In her 1878 travelogue A Thousand Miles Up The Nile, Amelia Edwards writes: “A donkey ride and a boating trip interspersed with ruins, does in fact, sum up in a single line the whole experience of the Nile traveler.”
But even back then, luxury travel to the tombs and treasures that line the shores of the world’s longest and most mythologized river wasn’t far off. By the 1920s, double-masted dahabiyas and plush Edwardian steamers had arrived—and travel conditions have been improving ever since.
More from Robb Report
The latest way to soak it all in in style is Viking’s new 82-passenger ship, Viking Aton, named for the Egyptian sun god.
“With an extraordinarily strong interest in Egypt, we are proud to bring our guests another state-of-the-art vessel to this region, and we look forward to introducing even more curious travelers to the country’s rich cultural treasures,” Viking chairman Torstein Hagen said at a naming ceremony at the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Hotel in balmy Aswan, Egypt.
Hagen—who says Viking started its investment in Egypt in months following the Arab Spring in 2011—now operates four ships, which were launched in August in response to the uptick in interest in luxury Nile cruises, in the region. Two more purpose-built vessels are slated to be delivered by 2025, and he hinted that a few more ships could be on the way.
“Following our meetings here in 2011, we were given the right to own and operate ships on the Nile,” Hagen said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few more coming.”
True to Viking’s sleek and Scandi-style roots, the shiny new vessel comes outfitted with 41 residential-style staterooms, an open-air atrium, two modern restaurants, and an infinity-edge plunge pool flanking Aton’s signature Aquavit terrace. Where the sunny ship really shines is the thoughtful and understated design details like floor-to-ceiling windows that flood the interiors with natural light and uninterrupted Nile views at every turn.
Billing itself as “the thinking person’s cruise,” Viking’s Pharaohs & Pyramids itinerary is as immersive and destination-centric as they come. Starting and ending in Cairo, every sailing comes accompanied by Viking’s resident Egyptologists—for onboard ancient Egyptology lectures and hyperlocal tours and experiences—and privileged access to some of the country’s most exquisite wonders like King Tut’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings.
“When we do something at Viking, we like to think we are the best, and this ship is evidence of that,” Hagen said. “When we have a chance in a wonderful country like this to have first-class equipment, it has to be done right, and we are setting the standard by far.”
Sailings on the itinerary including three nights in Cairo starting at $7,799 for a Veranda Suite per person based on double occupancy.
Best of Robb Report