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EGYPT : Historical
The River Nile, lifeblood of Egyptian civilisations throughout the millenia, can still count paddle steamers amongst the numerous vessels plying its waters.

The river has attracted tourists for many years and Nile cruises take visitors to some of the greatest archaelogical remains on the earth.
British tourists in the 19th century were the driving force for the construction of paddle steamers. In 1869, 28 years after organising his first escorted outing to nearby Loughborough in the English midlands, Leicester-based Thomas Cook, had hired two paddlers for his tours of the Nile. They went on to built their own hotels and had a virtual monopoly over the tourist trade in the area. After 1885 they really began to expand their own fleet and for the 1896 season, the Anglo-American Nile Navigation Company entered competition as tourists from the USA became particularly numerous. This company operated particularly large sternwheelers. In the winter of 1905/06 Anglo-American was taken over by the German-owned Hamburg-American Company along with their steamers Puritan and Mayflower and four others, whilst a new American concern, the Express Nile Navigation Company entered the market with their new steamers Virginian and America. The Hamburg company also put two new steamers on order for introduction the following season as competition really began to become intense. However, it was the Thomas Cook operation which was to prevail.

Thomas Cook Fleet


Acknowledgements : My thanks to Paul Smith, Archivist at Thomas Cook Travel  for his kind assistance including the use of vessel photos from the company's archives. Thanks also to Stuart Cameron and the Scottish Built Ships Database



The above publicity can be dated to between 1889 and 1892




The side-wheel fleet comprised these steamers in 1904 :      (scroll down for the fleet as it stood in 1925)

For First Class passengers only :

Rameses (236x30 ft)
Prince Abbas (Fairfield, 1886, 160x20 ft)
Tewfik (Fairfield, 1886, 160x20 ft), - originally named Prince Tewfik
Amasis (1886, 170x20 ft) - originally named Prince Mohammed Ali
Rameses the Great (Fairfield, Glasgow, 1889, 221x30 ft)
Rameses III (J McArthur, Paisley, engines by Bow, McLachlan, 1893, 200x28 ft)
Memnon (1904, 131x19 ft)

Express steamers for first class and local passengers : 

Cleopatra (J McArthur, Paisley, engines by Bow, McLachlan, 1888, 140x25 ft),
Nefertari (J McArthur, Paisley, engines by Bow, McLachlan, 1888, 140x25 ft),
Amenartas (J McArthur, Paisley, engines by Bow, McLachlan, 1888, 140x25 ft)
Hatasoo (J McArthur, Paisley, engines by Bow, McLachlan, 1890, 160x25 ft),

Steam Dahabeahs

Serapis (125x18 ft)
Oonas (110x18 ft)

Seti (100x18 ft)
Nitocris (103x15 ft)
Mena (100x18 ft) 

Prince Abbas, Amasis, Rameses III, Cleopatra, Nefertari,  Amenartas and Hatasoo were taken to Mespotamia in 1916 and owned by the Royal Indian Marine (who were in charge of the British campaign in the region). Rameses III was lost to fire in at Amara 1916.
Tewfik and Rameses the Great were lost to fire in 1916 whilst being prepared to be sent to Mesopotamia


Paddle Steamers : 1904 Fleet

Above : Prince Abbas



Above : Amasis

Above : Memnon




Above : Hatasoo on war service



Above : Serapis.



Above : Oonas



Above : Paddle Steamer Seti was used as a floating hotel at Aswan until 1894 when Thomas Cook purchased a hotel on the shores of the Nile


The side-wheel fleet comprised these steamers in 1925 :


Large (high-season services) : 

Egypt (Thornycroft, 1907, 230x32 ft),
Arabia (Thornycroft, 1911, 236x32 ft),
Sudan (Bow, McLachlan, 1915-1921, 236x32 ft).

Rosetta (Ferguson, Port Glasgow, 1917, 220x30 ft) former British Army Hospital Ship "SP13", in Cooks fleet from 1922
Damietta (A&J Inglis, Pointhouse, Glasgow, 1917, 220x30 ft) former British Army Hospital Ship "HP15", in Cooks fleet from 1921

Medium (off-season services) :

Delta (159x27 ft),
Thebes (150x26 ft)

Small (generally sold for group charter) :

Memnon (1904, 131x19 ft),
Chonsu (125x18 ft),
Serapis (125x18 ft),
Oonas (110x18 ft),
Seti (100x18 ft),
Scarab (90x17 ft)

Rosetta and Damietta were originally intended for military hospital service on the Tigris in World War I but were in Alexandria at the time of the armistice. It is understood from research by Alistair Deayton that they were lengthened and converted from side-wheelers to quarter-wheelers for Nile service.

Egypt remained in the fleet until 1950
Sudan (in operation) and Memnon (derelict) still exist (as at January 2020). It is believed that Egypt and Delta survive but are laid up
For more about Egyptian paddle steamers see this report by Alan Dumelow on the Modern Luxor website

http://www.modernluxor.com/transport-cruise-ships.html


Paddle Steamers : 1925 Fleet



Above : Memnon



Above : Chonsu


ROYAL YACHTS (Paddle Steamers)

1849 : Sayed Pacha : Built by Caird of Greenock for Mohammed Said

1865 : El Mahroussa  (converted to turbine steamer in 1905 and still in existence) and Bordein, both by Samuda Bros, London, for Khedive Ismail Pacha

1894 : Safa el Bahr : Built by A&J Inglis of Glasgow : 690 GRT : 220 x 27 ft : Triple Expansion 18, 29 and 48 in x 46 in

1926 : Kased Kheir : Built by JI Thornycroft in Southampton in kit form for King Fuad. 237 ft 9 in x 32 ft

Kased Kheir was used to take the deposed King Farouk into exile in 1952. In 1958 it was used as a hotel annexe. The Navy Hotel  - Kased Kheir in Cairo now has a smaller modern vessel moored outside.


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Egypt