We give you all the keys that you have to take into account when choosing how, when, and where to go so that your Nile cruises along the mythical Nile is what you expected.
- Choose the date of the trip very well:
Closing the travel dates well should be the first of the jobs that travelers have to do when scheduling a visit to the ‘highway’ of the pharaohs. The first considerations have to do with the weather. And when we say heat, we say heat. In the lower areas of the river and the Delta, temperatures rarely drop below 30 degrees during the day, numbers that as one descends towards the south rise significantly to exceed 45 degrees in the middle of the desert. For this reason, the excursions are made very first thing in the morning. Spring is not the best of the seasons either, between the months of April and June the Khasmin reigns.
Between the months of October and March, the average daytime temperatures average values close to 25 degrees Celsius, while the minimum (in the early morning) can drop to eight. On the contrary, the mild climate contrasts with a rise in prices that, in the days around Christmas and New Year, can exceed 30% compared to the summer months in the Northern Hemisphere. The low season, precisely because of the heat, is between the months of May and September and the prices are much lower.
- Which route is best for us?
All traditional cruises move on the stretch of river that mediates between the towns of Luxor and Aswan. There are several possibilities. The most normal thing is to hire cruises of four, five, or seven days. In the first two cases, the ship leaves from Luxor or Aswan and leaves us in the other city (from Aswan the excursion is made to Abu Simbel). The seven-day cruise travels round-trip, departing and arriving in Luxor; that is, the same route in both directions.
- And what excursions are essential?
To speak of Egypt is to speak of one wonder after another. As we said before, and if you have time, it is advisable to spend at least two days in Luxor and dedicate the first to visiting the impressive Karnak temple complex, the Luxor Museum, and the Luxor Temple. The treasures of ancient Thebes are impressive. The other day we can dedicate the next day to the opposite bank of the Nile and carefully visit the Valley of the Kings and the lavish tomb of Pharaoh Hatshepsut, one of the greatest archaeological jewels in the world. For that alone that extra night in Luxor is more than justified. Other must-see stops are the Temple of Horus in Edfu; the Temple of Kom Ombo and, already in Aswan, the Island of Philae, the Temple of Isis on the Island of Agilkia, and the unfinished Obelisk. Excursions to Abu Simbel depart from here.
- How to choose the ideal boat?
The motor ships that carry out the different cruises on the Nile add up to a vast fleet of more than 220 ships. Before choosing you have to take into account several aspects: the first is that, depending on the date, you should choose a boat with air conditioning; Another very important aspect is the food. During our first trip to Egypt, our joy at having saved a good handful of euros turned into copious diarrhea. That is why you have to opt for five-star category boats. If the price per person per day is less than 90 euros, distrust the quality of the service. A reasonable price for a 4-day cruise should be between 380 and 500 euros. It is advisable to do an exhaustive search for the various wholesalers offering Nile cruises and compare prices and conditions.
- What does the Nile cruise offer?
The basic includes accommodation and full board (three meals) and does not include extra drinks and ‘voluntary’ tips. When hiring our cruise, several important questions must be taken into account: If it includes the price of the different excursions; if it includes transportation from the ship to the different archaeological sites; if it includes the guide service. This is very important. The transport to the monuments will save you a lot of headaches when it comes to haggling prices.
- Euros, dollars, card?
It is advisable to bring local currency in cash. There are exchange houses in Aswan and Luxor where you can exchange currencies without a problem. The exchange rate in motor ships is usually less advantageous in terms that are between 15 and 20% with respect to the ratios that you can find in exchange houses. Another valid tip to get the most out of the euros you carry is to take a little walk and compare the rates of four or five exchange houses before deciding. Change not very large amounts; if you come home with Egyptian Pounds you will lose a lot of money in exchange.
- Can the cruise be hired for free?
The answer is yes; whether or not it is convenient is another story and depends on several factors. Many travelers talk about the adventures of hiring the cruise in the same port: dodging various commission agents, the exhausting bargaining and things like that … Very few get that bargain that everyone is looking for and the most normal thing is that your desire to make the trip ends for increasing the price you would have paid. You can get a cheap ticket, but you risk not going.