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The In's & Out's of a Nile Cruise

For many of us, a lazy leisurely cruise along the mighty Nile River in Egypt has been a bucket list item waiting to be ticked off! Well, in May 2024, we did just that and here are some of our observations!

Pool Deck on the Crown Empress
Pool Deck - Crown Empress

We boarded the Crown Empress in Luxor for a 7 night Nile Cruise and it is important at this point to highlight some of our key observations:

  • We loved the Crown Empress and her crew

  • 7 nights is too long, you only really need the 4 night cruise from Luxor to Aswan

  • Be prepared for Buffets!

One Bedroom Balcony Suite
Bedroom - Crown Empress

Lounge Area with Fridge and TV
One Bedroom Suite Lounge Area Crown Empress

So, when it comes to cruising, you actually don't do a lot of it. We boarded in Luxor mid-morning and on a Monday. As our cabin was not quite ready, we relaxed on the expansive upper deck where you will find a bar, plenty of seating and a small pool. Most of the Nile Cruise itineraries follow the same "recipe".

After a buffet lunch in the restaurant (large groups travelling together are seated together, individual travellers seperately), we met our local guide and departed for the Temple of Karnak and Luxor Temple. Generally, if you are booking your cruise independently, your tours and activities are not included but we can add these for you as part of your package and they represent excellent value-for-money.

Stunning Karnak
Temple of Karnak

Valley of the Kings
Valley of the Kings

Now you actually haven't left the dock yet and you won't do so until tomorrow afternoon. The dock may be someway out of Luxor town so when you are back on, you are back on. Its also important to note, at this stage, that all along the Nile, moorings are limited, so you will find yourself tied up alongside 3 or 4 other cruisers. For this reason, we recommend avoiding the front and back of the ship, as the engines run all night and so do those of other boats in front of you so it can be a little noisy. You also won't have much view apart from into someone else's cabin next door.

Overnight parking
Multiple Boats Parked

Day Two started with an early breakfast before leaving with our guide for the Valley of the Kings and Queen Hatshepsuts temple followed by the obligatory stop at an Alabaster workship before returning to the boat for lunch when we departed on the start of our actual cruising to Edfu. This afternoon was spent leisurely cruising the river with an overnight docked in Edfu. The next morning, we were up early for a visit to the spectacular Edfu Temple before a few hours of good cruising for a late-afternoon arrival in Kom Ombo for a visit to the Kom Ombo Temple and the Crocodile Museum (actually really worthwhile).

Nile Cruises
Rural Scenes

We then departed early evening for Aswan, arriving late at night and for those who were doing the four night cruise, that was essentially the end of the river cruising as such. You need to bear in mind, though, that the distance between Luxor and Aswan is not particularly far, some 240 kilometres. The next morning we awoke to a bustling Aswan and after an early breakfast departed to another dock for a motor boat transfer to the spectacular Philae Temple. We ended this off with a visit to the unfinished Obelisk before returning to the boat for lunch. In the afternoon, we took a felucca to the botanical garden followed by a motor boat to the Nubian Village (actually well worth doing) before returning past the stunning Old Cataract Hotel in time for dinner.

Esna Locks
The Race for the Esna Locks

Now guests taking the four night cruise from Luxor to Aswan disembark the next morning and, to be honest, the additional three nights offer a shortened version of the above in reverse with no excursions or activities so the 7 night cruise is great if you just want to chill out, but then be prepared to be docked in Aswan and Luxor overnight again on your 5 and last nights. Guests disembarking in Aswan then had the opportunity to do a full - day excursion to Abu Simbel which we did not do, its a very long drive and we were a little templed out by that stage.

All your meals and afternoon tea's are included, but drinks are not and you sign for these to your cabin account and they are generally well priced. You are not required to tip during the cruise, rather leave one tip for all ships crew before you disembark.

Dining Room - Crown Empress
Dining Room - Crown Express

Buffet - Crown Empress
Buffet - Crown Empress

Wifi was sketchy so we highly recommend buying a data package through an e-sim provider like Maya.

There is plenty to see as you cruise along and we loved watching the men in the small boats trying to flog made in China Sphinx towels to fellow passengers as we cruised along.

Vendors on the Nile
Water Borne Vendors

Safety is always an important concern and at no time either on the boat or at any of the attractions did we feel unsafe - our guides ensured that we were not overly bothered by traders and the Egyptian Tourism Authorities have upgraded their infrastructure significantly (think electric golf carts at the Valley of the Kings!).

If you would like to experience the magic of Egypt and take advantage of our recent and first-hand knowledge, then do get in touch: Email us on:

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