The Nile Cruiser continues to sail despite the pandemic. Named the Steam Ship Sudan, the cruiser still draws tourists following the trail of the legendary crime novelist, Agatha Christie.
"This ship is historical and very unique as it still works with steam. It is also a royal ship as King Fuad sailed on it and also King Faruk after him. This ship was built in England and its launch was in 1885", Amir Attia, Director of the SS Sudan said.
The cruiser, which towers over the traditional wooden sailing boats in Southern Egypt, inspired British author dubbed ‘’ the Queen of crime’’. Agatha wrote one of her most famous works, the death on the Nile in 1937. Agatha’s writer’s room is still the most popular among the ship’s 23 rooms and suites.
"Some visitors come to the hotel to see where Agatha Christie used to stay, and from where she got her inspiration for the story or some of the chapters of her novel 'Death on the Nile', which was written at the hotel", Selim Shawer, Old Cataract Hotel General Director said.
Today, the Steam Ship Sudan now runs on diesel and solar power instead of coal.
While Egypt’s tourism has been impacted by the pandemic, staff here insist the pandemic will not sink the historic vessel.
"The most famous guest we had was Agatha Christie, and also Winston Churchill. We have a suite that is named after Winston Churchill. We (still) have his office and we still have the chair Agatha used to sit on. We've had also many kings and presidents stay here", Shawer added.
Staff are hopeful that Agatha’s story can work its magic again to draw in new visitors. A big-budget film version, a follow-up to the 2017 Agatha adaption of ‘’Murder on the Orient Express’’ is due for release late 2021.
The films stars British actor Kenneth Branagh, along with Hollywood stars like Annette Bening, Russell Brand and Gal Gadot.