Save yourself some serious hassle and ask yourself these six important questions before you book your Nile cruise…
It’s the voyage of a lifetime… A gentle cruise along the world’s longest river. It’s an opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life—to slow down and enjoy lazy days gazing at golden dunes, watching fishermen cast their nets and taking in the mighty monuments of the ancient world. The fascinating stretch of water between Aswan and Luxor has the greatest concentration of well-preserved monuments in the whole of Egypt, so it’s an experience you definitely want to make the most of. Asking yourself these six important questions before you book will help you to find the Nile cruise that’s just right for you…
Spring and fall are the best times of year to cruise the Nile, with October and November being especially pretty. If you’re yearning for a serene cruising experience, don’t go at the peak times of Christmas and Easter. And if you’re looking for a bargain, consider June, July and August. These months are cheaper because the temperatures soar, but if you can handle the heat, it’s possible to bag a bargain.
Most of the cruise companies embark from Luxor or Aswan. It’s important to note that the cruises starting in Luxor usually take a day longer than those that leave Aswan, as they sail against the Nile’s strong currents. This may not sound like a big deal, but taking the ship from Aswan and moving north to Luxor means that you can have an extra day in Luxor, which is a big bonus if you’re a history buff. There you’ll find incredible sites like the Temples of Karnak, the Valley of the Kings, Deir Al Bahri, the Tombs of the Nobles and Medinat Habu.
For some people, the Nile cruise experience is all about the exhilaration of taking in the ancient sites of Egypt, but for other people a Nile cruise is all about sipping a cocktail on deck and watching the world go by.
If you’re a history buff who just can’t get enough of the ancient sites, opt for a cruiser. Unlike the feluccas (budget-range small Egyptian sailing boats that carry between six and eight passengers) and dahabiyyas (high-end, wooden antique-style sailing boats that host around 10 to 20 passengers), the larger cruisers are faster and spend less time on the water, which means more free time to explore the big historical sites. However, if you’re a cocktail-sipper, you’ll enjoy the slower pace of a felucca or dahibiyya, as less time on land means more time on the river.
Life on board a felucca can be wonderful, but it can also be very basic. There are no toilets onboard, so you’ll have to be prepared to answer the call of nature overboard or on shore. If you like to travel in a little more luxury (and who doesn’t?) opt for a dahibiyya or cruiser. The dahibiyya experience can be pricey, so I’m a big fan of cruisers. Not only are they economical, but they usually feature a pool, a restaurant and a bar. Cruisers are the easiest way to see the Nile on a mid-range budget—and you won’t have to even contemplate peeing overboard!
There’s nothing quite like sailing down the Nile and soaking up the sight of temples and tombs as you relax in your cabin or suite. But a Nile cruise is also a social experience, so it’s well worth taking a moment to consider the size of the ship you’re sailing on. I like the Mövenpick MS Royal Lotus, with its 60 cabins and two suites. This beautiful ship is like a floating hotel where you can meet a new friend or two and share the unforgettable experience of sailing down the Nile. If you can, treat yourself to a cabin or suite on a higher deck. The banks of the Nile are high, so the views are far better from the upper decks.
With so many feluccas, dahibiyyas and cruisers on the Nile, competition for tourists is fierce—and face-to-face negotiations with captains and promoters can sometimes get a little heated and aggressive. So save yourself some hassle and book your cruise before you get to Egypt—then your trip to this magnificent corner of the planet will be all plain sailing!
CRUISE THE NILE WITH INDUS TRAVELS
Do you dream of cruising along the world’s longest river? Of visiting the magnificent Temples of Karnak or exploring the majestic Valley of the Kings? Yes? Then come with us to Egypt. Not only will you have the experience of a lifetime, but you will have a sophisticated itinerary that has been lovingly-created by Indus’ Egypt experts. To find out more about our tours to Egypt, please feel free to contact us at any time.
About the Writer: Vickie Sam Paget
Vickie is a freelance writer and editor based in Vancouver, BC. When she’s not creating dynamic travel or tech content, globetrotting or gazing at the North Shore Mountains, you can usually find her curled up with a good book or sipping a pint of the good stuff in her local Irish bar.