For centuries, the Nile River has been at the center of life in Egypt. The ancient Egyptian civilization relied on the flooding of the Nile to create fertile land for farming in an otherwise desert landscape. Excavations along the Nile have unearthed vast quantities of archeological remnants from ancient times and a leisurely cruise along the Nile takes you through this ancient populated area that is so steeped in history. And remember, you are following a royal route; the pharaohs and Queen Cleopatra cruised the Nile!
A cruise along Nile is an excellent way of visiting scattered archeological sights in a country with less than spectacular roads and airline service. In fact, some quality travel agents recommend cruising as the preferred method of transportation in Egypt. The best time of year to enjoy a Nile cruise is winter, from December to February, due to the hot desert climate.
Think of the romance of a leisurely cruise through such an ancient and historic land. The banks of the Nile are lined with ancient monuments and unusual sites, like banana plantations. Excursions to other famous locations, such as the Karnak Temple and the tomb of Nefertiti in the town of Luxor, are available on most cruises. Other towns that can be touring stops are Aswan, Esna, Kom Ombo and Edfu. Knowledgeable local guides are available and are recommended to explain the finer points of each site.
A Nile cruise can be quite economical. For a three-star ship the cost can be as little as $70 per person per night while a deluxe cruise can cost a mere $130 per person per night, double occupancy. The length of the cruise can vary from 3, 4 or 7 nights. Rooms are well-appointed and meals are included. Of course, deluxe and luxury cruise boats also provide a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, bar and recreation facilities, and gift shops. Air-conditioning is a must for the American tourist who is unaccustomed to the possible one hundred degree heat. And remember, since you are cruising on a river than the ocean, the river cruise ship will be much smaller, with anywhere from 100 to 500 passengers.
Generally, meals on a Nile cruise are served at a specific time, with all passengers being served at a single seating. Expect a full range of cuisine from local to international. Some meals, such as lunch and dinner, may be served buffet style. And, of course, luxury cruise companies employ world-class chefs to pamper the palette.
A cruise is an excellent way for the American tourist to visit a unique and different culture since all services are provided. For example, there is no worry about where and what to eat. Also the cruise company arranges all the tours to the major ancient attractions and provides reputable guides who know Egyptian customs. Thus, you do not need local currency for admissions as these have been paid in advance. By taking a cruise, you are buying a measure of safety in a foreign land, provided that you select a reputable cruise company with a good reputation.
Egypt is an ancient land with fascinating monuments and temples that are adorned with mysterious hieroglyphics. What better way to immerse yourself into this unique culture than to experience it by cruising the Nile like the royal pharaohs.
By Colin Hartness