She is a slice of modern luxury that would make any pharaoh gasp in awe; smooth as silk and as perfectly posted as a swan, the Royal Viking glides serenely along the golden highway of the pharoahs- the eternal Nile- offering comfort and convenience on a style that even Cleopatra herself could not dream of.
A boat of this size could easily carry almost two hundred passengers quite comfortably. Instead, the Royal Viking carries a maximum of 136, in sixty two cabins and four suites, spread across three upper decks.
All the cabins are outside, with floor to ceiling sliding doors and a balcony rail. There is a table and a couple of comfortable chairs, refrigerator, flat screen TV and a very comfortable double bed. Three wardrobes allow for more than enough storage space. With dark wood fixtures and a wooden floor, these come in at around 252 square feet- larger and more commodious than the regular cabins of most ocean going cruise ships.
The bathrooms also have slatted woods floors, with a toilet, sink, and combination bath and shower unit. Each comes complete with daily changed towels, and en suite bathrobes. Further up the scale, the suites offer even more living space.
The Royal Viking is one of the smartest and most contemporary boats on the Nile. Inside, a gracefully flowing lobby staircase leads down to the main, wood panelled bar. Full of large, comfy chairs and sofas, this is the ideal spot to enjoy a pre or post dinner cocktail with fellow adventurers, or one of the fancy dress parties and treasure hunts that make up the after dinner entertainment.
One level further down, the smart, contemporary dining room is lined by floor to ceiling windows that offer an almost water’s edge view of the Nile. Assigned tables for breakfast, lunch and dinner seat from two to six people. Meals are offered buffet style, with free coffee and tea at breakfast. Ingredients and creations reflected both a tempting, filling of Egyptian and international fare. And if there was a perhaps understandable emphasis on local fish and chicken, the food was almost invariably good to excellent in quality. Meals on board the Royal Viking soon came to be the social highlights of our day.
There is also a small shop on the upper level of the lobby, leading round to the middle deck of cabins. Climbing two levels, you emerge onto one of the most beautiful and expansive sun decks ever seen on this most ancient of rivers.
The forward part contains a large, cool pool that is an absolute blessing to have in the searing heat of an Egyptian spring. White padded, wooden loungers flank this area, all the way back to where a large, shaded outdoor viewing deck, full of elegant wicker chairs, sofas and tables, makes for a fantastic, unobstructed vantage spot across both banks of the river.
It’s a perfect spot for a leisurely afternoon tea as you glide past the beguiling panorama that plays out along the river; cattle and oxen grazing by the river banks. Small boats full of fish struggling to head up stream. The slender spires of mosques and the silently waving fields of rushes that flank the water’s edge.
And, of course, where better to savour the tender, mellow springtime sunsets, or a cocktail at night, with a backdrop of thousands of chirping crickets? All things considered, the Royal Viking is a pretty spectacular way to see one of the most amazing and compelling places on earth.