Celebrities on board

Who visited Alexander The Great Luxury Nile Cruiser
H.E. Mr. Kamal Hassan Aly
Prime Minister of Egypt
H.E. Mr. Theodoros Pangalos
Minister of Greek Foreign Affairs
H.E. Mr. Georgios Rallis
Prime Minister of Greece
H.E Mr. Constantinos Stefanopoulos
President of Greece
H.E Mr Mohamed Youssef
Governor of Luxor
Mr. Antonio Tabucchi
Famous Italian Author
Mr. Edward Scott
Vice President of the European Parliament
Mr. Peter Norton
President "Norton Anti – Virus"
Mrs. Catherine Deneuve
Famous French Actress
Mrs. Ana Belen
Famous Spanish Actress & Singer
Mr. Joan Manuel Serrat
Famous Catalan Singer & Songwriter
Mr. Victor Manuelle
Famous Spanish Singer
Mr. Kazim El Saher
Famous Iraqi Singer, Composer & Poet
Mrs. Leila Ghofran
Famous Moroccan Singer
Mrs. Agatha Ruiz De La Prada
Famous Spanish fashion designer
Mr. Pedro–Jose Ramirez Codina
Famous Spanish writer & CEO of El Mundo Newspaper
Mr. Roman Polanski
Famous Film Director
Mrs. Nadia Lotfy
Famous Cinema Star
Mr. Tarek Sharara
Famous Music Composer
Mrs. Safeya El Emary
Famous Cinema Star
Princess Lala Hasnaa and her Family
Sister of the Moroccan King Mohamed the 5th

Testimonials

20/02/2006 - Alexander The Great

We have just returned from eight days in Egypt and wanted to let you know that we greatly enjoyed it all. Very well organized and helpful, reliable staff. We particularly enjoyed our cruise on Alexander the Great - comfortable, very good food and friendly staff. Thank you so much

Carol and David - Wiltshire

02/10/2006 - Alexander The Great

I would just like to say thanks to Discover Egypt & Viking Tours! I went on Alexander the Great, then 2 days in Cairo at the Mena House in October. Everyone was very helpful, efficient, and friendly. The whole holiday was smooth, the hotels fabulous and the boat amazing - especially Adel, the restaurant manager and Iman (sp?) our guide, who was enthusiastic and very knowledgable. The food was lovely and the rooms spotless spacious. Altogether the trip of a lifetime!

JL
Glasgow
 
03/10/2006 - Alexander The Great Nile Cruise

My wife and I had a week on The Alexander the Great from 3 - 9 October 2006. We were in "The Reds" suite. It was truly a wonderful experience. I could not fault it. The luxury of the suite was beyond what I expected. Superb. The food and the service was out of this world. Mr. Adel your restaurant manager was a class apart, I'd have him here in London tomorrow if I could! Your Chef produced the most varietous food display every day, amazing! Your bar staff were silky smooth with their service and so polite and efficient. Your houseboys/cabin boys were the best I have ever encountered for service. The boat, the Nile, the overall service, the weather, the sights we saw made it the best week's holiday I probably ever had - far exceeding any of my expectations. The tour guide, Ayman, was quite amazing - honest, helpful, he obviously loves the English and when I go back to Luxor I'll look him up as he was such a true gentleman. I met the owner of the Alexander the Great whilst on board and we have a great talk together about service, standards and style and I told him personally that he had the perfect boat here on the Nile and he should be a very proud man. Well done to you all - service still lives - it is Egypt, on the Nile, in one boat in particular, it's called The Alexander the Great.....well done.

Tony

26/10/2006 - Alexander The Great Nile Cruise

We recently spent a week on a Nile cruise, on the Alexander the Great, which we booked through you, we had a fantastic time. The boat and all the staff were wonderful, with fantastic service and amazing food all the way, our guide Hiyman?? was brilliant he made our holiday perfect, his knowledge and sense of humour, fantastic. I would certainly recommend this boat to others who might be looking for more of an upmarket Nile cruise, this is it, slowly sailing up the Nile, while all the other boats race past.

