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Nile Cruses - 2021-LowResSpreads

Published by colmad, 2021-11-22 10:43:51

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Introduction Overview partnerships with leading suppliers which we can then pass on to our customers. 1. Who are we? As part of the Midcounties Travel Consortium (ABTA number is P8314) your holiday finances are fully Nile Cruises 4u specialise in arranging Nile Cruises protected. Something to seriously consider in light and tailor-made holidays to Egypt. of recent financial and climatic developments. Both Barbara and Colin have cruised the Nile them- We are Nile Cruise specialists who have travelled selves on various ships and their enthusiasm for this extensively in Egypt and who continue to visit this wonderful country and for the whole concept of Nile wonderful country both for pleasure and on busi- cruising led them to create Nile Cruises 4u. ness to keep up-dated on the ships, hotels and services that we offer. 2. What we do Nile Cruises 4u are specialists in organising various types of Nile Cruise holidays. From straightforward 7-night Nile cruises aboard a whole selection of vessels from cosy 4-star’s to the most luxurious of 5 Star Deluxe ships to a complete series of “Nile Cruise and Stay” arrangements. Barbara at the Great Pyramid You may wish to combine your Nile Cruise with a visit to Cairo before or after your cruise so that you Barbara and Colin at the Tomb of can experience the wonders of the Pyramids or the Tutankahmun Sphinx. We can offer you the chance to do this by adding a further 3 nights to your 7-night Nile Cruise The company is owned and operated by Barbara and Colin Maddocks who, between them, have Nile Cruises 4u over 60 years experience of working within the travel industry both in travel sales and in travel edu- cation. Barbara and Colin also spent 10 years as Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in Travel and Tourism at City of Liverpool Community College.  Colin is also a win- ner of several travel industry technology awards. Nile Cruises 4u is a part of Midcounties Travel Con- sortium, and as such we have access to some of the best prices available within the UK and have strong 2

or we can arrange for you to take a 4-night Nile Cruises 4u are a member of the Midcounties Trav- Cruise with a further 3 nights in Cairo. This last ar- elConsortium. ABTA number P8314.m rangement allows you to experience the highlights of Ancient Egypt within a one-week trip. Book with Confidence: Or you may wish to add an extra week to the end of your cruise in Luxor, El Gouna, Hurghada or Sharm El If you are going to book a Nile Cruise then we would Sheikh so that you can relax and enjoy the fabulous recommend that you only book with an agent or Red Sea resorts which boast unbeatable weather supplier that can prove to you that they are a com- and some fabulous 5-star resort hotels. pany of substance with strong financial backing who Or we can arrange for you to do all of that within a are fully ABTA and ATOL licensed and who’s staff 15-day holiday. That would include a 7-night Nile have an in-depth knowledge of the destination that Cruise, 3 nights in Cairo and 4 nights on the Red you are planning to visit. Sea. A fabulous holiday that combines Ancient and Modern Egypt at its’very best. Nile Cruises 4u has all of those elements in place We can also arrange “cruise only” bookings for those and our staff have cruised the Nile themselves and can advise you, from personal experience, on how to travellers who may live overseas and who will make organise and enjoy your trip. their own way to Luxor or Cairo.  We have done this There are other companies who are selling Nile on many occasions for clients from many countries Cruises but in these times of economic uncertainty around the world. Nile Cruises 4u and The Midcounties Travel Con- We also offer 3, 4, and 5 day Nile cruises for those cli- sortium are a solidly established company that can ents who are limited in time.  However, this requires offer you true financial security and peace of mind. clients to fly from London Heathrow on scheduled Other companies may not have these levels of secu- airlines. rity in place. In short, we can offer you a range of choices and If you would like to know more about why your arrangements to suit your budget and your time money and holiday is totally secure with Nile Cruis- schedule. es 4u please feel free to call either Barbara or Colin on the dedicated FREEPHONE number 0808 1089 3. Why you should book with us 100.   In the current climate of financial and climatic un- certainty we would like to re-emphasise that Nile 3 Nile Cruises 4u

Why Take A Nile Cruise? 1. Why take a Nile Cruise? Julius Caesar, Napoleon, Kitchener and Montgom- 2. What are the ships like? ery?  All of whom came to Egypt. Cleopatra and Florence Nightingale were also here Why take a Nile Cruise? and Verdi composed and conducted Aida at the opening celebrations of the Suez Canal in 1869. A night visit to Kom Ombo Or do the very names of the cities of Egypt such as Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and Aswan have a ring of If, like me, you spend a lot of time on the Internet history and tradition tracing human civilisation for you will often read articles with headings such as over 5000 years? “My Top 10 Travel Destinations”, or “50 Things To Do What of the mighty River Nile itself?  The world’s Before I Die”.  second longest river has shaped the character of More often than not those articles will include the the country and its’ people over the ages.  It was the wish to...”take a Nile Cruise”.  place where they first used the first tape to mark Why is it that so many people are fascinated by the land claims and called the process Geometry and imagery, history and mystery of Ancient Egypt?  where they invented the solar calendar of 12 months Is it because it’s one of the oldest civilisations in the of thirty days.  Indeed the first recorded date in world? Or because we have heard so much about world history, 4241 BC, is Egyptian. the ”boy king” Tutankahmun and seen so many 4241 BC!!! Can you comprehend that date and how images and artefacts from his tomb in the Valley of long ago it was? the Kings?  Perhaps we have simply been fascinated In the 19th century it became fashionable for aris- since childhood by the images of the Sphinx or the tocrats from Europe to visit Egypt and they would Pyramids?  Baffled by just what Egyptian hieroglyph- cruise on their “dahabiyyas” - beautiful Arab sailing ics mean?  Caught up in the story of Cleopatra, boats.  We can still book you a wonderful Nile cruise Queen of Egypt? on a dahabiyya by the way.  They are a bit more Or is it that the very “sound” of the phrase “a Nile expensive than a normal Nile cruise. (Just call us on Cruise” conjures up images of Alexander the Great, Freephone 0808 1089 100 and we’ll give you all 4 the details). Today the Upper Nile is one of the world’s most visited destinations but it is still a wondrous place to visit and a cruise will allow you to enjoy a journey of discovery and visit some of Egypt’s finest ancient monuments along the banks of the Nile including those at Edfu, Kom Ombo, Aswan, The Valley Of The Kings and The Valley Of The Queens at Luxor. Nile Cruises 4u

Dahabiyya “Lara” out for miles!!). Then, after freshening up and having a leisurely lunch, you’ll be up on the sun So much to see. deck relaxing on your sun bed or taking a cool- So much to experience. ing dip in the pool whilst your cruise ship may be Such a luxurious way to do it. sailing leisurely down the Nile. After a relaxing However a Nile Cruise is so much more than a con- afternoon on board you’ll get ready for dinner ventional holiday. in the ship’s restaurant and then enjoy a relax- On our Nile Cruise Blog I wrote a post entitled “Why ing evening in the lounge, enjoying one of the Take A Nile Cruise“. Here’s what I said: evenings of entertainment or sitting out under “I thought I’d try and put a few points across as to the stars on the sun deck enjoying a cool drink why you would enjoy cruising the Nile. So here and chatting to new found friends. The perfect goes… combination of “activity” and “relaxation”. • It’s a great mix of “activity” and “relaxation. Often • It’s very sociable. I liken taking a Nile Cruise to taking a skiing or snowboarding holiday. What? you hear people saying, “I’m not a beach-type I hear you say. Well, if you’ve ever taken a winter person”, or “I cant’ stand just lying on the beach”, sports holiday you’ll remember that on the first or “I need to be out doing something”. Well a Nile and second day, when your in your ski lessons Cruise is really an ideal solution. Why? Because you’ll end up falling over and being helped up it’s almost a perfect mix of the two. Each morn- by the “stranger” next to you. Or, you’ll do the ing of your cruise you’ll have the option to leave same when he or she falls over. Within a short the ship just after breakfast to take one of the while you’re talking away to each other and “built-in” excursions to explore and find out other class members who’ve fallen over too. By more about the various temples, archaeological the next day you’re all on friendly terms and sites or tombs that, over the week, will help you are chatting away with each other. Well, a Nile build up the fascinating picture that is “ancient Cruise excursion is pretty much like that, with- Egypt”. Most excursions will last for 3 or 4 hours out the falling over!! Your boarding the mini-bus and you’ll return to the ship invigorated and or coach together, your walking around the exercised, both mentally and physically. (Don’t’ temples and sites together, your listening to the worry you wont’ be climbing hills and striding Egyptologist together, your asking each other what the Egyptologist said if you’ve’ missed a bit. In other words you’re mixing without realising it. And, of course when you get back on board the ship you are on nodding, if not chatting terms with a lot of your fellow cruisers. Couple that with the fact that you will probably be sharing a table with some of your fellow cruisers and you’ll soon find that your part of a very sociable bunch of people. If you want it to be like that. Obvi- ously there are some of us who are very private people and like to keep ourselves to ourselves, but, for those that want it to be, a Nile Cruise is a very sociable experience. I also think its’ particu- larly good for anyone travelling on their own for those very reasons mentioned above. • If you’re fascinated by Ancient Egypt, then it goes without saying that you will have a marvel- lous time and you will learn so much, without realising it, about that mysterious and wondrous Nile Cruises 4u 5

civilization. You will also learn this from a fully 2. What are the Nile Cruise ships qualified Egyptologist. An Egyptologist who, like? usually, is great with people as well as being able to put across his or her extensive knowledge in Barbara on the Royal Viking an enjoyable and effective sundeck in Aswan way. Over the days you’ll start to see where things, There are various grades of Nile Cruise ships avail- events, people, buildings, able to you you will be able to read more about the Pharaohs and Queens, etc, various options open to you when you visit our Nile fit into place and you’ll be Cruises 4u website.  astonished at what you’ve There are many Nile cruise ships and prices vary con- learnt without trying. Of siderably depending on the levels of comfort and course, for those travellers luxury and the features and facilities offered. Most who already have knowledge people will cruise on a 5 Star ship such as the Vi- of Ancient Egypt a Nile Cruise king Princess, the MS. Tulip or the Steigenberger is a way to bring it all to life Legacy to name just three. and actually visit the places However even the 5 Star Nile cruise ships can vary and sites that you have read greatly and it’s best to speak to a Nile cruise special- about. ist before deciding on which ship to choose. Try and • It’s great value. A Nile Cruise is find a travel consultant has actually cruised the Nile. really excellent value in terms Nile cruising is a specialist area and very different of what you will actually re- from ocean-going cruising so you need to speak to a ceive for your money. Imagine specialist to ensure that you book the ship that will travelling to Egypt, a flight of a best suit your needs. round 5 hours, enjoying a full board or all inclu- TIP: When trying to choose the best Nile cruise ship for sive 8 day cruise down the mighty River Nile with you, remember to take into account that once you are the services of a fully qualified Egyptologist with on board there is almost nothing else to spend your 3 evenings of entertainment thrown in, from prices starting around £600 upwards, depending Nile Cruises 4u on which ship you decide to travel on and what offers are available when you book. That’s great value especially when you look at what else your money will buy you “holiday-wise”. • It’s a unique and unforgettable experience. There aren’t many travel experiences that you can undertake so easily and in such comfort that matches a Nile Cruise. You will long remember seeing your first sunset over the Nile or you’re experiencing the majesty of The Valley Of the Kings or the Temple Of Luxor, at the same time trying to imagine how these wonders were con- structed all that time ago without the benefit of mechanical aids. You truly will look in wonder. These are just a few of the reasons I think you should take Nile Cruise. I’m sure there are many more. 6

money on. So you don’t’ need a pocket full of spend- with a full length opening panoramic window and ing money. That way you might be able to spend a bit Juliette balcony. more on your choice of ship. Like everything in life you get what you pay for. Most people will probably only The standard cabins measure approximately 23.5 book a Nile cruise once in their lives. It’s a fabulous square metres all with private bathroom and shower, experience so why not choose the best ship you can hairdryer, complimentary toiletries, LCD Plasma TV afford. The “best ship” is not always the most expensive plus an individual safe, mini-bar. but that’s why you need to speak to a real Nile cruise As I mentioned our cabin was mid-ships on the expert who can help you with your decision. middle deck and was beautifully decorated and fur- nished with a luxurious bathroom and fittings. Even You can see many of the ships that we sell on our the cotton sheets, pillows and beds were a treat to dedicated Nile Cruise Ships page on the main Nile sleep on and Ramadan, the ships owner, takes great Cruises 4u website. pride in how the Royal Viking and the Viking Princess are equipped, presented and maintained. You might choose to cruise on one of the wonder- ful superior and deluxe Nile Cruise ships such as Our cabin on board the Royal Viking the 5 Star Luxury Royal Viking, the 5 Star Deluxe Alexander the Great or the excellent Sonesta Star The main restaurant is located on the lower deck Goddess amongst a selection of luxury vessels. and offers a wonderful variety of international dishes We would be happy to advise you about the many whilst the lounge bar situated on the main deck is deluxe ships that are available. an ideal place to socialise and relax in the evening. To give you an overview of what you can expect 7 from your Nile Cruise vessel we’ll use the 5 Star Luxu- ry “Royal Viking“ as Barbara and I sailed on several occasions and had a wonderful time The Royal Viking 5 Star Luxury Barbara and I have had the pleasure of sailing on the Royal Viking several times and just loved the experi- ence. On one occasion we sailed on her for 4 nights in a middle deck cabin and then travelled up to Cairo and spent 3 nights at the excellent Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel, Giza, Cairo. You can read all about our trip in a later chapter.  We met the owner of the Royal Viking and Viking Princess ships whilst we were on board and he told us so much about the ships and how they are oper- ated and maintained. Again, you can read all about this in later chapters. The Royal Viking is an elegant 5 Star luxurious Nile cruise ship which offers excellent facilities and accommodation and you would have an ex- cellent time sailing on her. Accommodation: All of the spacious and modern 68 cabins and suites are located over three decks and are air-conditioned Nile Cruises 4u

