Nile River cruise in Egypt

Exploring Egypt with a Nile River Cruise

Most tourists visiting Egypt imagine the excitement of seeing the Pyramids or the beaches of Alexandria, but a Nile River cruise in Egypt is the perfect choice for a historical and nature-centered tour of the country! The Nile River holds the world’s record for the longest river in the world. It has been the lifeline of Egypt for thousands of years. In fact, the Egyptian saying goes, “Egypt is a gift of the Nile.” A classic voyage on this famous river takes you back in time to discover the ancient wonders of the world.

Why Choose a Nile River Cruise?

Going for a sail on the Nile River isn’t a run-of-the-mill boating trip. It’s a trip through a watery portal to experience history. You won’t be able to help thinking that you are sailing down the same river that pharaohs, queens, and ancient Egyptians traveled. Guides will identify and point out beautiful temples, ancient graves, and share the incredible stories of ancient Egyptians. This is not to mention that cruising is serene and relaxing! You will love the natural beauty, enjoy the delicious food, and take part in other enjoyable activities on the cruise.

What to Expect on a Nile River Cruise

1. Luxurious Accommodations

Your Nile River cruise isn’t a dinky boat. It’s a comfortable and quite luxurious ship. The cruisers have comfortable rooms, excellent options for dining, and many times, they have pools and sun decks where you can relax and enjoy the view. Several of these cruises offer evening entertainment, such as traditional Egyptian music and dance performances.

2. Delicious Egyptian Cuisine

Egyptian cuisine is distinct and travelers love trying its popular dishes. On a Nile River cruise, you’ll get to try a variety of Egyptian dishes. From savory kebabs and falafel to sweet treats like baklava, there’s something for everyone. And food isn’t the only thing to try. Egypt offers a number of exotic drinks like fresh sugarcane juice, fenugreek tea or the floral notes in hibiscus tea, a popular drink in Egypt.

3. Exciting Excursions

A cruise on the Nile allows travelers to get off and tour the stops along the way. These stops are strategically chosen so you can explore famous historical sites. Here’s a glance at some of the stops you might make:

  • The Temples of Luxor and Karnak: These are some of the largest and most impressive temple complexes in Egypt. You’ll see huge statues, tall columns, and intricate carvings.
  • The Valley of the Kings: Famous for the hidden tomb of King Tut, this valley is where many of the pharaohs and their tombs were discovered. You will see the art and ancient culture through the excavated sites.
  • Aswan and the Temple of Philae: Aswan is a southern city in Egypt along the Nile. It’s a beautiful place known for its stunning sunsets. The Temple of Philae, an ancient Egyptian temple, is located on an island nearby and can be reached by boat.
  • Edfu and Kom Ombo Temples: These temples are amazingly well-preserved and allow tourists to witness the ancient Egyptian spiritual beliefs and rituals.

4. Learning About Ancient Egypt

Most cruises are accompanied by trained and educated tour guides. They will narrate historical facts, aspects of ancient Egyptian culture and interesting anecdotes and urban legends of the places you will offboard. You’ll have your own personal history teacher, with all the friendliness of a gracious host!

Tips for Your Nile River Cruise

1. Best Time to Go

Generally, the optimal months to visit Egypt is from October through April, and taking a cruise along the Nile is no different. During this season, temperatures are cool and outdoor conditions are ideal.  The hot months are known for extreme heat so it is advisable to book your tour during the winter and spring months.

2. What to Pack

  • Comfortable Clothing: Natural fabrics, which are light and allow your body to “breathe” are your best bet for a comfortable experience. Pack a wide-brimmed hat and protective eyewear as well as plenty of sunscreen with a high SPF–preferably waterproof.
  • Walking Shoes: Bring along a pair of shoes that are tried and true to being your best set of footwear for walking. There is a lot of walking on a cruise that makes multiple stops and you don’t want to be wearing a new pair you’ve never tried on before or a pair that looks nice but isn’t conducive to long walks.
  • Swimwear: Most cruisers have pools, so be sure to pack your swimwear.
  • Camera: You will regret not taking pictures of the iconic monuments and scenery you will see, so make sure to bring a good camera or make sure your smartphone has plenty of memory.

