Travel & Activities

How to Plan for a Nile River Cruise

There’s more to a cruise holiday than giant ocean liners filled with thousands of people. While cruising the high seas makes for one of the best ways to travel, opting for a river cruise is even better. With a more personal experience and without the throngs on deck, a river cruise lets you experience some of the finest destinations up close with plenty of luxury on hand. (We’ve teamed up with Elma Humpries to recommend this post.)

Among of the finest routes for a river cruise is along one of the world’s great waterways: the Nile. Egypt’s long and incredible history needs little introduction, and experiencing it by boat offers an amazing vantage point to travel back through the ages, while still enjoying everything this modern North African country has to offer. To help make your trip go smoothly here are some helpful hints to keep in mind before you go.

Sunset over the Nile River near Aswan, Egypt

​​Image by David Berkowitz

Be prepared for changeable weather

Considering most of Egypt beyond the Nile Delta is desert, you’d be forgiven for thinking you only need to pack light clothes. And while the day time temperatures can soar to sweltering heights, the nights can be surprisingly chilly. This is especially true out on deck in the open water. This temperature differential catches out a lot of first time visitors to the country, so don’t be one of them and pack a couple of jumpers.

…But don’t forget to prepare for the sun

While a jumper or two is sensible, you also need to be well prepared for the sun. Pack plenty of sun tan lotion, sun hats and light clothes that cover you up. Even a parasol can be a life saver in the stifling midday sun. While your river boat will offer more than enough shelter from the Egyptian sun, day trips to sites like the Valley of the Kings and Great Pyramids offer very little, so prepare accordingly.

Plan your excursions

As with any cruise, a Nile river cruise will involve lots of excursions. While you want to take advantage of most of them, don’t feel compelled to go on any you don’t fancy. Take a look at the itinerary before you disembark and plan the activities and day trips you want to do. Constant day trips can be exhausting, especially in the Middle-Eastern sun, so save your energy for your unmissable excursions.

Pack light

Among the main charms of a river cruise is the cozier size. This means you have a better chance of getting to know your fellow cruisers, but it also means that space in your cabin is at a premium, so be sensible with what you need. Unlike larger liners, river cruises don’t tend to have formal nights. Check in advance, and if so leave the tuxedo and ball gown at home.

Be considerate

Egypt is a primarily Muslim nation. While relatively liberal, women should still cover up and both men and women should attempt to dress modestly. While on-board your cruise you can feel free to dress how you please, but onshore make sure and bring a pashmina or scarf to cover up your hair and shoulders.

Main Image by archer10 (Dennis) 91M Views, used under Creative Commons license (CC BY SA 2.0)

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