Royal Viking restaurant Facilities onboard include: The spacious sun deck located on the upper deck • Restaurant with its wooden sun beds and rattan furniture pro- • Lounge bar vides a relaxing place to sit and enjoy the views of • Gift shop the Nile. There is a plunge pool and bar areas offer- • Laundry service ing drinks for all to enjoy. • Sundeck • Plunge pool Barbara on the Royal Viking sundeck • Poolside bar There is also three evening of entertainment in- cluded in the full seven-night itinerary and we had a great time and met a whole bunch of new friends during our time on board. Dress Code: We are often asked about what clothes to take on a Nile cruise. On the Royal Viking it’s suggested that lightweight and informal summer clothes are best throughout the day and when on excursions and in the evening it’s basically “smart casual”. You certainly don’t’ need to dress up as if you were at the “captain’s table” on an ocean-going cruise. No ties or jackets or long dresses required. Dining: We really enjoyed the selection and choice of in- ternational and oriental food on our cruise and couldn’t’ fault the attention and service of the res- taurant staff. Food is offered buffet style but there are plenty of waiters to help and assist and to offer you a choice of refreshments. The Royal Viking is a 5 Star Luxury ship but we can offer you many other 4 & 5 Star Nile Cruise ships. What about a 4 Star Cruise? If you are on a more restricted budget there are a range of 4 Star ships that can be booked too such as the 4 star MS. Fleurette which offers a full board and 10 excursion package. Nile Cruises 4u 8

The MS. Fleurette is a slightly smaller than normal Nile cruise ship that carries just 93 passengers we have had many satisfied passengers who have sailed on her over the years. You can read two excellent testimonials from previous Fleurette passengers on our Nile Cruise Testimonials page on the main Nile Cruises 4u website. Full Board or All Inclusive?  We can offer a number of ships on an All Inclusive and can see these ships on our Nile Cruise Ships page on the main Nile Cruises 4u website. So what’s the difference and what do we recom- mend? Well the concept of “All Inclusive” appears to be a peculiarly British one and it certainly is a great help if you are staying in a hotel with a family as it can save you a great deal of money and hassle if you have young children or teenagers with you. It’s also a great help if you wish to know that everything is “found” and you can’t’ run up any sort of bill. On the “flip-side” I would suggest that if you are only going to look at “All Inclusive” ships then you are missing out on a whole selection of excellent vessels that might suit your needs and expectation more. Remember that the only difference between All Inclusive and Full Board is the drinks that you will consume. When Barbara and I sailed on the Royal Viking we found the drinks were about “pub-price” in the UK. However, if you want to be certain in knowing exactly how much you are going to spend then you can take one of the “All Inclusive” packages. Nile Cruises 4u 9

So, the choice of All Inclusive or Full Board is really a personal one but I would emphasise that if you will only consider looking at All Inclusive ships then you are missing out on some excellent Nile cruise vessels that you might enjoy even more. Barbara and I would be pleased to tell you about the range of ships available and help you decide on the best ship for you. The “All Inclusive” MS. Stephanie What to expect 1. What will your Nile Cruise consist of? A ”typical” Nile Cruise will consist of a 2. Your Excursion Programme week’s cruise from Luxor to Aswan and return with a full programme of between 10 and 12 excursions 3. Remember This Is A River Cruise where you will be accompanied by a fully qualified 4. Entertainment Egyptologist to explain the origins, history and sig- nificance of the sites, temples and monuments that 1. What will your Nile Cruise consist you will visit. of? On board ship you will be accommodated in your own, normally two berth cabin with full en-suite facilities.  You will have your cabin serviced and cleaned by cabin boys assigned to your particular cabin. There are normally 3 to 4 decks and according to the price you have paid for your cruise this will deter- mine which deck you are on. Nile Cruise ships normally have a minimum of a large reception area, restaurant, lounge bar and a sun deck with plunge or swimming pool. Many boast other facilities such as gyms, spas, Jacuzzis, discos, wellness centres amongst other features. Nile Cruises 4u 10

2. Your excursion programme: 3. Remember this is a “River Cruise” In Chapter Six you will see the full details of a “typi- Barbara relaxes as the Royal Viking cal” Nile Cruise itinerary. sails As mentioned above you will usually have a 10 or 12 excursion programme depending on the ship you The reason we mention this is because you need to are cruising on. remember that you will not be cruising continually.  You will Morning cruises usually start quite early and you be stopping frequently to be able to access the various sites may leave the ship around 7.30 to 7.45am, after your and temples and so there will be times when your Nile cruise breakfast, to ensure that you miss the heat of the ship is moored up for periods. mid-day sun. It also means that there will also be times when there will be On occasion you might combine two excursions in other ships berthed right next to you, often several vessles one morning if you are visiting two sites that are abreast and you may have to walk through the reception reasonably close. areas of the other ships to go ashore. There are usually a number of “optional” excursions that you can chose to take and you will pay for these 4. Entertainment: as additional to the main excursions. These include: There are normally several evening’s entertain- • Abu Simbel ments laid on during your cruise. • Karnak Temple Sound & Light Show These may consist of a Nubian Dancers and Drum- • Hot air balloon trip over The Nile at sunrise mers Evening, Belly Dancing, Whirling Dervishers • Camel and horse riding NB.  If you are thinking of taking the Hot air balloon 11 excursion, which is great fun and a “one-off” experi- ence, or the camel and horse riding please make sure that you have an insurance policy that covers you for these types of activities because not all poli- cies do. Nile Cruises 4u

and a wonderful Arabian Evening or something wearing them for parties in the UK!!  (Well not every similar when guests are encouraged to attend in full party!). Egyptian costume. Even if you don’t’ take part you’ll still enjoy the eve- We took part in this when we last cruised and ning as its’ great fun. bought our outfits from a typical Egyptian clothes Most evenings we ended up sitting under the stars shop in Luxor.  Our whole outfits, including head- on the sundeck enjoying the warmth of the Egyptian dress cost about 7 British pounds and we’re still nights in a truly wonderful location. Our Nile Cruise and Cairo Trip A few years ago Barbara and I took a trip out to So here, with as many photographs and links to our Egypt to meet some of our main suppliers. videos that I can squeeze in is a report of our trip. At the same time we took the opportunity to take a 4-night Nile cruise on the Royal Viking Nile cruise Monday: ship followed by 2 nights at the Le Meridien Pyra- mids Hotel in Giza, Cairo which gave us the opportu- We arrived at the airport at 0545 for our 0600 check- nity to visit the Sphinx and the Pyramids. in. I’m a stickler for being on time and I’ve also This one week trip is one that we’ve arranged for learned that being at the front of the check-in queue scores of our clients but we felt it would be a great usually means that we can request almost any seat opportunity to do the trip ourselves to stay up-to- on the plane. In fact, we were able to get seats in date. row two on th flight to Luxor. The flight took around 4 and a half hours and al- though the plane was full the service was excellent and the crew couldn’t’ have been more helpful. A personal tip: We always arrive at the check-in desk about 15 to 20 minutes before the check-in time and always manage to get the seats we want saving a for- tune in pre-booked seats. On arrival at Luxor Airport we were met by the “Meet and Greet” staff from our ground arrangement agents in Egypt who took our passports from us and arranged the issue of our visas for us saving us queuing up with the rest of the passengers from the flight. This meant we were able to collect our bag- gage and be out of the airport and onto our transfer vehicle in no time at all. Nile Cruises 4u 12

Within 15 minutes we were walking up the gang- plank to board the excellent 5 Star Deluxe Royal Viking Nile cruise ship and what a great impression we had when we boarded the ship for the first time. The Royal Viking Royal Viking Cabin The Royal Viking is a 5-star deluxe vessel and the That evening we met our table mates who we were initial impression as we entered the reception deck to share our table with in the restaurant. There were only confirmed that. The ship is beautifully fitted six of us in all and over the next few days we found and maintained and the reception staff were wel- them great company and of course we had plenty coming, friendly and very professional. In no time at of shared experiences to talk about as we travelled all we had checked in and our bags were being car- to the sites and temples together. One of the great ried for us up to our middle deck cabin number 301. things about a Nile cruise is that it can be as sociable as you want it to be and for that reason it’s a great The Royal Viking cabins are really quite luxurious holiday for anyone travelling on their own. with wood floors and panelled walls, flat screen TV, fitted wardrobes/storage, dressing table, etc. The Royal Viking Restaurant floor to ceiling windows open to a “Juliette balcony”. That means it is a very shallow balcony of no more The restaurant is beautifully appointed and deco- than a few inches with a rail at waist height to stop rated with friendly yet professional staff who made you falling into the Nile! I also can confirm from a us very welcome. One of the great things about the personal point of view that the bed was one of the catering on the Royal Viking and her sister ship the most comfortable I have slept in. Lovely Egyptian Viking Princess is exceptional attention to hygiene cotton sheets and pillow cases. and food preparation. You will notice a large and prominent certificate at the entrance that details the fact that the levels of Nile Cruises 4u 13

food prep and hygiene precautions have met the Tuesday: highest of UK standards and that the ship is subject to very regular visits and examination by a lead- After an early breakfast we gathered in the reception ing UK food standards company. You will also be area with the other British guests waiting to take to asked to wash your hands with the anti-bacterial the air-conditioned coach that was to take us on our liquid soap using the dispenser located right at the first mornings’ excursion to the Valley of the Kings, restaurant doorway. This is vigorously adhered to the Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir El-Bahri. It was by the restaurant reception staff and applies each probably a 20 minute drive across to the West Bank time you come in or out of the restaurant. We have of the Nile. Last time we crossed the Nile by small travelled on other Nile cruise ships and were most boat but on this occasion we drove which was a little impressed. Later in our cruise we were taken “be- more relaxing. hind-the-scenes” in the kitchens by the ships safety and hygiene director and were shown the stringent precautions and methods used in the food prepara- tion areas. The restaurant’s Hygiene and The Valley of the Kings is the pharaohs started Safety Certificate placing their tombs after they got fed up with the Pyramids being looted by robbers and thieves. It After an excellent meal and a glass (or two!) of Egyp- was suggested that as an alternative they could use tian wine we “retired to bed” as we had an early start this mountain west of the Nile as a natural pyramid, next morning. something the rulers believed they needed to be buried in if they were to reach heaven. It is thought that up to more than 100 tombs are inside including all the pharaohs of the 18th – 20th dynasties. Just sixty four have been found to date. Of course the most famous is Tutankhamun, the boy-king. His tomb remained hidden for centu- ries. The reason being that robbers of the adjacent tombs of Ramses V and VI moved all the rock from those tombs on top of his. Until in 1922 a young water-carrier stumbled on a step which led to the tomb. Then the British archaeologist Howard Carter declared there was nothing else to find in the valley. Of course they are still digging and finding right up to the present day and experts believe only 30% of ancient Egypt’s monuments have yet been found. Nile Cruises 4u 14