3. Staying Healthy

  • Stay Hydrated: Whether you decide to travel in the summer or cooler months, drinking plenty of water is vital when you travel and sightsee outdoors. It’s easy to think you’re hydrated when you have buffets and different juices at your disposal. Don’t let that fool you–drink lots of water.
  • Use Sunscreen: Don’t forget to protect your skin by applying sunscreen before you go out and reapply after a few hours. This is important, even on cloudy days.
  • Be Careful with Food and Water: Despite assurances that water is safe, stick to drinking bottled water and be very careful about eating food off the streets. The food on the cruise ship is prepared under sanitary conditions and good quality.

Highlights of a Nile River Cruise

1. Luxor: The World’s Greatest Open-Air Museum

Every major Nile cruise will stop at Luxor. It is often referred to as the world’s greatest open-air museum because of its vast number of ancient monuments. Here, you’ll explore the Luxor Temple and the Karnak Temple Complex. These sites are incredibly well-preserved and give you a glimpse into the grandeur of ancient Egypt.

2. The Valley of the Kings: Tombs of the Pharaohs

Most people take the Nile cruise for exactly this purpose: To visit the Valey of the Kings. This site is where Howard Carter miraculously excavated King Tut’s tomb and where a number of other mummified pharaohs were discovered afterwards, and alongside numerous treasures. Although the treasures have been removed (either through thievery or relocated to museums around the world) you can still enter some of these tombs that were dug and built thousands of years ago and decorated with wall art.

3. Aswan: Beauty on the Nile

Aswan is a totally different experience than the ones to be had in the regions hitherto mentioned. It is a picturesque city with little ancient relevance. Its modern claim to fame is the Aswan High Dam, which contains the flooding of the Nile. Embark on a felucca ride in Aswan, as they are the traditional Egyptian water-vessels that offer a peaceful and scenic ride on the Nile that contrasts with the experience on the cruise ship.

4. Edfu and Kom Ombo: Temples of the Gods

Edfu and Kom Ombo are the sites of the best-preserved temples in Egypt. The Temple of Edfu is dedicated to Horus, and has been well-maintained throughout the years. The Temple of Kom Ombo is unique because it is quite ornate. In both temples you will see the actual hieroglyphics that were carved into the walls of the temples by ancient Egyptians.

5. Abu Simbel: The Monumental Temples

Some cruises will go off course from the Nile River and offer an optional detour to Abu Simbel. Abu Simbel is what comes to mind when you think of the huge monuments of sitting statues of pharaohs. Said to be constructed by Ramses II, they are famous for their size and details. Though they have been moved from their original location to protect them from the flooding that has been caused by the construction of the Aswan Dam, this region is one that anyone touring Egypt should not miss.

Booking Your Nile River Cruise

Before you reserve your cruise, consider the following things:

1. Choose the Right Cruise

There are many different Nile River cruises to choose from, ranging from budget to luxury options. Consider what amenities and activities are most important to you. Do you want a smaller, more intimate ship, or a larger ship with more facilities? Do you prefer a shorter cruise of a few days, or a longer one that lasts a week or more?

2. Plan Your Itinerary

Most Nile River cruises follow a similar route, but it’s important to check the specific itinerary of the cruise you choose. Make sure it includes the key sites you want to see, such as Luxor, the Valley of the Kings, Aswan, Edfu, and Kom Ombo. Some cruises also offer additional excursions, like a visit to Abu Simbel.

3. Consider the Season

As mentioned earlier, the best time to take a Nile River cruise is between October and April. This is when the weather is cooler and more pleasant for sightseeing. If you plan to travel during the peak season, be sure to book your cruise well in advance, as they can fill up quickly.

4. Look for Special Deals

Many cruise operators offer special deals and discounts, especially if you book early or travel during the shoulder seasons (just before or after the peak season). Keep an eye out for these deals to get the best value for your money.

Finally, A Journey Through Time

A Nile River cruise in Egypt is more than just a vacation—it’s a journey through time. You’ll sail along the same river that ancient Egyptians once traveled, explore incredible historical sites, and learn about a civilization that has fascinated people for thousands of years. With comfortable accommodations, delicious food, and exciting excursions, a Nile River cruise is the perfect way to experience the wonders of Egypt.

So, pack your bags and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime. The Nile River is waiting to take you on a magical journey through ancient history and breathtaking beauty. Don’t miss out on the chance to make unforgettable memories on a Nile River cruise in Egypt!

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