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Paul Motter October 12th, 2006 11:13 PM

LUXURY CRUISING - Silversea Virtual Cruise Oct 18-23

The absolute lap of luxury. Join us as we take you along on the ultimate in luxury cruise experiences, the Silver Whisper from Silversea Cruises.

We will be sailing on Silver Whisper, enjoying what is typical for a Silversea experience; the best at any price. If you want it, this is the experience for you.

Our trip begins in Cairo, where we fly in to be greeted by a Silversea representative, our visas in hand, ready to drive us to the Four Seasons Hotel. There we will recuperate for a night before setting out for the great pyramids of Giza the next day. That night we will join the ship, to enter our luxury suite, expecting a tray of caviar and a cold bottle of champagne, all included in the cruise of course.

We follow this with a day at sea as we transit the Suez canal, only to land later in the cruise at further Egyptian ports to see the Valley of the Kings, and Jordan, where we are considring snorkeling in what is said to be the best place to snorkle or dive in the world, the Red Sea.

Please join us, starting Monday night, right here.

Mike M October 12th, 2006 11:38 PM


This sounds like one I won't miss and look forward to each installment!!!

I have always wanted to sail on Silversea and this is my chance, even if it is vicariously.

Take care,
Mike (Who'll watch his button pushing) LOL

Paul Motter October 14th, 2006 03:49 PM

Don't forget, the new CruiseMates cruise on NCLs Jewel that starts in Istanbul and visits Cairo to see the pyramids. It is one of my favorite parts of thr world to visit, and every time I go leave with a feeling of awe for what those ancient civilizations could do.

Isn't cruising great? I mean the Caribbean is great for snorkeling and diving and being in the sun. But for me, traveling the world by cruise ship, having a luxury floating hotel and unpacking once, is really what cruising is all about.

And if you are going to do it, do it first class.

Marc October 15th, 2006 05:01 PM


Isn't cruising great? I mean the Caribbean is great for snorkeling and diving and being in the sun. But for me, traveling the world by cruise ship, having a luxury floating hotel and unpacking once, is really what cruising is all about.

And if you are going to do it, do it first class.
Paul, couldn't agree more; can't wait for the virtual cruise.

Paul Motter October 15th, 2006 05:26 PM

I'm packing now - long flight, Phoenix to Heathrow to Cairo... phew...

Paul Motter October 17th, 2006 01:56 AM

Our first night here, got in at midnight last night and just went to bed - 24 hours of travel lplus a 10-hour time change. The hotel Silversea uses ism, of course, beautifuyl. The 4-seasons witrh a VIEW OF THE NILE. I understand we couls see the puyramids from here if it were not so smoggy.

I will have much more later, I am going to meet our group now.!

VTJen October 17th, 2006 08:10 AM

This is exciting. I would love to do this for real sometime. I love studying ancient civilizations - always wanted to be an archeologist.
Thanks for bringing us along, Paul.

Paul Motter October 17th, 2006 05:16 PM

Our first full day of this cruise starts the way many Silversea cruises start, with a hotel stay in the port city. We start with two full days in Cairo at the Four Seasons Hotel. We gathered at 8:30 am with a guide to drive us to the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx.

The pyramids, built by the earliest dynasties of the 4000-year-enduring Egyptian empire in approximately 2500 BC are surprisingly close to the city itself. We arrive after a 1/2 hour bus ride.

See the pictures here:

We are actually able to go inside the pyramids. Is there much to see? hardly anything at all, but how great is it to say you have been inside one the great pyramids? Plus the idea of standing in the spots where some of the world's very first builders and spiritual societies began is worth it all.

You have to kneel down like almost crawl for several yards, then you can stand up and walk, and then you have to kneel and crawl again. Not recommended for weak hearts as it is hot, stuffy and lack of oxygen in there. Finally you reach a room with a tall ceiling and a tomb, but nothing in it. You turn around andsgo back.

Next, we went to the Sphinx here you can see all three pyramids and the Sphinx at the same time. You get a sense of what these people must have been thinking at the time, the size, majesty and beauty of these buildings is overwhelmin. Icould go into the Egyptian history now, but it is so complicated. Suffice it to say, they were among the world's first true builders and they did it well.

