Do People Get Sick on a Nile River Cruise?

Some people do get sick on a Nile cruise but it is certainly not very common, and a few basic safety precautions can go a long way in helping you to avoid getting ill during your cruise. 

Scroll down to learn more how to avoid getting sick on a Nile River Cruise.

What Is The Best Way To Travel In Egypt?


Motion Sickness on the Nile River

Do people get sick on a Nile River cruise as a result of motion sickness? If it is motion sickness you are concerned about, you need not be. The section of the Nile River that you will be sailing on through Upper Egypt is very gentle and slow moving. If it weren’t for the passing scenery you probably wouldn’t even know you are out of the water. This is certainly the case with the large Nile cruise ships, and even with the far smaller Dahabiya boats.

Covid-19 Risks and Precautions

The COVID-19 virus has not gone away. Most countries in the world have simply accepted the fact that they just have to learn how to live with the virus. Egypt has adopted the same approach. In June 2022 the Egyptian authorities lifted the last remaining COVID-19 travel restrictions, throwing the door wide open for international tourists.

If you’re concerned about contracting this disease, then we would suggest that you make sure you are fully vaccinated before you travel to Egypt. COVID-19 vaccination is not mandatory in Egypt, so the decision to get vaccinated or not lies in your own hands.

The wearing of face masks is also not mandatory on the large Nile cruise ships, but you are welcome to wear a mask if you want to. Providing you are booked onto a good quality Nile River cruise, there should be alcohol-based hand sanitizer available at various points throughout the ship. We would also recommend that you take some of your own hand sanitizer along with you. Social distancing is no longer enforced on the vast majority of Nile River cruises

The reality of the matter is the risk of infection is no higher on a cruise ship than it is in any other sort of scenario where you are in close proximity to many other people.

Don’t Underestimate the Risk of Heat Exhaustion

Many people underestimate Egypt’s hot weather and the risk of heat exhaustion. This is especially true if you visit the country during the warmer months of the year. Symptoms of heat exhaustion can be very similar to some of the symptoms you might experience from a virus infection. Heat Exhaustion symptoms include the following:

  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Excessive perspiration and skin becoming pale and clammy or getting a heat rash
  • Cramping in the arms, legs and stomach
  • Fast breathing or fast heartbeat
  • High temperature
  • Being very thirsty
  • General weakness

If you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms, it is important that you get yourself cooled down within the space of about 30 minutes. If you get your body cooled down in a timely manner, symptoms should start to pass after about 30 minutes.

If you fail to get your body cooled down, heat exhaustion can become heat stroke which is a medical emergency because it can be fatal.


Drink plenty of fluids throughout your Nile cruise, wear light loose-fitting clothes, and consider packing in a few sachets of hydration salts to add to your drinking water, especially during tours.

Drink plenty of fluids throughout your Nile cruise

It’s Probably Travelers Sickness

Travelers’ sickness, also known as travelers’ diarrhea, is the most common illness amongst travelers. The most common symptoms include abdominal cramps and loose stools. Most cases are caused by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated beverages, including water.

Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli have been identified as the most common pathogen in cases of travelers’ diarrhea. However, other frequently identify pathogens include Campylobacter jejuni, Shigella spp, Salmonella spp, and various other E. coli pathogens.

Travelers’ sickness and/or travelers’ diarrhea is especially common in developing countries with poor public hygiene.

How to Treat Travelers’ Diarrhea

If you are fond of travel and you like traveling to developing countries, it is virtually guaranteed that you suffer from traveler’s diarrhea at some point. If this happens to you, how should you treat it?

  1. If you get diarrhea, whether in your own country or abroad, you should consume plenty of liquids in order to ensure that your body remains adequately hydrated.
  2. Take over-the-counter anti-diarrhea medication such as loperamide or Imodium. Ideally, you should purchase your anti-diarrhea medication in Egypt prior to your Nile cruise commencing.
  3. While many online sources recommend taking antibiotics, these should only be taken if absolutely necessary.

Not All Egypt Nile Cruises Are Equal

There are several cruise lines operating Nile cruise ships on the river in Egypt. The quality and standard can vary tremendously from one cruise line to the next. You are far more likely to experience traveler’s diarrhea on a cheap Nile cruise than you are on one of the better five-star Nile River cruises.

With the above having been said, it would only be fair to say that you can also get traveler’s diarrhea, even on the very best Nile cruise ships. However, the risk of infection is considerably lower if you book a cruise on one of the better boats.

Do people get sick on a Nile River cruise? Yes, it does happen, but it is certainly not very common on the better five-star Nile River cruise ships. Also, when people get sick on a Nile River cruise, it is not always due to contaminated food or contaminated beverages. Sometimes it is just a person’s body responding to the change of weather, a change of temperature, the change of diet, and the change of climate in general.

Key Tips for Reducing the Risk of Getting Sick on a Nile River Cruise

  1. Only drink bottled water – On some Nile River cruise boats, you will see signs telling passengers that the tap water is safe to drink. We advise against doing this regardless of how clean and how luxurious your chosen cruise boat is. In order to minimize your risk of a virus infection, we recommend that you only drink bottled water, and that you only use bottled water, even for brushing your teeth.
  2. Be wary of ice – Ice that is added to beverages is sometimes made from regular tap water on board ships that supposedly have tap water which is safe to drink. Unless the staff can guarantee you that the ice has been made with adequately purified water, we would recommend that you avoid having ice in your beverages.
  3. Raw foods – To further reduce the risk of contracting an unpleasant virus Infection, you should think twice before eating raw foods, including salads. The ingredients could have been contaminated before preparation, or they could have been rinsed in untreated water. Some health care professionals would also recommend that you only eat fruits which you yourself can peel. 
  4. Local currency – Many Egyptian banknotes are absolutely filthy. This is of course a matter of concern regardless of which country you are traveling in. While you can pay for most goods and services with U.S. dollars, Euros, or British pounds on board ships in Egypt, we would still recommend that you keep some hand sanitizer in your pocket or in your handbag, and that you use it after handling any local currency.

As has already been mentioned, the chances of contracting a virus or picking up some form of bacteria that results in traveler’s diarrhea, is considerably higher on the cheaper Nile River cruises. 

Medical Travel Insurance

Medical travel insurance is not mandatory for people visiting Egypt. However, it is something which we highly recommend. For a few USD per person per day, medical travel insurance can give you that extra bit of peace of mind that will allow you to enjoy your journey through ancient Egypt even more.


If you have recently visited or traveled through a country where Yellow Fever is prevalent you will need to show proof of immunization when you arrive in Egypt. Other than this, there are no other immunization regulations in Egypt. Despite this, we highly recommend that you discuss your upcoming trip with your local health care provider to see if any vaccinations are recommended.

Many Healthcare Providers recommend that you get vaccinated against illnesses such as hepatitis A and hepatitis B.

Do people get sick on a Nile River cruise because of hepatitis? On a good quality five-star Nile River cruise, the chances of contracting one or other form of hepatitis is minimal, but not impossible.

Cruise the Nile with Confidence

At Egypt Tours Plus, we only offer the very best 5-Star Nile River cruises, all of which have stood the test of time. And, with nearly half a million tours and cruises already sold, you can book your dream vacation with absolute peace of mind.

Contact us now to begin planning your unforgettable cruise along the River Nile or to book your once-in-a-lifetime vacation in Egypt today.


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The Best Nile Cruise Holidays in Egypt

Embark on the adventure of a lifetime with our top-rated Nile Cruise holiday packages, where ancient wonders and modern comforts meet!

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Last Updated on May 8, 2024