Posted December 12th, 2009, 04:24 PM
Dear Valued Uniworld Travelers,
There has been quite a bit of information written about the River Tosca since it launched a couple of months ago, and I wanted to take this opportunity to personally give you an update on where things stand.
Over the last several years, we have seen a growing interest in Egypt, which is a glorious destination. As a company, we saw the need and opportunity to provide travelers to Egypt with a Nile River cruise ship that would be of a similar high standard as our ships in Europe. Uniworld commissioned the River Tosca with the goal that it would be one of the most luxurious ships to sail the Nile.
Unfortunately, we experienced some unexpected challenges in introducing the River Tosca and we are not happy with the current quality of workmanship finishes in several areas of the ship. The most obvious examples are the floors in the staterooms, main stairwell and corridors which were damaged and scratched during the installation; the mosaic tiles in the restaurant; and the paint and woodwork in the staterooms. We have therefore made the decision to dry dock the ship for seven weeks to correct the current deficiencies. The ship will therefore be out of service between February 1, 2010 and March 19, 2010.
We do have an alternative ship, the ms Miriam, which we will use while the River Tosca is dry docked. Uniworld has successfully used the Miriam prior to introducing the River Tosca and the ship is a good substitute. The crew from the River Tosca – including the Hotel Manager, Executive Chef, and Executive Housekeeper, all Uniworld employees from our European operation, will be onboard the Miriam. We will also bring onto the Miriam some of the special amenities currently available on the River Tosca, such as bed linens, robes, slippers, and bath products. We will be offering a compensation package to those clients sailing on the Miriam as we understand that some of our guests will be disappointed with the ship change; however, we will work very hard to ensure they still have a wonderful vacation in Egypt.
We are also going to proactively reach out to our guests who are traveling prior to February 1 to update them on the status of the River Tosca.
This was a very difficult decision because we know that this will have an impact on our valued guests – some who have chosen to travel with Uniworld because they wanted to experience the new River Tosca. It is also a difficult decision because, even with the current deficiencies of the ship, the overall feedback we have been receiving from guests who have already traveled on the River Tosca is very positive. The Cairo program, the Tour Managers, the excursions, the food, and the service onboard the ship have all been very well received. And of course the destination itself is fabulous. It is however the right decision for us to make.
Uniworld has built our very good reputation today on being a very reliable river cruise operator and we are committed to providing our guests with a fantastic vacation experience and value – in every region where we operate. When we re-launch the River Tosca in March, we are confident that we will achieve this commitment in Egypt.
After several years of successfully launching ships in Europe, the experience in Egypt has been a humbling one for me and the entire Uniworld team. I want to personally apologize to any of our guests who we may have let down and please know that we are working hard to achieve our stated goal of operating a luxury product in Egypt.
President & CEO of Uniworld