Recently I joined the ranks of famous Orientalists, nobles, novelists and a sprinkling of modern-day celebrities who have all had the immense privilege of traversing the Eternal River onboard the historic Steam Ship Sudan, all of whom have impeccable taste in travel...

A Step Back in Time…

Built by the legendary Thomas Cook in the early 1900s, the Steam Ship Sudan is one of the oldest and definitely the most magnificent cruise ships still operating on the Nile.

Its classical décor and design, and its traditional steam engine create an atmosphere which harks backs to the glorious Belle Époque days of European tourism in Egypt, giving its passengers a truly authentic experience which one cannot find anywhere else along one of the great river courses of our planet.

As you sit on the beautiful upper deck and drift past the green banks and arid mountains of the Nile valley, it's not hard to see why this is an experience people return to year after year. The steamer also served as inspiration for one of the world's greatest literary names, Agatha Christie, who was so enthralled by her time aboard the Steam Ship Sudan that she based Death on the Nile on the boat itself.

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The Captain and Crew…

What struck me most as we wound our way southward from Luxor to Aswan, stopping off at some of Egypt's most renowned sites along the way (around which we were expertly guided), was the level of dedication, attentiveness and the familial feel that the crew added to the experience. Most of the crew are veterans of the Nile having sailed on the Steam Ship Sudan for over ten years, and I truly sensed that they are a family. As soon as you step on board and the Captain fires up the ancient steam engine, you are welcomed into their floating home and made to feel like they are there to not only enhance your experience, but to share it with you.

Heading ashore…

If simply being on the boat and cruising down the Nile is not enough, the huge variety of temples, tombs and archaeological sites you visit gives an amazing flavour of Egypt and its history. The Steam Ship Sudan is the only boat to sail north of Luxor to the town of Qena, where I visited the sacred city of Abydos and the Temple of Hathor in Denderah. This added a really unique and special element to the trip, and when coupled with the incredibly knowledgeable guiding, makes for quite simply the best cruise on the Nile.

The cruise on the Steam Ship Sudan is something I will never forget, and I can honestly say it is the best way to experience the culturally and historically rich country of Egypt.