Uniworld River Cruises' Nile ship, the River Tosca, is ready for its second unveiling.
The 82-passenger Tosca returned to service on March 22 after a seven-week dry dock to address workmanship problems the ship had when it launched in October.
"As a company, we saw the need and opportunity to provide travelers to Egypt with a Nile River cruise ship that would incorporate the same high standards as our ships in Europe," Uniworld President Guy Young said in a statement. "Uniworld commissioned the River Tosca with the goal that it would be one of the most luxurious ships to sail the Nile."
However, the Tosca, which was built and then repaired by Uniworld's partner in Egypt, Spring Tours, did not initially meet those standards.
When the Tosca launched in October, the wood floors in the staterooms, main stairwell and corridors had been scratched and damaged during installation; the mosaic tiles in the restaurant were loose; the paint and woodwork in the staterooms were imprecise; and the fabrics in the staterooms were predominantly white, which increased the risk that they could get stained.
Consequently, the Tosca was dry-docked from Feb. 1 until March 22 to make the necessary repairs and adjustments, forcing Uniworld to cancel seven sailings.
"Dry-docking the ship in the height of the season was a very difficult and humbling decision for the company," Young said. "It was the right decision to make, however, both for the long-term success of Uniworld in Egypt and, most importantly, for our customers."
During the dry dock, Uniworld placed passengers on the Miriam, a 110-passenger ship that entered service in 1997. A compensation package was offered to guests reassigned to the Miriam.
From the floor up
Young, who recently returned from inspecting the Tosca, said all the floors in the staterooms, corridors, stairwells and restaurant have been replaced; there are new wall coverings in the staterooms; and the furniture has been reupholstered.
Indeed, photos from his visit show that the wood floors in the staterooms have been replaced with marble and carpeted floors; the once-white fabric walls are now wallpapered; and the furniture in the staterooms has been changed from stark white to soft, neutral shades. Additionally, the mosaic tiles in the restaurant have been replaced with wood flooring.
"I can now proudly say after visiting the Tosca that all the noted deficiencies have been resolved," Young said.
The Tosca has 30 remaining departures scheduled for 2010 and 42 departures scheduled for 2011. Uniworld's Nile itineraries range in price from $2,249 for an eight-day itinerary during the low season (May and June) to $4,495 for a 12-day itinerary during the high season (December).
The River Tosca is Uniworld's first company-owned ship outside Europe. The Tosca makes Uniworld one of only a few U.S.-based companies that owns ships on the Nile. The other two are Abercrombie & Kent and Grand Circle Travel.
The Tosca is an all-suite ship with a restaurant, arabesque-style lounge and enclosed smoking room. It has a rooftop bar, swimming pool, fitness room and massage rooms.