One of the best ways to see all the magnificent sights that Egypt has to offer has always been a cruise down the Nile River. You can comfortable travel from port to port knowing that your Nile cruise director knows where all the best attractions are, and that your itinerary is in good hands.
However, there are tons of different cruises out there, and not all of them are made equal. Rather than choosing at random and hoping for the best, keep reading to discover our top tips for how to pick the best Nile cruise in Egypt.
Tip 1: Decide How Long Your Cruise Is
Before you even start looking at which Nile cruise you want to book, you need to decide how long you want it to last. Some cruises only last 4 days, while others can last 7-9 days. One common mistake that travelers make is to mistake days on a cruise for nights on a cruise.
Some cruises may be as short as 4 days, but that means they are only 3 nights. Always remember that your last day is the day that you exit the ship and go to shore. You won’t be spending the entire day there.
Tip 2: Choose Your Tour Guides Carefully
If a cruise offers guides, there will usually be two types. To save money, you can book with a group guide who will lead you as well as other guests on the cruise. However, if you have room in your budget, it is highly recommended to book the second type: a private guide.
The private guide will be able to pay closer attention to the members of your group and answer specific questions. Depending on your group’s pace, they can even decide which attractions to add or skip on the tour.
Different cruise lines offer different types of tours, so knowing your preferences in advance will help you greatly in choosing while Nile cruise you want.
Tip 3: Choose Where to Start Your Cruise
Every Nile River cruise you come across will start in either Luxor or Aswan. While the attractions you stop at will be the same no matter what, which city you choose is important for reasons most people overlook.
There are special tours that you can do in each city, and they have to be done very early in the morning. In Luxor, many people want to book a hot air balloon ride to view the ancient city of Thebes from a bird’s eye view. This is an unforgettable experience, but the rides are scheduled at the crack of dawn. You must make sure you have time for the ride before boarding your cruise.
In Aswan, many people like to visit Abu Simbel first thing in the morning to watch the sun rise. This is an experience that we highly recommend, but again, you need to know exactly when your cruise embarks so you have time to book sight-seeing for that specific city.
Tip 4: Research Which Type of Cruise You Want
While this tip might seem like a no-brainer, there are actually many different types of cruises that all stop at the same attractions on the Nile River. You should decide ahead of time what sort of amenities you want and what you are willing to live without. The kind of cruise most travelers picture are rather upscale and luxurious, so make sure you have a budget in mind while choosing your Cairo Nile Cruise.
There are options for those who don’t want to break the bank. For instance, a felucca boat is a popular choice for travelers on a tight budget. However, as we mentioned before, know ahead of time what amenities you are willing to live without. On a felucca boat, you’ll most likely be sleeping on deck, and many of them don’t have plumbing or toilets.
The two most popular types of cruise ships include:
× Small Cruise Ships
These ships are far more expensive for a felucca, but they are perfect for travelers who are looking for simple accommodations that will take them from location to location. Guests are offered a simple cabin and basic breakfast and snacks.
× Luxury Cruise Ships
For travelers with a larger budget who are looking for a five-star experience, a luxury Nile cruise is the perfect choice. These ships are mammoths and offer everything a traveler could want. Along with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and cocktails, these cruises often have above-deck pools, spas, and even lounges and clubs. These cruise ships are very comparable to the cruises offered in North America and are a great way to explore the Nile River in style.
Tip 5: Plan for Your Budget
When you are planning your budget, you need to look at more than just the overall price. Different cruises may sell themselves as being charming and picturesque, but make sure you know what amenities they do and do not offer. You should be looking for things like air conditioning, drinks, meals, and whether or not they offer guides for excursions.
Once you have decided on your budget, always be sure to add an extra cushion by increasing it by either half of double. This way, you won’t be forced to pass on things like a balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings because you didn’t have any extra cash on hand.
Tip 6: Decide What Kind of Experience You Want
An important thing to decide ahead of time is what you want the general atmosphere of your cruise to be. If you aren’t a huge fan of the outdoors and prefer to travel in style, a luxury Nile cruise is definitely the right option for you. You will have access to far more amenities and a higher level of comfort.
However, if you are a camper and an outdoorsman at heart, a low-budget felucca cruise might be just the experience you were looking for. While there are little to no amenities, the space is smaller and more intimate, and you’ll be sleeping on the deck under the stars.
Don’t be afraid to choose the cruise you think fits your personality best. If you can’t decide, have some fun and book multiple short cruises. You will quickly learn which kind you enjoy more and will be far better equipped for your next Egypt Tour.