Susan

20/11/2006 - Alexander The Great 20 November 2006

My wife and I recently travelled to Egypt with you for a week on the Nile between 20 and 27 November on the "Alexander the Great". We would like to say how very much we enjoyed this trip. The arrangements were all excellent and also the services of our Guide Hussein. He was both knowledgeable, extremely pleasant and very capable. The numbers were approximately 30 for the majority of the trip and this was also a bonus.

Peter
Norfolk

19/02/2007 - Luxor,Alexander The Great and Mena House Cairo

Dear Marie, We have just returned from our holiday and have to say it was absolutely fabulous. Your representatives from Viking Travel were all superb, always on hand to meet us, smooth our path and handle everything smoothly and efficiently. The guide on the Alexander the Great was not only highly informative, but also caring and considerate to everyone in the group. We really can not praise everyone enough. The whole trip was memorable and magical. Thank you. Regards,

Pat

19/02/2007 - ....what a fantastic time we had. We cannot fault it

Mark and Kerry, We just arrived back from our week in Egypt on the Alexander the Great cruise ship. It was a wonderful holiday. All the arrangements went according to plan. Your relationship there with Viking Travel is excellent. I know we filled a form out there but wanted to let your company know directly what a fantastic time we had. We cannot fault it. Thanks so much and hopefully we will be going again next Feb. Best regards,

Richard, Bonnie and Ben Luxembourg

08/05/2007 - I will have no hesitation in recommending Discover Egypt

Hi Marie, I have just returned from my trip and would like to say how much I appreciated all that Discover Egypt did to make the whole experience so great. All the arrangements, transfers, flights, representatives, guides and tours were flawless and I was looked after brilliantly - taking all the potential stress out of the holiday - thank you all so very much. I will have no hesitation in recommending Discover Egypt to anyone thinking of traveling to Egypt. With my very grateful thanks,

Jane

23/07/2007 - An unforgettable wedding anniversary

just a short note to thank all the staff who organised our memorable holiday. My wife Janice and myself had the holiday of a lifetime and an unforgettable 20th wedding anniversary on board the alexander the great.we were also very lucky to have a great bunch of people on the tour and we got on really well. I must single out our guide mohammed for special praise as he made egyptian history come to life as my wife 300+ photos show.We must also state that form the moment we got to luxor until we got back to the airport to come home we got what I consider to be the best customer service we have ever had on a holiday and that goes from the ships captain down to the guy who cleaned our room at any of the 4 hotels we were in over the holiday..Every where we went to either a temple or the mena house hotel in cairo we were in awe of this fantastic country and despite my wife finding out she was allergic to mosquito bites which she took for the team on our wedding anniversary balloon trip everyone was very considerate to her .Her legs were the talk of the cruise and everyone kept asking huw she was but Janice is a trooper and nothing was going to spoil this holiday and it didnt.Her legs are back to normal but that was down to the Hilton hotels doctor in Hughada and his pills so a big thanks there to. So finally a wonderful holiday which we will be coming back to in the future and if my wife will stop talking about it for a minute she would agree with me .many thanks again alastair and janice

Daily Express

ANCIENT WONDERS AND ALL MOD-CONS ON THE NILE


A felucca glided past, its tall white sail filling with a gust of wind.
I could hardly believe I was enjoying such peace and quiet on one of the busiest tourist trails in the world. With its abundance of ancient wonders, the Nile between Luxor and Aswan attracts around two million visitors a year - most of them on the hundreds of cruise boats that are moored six deep at the height of the season each winter.

So it was a delight to find myself aboard the Alexander The Great, which could be renamed the Dark Horse Of The Nile. Looking just like dozens of other Nile cruisers on the outside, inside it is the opposite of an Aladdin's cave - positively minimalist by Nile cruise standards. My boyfriend Jonathan and I stepped up the gangway at Alexander's private dock in Luxor and found ourselves in a floating boutique hotel.


