Cruising through the Suez Canal

I’ve just received a Facebook message from my daughter who’s travelling in Vanuata, and she said: “Mum, I thnk I’ve died and gone to heaven!

Well, as I sit here on our Stateroom balcony looking out on the Suez Canal having a 4 course specialty breakfast on Sea Princess I wrote back, “I think we have too! We’ll see you there!”

Suez Canal 01

Yesterday evening the Sea Princess hove to and we waited at the southern entrance to the Suez Canal until the ship convoy in which we were travelling was cleared to enter the canal.

Suez Canal 09

Later in the day we met a southbound convoy of ships as we entered the recently constructed new section of the canal which allows for two-way traffic (above).

We were ship number 2 in a 29 ship convoy travelling north and we entered the canal about 5am this morning.

Suez Canal 02

Even at that time the decks were abuzz with people excited about traversing one of the most renowned and strategically placed waterways in the world.

Suez Canal 06

We were going to enjoy the view from our stateroom balcony with a specialty gourmet champagne breakfast served in our cabin: Oh what luxury, what decadence, what it is to be on a world cruise!

We’ve found the food on the cruise to be very high quality and there’s a great variety, with something for all tastes, and we’ve been really impressed with the quantity and range of fresh food and produce always on offer. Surprisingly after 30 days at sea, neither Dave or I have put on any weight and I’ll be giving some tips in a later post on how to achieve this (we think it’s a bit of a miracle and hope it continues!) but honestly, it hasn’t involved starvation diets.

Suez Canal 05

From my Journal

As we look out of over the starboard balcony onto the Sinai desert cruising slowly up the Great Bitter Lake we’ve just passed a south bound convoy of ships at anchor. They will continue their journey south through the Canal as soon as our convoy has cleared the Bitter Lake.

Suez Canal 10

A modern monument to the workers who toiled to excavate the Suez Canal.

Savoring the views and the food we’re enjoying a long lazy breakfast (eating far more than we might normally!) finishing with freshly baked pastries and coffee.

Suez Canal 08

It’s sumptuous and we’re feeling like millionaires being served delicious treats on a private balcony going through such an iconic waterway.

Looking out over the aqua blue water onto the hazy desert tucking into our fresh fruit starter, a beautifully constructed basket of fruits made from shavings of melon folded and woven into a dish filled with a medley of fresh berries; blueberries, strawberries and rasberries, finished off with a serving of cream and fresh mint on the side.

Suez Canal 11

The Friendship Bridge built by Egyptian and Japanese collaboration.

From our vantage point, the eastern side of the canal is composed of barren sandy desert whilst to the west a verdant green ribbon follows the waterway.

Suez Canal 03

On deck earlier we could see palm trees, rice paddies, farmland, and continuous habitation ranging from small settlements and villages to towns, and the ubiqutous military installations, ranging from lonely guard posts manned by solitary armed soldiers (rifle in one hand, waving with the other) to major air bases.

Suez Canal 04

As we cruised through the Great Bitter Lake to its outlet we tucked into our second course; smoked salmon, ricotta cheese, capers and crispy rolls.

Suez Canal 07

The heat is ramping up now (it’s 9.30am) and it’s getting up to around 39 – 41degrees Celcius. There’s no longer a sea current pushing us, or any waves. There’s just a swish of water, and the colour of blue all around from the hazy blue of the sky to the bright blue of the canal offset by sandy desert.

Suez Canal 13

Along the way you can see monuments, a start reminder of the conflicts that have raged in this area.

What a fabulous morning its been with more exciting landscapes to travel past. We are due to reach Port Said at 4pm and then travel into the Med an hour later which will mean that we were around 12 hours to cruise the entire length of the canal (183 miles). Somewhere in here though we have to find time to get to the gym to work off the calories 😉

What a day! How Exciting!

I’m travelling as a guest of Princess Cruises but all opinions are my own.

How many of you Lifestylers have been on a Princess Cruise? Or will you be booking one in the future?

