The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

Sights & Travel

Cairo Guide to Cruising the Nile in Style

Cairo Guide to Cruising the Nile in Style
    written by
    Lena Alsayegh

    The mighty
    river Nile: bread basket of the Pharaohs, delta
    of Alexander the Great, inspiration for Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Nile, and even James Bond paid it a visit in The Spy Who Loved Me. People have been sailing its waters for
    thousands of years, and Nile cruising is a very
    popular form of tourism. Many of Egypt’s ancient monuments are dotted along the Nile’s shores, and it’s one of the best ways to see the

    Whether you
    choose to fly there or take the train, whether you are on a
    budget or have money to spare; you can tailor your holiday to whatever suits
    you. Most trips start and end in either Aswan or Luxor, though moving with the current is most
    popular, and you can see all the major sites in just four days. If you’d like to spend more time taking in
    the slowly lapping river, accompanying feluccas, countryside pastures and
    amazing sunsets, there are trips that will take you between the two cities and
    back to where you began.  

    Presidential Nile Cruises (or PNC) is one
    of the better known five-star cruise lines, offering four- to eight-day voyages
    in clean, modern and cosy deluxe suites or on a budget. Prices start at around 850LE
    per night in a double room for Egyptians, 970LE for foreigners, without the
    cost of transportation to the cruises’ starting points. The four-day itinerary includes Aswan, the
    High Dam, Philae temple, Kom Ombo temple, Edfu (temple of Horus), Luxor, Valley
    of the Kings, Hatshepsut’s temple and the Colossi of Memnon. All entrances are included, as are on-board meals.

    Take note that Karnak
    and Luxor
    are not included on this itinerary, though you will have time to explore
    them on your own. If you’d like more time on the river, their eight-day
    itinerary does the same trip and then back, including Karnak and Luxor temples,
    and adding a felucca ride around/to Elephantine Island, as well as the Dendera
    temple at Qena. 

    You can book directly through the cruise line, or, if you’d
    like your whole package arranged, travel agencies like Lovely Bazaar in Zamalek
    are used to planning trips for AUC students. The agency can get you a package
    including train tickets for around 1600LE, depending on the season. Call Ibrahim at 0118612219 for more

    There are also a plethora
    of travel agencies Downtown at Tahrir that will offer you the same rates with
    flights instead of train tickets, but it’s tricky to find a reputable one so shop
    around for the best deal, and the one that makes you feel most comfortable. Destination 31 is a new
    website that’s launching tours all over Egypt , their founder, Omar, may
    also be a good person to ask and hook you up with a sweet cruise deal. And if you’re really into roughing it, we
    hear Memphis
    offer felucca journeys around Aswan. Just remember, though peaceful and beautiful,
    they don’t include bathroom facilities– don’t say we didn’t warn you.

    Even if the
    idea of being stuck with strangers in a confined space isn’t for you, floating
    down the Nile is a breathtaking experience that
    shouldn’t be missed– there’s nothing like it. Take some friends or go on a group
    trip. We decided to join a group tailored to our demographic and met people
    there, and had an absolute blast– jaw-dropping vistas and serene afternoons, awe-inspiring
    monuments, decent food (we won’t lie; the buffets
    are hit-and-miss but you can’t really complain about an all-inclusive great
    deal), and great company made for an unforgettable time.

    How to Maximise Your Cruise Experience: take note of all your inclusions and exclusions, know
    what you want to see and make sure that you’re going to see it, or at least
    have the option to. Some cruises include a trip to Abu Simbel
    or dinner with the Nubians, for example, or they may offer it as an extra
    charge. Most on-board
    activities tend to be borderline cheesy, and unaccompanied women may get just a little too much attention; so dine with a friend. As mentioned, though, there are also
    different price ranges and not every cruise offers cheesy activities or even a

    Some more
    pampering options may be Abercrombie
    & Kent
    ’s very luxurious Zein Nile
    – a positively lavish dahabeya for you and eleven of your closest
    friends to sail from Aswan to Luxor on, with a marble master suite with Jacuzzi
    (which King Fouad II first tried out). You could also try one of the major hotel chains’ boats,
    like Oberoi,
    which offers two luxury cruising options– the Zahra being the
    newer and more posh – that rival their gorgeous Mena House Hotel.

    Do some
    research and you’ll find what you’re looking for. Whatever you choose; you will definitely enjoy it.