Hike though ancient ruins and scale pyramids by day, then kick back and watch the sunset from your deck chair as you float downriver to your next archaeological adventure. Cruising the Nile River makes the most of your Egyptian holiday. The Sphinx, the tombs of King Tutankhamun and Queen Hatshepsut, Karnak, the Temple of Edfu and countless other pyramid sites are situated near the banks of the Nile. Explore to your heart's content daily with a trained Egyptologist, then return to your ship for more incredible sights, fine dining, and on-board entertainment every night.
Choosing the Perfect Cruise
More than 200 boats cruise up and down the Nile River between Aswan and Cairo, so it can be difficult to choose the perfect trip. Choosing a downriver cruise is the smoothest sailing option. Downriver cruises are also faster, so travelers can spend more time on land excursions. Though not as quick or smooth, upriver cruises include all the same sights and the Nile waters are smoother in either direction than sea cruising. The average cost per person for each night ranges between $100 for a four-star cruise to $400 or more for an Imperial Ultra Deluxe boat. In any ship, select a cabin that is toward the front or middle of the boat on an upper level, for the quietest room with the best view.
Best Times to Go
Egypt's hot, dry season falls from Mid-April to September. Temperatures can be oppressively hot, making hikes and sightseeing excursions uncomfortable. The heat also causes the Nile's water level to drop, which may result in the need to switch boats mid-trip, if there is not enough water in the locks for boats to pass through them. October to early April is the optimal season for touring. Bear in mind that prices increase significantly around the Christmas and Easter holidays.
What to Expect
Nile cruises are by-in-large all-inclusive. The typical all-inclusive package includes all meals, nightly entertainment and daily sightseeing excursions guided by Egyptologists. Alcohol, laundry, tips and air transport before or after the cruise are not included in most Nile cruise packages.
At the end of the cruise, envelopes for the crew and the Egyptologist will be circulated to passengers with a suggested amount to tip. Passengers are free to give what they feel is appropriate. This covers all tipping for the employees of the cruise boat. While on land, be sure to carry a stock of small denominations of Egyptian currency for restroom attendants, waiters and any other locals providing additional services on sightseeing excursions.
Other Important Considerations
Tap water in Egypt is not potable and should never be used for drinking water or to brush teeth. Nile cruise ships are no exception. Be sure to drink only bottled water. Egypt is a Muslim country where most people do not drink alcohol. It may be hard to find or expensive, so buying a duty-free bottle before boarding the boat may be more convenient and economical.