I think that a river cruise is the ideal way to explore places like Egypt, where the history is so intertwined with the majestic Nile River. I have created this guide to help you learn about the Nile and find the Nile River Cruise that is right for you!
- Imagine visiting multiple locations on one journey but only unpacking once.
- Imagine traveling in a floating boutique hotel right to the heart of some of the world’s most romantic and historic destinations.
- Imagine experiencing this with the people you love most from the vantage point of a beautiful cabin with views of the inspiring desert landscape.
The River Cruise Experience
A Nile River Cruise lets you experience the landscapes of the Nile River Delta from the vantage point of a river that has been the cradle of civilization for thousands of years. You will experience the culture from the ship before docking and continuing your exploration on land.
Your excursions will take you to ancient temples, museums filled with incredible artifacts, and allow you to experience incredible feats of human ingenuity. You will explore the cities along the Nile in guided tours, and also have free time to wander the bustling markets and architectural wonders on your own.
In order to navigate these waters, the ships need to be small in size: they hold between 50-150 passengers. So every aspect of your experience -the service, the dining, the tours – is personal. No waiting for the buffet, no lining up for excursions.
Finally, river cruises are all-inclusive. This means that almost every part of your cruise, from your food and drink to your excursions and other activities, is included in the price, leaving you free to relax and enjoy your vacation.
The Nile – an overview
Flowing northward for over 4,000 miles, the Nile River is the longest river in the world. On its journey to the Mediterranean Sea, it passes through many African nations, including Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Sudan. Among all these places though, the country that is unquestionably most tied to this mighty river is Egypt. Located in a part of Africa that is almost entirely desert, the ancient and modern civilizations that have arisen here would never have been possible without the life-giving abundance of the river.
On a Nile River Cruise, you will get to experience this abundance first hand. These unique journeys start with several days in a luxury hotel in Cairo, followed by a short flight to Luxor and multiple days on the river in the Southern part of Egypt. Organizing your trip this way allows you to experience the best of what this country has to offer, from the modern to the astonishingly old. It is also easy to add extensions on either end of this trip to other incredible destinations in the Middle East, including Israel, Amman, and Petra. Whether you decide to spend this trip only in Egypt or to visit other countries, you can be sure that you will experience some of the most incredible sites, cultures, and cuisines in the world, from a luxurious vantage point on this truly special river.
Some Highlights of a Rhine River Cruise
Cairo – The capital city of Egypt has stood on the same spot along the Nile for the past 1,000 years. This area has been settled for much longer, however, with a history that dates back to ancient civilizations. Today Cairo is home to over 20 million people, making it a truly exciting place. While here, don’t miss Khan el-Khalili, the city’s largest open-air market where you will be able to find pretty much anything. Those looking to escape the hustle and bustle should head to one of Cairo’s many incredible museums. In the Egyptian Museum, you can see objects from the tombs of King Tutankhamun and other pharaohs; at the Coptic Museum some 1,200 artifacts from the 1st through the 7th centuries are housed, and in the Museum of Islamic Art you can experience an exquisitely curated collection of art unique to this religion.
The Pyramids of Giza – No trip to Egypt would be complete without a visit to the site of the ancient city of Memphis, where you can find the necropolises of ancient Egypt – the pyramids where kings were laid to rest 4,000 years ago. Located 15 miles west of Cairo, the site of the pyramids on the edge of the Sahara Desert will allow you to experience the contrast between the Nile River Delta and the rest of Egypt. As the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still standing, the Great Pyramids of Giza are the highlight of any trip to this area. Other ancient structures that you will want to visit include the Great Sphinx and the pyramid at Sakkara, the oldest step pyramid in the world.
Luxor – A place where the modern seamlessly meets the ancient, Luxor is one of the most beautiful places you will stop on your trip along the Nile. Originally the location of the ancient city of Thebes, today Luxor is a place where you can spend days exploring beautifully preserved monuments that are astonishingly old. At the top of any Luxor, itinerary are visits to its two temples, Karnak and Luxor. Then, in the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens, you will experience the burial grounds of Egypt’s most illustrious leaders from as far back as 2,100 BCE. This is just scratching the surface though; other incredible locations in Luxor include the Temple of Seti, Medihat Habu, the Temple of Hatshepsut, and the Tombs of the Nobles.
Edfu – In ancient times, Edfu was a prominent Greek city. Today, it is a bustling commercial center for cane sugar and distinctive pottery. The people here are friendly and the area’s economy is primarily driven by agriculture. None of these things are the main draw to Edfu though. Rather, most visitors to Edfu are here to visit the Temple of Horus, the best-preserved ancient temple in all of Egypt. Built during the 2nd and 1st centuries BCE, the location of this temple is no accident as the city itself was dedicated to this falcon-headed god that the pharaoh was believed to be the earthly manifestation of. Due to its location on a hill, the preserving nature of the desert, and its relatively recent construction, the temple has remained intact and offers visitors a peek into Egypt’s ancient past.
Aswan – Despite being a city of more than 1.5 million people, Aswan retains a laid-back feel. Here, the Nile is wide and slow, and the people reflect the temperament of the river. This makes Aswan the perfect place to set sail on a felucca, a traditional Egyptian sailboat that you can use to visit the Nubian provinces upstream. Aswan has also long been known as the source of the finest granite in all of Egypt. Learn about this history with a trip to the Unfinished Obelisk, an impressive stone that might have been the largest obelisk in Egypt if an imperfection had not led to it being abandoned. Other must-see attractions in Aswan include the Philae Temple and the Aswan High Dam. Aswan is also a great launching point for an excursion to Abu Simbel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located on the banks of Lake Nasser.
Choosing Your Nile River Cruise!
Now that you know more about what you will see and do on your Nile River cruise, it’s time to find the cruise that’s right for you!
Have you decided which historical sites are most important for you to see? Or maybe you want to extend your journey at the beginning or end? Whatever your priorities, there are some other things you should consider as you choose your Nile River Cruise.
When do you want to go?
One of the first things you need to decide is when you want to travel. Cruises on the Nile River are generally available from September through May, avoiding the hottest period of the year. You will generally find warm sunny days and pleasant evenings during your trip. Holiday and New Year sailings are particularly popular!
How Long of a Cruise?
The length of a Nile River Cruise can vary from 7 nights to 11 nights. With this in mind, carefully think about how much time you have and everything you would like to see.
If you are squeezing in a vacation with a limited amount of time, or want to combine your River Cruise with other tours, you will want to consider one of the shorter cruises. However, if you have more time to explore the Nile, be sure to ask about one of the longer cruise options!
Special Interest Cruises
A Nile River Cruise is primarily centered on experiencing the deep culture and history of this country. However, you can also cater your cruise to align with your personal interests, whether that means choosing more physical activities or sampling all the local cuisine.
There are many options for special cruises that focus on your interests and passions, no matter what they may be! Let me know if you would be interested in more information.
Pre- and Post-Cruise Options
You can extend your vacation on either end of your River Cruise by adding a pre- or post-cruise land extension. Travel to places such as Israel, Petra, and Amman in Jordan, or Abu-Dhabi – all these destinations can be easily combined with your Nile River journey.
Which River Cruise Company?
You will want to pick the River Cruise company that fits your style. Some ships are more ornate, some more modern; some have more inclusions up front and some give you more a la carte choices; and some are better options for families, couples or singles. Tell me about yourself and I can help you make this important choice
As a River Cruise expert, I will help you sort through all the different options and find the perfect Nile River Cruise for you! Reach out to me and let’s start planning!