The sphinx was built solely because there was a large limestone mountain blocking the view of the pyramids from the Nile, aqn an engineer was told to remove it, he said "why not just sculpt it?"

It remained buried untl the 1800s, when a digger discovered its face. They were going to just knock it down until someone said "why don't you see how deep it goes?" so they unearthed it. No it is being restored. Of course, nothing looks today l;ike it did back then, they were all actually covered in limestone and painted in different colors. All we see today are the shells.

Finally, we visit the Egyptian museum, where the have all of the treaures of Tutankhamen (which have been around the world) - oh my gosh!! a solid gold 22 carat throne, a gold gilded chariot, and the JEWELRY!!!

Then you see his coffins and his clothes, and all the artifacts he was buried with. Very cool. The actual mummy room contain the actual dried bodies of some of the most powerful pharoahs ever, including Ramses. And you thought seeing Lenin or Mao Tse Tung was a big deal. These bodies are in one piece, with finger nails & teeth. And they are 3500 years old (later dynasties).

And this is just day one. Please stay tuned for more "cruising in luxury". The Egyptian people are extremely nice. Of course the souvenir sellers are a little pushy, as in most poorer countries, but they are not too bad.

By the way, with Silversea Cruises you always have the option of arriving in your embarkation city early and taking tours of two or three day options are available. We arrived at the airport and had a driver holding our namecard, he drove us to ther hotel (where they have bomb-sniffing guards run through the van before they lower the steel barricades to let you in).

The hotel is on the Nile (see the pics) with a HUGE balcony from which you can see the pyramids ona clear day on the higher floors (not ours).

Tomorrow we head to the ship and the next day we sail through the Suez canal. Can't wait, everything is 5-start so far...

Paul Motter October 17th, 2006 05:59 PM


Originally Posted by VTJen
This is exciting. I would love to do this for real sometime. I love studying ancient civilizations - always wanted to be an archaeologist.
Thanks for bringing us along, Paul.

LISTEN - WE ARE HAVING a CruiseMates cruise next summer that comes to Cairo. It isn't Silversea, so you won't see Petra or the Valley of the Kings, but you DO see the Pyramids. If you love antiquity like I do, and I have seen Rome, Athens, Santorini, Delos, Ephesus and more, this is a treat. Egypt is the oldest surviving artifacts in the world, Babylon and the "cradle of civilization" was mere mud huts when these people were grooving!

I crossed that divide today, where i forgot where century I lived it and I felt what it was like to live as an Egyptian. I Love It when I get to that point. It is worth it.

And it all gets back to our poll, "why do you cruise" -- I cruise to travel first of all, and this a fantastic way to do it.

Paul Motter October 18th, 2006 04:18 AM

Our room... This cruise is not overbooked, and so wew were upgraded to a suite. To se what it looks like, go to this page and click on suite #721

This is the Silver Suite.

Why is the ship not fully booked? because Americans are afraid to travel in this part of the world. let me tell you, you would NEVER know there is tension in other parts of the Middle East being here in Cairo, there is nothing to fear. Everything seems perfectly normal here. And there are tons of Europeans. Many of the places this ships stops on this itinerary are regular vacation spots for all kinds of Europeans. Places like Sharm Al Sheik on the Sinai Peninsula I saw advertised in the London Daily Mail as a "hot spot" vacation for snorkeling in the Red Sea.

Paul Motter October 19th, 2006 12:43 AM

Update for Wednesday - we finally reach the ship.

After we check out of the Four Seasons in cairo we begin a long bus ride to Port Said. We are told it will be about 2 1/2 hours, but it becomes closer to four because of Ramadan traffic, etc. The bus is plush and modern, but of course the driver is erratic (most NYC taxi drivers aree from this part of the world, so you know what I mean).

There are many sites, from the mysterious to the commical. The bus driver stops his bus in the middle of the freeway to hand us all cold bottles of water. At sundown he pulls over to the median to get out and pray.