Our airy cabin had a double bed with crisp white Egyptian cotton duvet and linen throws, a chaise longue, two large windows, room to swing a suitcase, polished wood floor, and a full bathroom with tub and shower. When the ship was refurbished three years ago, out went 60 pokey cabins and in their place just 30 double-sized ones were created. With only half the number of passengers, the public areas are spacious and uncrowded. Delicious meals - sumptuous buffets for lunch and breakfast, and à la carte for dinner - are served in the stylish restaurant, which had plenty of tables for two. 

The teak deck has a small pool and lots of smart white sunbeds and sofas with cool calico cushions to lounge around on.

It was the perfect base for sightseeing, as all the top sites are close to the banks of the Nile and our six-night voyage took us to Aswan and back, visiting them all.

As two of a handful of Britons on board (others were French, Italian, German and Spanish) we had an expert guide for our small group. We started in the Valley of the Kings where Howard Carter memorably uncovered Tutankhamun's tomb (now empty, his treasures are in Cairo) and descended down long tunnels to exquisitely decorated burial chambers. We visited the huge, stark mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut and had a quick photo stop at the Colossi of Memnon.

So much beauty and so much history made our heads spin, and that was only the beginning.

On the opposite bank, the temples of Karnak and Luxor were familiar from the movie Death On The Nile - a great deal more crowded but still awe-inspiring. At Edfu we climbed into horse-drawn caleches to whisk us up to the wonderfully preserved Temple of Horus, the falcon-headed god, which had been buried in mud until the 1860s and is overlooked by ramshackle houses.

As we approached Kom Ombo we could see the temple pillars in the distance. From the boat it was just a few steps up to the temple and the late-afternoon sun made the stones glow. As darkness fell the magnificent carvings sprang into deep relief, highlighted by cleverly positioned lamps. In the chapel of Hathor (the cow-headed goddess) we were intrigued to find three mummified crocodiles in glass cases.

Then it was time to get down to the important business of shopping for outfits for the Galabaya Party that evening, at the market stalls beside the dock. The party is a Nile cruise institution, when the passengers are jollied into "Egyptian" dress.

And after a lot of flattery by the merchants and haggling by us we were kitted out. A flowing black two-piece number with lots of gold dangly bits and a beaded cloche for me, and the full Lawrence of Arabia for Jonathan, were assembled for a tenner. Back on board we got dressed up and went for dinner feeling rather ridiculous but it was an Egyptian menu, with meze starters, a delicious pigeon dish and grilled Nile perch among the choices.

After dinner about half the guests joined in two very silly party games. Wrap your partner in loo roll like a mummy (Jonathan made a note to bring his own roll of Andrex another time, Egyptian ones are very flimsy) was followed by a wacky game of musical statues. Then the disco started and we escaped on deck.

As we sipped our coffee under a starry sky we agreed that ancient monuments are best enjoyed from the comfort of a modern and luxurious Nile cruiser.

 


Times On Line

PURE white egrets stand stock still in the reeds. On the bank a brown humpbacked cow chomps intently in the shade of a date palm. Below, two fishermen in a tiny rowing boat gently draw in their nets. Then a pied kingfisher races by inches above the rippling, khaki water.

There is a Spanish couple silently turning the pages of their books on the sun deck above, a German man is looking intently through his zoom lens.

The barman brings me a pot of mint tea. No piped music, no green nylon grass, just the sound of the breeze, a teak deck and a wicker sofa with bleached calico cushions to lean back on and enjoy the view.


Alexander the Great is an unexpected oasis of tranquility on one of the busiest tourist beats in the world, the temples and tombs scattered along the banks of the Nile from Luxor to Aswan. Last year 8.6 million tourists descended on Egypt, 840,000 of them from the UK. And in January this year there were 78,000 British visitors, twice as many as in the same period last year, partly due to a leap in value of sterling against the Egyptian pound.

With the inevitable increase in holiday packages and scores of cruise boats jostling for position on the Nile, it is a revelation to find a vessel that has turned its back on the pack- ’em-in philosophy, yet still presents good value.

