Author: Colin Maddocks
As a for over 25 years I am still constantly amazed at how many people still regard taking a Nile Cruise as being one of their Top 10 Wishes. It’s as if the very mention of the mighty River Nile conjures up images of the Ancients mixed with the allure of mysterious Egypt.
Of course, having enjoyed cruising The Nile myself, I can only agree with them and can heartily recommend fulfilling that “wish”. From start to finish a Nile Cruise is an amazing experience.
Normally your “adventure” begins at Luxor Airport where you will be quickly transferred to your Nile Cruiser. Names such as “Star of Luxor”, “The King Tut”, “Alexander The Great” and “Ramses”, contribute to your expectancy and when you arrive to board your “home” for the next seven days you will not be disappointed.
I travelled recently on the El Fostate Nile Cruiser and was very impressed. On boarding you enter the air conditioned and wood panelled reception area where you are greeted by members of the crew forming a welcoming committee to see you safely aboard. You will normally be offered a hot towel to freshen up and also a glass of pomegranate juice. Both go down very well at that point as Luxor can be very hot.
After quickly checking in you will be escorted to your cabin or suite. Our own accommodation was a suite on the upper deck that consisted of a huge picture window overlooking the Nile with a separate lounge area, bedroom and bathroom. The feel of the suite was warm and luxurious. A great start.
That evening we met some of our fellow Nile cruisers who shared our table for eight in the restaurant. This is a great way to ensure that you get to meet and mingle with other passengers who you will be enjoying the various trips and excursions with over the coming days. The great thing about the cruise was that you are never alone if you dont’ want to be as you have the opportunity to mix and mingle with your fellow travellers if and when you want to. This makes Nile cruising ideal for those who are travelling alone.
Next day was the start of some of the most magical days I have experienced as a traveller. We visited some of the most famous archaeological sites, temples and tombs in a series of daily excursions accompanied by our own, dedicated “Egyptologist”.
These excursions and visits usually take place quite early in the morning to avoid the very hot temperatures later in the day.
Often we were leaving the ship at 8.00am or sometimes earlier to ensure that we were able to enjoy the atmosphere and experiences of these wonderfully evocative sites without it being unbearably hot.
However, taking these excursions at that time of the days also ensures that you are back on aboard just in time to enjoy a leisurely lunch in the air-conditioned restaurant. Which, with a glass or two or local Egyptian wine, (remarkably good), leads to a wonderful feeling of well-being. I dont’ know whether that’s as a result of having experienced the wonders of such an ancient civilisation or the wine, but either way I can promise you will feel very relaxed.
Afternoons are taken up cruising at a leisurely pace down the might River Nile. With an upper deck that is amply supplied with comfortable sun beds and recliners, a small splash pool and well-stocked bar, you will almost enjoy your afternoons as much as your morning excursions.
There is something about watching life go by as it has for thousands of years on the banks of The Nile whilst relaxing with a drink in hand that will give you an enormous feeling of tranquillity.
Over the seven days that we cruised we enjoyed 12 different excursions, (all part of the price we paid), to some of the most interesting places I have ever visited and, with the help of our own “Egyptologist” we were able to get a real understanding of what life must have been like in ancient Egypt.
Each evening we dined in the air-conditioned restaurant enjoying the service from the friendly and obliging staff. The food we enjoyed was varied and excellent and if a diner didnt’ want anything from the extensive menu the chefs on duty were always ready to create something else for them. In fact I found all of the staff, both restaurant and otherwise, to be really friendly and helpful no matter what the time of day or night.
Following our evening meal, on several evenings, there was “traditional” Egyptian entertainment in the form of Nubian dancers, Egyptian Belly-Dancers and other traditional entertainers. Plus, on the last but one evening, we all took part in an Egyptian fancy dress party. We bought, for pennies, some beautiful Egyptian robes and gowns and everybody had a wonderful time.
Perhaps it was because the cruise was so different than a “normal” week’s holiday, being full of experiences and activity, but all too soon our Nile Cruise came to an end.
After biding farewell both to our fellow travellers and the oh-so friendly crew, we were transferred back to Luxor airport ready to begin our journey home.
Our Nile Cruise was a wonderful experience. It was everything and more that we had hoped for. Exciting, different, mysterious, eventful and overall – fulfilling.
I truly feel that almost everyone would enjoy what is a “true” travel experience.
Cruise The Nile. You must!