How to Plan a Nile River Cruise in Egypt 2024/2025

By Carper | Updated Jul. 3, 2023

Boarding a Nile cruise is the best way to explore Egypt between Luxor and Aswan. You can travel along the Nile while sleeping without changing accommodations between destinations.

Imagine waking up to a ray of sunlight shining through the curtains. You open the window to witness morning on the Nile, with a cool breeze to start your day surrounded by Egypt's ancient attractions.

When planning a Nile cruise trip you should consider your options carefully. Follow the tips and suggestions provided in this guide to help make your trip a success.

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1. Why Taking a Nile River Cruise is a Must?

Taking a Nile cruise will undoubtedly be an exotic experience full of magical memories.

A riverboat is the most convenient, comfortable, and conducive transportation when you want to appreciate the landscape of the Nile and do some sightseeing onshore at various stops. Cruising along the Nile can save you time on sightseeing compared to journeying out from distant hotels in Aswan or Luxor. What's more, it provides a chance to interact with local crews. 

Even if you don't want to explore the sights around the Nile, you could consider a Nile cruise as a deluxe floating hotel with comprehensive services. You could take a dip in an onboard pool, enjoy sunbathing on deck, or simply soak up the beautiful scenery then take a nap in your air-conditioned room.

Scenery in the room of the Nile Cruise, EgyptThe scenery in the room of the Nile Cruise, Egypt

Since the sailing only lasts for 3–5 hours per day with barely any turbulence, motion sickness won't be a concern. 

Get to know more ideas about planning a trip to Egypt>>>

2. How to Choose Your Nile Cruise Ship?

Ships cruising on the Nile, EgyptShips cruising on the Nile, Egypt

Typically, when it comes to cruising the Nile between Luxor and Aswan, you have three choices to choose from: modern Nile cruise ship, vintage steam ship, and dahabiya.

Based on the feedback received from most of our clients, we sincerely recommend you consider a dahabiya if you're looking for a delightful and exclusive experience.

1) Modern Nile Cruise Ship

This type of ship is considered modern in comparison to the vintage steam ships, because they are larger ships with modern facilities and more spacious cabins.

Modern Nile cruise ships are available in three classes according to the accommodation, features, and services offered:

Standard Nile Cruise Ships

  • Price: from $160 per person per night
  • Cabins: around 50–70 of about 12–15 m²  (130–160 sq ft)
  • Features: private bathrooms, small seating area, TV, air conditioning
  • Food and entertainment: comparatively simple and limited

Deluxe Nile Cruise Ships

  • Price: from $200 per person per night
  • Cabins: around 80–120 of about 15–20 m² (160–215 sq ft)
  • Features: larger windows, better views of the Nile River, better quality linen and bedding
  • Food and entertainment: higher quality food and service, more entertainment options such as dance shows and cocktail parties

Luxury Nile Cruise Ships

  • Price: from $350 per person per night
  • Cabins: around 60–80 of about 25–30 m²  (270–320 sq ft)
  • Features: high-end cabin elements such as private balconies, ensuite bathrooms with jacuzzi tubs, and plush furnishings
  • Food and entertainment: high-end cuisine by top chefs, more entertainment options such as a spa, a fitness center, and a pool

For the ultimate Nile cruise experience, we recommend choosing the luxury option, which provides premium service, complete cruise facilities, and a wide range of activities. You'll be able to have most of your high-class hotel expectations met onboard and enjoy a hassle-free journey that's truly top-class.

2) Vintage Steam Cruise Ships

  • Price: from $850 per person per night
  • Features: around 10–25 of 10–30 m² (110–270 sq ft) or more
  • Food and entertainment: retro décor with high-end modern amenities

If you would enjoy the nostalgic experience of cruising the Nile old-style, and want to feel like a character in the novel "Death on the Nile", a steam cruise is the ideal option.

As you lie in the sundeck lounge, taking in the Nile scenery, you can experience both the attractions of Egypt today and the dreamy fantasy of yester-year at the same time.

The steam vessels have been refurbished with modern amenities and now use eco-friendly engines to cruise the Nile, but their retro decoration would take you back to the turbulent times of the 1930s the minute you board.

Cruising the Nile on a vintage steam ship, you can expect a unique travel experience that combines the charm of a bygone era with the comforts of modern technology.

