Travel Betty

Encouraging Fearless Independent Travel For Women

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Thinking About A Nile River Cruise? It Isn’t All Luxury And Romance.

April 14th, 2007 · 5 Comments

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Sometimes the idea of an activity is much better than the reality. Sex on a beach or anywhere near loose and abundant sand falls into this category. And now for me, so does cruising the Nile.

Let me set the stage. There are 280 boats that are licensed to ply the waters between Aswan and Luxor, which isn’t that far of a trip to begin with.

True there are actual times when you are not right next to another boat or six, but they are few and far between. In fact, when docked, most boats are moored right up next to each other so you must walk through them all to get to yours (yours inevitably being last). While choosing a boat, I’d advise to go to Intrepid Powerboats.

The ship itself is about as romantic as spending three days at your favorite miniature golf course. On the sundecks atop every cruise ship I saw, Astroturf reigns supreme. A mass of deckchairs is lined up to keep the human cattle neatly penned. You can download free casino slot games for mobile phone in case you get bored.

And then there is the water hazard. Hazardous because pool temperatures hover at morgue-levels. Even with the sweltering Aswan sun beating down on us 14 hours a day, I felt as though I was preserving my organs for an open casket viewing rather than refreshing myself whenever I took a dip.

(As a side-rant, what is people’s fascination with temperature extremes? If it’s boiling outside, I don’t need to be cryogenically frozen inside. I simply need it to be comfortably cooler upon entrance.)

The other thing that might surprise you is there is very little actual cruising while on a Nile cruise. Because the distance is small and the cruise operator’s desire to separate you from money is great, they drag the trip out by having you beached on either end overnight in Luxor and Aswan.

That means you are docked with the 279 other stagnant ships along the banks of the Nile, where like a cow on its way to a good stun bolting, touts and hawkers await you at the end of the plank ready to offer felluca rides for 5 Egyptian Pounds (a scam in which they later try to get you for 5 pounds per minute!)

And then there are the cabins. After the wonderful service, food, and architectural delights of the M.S. Eugenie during our Lake Nasser cruise, our Nile cruise basement cabin (think Laverne & Shirley’s apartment before they moved to California) with a window the size of a lunchroom tray just wasn’t measuring up.

Our room was right at Nile level so the hollow sound of water lapping against our wall when we were docked a foot from the next ship made me feel like we were being held hostage by the Tidy Bowl Man. To their credit, our travel reps tried to do all they could to get us moved up to a room on one of the better floors with the panoramic windows, but ultimately they failed because the ship was filled with two large tour groups. Let’s just say that when in the social strata you rate below Mexican Herbalife conventioneers, there is bitterness.

Yo heart Herbalife!

The worst part is that originally Travel Boyfriend and I had no intention of being a part of this mass hysteria. We’d meant to sail on an intimate 19th century period-styled Dahabiyya for 7 days. Unfortunately, TB’s fascination with all things temple left us with the good possibility of too little time in Luxor. I didn’t want the blood of his missing a hieroglyph on my hands, especially since he agreed to travel with me to Siwa later in the trip, so at last minute, we nixed the smaller sailing vessel and opted for the Myrtle Beach Goes to Egypt style of cruising. Here is where you can learn from our mistake.

Of course, if you just want the no-muss, no-fuss way to say you’ve cruised the Nile, then be my guest. At the very least, every member of the staff was delightful and attentive. Even aboard a floating Putt-Putt-O-Rama, Egyptians provide impeccable service.

Travel Betty Banter

Have you taken a Nile Cruise? I’d love to hear a different perspective. Share your experience with us in the comments section.

Last Minute CRUISE deals on Orbitz.com!

Tags: Cruising · Egypt · Lodging

Related posts you may enjoy:
  • Looking To Find A Reputable Travel Agent In Egypt? Egypt 7000 Is Travel Betty’s Recommendation.
  • How To Make A Relatively Unromantic Location Such As Luxor, Egypt Incredibly Romantic
  • Why cruise the Nile when you can cruise Lake Nasser aboard the M.S. Eugenie?


  • 5 responses so far ↓

    • 1 [email protected] // Jun 23, 2007 at 11:04 am

      Hi, thanks so much for all this great information on Egypt. I’ve been searching for the right travel company and you’ve got me hooked on Egypt 7000. Can’t wait to check it out. Question about cruising on the nile. What about felucca cruises? I think those are different from the ones you are talking about right? Any experience with those?

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    • 2 Travel Betty // Jun 23, 2007 at 11:44 am

      Hi Lara,

      Thanks for stopping by! I’m so glad my info on Egypt 7000 was useful to you. I know how nerve-wracking it can be to find a good travel agent. Especially in a foreign country. Keep us posted on your trip.

      Feluccas are non-motorized boats. You can do short day trips, which is what we did. Or you can do overnight trips. Know that feluccas are very simple sailboats. You won’t find any amenities on board (including toilets!) Our guide in Aswan told us that one night aboard a felucca is enough. Two nights is pushing it. Of course, some people enjoy this type of travel, so you may too!

      If you’re looking for something in between cruise ships and feluccas, I’d highly recommend a dahabiyya.

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    • 3 [email protected] // Jun 23, 2007 at 3:07 pm

      Thanks. It is a little nerve wracking planning this trip for some reason. I too prefer to travel without an agency but think its needed for Egypt. I met someone recently who told me about this company called Egypttoptravel.com. Ever hear of it? Sounded pretty good but I only have his recommendation. Would like some more. I was just looking at the Lonely Planet book and looks like the dahabiyyas are really expensive. They’re saying like $1800 per person for a five day trip. We’d probably just do a 2 night trip but still seems expensive to me. What do you think? Any boats in particular that you like? Thanks again for telling me the real facts about feluccas. Not sure I want to do that now.

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    • 4 Travel Betty // Jun 23, 2007 at 5:28 pm

      Never heard of Egypttoptravel, Lara. But there are so many agencies in Egypt and it’s hard to find info on most of them unless someone’s had firsthand experience. You might as well get quotes from a couple of different places.

      $1800 does sound expensive. I would check with Egypt 7000 (or whoever you go with) about the Dahabiyyas. We were originally going to do a 7 night boat trip and it was included in their original quote which was around the same price as what we ended up paying ($2600 each for 5 weeks). I felt we ended up saving money using an agent than if I’d tried to book everything myself, so maybe that’ll also be the case for you.

      let me know if you have any other questions! I’m glad to help.

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    • 5 BillBeattie // Apr 23, 2011 at 4:37 am

      I know where you are coming from with this but…
      I’d like to let you in to a little secret – there are nile cruise boats that break this mould.
      My wife and I travelled from Luxor to Aswan on the Oberoi Philae boat. It has private moorings and all cabins had a small balcony – choose the right side of the boat to get Nile views. We had a great time and met some really nice people on out small group tours. We really enjoyed the balloon trip over the valley of the Kings & Queen’s – almost crashed into the Agadoo’s of Memnon ;) .
      Just leaving on Eugenie cruise on Monday – this article has helped me get even more excited – don’t be put off a Nile cruise but do it right!

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