Oberoi Zahra, Luxury Nile Cruiser, Luxor
Tel: 20 2 33 77 3222
From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
This sleek five-deck ship—with a spa and fewer than half the number of cabins usually found on Nile cruisers of its size—has raised the bar of luxury for the river and for Egypt. Twenty-five cabins and two aft suites have picture windows, light-wood floors, and the merest of pharaonic references, such as the crocodile-embossed leather trims on the dark-wood and beige linen settees. In addition to butler service, large baths, and LCD TVs, cabins have more style than the rooms in most Cairo hotels, while the public areas easily absorb all 54 passengers to create the ultimate luxury: privacy. The ship times sightseeing excursions to Kom Ombo and Edfu Temples to minimize encounters with other tourists, and sails north of Luxor to Dendera Temple, where evening cocktails are served among the ruins. Egyptologist guides are assigned to nine guests maximum, while six Mercedes vans shadow the ship and are at the disposal of clients wishing to ditch the group schedule. The dining room's à la carte menu of Indian and Western dishes changes daily; the overpriced wine list of mediocre foreign and Egyptian vintages is the one negative point.2008 Hot List
When to go: Mid-October through November for balmy weather. Avoid December and January, when the Nile may be too low for the ship to reach Dendera Temple and a road trip will be substituted.
Which room to book: All have splendid views when the Oberoi Zahra is cruising. Center starboard cabins have the least engine vibration.