Posted by: Tom Baker | July 11, 2009

Off to Luxor & The Nile…

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

After 4 days in busy Cairo, it was a welcomereleif to fly to Luxor to board our Nile Cruise Boat. I will go into the Nile Cruise Boats later and tell you how to pick one…It’s actually easy as the choices for high quality are few!
More on that later…

As most US tourists arrive in Egypt at alexandria or Port Said, their choices for sightseeing are limited to a day or two only with Cairo, the Primids at Giza (on the outskirts of this massive city), and the great Egyptian Museaum in the heart of Cairo being their only choice for seeing Egypt. This is a shame as the true beauty of this land is found deep into the heart of Egypt and found along the Wotld’s longest river, The Nile!

Most Nile cruise programs begin in Aswan or Luxor. The choices are 3,4 or 7 days for the most part. I sugeest a minimum of 4 days, however, prefer 7 to really give the traveler a chance for some neede relaxation and the opportunity to absorb all the history, culture, and sightseeing one will take in.

Our flight to Luxor left on Egypt Air from the new and gorgeous Terminal 5 in Cairo. It was a quick 45 minute flight on a very clean 2 by 2 seat airliner that was clean, comfortable, and exceeded expectation. Once we landed in the barren sesert of Luxor, it was a quick 20 minute motorcoach ride to our Nile Boat found just outside historic Luxor. The city is lines with palms, bouganvilla, flowers, and is quite clean compared to Cairo. The Nile creates a fertile region around it with much verdant farm land, beauiful plam trees, and villiages. It is quite attractive and the stark reality of the barren rich gold sand of the Great Sahara Desert is always just beyond reach of this river oasis. The city of Luxor is know as one of the former kingdoms of the Great Pharohs. The Karnak Temple and Luxor Temple are two of the most remarkable sights to see. I personally thought the massive Karnak Temple with its massive carved columns and obelisks was an engineering feat beyond imagination. The Luxor museum is worth a vist, and shopping for the famed Egptian historical items of Papyrus, Gold, Perfume, and Alabaster are highlights in the tourist rich city. Visiting Luxor is like taking a step back in time. You feel a more relaxed atmosphere among the people. They are farmers, operators of smaller business, and in general leave you to feel that they are an era (or two) away from the lifestyle of Cairo. Taxis are ancient. My rides to local markets usually took place in non aircoditioned 27+ year old Peugot station wagons-LOL! Roadside transportation of produce and materials is by cart, donkey or camel…
The main city of Luxor is found on the East Bank of the Nile. It is here where most cruise boat companies tie up their boats. It is common for 4-6 boats to tie together which allows you to see how the “other half” live. It is sometimes confusing as you don’t know your own boat until you arive in your own boat lobby and boats chnge position frequently making the changes to new boats docking against you an ever changing scenario. The issue of privacy also becaomes interesting when your boat is sandwiched between two other boats wherein your picture window or french balcony becomes a window to window view of another boats guest stateroom…
The Tourist Police are evident in Luxor with armed guard stops everywhere. The Nile Boat docks are also found in private cluster enclaves where the area is also heavily guarded for guest security. I found Luxort to be charming, safe, somewhat relaxed and highly recommend the night time Sound & Light Show at Karnak Temple along with the coveted West Bank tours to the incomparable Valley of the Kings, Queens, Nobles, Queen Hatsepshut’s Temple, The colussus of Menmon, and More… I wil cover these exceptional tours on our return visit to Luxor at the end of our Nile Cruise as these were the sights that blew my mind…
Now, I have joined my Nile Cruise Boat. The Emilio Cruise-Domina Prestige. This five star-standard boat is one of the cleanest, most modern, offers some of the largest cabins, and top notch facilities of any boat on the Nile. It is only 5-years old and kept in good shape by its proud owners. The Domina Prestige has won more Gold Standard awards for its kitchen cleanliness than almost any other boat. As a matter of fact, it only needs one more Gold Standard Award to acheive the pinnacle Award-Platinum. There is only one other boat EVER to acheive that coveted title. The next blog will cover the Nile Cruise experience and we will continue on to more ports-of-call along the Nile with our Egyptologist guides and exciting Egypt experience…

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