The company offers three programs—the 9-day Classic Egypt & the Nile from $2,249; the 13-day Splendors of Egypt & the Nile from $2,899; and the 13-day Jewels of Egypt, the Nile & Lake Nasser from $2,999. The company has also extended an early booking bonus to April 30. Pay in full at time of booking by April 30, to save up to $800 per couple or, book and deposit by April 30, to save up to $400 per couple.
“The most popular one is the Splendors of Egypt. That’s our best seller and actually it’s seven nights cruising and four on land—two nights pre in Cairo and two nights post in Cairo,” Young explains. “It really is a fantastic destination. I think everyone, at least once in their lifetime, should go to Egypt.’
oberoi Oberoi Hotels & Resorts, probably the most visible luxury product in Egypt, also has a river cruise product that mirrors the service and exclusivity of its hotel brand. Indeed, says Ankush Mahajan, general manager, The Oberoi Zahra, Luxury Nile Cruiser, “The clients we get on our ships, they’re very, very exclusive, very well-traveled guests. They’re guests who’ve spent time in the best hotels all over the world and for them to come on board and spend seven nights, we want to give them a very leisurely and relaxed experience.”
The ship itself boasts elegantly upholstered furniture, decorative ironwork on the balconies and rich fabrics and carpets which, the company says, lends an air of the British country house to the interiors. Each cabin has its own private balcony and sun loungers and all cabins come with a private bathroom with its own private shower cubicle. There are four single deluxe cabins, 50 double deluxe cabins and four deluxe suites, accommodating about 112 passengers.
But what really attracts guests to the Oberoi is the idea of privacy. “When a guest comes out cruising with us, we limit them to small groups—there’s just a maximum of six guests to a group,” Mahajan points out. “You have a private guide who’s going to be there with you for seven days, you have your own car and your own driver who’s going to be with you for seven days.”
The same idea applies to the shore excursions, Mahajan adds. “We have tours that are also more private. So basically there’s no one else at these temples when we take our guests there, so that obviously is kind of a unique offering for us.… Things like that make things that much more special. They just want that memory and that’s why we design the itineraries like we do, so they can carry that memory back home.
Still another aspect of the Oberoi cruise experience is private docking. At peak season, it’s not unusual to see as many as four to six boats tied up against one another, and the guests have to pass through all of them coming and going where they’re docked. “We have our own private docking and our own private drivers waiting for them. And obviously, when you’re providing that kind of exclusive luxury, you only get Grade A clients who have traveled the world. That’s what our services are all about. We’ve been dealing with Virtuoso for some time now. And what really attracts those kinds of guests to our boat is the level of service on board. I’ve yet to hear anything negative from any of our guests—either from the U.S. or the U.K.—or any indication from them that we should do things differently. Everyone seems to be appreciative of the bigger cabins and the bigger bathrooms that we have on board.”
Zahra luxury cruises run from now through Oct. 26 for a little more than $6,000 pp. If your clients book before May 3, they can get a package that includes four 60-minute spa treatments pp, complimentary sightseeing to the Nubian Museum in Aswan and complimentary sightseeing to the Sound & Light show at Karnak.