Cruise - River Cruise
Luxury Dahabiyya Nile Cruise - something very special
51 people found this review helpful
Nothing quite prepared us for this exclusive and very special experience. We flew from Heathrow to Cairo, then on to Luxor and were shepherded throughout by attentive, experienced staff. Our arrival at dusk by water taxi was the start of a magical trip, with the dahabiyya illuminated in the dusk on the far side of the River Nile, her boarding lights reflecting and sparkling in the soft, ink-black river.
We boarded to a warm welcome by staff in the Stateroom, a beautifully presented, air conditioned reception area. The sides of the boat were open to the warm, gentle breeze – the beginning of a truly delightful trip.
There were just 6 en suite cabins, twin or double, all beautifully furnished in colonial style and with every convenience such as you would expect in a 4* hotel. The top deck was partly shaded and ideal for watching the world go by, enjoying the sunshine or reading a book. Meals were taken on the middle deck in the style of a houseparty and were of an extremely high standard, with local fresh produce and a varied menu throughout. Local wine was included; bottled water was provided for every excursion and a welcoming, reviving drink was served by friendly staff to greet us on our return to the dahabiyya .
We were accompanied throughout by a delightful, enthusiastic and engaging young Egyptologist – her concern to facilitate and enhance the experience of the trip was exceptional and she contributed greatly to the success and enjoyment of the trip for all of us,
We moored overnight each night on the banks of the Nile, on the quiet side of the river away from major traffic and busy Egyptian towns and villages as we made our way from Luxor to Aswan. Some of our trips involved an early start, to avoid the heat of the day. Returning for lunch on the boat, we were then underway during the afternoon continuing our tranquil river journey.
Sightseeing was spectacular as you might imagine – Karnak Temple, Luxor Temple, Valleys of the Kings and Queens, Temple of Horus to name but a few exceptional visits; the Aswan and High Dams and the beautiful Philae Temple, reached by water taxi again and revisited for a son et lumiere show later.
As an optional extra, we flew to Abu Simnel on the shores of Lake Nasser – considered a 'must' and one of Egypt's most impressive sites. Those guests who did not make this trip enjoyed a personal tour of the Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan where Agatha Christie wrote 'Death on the Nile', and also visited a Nubian restaurant/club where Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt had just dropped by. That evening was completed with a trip to the Spice Market, where an amazing array of fresh spices were available to purchase and bring a small part of our experience back home with us.
Accessibility – there were steps to board the vessel and to transfer to water taxis, sometimes crossing another boat to get to the quayside, so this would need to be taken into account if mobility is limited. At the time that we visited, the sun was high and hot during the day, so suitable protection is necessary as well as appropriate head- and footwear – some tours were longer than others and all sites involved walking, many on sandy surfaces of course.
There were also visits to local , quality manufacturers – fine Egyptian cotton, perfumes, jewellery and papyryus workshops for example. Private transport was laid on for our group on these occasions, escorted throughout.
The only thing we found difficult to manage at times was the eagerness of roadside stallholders to sell their wares – not surprising really, as the tourist trade had declined dramatically (down some 70%) – during the period of unrest following the political turmoil of recent months. We soon adjusted, however – everyone was pleasant, there was no hassling or jostling of any kind and our Guide was available to advise if necessary.
On our last night we moored on a private island in the River Nile. Our staff set the dining table on the island, beautifully prepared for our delight and we had a memorable evening wining and dining in convivial company – just magical.
I cannot recommend this experience too highly – it was a truly delightful and luxurious journey and the ancient history and culture of the area was awe inspiring; the whole enhanced by our expert, personal Egyptologist throughout. Truly, a unique and fascinating holiday steeped in history and the development of the civilised world.
51 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.