At the tomb of Tutankhamun After exploring the Valley of the Kings we were taken by coach to the Valley of the Queens and the beauti- We visited Tutankhamun’s tomb after listening to a fully preserved Valley of the Nobles. Our visit includ- comprehensive explanation of the history of the val- ed the Temple of Hatshepsut, one of the few ruling ley from our guide Osama. We had visited the Valley Queens of Ancient Egypt. of the Kings before but still found the whole concept magical and mind-stretching. All of the treasure from Tutankhamun’s tomb has been taken to Cairo so the tombs of Ramses IX and VI were more impressive with their vivid coloured paintings and hieroglyphics. You can see the various symbols cropping up on the walls. The snakes that signify protection from enemies. The Scarab beetles that symbolise the rising sun. Owls because they can see in the dark. Colin at the Temple of Hatshepsut One of the Colossi of Memnon Nile Cruises 4u 15

On the way back we stopped to view the Colossi of Barbara and the ship’s owner, Memnon, a pair of giant statues of Amenhotep III Ramadan that each weigh more than 700 tons and stand 19.5 meters tall. They are representations of the pharaoh Around 4.30pm we were delighted to meet the Roy- sitting on a cubic throne. Next to his leg stands his al Viking’s owner, Mr. Ramadan Haggagi. Mr. Hagga- mother, Mut Em Wiya. The throne bases are adorned gi has worked on the Nile for many, many years and with depictions of the Nile running through Upper is a leading light in the Egyptian tourism industry. Egypt to the Delta with papyrus and lotus plants He has worked with UK companies and travellers for engravings that symbolise the unity of Egypt. a long time and knows exactly what travellers from What strikes you when you look at the Colossi and the UK are looking for and I think in the two ships when you are at the Temples is that the Ancient that he currently operates the Royal Viking and the Egyptians were constructing these amazing build- Viking Princess he’s got it just right. ings, tombs and statues by hand. They had no Around 6.00pm we left the sundeck to get ready for “heavy plant”, no “pneumatic drills” or “bulldozers”. dinner. The handy thing about the Royal Viking is So how on earth did they do this? As I said earlier that whilst Barbara was showering and dressing for when you look around at the size of all this it’s mind- dinner I could watch the English channels on the stretching. flat-screen TV that sits on the wall at the bottom of After our first morning we then drove back to the the very comfortable bed. Of course within a few Royal Viking to freshen up and then have lunch. minutes of TV watching I was fast asleep only to be As I mentioned earlier Barbara and I found the res- wakened by Barbara who was ready to go to dinner! taurant staff really friendly and the food excellent. TIP: The dress code on the Royal Viking and most Obviously these things are subjective but I would other Nile cruise ships is relaxed and casual and there be very surprised if anyone was disappointed by the is no need for collar and tie for the gentlemen or long selection and the standard of the food on board. dresses for the ladies. During lunch you can wear Once we had eaten we then spent the afternoon up shorts and t-shirts and the like. Over dinner the dress on the sundeck. As you reach the sundeck you are code is “smart casual”. given a fresh beach towel and there are more than When you first go to the restaurant the head waiter enough sun-beds available for clients. I’m not a will assign you to a table, usually of about 6 people. great one for sunbathing so while Barbara stretched That table will be your table for the duration and out in the sun I found a comfortable couch in the as you have all been out on the morning’s excur- shade and ordered a nice cool beer. With my iPod sion together it doesn’t’ take long before you all get and my book I relaxed and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the Nile as we sailed on through the lock Nile Cruises 4u at Esna and on to Edfu some 3 or 4 hours later. The great thing about sailing the Nile is that “all of life” can be seen on the banks. You will see people at work, people relaxing, children playing and swim- ming, women washing clothes and much more. You will also see the diverse wildlife and birdlife that inhabits the Nile and I would recommend that you take a good pair of binoculars with you. 16

to know each other which makes for nice, relaxing der of his father. meal times. Two huge statues of Horus as a falcon guard the The food is served buffet-style with a wide choice massive facing wall, 30 meters high, decorated with of hot and cold dishes which you take back to your enormous gruesome reliefs of Ptolemy XII holding table. However the waiters are on hand to help you his enemies by their hair in front of Horus, about to and to clear away the table after each course and the smash their skulls. Nice, eh? wine waiter is there to serve you drinks and refresh- ments. Colin at Edfu After dinner and a relaxing drink in the lounge we headed for bed as it had been a long day and we Edfu is the second biggest temple after Karnak yet, wanted to be fresh for the morning. incredibly, it was hidden for centuries by sand blown Just for information: The cost of drinks on board in from the desert and a village was built on top of the Deluxe Royal Viking when we travelled (was: A the sand. It’s a fascinating story that your Egyptolo- whisky was 35 Egyptian Pounds, Gin, Vodka, Rum was gist will tell you about. It was as late as 1860 before 30 Egyptian Pounds and a beer was between 25 to a Frenchman, Auguste Mariette, found it when he 30 Egyptian Pounds depending on brand. Soft drinks spotted a few metres of wall sticking out and it took such as coke were 15 Egyptian Pounds and a large nearly 46 years to uncover. However the centuries water was 10 Egyptian Pounds. The Egyptian Pound under the sand has left Edfu one of the best pre- at the time was about 10 to 1 English Pound. So prices served temples in Egypt. were about “pub-price” over here. Prices may well have We visited the Perfume Room where the hieroglyphs changed now. on the wall list the recipes. We also visited the Pas- sage of Victory with its’ gory battle scenes between Wednesday: Horus and Seth, depicted as a hippo, which ends with priests devouring a hippo-shaped cake. After sailing through the night we woke to find ourselves in We had a wonderful Egyptologist/Guide, Osama, the town of Edfu, home of the second largest temple after with us throughout and he explained so much and Karnak, which took 180 years to build. Today’s excursion brought the stories alive. wasn’t’ an early one so we were able to have a relaxed break- fast and we left for Edfu Temple at 0930. The temple, made of sandstone, is dedicated to Horus the falcon god, son of Osiris. It is also one of Egypt’s best preserved. The highlights are the imposing Hypostyle Hall and the birth house. Edfu is known as the city of killing because it was where Horus defeated Seth, his uncle, to avenge the mur- Nile Cruises 4u 17

After returning to the ship we freshened up a then Back on board it was time to prepare for the Gala- it was down to the Royal Viking excellent restaurant beya Party. A galabeya is Egyptian national dress for a leisurely lunch. With a glass of chilled white and it’s a chance for any guests who want to dress as wine for Barbara and a bottle of Egyptian beer for Egyptians over dinner and then in the lounge for an me, lunch was both relaxing and delicious. We en- evening of fun. Barbara and I have done this before joyed great food throughout our cruise. on previous cruises and always enjoy the evening so After lunch the ship set sail for Aswan, a journey of we had brought our costumes with us. You can buy approximately 10 hours and Barbara and I went up a full outfit very cheaply on one of the stops along to the sundeck to relax and watch the varied local the cruise if you ask your Egyptologist and ours had life on the river and its’ banks. At 4.00pm each after- cost about £7.50 each about three years earlier. noon “afternoon tea” is served with cake and biscuits However, you can hire costumes really cheaply from which is a lovely touch and takes a “hungry Horace” the shop on-board and we found the staff in the like me through to dinner. shop really friendly and helpful when I was trying in During the afternoon we met Ramadan, the ship’s vain to put on my headdress. owner, again and he told us more about the Royal Vi- king and the excellent 5 star Viking Princess. He also told us that most of his employees had been with the company for many, many years and that Obama, our Egyptologist had been with him from the start of the company. During the journey to Aswan the ship stopped at the spectacular temple of Kom Ombo and we disem- barked to visit this wonderful site. Kom Ombo Temple at dusk Barb looking serious in her Galabeya Kom Ombo is a “double” temple built during the It looks really great as guests arrive at the restaurant Ptolemaic dynasty and we saw the “crocodile mum- in full Egyptian costume. Not everyone wants to mies” and what are thought to be the first surgical instruments. Nile Cruises 4u 18

join in but the majority do and many of the women which was manned by a seasoned Nile captain and guests looked really beautiful in their outfits. Not his 10 year old grandson. Both the 60+ year old too sure about what I looked like but after a glass of grandfather and his tiny grandson threw themselves beer or two I didn’t’ really mind. around the vessel ensuring that the sails were up After dinner we all retired to the lounge and the and pointing correctly and we felt very safe in their three nationalities on board, (our trip consisted hands. It was also noticeable that our felucca was of British, Spanish and French guests), competed one of the few that insisted that we all wore our life- against each other in a series of crazy Egyptian jackets that we had brought with us from the Royal games. Great fun and really funny even for those Viking. guests who didn’t’ want to dress up. Sadly for us Brits the Spanish won. Sounds familiar to us football Our captain fans! During the evening the ship sailed on to Aswan as As we sailed across the Nile lots of white sailed boats we eat, drank and partied. plied back and forth to the exotic island that was given to Lord Horatio Kitchener in the 1890’s for his Thursday: part in the Sudanese campaigns. A keen gardener, Kitchener turned his island home into a botanical This morning our fellow guests visited the High garden, importing exotic plants and trees which Dam at Aswan, the Old Granite Quarries and the flourished in the Aswan climate. Unfinished Obelisk. Barbara and I had taken these Barbara and I enjoyed a leisurely stroll around the excursions before and, as we had a business meeting island and, when we were ready to meet up with our to attend, we didn’t’ join our fellow travellers on this party we reached the little harbour area where we occasion. were to board our felucca once again. It was quite The Unfinished Obelisk lies on the ground and is a sight with the various stall holders trying their the largest-known ancient obelisk. It was ordered hardest to sell the visitors their wares. Couple that by Queen Hatshepsut to celebrate her 16th anni- with the mass of feluccas and their sails flapping in versary on the throne but it was abandoned when the wind and it is an incredible sight. Barbara and I cracks appeared. If it had been finished it would stayed high above the scene in the cafe and took a have been around 120 feet high (!!) and would have series of photos, one of which you can see here. weighed nearly 1,200 tonnes. As I said earlier one of the things that really make you think is how on earth these massive “wonders” were created “by hand” with none of the high-tech machinery we have at our disposal today. It really takes your breath away when you see what was achieved. During our morning on board Barbara and I were taken on a tour of the Royal Viking’s kitchens where we were able to see at first hand the detailed prepa- rations and processes that are in place to ensure the highest standards of hygiene in food preparation and delivery. We also visited the Viking Princess and saw exactly the same systems and processes in place there too. After lunch with our fellow guests we then joined the party to visit Kitchener Island. To reach Kitchener Island we boarded a small felucca Nile Cruises 4u 19

Kitchener Island Quayside Aswan Domestic Airport looks to be almost brand new and is very cool and has a relaxing and calm After sailing back to the Royal Viking we had time atmosphere. It is light and airy with marble floors to get ready for dinner and the evening’s entertain- keeping everything cool. There was calming back- ment of Belly Dancers and Nubian Dancers and ground music playing and plenty of free seating for drummers. the number of passengers. All very different than our departure from Manchester. Nowadays air travel Friday: just seems to be a series of queues and a lot of rush- ing around. I have to say it was the complete reverse As we were flying up to Cairo today we had an early in the domestic terminals in Egypt. breakfast and, after saying goodbye to our fellow Our flight was eventually called and it was a pretty diners, we were collected by our transfer representa- full flight but even with a full compliment of passen- tives and driven over to Aswan Airport. gers there was no mad sense of urgency or rushing to board the plane. Everyone seemed to be “in a Aswan Airport – Cool and Calm!! good place”, calm and relaxed and we all made our way slowly and easily to board the plane. It was the Our flight was due to depart at 0955 so we reached same on board with fellow passengers allowing oth- the airport at around 08.45 in good time to check in, ers to pass them in the aisle and giving each other a go through security and spend a little time relaxing hand to get their “travel-on” luggage and belongings before our flight. into the overhead lockers. All together a very pleas- 20 ant experience and atmosphere. Our flight with EgyptAir took an hour and ten min- utes during which we were served non-alcoholic drinks and snacks by the crew and in no time at all we were starting our descent into Cairo Airport. The run-in to Cairo Airport takes you over the Pyra- mids, something we only realised when we attended the Sound and Light Show that evening. Unfortu- nately we were on the wrong side of the plane and didn’t’ notice. However our fellow passengers on the other side of the aisle would have had a brilliant “birds-eye” view of both the three Pyramids and the Sphinx. You can see a video of our flight approach and landing at Cairo on our “Videos” page on the main Nile Cruises 4u website. On landing and reaching the terminal it was only a short walk to the luggage carousel and our bags quickly appeared. As they did so the representative of our travel company in Egypt, Wakeed, was there to meet us and escort us to the waiting minibus that would take us to the Le Meridien. Wakeed was a really friendly chap and as we took the “by-pass” to Giza he explained to us how much easier it had become to reach the Pyramids and the Giza hotels now that the new road was completed that avoided Cairo city-centre. The road was pretty Nile Cruises 4u

