The Nile River is the longest river in the world and one of the most popular water bodies known. What makes River Nile even more important is its association with some of the world’s first civilizations.
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 choosing 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 along the iconic cities and the 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 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 is between October to April. During this period, the weather is pleasant enough to enjoy touring the cities.
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 days.
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?
The duration of a cruise sailing through the River Nile varies according to the company and traveler’s choice. Here are some recommended itineraries that offer an exciting expedition:
- 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 travelers that would like to visit places at a relaxing 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:
For a sophisticated sailing experience, there is nothing better than Oberoi Philae. Boasting 22 spacious cabins, including two suites with private jacuzzies and terraces, it is also a popular choice to travel by style.
This classic cruise has first-class service, modern amenities, global cuisine, and a beautiful interior.
Steamship Sudan is built according to the 19th-century streamer. Appearing vintage, it has wood paneling, teak decks, and an oriental atmosphere.
One of the most famous guests to visit 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 traveling back in history with the steamship.
Sanctuary Nile Zein Chateau
This boat is perfect for small families or groups of travelers looking for flexibility. Having only two suites with four cabins, this is available for private charter only.
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 is a final resting place for Pharaohs.
Yet, nothing beats soaring over Luxor’s landmarks through a hot air balloon ride.
Abu Simbel has massive temples carved during 13th century BCE. Most of the magnificent monuments seen in Abu Simbel were built by the powerful pharaoh [;-
The interior and exterior of the temple are filled with stories and figures carved delicately.
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.
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.
This unusual ‘double temple’ is located between Luxor and Aswan. The riverside temples are mirror images of one another and decorated with fascinating murals. You can also stroll by the camel market situated nearby Kom Ombo.
Prominent for the Pyramid of Giza and the towering sphinx, Cairo 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.
Tips to remember before embarking for your Nile River cruise
Dressing appropriately during your entire trip is important as the 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 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 safer 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 more you are situated 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 about all the details beforehand. This includes the type of accommodation on the cruise and the presence of an onboard doctor in case of sickness.
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 giving 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 travelers about savoring every moment spent aboard on the ship.
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