Saturday, 13 March 2010

Egypt.Aswan. March 2010. 4 Night Nile Cruise. Day one.

The Movenpick Hotel in Aswan is located on Elephantine Island. We had crossed the Nile to the hotel in the hotels shuttle boat the previous night. The room we were give was clean and comfortable. In the morning this was the stunning view of the river from the hotel room. The hotel had beautiful grounds and I was sad we did not have longer to experience the truly picturesque surroundings.
According to the voucher I had, our pick up time and transfer to our Nile Cruiser was 08.00. so at the allotted time we waited in the lobby. After 15 minutes or so I asked the reception staff if they had any idea where the rep might meet us, they suggested that the travel reps don’t cross the river but wait on the other side, so I checked out, crossed the river to wait again. I knew the name of our Nile Boat, but not the sailing times, so at 08.45 was getting concerned that I was still at the hotel waiting. I hailed a taxi, negotiated a price and it was a quick taxi ride to the new Aswan Port and our Cruiser.As it turned out I need not have rushed as we were not due to sail until the next day! I was very glad that the staff on the boat let us check in, and had heard of the seemingly elusive Marhaba Tours.
I had opted for the Royal Lotus as it fitted in with my time scale, being a 4 night, 5 day tour.

I have not known the boat was so well equipped. The moment I stepped on board I relaxed, boat was just right. It has 60 cabins, our room was on the third deck next to a fully equipped Gymnasium, I did not use these facilities! Although if you wanted to you could have kept fit with a spectacular view of the Nile from the large window in the gym. Our cabin had an en suite bathroom with a bath, a TV, again not used (who comes to the River Nile to watch TV????). The restaurant was on the lower deck, the bar on the same deck as the lobby.
Best of all was the top deck, known as the Sun Deck. This was where we were to be found when not visiting the antiquities. This area had a plunge pool and a Jacuzzi. There were also three furnished areas; tables and chairs in the shade of a canopy, sun loungers around the pool and a choice of Bedouin style low seating and huge comfortable sofas, just great for reading all those books I had in my case. Due to my panic about getting to the boat, we were the first arrivals, and immediately made use of the Sun Deck facilities. It was about 11.00 when the rest of the guests started to come aboard and at 13.00 we had our first meal in the Restaurant, a delicious four course buffet. A real contrast to my normal life, where I am lucky if I manage to get a cheese sandwich any time between 12.00 and 16.00!
There were two large groups of Americans on board, most of the tables in the dining room were designated with name cards for ‘Viking Tours’ and ‘Pilgrim Tours’ there did not seen to be many people like Sazzle and myself, ungrouped? We were given a table for two by the window, not boats were moored along side us at that moment so we could see out. Immediately after lunch we were asked to attend a briefing in the Bar, here we met the rest of our small group and our guide Mohammed. He outlined the schedule for the rest of the trip, advising us to meet in the lobby at 16.00 for a Felucca on the Nile around Kitchener Island. So as instructed at 16.00 we assembled, the group was very international and so very interesting. Like Saz and me there was another Mother and Daughter this time from Lebanon, two Auzzies from Perth, two English sisters, and American couple from Chicago, an American couple from Massachusetts and four ladies from the Indian sub continent.
We enjoyed our Felucca trip, and once back on the boat did not have a lot of time before our ‘Welcome Reception Cocktail’ and Al a Cart Dinner.......I was still stuffed from lunch, in fact it was to be over 6 days before I felt hunger again!