By Jana Jones, Cruise Critic contributor
Oberoi Philae, Nile Cruiser Overview
Oberoi Philae, Nile Cruiser is a classic beauty. Built in 1995 to replicate a sternwheeler river boat, the 236 foot-long, 112-passenger vessel boasts beautiful public spaces and cabins (each with a private, furnished balcony), gourmet dining, a well-rounded enrichment program and an international crew and staff trained in the art of hospitality.
Oberoi Philae, Nile Cruiser offers four- and six-night journeys between Luxor and Aswan. Both journeys cover highlights such as Luxor, Karnak, and the Valley of the Kings; the six-night voyages provide more in-depth explorations and visit other areas of interest and historic significance.
There are 50 cabins at 234 square feet, four single cabins at just over 212 square feet, and four suites at 409 square feet. All of the accommodations include individual air conditioning, bathrobes and slippers, hair dryer, daily fresh fruit, flowers, satellite television, CD/DVD player and coffee/tea maker. Twin beds in the double cabins can be made into queens. The four suites also have a separate living room and a king bed. The decor of the rooms is colonial English-country manor, with Damask draperies, jewel-toned bedspreads, colorful throw pillows and plush upholstered furniture. The balconies are enclosed with elegantly scrolled ironwork; wall-to-wall sliding glass doors bring the view in. Balconies on standard cabins are furnished with a table and two chairs; the suites have that plus a sun lounger.
With accommodations this luxe and restful, it might be easy to simply cocoon in the cabin, but that would be a mistake. The boat also offers a charming lounge with sofas and chairs arranged in conversation groups, surrounded by panoramic windows. The bar opens at 7 a.m. and stays open until 1 a.m.; in the evenings the lounge becomes a disco. There's also a sun deck with a swimming pool, a library, indoor fitness center, a hair salon and gift shop.
Dining is an elegant affair in the evening, served between 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. While cool cottons are almost requisite during the daytime tours, resort-elegant attire is recommended for dinner. The cruises have a couple of theme nights; one is a black-and-white semi-formal affair, one is an Egyptian dress-up night. Lunch and breakfast are served buffet-style; dinners can be either buffet or a la carte, but the dining-room is elegant nevertheless with crisp white linens and crystal. Both Egyptian and Continental cuisine is served. There is also a daily afternoon tea. No alcoholic beverages are included with the cruise tariff, but wine, beer and spirits are available for purchase.
There are no specific facilities for children, but families are welcome onboard; connecting rooms are available on request. There is a library of DVDs for personal use, and Wi-Fi is available for those who bring their laptops.