Cruise On Down The Nile

By Susan Hart

Because the Nile river is both an incredibly long river, and has had five thousand years of history, and was, and still is, vital to the lifeblood of Egypt, a cruise down the Nile on one of the many types of river boats is a necessity.  These well-used methods of transportation vary widely in their size and accommodations.  All good Nile river cruises often include hotel stays and guided tours of the great sites of Egypt.  The cruise itself is an event -- and think about looking at the Nile river at sunset, sipping a refreshing lemonade or sparkling water, while you study the vanishing crimson rays of the sun god Ra (you will slip easily into the lore of Ancient Egypt).

Nile river cruises are famous in fact and fiction and picking the right one is vital to your enjoyment of the glorious sites at Luxor, and the Valley of the Kings, and Giza with its Sphinx and the Great Pyramids.  The Temple of Karnak is also a must see.  Current data on the Sphinx leads us to know that the nose was not destroyed by Napoleon, by the way.  Someone took it off a few centuries earlier.  No one knows why. The Sphinx was painted brightly after it was restored in the Middle Kingdom.  Old Kingdom architects used large blocks of limestone, while during the Greek period new blocks were also added to the front paws.  During Roman times they added protective pieces of rock to try and delay the sandblasting that this huge monument was getting, while also adding a couple of walls that flank the Sphinx -- this lion with a Pharaoh's head. 

No one new until recently who built this monument, but it's now thought to be the son of Khufu, who built the Great Pyramid, and who also has the largest pyramid at Giza.  The son's pyramid is smaller than his father's, which is probably appropriate.  The Sphinx  was carved out of a single outcropping of hard and soft layers of limestone, as the Giza area was underwater millions of years ago.   As you plan your Nile river cruise you may think about what you'd like to see and do.  There are so many side trips that can be taken.  Maybe you'll need more than one cruise?

When you are planning your Nile cruise there can be bargains to be had.  Work out how many days you'd like to take and what you'd like to eat and see what land excursions are available.  With careful plotting you can work out what to see first.  There will, no doubt, be many more Nile river cruises.  After all, who could possibly see everything that Egypt has to offer in just one visit?  As you cruise along the Nile, besides the monuments and buildings of the past, there are wonderful vistas to look at. 

People still use the Nile as a source for water in agriculture.  Much wildlife also makes their home on the banks and in the surrounding Papyrus clumps.  The sense of both ancient history and modern day vibrant life will surround you as you look at the desert landscape from the deck of your Nile river boat.   Don't forget the camera.  Be sure it's a digital one, or else you could easily run out of film!

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Cruise on the Nile

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A Cruise On The Nile

If you are visiting Egypt for the first time and have an eye for classical experience then you need to go in for a Nile Cruise. Formerly, the Nile cruise was the only way to visit the tombs and temples located along this stretch of the river. Even today, it is referred to as a well known means of visiting Upper Egypt and has innumerable benefits to other means of travel. Initially you will find it extremely nice to unpack, but then, besides the more relaxed mode of travel, there are other things as well that you need to take into consideration. Nile cruises often visit a variety of antiquities along the banks of the river. However, equally important, they also allow you to gain a prospective of the rural Egypt, where people live much the same way they did even thousands of years ago in mud brick homes. It is simply remarkable to sit on a shaded deck of a floating hotel, sipping an iced beverage while watching 5000 years of culture slowly drift by. Generally speaking, Nile cruises may differ considerably, however typical Nile cruises are either for three, four or seven nights. The shorter tours generally operated between Aswan and Luxor, while the longer cruises travel further north to Dendera, frequently providing day tours overland to more remote locations. Hence, an approximately fourteen day tour of Egypt might include several days around Cairo, seeing the museums, pyramids and other antiquities, a short flight to Abu Simbel in the extreme south of Egypt surrounding a seven day Nile cruise.


The standard cruise is on board a Nile cruiser, often known as a floating hotel. Indeed, the better boats have facility for accommodations as well together with basic amenities like swimming pools, exercise rooms, exercise rooms, nightclubs, hot tubs, good restaurants, stores and even small libraries. Based on your budget, rooms can be extremely utilitarian and small or larger when compared to land based hotel rooms. Some boats also have provision for suites. Better boats have private baths, TVs and air conditioning. In fact, there are a couple of boats that are well armed with cameras and allow passengers to view the countryside from their TV. Floating hotels also provide multiple entertainments. Most of the boats have dance areas with live entertainment or disco. They may include cocktail parties, belly dancers, Nubian and revolving dervish plays and also dress up parties where guests don conventional apparel. Similar to land hotels, meals onboard most Nile cruisers are generally buffet style and include cold and hot food along with a variety of local and international cuisine. In general, almost all boats have a proper water filtration system that is fine for showering, however it is still recommended to go in for bottled water that the boat will have aboard. Another adventurous style of Nile cruise, very diverse from the floating hotels may be arranged aboard feluccas, Egypt's conventional Nile sailboat. Most of the Falucca trips are short and enjoyable, but multi-day felucca cruises may be arranged aboard larger vessels traveling between Luxor and Aswan.