Take the Same Luxury River Cruise Up the Nile That Agatha Christie Took in 1933 

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The cruise inspired her to write Death on the Nile.

Stepping onto the S.S. Sudan is like stepping back in time to La Belle Époque. The 1920s construction holds up impressively well, exuding an atmosphere of old-world luxury that is so rarely found in an authentic way in 2019.

The steamship first set sail in the 1920s, in the heyday of British tourism to Egypt. Members of the British aristocracy, foreign diplomats, and noted archeologists eagerly trekked from London to Egypt to sail up the River Nile on the S.S. Sudan. Agatha Christie used the vessel as the 1930s equivalent of a writer’s retreat, before novelists flocked to the likes of the Pacific Northwest for enough silence to put pen to paper.

Needless to say, the serenity of the Nile puts all other writing retreat hotspots to shame, which is why it’s not remotely surprising that Agatha Christie was inspired to write Death on the Nile while on board the S.S. Sudan.


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For travelers looking for the once-in-a-lifetime Egyptian holiday, setting sail on the S.S. Sudan is the most luxurious way to go. To book passage on the steamship, you can reserve A Taste of the Nile itinerary with Original Travel. The itinerary will first take you through Cairo for two days—and if you go after 2020, the new Egyptian Museum should be up and running with enough relics to put the Louvre’s Egyptian wing to shame ten times over. From there, you’ll sojourn in Luxor, where you can traverse the tropical gardens of the colonial-era Winter Palace, which Christie was also rumored to be quite taken with. And then it’s onto the S.S. Sudan, where you can sail up the Nile for five nights in a gorgeously decorated (and blissfully air-conditioned) cabin.

After exploring the likes of Nefertari’s Tomb at the Valley of Queens, Karnak Temple, and Kom Ombu Temple (among other sights along the Nile), you’ll wind up six days later in Aswan at the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Hotel, a property that exceeds expectations even when you thought the old world spectacle couldn’t be beat. The Old Cataract was actually built by the same entrepreneur who first started sailing the S.S. Sudan, Thomas Cook. Cook was one of the first to create an itinerary of this nature, which is why the shape of a trip like this (from Cairo, to the S.S. Sudan, all the way to Aswan) was enjoyed by the likes of Agatha Christie and can still be experienced by modern luxury travelers today.