We get to Port Said which is a typical Mediterranean resort town with tall apt buildings with laundry hanging off the balconies. There are colorfully dressed women and curious children. Not so poverty as we expected, but no signs of obvious wealth either.

We eat dinner at 7:30, open seating, tasting three bottles of wine before we select one for our table. The sommolier is gracious and patient with us. Already the staff is addressing us by name, and even though my wife was registered as Ms (her maiden name) they somehow figured out she orefers Mrs Motter and so now that is what they call us. (while at the Four Seasons I was generally Mr Kane).

The ship is elegantly understated, the staff extremely friendly. As we find our suite we open the door and find fresh caviar, with all the accoutrement such as onions, sour cream egg whites and blini, and bottle of fine champagme chilling in an ice bucket. Our suite has four rooms, if you count the massive walk-in closet. It has a seating area and a dining table with a sound system, there is a separate bedroom with glass dorrs that isolate the bed from the rest of the suite (nice for privacy). One can get up and watch TV in the middle of th night without disturbing the other sleeper, which my wife.

When I woke and found her in the living room, we called room service and got hot chocolate. looking outside we see the the has already sailed and we are now transitting the Suez canal as the sun comes up. There are san dunes and distant cities.

The canal is narrow, so traffic is mostly one-way, and there are no locks. This is the most desolate part of our journey, sand and hot sun, even in mid-October. We just woke up, it is a "sea-day" as we slowly cross from the Red Sea to the mediterranean Sea, taking a route that did not exist for most of history and required ships to go around Africa. We will cover it in a day.

Here is the link to the Photo Gallerey witrh upodated pictures. I just shot a video of the dessert passing by. I will attempt to convert and load it.

Paul Motter October 19th, 2006 12:49 AM

Fresh Caviar and Champagne Await Our Arrival in our Suite.

Paul Motter October 19th, 2006 12:52 AM

A truckload of Egyptian Women on the road to Port Said:

As we get closer, the see our bus and that we are smiling at them (with cameras in hand)

They get friendly and wave hello to me:

Paul Motter October 19th, 2006 01:08 AM

First Videos:




katlady October 19th, 2006 09:39 AM

I love this site I was just in Kenya with sue and now I'm crusing the Suez loved the videos. Keep up the good work.:D It's so cool that you are a world a way and with a click of a buttom I'm there.

Paul Motter October 19th, 2006 12:33 PM


Originally Posted by katlady
I love this site I was just in Kenya with sue and now I'm crusing the Suez loved the videos. Keep up the good work.:D It's so cool that you are a world a way and with a click of a buttom I'm there.

A whole new selection of pictures from inside the Suez canal. We left about 3:30 am because we have about 35 ships that need to go south and onlyu 7 going north, but those 7 have a higher priority than ours do. So, it was pl;anned that both groups could startr, but our group was required to anchor in Bitter Lake for 6 hours as the other ships passed us by.

That is what the pictures reflect. You see many cargo ships and just a few passenger vessels. I assume the ones coming the other way had military or government authorization for higher priority.

The ship is beautiful... fellow passengersd are so friendly we have already met two other couples we are meeting for dinner. This is just one of those ships were people talk to each other, a "CruiseMates" kind of ship.

Tomorrow we go to St Katherine's Cathedral, said to be built near the spot where Moses founbd the burning bush. It is on Mt Sinai, of course. Today was a "sea day" being in the suez canal, I napped, what else do you on a sea day?

I missed a great lecture on the history of thwe Suez, unfortunately. Please see the new picture gallery, and more tomorrow night! The tours are SO complex here, it isa hard to finbd Internet time.

Farewell, fellow cruisers...


MaryLou October 19th, 2006 07:01 PM

Paul: I am so sorry that you have to rough it on this cruise <VBG>. Seriously, I'm so envious of you two....what a great cruise. Thanks for sharing it with us! Enjoy yourselves.

Kuki October 19th, 2006 09:38 PM

Ok.. I'm getting seriously jealous now LOL And you haven't even reached your first port of call. Can't wait to read all about this trip.

Luanne Russo October 20th, 2006 05:48 PM

Good Job Paul. I can't wait for the rest of it.


