Al-Ahram Weekly Online   4 - 10 November 2010
Issue No. 1022
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Making memories on the water

When it comes to choosing your dream Nile cruise, there are many on offer. Al-Ahram Weekly compiled an overview of the best ones

Click to view caption
The Oberoi Zahra sun deck

Abercrombie & Kent Egypt offers four types of cruises with a variety of itineraries and durations. All boats include Egyptology lectures during the cruise, enforce a no-cell phone policy throughout internal and public areas for guaranteed relaxation, and do not take passengers less than six years old.

Sun Boat IV is a five-star deluxe with a capacity of 80 guests, with two royal suites with balcony, two presidential duites and 36 luxury cabins. The upper sun deck has a heated swimming pool, the lower shaded deck has a bar, and the boat has private docks in Luxor and Aswan. The vessel is air-conditioned throughout with individual cabin control, has a restaurant and lounge bar with gourmet menus and lavish buffets, a gymnasium, multi-language library and game room with computer, wireless Internet access with laptop for individual use. It also has laundry facilities, in-room dining, as well as an entertainment programme. This prestigous boat offers a four-night Luxor-Aswan and a four night Aswan-Luxor.-

Sun Boat III houses two royal suites with balcony, two presidential suites and 14 luxury cabins. It has an upper sun deck with heated swimming pool, a lower sun deck with bar, and private docks in Luxor and Aswan. The restaurant and lounge bar offer gourmet menus and a lavish buffet, while the library is stocked with a multi- language choices. There is game area with a computer, and there is wireless Internet access with laptop for individual use. This cruise offers a - seven-nights inteinrrary from Luxor to ASwan, and vice versa.

Zein Nile Chateau boasts one owner's suite with a jacuzzi (The Farouk Suite), one junior suite (The Napoleon Suite) and four luxury cabins (Philae, Baladi, Lake Nasser and Nubia). There is a main deck, shaded deck, upper deck beside a heated swimming pool, air conditioning throughout with individual cabin control. There is also Internet access, laundry facilities, and a 32" LCD screen with satellite TV in all cabins.THis state of the art property offers a -seven-night- tailor made itinerary to their clients.

Sanctuary M.S. Nile Adventurer is an intimate and luxurious haven, with 32 cabins, two presidential suites, two deluxe cabins and 28 standard cabins all air-conditioned, and have Nile views plus private bathrooms and LCD television with satellite. It has an upper sun deck with swimming pool, a shaded deck with an outdoor bar and a lounge bar terrace. It also hosts a library and game room with computer and Internet access, as well as a gymnasium, massage room, gift shop and laundry services. This cruise offers the same itinerary as Sun Boat IV.

Travco has a fleet of ships to cater for a variety of tastes.

Crown Jewel is a deluxe five-star vessel offering exquisite dining, beautiful surroundings and an extensive onboard entertainment programme, as well as easy access to the sights and scenery of the Nile and Upper Egypt. Accommodation is on full-board basis with a daily tea time service that includes snacks and cakes. Its 80 cabins have panoramic sliding windows (except on the lower deck) overlooking the Nile, and each provides ample private space as well as plenty of storage and wardrobe space.

The boat cruises between Luxor and Aswan (and vise versa) and offers seven and four night cruises. It has around-the-clock reception, Internet facilities, international telephone and fax services (charged for use) and a meeting space for conferences or large parties if the ship is fully chartered. Split over five-deck levels, it allows passengers to relax and soak up the sights and sounds of the Nile and true Egypt. In between exploring the wonders of Pharaonic Egypt and visiting perfectly preserved temples and monuments in Luxor and Aswan, guests can enjoy head-to-toe massages, work on their tans on the copious sun deck and enjoy nightly music performances in the lounge.

The swimming pool and pool bar are located on the large sun deck that runs the entire length of the ship, and is dotted with parasols and loungers. A beauty salon opens twice a week in Aswan and Luxor, and other services include Internet access.

Crown Prince offers five-star comfort and facilities in a modern and self-contained cruise vessel. Accommodation is on full-board basis with a daily tea time service that includes delicious snacks and cakes. It features 80 cabins divided among four of the five decks of the ship, and its eateries serve local and international cuisines, drinks and snacks around the clock. The boat cruises from Luxor and returns via Dendera, offering a seven-night cruise.

