Egypt holidays: The best luxury Nile cruises, including the ship that inspired Agatha Christie

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Every week our Holiday Hero Neil Simpson takes an in-depth look at a brilliant holiday topic, doing all the legwork so you don’t have to. This week: The best ships for a Nile cruise.

The old-fashioned glamour of a river cruise through Egypt will be on full display from Friday with the release of the latest, big-budget adaptation of Death On The Nile.

And while the paddle-steamer in Kenneth Branagh’s film isn’t available for holidays – it was created in a film studio in Surrey – there are plenty of equally atmospheric ships to choose on the Nile itself.

Agatha Christie fans can explore Egypt on board SS Sudan, pictured, the very ship the author first sailed on in 1933

Agatha Christie fans can explore Egypt on board SS Sudan, pictured, the very ship the author first sailed on in 1933

The SS Sudan, pictured, is where Agatha Christie worked on the plot for Death On The Nile and was featured in ITV’s 2004 adaptation starring David Suchet

The SS Sudan, pictured, is where Agatha Christie worked on the plot for Death On The Nile and was featured in ITV’s 2004 adaptation starring David Suchet

Luxury travel firm Wexas offers an eight-night Death On The Nile Cruise with five nights on SS Sudan (pictured)

Luxury travel firm Wexas offers an eight-night Death On The Nile Cruise with five nights on SS Sudan (pictured)

The SS Sudan carries a maximum of 46 guests and air-conditioning and other modern essentials have been discreetly added to the vessel’s original decor

The SS Sudan carries a maximum of 46 guests and air-conditioning and other modern essentials have been discreetly added to the vessel’s original decor

The old-fashioned glamour of a river cruise through Egypt will be on full display from Friday with the release of the new film adaption of Death On The Nile. Pictured is Cairo and the Nile river

The old-fashioned glamour of a river cruise through Egypt will be on full display from Friday with the release of the new film adaption of Death On The Nile. Pictured is Cairo and the Nile river 

Armie Hammer and Gal Gadot starring in Death On The Nile

Armie Hammer and Gal Gadot starring in Death On The Nile

Agatha Christie fans can explore Egypt on board SS Sudan, the very ship the author first sailed on in 1933. 

It’s where she worked on the plot for Death On The Nile and was featured in ITV’s 2004 adaptation starring David Suchet.

It carries a maximum of 46 guests, including those in the Agatha Christie Suite and the Hercule Poirot cabin, and air-conditioning and other modern essentials have been discreetly added to the vessel’s original decor.

Luxury travel firm Wexas offers an eight-night Death On The Nile Cruise, with five nights on SS Sudan as it sails from Luxor to Aswan via the Valley of the Kings and the perfectly preserved Temple of Edfu. 

The holiday also includes two nights in Cairo with tours of the Pyramids of Giza and the Egyptian Museum. From £3,895pp including flights (wexas.com).

Paddle-steamer SS Misr adds royalty to the mix as guests step back into the golden age of travel.

Egypt’s King Farouk had the ship converted into a luxury cruiser in the 1930s and held his birthday party on board in 1939. 

Photographs of the royal family and other famous faces adorn the restaurant walls, while the cabins and suites retain original Art Deco motifs. 

Guests step back into the golden age of travel aboard the paddle-steamer SS Misr, pictured, on a Jules Verne tour

Guests step back into the golden age of travel aboard the paddle-steamer SS Misr, pictured, on a Jules Verne tour 

Jules Verne’s The Original Nile By Royal Steamer tour will run for 13 nights. Pictured is The Sphinx and Pyramid of Khafre, an example of one of the sights that passengers will see along the way

Jules Verne’s The Original Nile By Royal Steamer tour will run for 13 nights. Pictured is The Sphinx and Pyramid of Khafre, an example of one of the sights that passengers will see along the way 

All are air-conditioned and have private balconies. Join Jules Verne’s The Original Nile By Royal Steamer tour and you board SS Misr in Cairo for a 13-night cruise south to Aswan. From £5,495pp including flights (vjv.com).

