Tag Archive: Nile Cruise



A bunch of close friends. “Barkada”. We’ve long planned this — and planned around a 5-night Nile Cruise on a chartered Dahabiya or sailboat. Cairo and Alexandra first, prior to the cruise from Luxor to Aswan. Then 3 more nights in Aswan to include a day trip to Abu Simbel. There were concerns prior to the trip. Left on February 17, about the time when the world is whirling and reeling from Coronavirus issues. But we were all set for this trip. So, armed with masks, wipes and alcohol sprays, we went. The flights to Cairo and then to Luxor, as well as the long drives to Alexandria and Abu Simbel were uneventful. The weather was perfect, all rides comfortable, though I must confess we underestimated Egypt’s cold temps. The whole cruising time, we had breakfasts on the riverboat’s deck in our terry bathrobes. The same robes we donned for dinners! It grew warmer by the time we reached Aswan and Abu Simbel. Finally, we parked our boots and rubber shoes and wore our sandals to go shopping. All throughout the journey, we were floored by all these ancient wonders and happily absorbed all the ancient history lessons. It was our luck that we had very competent tour guides. Egyptologists. Yes, you take special courses for that. We also met some foreign Egyptologists in the hotels where we stayed — archaeologists who specialise in Ancient Egypt. Such interesting people. The ones we met must be in their 60s-70s but you can still sense that burning passion in them. The kind you can almost touch! By journey’s end, we can only feel so thankful for the wonderful cruising adventure, the excitement triggered by the history lessons, the fun and mirth all throughout the holiday and most importantly the good health and safety enjoyed by everyone. This is our story. Feel free to click on the links for more photos and details.

https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/21/the-sphinx-and-moi/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/22/revisiting-cairo/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/24/alexandria/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/25/ballooning-in-luxor-egypt/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/25/gliding-through-the-nile/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/29/the-ancient-temples-of-luxor/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/03/06/of-egyptian-gods-man-gods/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/03/18/sailing-without-care/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/03/19/abu-simbel-finally/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/03/19/aswan-as-two/

Sailing, Without Care


It sounds nearly arrogant to say “Been here; done that” but I must confess that the enthusiasm before this trip wasn’t at par with my first visit in 1996. Just the same, being with friends give it a whole new dimension and in particular, I looked forward to sailing, without care, just chilling. It didn’t matter if I were to miss some sites included in our offshore excursions. I’ve seen them before and doubt if much has changed since. But I’m curious to just sail, watching life unfold. Slowly. Unhurriedly. And with my time-tested travel buddies. Besides, this is my first trip in 5 months and I’m eager to travel again. Anywhere.

Back in 1996, it was hot and humid with temps hitting high 40’s in May. This time, it’s cool during the day at 15-22C and even cooler as the sun sets and the wind blows. February is a good month to visit Egypt. And having this riverboat all to ourselves clinches the fun element of this trip. Our group of 16 would go up the deck to read, chat, drink and eat — donned in bathrobes — and just while away the time in between the 2 activities slated for each day. Each activity is a lesson in ancient history, just enough to stimulate our mental faculties. And a bit of physical exertion, just to check if those sweat glands are still functioning. Ahem.

Life by the riverbank varies by the season. When I first visited, summer meant watching children play, swim and bathe in the Nile. It was also teeming with wildlife especially cattle while some fisherfolks are busy sinking their hooks. This winter, there is hardly any activity along the Nile except for those feluccas doing business ferrying passengers crossing the river, or going to riverside restaurants. It gets even busier come sundown when tourists go for sunset rides on sailboats. Curiously, there are also the more enterprising boatmen selling wares to cruisers like us. Right there along the Nile. They’d say “hello, hello” at the top of their lungs while we’re at the deck. As we look down, they display their wares and manage to toss up their goods for our scrutiny. The haggling begins and some minutes later, hard currencies are dropped. Swell.

Cruising clears one’s mind of many cobwebs. Just watching the scenery change ever so slowly puts one’s spirit at rest. It’s like a movie set in slow motion. In the beginning, I’d claim a corner up in the deck and say my prayers. Attempts at meditation. But the ever solicitous staff and your travel companions can easily engage you any moment. So I had my quiet moments inside my cabin instead, staring out the wide window by the bed watching Nile life unfold and while enjoying the melodious ripple of the water as the sailboat slowly sliced forward. How precious. On this trip, I slept a good 3 hours earlier than my usual past midnight knock off. I haven’t done that in a very long time. Aaaaahhhh, the sweet life!


Just 5 nights on this chartered boat sailing from Luxor to Aswan. Offshore excursions included. Karnak and Luxor Temples. Valley of the Kings. Temple of Hatshepsut. El Kab. Edfu. Kom Ombo. Temple of Isis in Philae. All these as we glide through the Nile from Luxor to Aswan. And while sailing, unli food and unli drinks. The 8 cabins good for 16 pax are not big but good-sized and kept clean and neat. Then there’s the salon where we can choose to dine when it turns really cold, and the deck where most meals are served. A lounge for cocktail hours, a jacuzzi, beer and soda ref, coffee and tea stations. Good food, and even better service. What a treat! This is most certainly my kind of holiday.

The boat’s engine runs to make life comfortable for all 16 of us. Well-appointed, air-conditioned rooms. Hot coffee & tea. Cold bevs and hot meals. Good music and adequate lighting. A tugboat pulls us across the River Nile and the splash we make as we glide through the Nile is a symphony we’d likely miss once we get off. How nice to wake up to catch sunrise and enjoy wine or beer as we wait for sunset. A few hours in the morn and another after lunch make up our offshore excursions. Just enough activities for each day. Even more time to enjoy each other’s company on the boat. Life seems slow, unhurried, and savoured. The way it should be.

Captain is a kindly 56 year old Egyptian who has a younger brother also working on the boat. We don’t know what the younger Ibrahim does but we all remember him as the young lad with good dance moves when we feel like turning after-dinner sessions into dancing parties. Where we shake left to right, Ibrahim’s extra moves tilts up and down while swaying left to right. The Chefs cook up real good meals and have good dancing feet too! Same goes for Mandouh who is forever charming us with his stories on his 7 year old twins and always beat us with his keen sense of anticipation of what we need. A vodka here, some toast, more desserts, another glass of wine. To feel spoiled and pampered is an understatement. These men made us feel so comfortable and truly took good care of us.

This isn’t my first time cruising the Nile. Back in ‘96, we sailed on a bigger boat M/S Oberoi from Aswan to Luxor . Meals and service excellent but nothing beats having the boat all to yourselves. Besides, it wasn’t an open bar back then. Our Tour Guide sailed with us too and Mahmoud is a gem of a guide. He doesn’t mind us calling him “Superman”, by the way. His spiel had just the right amount of information laced with just enough excitement to keep us interested. Never too much info to douse our interest or give us indigestion over too much historical facts. This guy knows his stuff.

Over the 6 days and 5 nights cruising the Nile, Mahmoud’s itinerary covered the same spots I’ve visited 24 years ago, plus a couple more which I particularly enjoyed. El Kab and the Sandstone Quarry of Gebel Al Silsilah are worthy sites to visit along the Nile. I am including the link to our boat’s website for those who are planning to do a River Nile Cruise. We still have 2 nights to go on this riverboat cruise but this comes with our recommendation. We are that confident it can only get better! (https://www.divenewswire.com/aggressor-announces-new-brand-aggressor-river-cruises-with-the-nile-queen/)