All you need to know about Nile cruises

All you need to know about Nile cruises

The Nile River is the longest river in the world and one of the most popular water bodies known. What makes the Nile even more important is its association with some of the world’s first civilizations.

The surreal Nile River

The surreal Nile River

This iconic river is included in every traveler’s bucket list due to its significance and picturesque vistas. One of the best ways to explore the river is by taking a Nile River cruise. Drifting down its calm waters with beautiful landscapes in sight, the Nile River offers an undeniably unique cruise experience.

Unlike anything else, the slow pace of the journey allows one to temporarily get away from the modern world.

Cruising through the blissful Nile River allows you to see the everyday lives of the local people and families living along its banks. Through the expedition, you pass through the iconic cities and ancient scenery of Egypt.

The mighty Nile River extends more than 4,000 miles and passes through nine nations, including Uganda’s Lake Victoria and the Mediterranean Sea.

To make the most of your River Nile cruise, here are some crucial things you need to know about it:


When is the best time to go for a Nile cruise?

The ideal months to visit the Nile are between October and April. During this period, the weather is pleasant enough to enjoy touring the cities.

A cruise navigates through the Nile River

A cruise navigates through the Nile River

The heat becomes intense from June to August, and thus, these months are not recommended. Going on day trips becomes extremely difficult during this season as the average temperatures hover over 40 degrees Celsius (100 F).

On the other hand, if you don’t prefer cooler months, avoid November to February, as nights become chilly during these months.


Where do Nile river cruises depart from and end?

Nile River cruise itineraries generally depart from Luxor. But there are certain companies that start their cruises from Cairo as well. The cruises disembark in Aswan, but not before visiting sites such as Edfu, Kom Ombo, and more.

All Nile River cruises are round trips that vary according to the day.


How long should you cruise?

Depending on your budget and the places you would like to see, Nile River cruises tend to be 3 to 7 days long. A short trip lasting for three days covers the main attractions. For a weeklong voyage, you will get to visit the popular as well as hidden attractions such as temples and tombs.


What are some common cruise itineraries?

Depending on your budget and the places you would like to see, Nile River cruises tend to be 3 to 7 days long. A short trip lasting three days covers the main attractions. For a weeklong voyage, you will get to visit popular as well as hidden attractions such as temples and tombs.

  • Short trip: This is a three-night cruise that departs from Aswan and completes its journey in Luxor. While cruising, you will be visiting sights such as High Dam, Temple of Philae, Valley of Kings, and more.
  • Mid-length trip: These trips are a four-night cruise that marks its voyage from Luxor to Aswan. Aside from attractions seen during short trips, you will also visit the Nubian village and Elephantine Island. Moreover, you also get to enjoy a felucca (sailboat ride) to a botanical island. This option is perfect for those looking to extend their stay at the famous Abu Simbel village.
  • Week-long trips: A week-long cruise trip has everything mentioned above, including additional visits to other sites. This itinerary is perfect for travellers who would like to visit places at a relaxed pace and experience the vacation calmly.


What are the different types of boats available for cruising?

From luxurious to traditional, there are various options to choose from for your journey along the Nile River. Offering both luxury and comfort, here are a few boats that may be suitable for you:


Oberoi Philae

For a sophisticated sailing experience, there is nothing better than the Oberoi Philae. Boasting 22 spacious cabins, including two suites with private jacuzzis and terraces, it is also a popular choice to travel in style.

The lavish Oberoi Philae

The lavish Oberoi Philae

This classic cruise has first-class service, modern amenities, global cuisine, and a beautiful interior.


Steamship Sudan

Steamship Sudan is built according to the 19th-century streamer. Appearing vintage, it has wood panelling, teak decks, and an oriental atmosphere.

The vintage Steamship Sudan

The vintage Steamship Sudan

One of the most famous guests to visit the steamship Sudan was the well-known author Agatha Christie.