3) Dahabiya 

  • Price: from $400 per person per night
  • Features: around 6–12 cabins of about 15–30 m² (160–320 sq ft) 
  • Food and entertainment: modern decoration with private bathrooms, air conditioning, and comfortable bedding

A dahabiya is a type of sailing boat that was originally used in ancient Egypt. They have now been reintroduced as a luxurious and more-intimate way for travelers to explore the Nile.

For privacy and intimacy, a dahabiya is your best option. Unlike the massive vessels, a dahabiya has limited space, but offers a high level of luxury, with gourmet food, personalized service, and private excursions, making it ideal for a family vacation without too many travelers on board.

You can enjoy authentic Egyptian cuisine on the deck while sailing peacefully without an engine onboard. Moreover, you can fall asleep in a quiet environment with only the sound of the breeze and river water, as though you're nestled in the embrace of nature.

When planning the budget for an Egypt trip, you could find more details in How Much Does a Trip to Egypt Cost? >>>

3. How to Choose a Nile Cruise Itinerary?

cruise itinerary

Cruising the Nile between Luxor and Aswan offers the best sailing experience since it accesses many remarkable attractions along the river. For the most cost-effective cruise, a 4-day itinerary from Aswan to Luxor would be your best choice.

  • 4 or 5 days
  • 8 days
  • More than 10 days

Cruises between Aswan and Luxor (4 or 5 days)

Since Luxor is only 3 hours away from Hurghada by car and a 1-hour flight from Cairo, it would be more convenient if you conclude your cruise in Luxor instead of Aswan. Additionally, Luxor Airport has more flights than Aswan, offering more flexibility in terms of scheduling.

What's more, a downstream cruise from Aswan with the same itinerary features would save you a day and about 200 USD compared to an upriver cruise from Luxor, leaving you more time (and money) to explore other parts of Egypt.

Cruise itineraries for inspiration:

From Aswan to Luxor
  • From Aswan (3 nights, 4 days):
  • Day 1: Check-in onboard. Then start your Aswan city tour, visiting the High Dam, the Temple of Philae, and the Unfinished Obelisk.
  • Day 2: Visit the Temple of Kom Ombo and the Temple of Horus in Edfu.
  • Day 3: Explore the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, and the Colossi of Memnon.
  • Day 4: Check out and start your Luxor city tour, visiting the Karnak Temple Complex and the Temple of Luxor. Then depart to your next destination.
cruise itinerary
  • From Luxor (4 nights, 5 days):
  • Day 1: Check-in onboard. Then start your Luxor city tour, visiting the Karnak Temple Complex and the Temple of Luxor.
  • Day 2: Explore the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, and the Colossi of Memnon.
  • Day 3: Visit the Temple of Kom Ombo and the Temple of Horus in Edfu.
  • Day 4: Your Aswan city tour would visit the High Dam, the Temple of Philae, and the Unfinished Obelisk.
  • Day 5: Check out and depart to your next destination. 

* Optional day tour: Excursion to the Abu Simbel temples. Then back to Aswan.

For more itinerary options, check our handpicked itineraries including the Nile cruise for various durations: 5 days, 7 days, 8 days10 days, 12 days, 14 days, and 21 days...

4. Best Times to Take a Nile Cruise

Sunset on the nile in Aswan, EgyptSunset on the Nile in Aswan, Egypt

Taking a Nile cruise is a year-round activity that you can do whenever you like. However, the benefits vary with the time of year.

The best time to take a Nile cruise is between December and February. During this period, you could enjoy a New Year's Eve party with your family and a hospitable cruise crew, visit wonders ashore with the best weather of the year averaging a mild/warm 20°C (68°F), making it a time for dreamy and unforgettable memories.

March to April and October to November are the best times for a value-for-money Nile cruise. These are the shoulder seasons in Egypt when prices and crowds decrease somewhat, and you won't need to worry about jostling through a ship full of passengers. The weather is also mild and pleasant, perfect for outdoor sightseeing.

May to August is considered the worst season to take a Nile cruise since the weather is very hot, ranging from 32 to 44°C (90 to 111°F). Most of the time, you'll want to stay in your air-conditioned room on the ship, and the outdoor sightseeing may be unbearably hot and tiring. Brave the heat and the reward is you can get the best price of the whole year drop from 20%, with the least people visiting on shore with you.

Cruising the Nile with Global Highlights

Scheduling an Egypt trip with a Nile cruise can be stressful, so why not travel with Global Highlights? Our professional travel consultant will tend to your travel needs and interests and customize your trip, creating a hassle-free private tour that you will look back on fondly.

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