See Egypt’s ancient treasures with ease on a river cruise, says Jeannine Williamson
The banks of the Nile are lined with some of the world’s most remarkable archaeological sites and visiting them via river cruise ship takes the stress out of excursions.
The classic Nile cruise is a seven-night journey from Luxor to Aswan, or in reverse. The gateway to Nile cruises is the Egyptian capital Cairo and many itineraries include a two or three-day stay to see the Pyramids and other awe-inspiring sights.
Once on the Nile, all journeys include a visit to the Valley of the Kings and the tombs of pharaohs, most famously Tutankhamun, whose burial chamber was unearthed by English archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922. Other highlights include Unesco-listed Karnak Temple with its sphinx-lined avenue.
AmaWaterways managing director Jamie Loizou says: “A Nile cruise is perfect for guests who have an interest in history and culture and want to experience this in the most relaxing way. Cruise lines will curate the journey to include the show-stopping sites of Cairo, such as the Pyramids and the Cairo Museum, and those seen while on the cruise including the Valley of the Kings, Edfu and Abu Simbel.
They can also provide access to places not normally visited. As an example, AmaWaterways gives exclusive access to Nefertari’s Tomb in the Valley of the Queens. An Egyptologist will accompany guests throughout the journey.”
An added draw, the Grand Egyptian Museum is scheduled to open in 2023
Modern river vessels plying the Nile are on a par with European standards and many have swimming pools and spas. They are operated by well-known lines – including luxury brands Sanctuary Retreats, Uniworld, Scenic, Titan and Riviera Travel – catering to all tastes and demographics.
In recent years several fleets have been extended, while Viking Aton will join sister ship Viking Osaris in 2023 and AmaWaterways will launch its second ship AmaLilia in 2024 to join sibling vessel AmaDahlia.
Top tips for selling Nile cruises
- Recommend combining a Nile cruise with pre- and post-cruise options, such as a culture-rich journey to Israel or Jordan, or a chill-out stay at a Red Sea resort.
- Highlight authentic excursions, including a cruise on a traditional wooden felucca.
- Reassure clients that shore tours are scheduled in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the midday heat and there is plenty of time to relax back on board the river vessel.
- Sell the benefits: a cruise-and-land tour is a stress-free way to see Cairo and other busy Egyptian tourist sites, which can seem overwhelming to first-time visitors.
- Promote solo travelling: Escorted tours are ideal for solo travellers and they'll find it easy to make friends with likeminded people.
- Rave about the inclusions. Cruises offer a high number of inclusions, such as entrance fees to historic sites, transfers and door-to-door transport with some operators.