Paul Motter October 21st, 2006 12:46 AM

We are sailing in to the port a Aquaba right now. Today we make the trip to Petra.

Yesterday, my wife went to St Katherine's monastery, built next to what is to believed to be the burning bush of Moses. The bush still grows, yet no clippings of it have ever survived anywhere else.

There are fresh pictures of the monastery in my picture gallery. I did not go (too much complimentary wine last night?) because I did not feel well. She told me there were 5 security checkpoints along the way.

The monastery is Greek orthodox, dedicated to St Katherine who was a Moslem who converted to Christianity, much to the chagrin of her father and family. Holding steadfast, she lived and died a Chrtistian and her body is said to have risen and was later duiscovered in this spot, next to the burning bush.

The monastery has survived for many centuries, being protected and respected by all Moslems, Jews and Christians in the area all this time.

Afterwards, we ate dinner in our cabin, delivered by our butler one course at a time: caviar appetizers, whole lobster, prime rib, and chocolate souffles. Champagne included of course.

Today, Petra, home of the Queen of Sheba (so, who do you think you are?). Once the home of the Nabatians, the city is well preserved from the 1st century ad, and contains over 800 monuments. Supposed to be one of the most extensive sites of antiquity in the world. I am excited.

Paul Motter October 22nd, 2006 03:29 AM

New Photo Gallery of Petra, click above.

Yesterday I said we would be going to Petra, and so we did. The city was inhabited by the Nabateans, and was the not the province of the Queen of Sheba (never believe anything your cousin tells you). But it was an immensely important trade city because of its location between ancient Palestine (the Gaza strip) and Aqaba, the city at the top of the Red Sea on the Jordan side of the Sinai Peninsula.

Most exciting about this city is that it is entirely carved in existing stone, and you can only reach it by hiking down a long canyon (a walk of about 1 mile).

The city is well preserved because it was undiscovered until 1830. Until then no one had lived in the area since ancient times, except for Bedouins, and they kept outsiders away. At the time, the people spoke Aramaic (the language of Jesus), and the city lay between the Israelites and the Egyptians.

The people had temples to their own deities, as well as Hellenic, Roman and Egyptian. There were statues and beautifully colored facades, many now faded.

Unfortunately, many of the gods' statues were destroyed by people who do not believe in portraying God in an anthropomorphic manner. They were shot or knocked over in recent history.

There is a large tomb that no one is sure of to whom it belonged. It is believed a Pharoah, possibly. Someone did plunder it and did find 5 jars of gold and jewels, now in the British Museum.

I urge you to look at the pictures, and I will post more information later.

Tomorrow it is back to Egypt to see the later dynasties, the Valley of the kings in the upper Nile. -- Karnak.

crabbie1 October 22nd, 2006 01:01 PM

LUXURY CRUISING - Silversea Virtual Cruise Oct 18-23
Paul, enjoyed your photo gallery very much. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us.


Paul Motter October 22nd, 2006 04:36 PM

Re: LUXURY CRUISING - Silversea Virtual Cruise Oct 18-23

Originally Posted by crabbie1
Paul, enjoyed your photo gallery very much. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us.crabbie1

Thank you, wityh subject matter like Petra it is hard to have a bad photo gallery.

I have to say a word about these fine Silversea shore excursions. They always hire the best guides one can find, in this case our guide grewup in the hills and caves of Petra, as a Bedouin. he knows everything about it.

Tomorrow, our shorex of the Valley of the Kings leaves from the Egyptian Red Sea City of Safaga, and we drive to Luxor, where we spend an entire day touring, go to hotel to spend the night, and then tour the entire next day until about 3:00 p.m.

At that point, most people go back to the ship (by bus) for the rest of the cruise (4 days at sea follow) but we are ending our cruise, getting on a plane and traveling back to the USA. On Silversea, you can start and en d a cruise and day(s) you want, as long as you stay a minmum of 5 days.

We ended our cruise early, and so a fair number of passengers. In reality this is a slightlyu older crowd, and largely European and Brits. So, the do not have the work-a-day mentality we do. It is harder for us Americans to take 2 weeks off.

