The French novelist Gustav Flaubert once said. “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” This quote has stuck with me throughout my career in the travel industry and it was evident to me recently during one of the most memorable voyages, perhaps in my lifetime: EGYPT.

I had the privilege of sailing aboard our client’s Luxury Nile Cruiser, The Oberoi Philae. For me, it was a nostalgic return to the Middle East, having lived in Lebanon for five years in the early days of my marriage. Once semi-fluent in Arabic, I was amazed at how quickly the language returned.

My overall impression of Egypt is that it is SAFE and welcoming to tourists. And, I am not the only one to rave about the experience. Tourism is on the upswing with more than 8 million visitors expected in 2018. The Minister of Tourism, Rania Al Mashad, predicts that visitor numbers will return to pre-revolution levels in two to three years. It was easy for me to see why this would be the case.

We boarded the vessel in Luxor and settled in to see 5,000 years of history revealed before our eyes. We sailed past ancient villages – close enough to see the people and activity along the shore. We continued on to Aswan with stops to visit the Temples of Karnak and Luxor. Breathtaking is the only word to describe it all.


As someone for whom travel is not just a career, but a passion, I always encourage people to try to learn from a destination’s culture and unique history. In this case, Oberoi made it particularly easy to do so by providing an onboard Egyptologist scholar throughout the journey. This allowed for the wonders of the Nile to be placed in historical context – the Valley of Kings, King Tut’s Tomb, the Colossus of Memnon and so much more.

Another aspect of travel that is so rewarding is the interaction one has with other explorers along the journey. I always make it a point to talk to as many people as possible and, with only 22 luxury cabins, the ship was intimate enough to get to know our fellow travelers and to share experiences. This included animated conversations at receptions and dinners in the evenings.


We stopped along the way to visit towns and villages with opportunities to interact with the people of Egypt and to do a little shopping for handcrafts, Egyptian cotton scarves and apparel, creative costume jewelry and loose gemstones such as turquoise. I believe strongly that travel should be a way to support local economies while bringing a piece of the destination home for lasting memories.

The Oberoi Philae was an experience in itself with its bright cabins and suites. When it was time to relax, the boat has a full-service spa, pool and a large sundeck. Dining was a culinary delight with Continental, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine. A mainstay of Egyptian culture, service was incomparable. It was evident that Egyptians take great pride in being an integral part of the tourism product.

As my journey came to an end, Monsiuer Flaubert’s words again rang true in my mind. I was awed by the powerful beauty of Egypt and its people. My thoughts turned to the writing of the 14th century Muslim explorer and writer Ibn Battuta who said, “Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” For Egypt, the story continues and I encourage you to visit and make it a part of your own life’s tale.


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