clear and we had an uninterrupted journey to Giza lent. Roomy, modern and very comfortable with a of about 40 minutes. lovely spacious bathroom. We had decided against We can arrange accommodation at each of the a Pyramid view room as these are mainly in the front four hotels that are nearest to the Pyramids at Giza of the hotel and overlook a busy main road which which are the Movenpick Cairo Pyramids, the Sofitel we thought might keep us awake during the night Le Sphinx, (soon to become the Mercure I think), so our room overlooked some villas at the rear of the the Le Meridien Pyramids and the excellent Mena hotel. House Oberoi which is the nearest. Wakeed was kind enough to take us on a quick mini-tour of each Le Meridien Pyramids Reception of them before taking us to the Le Meridien where we were staying. All of the hotels are excellent At that point it was about 1.00pm so we decided establishments but if I were to choose without the we’d have a spot of lunch and then a little wander limitations of budget...I’d probably choose the Mena around the hotel. In the main lobby of the Le Me- House as it’s such a beautiful building in a lovely set- ridien there is a bar/bistro which overlooks the rest ting immediately opposite the Pyramids. of the reception area so we had a leisurely lunch As the new Egyptian Museum is due to open in late watching the comings and goings of guests from all 2022 at Giza, very near to The Great Pyramid, you over the world. The Meridien is a really busy cosmo- will be perfectly located at any of the nearby hotels politan hotel that is full of travellers of all nationali- to visit both the museum and The Pyramids when ties and it was great to hear the hubbub of different the new museum opens. languages and accents. Find out more about the new Egyptian Museum After lunch we wandered around the hotel and ex- here: plored the facilities including the shops, bars, restau- rant, and currency exchange amongst other things. Mena House Oberoi Reception We then wandered out to the extensive pool area with its’ view of the Pyramids in the background. Eventually we arrived at the Le Meridien Pyramids The pool has a lovely island coffer shop/cafe in the just a short drive from the Mena House and with middle of the pool which you reach by bridge and views of the Pyramids. Wakeed kindly helped us later on in our stay we had a lovely lunch listening check in and in no time at all we were unpacking in to some “live” jazz from a great band just a few feet our room on the 4th floor. away from us with the Pyramids as a backdrop. A Our room, which was a standard room, was excel- wonderful experience in a lovely setting. We decided that as we had an easy day today we’d Nile Cruises 4u book for the Sound and Light Show at the Pyramids 21

and as we hadn’t’ pre-booked this we asked at the Saturday: Concierge’s desk at the Meridien if they could ar- range that which they did at a cost of just £13 per We rose early and were enjoying breakfast in the restaurant person. We were told to meet in the hotel’s reception when my mobile phone rang with a call from Ahmed our at around 5.50pm when we’d be picked up for the guide for the day to let us know that he was in reception and 6.30pm performance. ready to go when we were. So, after a quick freshen up in Just before 6.30pm we gathered with 6 other guests our room, we introduced ourselves to Ahmed and our driver in reception and at exactly 6.30pm we were col- for the day, Mohamed. We had pre-booked the tour before lected by our guide for the evening and boarded we flew out but we didn’t’ realise that we would have our the air-conditioned mini-bus that would take us to own driver, guide and brand new air-conditioned mini-bus the Pyramids. On the way we collected a few other for the whole day. guests from the Mena House hotel and headed for Our day’s excursion was to include Memphis, Saqqara and the Pyramids. the Sphinx and Pyramids so as soon as we were aboard the mini-bus we were off through the streets of Giza and out When we reached the site the mini-bus weaved its way into the countryside towards Memphis. through a crowd of people and as we neared the seating Memphis is 20kms south of Cairo and was the ancient area we could see that it was totally full and so we imagined capital of the first “nome“ (administrative district) of Lower that our seats would be right at the back of the auditorium. Egypt. Its ruins are located near the town of Helwan, south You can imagine our surprise when, after leaving the mini- of Cairo. bus, we were guided right to the front-row and offered the Our guide, Ahmed, was a graduate of the American Univer- best seats in the house. I’m not sure if the hotels have an ar- sity of Cairo and, according to Barbara, looked like Denzel rangement and reserve these seats but whatever the reason Washington the movie star. He was very knowledgeable, we could not have picked a better position. friendly and explained everything enthusiastically. He obvi- I have been to one or two other Sound and Light shows but ously enjoyed his job. I have to say that this was a really atmospheric presentation. To hear the deep “Richard Burton-like” voice of the narrator Ahmed and Barbara at Memphis mixed with wonderful classical music with the Pyramids lit by lasers as the story unfolded is a truly memorable experi- This is what Wikipedia say about Memphis: ence that I would heartily recommend. “The city was founded by the pharaoh Menes around I mentioned earlier that the flights from Aswan fly directly 3000 BCE. Capital of Egypt during the Old Kingdom, it over the Pyramids so it was really eerily spectacular to see remained an important city throughout ancient Medi- the distant headlights of planes as they approached getting terranean history. It occupied a strategic position at bigger and bigger as they flew over the site. It’s strange mix of the ancient and modern. The presentation lasts about 45 minutes and at the end of it we walked slowly back through the crowds to our waiting mini-bus and our driver. As we drove back along the busy roads of Giza the “show” continued as we watched cars, trucks, horses, donkeys and camels (yes, camels!!) vie for space. Add to the kids and other pedestrians darting out across the road to the mix and you’ll have a picture of what driving is like in Giza in the evening. Crazy!! We ended our first day in Cairo with an excellent meal in the Meridien’s restaurant and had an early night as we were to be picked up at 8.30am the next morning for our full day’s tour of Giza and The Pyramids. Nile Cruises 4u 22

the mouth of the Nile delta, and was home to feverish Barbara at Saqqara and the Step activity. Its principal port, Peru-nefer, harboured a high Pyramid density of workshops, factories, and warehouses that distributed food and merchandise throughout the an- Here’s the Wikipedia entry for cient kingdom. During its golden age, Memphis thrived Saqqara: as a regional centre for commerce, trade, and religion. “Saqqara) is a vast, ancient burial ground serving as Memphis was believed to be under the protection of the god the necropolis for the Ancient Egyptian capital, Mem- Ptah, the patron of craftsmen. Its great temple, Hout-ka-Ptah phis. Saqqara features numerous pyramids, including (meaning “Castle of the ka of Ptah”), was one of the most prom- the world famous Step pyramid of Djoser, sometimes inent structures in the city. The name of this temple, rendered referred to as the Step Tomb due to its rectangular in Greek as Aί γυ πτoς (Ai-gy-ptos) by the historian Manetho, base, as well as a number of mastabas. Located some is believed to be the etymological origin of the modern English 30 km south of modern-day Cairo, Saqqara covers an name Egypt. area of around 7 km by 1.5 km. The history of Memphis is closely linked to that of the country At Saqqara, the oldest complete hewn-stone building itself. Its eventual downfall is believed to be due to the loss of complex known in history was built: Djoser’s step pyra- its economical significance in late antiquity, following the rise mid, built during the third dynasty. 16 other Egyptian of coastal Alexandria. Its religious significance also diminished kings have built pyramids at Saqqara, which are now after the abandonment of the ancient religion following the in various states of preservation or dilapidation. High Edict of Thessalonica. officials have added private funeral monuments to The ruins of the former capital today offer fragmented evidence this necropolis during the entire pharaonic period. It of its magnificent past. They have been preserved, along with remained an important complex for non-royal burials the pyramid complex at Giza, as a World Heritage Site since and cult ceremonies for more than 3,000 years, well 1979. The site is open to the public as an open-air museum. into Ptolemaic and Roman times”. We spent about an hour and a half at Memphis listening to Ahmed and after a short walk back to the mini-bus we were on our way to our second destination of the day Saqqara. Saqqara is the home of Egypt’s’ first Pyramids and here you will see the Step Pyramid, which is the oldest of the Pyra- mids. It’s also the first large construction in stone and in some ways the most awesome monument in Lower Egypt. Once again Ahmed was very knowledgeable and patiently explained the story behind the construction of the Step Pyramid. Nile Cruises 4u 23

Ahemd gave us plenty of time to wander around the At this point Ahmed told us to climb back into our site and its’ at those points when you get really close mini-bus, which had also entered the grounds, in to the monuments and pyramids that you get a true order that he could take us to the best vantage feel for the amazing feats of building skills that they point to take photographs and video. This was great really are. as if we had have been on our own we wouldn’t’ After leaving Saqqara we decided against stopping have known where to go to get these shots and we for lunch as our breakfast at the Le Meridien had wouldnt’ have had transport to get there. You can been pretty substantial and so we weren’t’ really from the photograph below that we were some dis- hungry. So we set with excitement to get our first tance from the Pyramids to get the best shots. glimpse of the mighty Sphinx and Pyramids. Some- thing we had only read about until this point. Most people who call us to book a Nile cruise are not really aware that Cairo is 447 miles from Luxor and a lot of people think that a Nile Cruise will allow them to visit the Sphinx and the Pyramids. So although a Nile Cruise will take you to wonderful sites and temples such as the Valley of the Kings and the Temple of Luxor, etc, etc, you have to visit Cairo to see the Pyramids. We offer various combinations of Nile cruises and Cairo trips but this was the first time we had visited Cairo so we were really looking for to the final part of our day’s excursion. As we approached the Pyramids we could see a lot of people milling about at the entrance and we thought that this might be the first time that we might have to wait around a little. Throughout the day Ahmed had ensured that we pretty much avoided any queuing at all. However in no time he had obtained our tickets (included in the overall excursion price) and we were through the entrance and in the grounds of the Pyramids that loomed large in front of us. Barbara and Colin at the Pyramids The amazing thing about actually being at the Pyramids is the realisation that the Great Pyramid is one of the original wonders of the world. When you stand where we were and look down on the three geometric monuments to the dead you cannot help but be amazed at the scale of them and wonder how on earth such huge structure were created, effec- tively by hand. After a short time taking photos and video Ahmed had our driver take us back to the main site and we Nile Cruises 4u 24

walked around the three Pyramids as he explained we went so it was quite busy with lots of Egyptian to us the history and significance of them. He was a families and teenagers who were enjoying a day out. really knowledgeable guide as you would expect but We found everybody really friendly and helpful and he was obviously vey proud of his country’s heritage so many people offered to take our photograph for and history and really brought things alive for us. us when they saw me aiming our camera at Barbara. At that point Ahmed suggested that we might want We also met a number of Egyptian students who to go into the Pyramid and down to one of the burial wanted to talk to us to practice their English lan- chambers. I’m afraid I chickened out, imagining it guage skills. might be a bit claustrophobic, but Barbara took him The atmosphere was really friendly and almost carni- up on the challenge and did so. She did admit it was val-like with lots of people taking camel or horse rides a bit of a squeeze and although she is quite small around the Pyramids as well as families taking horse- she had to stoop in places. Plus it was a bit claustro- drawn carriage rides. I think this was because of the phobic as I thought. Nonetheless she did it and can public holiday and I’m sure that on other days it would forever call me a chicken! have been a little quieter. However it was a good time to be there and to see so many local people still enjoy- ing something that was created so many hundreds of years ago. Barbara enters the Great Pyramid Barbara and the Sphinx After that Ahmed invited us to take a little time on Eventually it was time for us to return to the hotel our own to explore and so we spent about 30 min- and as we drove back to the Le Meridien Ahmed utes or so walking around the three Pyramids and continued to tell us more about the history of the also the Sphinx. It was a public holiday on the day Sphinx and the Pyramids. We had enjoyed a great day and had realised one of Nile Cruises 4u our travel ambitions in visiting the Pyramids and as we arrived back at the hotel we tried to give Ahmed and our driver a good tip to thank them for their kindness and their services but they wouldn’t’ take it saying that they were doing their job and tipping wasn’t’ necessary. I thought this was so nice consid- ering that a lot of people think that most people you come into contact with on these occasions just want 25

