Dahabeyas have been navigating the Nile for centuries, carrying passengers to Egypt's ancient temples and settlements dotted along the Nile River. Dahabeyas (barge-shaped passenger boats with sails) were the standard for travel up and down the river until the 1870's when the steam boat was introduced. By the 1900's, trains had started to compete with the steam boat, however today, while some travel by land, most travelers prefer to explore the Nile via boat, from teeny feluccas (traditional wooden sail boats), to dahabeyas and cruise ships of all sizes.
A dahabeya boat is by far the most exclusive and luxurious way to experience the river, replacing the crowds and the prepackaged entertainment of the large cruise ships with exclusive comfort and privacy. At the same time, they recall a past era of Egyptian tourism when the elite of Europe used similar vessels to explore the Nile Valley. Usually carrying a maximum of 12-14 guests, dahabeyas are much smaller than a cruise ship and far more luxurious than a felucca. Guests on a dahabeyah enjoy a more elegant level of service, privacy & tranquility. Dahabeyahs can also be chartered privately - they are the perfect size for families or friends' reunions who want a comfortable and hassle-free experience.
Besides an intimate and comfortable setting, dahabeyas can usually moor away from cruise ships, so guides can take their guests off-the-beaten track, bypassing crowded piers and lengthy lines, spending that precious vacation time experiencing the sights, sounds and energy of the sites. They can also moor beside a Nile island overnight, allowing guests to explore the islands in the early daylight, enjoying the beautiful surroundings in relative peace and quiet. Dahabeyas also allow access to smaller villages, so guests can meet and connect with local people and their traditions. Time and again, the intimacy of local hospitality is usually what guests enjoy most about cruising on a dahabeyah. Visiting a farmer's house at a riverside village provides a profound look into rural society and a personal connection with locals along the way. This connection simply can't happen in a larger boat, with throngs of passengers. (Read more about Egyptian hospitality - An Egyptian meal fit for pharaos)
On our Great Sites of Egypt Trip, guest stay aboard The Sonesta Amirat dahabeya, part of the Goddess Cruise Collection. The Amirat offers 5 elegantly furnished cabins and 2 luxurious suites, open-air oriental-style Jacuzzi, a sophisticated lounge, bar, and a spacious, partially shaded sundeck, welcoming guests to lie back in a wooden deckchair while the ancient landscape glides by. A set menu offers a breakfast buffet, lunch and dinner. All cabin accommodations feature private telephones, individual climate control, mini-bar, safe deposit boxes and televisions, while each of the suites also offers a private terrace.
For more information about trips to Egypt give us a call at 800-345-4453 or read one of our travelers review "Egypt Guest Review: A Journey Through Time and Civilizations."