How Much to Tip on a Nile Cruise?

How much to tip on a Nile cruise is one of the most common questions people have when considering or planning a Nile river cruise. Many people also want know which Nile cruise staff they should tip. Tipping (backsheesh) is very much a part of Egyptian culture, so while it’s not mandatory to tip any crew members on a Nile River cruise, it is pretty much expected, and greatly appreciated if you do.

In this post, we will address all the questions you might have about tipping during your cruise on the River Nile.

How Much to Tip on a Nile Cruise?


Tipping Culture in Egypt

Waiters, waitresses, and other lower-end service staff only receive a very basic salary, and depend heavily on the tips they get from clients and customers. The reasoning behind this is that if service staff are only paid a basic wage and are forced to rely on tips, they will try to provide customers with the best level of service possible.

While this might seem alien to you, and while you may not agree with it, please remember that many of the people who will assist you and serve you during your time in Egypt, depend heavily on the tips they receive in order to make ends meet.

Local Currency vs. Foreign Currency

On most Nile River cruises, and especially on the five-star Nile cruises, passengers can pay for everything using US Dollars, Euros, or British pounds. With that having been said, it will cost you less if you tip with local the currency which is Egyptian pounds. 

No matter where about in Egypt you are and regardless of whether you are on a cruise boat or not, we highly recommend that you carry some Egyptian pounds on your person for the purpose of tipping.

How to Tip Crew on Nile River Cruise Ships?

As we’ve already touched upon, everyone who assists you or serves you in any way will be expecting a tip from you. This includes baggage handlers, cleaners, waiters and waitresses, and etc. On most of the better Nile cruise boats, including the luxury cruise ships, the tipping process is somewhat different.

Most of the large Nile River cruise ships have a crew consisting of around 60 people. During your cruise, you will most likely only come face-to-face with between 5 to 10 crew members. 

Many of the crew members who you don’t meet, actually work harder than those who you do meet. Tipping only those with whom you have direct contact with would be unfair. In order to keep things as fair as possible, passengers are asked not to tip crew members during a cruise, but rather to leave a lump sum tip at the ship’s reception desk at the end of their cruise. These tips are then shared out between the staff, making it fair for all crew members.

So, how much to tip on a Nile cruise? As of the time of this post being written, a tip of around 3 to 5 US$ per person per day / night was the average on most Nile River cruises. This tipping structured is based on “per person” rather than per cabin.

In other words, if there are two of you traveling together on a 4 night Nile cruise, your combined lump sum tip would be: 4 x $5 = $20 x 2 = $40. Believe us when we say that the level of service and hospitality which you will experience on a good Nile River cruise is more than worth the tip you leave at the end of your cruise. 

Additional Tipping During a Nile River Cruise

Some Nile cruises also include activities or outings that involve third parties. These too result in tips being expected. For example, some Nile River cruises may include a short felucca boat ride on the river in Aswan, in which case the skipper will certainly be expecting a small tip. 

Depending on which Nile cruise you opt for, the cruise itinerary my also include a ride on a horse-drawn carriage through the town of Edfu to see the astonishingly well-preserved Edfu Temple. In this case, the carriage driver will also expect a tip after dropping you off back at the cruise ship.

If you have booked a good quality Nile cruise, you will visit several of Egypt’s most cherished ancient temples, including places like Karnak Temple, Luxor Temple, Hatshepsut Temple, Philae Temple, and etc. At all of these historical sites, you will find people who are more than happy to take photos of you posing in front of whichever temple you are visiting. Just be aware of the fact that if you ask somebody to take pictures of you, or to pose for a picture with you, a tip will be expected.

Tipping Kitty

Prices for nearly all Nile cruises do not include a tipping kitty. However, if you are worried about how much to tip on a Nile cruise, you can ask your travel agent if they can include a tipping kitty in the price of your chosen cruise package. In this case your tour operator will arrange for a lump sum tip to be left at the ship’s reception desk when your cruise ends. However, tips given during shore excursions will not be included in the tipping kitty.

Include Tipping in your Budget

If you are going to be doing other sightseeing, either before your Nile cruise or after your Nile cruise, you need to budget for additional tipping. As a general rule, once you have set a budget for yourself, you should add on 5 to 15% for tipping.

Remember, tipping is expected throughout the entire country. As we have said before, most of the people who you will have contact with during your time in Egypt receive very low wages and depend heavily on the tips they get.

A Dream Nile River Cruise Awaits

A good Nile River cruise is a truly splendid experience, and one which is not soon forgotten. Now that you know how much to tip on a Nile cruise, it’s time to find a cruise that is right for you. Whether you are looking for a budget five-star Nile River cruise, or whether you want to experience a luxurious journey through the heart of Ancient Egypt on one of the luxury cruise ships, you can find the perfect Nile Cruise Holiday right here at Egypt Tours Plus.

Contact us now to begin planning your trip through Upper Egypt, or to book dream Nile River cruise today.


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Last Updated on March 25, 2024