To experience the wonders of the Nile while sailing in a mini hotel is one of the most pleasurable experiences one could have while visiting Egypt. With a mixture of luxuries a dash of history and sprinkle of fun, the magical water of the Nile is sure to conjure up a most memorable vacation.
Many travelers have not been made aware of the differences between a nile cruise, dahabiya or felluca. This article will help you fully understand what one should expect from a Nile Cruise. I recommend Memphis Tours as their Nile cruises are on medium sized ships, some often being operated by solar powered motors and a standard 40 cabin room with restaurants, swimming pool, gym and some other amenities.
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Most River Nile Cruises operated between Luxor and Aswan visiting each Bank as well as several stops in between to the temples of Kom Ombo, Edfu and Esna. Usually taking three to four days the journey can be extended to seven days with stops to Dendera and Abydos before continuing its regular route. Lake Nasser cruises sail between Aswan and Abu Simbel visiting the temples at the South of Egypt.
A Dahabiya is a smaller wooden boat that can be sailed by wind power containing a maximum of ten cabins. While a Felucca is an open air sailing boat that usually contains no cabins.
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When to book a Nile cruise trip?
The high season that is the best time to book in terms of weather would be November to March, which sees temperatures with nighttime highs of 20 degrees Celsius. The Low season May to September which means prices would be lower but the sweltering Southern Egyptian heat might be overwhelming for some.
How Do You Reach Your Nile Cruise?
There are very few international flights arriving to the south of Egypt, so the easiest way would be to take a short flight from Cairo to either Luxor or Aswan. There are several coach operators that also provide comfortable seats for the journey south as well as the train operators.
Entertainment on Nile Cruises
Most cruises come with full animation teams that operate discos, galabia parties and belly dancers, each night usually being something different such as the Nubian folkloric shows.
Nile Cruise Food and Beverage
There are two types of Nile Cruise Package which are:
Nile Cruises on Full Board Basis:
Most Nile Cruises are Full Board. All meals are included and are in an open buffet style, some days there are many varieties, depending of the type and quality of the cruise boat; these meals are served with a fixed timetable. In Some Cruises, Tea and coffee is available, while on the move, every day at 5:00 pm. Other drinks are offered in the bar area.
Nile Cruises on All Inclusive Bases:
Usually only seven day Nile cruises include the option of being all Inclusive that means all food and all beverage such as mineral water, soft drink, hot drink, coffee, tea, juice and local alcohols.
What Is the Check In and check out Time?
Nile Cruises Check In Time:
The normal check in time is at 11 am for most cruises, this means that if by chance you get in early morning you could drop off your bags and spend the time exploring or checking out the sites and when you return your cabin would be ready.
Nile Cruises Check Out Time:
The Checkout Time is at 8:00 After Breakfast. If your flight or train is later that afternoon you could still use the hotel facilities with the exception of the rooms or restaurant and go or exploring until your departure time.
What to Wear During a Nile Cruise Trip?
During your daytime exploration it is recommended to wear light and airy clothing, as the heat even in winter can sometimes be overwhelming, it is also recommended that you remember modesty in public places. At night the desert might be a little windy or chilly so something to keep warm is also recommended. While onboard swimsuits and shorts are completely acceptable.
The Best Nile Cruise Itinerary
There are several variants as to how your tour can go but the typical 5-days Luxor to Aswan or the 4-days from Aswan to Luxor are recommended.
A typical 5 day luxor aswan nile cruise itinerary:
Day 1: Meet & assist at Luxor Airport or railway station, Transfer and embark your Nile Cruise before lunch then enjoy Tours to East Bank (Karnak Temple & Luxor Temple). – Overnight in Luxor.
Day 2: Tours to West Bank — Valley of the Kings & Temple of Queen Hatshepsut. Overnight in Edfu.
Day 3: Tours to Horus Temple in Edfu and the Temple shared by two gods Sobek & Haroeris in Kom Ombo. – Overnight in Aswan.
Day 4: Tours to the High Dam, Philae Temple & Unfinished Obelisk in Aswan. Overnight in Aswan.
Day 5: Disembarkation after breakfast. Optional tours if your flight is in the afternoon. Transfer to Aswan Airport or railway station.
A typical 4 Days Aswan Luxor Nile cruise:
Day 1: Meet & assist at Aswan airport or railway station, transfer and embark your Nile cruise before lunch – tours to the High Dam, Philae Temple & Unfinished Obelisk in Aswan. – Overnight in Aswan.
Day 2: Tours to the temple shared by two gods Sobek & Haroeris in Kom Ombo. – Overnight in Edfu.
Day 3: Tours to Horus Temple in Edfu, the East Bank (Karnak Temple & Luxor Temple). – Overnight in Luxor.
Day 4: Tours to the West Bank – Valley of the Kings & Temple of Queen Hatshepsut. Then Transfer to Luxor Airport or railway station.
With an average of 300 cruise operators, the options are plenty, docking in Luxor or Aswan getting to the marinas are usually a step, hop and skip away from the train station or airport with a taxi. Making sure that you go with reputable tour operators, that have been known for providing quality service in ensuring a smooth trip from start to finish.