How to Book a Nile Cruise

Wondering how to book a Nile cruise? Don’t be tempted into booking your cruise through one of the touts that hang around at the docks in Aswan and Luxor. Rather book your cruise through a licensed and reputable Egypt tour operator.

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How to Book a Nile Cruise

The internet is awash with information about how to book a Nile cruise and how to pay as little as possible for your cruise. There is a lot of good information out there, but there is also a lot of information that is not very good at all. In this post we are going to discuss how to go about booking a Nile River cruise that will leave you with nothing other than fond and unforgettable memories.

Decide What Type of Nile Cruise You Want To Book

When it comes to booking Nile cruises, the first thing you have to do is you have to decide what sort of cruise you want to enjoy. There are three different options, with each option having its own pros and cons. Let’s take a quick look at each of these cruise options in turn:

Felucca Nile Cruises

Feluccas are small sailboats that are a very common sight on the Nile River in Egypt. Felucca cruises are quite popular among backpackers who are traveling on a shoestring budget.

PROS

  • Cheap – Felucca cruises are the cheapest and simplest form of a Nile River cruise.
  • Private cruises – Feluccas are great for people who want to enjoy a private cruise without any other passengers because you can hire the boat and skipper for yourself.

CONS

  • Meals – Many felucca cruises do not include meals, and if meals are included, expect them to be very basic.
  • Sightseeing not included – Many felucca cruises do not include admission tickets for any tourist attractions. You will either have to be happy to view these attractions from a distance, or you will need to purchase admission tickets at each of the sites you want to see.
  • No amenities – Because of their small size, feluccas have no amenities whatsoever.
  • No privacy – Feluccas have no cabins and there is nowhere for you to retreat to if or when you feel like a bit of privacy. In the evenings you all sleep together on deck.

Dahabiya Nile Cruises

Dahabiyas Nile Cruises are traditional river yachts which are instantly recognizable by their two sails, one at the rear, and one up front. 

PROS 

  • Private and personal atmosphere – The Dahabiyas that are used for Nile River cruises typically have no more than 6 to 12 cabins. This makes for a very private and personal cruise experience. You also have the option to book a fully private Nile cruise aboard a Dahabiya.
  • Tranquility – With only a very limited number of guests on board, and with only the sound of the wind in the sails, expect a very tranquil experience.
  • Excellent meals – Providing you book a good quality cruise, expect the food on board to be excellent.
  • Fantastic sightseeing – Nearly all good quality Dahabiya cruises include plenty of sightseeing opportunities. If you book your cruise through a reputable agency, it will include an Egyptologist tour guide and admission tickets for several archaeological sites.

CONS

  • Can be pricey – A five-star Dahabiya Nile cruise package can cost more than a five star cruise on one of the large passenger boats.
  • Limited amenities – Due to their modest size, Dahabiyas don’t have much in the way of amenities, such as swimming pools, spa and beauty treatment facilities, and etc.

Cruise Ship Nile Cruises

These are the large passenger boats which can have anywhere from 30-50 cabins. These are the most popular Nile River cruises, which is not really surprising considering that some of these river cruisers are quite literally like floating hotels.

PROS

  • Excellent accommodation and amenities – Accommodation and public spaces are typically excellent, as are the amenities which generally include an outdoor swimming pool, a gym, massage and spa facilities, and etc.
  • Available in different price ranges – Cruises come in a variety of flavors to suit different budgets, including a standard Nile River cruises, deluxe Nile River cruises, and luxury Nile cruises.
  • Fully inclusive packages are available – Opting for a multi-day Nile cruise package is perhaps the most popular and highly recommended means to explore Egypt, encompassing all the country’s key highlights.

CONS

  • Large crowds – During the high season, these large passenger boats are often fully booked.

Nile River Cruise Duration

Once you have decided what sort of cruise you would like to book, you will need to decide what Nile River cruise duration will work best for you. The shortest multi-day Nile cruises include 3 nights on board the Nile cruise ship. However, depending on which cruise you book, you could spend twice as long on board the ship.

Cruise duration is something you really do need to think about before you go ahead and book a cruise. This is especially important if you want your cruise to be a relaxing experience rather than only a sightseeing experience.

