One of the most unforgettable experiences in life, perhaps, is to be able to travel on the Nile in period elegance aboard an historic Paddle Steamer. To enjoy the natural beauty of the river on one of the oldest passenger steamers and visiting some of the most famous of historic monuments, tombs and temples is a rare privilege enjoyed only by the few.
Probably the most famed of all the Nile Paddle-steamers was the one called “Karnak” immortalized in the novel by Agatha Christie “Death on the Nile” and later turned into successful films. The ss 'Memnon' and the ss 'Sudan' were used in the 1978 and 2004 film versions respectively and were temporarily renamed 'Karnak' for filming purposes. The 'Memnon' was originally based at Luxor in Southern Egypt but in 1995 she was moved to Cairo where she is still awaiting renovation for luxury cruising. If anyone has any up-to-date information about the “Memnon” I would be most grateful to receive it and update this article. Another paddle steamer awaiting renovation is the 'Niagara' which was used as a cruise boat but was commandeered as a hospital ship during World War I transporting ANZAC troops from the battlefields up the Suez Canal to the hospital in Port Said.
There is another Paddle-steamer, however, that we know is fully operational, and she is the ss “Karim” built originally for King Ahmed Fuad I of Egypt, by an English shipbuilder. She subsequently became the property of King Farouk and after the Revolution became State property. She was since used by a number of Presidents, but is currently in service as a luxury and unique form of Nile travel. There are 15 cabins, and she can take up to only 30 passengers, making this a most exclusive holiday experience of a lifetime.