Comments

  1. g. cheater says:

    Oh that smoke salmon looks so good!!

  2. Oh so envious! We were scheduled to go through early on our Middle East cruise last year and our Captain made record speed in getting us there so we’d have an early start. Our guest speaker had set up in the lounge (an expert of Egypt and the Middle East and was going to explain what we were seeing). We were beyond excited. Then we waited. And waited. And waited some more. Ships began congregating around us. We all waited. The canal was under construction and would be closed all day. Our passage through it began at 10 p.m. in the dark and despite getting up at 4 a.m. (it was still dark), we saw a bit before Port Said. It was the only great disappointment on our cruise. Lovely photos and it looks like you saw its glory!

    • Oh Jackie, that’s so sad. And after all the anticipation too. Yes, we were so lucky. The cruise through was amazing and we did see it in all it’s glory with a great ongoing commentary from our destination expert, Hutch. I hope you get back one day to see it in full daylight.

    • I just had ‘The Scout’ look at your photos and said, “This is what we missed. We need to do another cruise and go through the canal!” 😉

  3. Carol Colborn says:

    Wow this is so interesting. 12 daylight hours on the Suez, Canal. It must have been one of the best times of your life!

  4. Traveling through the Suez Canal looks like an amazing experience. The monuments along the way make it extra interesting. And I am waiting eagerly to hear your tips for not gaining weight on a cruise!

    • Hi Donna, yes the whole things was incredible. Such an experience 🙂 Tips coming up soon (better be before, or in case I do put on weight!)

  5. what a way to travel on a deck with magnificent views along with delicious bites and champagne – I want to travel like you Jo!

  6. It looks like you are having a fabulous time. David and I don’t do cruises. He doesn’t like organised activity and I get sea-sick but I am envious of you sailing through the Suez. I hope you are reading some Agatha Christie novels to set the scene. She wrote Death on the Nile while staying in Egypt.

    • Hello Lyn, ah you should try a cruise – we are recent converts. Sea sickness hasn’t been an issue. Oh yes, Agatha Christie – now that’s a great suggestion, thank you 🙂

  7. Going through the Suez Canal has got to be near the top of any bucket list I would think, and doubly so to do it in such style. Bravo!

  8. So glad you are enjoying your Princess Cruise. I had no doubt it would be wonderful! This post reminds me of cruising through the Panama Canal, which was another unforgettable memory!

  9. Wow! So that’s what the Suez Canal looks like? It is like a big channel really with lots of desert (not dessert as some of your pictures reveal!) on either side. You can tick that off the bucket list now. What a great experience. 🙂

  10. This is such a dramatic part of the world. I’d love to see it from the canal perspective. And 30 days at sea?? Wow, what a great trip.

  11. Looks like a lovely cruise. I want some of that smoked salmon! I haven’t sailed the Suez, but did visit the canal when I was in Egypt in 2004. Actually, I remember taking a photo and being told that I couldn’t. In fact, I was told that I could get arrested! This was from a tour guide, and whether he knew what he was talking about or not I have no idea. However, the thought of getting arrested in Egypt was more than scary!

  12. Hi Johanna,
    Having previously enjoyed a 22 day cruise to Japan with Princess, we are now looking forward to sailing with them again in September. (35 days Sydney – Hawaii – Sydney.)
    The 104 day world cruise you are on now is on our “To Do’ list for 2018 and I noticed that I will be celebrating my birthday as we cruise through the Suez Canal so a Champagne breakfast sounds like the way to do it in style!!!!
    I am enjoying following your journey ~ Thank you <3

    • Hi Joylene, hope you do the 2018 world cruise and love it as much as we are. Yes, a Champagne Brekkie on the Suez is the way to go 🙂 Thanks for following our journey 🙂

  13. Hi there, I would LOVE to go through one of the big canals, really enjoyed looking at your photos and hearing all about it. Fantastic!

Look forward to hearing your thoughts!