A short 3-night / 4-day Nile cruise is nowhere nearly as relaxing as what you might think. Every day begins early and most of your time will be spent sightseeing. If you want a blend of sightseeing and time for relaxing, opt for Nile River cruise with a longer duration.

Most regular Nile River cruises have the same Nile cruise programs. They all follow the same route and stop at the same attractions. Regardless of whether you book standard Nile River cruises, deluxe Nile River cruises, or a luxury Nile cruise, your Nile River cruise itinerary will in all likelihood feature the same tourist attractions. However, Dahabiya Nile cruise programs tend to be somewhat different.

Be Wary of Touts

If you have searched online for information on how to book a Nile cruise, you may have come across one or two posts recommending that you should visit the docks in Aswan or Luxor where do you usually find “agents” who are more than happy to sell you a Nile cruise package.

Besides the fact that you could end up losing all your money, there are also a few other things you should be aware of. These touts are only interested in getting commission. The more they get you to pay, the more commission they get. If you are not an expert when it comes to haggling, you can count on getting ripped off.

More often than not, these touts are trying to fill last-minute vacancies and pick up the commission. This means you could find yourself with only an hour or two to spare before the vessel is due to depart.

Last but not least, many of the cruises which are booked like this don’t include admission fees for any historical sites. This means you will need to purchase admission tickets for each of the places you visit. Suddenly your Nile cruise is not as great a bargain as you thought.

Sure, you may get lucky and strike a last minute bargain, but your cruise will almost certainly still cost you more than it would have if you had booked it through a reputable company a few months in advance.

Work with a Reputable Tour Operator

If you are traveling on a shoestring budget, then by all means spend a few days hanging around the docks searching for a cheap last-minute deal. On the other hand, if you want the most enjoyable and the most hassle-free experience, then we would seriously suggest that you book your tours and Egypt Nile cruises through a reputable Egypt tour operator.

If this is going to be your first time in Egypt, we would also recommend that your book a travel package that includes 1 or 2 days of sightseeing in Cairo before heading to Aswan or Luxor for your Nile River cruise. This will allow you to see some of Egypt’s other attractions such as the legendary Giza pyramids and the world famous Egyptian Museum before your cruise commences.

After sightseeing in Cairo, you will then transfer to Aswan or Luxor by way of an overnight train ride or a domestic flight. If you have looked through a reputable company, you will be met at the train station or the airport and then you will be driven to the docks for your Egypt Nile cruise.

Your cruise should include admission tickets for all the historical sites where your cruise ship will stop, including attractions such as the ancient Philae Temple, Kom Ombo Temple, Horus Temple, Luxor Temple, Karnak Temple, and etc.

Following your cruise, a company representative and a driver should meet you and then transfer you to Aswan Airport, Luxor Airport, or to the railway station for your return trip to Cairo.

Flawless Egypt Tours and Nile River Cruises

At Egypt Tours Plus, we take great pride in providing some of the very finest Egypt tour packages and Nile River cruises that money can buy. While most of our cruises include 3-5 nights on the river, we also have longer cruises for those who wish to have a more immersive experience.

With nearly half a million travel packages already sold, and as proud recipients of Tripadvisor’s 2020-2023 Travelers’ Choice Award, you can book your adventure in Egypt with absolute peace of mind.

Contact us now to begin planning your once-in-a-lifetime trip to Egypt or to book your dream vacation today.

 

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Top 12 Nile Cruise Vacation Packages

Tour PackageFromDetails
15-Day Luxury Cruise and Stay Adventure$3665View
12-Day Nile Cruise and Sharm El Sheikh Holiday$2310View
8-Day Pyramids and Nile Cruise Holidays [Group Tour]$1649View
12-Day Cairo, Nile Cruise And Red Sea Stay$1997View
10-Day Luxury Nile Cruise and Cairo Tours$2690View
10-Day Round Trip Nile Cruise and Cairo Package$2845View
8-Day Cairo to Abu Simbel Tour w/ Nile Cruise$1599View
8-Day Egypt Holiday Tour – Cairo and Nile Cruise [By Train]$1125View
8-Day Best of Egypt Tour – Cairo and Nile Cruise [By Air]$1599View
8-Day Abu Simbel Sun Festival 2024 TourInquireView
7-Day Ancient Egypt Tour [Small Group] Cairo, Nile Cruise$1485View

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Last Updated on March 27, 2024