This is a fascinating, educational cruise. While there was plenty of down time for relaxation, we enjoyed the excursions very much. Abu Simbal was fantastic and worth the extra expense and travel. Onboard there were Arabic lessons and we learned about hieroglyphics. The Temples along the Nile are fantastic. We enjoyed visiting Luxor Temple as the sun was going down.
I learned to sharpen my bargaining skills. There was always a market at each temple. Decide in advance what you are willing to pay for something and stick to it. The vendors are flexible as long as you are firm.
On the shore excursions, we traveled in two different groups -- each with a guide and sometimes extra security. The guides were Achmed (the bald) and Achmed (the beard). They each did an excellent job leading excursions and giving talks on board. They had very different styles of presentation, but both guides were excellent.
We were upgraded to a balcony cabin (I am not sure why). We only used the balcony a few times, due to the heat and the sun. So I am not sure if it would have been worth an extra expense. The cabin was lovely, with lots of storage space. I especially liked the shelves next to the door. They were handy for storing all the items you want to grab at the last minute for the excursions -- such as hats, sunscreen, and jackets. We loved getting chocolate covered dates each day as well as fresh fruit. The cabin was very well cared for by the staff. All the rooms had separate sitting areas.