-free shop on board but I did not find the prices particularly attractive. We looked for a T-shirt for my son but could find nothing suitable in his size. So, overall, the cruise was reasonable but not exceptional. We could have flown to Cairo for our trip instead of going by ship. The flight and visit is all accomplished in one day, which means a very early start and a very late finish but does include an evening meal on a boat on the Nile. I'm sure that this would have been a memorable event. Our trip did not include this. We were looking for a relaxed trip and in that it met our needs. Would we do it again? Probably not. The visit to Cairo, the Museum and the Pyramids was unforgettable but, if we did it again I think next time I would fly. More probably, w
      e will "do" Cairo as a visit in its own right.

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