And this shorex is not cheap either, $500, but when you think about what you get rather than the usual 4-hour drive-by bus tour, it is worth is. We are going to sea the Valley of the Kings at night.

More pics to come soon, naturally... and they keep getting better and better...

MaryLou October 22nd, 2006 08:06 PM

Paul: Thanks for the virtual cruise and have a safe journey home.

katlady October 23rd, 2006 10:09 AM

Hi Paul,
Enjoy the Valley of the Kings I can't wait to see the photos. The Perta (hope I spelled that right) photo galley is wonderful. My DH and I can't afford a trip like that right now. But I can picture being there from your photos. Thank you for that. That cruise line sounds wonderful. whole lobster tasty! :D Have a safe trip home.

Paul Motter October 24th, 2006 10:37 AM

We visit Karnak and Luxor in Egypt...

Whhheewwww..... so much has been happening I can barely keep up, but this trip is one of a lifetime.

Silversea Cruises arranged for us to travel overland to the Nile River city of Luxor. Here we saw all kinds of Egyptian ruins (yesterday) up to 4000 years old. Incredible to think we had such intelligent civilizations as many years before Christ lived as we are living now since Christ walked on this earth.

Please see the 2 new photo galleries, there is so much more to see than there is to say.

Next (Thursaday) I will show pictures of the Nile in the morning, and then we went to the valley of the kings and saw the tomb of Tutahnkhamen. And other even greater pharoahs like Rameses.

Tonight I begin about 24 hours of flying time: Luxor to Cairo, Frankfurt to Phoenix.

But what a remarkable a cruise, and how Silversea does take care of details. We have not had to WORRY ABOUT A SINGLE THING!

reipan40 October 24th, 2006 11:00 PM


Thank you so much for the wonderful daily reviews of your cruise. Not only are the pictures spectacular, but your knowledge of the places you visited is great. Did you take a cassette recorder??? You make me just want to hop on a plance and go!

Thanks again,

Paul Motter October 25th, 2006 11:04 PM

Obviously, I have so much more to write regarding the visits to Karnak, Luxor and the Valley of the Kings. Everything was even more grand than I expected it to be, I had no idea that Egypt had such well=preserved ruins almost twice as old as those in Rome.

I just got home after literally 30 hours in air travel, involving 4 plane changes. We are exhausted, but I will write much more tomorrow, and more pictures to come as well.

Marc October 26th, 2006 11:46 AM


I would like to read more about your impressions of the Silver Whisper. Really interested in food, service, accomodations, on board activities, concierge, shore excursion planning, etc.

Paul Motter October 29th, 2006 04:01 PM

I will be writing about Silversea and more, soon, but this thread is just about my voyage.

On our last day in Egypt we went and visited the Valley of the Kings, which is across the river from Karnak and Luxor. They have a few of the tombs open all the time, and some of the other tombs they open for a year at a time on a rotating basis so they can stay sealed most of the time and not deteriorate.

We saw the tombs of Rameses II and Tutahnkhamen, among others. The truth is, it is very hard to remember all of the Phaorah's names and their history, but just seeing the tombs is fascinating for their detail.

The Valley of the Kings is on the West side of the Nile, because they believed the the East side represented life because the sun was born there every day, and the West side represented the afterlife becauswe that is where the sun set every night. So they were buried where the sun set, in hopes of being reborn like the sun.

They "worshipped" the scarab symbolically (as a symbol of the one God) because it created a ball (a sac of eggs) and moved it out of its hole. From this ball new scarabs were born, and the creator of it died.

The Egyptians were not pagan, they believed in one God, but they had many symbols to represent the attributes of this one god, such as the scarab (rebirth), and the eye of the hawk (Horus, ever-seeing because it never closed even when asleep).

There are so many temples and tombs in this part of Egypt. And I had seen Rome and Greece before, but this is older and so much more detail, and so much earlier in history. The Egyptian ruins are nearly twice as old as those in Rome. Remarkable.

I have added many new photos to the photo gallery for the Valley of the Kings

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