Cruising on the Nile aboard the Royal Viking.

Well, Playmates! It had really  been  my intention to blog our lovely Nile cruise holiday at one sitting, so that it might be referred to like a review; but that hasn't been possible. After looking through the first day's pictures, I realised that even this first day could warrant more than one posting, however, I'll spare you that and condense it into a "picture blog". This will be a series of photographs with only small explanations to accompany them, you can fill in any gaps with your imaginations!

Firstly, we'll have a little tour of the boat, here's our cabin:

I took lots of pictures in here, but due to a faulty camera (and a photographer who really doesn't understand it anyway!) only this one appeared on the memory card! Anyway, it was relatively spacious, comfortable and "usable", if you know what I mean. There was a locked door to facilitate the adjoining cabin requirements of a family, and whilst it wasn't "perfectly" clean, it couldn't have been described as dirty. There was only one chair at the small table, but another was produced immediately upon request. The service from staff was prompt and efficient. (There may be some bathroom pictures farther on in the picture library. If I come across any, I'll be sure to let you see them.)

This is the central corridor outside of our cabin, remember that all the cabins on Nile cruisers are "outside" cabins. We were on the highest deck, but all the corridors are alike. (Note the sprinklers in the ceiling, they are also in the cabins etc.)

The public areas are all pretty well as you would expect; the lounge/bar has a small dance floor with tables and chairs around it, then more comfortable sofa type, seating with lower tables, around the outer edge. All very pleasant and practical.

The top deck has a fairly sized pool, with surrounding sunbeds, and a large shaded area with a goodly assortment of seating around matching tables, most acceptable!

It's here that guests enjoy their afternoon tea (and English cake) whilst sailing. When we were on the boat (early May) the temperature was perfect for lounging in the shade whilst gliding along through a blissful breeze and taking in the fabulous scenery. Mind you, several of our companions (although, to be fair, they had come from the damp, cold drizzle of England!) spent most of their free time either baking in the sun or cooling of in the pool.

(There are a couple of "exercise" machines at the rear of the open top deck, but I didn't imagine that you, Dear Reader, would be remotely interested in them!)

On the deck below us was the "commercial district" of the boat, a shop selling costumes for the inevitable "Galabaya Party", jewellery and various souvenirs.

There's also a massage room, I had a quick nosey in there; the massage table is just visible in the inner sanctum.

And here's the massage lady drumming up business on the sundeck. She didn't hassle, and took "No" as our answer straight away, thankfully!

Her prospective client was the only non-English speaker on the boat.

In the reception area, the various excursions and visits are displayed each day on the notice boards, along with meal times, optional excursions and evening entertainments, sailing times etc. Invaluable information!

The restaurant (complete with hand sanitiser available at the entrance) is on the lower deck, where the river flies past just below the large windows. (Perhaps I'll even come across some pictures later?)

At the stern, there are several life-rafts stacked:

Hanging from chain blocks, down the back of the boat are the small rowing boats which the crew use for servicing the needs of the boat and crew. You'll notice the oars, which are much more streamlined than usual Egyptian oars, although still not ideal for their purpose!

We passed by the (Un)Egyptian Experience holiday village as we set sail from our boat's berth just to the South of the Nile bridge, which lies about seven kilometres from town.

I've included this picture just to show you that I'm not entirely prejudiced against such developments. We have a few friends who actually own apartments here, and are very happy with them. Mind you, they are rather on the expensive side for such a poor country.

The Nile has remained, largely, unchanged for many centuries. Fishermen can still be seen casting their nets as they would have done in Biblical times:

Working in the fields, which often reach right down to the river, hasn't changed much either, although they now tend to use motorised transport along with the poor little donkeys. Here's a shot of the "threshing floor" of one farmer:

And here's another showing some fields which have been inundated by the rising Nile:
With the advent of motor transport for both goods and people, there are ferryboats working on sections of the Nile, although the government seem to be intent on building more bridges here and there. (More on this in another "Cruise Blog".)

I believe that ferries of this type are common all over Africa, this one operates to the North of Esna.

The banks of the Nile are constantly fascinating, I took innumerable pictures of just the palms and various trees as we slid by them, gently waving to us as we passed. At one point, I noticed an idyllic scene comprising a small family group strolling along the bankside among some lush grass and beautiful trees. I took up the camera, switched it on, and then set the controls for a "scenic" "daytime" shot
and turned back to find that Dad had moved away from the group to to busy himself with a "bodily function"!

Well........Egyptian culture and practice is very different from the English! And if we visit here; then we must accept their habits, and not complain or be upset by them.

We also came upon a boatyard, and it contained the very  vessel that would suit us down to the ground, if my Mother won the National Lottery and gave us a share, that is. What do you think, would our guests pay a few bob extra to sail up the Nile on her?

Naturally, I'd have to hone and practice my carpentry skills somewhat,  but I'm sure that "with a little help from my friends" this lovely little thing could be made into a real beauty!

Then you can spy something like the following, in the distance, which grows in it's mystery as it becomes more plainly into view:

I believe it's a Sheiks Tomb, not unlike the one which is in the street, just behind our house.

Or, like me, you can gaze in awe at the different colours (caused by the light and shade?) displayed in the rocks and mountains along the river banks, sometimes they appear as mountains of purest gold!!! Honestly!

We reached the lock at Esna, just as it was getting dark, and moored up against the West Bank to await our turn to pass through. It was interesting watching the other cruisers arriving and tying up.

We were next to one of the Sonesta boats:

Eventually, it was our time to move, and we edged slowly towards the lock gates. But what was that small object, in the gloom, in front of us?

You can see the concrete sides of the entrance to the lock, but there's definitely an obstacle in our way! Here it is, on zoom!

Obviously the local lunatic, and even though he's rowing frantically, I think he must have a death-wish!

Here we are, actually in the lock, with a crewman shouting instructions to the pilot, hoping that we don't scrape the boat along the concrete side of the lock.

And here's the man who rowed his boat into the lock in front of us. Cheeky beggar's getting a tow home! This is evidently a common practice.
I'm sorry about the reflection of the interior of the boat, but the doors were locked shut, and it's the only way I could get the picture.

I think that's probably enough for one day, don't you? It's all I'm doing anyway, so you can like it or lump it! I need TEA!


  1. Really enjoyed reading that post and lots of pictures to scan too. The cabin looked lovely. Had to smile at the egyptian family by the Nile, and by the time you had your camera the scene had somewhat changed!

    I think you must be due to return to good ol Blighty soon? Are those power cuts hurting yet? Not long until Ramadan too ........

  2. Welcome Edward to travelling and even a 'blog'
    I never thought of your doing a Nile cruise, I thought you had see it all by now
    You made this trip really interesting (enough that when I get Anne to come with me, we could well do this Nile cruise)
    I really enjoyed reading about it and looking at the photos, I am really looking forward to the next episode of this trip along the Nile

  3. Enjoyed this 'trip