Along the Nile: Exploring the Egypt of Today
By Chris Owen
Determined to see the great pyramids of Egypt with my own eyes in this lifetime, I jumped at the chance to do just that with leading luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent (A&K). Never mind that security concerns had all but shut down other ways to experience Egypt. Ignore the fact that cautious cruise lines had cancelled calls at ports in the area. A classic A&K Egypt and the Nile experience was still in operation and proved to be far more than a lazy ride up and down the Nile River followed by an extension to Jordan, which served as a luxurious finish to an amazingly significant journey.
Welcome to Egypt
The first sign that our experience on the ground in Egypt would be a good one came on arrival in Cairo. As I prepared to pay the required US$35 visa fee for entry into Egypt, I felt a tap on my shoulder.
“Right this way,” said the A&K representative, walking me straight through immigration and customs, bypassing a line of hundreds waiting to enter the country. It was my first time experiencing the VIP result of A&K’s massive Egypt infrastructure, including its relationships with local authorities and people on the ground, which ensures a smooth operation. It would not be the last.
On we went to Mövenpick’s Mena House Hotel for the first three nights of our 14-night journey through Egypt and Jordan. Located close to the iconic pyramids of Giza, a first look at the gigantic structures came from my hotel room balcony. Technically, I could’ve marked “See Pyramids in Person” off my bucket list that night, but that would’ve been a mistake. The first full day in Egypt would bring far more than a cursory glance at the giant structures and begin an unadvertised theme of sorts — taking us deep inside Egypt from a variety of views.
All along the way, a layer of A&K luxury was slathered on thick right from the start. Upon checking in at the Mena House Hotel, it was hard not to notice a large, loud Egyptian wedding going on between our rooms and the pyramids. Not taking anything for granted, including a good night’s sleep, each member of our group was given….
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Photo: Suzanne Teng/A&K