Nile River cruises are of course cruises that take place on the Nile River in Egypt. Like other river cruises, Nile River cruises are distinct from regular cruises (i.e., cruises that sail the world’s oceans) in that the vessels used for them are smaller, and in general a Nile River cruise will have a greater focus on engagement with the Egyptian land (because you are always close to shore, not in the middle of the ocean). Below you will find some basic information about Nile River cruises, including what Nile River cruise ships are like and what you can expect during a voyage up the Nile River.
The Nile, the longest river in the world, is the lifeblood of Egypt. The overwhelming majority of the population lives right along the Nile, and not coincidentally many of the famous monuments of the country – the Luxor, Karnak, Valley of the Kings, etc. – are right along the shores of the Nile. As such, taking a Nile cruise is one of the best and most efficient ways to see Egypt, including not only its world-renowned temples and tombs, but also the daily lives of many of its people, who can be seen farming the land along the shore of the river. The Nile is like a freeway that just so happens to pass by most of the parts of the country that the average tourist is inclined to see.
For this reason, taking a Nile River cruise is quite a bit different from taking a regular cruise, as we mentioned above. The focus of the journey will be on taking tours around Egypt’s sites, not spending a ton of time on the ship itself. There are no climbing walls or elaborate live shows on the cruise ships that go up and down the Nile. However, ships are equipped with a restaurant and bar, and many ships have pools and decks to lie out on. Again, though, the focus of most Nile cruises is to take day tours, so if the goal of your vacation is to read and drink by the pool, a Nile cruise is not the best option. The ship will primarily be used for entertainment at night (e.g., “Egyptian nights,” where passengers can dress in traditional attire and eat local food) and sleeping.
Nile River cruises are unlike any other cruise vacations you might go on. The on-board experience is one of the major components of most cruises, but this is far less true of a Nile River cruise. You can of course largely set your own agenda, and it’s not like you’re forced to take excursions you don’t want to take, but the ships on the Nile simply do not offer the types of activities and entertainment possibilities that huge cruise ships on the ocean do. This is of course not an inherently good or bad thing, it’s just the way Nile River cruises are, and this should be kept in mind if you are thinking about cruising the Nile in the future. And if you are thinking about taking one, check out our article on how to book a Nile River cruise.