Uniworld River Cruises will be taking the River Tosca, its new 82-passenger Nile River vessel, out of service for seven weeks starting Feb. 1 to “correct the current deficiencies” on the ship.
In a letter to Uniworld clients, Guy Young, president of Uniworld, wrote “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 River Tosca sailed its maiden voyage on Egypt’s Nile River in October. According to Young, the “most obvious example” of problems onboard “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.”
Consequently, Uniworld is dry docking the ship from Feb. 1 to March 19, 2010. In its place, Uniworld will be using the Miriam, a 110-passenger ship that entered service in 1997. Uniworld has used the Miriam in the past, including in September and October in place of the Tosca, which was delayed by four weeks.
Young wrote that the Tosca’s staff, including the hotel manager, executive chef and executive housekeeper would be onboard the Miriam during the Tosca’s dry dock, as well as special amenities on the Tosca, such as bed linens, robes, slippers and bath products. Young wrote that a “compensation package” will be offered to guests reassigned to the Miriam during the Tosca’s dry dock, but did not expand on what that package would entail.
“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,” wrote Young. “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.”
The River Tosca is Uniworld’s first company-owned ship outside of Europe. It is also the first Nile ship owned by a U.S.-based river cruise company — currently, the only other U.S. operator with its own ships on the Nile is Abercrombie & Kent.
The Tosca is an all-suite ship, with a restaurant, Arabesque-style lounge and enclosed smoking room. There is a rooftop bar and swimming pool, a fitness room, massage rooms and services.
“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,” wrote Young. “When we re-launch the River Tosca in March, we are confident that we will achieve this commitment in Egypt.”