We have just spent 12 wonderful days in Egypt (November 2018), including 5 nights 6 days cruising on the Nile with the company Les Gréements du Nil
Here is my opinion about my cruise with Les Gréements du Nil.
This post is NOT sponsored
We opted for a dahabiya (the company has other types of boats: sandal, felucca). And we were able to travel on the mythical El Khedewi (built in 1897), which has only 3 cabins (2 doubles, 1 single for the guide), that is to say 4 clients on the boat, 1 guide and 7 crew members. The ultimate luxury!
This is what our boat looks like:
Our room is small but comfortable, with a private bathroom. The bed is made every day during our excursions. There is an anti-mosquito net at the window, so you can open the window without being invaded by mosquitoes (very practical for the summer) as well as a mosquito net above the bed.
As everywhere in Egypt, it is necessary to throw the PQ directly in the dustbin and not in the WC. Hot water is available when the generator is turned on, there is no lack of hot water. If ever we need electricity, we can ask the crew to turn on the generator. However, it is expected to be on 3 to 4 hours a day (in the morning to take a hot shower and in the evening until 10pm to have light).
The shower water is drawn from the Nile and passed through a filter system.
All outgoing water is also filtered before being discharged into the Nile for environmental reasons. Not all dahabiyas have this system. This is specific to Les Gréements du Nil
, when electricity is only available a few hours a day, wifi is non-existent.
However, we were able to buy a SIM card before the cruise and were able to connect throughout the cruise with the 4G. This cost us only 10€ for 12Go. With the electricity available a few hours a day, this is more than enough to recharge our phone/camera batteries.
However, avoid connecting permanently and enjoy the cruise, the vacations, that’s what it’s made for 🙂
dahabiya is a real sailing boat, which means that it can sail autonomously, without engine. When it is like this, there is no noise, except the water noise. The experience is incredible.
If ever there is not enough wind, as the dahabiya has no engine on board, it is a tugboat that pulls us. This saves us from the smell of diesel and the noise (we just hear a little distant noise but it isn’t disturbing). The tugboat accompanies us during all the cruise. As soon as we can sail, it disappears in the distance so that we don’t hear it anymore. When we need it again, the crew gives him a phone call and he reappears.
We sail on the Nile, between 3 and 5 hours a day, from the first day (unlike cruise ships which can stay at quay 2 days in a row in Luxor) In the evening, we moor in a quiet corner, next to other dahabiyas (no noise to report), we never sail at night, unlike big cruise ships.
guide accompanies us (Bassem, excellent!! French-speaking and Egyptologist) during these 6 days of visit. He has his own cabin on the boat.
Even when we are on the boat, the guide remains available on the deck, shows us what there is to see and is at our disposal all day long if we have any questions.
Every day, we visit something: a temple, a village… The program is very well done because we discover ancient Egypt as well as modern Egypt, which isn’t proposed by the big cruise ships. While having time to relax and rest while enjoying the navigation.
As we are few in number, our guide was able to arrange for us to visit at off-peak times, and to take all the time we needed to take a good look, ask questions, take pictures…
all have lunch together on deck, right here :
There is a space at the back of the boat that I particularly like.
Speaking of food, the food on the dahabiya is a traditional Egyptian food. Homemade by the chef.
At each meal, we discover new dishes and it’s really delicious.
There are4 meals per day: breakfast, lunch, tea time, dinner. Already included in the price.
Drinks (water, soft drinks, tea, coffee) are available all day long and free of charge . Everything is so good that you have to learn to manage your hunger to enjoy everything, not easy!
For the most difficult ones, it is possible to ask him not to integrate certain ingredients, or on the contrary, to make more dishes with this or that ingredient. However, one should not be too difficult, because one cannot ask for foie gras or oysters for example :D. We are on a boat and the chef has little opportunity to find rare ingredients in the middle of the Nile.
What is really cool is that the guide also eats with us, and explains us a lot about Egyptian food.
The crew eats after us and eats the same thing we eat. They sleep on the deck, on the tug and also below deck, in a small space with mattresses.
is important to note is that the crew has a deep respect for the manager of the company, whom they call “Madame Sara”. For some, they have been working for her for ten or twenty years.
Travelling with Gréements du Nil is also the certainty that the crew and the guide are well paid, well treated (they even have health insurance which isn’t the case for all cruises). It is important to take these elements into account.
Only the guide speaks French, the crew understands only a few words in French. However, our captain understands and speaks good English. In case of communication difficulties, we can always ask the guide to translate for us.
Non-alcoholic beverages (water and soft drinks) are available at will. There is no alcohol but you can buy some yourself before departure and take it on board.
For linen, nothing is offered but there are threads on the front that the crew uses to dry their clothes. You can do the same, with the wind and the sun, the clothes are dry in one afternoon.
The room is made every day. And the crew is really looking after us. They stopped on purpose at a place for JB to swim in the Nile. And they even allowed me to ride the sail with them (I love it!). When JB got sick because of the cold, the chef made a special dish for him, it’s really LOVED!
recommend Les Gréements du Nil: http: //www.les-greements-du-nil.com I find it important to travel with a local company that respects its employees, its customers, and moreover, allows us to discover with serenity the hidden treasures of ancient Egypt as well as modern Egypt. The program is very well done, every second spent with them is a happiness. I highly recommend this company and wish them to continue on this path.