Nile River Cruise – an Egypt Experience

There are many people who dream of going to Egypt; even those who have no particular interest in history feel drawn to seeing some of the countries famous historic sights.  For anyone thinking of going to Egypt for the first time there is one thing that you should be aware of…..You wont see the Pyramids on a Nile River cruise.

Now those who have been before would say that this is obvious, but not to everyone, there are quite a few people who book a cruise only to wish later that they had known a little more, it does happen.  So if you want to see the pyramids, the legendary sphinx and the Egyptian Museum take a cruise as part of a longer itinerary which includes Cairo.

Cruises from Luxor

Now you know what you won’t see lets start on what you will see.  Most cruises start in the ancient city of Thebes – Luxor.  The area is full of fascinating places to visit so you will probably be here for two days staying on board but taking excursions out to visit sites such as the Temple of Karnak, the largest temple ever built, the valley of the Kings including the tomb of Tutankhamen the boy king, and the Valley of the Queens containing the temple of Queen Hatsheput Egypt’s longest ruling female pharaoh.  There may also be visits to the colossi of Memnon and the Luxor Museum.

Leaving Luxor behind ships sail through the locks at Esna to Edfu.  The temple here is dedicated to the God Horus a falcon headed deity and one of Egypt’s best preserved sights, further down river there will also be visits the temple dedicated to the crocodile God Sobek at Kom Ombo complete with mummified crocodiles and to the High Dam at Aswan and Philae temple, which was moved and rebuilt to protect it from the water.

There is one excursion from Aswan which is particularly worth taking and that is to Abu Simbel.  Excursions are usually offered by road or by air; if you can afford to, take the air option the journey by road is long, hot and dusty.  Abu Simbel is a massive site built by Ramses the Great (Ramses II) in the Nubain dessert and carved from a single piece of rock. Comprising of four Gods each standing at 20 meters high and 4 meters across.

Typical Cruise Itineraries

Itineraries are typically 3, 4 or 7 nights between Luxor and Aswan and the longer trips going north to Dendera but which ever itinerary you choose most of the boats have the same facilities as their land based equivalents.  Ranging from 3 to 5 stars they offer facilities such as pools, hot tubs, gym, buffet style and waiter service restaurants, bars and lounges but all with the most important feature Air Conditioning.  The entertainment is certainly different to cruising in other areas of the world, be prepared for belly dancers, snake charmers, and Egyptian fancy dress nights. If you are feeling really adventurous there is also the option of cruising the Nile aboard a felucca, one of the traditional sailboats of the Nile that are still used on the river .  These are by no means luxurious, but if you don’t mind sleeping under the stars up on deck you will certainly experience the real Nile.

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