Jaz Minerva is a comfortable home base to explore the same route the Pharoahs would have taken in their stately processions along the Nile from Luxor to Aswan. The five-star cruise ship offers luxurious cabins, a delectable cuisine and a variety of entrainment and recreation on board. This floating luxury hotel features around-the- clock reception service as well as Internet access.

It features 73 large double cabins, two single cabins and two luxury suites. Guests who book the suites receive a complementary stationery set, slippers, luxury bathrobes embroidered and a departure souvenir logbook. Accommodation is on a full-board basis with daily tea time service including snacks and cakes, while a large, sumptuous lounge and bar serves drinks and snacks all day. Drinks are also served at the pool bar on the sun deck by the freshwater swimming pool. The beauty salon opens on request twice weekly in Luxor and Aswan.

The boat sails between Luxor and Aswan on a seven-day trip and a three-day cruise from Aswan to Luxor.

Jaz Omar El Khayam is one of Travco's most spacious and modern vessels dedicated to cruising Lake Nasser. It offers four royal suites, eight grand suites and 68 cabins, all luxuriously furnished and equipped with the latest in entertainment systems. The ship has many facilities, including a billiard room, large sundeck with pool, Jacuzzi and pool bar, in addition to the Cleopatra Spa and health club with three individual massage rooms.

The vessel is among the few operating on Lake Nasser, with an itinerary that includes a four- night trip from Aswan to Abu Simbel and a three- night trip from Abu Simbel back to Aswan.

The Oberoi Zahra luxury cruiser is consist with the Oberoi Hotels & Resorts' tradition of offering the highest standards of hospitality, and is amongst the most spacious accommodation on the Nile. It sails on a seven-day itinerary from Luxor to Aswan (and vice versa), allowing guests the opportunity to leisurely discover 5,000 years of Egyptian culture. The boat offers 25 luxury cabins tastefully fitted with timber floors and elegant interiors. Large windows in the cabins and cabin bathrooms offer panoramic views of the Nile. It is also home to two spacious luxury suites with separate living rooms, private terraces and Jacuzzi.

The vessel also houses four therapy rooms/ massage suites as well as a swimming pool, gymnasium, theatre, library and cigar lounge. Each therapy room features a private shower and steam room, uninterrupted views of the Nile, rejuvenating treatments and the finest natural products for the perfect experience. Zahra operates seven nights cruise trips every Tuseday from Aswan-Luxor and vice versa.

Sonesta Nile Cruises has three operational Nile cruises, plus a fourth currently under renovation. Sonesta also has a dahabiya (houseboat), that sails every Saturday for seven nights from Aswan or Luxor depending on the sailing schedule. Meanwhile, the Nile Goddess and the Sonesta Star Goddess operate every Monday for four nights from Luxor and every Friday for three nights from Aswan. The Sonesta Moon Goddess sails every Tuesday for four nights from Aswan and every Saturday for three nights from Luxor.

Al-Amira Dahabiya Nile Cruise is a small yet luxurious cruise boat offering a spectacular opportunity for an extended family or small groups to discover Egypt on a private cruise. There are 10 well furnished luxury cabins available with teak interior and parquet floors, and houses a comfortable salon, spacious sundeck, oriental-style Jacuzzi and a bar in the centre. There is also a restaurant and an exclusive lounge bar on board. All cabins feature panoramic views, individual climate control, plasma televisions, bathroom with full amenities, and a private terrace.

Daily guided excursions take guests to Upper Egypt landmarks along the Nile, including Karnak Temple, Luxor Temple, Valley of the Kings, Edfu Temple, Esna Temple, Kom Ombo Temple, the twin temples of Abu Simbel and the Philae Temple. This boat is recommended for families or self-formed groups who prefer a private, self- tailored Nile cruise experience.

Al-Nabilatan Nile Cruise is one of the Cruise Queen Nabila fleet (Ramses King of the Nile, Queen of Sheba, King of Thebes and Al-Nabilatan). It is a five-star deluxe boat, and Germanischer Lloyd registered. It has 62 luxurious cabins and four private suites. There is also a grand lounge with fully equipped bar, a sun deck, swimming pool, Jacuzzi, gym, as well as massage service.

Cruise programmes are seven nights from Luxor and back; four nights from Luxor to Aswan; and three nights from Aswan to Luxor.

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