Sailing The Glorious Nile The Authentic Way

By Amina El Fayoumi


A Dahabiya, which literally translates to “the golden one” in Arabic, is a large comfortable shallow-bottomed sailing boat with two large sails, traditionally used by the Egyptian royal family, as well as aristocrats and celebrities in their luxurious travels up and down the waters of the legendary Nile. It’s the improved, more modern, version of the ancient feluccas with their typical skilled Rais (skipper) in long galabeyas. These are true sailboats; powered by the wind only. There is no engine which means travelers can enjoy an unparalleled sense of peace and tranquility, but risk being towed by a tug when there’s not enough wind to fill the sails.

Accommodating just around 12 passengers on average, dahabiyas, are exclusive means of travel with family and friends. The crew has completely separate quarters to ensure the guests’ privacy. The relatively small-sized, easy to maneuver dahabiyas are able to sail to lesser renowned sites only frequented by a select few. Dayabiya journeys can take distinguished travelers not only to the internationally celebrated highlights on the banks of the river Nile, but also to less famous monuments and islands in the river and villages along the banks, where the large cruise ships can never access or moor.

The trip itinerary, usually between the months of September to May, successfully blends the historical and magical elements of landscape with tours between Aswan and Luxor including visits to the High Dam, Philae Temple, the Botanical Garden Island in Aswan, Kom Ombo temple, Edfu temple, Esna and all the Luxor landmarks like the Valley of the Kings, Hatshepsut temple and the Colossi of Memnon, Luxor and Karnak temples.

A typical day on board the dahabiya is centered on its half-shaded sun deck, the heart of the dahabiya. With abundant chairs, sun beds and dining tables, this is the perfect place to enjoy daily life on the riverbanks and watch the gorgeous landscape gliding by. Meals are freshly prepared on board and served on the sundeck, in the dining room or on a special spot on the banks of the Nile. Accommodation on board usually consists of 6 to 8 luxuriously furnished fully equipped ensuite cabins, which can host up to two people. Prices include full board, excursions and transfers, and are based on two people sharing a cabin.
Cairo West Magazine has compiled for its readers a list of dahabiyas cruising up and down the Nile offering their travelers a once in a lifetime experience. The average cost for 10 Egyptians would be around 25,000 EGP per dahabiya for 5 days between Luxor and Aswan. Add another 500 EGP per person for sightseeing and excursions:

On Board El Bey

*El Bey (The Lord)

* El Hanem (The Lady)

*Zahra (Flower)

*Nesma (Breeze)



Dahabiya The Orient

*Dahabiya the Orient can accommodate up to 10 guests in four cabins and one suite.

*Dahabiya Zekrayaat can accommodate up to 12 guests in four cabins and two suites.

Price upon application


All Tours Egypt Dahabiya Cruises

*Sonesta Amirat Dahabiya Nile Cruise

Price upon application

8 Days

*Dahabeya Nebyt Tour

Price upon application

6 Days/ 5 Nights


*Ms Amoura Dahabiya Cruise

Price upon application

5 Days/ 4 Nights

*Ms Judi Dahabiya Cruise

Price upon application

6 days

*Ms Donia Dahabiya Cruise

Price upon application

6 Days

*Sandal Sothis I

Price upon application

6 Days/ 5 Nights


*Sandal Sothis II

Starts from: Check available offers

6 Days / 5 Nights


*Sandal Sobek

Price upon application

6 Days/ 5 Nights


*Dahabeya Naema

Price upon application

6 Days/ 5 Nights


*Dahabeya El Khedewi

Price upon application

6 Days/ 5 Nights


*Jasmine Dahabiya Cruise Tours

Price upon application

8 Days / 7 Nights


*Dalida Dahabiya Cruise Holidays

Price upon application

8 Days/ 7 Nights


*Agatha Christie Dahabiya Cruise Tours

Price upon application

8 Days / 7 Nights

Nour El Nil

*Nour El Nil offers 4 boats:

Assouan and Malouka (both accommodating 16)

El Nil and Meroe (both accommodating 20)

Esna-Aswan cruise (Mon-Sat)

Sept-May, departs Mondays 6 days, 5 nights €1,100-1,700 (sharing Luxury Room) / €1,600-2,050 (sharing Panoramic Suite) / €1,800-2,900 (single), per person per cruise (all inclusive)

* Local prices quoted upon application


Larger Steam Boats:

*M/S Eugenie, the first ship to sail Lake Nasser, was named to commemorate the historic opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, which was attended by the crown heads of Europe including the Empress Eugenie of France. With just 50 cabins and two luxurious suites, Eugenie sails every Monday between Aswan and Abu Simbel for 4 nights/5 days.


*King Fouad’s Steamship: The S/S Sudan

Built for his Majesty King Fouad around 1900, The Sudan, offers 21 state rooms including 5 suites. Now, fortunate guests can live the luxury, grandeur and style of days gone by aboard the dahabiya Sudan when they select one of the following cruises:


The Dynasty Cruise: Luxor to Aswan, five days Nile cruise, from €1050 to €1500 per person, for a double standard cabin.


The Eternal Banks Cruise: Aswan to Luxor, four days/three nights, from €850 to €1250 per person, for a double standard cabin.

*Local prices quoted upon application
Contact links:

On Board El Bey


Nile Dahabiya Boats


All Tours Egypt Cruises



Homepage – Steam-Ship-Sudan

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