Viking River Cruises, MS Mayfair, Egypt Class, the Nile
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MS Mayfair on the Nile Viking River Cruises
Viking River Cruises, MS Mayfair, Egypt Class, Reception
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MS Mayfair's Reception Area Viking River Cruises / Tarek El Baradie
Viking River Cruises, MS Omar El Khayam, Egypt Class, The Restaurant
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Restaurant on MS Omar El Khayam Viking River Cruises
Viking River Cruises, MS Mayfair, Egypt Class, Lounge
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MS Mayfair's Lounge Viking River Cruises
Viking River Cruises, MS Mayfair, Sun Deck Pool
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Sundeck on MS Mayfair Viking River Cruises / Tarek El Baradie
Viking River Cruises, MS Mayfair, Egypt Class, Deluxe Stateroom
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Deluxe Stateroom on MS Mayfair Viking River Cruises
Viking River Cruises, MS Mayfair, Lounge Terrace
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Lounge Terrace on MS Mayfair Viking River Cruises / Tarek El Baradie

Egypt Class

Viking River Cruises, MS Omar El Khayam, Sundeck Pool MS Omar El Khayam's Sundeck Pool Viking River Cruises / Tarek El Baradie

Viking River Cruises' tours through ancient Egypt include time on two different ships. Passengers board MS Mayfair for a four-day journey on the Nile, then switch to MS Omar El Khayam for a three-day cruise on Lake Nasser. Built in 2010, MS Mayfair is a 150-passenger, five-deck ship with classic decor and a black, white, and silver color palette. All staterooms have floor-to-ceiling slide-open windows, and 10 of them also have full balconies. Since it sails in the lock-free waters of Lake Nasser, the 160-passenger MS Omar El Khayam is free from the size limitations of most river ships. The staterooms (each one with a full balcony) and common areas are noticeably more spacious.

What We Love

Sundeck: MS Mayfair's sundeck is the place to be, with its shaded green spaces (using artificial turf) and a gorgeous dark teak deck. There are also cozy private loungers, two hot tubs, and a small pool. This is where the daily teatime takes place, sometimes including crepes.

Spa and Fitness: MS Omar el Khayam has a large fitness area as well as a spa with a complete line of services like full-body massages, facials, and reflexology. Cruisers get a deal when packaging these treatments: 90 minutes for $100.

Best Known For

Egyptian Night: Passengers and crew dress in “galabias” (traditional long garb) and enjoy a buffet of authentic Egyptian dishes like “koshari” (seasoned pasta, rice, and lentils mixed together) as well as a performance by a Nubian dance group. Warning: Audience participation is strongly encouraged.

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Who It's Best For

Well-Traveled Cruisers Looking to Disconnect: Time on shore includes stops in Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan and visits to Egypt's ancient sites. But much of your time on board will be spent relaxing in a lounge, in your room, on the sundeck, or perhaps in the spa, as you get refreshed waiting for your next meal or excursion. MS Mayfair has unreliable Wi-Fi, and MS Omar el Khayam has none.

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

Not Owned by Viking: The line leases space on these ships, so your group will be on board with others — cruisers from Germany, England, and Japan, for example. The ships are also completely different from the line's Scandinavian-style ships on the rivers of Europe.

Swat: While all MS Omar el Khayam cabins have balconies with chairs and a table, you'll probably never even want to open your window because of the swarms of little bugs on Lake Nasser.

John Roberts

John Roberts is a New Jersey-based writer for ShermansCruise who worked at The Virginian-Pilot.

List of Ships

MS Mayfair
MS Omar El Khayam

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