to get money from you. This clearly wasn’t the case singers and each musician was really talented so as here. we enjoyed our excellent meal with a glass of cool We had had a fascinating and really enjoyable day white wine we were able to listen to great music in and after a couple of hours relaxing in our room the open air with the Great Pyramid peeking over we walked over to the Sofitel Le Sphinx Hotel next the hedge in the distance. Magical. door where we had an excellent meal in their Italian Mid-afternoon and it was time for us to return to restaurant. Luxor for our flight back to Manchester the following As this was to be our last evening at the hotel we day. We were picked up around 3.00pm by Waheed came back to the Le Meridien and spent a couple and began our journey back to Cairo Airport. of hours in the reception bar watching the world I thought driving in London was scary but to drive go by including an Egyptian wedding party that in Cairo really does require nerves of steel or you spilled over into the reception. The bride and her will end up staying in the same place and getting bridesmaids looked stunning and her guests were nowhere. Luckily our driver was determined and obviously in a great mood and this created a lovely confident and we slowly made progress towards the atmosphere for the rest of us. airport despite being stuck in jams continually along the way. Wedding party at the Le Merdien Eventually we reached the domestic terminal at Cairo Airport and Waheed helped us check-in and Sunday: helped us with our luggage until we went through security and the departure lounge. He was a really Sunday was our day in Cairo and normally we would nice guy and nothing had been too much trouble suggest that our clients take the half day Cairo tour for him. Once again we found the whole process that takes in the Egyptian Museum and a visit to the of checking-in and getting ready for our flight very Khan El Khalili Bazaar but as we were in Egypt to calm and relaxing. Perhaps its’ a mixture of the large meet with some of our suppliers we had to miss that departure hall, the relaxing music and the marble and attend a business meeting instead. However, and granite buildings, but whatever it is it has a very after our meeting we were able to take a leisurely different feel that flying out of Heathrow. lunch at the Le Meridien. On arrival in Luxor we were met by our “Meet and Perhaps it was because it was a Sunday but at the Greet” representatives and driven back to Luxor Bistro Bar on the island in the middle of the swim- where we were staying at the Mercure Luxor over- ming pool there was an excellent band playing jazz night. The Mercure Luxor is since been renamed as and contemporary music. The band had two great the El Luxor and has been renovated too apparently. 26 However when we were there it wasn’t’ the best ho- tel we’d ever stayed in but the position was great for us as it was right on the Corniche where all the Nile cruise ships berthed and we were due to visit one or two ships the next morning. As we weren’t’ too impressed with the hotel we decided to eat that evening at the excellent Son- esta St. George Hotel which is located right on the banks of the Nile and we enjoyed an excellent meal in their restaurant. It is a really impressive hotel and we would have loved to have stayed there instead of returning to the Mercure but the meal made up for things and we really enjoyed the food and a few Egyptian beers to make up for it. Nile Cruises 4u

Monday: We can arrange a full week’s Nile Cruise and a further 3 nights in Cairo giving you a 10 night trip which we Next morning we awoke at the Mercure and re- arrange flying out from Heathrow. alised why the hotel had been built there in the first Or, there are one or two ships that have an optional place. The view from our window took in views of 1 day trip up to Cairo during their 1 week Nile cruise. the many Nile cruise ships berthed just across the You fly up early in the morning from Luxor, visit the road with the marvelous backdrop of the West Bank Sphinx and the Pyramids, have lunch and then visit across the Nile. Spectacular. the Egyptian Museum in Cairo before flying back to Sadly today was to be our last day and, after a the ship in the early evening. This option is depen- couple of meetings on a number of cruise ships we dent on demand and cannot be pre-booked but it were soon heading back to Luxor Airport to check in does give passengers an opportunity to visit Cairo. for our flight back to the UK. I hope this brief description of our own trip to Cairo We had had a marvelous time and even as we sat in has helped to whet your whistle and that you will the airport waiting for our flight we were planning consider visiting this wonderful and historic city. out next trip as there is so much more to see and do If you’d like to talk to us about out trip please fell free than you can take in during the short time we had. to call either Barbara or myself on our Freephone There are various options that you can take to number 0808 1089 100. We love talking about Nile combine a Nile cruise with a visit to Cairo. You can cruises and Egypt. do as we did and take a 1 week Nile Cruise and Cairo arrangement that includes a 4 night Nile Cruise and 3 nights in Cairo. Nile Cruises 4u 27

What’s a Nile Cruise Really Like? Overview Well, what better way to find out what to expect from a Nile Cruise than to read some recent testimo- 1. Introduction nials from some of our past clients who can tell you, 2. Client Testimonials in their own words, how they enjoyed their cruise 1. Introduction 2. Client Testimonials: Cruising the Nile MS Stephanie Nile Cruise and Jolie Ville Hotel, Luxor, Perhaps you’ve read a magazine or newspaper ar- ticle about cruising the Nile. I just wanted to drop a line to say how very, very Maybe you’ve seen a travel programme about Egypt pleased and impressed I was with my Nile cruise on and the Nile that intrigued you. the MS Stephanie. It may be that ever since you were told about An- The vessel, the food, the standard of accommoda- cient Egypt in school you’ve been fascinated with tion and the boat was so very good and the staff the whole subject. went out of their way to make everyone’s trip extra Or perhaps you’ve heard from a friend or colleague enjoyable.  The organisation was superb and great what a fantastic time they had on their Nile cruise consideration was given by all the staff to make the and you promised yourself you’d find out more whole trip the best. about it. Both our guides on the excursions, Waheed and George, were so knowledgeable and so helpful, 28 making every excursion an adventure and a delight. Peter Barnett gets singled out for his attention to detail and his constant involvement that every- thing was as it should be.  He was very efficient and friendly too, taking a personal interest in people and ensuring their holiday was the best it could be. I then went on to a week at the Hotel Jolie Ville on Kings Island, Luxor and this too could not have been better.  Again the accommodation, the grounds, the location, the food and the staff were superb.  It was a peaceful hotel but with enough to do in the evenings so one did not get bored.  I especially liked the “sunset hour” when everyone watched the sun go down over the Nile whilst classical music played, Nile Cruises 4u

the birds sung and in the distance one could hear in and take a taxi in to do the museum on our own.  people being called to prayer.  It was a delight.  I It was nice to be able to potter about the museum would certainly go back again. rather than being whisked around from exhibit to My special thanks go to Barbara Maddocks who exhibit by a guide.  We also went at lunchtime which organised this for me and I have to say she was was a nice quiet time to see the Tutankhamun sec- extremely efficient and so helpful.  I was impressed tion which of course is amazing.  I don’t’ think the and will definitely use the company again. new museum will be have such a nice old-fashioned atmosphere as the existing one though no doubt it Many thanks and regards, will be better for the exhibits.  We hired a car + guide Kathleen C. in Cairo - the same company that did the pick up - to do the Pyramids and Memphis (that was a better Radamis II and Cairo Trip price locally than we expected from your info) and We had a great time in Egypt.  It is a fascinating that worked really well.  The lunch was delicious lo- place and all that is said about the amazing sights is cal food - it was out near the Memphis/Saqqara area true!  Our complicated itinerary worked remarkably and although much frequented by big groups was smoothly - we heard stories of problems.  Monarch excellent. was good.  The Radamis II was excellent.  Very clean I think the only thing we did not like is the constant and tidy and w e got our upper deck cabin and (they “baksheesh” and the hassle in the markets.  Mostly said) an upgrade to a bigger cabin though they all it was friendly hassle but we came across one very looked nice.  The staff were all very motivated, help- aggressive guy outside the Le Meridien Hotel in Giza ful and friendly and they had excellent chefs.  Food which was not very pleasant. was great and I ate everything and was fine.  They So everything was great!  Many thanks for putting put on a really great New Year’s Eve party and made the itinerary together for us. a huge effort.  Again we heard others talk of awful boats when we were back at the airport. Nino and Reg, Our guide on the cruise was quite good, he usually Ireland worked for one of the UK specialist tour companies.  He was a bit brief compared with some we listened Royal Viking Nile Cruise in on but overall a nice guy.  The big advantage of Barbara, a ship versus a more romantic felucca or dahabiyya is the fantastic views from the top deck as you go This is to say that our Nile cruise on the Royal Viking along the river.  I suppose as it was not a complete was a superb, high quality experience.  The facilities package our tour had an amazing mix of people: and food on the boat were excellent whilst the ser- one New Zealand and one Japanese couple from vice provided by the staff was of the highest quality London, American family, South African couple, In- and incredibly friendly. dian family.  So that was a bonus.  We had to do our On the various visits to the historical sites the ability own thing the last Monday (when we had the day to of the Egyptologist to pass on the relevant history ourselves in Luxor) and that worked fine.  We left our was outstanding, to say nothing of the transfer ser- luggage at the Luxor train station which is a good vices that were provided by the staff. travel tip for anyone doing the same as us - as there When we flew up to Cairo the representatives were is nothing at the airport.  The day we left the boat we again there to “meet and greet” us from the airport could leave our luggage there all day as we did not arrival to departure, plus the escorted tours of the leave till 10pm but the ship was there overnight. Pyramids and the Egyptian Museum that we had As we arrived so late in Cairo we decided to sleep booked.  The down-town dinner in Cairo on our final night was a perfect finish to our holiday. Nile Cruises 4u 29

The Sofitel Le Sphinx Hotel was good value although the Winter Palace Hotel. the “Pyramids View” from our balcony was largely We then drove across the desert, to El Gouna.   Origi- obscured by the palm trees around the pool area nally we considered Hurghada, and having driven but that wasn’t’ important as a fuller view could be through it to drop off other holidaymakers staying easily obtained by walking down the corridor to the there, we were so glad to have chosen El Gouna.    open part. It is a lovely resort, though only 10 years old, so don’t Great value for money and thoroughly recom- expect any history.   The Movenpick hotel is excel- mended for anyone who wants to get an insight into lent, very large, but in groups of small buildings.   It the amazing history and culture of this country.  We is beautifully planted and spotlessly clean.   Again learnt a great deal. very attentive staff, but be prepared to walk - from Many thanks and best wishes. our room it took about five minutes to walk to the restaurant in which we took breakfast, albeit a very David & Maggie Christie pleasant walk.  The only small complaint we would have of this hotel, is that the signing and lighting Jaz Royale Nile Cruise and El Gouna could be improved along the pathways at night.   It My husband and I have just returned from a week on took us nearly the whole week to find the way to the Jaz Royale on the River Nile, followed by a week the Italian restaurant, without doubling back, as we at the Movenick Resort and Spa El Gouna. kept taking the wrong path, but a minor complaint!   This was the best holiday we have had, and we have There is a shuttle bus and shuttle boat for which you had some great holidays in many countries.   can buy a ticket valid for 5 days, and use as many The Jaz Royale is a great experience, not only in the times as you like to various places around the resort. boat itself, but the excursions taken.   We found the In all we would highly recommend this holiday, it is staff on the boat to be very attentive without be- definitely worth 5 stars. ing overbearing, and extremely polite and friendly.    Nothing was too much trouble for them.   The food Mrs. D. was very good and also well varied.   We were also impressed by the cleanliness and hygiene standards Hi Barbara, on board.    We would say that this boat is probably We arrived home last night from Egypt and I wanted best for the more mature person, if you want peace to thank you for again finding us a wonderful holi- and quiet while sailing the Nile, this is the one for day.  The Ra 2 didn’t disappoint us.  The food, crew you. and decor were lovely.  One thing which is unavoidable is the ‘stacking’ of Our cabin was on B deck at the bow of the boat and boats when berthed.   The Jaz Royale,when in a must have been one of the biggest with a balcony ‘stack’, was always on either the river side or the land big enough to sit on (there were 2 chairs).  side , never in the middle, which is far better, as the Our tour guide (Egyptologist) Osama was very engines of the boats are constantly running to en- informative and passionate about his subject.  He able the air conditioning etc. to be maintained, and opened up a new world.  sometimes the fumes can be overpowering on some It was a demanding week, physically, mentally and boats.  socially but incredibly stimulating. A further point to make is that the Jaz Royale always Our second week at the Oberoi was a complete con- berthed very centrally, some boats seemed to be a trast, total rest and relaxation in luxurious surround- long way from the main area, e.g. at Kom Ombo we ings...couldn’t fault it, just what we were looking for.  berthed right by the temple, and in Luxor, opposite Nile Cruises 4u 30

