As I boarded the vessel on my Egypt vacation, I couldn’t help but think that I was entering a movie (though with apologies to Agatha Christie, I sincerely hoped it wouldn’t include a murder). My time on board the Tuya didn’t disappoint. There’s a good reason why travelers have been cruising the Nile for many centuries-it’s the best way to tour the fertile valley that contains the monuments of one of the world’s greatest civilizations.
Nile River Cruises
Nearly 300 boats ply the waters between Luxor and Aswan in the south of Egypt. Most visitors take a short airplane flight from Cairo to either city and then board a boat docked on the Nile. Vessels typically feature anywhere from 40 to 120 cabins and offer Nile cruises lasting for three or four nights, depending on whether they’re traveling up or downriver.
- Onboard the ‘Tuya.’
After the intense urban bustle of Cairo, the cruise boats offer a calm and peaceful way to see the scenery of rural Egypt. Watching from the shaded sundeck that tops most boats, passengers can see scenes that at times seem many centuries old. Men in long robes wearing turbans lead donkeys along dusty footpaths, while fishermen travel on the Nile in feluccas powered by triangle-shaped sails.
It’s easy to see why the Nile has always been considered the lifeblood of Egypt, for without its waters the surrounding land is a vast desert. Only a narrow strip of vivid green lines the river’s banks, while endless sand and rocks stretch into the distance just beyond.
Boats offer a variety of onboard entertainment that ranges from talks by Egyptologists to belly-dancing performances. Many boats, all of which are air-conditioned, have swimming pools that provide a refreshing place to relax in the heat of the day. As night falls over the river, soft breezes bring a welcome coolness as the desert sky begins to sparkle with stars.