Date of Trip: September 2011
It took my friends and I just 1 month to plan and book a return visit to Egypt. We visited Egypt and Jordan a year ago and always lamented the fact that we had missed seeing Abu Simbel so one Saturday afternoon we decided that it was still on our must see list and that was it.The planning and booking was easy as I used Memphis Tours as I had done the previous year.
We flew to Cairo with Egyptair (not great) then connected to Aswan where we boarded our boat/ship the “Jaz Omar El Khayam”.
This boat/ship is a more than five star, the decor in every room, lounge, dining room and on the sun deck is just fantastic. The service on board was exceptional and i really felt pampered and really well taken care of. Every need was met and even though one doesn’t really go to Egypt for fantastic food the menu was really nice and the variety offered made sure that everyone found something they liked.
I believe that this stunning boat/ship has only been sailing for the past three weeks as the trickle of tourists return to Egypt. The boat has a capacity for 160 guests and because there are so few tourists going to Egypt there were only 22 guests on board. We all stayed on the fifth floor and were delighted every day by our room steward who folded towel, bedspread, base cover animals for us twice a day. Having been on larger cruises i have seen towel animals before but never have i seen a crocodile folded out of my bed spread or two spitting cobras out of our duvets. Just wonderful!!
There were approximately 5 guides on board to accommodate the different languages spoken. Our english speaking guide Ashraf Bashra was incredibly knowledgable and his fluency in English was excellent.
We boarded the Jaz in Aswan via a little boat that took us from a jetty like nothing i have seen before. It has other cruisers docked there and ferries headed to Sudan which quickly fill up with all sorts of people, vehicles and bits and pieces which people are taking home.
Our first night we were tied up to a rock in Aswan and early the next morning we set sail just down the lake where we again climbed onto the little boat to visit Kalabasha Temples – these temples and all of the others that we saw bar one were moved when the high dam was built and the area was flooded.
Once back on board lunch was served and we sailed on to Wadi El Seboual. I found it charming that when taken to shore on the little boat one has to walk from the boat down a gangplank onto the shore. Two men stand – one in the boat and one on the shore and hold a hand rail for you to hold onto – i must admit it made me laugh every day. Over night at Wadi El Seboua with a cocktail party on board.
Day three we visited the Wadi El Saboua temple then sailed on to Amada where we visited Amada, Derr and the tomb of Pennut. We stayed overnight at Amada and went to a Nubian show on board where we all ended up dancing with the dancers.
Day four was the most anticipated day we sailed first to Kasr Ibrim which can only be viewed from the sun deck as its the only temple that is still in its same location and is being studied by archeologists and historians. We sailed on and then it was the big moment – when we looked up we could see Abu Simbel which was our whole reason for being on this cruise. Approaching Abu Simbel from the water as Ramese II intended was breathtaking. We sailed closer and closer all the while taking loads of photos till we docked next to the temple. That afternoon we walked off the boat and viewed these magnificent temples – the most awesome i have seen in Egypt. After walking through the temples we popped back to the boat to freshen up then it was back for the sound and light show.
Sadly day five arrived and they had to pry my fingers of the balcony railing as i really didn’t want to leave this wonderful boat but alas check out time had come and we had to disembark.
There is not one negative thing i can say about this boat/ship. There can be nothing wrong with being able to lounge around the pool (no deck chair hogs -more deck chairs than people) having every need met, getting drinks and snacks brought to you by wonderful smiling pleasant staff
I would recommend this cruise to anyone. Not once did we feel unsafe and the boat ties off to a rock every night which is unreachable from the shore. Even though it was really nice to have the sights all to ourselves its really hard on the Egyptian people who have hardly had any work for the past couple of months.
If you go you will love it!!!