Although I wonder if it would have been cheaper to Hi Barbara, have gone half board as Hurghada itself was too far (30 minutes drive) to go for dinner every night.  Just wanted to say thanks for organising a wonderful holi- We only went out of the hotel once which was day. enough really!  Food and drink in the hotel was quite expensive but of a high standard. All airport transfers and check-ins went without a hitch and Thanks again Barbara for your help in putting to- all the local reps in Cairo and the cruise were always there to gether our holiday.  I will be in touch next year to ar- greet us at arrival and departure. range the next one and we still plan to go to Kenya/ Mauritius. Hurghada was a bit of a surprise as we assumed a local rep would be there on arrival, but we didn’t’ see him until the Best Regards, next day which was a bit useless. Donna Fleming Tips for other travellers: Hi Barbara, I had intended sending this email IMMEDIATELY after arriv- “Pyramid View” room at the Sofitel Le Sphinx means very ing home from our Egypt holiday but the bubble was burst noisy as you are placed right beside a very major round- by Christmas preparations! about.  Yes we had a view but changed after the firts night as What a wonderful holiday.  So many sights, sites and sounds. we couldn’t sleep due to the noise.  Sofitel kindly organised King Tut 1 - ship and crew great.  We also had a group of 30- the swap, and as they didnt’ have any spare studios we got a odd English who got on really well together.  The tour guide, free upgrade to a suite which was really good of them.  After Hanaa (our own Nefertiti) was 1st class. the swap we enjoyed our stay there. The trip across the desert was interesting but took 7 hours.  We were the last couple to be dropped off.  Having left I would suggest mentioning to anyone going to Hurghada people at 3 resorts, which were all south of Hurghada, we that it is not a common English destination, the few English still had a considerable distance to travel, the guide left us at people we did meet on excursions also mentioned they saw Hurghada and the 2 drivers didnt’ know where the Moven- very few other people. pick was.  This meant that they needed to study every road junction, in complete darkness, to find the right road.  How- Other than that it was perfect.  The cruise was by far the ever when we did arrive the journey had certainly bheen highlight, the staff on the Esadora II were great and our worth it. guide Ashraf was excellent apart from being a little shy, but Your choice of the Movenpick was spot on! that made it more fun to tease him. We intended relaxing for the second week and did just that.  We have never been anywhere else for a week where we Many thanks, have’nt moved outside of the resort...heaven. Grant & Claire Young Now we need to see the pyramids...I’m sure we’ll be in touch with you. Have a super Christmas and New Year, Regards, Sandy Hancock Nile Cruises 4u 31

Trip to Cairo and Royal Viking Nile Cruise whole thing was great!! Thank you very much for setting it up for us and Hi Colin, should we decide to do something organised rather Thanks for the card asking about how Shelagh and than freelance in the future, you will be our first port I found the trip to Egypt which you arranged for of call us.  Sorry for the delay in replying but the day after I Well done and many thanks. got back, I had to go to the frozen north of Norway which was a bit of a shock to my system after the George Plant and Shelagh Biddlestone. heat of Luxor!  So to our thoughts after the event:- Dear Barbara  The tickets arrived from you in good time and with Having just returned from the 1 week Nile Cruise complete detail. and visit to Cairo I must tell you how much we en- Check in and the flight was good although I have joyed the whole experience. had better airline food. The organisation of transfers, welcome meet- We were quickly met at the airport in Cairo although ings, visits to temples, flights to Cairo and re- it was midnight and the rep made the passage turn were all managed with skill, humour and care.  through visas and immigration painless. We stayed on Royal Viking and were most im- The trip to the Sofitel Sphinx was good but the rep pressed with the standard of food, cleanliness and spoilt it for himself by putting us under pressure all the skilled crew on the boat. Never having done the way to sign up at 1am for trips around Cairo.  The anything quite like this before, (our holidays had just net result of this was that we booked nothing with involved the two of us) we were somewhat anxious him and were easily and more cheaply able to orga- about being in a group with organised activities. nise trips for ourselves. However we soon changed our mind and were so The hotel and its restaurant were very good and the pleased to have had such knowledgeable guides whole of Cairo we found completely fascinating and when visiting these most amazing temples and spend hours just standing and looking in amaze- tombs. Without them we would not have found out ment, as it is like nothing I have ever seen in world.  so much about the Ancient Egyptians.  Dirty, dreadful but fascinating. It was certainly an action packed 4 days whilst on The organisation of the pick up and flight to Luxor the cruise. This was necessary to fit all the visits into and on to the ship was flawless. such a short space of time. The times we were on The ship and crew were perfect and the food good board during sailing times were spent watching from a spotless galley. the Nile drift slowly past. From the comfort of the All trips both within the package and as extras were sun deck life was peaceful. Once docked and sur- good and the cruise excellent rounded by the many other boats we still found it a Entertainment, although not something in which I fascinating experience and part of the whole.   would normally partake was good. There were optional extra tours but we didn’t Pick up and return to Heathrow was once again flaw- do any as we preferred a little more free time on less. our own. This gave us the chance to wander the From the above you can see that we thought the market streets in Aswan, something I can highly recommend. The mint tea at a little cafe was won- 32 derful.  Shopkeepers, when treated with a little hu- mour, were great fun to haggle with over the price of spices, teas and jewellery  Nile Cruises 4u

The four days went by in a flash and soon it was time Hello Barbara, for the flight to Cairo. It was great being Business Just wanted to send you a quick message. class even for such a short trip so thank you for that We have had the best holiday ever!! little extra touch. My friend Edith and I had waited 23 years to go to We were met and transferred via the Sphinx Sound Egypt and it was everything we had dreamed of and Light show.  For such a world famous venue we, and more.  We honestly can’t’ believe how much and others, were very disappointed with the ama- we packed into our ten days.  The hotel in Cairo teurish display which fell way behind other interna- was great and how close to the Pyramids!!  We have tionally renowned performances we have seen. The spent 10 days saying, “Oh my God” and “Wow!!”. only complaint of the holiday.  The ship was brill, lovely cabin and great staff.  Peter We were then taken on to our hotel, The Pyramids was really nice and so helpful and our guide in Cairo, Park. This was a large resort hotel which, although Sally, was great.  How much info can one person a contrast to the peace and tranquillity of the boat carry around in their heads?  And our guide on the was nevertheless  a great place to spend the few ship, Charley, well what can you say?  He was amaz- days in Cairo. ing, a fountain of knowledge and handsome as well! Cairo was hectic. We decided to take the 2 tours that We did two extra things, hot air ballooning that was were on offer. One day was spent out at the Pyra- WOW truly amazing, drifting over the Valley of the mids and the other in the Cairo Museum, mosques Kings at 3000 ft as the sun came up over the Nile, and churches. This gave us a brief glimpse into Cairo oh my God did I really do that?  That was a once in a life and made us think we would like to return with lifetime experience that we will never forget. more time to just wander and breathe in the atmo- Then of course Abu Simbel.  What can you say about sphere. that?  Unbelievable. Many thanks for your personal touch in advising We were impressed from the beginning of the holi- us when making the booking and for the little card day until the end by the well oiled, well timed organ- waiting for us on our return. Little things make all isation.  We were met at the airport when we landed the difference. and taken to the hotel, again met by our guides  With best wishes when and where they said, our coaches were always on time, the tours on time, taken back to the airport Sue Podmore and Andrew Bannister on time, everything was really well organised. I don’t’ know if we will ever have the chance to return to Egypt, but never say never.  But if we do we have already said that we would book through you again, no doubt. Thank you so much for the help you gave us for our holiday of a lifetime that was way more than we could ever have hoped for. Thanks, Lynne & Edith Nile Cruises 4u 33

Be Prepared 1. Weather much hotter than in December and January.  Prices 2. Clothing are much lower and bargains can be had. 3. Health & Safety March and April and mid-September to mid-Novem- 4. Shopping ber are probably the most pleasant times to visit. 5. Security However no matter what date you travel you will be 6. Voltage very unlucky to encounter rain and to feel the cold!! 7. Passports & Visas We travelled last in late November and on our last 8. Currency day we were sitting on the Corniche in Luxor in mid- afternoon and it was 80 degrees. Lovely! 1. Weather Very different than here in the UK 2. Clothing Your choice of when to travel on your Nile Cruise Colin trying to look cool. Sad eh? will depend on many factors including when you can actually take your holidays, what your budget is Egypt is mainly a Muslim country, so both men and and the availability of your chosen departure date women should dress modestly in public. and ship when you come to try and book it.  So for Shorts, lightweight trousers/slacks, short-sleeved many of us the date you can travel is pretty well pre- shirts/blouses and t-shirts will be suitable for most determined. excursions. Your Egyptologist will advise you if To give you some indication of what sort of weather there is any requirement for specific clothing for the you can expect here is a general guide. December and January are mild and ideal for sight- Nile Cruises 4u seeing but its’ High Season for Nile cruises and so prices are at their peak. July and August are counted as the Low Season months when the river is less crowded but it will be 34

following day’s excursions but to be honest that is You should ensure that you drink only bottled water.  pretty unusual. If you purchase bottled water off the boat, perhaps Comfortable walking shoes or trainers are much from the mini-bus driver on the way to your excur- more comfortable than sandals or flip-flops as most sion, you should ensure that the bottles are sealed.  sightseeing is done in hot, sandy places and the If you do suffer from a “dickey tummy” you will usu- floors of the temples and tombs can be very uneven. ally find that the treatments offered on board will In resorts or onboard lightweight and informal sum- work much more quickly than any medicines you mer clothes are the norm. may have brought with you from the UK.  This is However you would expect to dress “smart-casual” because local medicines have been developed to for dinner in the restaurant but there is no need for deal with local bacteria.  So in the first instance you suits or evening dress as might be required on some should ask your Egyptologist for advice. ocean-going cruise ships. You should also take common sense precautions It’s also very advisable to take a hat/cap with you as such as not putting your hands to your mouth after the mid-day sun can be very hot. handling local currency.  Dirty notes are believed to be one of the main ways that germs are passed. 3. Health and Safety There are currently no compulsory medical require- ments for visits to Egypt but you can check on Egypt once had a reputation for travellers’ diarrhoea the website for up to date details. or “Pharaohs’ Revenge”. However standards of hygiene have improved tre- 4. Shopping mendously and it is now much less of a problem. Several ships that we visited recently require all din- You will find that bartering is the order of the day ers to use the alcohol-gel dispenser out side the res- and is expected when visiting the local bazaar or taurants any time that they enter. These ships also souk. There you will find crafts, jewellery, spices, prominently display their hygiene certification and clothing and leather goods. are inspected very regularly. All this is done by the You will be asked again and again to buy and al- ships owners to ensure the very highest standards of though this is frustrating at times you should re- hygiene safety. member that poverty is rife in Egypt and not much However, you are advised not to drink the local of the money you are spending on your cruise water.  Not because it is harmful but because our will make its’ way down to the ordinary people or stomachs are used to drinking British water with all shopkeepers so it is their chance to make a sale. of its’ treatments and processes.  In Egypt their treat- You will also be “visited” when on-board by local sell- ments are different and your stomach will not be ers in small boats who will throw their goods up on used to them. deck for you to try and buy. This is all great fun.  Colourful and good natured, it is all part of your Nile Cruise experience. Boat sellers on the Nile Nile Cruises 4u 35

5. Security 8. Currency Crime against tourists is rare, petty theft being the only thing to be aware of.  Terrorism has been a big- ger concern over recent times as in all parts of the world. However you will notice the very visible presence of the police wherever you travel on your Nile Cruise.  The visible presence of the police has greatly re- duced the incidence of local crime as well as guard- ing against possible acts of terrorism. However as with all world travel you should act sensibly and take all reasonable precautions and measures as and when requested to do so. 6. Voltage The voltage in Egypt is 220v.  Therefore a two-pin plug is required.  We recommend that you should The local currency used in Egypt is the Egyptian take a travel plug adaptor with you that can be pur- Pound (LE).  Credit Cards and Debit Cards are not chased in most supermarkets in the UK or from your accepted on board some Nile cruise ships but are departure airport. widely accepted in hotels, local shops and restau- rants. 7. Passports & Visas Please check with us regarding the acceptance of credit cards on the ship of your choice. A full 10 year British passport is required if you You can change your sterling, dollars, euros and are visiting Egypt and must be valid for at least 6 travellers cheques on board. months beyond your return date. TIP: On a personal note Barbara and I now no longer For British passport holders an Egyptian Visa is re- take Egyptian pounds with us when we travel. We quired which is obtainable at most points of entry in take sterling cash with us and leave it in the safe in Egypt.  our cabin. If and when we need any Egyptian cur- rency we will exchange a small amount using the Holders of other passports should check their visa ship’s reception where you will normally get a good requirements before booking. exchange rate. As I mentioned earlier there is very little to spend your money on when cruising the Nile so it is not necessary to travel with large amounts. Sterling cash and my debit/credit card are always sufficient. Nile Cruises 4u 36