Boasting five suites and 18 old-school cabins, one can’t help but feel as if they are travelling back in time with the steamship.


Sanctuary Nile Zein Chateau

This boat is perfect for small families or groups of travellers looking for flexibility. Having only two suites with four cabins, this is available for private charter only.

A Sanctuary Nile Zein Chateau

A Sanctuary Nile Zein Chateau

The mini boat, although small, proves to be comfortable enough for at least 12 guests. The interiors are uniquely decorated, and the top deck has alfresco dining and a heated plunge pool for an enjoyable vacation.


What are the port highlights during a Nile River cruise?


The beautiful city of Luxor is known to be the world’s greatest museum. Here you can find the ruined temples of Karnak and Luxor, which have the tombs of famous Kings. The enormous Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens are the final resting places for Pharaohs.

The magnificent temples in Luxor

The magnificent temples in Luxor

Yet, nothing beats soaring over Luxor’s landmarks on a hot air balloon ride.


Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel has massive temples carved during the 13th century BCE. Most of the magnificent monuments seen in Abu Simbel were built by the powerful pharaoh.

The famous ruins in Abu Simbel

The famous ruins in Abu Simbel

The interior and exterior of the temple are filled with stories and figures carved delicately.



As a tranquil city that occupies a majority of the river’s stretch, most cruises complete their voyage in Aswan before starting the round trip again. You can enjoy the rest of your time exploring the city by visiting the Temple of Isis or a Nubian village.

A boat sails along the banks of Aswan

A boat sails along the banks of Aswan


Edfu is home to one of the best-preserved ancient sites in Egypt, the Temple of Horus. It was built during the reign of Cleopatra and is dedicated to Lord Falcon.

The Temple of Horus in Edfu

The Temple of Horus in Edfu

Kom Ombo

This unusual ‘double temple’ is located between Luxor and Aswan. The riverside temples are mirror images of one another and are decorated with fascinating murals. You can also stroll by the camel market situated nearby in Kom Ombo.

The monuments in Kom Ombo

The monuments in Kom Ombo


Cairo, famous for the Pyramid of Giza and the towering sphinx, is Egypt’s capital. This bustling city is usually included in the itinerary as a pre-or post-cruise stay. Cairo also holds the treasures of the Egyptian Museum and the Khan el Khalili Souk.

Great Sphinx of Giza

Great Sphinx of Giza

Tips to remember before embarking for your Nile River cruise


Dress code

Dressing appropriately during your entire trip is important, as Egyptian culture is conservative. You must be mindful and respectful of the local customs.

Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs, even while visiting temples. Refrain from wearing anything short, like a mini dress, shorts, see-through clothing, or swimwear, during shore excursions. Instead, carry loose and light clothing that is modest but also saves you from heat.

Don’t forget to bring along comfortable shoes, as you’ll likely be doing a lot of walking.


What to pack

You should bring along basic amenities like a hat, sunglasses, insect-repellent cream, sunblock, cameras, and more. Be sure to carry a day bag and store essentials to be on the safe side.

Bring along extra medications like anti-diarrhea tablets, painkillers, or any other medicines you are prescribed.


Prone to seasickness?

For those who feel queasy during cruises, opt for a higher cabin. The higher you are above sea level, the less you will encounter motion sickness. It is always suggested to bring along anti-motion sickness tablets as well.


Research in detail

Whether it is about the cruise itinerary or the amenities included in the cabin, it is always better to find out all the details beforehand. This includes the type of accommodation on the cruise and the presence of an onboard doctor in case of sickness.


Uninterrupted connection

It is possible that you may not have a great internet connection during your cruise trip. However, this can be ideal for those looking to stay away from technology and give attention to the present moment.

In case of emergencies where Wi-Fi is not available, find out about the set-up service on the cruise prior to the trip.


A Nile River cruise offers a fascinating trip that encompasses history and culture. More importantly, it also teaches travellers to savour every moment spent aboard the ship.


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