Cruising the Nile

Traditionally, a Nile cruise has been a quintessential part of experiencing Egypt's ancient wonders. However, the modern traveler faces a plethora of options and considerations when it comes to this classic experience. 

In this guide, we'll delve into the details of cruising the Nile, discussing what to expect, the benefits, drawbacks, and recommended cruises to help you make an informed choice for your Egyptian adventure.

Cruising the Nile

What to Expect


Most Nile cruises start in Luxor and include stops at Esna, Edfu, and Kom Ombo before concluding in Aswan. Some itineraries start in Aswan and move northward. Typical cruise duration is at least four nights.

Cruise Vessels

Various types of vessels are available, from historic paddle steamers to modern luxury cruise ships. Your choice depends on your budget and personal preferences, but air-conditioned cabins are advisable, especially during scorching summer months.

Egyptologist Guides

Most cruise companies provide Egyptologist guides who offer insightful tours of ancient sites. Expect early morning starts to avoid the midday heat. Some vessels feature swimming pools for a refreshing dip after morning explorations and offer nightly entertainment.


Food on board ranges from generous buffets to set dinner menus. It's crucial to clarify what's included in your chosen cruise package to avoid unexpected expenses.



One of the primary benefits of a Nile cruise is the convenience it offers:

  • Many famous sites are located directly on the Nile, making a cruise the most convenient way to access them.
  • The nighttime illumination of temples from the river offers a breathtaking view that's unique to this experience.
  • Scenic rural views along the way provide a timeless glimpse into Egypt's landscape.


Cruises offer a welcome break from the challenges of navigating Egypt's busy roads and bustling streets:

  • Traveling in a group can enhance comfort and safety, particularly for solo or inexperienced travelers.
  • Expert guides provide valuable historical context and navigate you through interactions with local vendors.



One of the main drawbacks of a Nile cruise is the inherent inflexibility:

  • Cruises operate on set schedules, limiting the time you can spend at each site. If you desire more in-depth exploration, consider independent or land-based tours.
  • Some cruise itineraries focus primarily on popular temples, omitting lesser-known sites. If you have limited time, you might prefer to concentrate on specific sights instead of extended river travel.
  • Extended time on board may be less appealing for travelers with young children or those who don't enjoy the company of fellow passengers.

Recommended Cruises

Best Traditional: Audley Travel's Steam Ship Sudan

  • Offers exclusivity and Victorian-era refinement.
  • Features period antiques and historical charm.
  • Excellent dining options, including buffet breakfasts and four-course dinners.

Best Luxury: Oberoi Philae

  • Blends modern luxury with 5-star hotel amenities.
  • Cabins and suites equipped with pillow-top mattresses and butler service.
  • Multiple dining options and a temperature-controlled outdoor pool.

Best Budget: Felucca Cruise by On The Go Tours

  • Provides an authentic experience on traditional wind-powered sailboats.
  • Basic accommodations and limited amenities.
  • Budget-friendly and immersive option.

Best for Families: Abercrombie & Kent's 10-day Itinerary

  • Combines a four-night Nile cruise with land-based adventures.
  • Child Activity Coordinator keeps kids engaged.
  • Interactive cultural activities and themed dinners for family enjoyment.

The Last Word

In conclusion, whether a Nile cruise suits your preferences depends on your individual tastes and priorities. With a wide array of cruise options available, you can tailor your experience to your liking. 

If any of the drawbacks are deal-breakers for you, consider alternative travel arrangements to make the most of your Egyptian adventure. Ultimately, the Nile awaits your exploration, offering a timeless journey through Egypt's rich history and stunning landscapes.



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