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Why am I being quoted a large supplement for a Sonesta cruise on the Nile?

Why am I being quoted a large supplement for a Sonesta cruise on the Nile?

Jun 12th, 2010, 07:00 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2007
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Why am I being quoted a large supplement for a Sonesta cruise on the Nile?

Hi everyone,

I posted this on another thread but thought it may attract more response on its own. I am planning our family trip to Egypt for next spring, customized through Lady Egypt. The initial itinerary provided for a supposed four day 5*cruise. Some quick research (isn't the internet wonderful for travelers!) revealed that the boat was not of the quality that we wanted. The agent has come back with a suggestion for the Sonesta Moon Goddess, which looks very nice. I have been advised that there will be a supplement of approx. $1500 added to the cost of itinerary of we make this selection. I learned yesterday that I can book this cruise myself from North America, directly with Sonesta for $2200 . Since the original itinerary already included a 5* cruise (which could not be less than $350/night or $1300 for the four days), the "supplement " seems a little steep. I assumed that a large local agency would be able to get a preferred rate. Any thoughts?
pirouette is offline  
Jun 12th, 2010, 07:12 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
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I'm thinking it really is not for us to guess why Lady Egypt wants this much money for the Sonesta boats, but I wonder if you've posed your question to them? Are you working with someone that understands you? Can they think logically? Answer questions with logical answers? I'd try them first and see what they say.

Since they were the ones to suggest the Sonesta it doesn't quite make sense. Maybe the quote of $1500 is a mistake. Have you asked them if that is possible?

Good luck figuring it out. Sorry I'm no more help.
Casual_Cairo is offline  
Jun 12th, 2010, 07:20 AM
  #3  
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Thanks CC for your quick reply, Yes, I have asked the question, but it was Friday afternoon in Cairo when I received this information and I have not had a response yet. I assume that the agent is off for the weekend. I am working with someone that other Fodorites have used and recommended so I do not think it is a communication issue. Could it be that Sonesta is not one of Lady Egypt's preferred suppliers? Seems hard to believe.....
pirouette is offline  
Jun 12th, 2010, 08:25 AM
  #4  
 
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I am glad you are asking them the question. They booked the Sonesta for me. But I have no way of knowing how much they booked it for, because it is lumped in with my whole trip. I thought the agents was suppose to get a discount. Maybe I will just ask them. I wondered how much detail the agents give you as to the breakdown of costs.
dana123 is offline  
Jun 12th, 2010, 11:53 AM
  #5  
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Dana 123, I haven't gotten any real breakdown except for the cost of optional day trips. That doesn't bother me so much. Agents have to make a living and they do perform a valuable service, especially in countries where it may be more of a challenge to travel independently and I am willing to pay for that service. It is always a good idea to do some groundwork however in order to put any quote in context. Being quoted the equivalent of $3500 for a cruise that I can get on my own for $2200 does not make sense!
pirouette is offline  
Jun 12th, 2010, 01:06 PM
  #6  
 
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They would have been off on Friday, but likely working today and/or tomorrow (Friday is their "sabbath"). You should hear back from them by Monday.
sf7307 is offline  
Jun 12th, 2010, 03:27 PM
  #7  
 
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Pirouette, I agree for the most part. I have been ordering items, special rooms..etc..and the cost is just rising. I have not questioned them. But you asked about the Sonesta, the only thing I can say is when I asked for an upgraded cabin on the boat, the quote she gave me for the upgrade exactly equaled the difference in cost on the internet. But what the actual cost is I do not know.
dana123 is offline  
Jun 12th, 2010, 08:15 PM
  #8  
 
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What ship were you on originally that you didn't want to go on. Lady Egypt is booking me on Crown Emperor or Crown Empress... I just wonder if you know something I don't. Thanks.
MissGreen is offline  
Jun 12th, 2010, 11:09 PM
  #9  
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Those are the same two boats that were proposed to us. We wanted something a little more deluxe with a broader international clientele. It all depends on what you are looking for. Many people seem to have had an enjoyable experience on these boats-they just weren't for us. Check out some of the reviews and make your own decision.
pirouette is offline  
Jun 13th, 2010, 02:12 AM
  #10  
 
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More deluxe? I thought they were supposed to be pretty deluxe. I am a lover of 5 star and nice things however, for me to change I would need to see, like you are quering here, value for money. It does seem exhorbitant that considering you are already paying for a "deluxe nile cruise" to not just have a smaller add on.

Just a query pirouette. How do you know your fellow cruisers on the Sonesta will be from a broader international clientele.
MissGreen is offline  
Jun 13th, 2010, 02:44 AM
  #11  
 
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My question is Why would you want a "broader international clientele"? It's just going to be a bunch of people on board that don't speak English necessarily. Why would that be a bonus?

Or were the other boats mostly selling to the Italians and Spanish or Japanese and you are looking for English speaking tourists?

