Trip date: December 2022
After spending 3 days in Luxor last December, we boarded a dhahabīyah, a traditional Egyptian sailboat (the word actually means gilded barge), for a 5 day/4 night cruise down the Nile River to Aswan. We had booked our cruise through Real Egypt Tours based on them being mentioned in my guide book/their availability/and the reviews of the boat.
We were picked up at our hotel in Luxor and driven 1 ½ hours to the town of Esna where the boat was docked. Immediately upon boarding we were all surprised that the communal space was much larger than we expected. It looked like the perfect place to spend 5 days relaxing while watching the banks of the Nile slip by.
Our boat, the Sacred Lotus, had 10 cabins and 22 passengers. Caitlin and I were sharing a room so had booked one of the 2 suites onboard. The room was much nicer than we had expected, with a large bathroom, king bed, 2 walls of windows, and a balcony to sit outside!
We also noticed one of the guys who works on the boat following us. But when we asked him he said he just happened to be in the same area. Turns out Ahmed had sent him to tail us as it is very unusual for the locals to see two Western women out and about on their own (the other families had men with them). And even at the coffee shop we all met back at, it was only men. Ahmed said that local women would never come to the coffee shop but it was fine if we were there. Just very different culturally, but we never felt unsafe.