This is the cruise ship that we boarded at Luxor (after flying down from Cairo). Most people take the Nile cruise when in Egypt, some from Upper Egypt (Aswan) to Lower Egypt (Luxor), others go the opposite way (like we did, from Luxor to Aswan, which corresponded to Old Kingdom ruins to New Kingdom). Our cruise was a seven day cruise (and went to more sites), unlike most cruises that ran 4-5 days.
There are 200+ cruise ships on the Nile, and some are obviously
better than others. I think ours was one of the best (and most expensive), though it
was worth it. It was well maintained, had great food and service, and each room had its
own private balcony from which to sit and watch the Nile sites pass slowly by. One day we
passed another cruiser going the other direction, and we looked over at it from the top
deck of our ship. It was rusted in spots, had no balconies outside the rooms, and
generally looked kinda sad. I said to Sue that I was glad we were on this ship looking at
them, rather than vice-versa.
Here is a view from the upper deck, showing the mini-pool, and the bartender under his shaded cover. Luxor is in the distance, with the minarets of the Muslim mosques poking up into the skyline.
Typically we would see one set of ruins per day, going to the ruins from the ship in the morning, and returning to the ship for lunch (or at least by dinner). The ship would then set sail for the next destination, often cruising through the night while we slept, so that we awoke at a new pier each morning.
There were a few different tour groups on board our ship, but as
we were the only two people with our tour company, we joined up with a tour group of about
a dozen people during our stay on board. We usually went wherever they did when visiting
the ruins, though on our last day at Luxor we left them early during the Valley of the
Kings excursion, and a private guide took us to Queen Hapshetsut's mortuary temple at Deir
El-Bahri (which was on our personal itinerary, but not theirs). We had to hurry, as the
ship was due to sail that afternoon, but we managed to see everything before the guide
hustled us down to a waiting boat that took us across the river and back to our cruise
ship. We barely made it in time, as the boat was pulling up the gangplank when we arrived.
It's a good thing the guide showed some initiative and hired the boat, as the car that we
where supposed to have used to return in would have taken too long.
The boat that our guide (Joseph, on the left) brought us back to the ship in.
Every night that we returned to our cabins from the evening meal we would find creatures made of blankets and towels waiting for us on our beds. (This happened to other people as well, as it was a creative game the crew played with the passengers.) This picture is of a plush blanket crocodile, with striped towels for legs, and water bottle caps for eyes. The crew usually used items of ours to personalize the "sculptures", like this box of Honey Maid graham crackers that is in deep trouble.
The less said about this, the better....
Here's another example of the bed animals.... two large swan-like creatures are wearing our shirts and hats (mine is holding one of my Egyptian travel guides), and each has a cigarette in its snout (though neither of us smoke). Two more swans (with tissue paper crests) kiss in the foreground.
This went on for days. Finally, Sue and I took one of their creatures (a walrus-like thing), and turned it into this humanoid creature, and placed it in our chair before going to dinner. We added her scarf, my hat and sunglasses, her shoes and hair brush, and the TV remote in its hand. I even made a nose and toothy mouth from Post-It notes to give it added personality. We left for dinner just before the servents arrived, and we could hear their surprise at finding the tables turned on them. They called over other crew members to see our creation, and are probably still using a derivative of its design today.
It's customary to have a Egyptian theme party while on a Nile cruise. Everyone dresses up in Egyptian garb (on sale in the gift shop, if you didn't bring your own), dances to Egyptian music, etc. The group pictured above was another tour group on board that took the costume concept to the extreme. I still have my galabaya somewhere; it is a loose fitting robe-like shirt worn by some of the modern Arabs, good for covering up and keeping cool at the same time.