Just curious.
Casual_Cairo is offline  
Jun 13th, 2010, 09:55 AM
  #12  
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The Crown Emperor and Empress are larger boats-100+ cabins. I would prefer something smaller-but that is just a personal preference. Larger may be better for someone else.

For our family, interacting with travelers whose first language is not English is a bonus. It is one of the things we enjoy most about travel. (We also speak other languages.) The English language reviews for these boats are predominantly from travelers on package tours (Thomson) from the UK. That is fine, but it would be nice to mix it up a bit. The reviews for the Sonesta boats seem to come from a broader mix of nationalities. That usually makes for a more enriching and interesting experience. Others may be more comfortable being with travelers from their own country-I understand that, too. Again, it depends on what you are looking for.

We have cruised large and small, and done private charters in several parts of the world. I am still trying to make up for a somewhat negative experience on a private Turkish gulet from a couple of years ago. Supposedly deluxe-it was not. My family has not forgotten. If there is a choice, I will spend the extra for a superior category, provided it is within reason. I suppose reason may be relative.

I was able to find the daily rack rates for the Emperor and Empress online. For our requirements the rate was $450 per day. Sonesta's rack rate was about $100 more for the same type of cabin. I am still waiting to hear from Lady Egypt as to their costing within the overall scheme of our itinerary. Once I have an explanation as to the proposed $1500 supplement (and why that should be given that our itinerary supposedly already included the price of a 5* cruise)then we will make a decision. I will let you know the outcome.
pirouette is offline  
Jun 13th, 2010, 10:39 PM
  #13  
 
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I'm impressed you speak other languages. That is unusual for Americans, but FANTASTIC! That answers the question for sure, as long as you can communicate with other people then the other nationalities will be interesting. It's just that most of us Americans are pretty darn lazy about learning a second or third language (me included - my Arabic is still not good) so while I didn't mean you had to stay with other Americans, I thought it would be nicer if most of the passengers were at least English speaking.... lots of countries to choose from that fall in that catagory - thank God (makes my life easier and keeps me working)!
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Jun 13th, 2010, 11:29 PM
  #14  
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Thanks CC-By the way, we are not American, we hail from the "Great White North" hence, two official languages
pirouette is offline  
Jun 14th, 2010, 02:06 PM
  #15  
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Well I now know why the supplement has been added. It is to cover the cost of a private guide to accompany us on the boat and also due to the fact that the Sonesta cruise is one day longer than the original cruise on the Emperor/Empress. I am still waitng for final pricing, but I think we will forego the proposed private guide on the boat cruise.
pirouette is offline  
Jun 15th, 2010, 04:21 AM
  #16  
 
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Pirouette,

Were you able to determine if Lady Egypt got your cruise at a discount from what is posted on the Sonesta website? Just curious. I know alot of people have questions about if you should book the cruise directly or let agent book it. Kind regards, and hope your trip is wonderful.
dana123 is offline  
Jun 15th, 2010, 11:24 AM
  #17  
 
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If they are selling it to you at the same price, you can bet they got a discount. They are not going to pass it on to you for the same price.
Casual_Cairo is offline  
Jun 15th, 2010, 11:05 PM
  #18  
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I really cannot determine how much the agent is charging for the cruise-it is part of a package. The price quoted (and there are still items to tweak) is below some of the competitors who are quoting on a lesser Movenpick boat. It's all in the details and I am still awaiting some clarifications.
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Jun 16th, 2010, 05:52 AM
  #19  
 
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pirouette - may I suggest you reconsider the private guide (assuming the costs aren't way out of whack) - we found it made a huge difference for our enjoyment. The guides know how to avoid the crowds and you can come and go at your schedule. Our tour was arranged by Ahmed Hamed Yousif and the cruise cost was actually adjusted down for the fact we would not be using the cruise's guides and transportation (then was adjusted up again for the guide's accommodation and transportation). Our guide only spent one night on the ship itself (he lived in Aswan so stayed at home the first night; spent night 2 on board the boat; and nights 3 and 4 at a hostel in Luxor) so his accommodation costs were not the same as staying on the boat. Also, we were on the Oberoi Philae and they clearly had guide accommodation that was more like staff accommodation so the guide is not incurring the same cost as a regular passenger.
Elizabeth_S is offline  
Jun 16th, 2010, 02:58 PM
  #20  
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Thanks Elizabeth-

I have asked for the cost of a local guide for the Valley of the Kings. My husband and I have been there before on a private tour and it was great to have the flexibility to choose the temples that we wanted to visit and how long to spend in each one. Being part of a large group that does not necessarily move at our pace could substantially detract from the experience-especially for our teen-aged son. I am not so concerned about the first two days on the boat as the sights are more limited. I agree a private guide would be preferable but it is more important when there are choices of what to see (i.e. which temples).
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