We took an inter-city flight from Cairo to Aswan to begin our second leg of adventure. Flight is via EgyptAir internal flight. There is complimentary 10MB wifi onboard which is good enough for some WhatsApp messages. We reach Aswan at 2.30pm to be picked up from our tour guide Honey that we had booked in advance for our 4 days 3 nights River Nile cruise from Aswan to Luxor.
The cruise usually starts at 12pm with lunch followed by tour and afternoon tea, then dinner but because our flight did not reach until 2.20pm (the morning flight are fully booked) so we missed the lunch and afternoon tea. However we manage to visit the High Dam and Philea Temple which is good as most attractions in Egypt close by 4-5pm.
Our first stop at the high dam which is a huge dam that generate green energy. Lake Nesser which is the second largest manmade lake is a huge reservoir of water. There is military around the area but public are able to access part of the dam. We stop by for photo for 10 mins before heading to the old dam (British Dam) which is also where the Philea Temple is located.
Philea temple is located on an island and the current location of the temple is actually a reconstructed area as the original location of the temple is totally flooded under the water now. The stones were cut into pieces and transported to the current location. It is build during the Greek Roman period over the ancient Egyptian Temple where you can still see the remains of the red granite stone. Some of columns of the temple is still not completely done so you can see a different in designs in between the right and left hand columns leading to the temple. The whole temple’s wall is meticulously carved in pictures and symbols which all have its own meaning. It is amazing that no spot is left uncarved.
Most of the pictures depicts the Goddess of Isis and her beloved husband. As Aswan is famous for its abundance of flowers, many different flowers are also carved onto the columns. Our guide is very knowledgable on the study of the symbols and gave us good explanations.
Afterwards, we headed to a local store selling pure essence. There are many types to choose for – flower essences and aroma therapy essences. The staff patiently explained and let us try to see which one we are interested in. In the end, we went for the lotus essences at USD 45 for 125ml.
Finally it is time for us to board the cruise. It is in medieval British design with lots of paintings and wooden flooring. It was nice. We had a welcome drink before heading to our room. We got an interconnected room- one double bed in one room and two single bed in another. The big surprise is the shower, it is a combination of shower, sauna and jacuzzi, our own personal one! We were really excited to try it!
The Sonesta cruise that we opted for has four floors. The first floor consist of the dining area where three meals are served. Second level is where the lounge and reception is located . Third and fourth floor is the rooms and there is also a spa and sundeck with swimming pool.
The captain welcome us at 7.30pm with a welcome drink and a speech. That is followed by dinner at 8pm. For dinner, we get a four course meals with a starter, soup, main course and dessert followed by coffee. Any other drinks are at additional cost but it is of reasonable price.
After dinner, we can’t wait to go back to our room to try our jacuzzi and it did not disappoint.
We paid USD 1850 for a family of 4 (kids age 8,9). Price includes two rooms, full board (3 meals plus an afternoon tea), tea and coffee in room, mineral water in room, airport transfer, personal tour guide for our family during the land tour, entrance fees to all attractions, motor boat ride to Philea Temple, and horse carriages. Complimentary wifi at 1GB per person for the cruise. The only exclusions is tips for our guide, cruise staff and driver.