My wife and I had a very enjoyable experience on the UniWorld Splendors of Egypt and the Nile aboard the S.S. Sphinx in September/October 2021, the ship’s maiden voyage. Our trip started with a 6 day/5 night pre-trip extension to Jordan, which could have been a stand alone trip itself. While in Amman, we stayed at the luxurious St. Regis Hotel. Our guide, Sofian Nawash, traveled with our group of four couples, and did a fabulous job of educating the group about Jordan’s history and life in Jordan today. Highlights included a day in Jerash, floating in the Dead Sea, staying overnight in a Bedouin community in the Wadi Rum desert, hiking around Petra, riding camels and visiting The Tree of Life Mosaic Workshop, which educates and employs people with disability to create first-class mosaic artwork.
UniWorld arranged our flights from Amman to Cairo and put us up at the Ritz Carlton Nile, where we had sunset views over the Nile. There were approximately 60 travelers and we split into three groups, each accompanied by an Egyptologist for the week. Our Egyptologist, Hany Kamona, has decades of experience and is a gifted communicator. The S.S. Sphinx, the Nile’s newest cruise ship, is nicely appointed, with spacious rooms and friendly staff who were eager to please. UniWorld created an amazing itinerary with visits to all the primary museums and temples in Cairo, Luxor and beyond. Highlights included a day trip to visit Abu Simbel, a felucca ride to visit a Nubian household, learning how papyrus is made, high tea at the iconic Cataract Hotel, riding camels at the Great Pyramid, a balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings, and visiting the Akhnaton Carpet School, that takes youth off the streets and teaches them the ancient art of carpet weaving.
Regarding the question of safety from COVID-19 and terrorism, we were required to wear masks and sanitize while moving from point to point. The police escorts and armed security aboard the ship and buses added an extra peace of mind, even though there were no incidences.