Alexander the Great was a standard 60-cabin boat that has been stripped out and refitted as a 30-cabin floating boutique hotel, furnished with understated elegance. In the dining room, enough tables for two can be found for all and dinner is waiter service, with five courses and several choices. Not only that, they offer Egyptian dishes such as spicy green molokhia soup and stuffed pigeon for dinner, and ful (fava beans) and tamiya (fried bean patties) for breakfast - rightly judging that their passengers are sophisticated enough to be interested in sampling local cuisine.

If you’ve never been on a Nile cruise, all this won’t sound revolutionary, but the norm is uninspired, international food and shared tables. Cabins are small, with minuscule shower closets - and five-star decor means smoked-glass mirrored ceilings, fake marble and gilt galore in public areas.

So it was a breath of fresh air stepping aboard at Luxor into Alexander’s light, uncluttered reception with its pale walls, stylish sofas and sculptural flower lamps — very boutique, so far. Our cabin, called Linen Twins, was also in minimalist style, with subtle textures and wood laminate floor. In the bathroom was a fixed shower as well as a bathtub and towelling robes. I told my partner Michael, who had never been to Egypt before, how spoilt we were.

Other cabins, all of identical size and layout, have jazzier names - Jungle Paths, Like the 70s, Journey to China, but are equally light and sleek, with flashes of colour in throws or headboards, an op-art cushion here, a quirky ostrich-shell lantern there.

 

I’d have been happy to lie down in Linen and watch Egypt slip by through the huge windows, but there were laden buffet counters to be tackled and archaeological wonders to behold. Lunch was a feast - chefs tossing pasta and carving lamb, gorgeous salads and fresh fruit, all delicious and meticulously prepared - and gave us a chance to see our shipmates. Children under 12 are not allowed, and there were only 27 of us on board - nine Italians, a French couple, an American couple, three Germans and five Spaniards. The three British couples were travelling with Discover Egypt, the only UK tour operator to offer Alexander, for the first time this year.

Our cruise included guided tours of the usual sights: Luxor temple and Karnak, the Valleys of the Kings and Queens, up to Edfu, then Kom Ombo and Aswan with its High Dam, unfinished obelisk and the Temple of Philae. Where our cruise differed from most is that rather than being herded about in a group of 20 or more we had our own guide, Walid, for six of us. It made a huge difference - less hanging around, being able to get up close to the breathtaking carvings and hear his commentary in crowded sites. And there was no visit to a hard-sell papyrus factory or perfumery.

There is one Nile cruise tradition that style-conscious Alexander has not dropped - the Galabiya party. On one night guests are chivied into “Egyptian costumes”, available at tourist markets along the way, and invited to play silly games after dinner, such as wrap your partner up like a mummy using flimsy loo rolls.

Why? I asked Mr Sharif, the boat’s manager. “People expect it on a Nile cruise,” he sighed. “But I wish we could come up with something more intellectual for after-dinner than games. ”A challenge when there are five different languages. So, half the guests ignored the event, the Italians joined in with gusto, so did Michael, and after two games the lounge returned to normal.

Cruises on Alexander start from Luxor on Tuesdays, and our charter flight brought us in on Monday, so we had a relaxing overnight and first morning at the timeless Old Winter Palace with its lush garden, now a Sofitel hotel. We loved its 1886 restaurant, named after the year the hotel was built, with its liveried waiters, gilt mirrors and chandeliers.

Our cruise ended in laid-back Aswan, where our package took us to the best hotel in town, the Old Cataract Hotel (also a Sofitel), famed for its views over the Nile and old world atmosphere - a tall Nubian in a fez works the antique cage lift.

To enjoy the hotel fully, book a deluxe or higher-category room - the Standard and Superior rooms are “unmodernised”, though spacious by modern standards. Both hotels are in perfect positions and peaceful. I found them charming, but those in search of power showers, plasma screens, wi-fi and spas must wait until 2008 when makeovers are complete.

Meanwhile, the mix of four days on a 21st-century boat, topped and tailed with last reminders of the Victorian dawn of tourism to Egypt, is a winning one.

Lady Magazine

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