A Nile Cruise Itinerary Overview Day 3 1. A Typical Nile Cruise Itinerary Morning departure to Edfu where you will visit the extraordinary Temple of Horus, the mythical son As we have mentioned throughout this guide there of Isis and Osiris.  Here, according to myth, Horus are really so many ways you can cruise the Nile and avenged the murder of his father Osiris by defeating many different types of itinerary.  However to give his father’s brother Seth in combat.  Sail on to Kom you a “feel” for what a Nile Cruise Itinerary looks like Ombu to visit the Temple of Sobek and Haroeris here is a “typical” itinerary for many of the Nile cruise and then onto Aswan for the night. ships. Day 1 Met and transferred from Luxor airport to your cruise vessel, dinner and overnight stay in Luxor. Day 4 Visit the High Dam - finished in 1971; it has ensured up to three harvests a year.  The Unfinished Obelisk - still rooted to the bedrock of pink granite and the Temple of Isis on Philae Island, with an optional ex- cursion to the ancient wonder of Abu Simbel by air..  Overnight at Aswan.  Day 2 Enjoy your first Egyptian sunrise, followed by a visit to the West Bank to the Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, the Temple of Hatshepsut and the Colossi of Memnon.  Afternoon sailing and over- night stay at Esna. Nile Cruises 4u 37

Day 5 Day 6 Relax and enjoy a trip in a traditional felluca around Visit the partly excavated Temple of Khnum at Esna.  Elephantine Island which will lead you to the Bo- Dedicated to the ram-headed god Khnum, who was tanical Gardens on General Kitchener Island given the patron god of the cataracts, who is said to have as a gift in 1890.  Here, visitors enjoy the beautiful fashioned mankind from Nile clay on his potter’s flowers imported from Africa, India and the Far East.  wheel.  Sail back to Luxor and overnight. Sail and overnight at Esna. Day 7 Tour the East Bank with a visit to Luxor Temple, originally joined to Karnak by an avenue of sphinx- es.  Visit Karnak which covers a huge area and in- cludes several temples, the largest being the Temple of Amun.  Overnight in Luxor with an optional Karnak Sound and Light show. Day 8 Leisure time in Luxor before your transfer to Luxor airport for your return home or you may wish to extend your stay in Egypt for a further week.  Nile Cruise & Stay 1. Nile Cruise and Cairo  2. Nile Cruise and Luxor or Aswan A Nile cruise normally lasts 7 days. However, you 3. Nile Cruise and the Red Sea Riviera might like to consider adding an extension to your cruise as there are a number of exciting options that 1. Nile Cruise and Cairo we can arrange for you. One of the options would be to add on a visit to Barbara in Cairo Cairo to see the Sphinx and the Pyramids just as Barbara and I did recently. A lot of people think that they will see the Pyramids and the Sphinx on their Nile cruise as they do not realise that a Nile cruise begins and ends in Luxor which is many miles from Cairo home of those iconic symbols of Ancient Egypt. We can easily put together an arrangement that would allow you to spend time in Cairo enjoying the marvellous sights and sounds as well as visiting the Pyramids and the Sphinx at Giza. Normally we suggest a 3 night stay as this will give you 2 full days to really enjoy your time in Cairo. Nile Cruises 4u 38

It would allow you to take a full day Giza and The The Mena House Lobby Pyramids Tour which visits Saqqara, Memphis and the Great Pyramid. You can find out more about these hotels on our When we took the tour we had our own air-condi- Cairo Hotels page on the main website. tioned mini-bus, driver and excellent guide who was able to take us to the best possible locations in each To add Cairo to your Nile cruise means either adding of these places to get great photographs and video the extra 3 nights to the end of your 7 night cruise footage. giving you an exciting 10 night holiday. However it On the second day we would suggest something would mean that you will fly from Heathrow so that like the half-day Cairo Tour that takes in the Egyptian you can take advantage of the daily flights to and Museum and a visit to Khan El Khalili Bazaar. from Cairo. Or you might consider the 2 Day Classical Egypt Tour which is a really comprehensive tour and great value Do it all in a week: for money. You can read all about the various excusrions avail- If 10 nights is not possible we can also offer you a 7 able on our website and you can pre-book any of night arrangement which consists of a 4 night Nile these tours with us before your departure. cruise followed by a 3 night stay in Cairo. It’s a great During your stay in Cairo we normally suggest stay- way to see the best of Ancient Egypt within a one ing at one of the excellent 5 star hotels in Giza which week holiday. are right opposite the Pyramids. We stayed at the excellent Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel and can highly To find out more about either the 7 or 10 nights Nile recommend it. However we can also personally rec- cruise and Cairo options please don’t’ hesitate to call ommend the 5 star Sofitel Le Sphinx and the 5 star us on Freephone 0808 1089 100. Movenpick Pyramids Hotel which are adjacent to the Le Meridien. Le Meridien Pool 39 If you want to pay a little bit more you can enjoy the luxury of the excellent Mena House Hotel which is the nearest hotel to the Pyramids and has an excel- lent worldwide reputation. Nile Cruises 4u

2. Cruise and Stay in Luxor Colin at Temple of Hatshepsut Another add-on would be to stay for an extra week at On the other side of the mountains from the Valley one of Luxor’s excellent selection of first-class hotels. of the Kings is Deir El-Bahri the multi-tiered hom- Luxor, the former capital of Egypt is built on the site age to Hatshepsut, one of the few ruling queens of of ancient Thebes and as well as being the home of Ancient Egypt. the Temples of Karnak and Luxor the whole area is Luxor is a truly fascinating place to stay. dotted with interesting sites.  You could easily spend Many clients have told us that after an active week a week and not see it all. on their chosen cruise ship they really enjoyed the Luxor is arguably the world’s greatest open-air mu- relaxation of a further week at leisure in their chosen seum, with hundreds of tombs and temples – includ- Luxor hotel. ing Karnak and the wealth of antiquities in the Valley The beauty of staying in Luxor is that there is no of the Kings – and extensive souks. Walking down transfer to speak of at the end of your cruise. You the streets is like being transported back to the time would simply have a 10 minute transfer between of the Pharaohs with statues and temples scattered ship and hotel. all around the city centre, along the banks of the Nile and in the surrounding areas. Sonesta St. George Hotel, Luxor It is hard to believe that so many relics of the ancient civilisation can be found solely in Luxor. On the east Nile Cruises 4u bank of the River Nile, the Temple of Karnak, a vast labyrinth of temples, chapels and columns built over two millennia by generations of Pharaohs is the larg- est ancient religious complex in the world. The west bank in particular is an expansive showcase of the Pharaonic era’s greatness and obsession with ceremony. Some 3000 years ago this side of the river was considered the land of the dead, and served as vast burial ground for both royalty and nobility. The Valley of the Kings is the best known collection where you can visit the burial chambers of Tutankha- mun, Seti I and Ramses III but there is also the Valley of the Queens and the beautifully preserved Valley of the Nobles. 40

There is a wonderful selection of 5 star hotels to Elephantine Island Quayside choose from in Luxor including the famous Old Win- ter Place and the Sonesta St. George but there are Attractions include felucca trips, Elephantine Island any number of other hotels with excellent facilities and the seventh-century Monastery of St. Simeon.  available. Plus the opportunity to take afternoon tea or a Recently Barbara and I had dinner at the Sonesta St. cocktail on the veranda of the historic Cataract Hotel George in the hotel’s restaurant that overlooks the which Barbara, Anna and I visited on our last trip to swimming pool area set amongst beautiful gardens Aswan. that lead down to the banks of the Nile. As I write this I can think of nothing nicer than be- Other excellent hotels in which to relax in Aswan in- ing able to spend a relaxing week at the Sonesta St. clude the Basma Hotel situated opposite the Nubian George. However we have a lot of regular clients Museum on Aswan’s highest hill at the edge of the who stay at various hotels throughout Luxor and go city with commanding views of the Nile and the city back year after year. of Aswan. To find out more about taking a Nile cruise and add- ing an extra week at one of Luxor’s excellent hotels 3. Cruise and Stay on the Red Sea please call either Barbara or Colin on Freephone 0808 1089 100. Possibly the most popular of the “Nile Cruise & Stay” options that we arrange is a week’s Nile Cruise 3. Cruise and Stay in Aswan followed by a further week at one of the Red Sea resorts such as El Gouna, Hurghada or Sharm El Barbara sailing towards Aswan Sheikh. For many Aswan is the most beautiful city in the Nile El Gouna and Hurgahda are the easiest to link with a Valley with sand dunes sweeping down to the Nile Nile cruise as they do not require a internal flight. where the waters flow gently around the granite rocks and emerald islands. With Sharm El Sheikh you will have to fly to Sharm Travellers fall for the relaxed atmosphere, Nubian via Cairo and do the same on your return. The flights culture and beautiful setting of this, Egypt’s most are pretty short but you might find it easier to use southerly city. the road transfer to reach the Red Sea resorts of Hurghada and El Gouna. Nile Cruises 4u 41

El Gouna Originally a small fishing village, Hurghada has be- come one of the foremost resorts on the Red Sea and El Gouna, known as the “Venice of the Red Sea” is is a haven for holidaymakers and scuba divers alike. situated 20 kilometres from Hurghada and offers With its’ great mix of hotels, shops, restaurants and hotels situated in idyllic settings between the nightlife plus some excellent dive sites and access majestic mountains of the desert and the clear to the rest of the southern Red Sea Hurghada is an blue waters of the Red Sea surrounded by natural excellent choice for those wanting something as a and artificial lagoons designed to form the shape complete contrast to their Nile Cruise. of a star. The resort boasts all the facilities of a modern Egyp- tian city without losing its’ timeless desert quality.  One of Egypt’s leading premier leisure destinations, With some of the finest underwater gardens in the El Gouna is a place with unique hotels varying from world divers and snorkellers can experience the Oriental to Mediterranean, but all striving to achieve beautiful corals and spectacular marine life for which the highest levels of international standards.  El the Red Sea is renowned. Gouna is a unique resort because of its’ beautiful and Again we can offer you some excellent hotels, such vibrant town, its’ multi-cultural community and its’ as the “Movenpick Resort”, the “Radisson SAS Resort”, diverse cuisine. the “Intercontinental” and the luxurious “Oberoi Sahl Hasheesh”. Dining options and entertainment facilities are Sharm El Sheikh plentiful and varied and all within easy reach and, for Finally, Sharm El Sheik, possibly the most well- night owls, there are nightclubs to dance the night known of all the Red Sea resorts. away. With its’ crystal clear waters, beautiful beaches, superb dive sites, the beauty of the Sinai Desert and its’ excel- With an eighteen hole championship golf course El lent facilities and amenities Sharm El Sheikh could Gouna truly has something for everyone. be the ideal spot for you to relax after your Nile Cruise. Famous for its’ diving, snorkelling and water-sports In El Gouna we can arrange 5 Star luxury accommo- Sharm is a stylish and cosmopolitan resort located at dation in such well known hotels as the “Movenpick the most southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula. Resort and Spa”, the “Sheraton Miramar”, and the Naama Bay is the main resort with hotels and dive “Steigenberger Golf Resort” situated in the middle of centres overlooking the sandy, gently shelving El Gouna’s championship golf course. beach with shops, cafes, bars and restaurants galore. There is an enormous selection of excellent hotels Hurghada including the excellent “Hyatt Regency” which Barbara and I stayed in recently, the “Ritz-Carlton”, 20 kilometres away from El Gouna is the Red Sea the “Four Seasons” and the “Hilton Sharm Dreams resort of Hurghada. Resort” amongst them. We can arrange a week’s stay at any of these hotels to compliment your first week’s Nile Cruise. Please call either Barbara or myself, Colin, on our Freephone number 0808 1089 100 to find out about prices for any of our Nile Cruise and Stay arrangements. Nile Cruises 4u 42