The equally atmospheric Sonesta Amirat Dahabiya ship could be the perfect choice for extended family groups, who can book exclusive use of its five cabins and two suites.

Launched just over a decade ago, the small ship’s warm woods and wide-open upper deck hark back to a previous era of luxury travel – as does its generous staff-to-guest ratio. Cox & Kings can book individual cabins on the ship, or check availability for exclusive hire.

Typical 11-night holidays, with seven nights on the Nile, start at £3,345pp including flights (coxandkings.co.uk).

Join Viking’s 12-day Pharaohs And Pyramids tour aboard the Viking Ra, pictured, where 55 staff look after just 52 guests

Join Viking’s 12-day Pharaohs And Pyramids tour aboard the Viking Ra, pictured, where 55 staff look after just 52 guests

There are plenty of sofas and steamer chairs beside the pool on the upper deck of the Viking Ra, pictured

There are plenty of sofas and steamer chairs beside the pool on the upper deck of the Viking Ra, pictured

The Viking Ra is a 'modern, all-suite alternative' to rival cruise liners. Pictured is the boat's dining area

The Viking Ra is a ‘modern, all-suite alternative’ to rival cruise liners. Pictured is the boat’s dining area

Above is the Viking Ra's lobby lounge area. Each two-room suite on board has a sitting area alongside the bedroom

Above is the Viking Ra’s lobby lounge area. Each two-room suite on board has a sitting area alongside the bedroom

Viking's itinerary includes visits to Egypt's famous temples such as Abu Simbel (pictured), Karnak and Philae

Viking’s itinerary includes visits to Egypt’s famous temples such as Abu Simbel (pictured), Karnak and Philae

A modern, all-suite alternative is the Viking Ra, where 55 staff look after just 52 guests.

Each two-room suite has a sitting area alongside the bedroom, and on the upper deck there are plenty of sofas and steamer chairs beside the pool.

Take Viking’s 12-day Pharaohs And Pyramids tour and, as well as Cairo, Luxor and Aswan, you will visit temples such as Abu Simbel, Karnak and Philae. From £4,550pp including flights (viking.com).

If you book ships in the Presidential Nile fleet through specialist travel firm Solos, you are guaranteed single use of a double cabin. Pictured is the fleet's MS Presidential Commodore

If you book ships in the Presidential Nile fleet through specialist travel firm Solos, you are guaranteed single use of a double cabin. Pictured is the fleet’s MS Presidential Commodore

The all-inclusive Presidential Nile ships are some of the largest on the Nile, with up to 75 cabins. Pictured is the lounge area on board the MS Nile Plaza

The all-inclusive Presidential Nile ships are some of the largest on the Nile, with up to 75 cabins. Pictured is the lounge area on board the MS Nile Plaza

One of the cabins on a Presidential Nile ship. The cruise offers extras such as spa treatments and afternoon tea on deck

One of the cabins on a Presidential Nile ship. The cruise offers extras such as spa treatments and afternoon tea on deck

Presidential Nile's nine-night, fully guided holidays include tours to see the Sphinx and Tutankhamun’s death masks in Cairo’s Egyptian Museum (above)

Presidential Nile’s nine-night, fully guided holidays include tours to see the Sphinx and Tutankhamun’s death masks in Cairo’s Egyptian Museum (above)

A Nile cruise also suits the lone traveller. If you book ships in the Presidential Nile fleet through specialist travel firm Solos, you are guaranteed single use of a double cabin. 

The all-inclusive ships are some of the largest on the Nile, with up to 75 cabins, and offer extras such as spa treatments and afternoon tea on deck. 

Nine-night, fully guided holidays include tours to see the Sphinx and Tutankhamun’s death masks in Cairo’s Egyptian Museum. From £2,199pp including flights (solosholidays.co.uk).

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