by Jane Miller
Like most first-time travellers to Egypt, I was excited about seeing the pyramids and learning more about Egypt’s incredible history. But as someone who can get sea sick in a swimming pool (I’m not joking!) I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the Nile cruise component of our itinerary. As it turned out, the four days we spent on the Nile aboard the Sonesta Moon Goddess were one of the highlights of the trip!
My travel companion and I boarded our Nile cruise in Luxor, having been collected from the airport and driven to the ship by Bunnik Tours’ local representative. We were met with a glass of juice and a cool wash cloth then shown to our cabins.
Spotlessly clean and well-appointed, my comfy queen size bed was dressed in crisp white Egyptian cotton sheets and I was delighted to find that my cabin had its own private balcony.
After enjoying an ample and tasty buffet lunch, served in the spacious dining room, we headed off with our guide (who accompanied us on the cruise) for the first afternoon of sightseeing at the incredible Karnak and Luxor temples.
Returning to the ship in the evening, we took advantage of happy hour in the bar then joined the rest of the guests for another delicious meal as the ship left its dock. Sailing the Nile was so smooth that even my hyper-sensitive stomach was unaffected.
The following day we had an opportunity to explore the ship, taking in the sun deck, swimming pool, lounge areas and the little gym. I booked myself an appointment with the on-board masseuse (which turned out to be well worth the $100 investment – albeit lacking in some of the refinements we might expect at home) while my friend purchased some souvenirs at the gift shop.
Over the next few days we enjoyed more sightseeing excursions including the incredible Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Horus and the colossal twin temples of Abu Simbel. But equally enjoyable was the quiet time I spent sitting on my private balcony sipping a G&T and watching life on the banks of the River Nile.
Perfect weather, clean, green shores, dotted with palm trees moving gently in the breeze, local people wearing traditional dress who were fishing and riding their donkeys along the shores, all combined to create an idyllic moving picture. Wherever we were we could also hear the five daily calls to prayer from the many village mosques that were mostly out of view, but clearly audible.
The service on-board the ship was exceptional. Sadly for the warm and welcoming Egyptian people, the ship (and many of the sites we visited) was well below capacity. The upside for us was that we got an almost personalised level of attention and had many of the sights nearly to ourselves!
As we docked in Aswan, I reluctantly packed my suitcase and headed to reception to meet our guide for the next leg of our fabulous tour in the land of the Pharaohs.
We cruise the Nile on all of our Small Group Tours to Egypt.
You can learn more about the Sonesta cruise ships here.