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Cruising options?

Stockholm, Sweden
Level Contributor
110 posts
94 reviews
Cruising options?

I have never seen myself as a cruising person, rather as a middle-aged backpacker. However, my son dreams about a cruise on the Nile and I would like to know whether there are any options. Are there any "hop-on-hop-off"-kind of cruises? Less formal? More child-friendly?

My dream would be a less formal alternative with lots of freedom and flexibility. And then combine the cruise with some other adventures: Cairo, for sure, perhaps some beach-time and, if possible, a camel-safari.

And what about travelling alone, a blond eleven year old, with his single mother in Egypt?

We are both experienced travellers and have travelled together just the two of us on all different continents. And we like to be a bit off the beaten-track and hate too touristic places. Where should we go? And how?

8 posts
1. Re: Cruising options?

Nile Cruises are not “cruises” in the traditional sense. Rather they are floating hotels. The tombs and temples of Egypt are all close to the Nile – so these floating hotels are the easiest way to travel. Being on the Nile can be magical. I found myself alone on the deck for most afternoon cruising – everyone else was in their cabin napping. Try it, both you and your son will enjoy it. Just make sure that the cruise you choose is child friendly.

To start your search for a cruise ship go to - min-travel.com/nile_river_cruises/orchid_nil…

This will give you a list of cruise ships to consider. Use the ship names to find the company that actually owns the ship in order to get the best information.

If you are coming to Egypt in July the one lock that the boats have to go through to get from Luxor to Aswan is closed. They still have cruises – but, I think that the Itineraries are changed. If you are coming in July make sure you know what changes they will make.

Another choice is to sail on a Dahabia – an Egyptian style sailboat. I have done this and it was my favorite cruise. Not for people who want to go first class – the bathrooms are small and the shower is a spay hose that is also the sink faucet, no air conditioning (they have a “swamp” cooler but it runs off the generator which is turned off when everyone goes to sleep). The food was good (we sent our list of foods we couldn’t eat which the cook used for planning the meals). They do not go through the lock so there would not be a problem in July.


I can recommend a good camel safari. There are several oasis west of the Nile which are a “bit off the beaten-track” and you can take a camel safari there. The most popular is the trek to the White Desert.


If you are coming in July or August the temperature will probably be in the mid-forties (there is no humidity which helps). I would not go into the desert in the summer.

I have stayed at their wonderful hotel in Farafra Oasis. I belong to an organization in Cairo (American Research Center in Egypt) which uses them for several trips each year, including an annual Thanksgiving trek to the White Desert. If you want to take a camel safari – this is the group to use. They provide all the equipment needed for the trip.

If you give me the dates you plan to be in Egypt I would be glad to help you plan your itinerary. I love Egypt and I want everyone who comes to have the best possible experience.

Level Contributor
1,581 posts
2. Re: Cruising options?

Hi Resmama,

I believe, in fact I'm fairly sure that the lock that CairoJudy mentions at Esna, is closed in June not July.

If you want to see all the sights on the cruise from Luxor to Aswan then you will not have much flexibility. Tours are usually early in the morning and you probably won't have the choice to visit them as & when you please. I believe many cruises will not take children under 10 years, they are geared more to adults.

You would have to visit Cairo by air or train from Luxor or maybe start your holiday there then come to Luxor for the cruise.

For some beach time you would need to go to somewhere like Hurghada, closest to Luxor, about 4 hours by road.

It is possible to have a camel ride here in Luxor or in Cairo by the pyramids. I don't know of any camel safaris, there may be some but probably with a specialist company.

I have heard of people arranging a felucca, [ small sail boat ] from here to Aswan. The felucca has no toilet facilities though so I presume you would moor by the Nile in an emergency. Don't know how easy a felucca would be to arrange but it sounds like it would be more up your street. I know a few felucca guys here who are quite trustworthy so PM me if you wish & I'll try to find out if it is possible.

The Egyptians love kids & it is a safe place in my opinion. Yes you get lots of hassle but if you're polite, assertive but friendly then in my experience there are no big problems. If you're a seasoned traveller then I'm sure you & your son will be fine.

Hope that has answered some of your queries. Good luck in planning your trip.

8 posts
3. Re: Cruising options?

Iberis is correct, the lock closes in June. The cruise ships stop for tours at all the sights between Luxor and Aswan. Tours take place at all times of the day – I have even had a evening tour of Kom-Ombo. Being smaller, the Dahabia can make other enjoyable stops. You can find the itineraries of each cruise on their websites.

I have done a lot of travel here by myself and it is my feeling that it would not be wise for you to use a felucca for the trip from Luxor to Aswan, even with your son as an escort. Egypt is a safe country, but many men believe that all western women are “available”. The men in Luxor are the most aggressive. They will always try to get lucky, but usually accept a firm “no” without a problem. But, being with them on a felucca for several nights is pushing your luck.

Short camel and horse tours are available in Cairo - at both the Giza Pyramids and at Saqqara (the best of the two places to hire either a camel or horse). These are expensive and the owners have earned their reputation for cheating tourists. Many tourists leave Egypt with unpleasant memories of their time at the Pyramids. Take a camel tour here only if it is arranged by a tour company, you are accompanied by a tour guide from the company (even if this means that you have to pay for another person) and it is firmly established that all payment and tips will be handled by the guide and only the guide.

You may decide to spend a couple of days at one of the many resorts/hotels on the red sea (most beaches do not have sand). A lot depends upon how much time you can spend in Egypt. There are several that cater to backpackers. The hotels in Cairo, Luxor and Aswan have pools where you can swim and enjoy the sun.

4. Re: Cruising options?

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