Sheraton Nile's Aton Undergoes Renovation

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NEW YORK - Among the four ships in Sheraton's Nile cruise fleet, all were created more or less equal, but with its total renovation and refitting, the Aton can be said to be the firm's top of the line.

The major upgrade in luxury and comfort is the reduction in the number of cabins from 82 to 48. Among those are 34 suites, 24 with king-size beds, and 10 with twin beds. Additionally, the new configuration offers 12 twin-bedded cabins and two single-bedded cabins.

All suites and cabins have panoramic views of the Nile, individual temperature control, color television with in-house video, in-house music channels, direct-dial telephones, hair dryers and private showers. Suites offer minifridges, electronic safe-deposit boxes and butler service.

Additional amenities include complimentary soft drinks, mineral water and local wine during meals, as well as complimentary laundry service.

"Sheraton can be said to be in the forefront of a trend aboard Nile cruise ships to larger, well-appointed cabins," said Eunice Roy, manager of Misr Travel, specialists in Egypt.

Among cruise vessels that offer the same itineraries between Luxor and Aswan (sightseeing, good guides and so forth), "the quality of accommodations has become a selling factor," she added.

Roy said that when the first Hilton ships set out on Nile cruises, no one ever thought that cabin size was going to be a factor.

Now it is.

According to Roy, "Sure the cost of operating the larger boats with fewer people means increased fares, but people are prepared to pay for more deluxe facilities."

Oberoi's Philae, with 58 cabins (all with balconies), would be an example of a competitive deluxe ship, she added.

Food-and-beverage outlets aboard the Aton include the lounge bar (used for evening entertainment also), a single-sitting dining room and a sun deck bar. Recreational facilities include a pool, table tennis and pool table.

For the winter season, Oct. 1 to April 30, the rate for a suite starts at $646 per person, while a twin cabin will cost $540 per person on the four-night cruise.

The cost of a suite starts at $566; for a twin cabin, $486.

Sheraton has its own private piers for docking in Luxor, Esna, Edfu and Aswan, and they are used by all of its fleet, including the Anni and Htop, each with 64 cabins and eight suites, and the Tut, with 78 cabins and two suites.

The costs of cruising aboard these vessels in the winter season are $470 per person for the four-night cruise and $426 for the three-night cruise.

Sheraton pays 10% commission to agents on all its cruises.

ITT Sheraton

Phone: (800) 325-3535

Web: www.Sheraton-Nile

Cruise.com

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