Luxury Nile Cruises 1. Luxury Nile Cruises The sleek Alexander the Great offers a sophisticated 2. The Alexander the Great cruise experience with exceptional standards and 3. The Sonesta St. George  smart accommodation. With an intimate atmo- sphere, tasteful decor and stylish furnishings, it is the 4. In Conclusion perfect way to cruise the Nile in style. All of the 30 air-conditioned cabins have Nile views 1. Luxury Nile Cruises and are individually designed to provide an attrac- tive blend of colour, texture and atmosphere. The Although a lot of our Nile cruises are enjoyed aboard spacious cabins all have en-suite bathroom with excellent 5 Star Nile cruise ships with great facili- bath tub, bathrobes, hairdryer and vanity mirror; ties, food and service there are several ships that are there is also a mini- bar, Satellite TV and DVD player more luxurious. and personal safe. They include the wonderful Oberoi Zahra, the There is a stylish lounge bar in which to relax and Oberoi Philae and the excellent Alexander the enjoy a cocktail while the two upper decks provide a Great amongst others. pool with a Jacuzzi and a large crescent shaped bar where you can enjoy a drink under the stars. All of these ships offer excellent facilities and very high standards of service and are ideal choices for those with a bigger budget or those travellers look- ing for a truly memorable experience to perhaps celebrate a special occasion. However, as you can imagine, these ships often cost two, three or four times the price of other excellent 5 star ships. Below I’ve detailed the Alexander the Great, Son- esta St. George and the fabulous Oberoi Zahra just to give you an indication of what to expect from these luxury ships. 2. The Alexander the Great We have had many customers who have sailed on the Alexander the Great and its ‘one of the ships that we have promised ourselves that we will sail on soon. We know from reports from clients that the atten- tion to detail in all aspects of the cruise starting from the “meet and greet” at the airport to the cabin boys on board are of the highest standards and if your budget allows then a Nile cruise on this excellent ship will ensure you have a memorable holiday. Nile Cruises 4u 43

There’s also a Spa offering massage treatments and and water massage, plus a double glass panoramic a Turkish bath, Internet room, fitness facilities and a French window. gift shop. The main lounge plays host to nightly live entertain- During your stay on the Alexander the Great break- ment including a belly dance show, Captain’s wel- fast, lunch and dinner is included and all meals are come cocktail party and fancy dress Galabeya party.  taken in the ‘Red Fiesta’ restaurant situated on the Live music is also provided in the piano bar. third deck. This spacious restaurant has large pan- There’s a sizeable swimming pool and Jacuzzi situ- oramic windows overlooking the Nile and offers a ated on the spacious sun deck, plus table tennis and variety of international cuisine with buffet break- a fully equipped Spa and Wellness Centre offering a fasts and lunches and a la carte dinners, whilst the range of treatments, gym, sauna and steam bath. barbeque on the pool deck is a great place to enjoy If you would like a price for this excellent ship please traditional oriental food and music under the stars. call us without obligation and we will check the We highly recommend the Alexander the Great. It’s a availability and price for you. I’m certain you won’t’ fabulous Nile Cruise ship. be disappointed if you cruise the Nile on the Sonesta St. George. 3. The Sonesta St. George 8. In Conclusion When we are asked to recommend a true “luxury” Nile cruise ship at a more affordable price than the Zahra As you can see above there are some wonderful Nile we normally suggest the excellent Sonesta St. George. Cruise ships to choose from if you want to experi- We have had many satisfied customers who have ence a truly memorable holiday and there are other sailed on the Sonesta and always come back prais- ships in this category on which we can arrange ing the ship and its staff highly. Although more cruises for you. expensive than a normal 5 star Nile cruise ship it We can book accommodation on almost any Nile is much more reasonably priced than some of the cruise ship subject to availability and we can also other “super ships” that sail the Nile. tailor-make the trip to add in extra days at the begin- It is an official 5 Star Deluxe ship and is regarded as ning or the end of the cruise in Cairo, Luxor, Hurgha- one of the more luxurious ships on the Nile and pro- da, El Gouna or Sharm El Sheikh. vides excellent levels of comfort and service. To find out more about these wonderful ships and It boasts 47 well-appointed cabins and 10 spacious about the possibility of tailor-making a “cruise and suites, each offering 23” LCD screen TV, mini bar, stay” to fit your requirements please call either Bar- tea & coffee making facilities, wireless internet ac- bara or Colin on Freephone 0808 1089 100. cess, hairdryer, safe, direct dial telephone and bath equipped with a spa unit including steam, Jacuzzi Nile Cruises 4u 44

The Nile Cruise Blog 1. What is a Blog? Since blogs began to appear in the last 1990’s, blogs 2. The Nile Cruise Blog have reshaped the web, impacted upon politics, shaken up journalism and enabled millions of 1. What is a Blog: people to have a voice and connect with others. A blog is like a journal or dairy - but one that is pub- They are also useful for companies like ourselves to lished “online”. add daily articles, news and information that we feel our clients might find useful and interesting. It can be a place to visit regularly for breaking-news, stories and articles of interest or simply a collection 2. The Nile Cruise Blog of useful links and posts. We created the Nile Cruise Blog to allow us to add It can be a place to read someone’s thoughts and content, news and information that we feel will be ideas. Or it can be a valuable website to visit and of interest whether you are a new Nile cruiser or read about things that you find useful or interesting. whether you’ve cruised before and have become a lover of Egypt like ourselves. In simple terms, a blog is a web site, where peo- ple write things on an on-going basis. You will find the link to the Nile Cruise Blog on the website. New items and articles show up at the top of a blog, so you can read what’s new. We have cruised the Nile several times ourselves and we have always enjoyed a wonderful time and You can comment on it and you can “subscribe” to hope that the combination of the main Nile Cruises the blog to have each new post or article emailed 4u website and the blog will give you an insight into to you as it appears on the blog. what a great trip a Nile Cruise can be. Nile Cruises 4u 45

Useful Egyptian Phrases 1.  Some Useful Egyptian Phrases General Greetings: Here are one or two useful Egyptian Phrases that you might enjoy trying your luck with when you are cruising. At The Bar La Shokran - No thanks Hello - Ahlan wa sahlan Bari - Bar Good bye - Salam Hamam -  Bathroom Good Morning - Sahab el-kheir Akal - Food Good Evening - Masaa el-kheir Maasalaama - Bye Good Night - Tisbah ala kheir Sochen - Warm Peace be with you - Salam alekum Shukran - Thank you How are you? - Izayak(m) Izayek (f ) Mayia - Water My name is - Ismi Ah Lan -  Hello What’s your name? - Ismak (m)/Ismek (f ) eih? Birra -   Beer Welcome - Ahlan wa sahlan Cola -  Coke Yes - Aiwa No - La 46 Thankyou - Shukran No Thankyou  -La shukran Pardon/Excuse me - Afwan or ahlan Sorry - Assif Please - Min fadlak (m)/ fadlek (f ) Nile Cruises 4u

Shopping: Please - Min tadlak Can I see this? - Momken ashout da? How much is this/ that....? - Bikam da....? It costs too much - Da ghali awi. Money - Felous My last word - Aakhir Kalaam Finally... Good luck!! 47 Nile Cruises 4u

Nile Cruise Tips Here is a selection of tips and useful information that • If you are on an “All Inclusive” arrangement we think you might find useful when preparing to on-board be sure to order your bottled water take your Nile Cruise. for the next morning’s excursion at dinner as if We are always grateful for other hints and tips and if you order it at breakfast the next day, before the you would like to suggest a tip for inclusion please “all inclusive” arrangement starts, you will be email us at [email protected] charged. You may have to walk through other cruise ships to reach your vessel as they are often moored close • If you develop a tummy upset you should ask together whilst in port because of the numbers of onboard for a suitable remedy.  Tummy upsets vessels and direct access to your ship is not always are not normally caused by dirty conditions but available.  This may also result in views from your by local bacteria that we are not used to.  Often cabin being obscured whilst docked. You might local remedies, normally available on board, will want to take this into account when deciding which act much, much faster than Imodium as the local deck to choose from when booking. remedy had been developed to deal with local • If you are thinking of taking the Hot air balloon bacteria. excursion, which is great fun and a “one-off” • We suggest you take some moist “wet wipes” or experience, or the camel and horse riding please small dispensers of “liquid soap” with you to use make sure that you have an insurance policy after you have handled Egyptian money as it can that covers you for these types of activities be- be quite old and dirty and is a possible cause of cause not all policies do. tummy upsets.  • Please take care using gang planks.  • Passengers with walking difficulties may find • You should make up a small “medical-kit” includ- that they are less able to cope with some excur- ing things like safety pins, plasters, antiseptic sions which can be energetic and don’t forget cream, diarrhoea tablets, headache tablets and the boat has several decks!  Normally we would sun cream (high factor advised) not recommend that people with severe walk- ing difficulties take a Nile Cruise. • When we asked a local merchant whether we • Excursions usually start quite early in the morn- should give the local kids boxes of sweets that ing to avoid the extreme heat of the sun in the we had with us he suggested that it would be middle of the day. far better if we were able to give them ballpoint • Do not drink the tap water.  You can use it to pens.  You might want to a box of cheap ball- wash and shower but you are not advised to point pens with you. The children (and many drink it.  You should only use bottled water to adults) will be very happy when you hand them drink.  You will find it cheaper to buy in the vari- out.   (Their also handy for baksheesh!!). ous shops, than buying at your hotel or cruise boat. You may not drink a lot of water at home, • You should wear sensible footwear when visiting but make sure you do in Egypt.  It is very easy to the various sites. High heels, open toe shoes and become dehydrated if you don’t. flip-flops are not advisable. The floors of most   sites are either sand or rough-cut uneven stone. Inside many tombs, wooden floorboards have been installed, and thin heels could get caught in the gaps between the floorboards. Nile Cruises 4u 48

• Many monuments have signs that say “No Flash • In Egypt, most of the banks are open from Photography”.  You should obey these signs as Sunday to Thursday; working hours being 0830 you can be ejected from the site if you ignore to 1400, though banks at the airports and the the sign! The very bright flash can cause serious major entry ports are open 24 hours daily. damage to some of the ancient paintwork! • Most of the major credit/debit cards, such as • Because of the worldwide threat of terrorism American Express, MasterCard, Visa, all Euro you may have your personal belongings (camera cards and JCB, are widely accepted in various bags, carrier bags etc.) searched before gaining hotels and shops. If you want to use an ATM ma- admittance. Though this is annoying, it is for chine, they mostly accept Visa, MasterCard and your safety. Also, on some sites they do not allow Cirrus cards. video cameras to be used and they will ask you to leave your video equipment with them at the • Don’t’ take Scottish pounds or Irish punts as they entrance.  Don’t worry you will get it back. are not accepted in Egypt. • If you are travelling by road to Abu Simbel on • If you run out of money you still can get money the day excursion you should, ask your Egyptolo- wired to you from abroad. In Egypt, there are gist if the ship can supply a “breakfast box”.  You plenty of Western Union branches; it takes just a should definitely take some food with you, as few minutes to get any sum of money sent you hunger will set in before you reach Abu Simbel (a from abroad. 3 ½ - 4 hour trip, each way!) Also, make sure you take plenty of water with you; it tends to be hot • The country code for Egypt if anyone needs to there and you can dehydrate very quickly. call you is 002.   • Remember that Egypt is a 3rd world country, and has many poor people who think that all tourists •   are rich, no matter where they come from in the world.  Learn the phrase “La Shukran” (No thank you!) and don’t be afraid to say it to anyone who tries to sell you anything, or asks for “baksheesh”. Believe it or not, it does work. Please do not say “Emshi” (as many tour books advise), this can be taken as an insult. • If you are in Cairo and you intend visiting the inside of one of the pyramids ladies should wear trousers (or jeans) as you may have to ascend/ descend ladders and/or crawl through narrow passages. For the same reasons men should avoid wearing short trousers. • You should ignore any trader selling “papyrus” pictures, as the “papyrus” will probably be made from banana leaves and not be genuine papyrus! You should only buy from the established papy- rus manufacturers factory shops. Nile Cruises 4u 49

Finally. . Thanks for reading our Nile Cruise Guide. Finally...when you do Cruise the Nile...have a won- We hope that you have found it useful and that derful time!! it has answered some of your questions. We up-date the Guide as often as possible, Kind regards, (this is the fourth edition, updated in October Barbara and Colin Maddocks 2021), in order that we can give you an ac- curate impression of just what taking a Nile cruise entails. Barbara and I consider a Nile cruise holiday to be one of the great travel experiences and one that you will remember for many years. We have enjoyed travelling to Egypt on many occasions both for business and pleasure and have never been disap- pointed. We love to spread our enthusiasm for this wonder- ful country and if you would like to simply talk to us informally about Nile cruising or travelling to Egypt please don’t’ hesitate to call us at any time. We wont’ try and sell you anything we’ll just answer any ques- tions you may have. You can call us on our Free- phone number 0808 1089 100 so it wont’ cost you anything at all. If you have any suggestions as to how the Guide might be improved or suggestions as to what you feel might be missing and would be good to include please email us at [email protected] Please take a regular look at the Nile Cruise Blog if you’d like to stay up-to-date with Nile cruising and to read about our Egyptian “adventures”. Nile Cruises 4u 50

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