Why a Nile Cruise is the Best Way to Explore Ancient Egypt

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When I was in the planning stages of my trip to Egypt, a Nile cruise wasn’t on my radar. I was planning a DIY 2 Week Egypt Vacation on a budget and, in my head, a cruise wasn’t going to fit into that budget. Yet as I researched hotels in Aswan and Luxor, the best ways to get between them, and what to see and do, I came across a number of threads, comments, and articles saying that taking a Nile River cruise was the best way. So, I decided it couldn’t hurt to look into it. After all, Egypt was one of my dream destinations so maybe a Nile River cruise would be worth the splurge.

psst check out my 1 minute highlights of Egypt video below!


Unsurprisingly, there are a million and one choices when it comes to Egyptian Nile cruises between Luxor and Aswan. Some were basic, offering nights sleeping on the deck of local feluccas under the stars. Others were five stars, world-class luxury. And, of course, everything in-between.

Nile Cruise, Egypt

I don’t even want to tell you how long I spend looking at and comparing the different Nile river cruises. I reached out to several companies for additional details and inquiring about add-ons. I broke down the different routes comparing the Aswan to Luxor cruises vs the Luxor to Aswan Cruises, then the 3-night vs 4-night cruises. Then finally, when that was all done, I compared the cruises to my original plan of a DIY method to see what offered the best deal, not just in terms of cost, but in terms of what we would get to experience. In the end, I realized that those comments and articles I read in the early days were right. A Nile cruise really is the best way to explore ancient Egypt. Here’s why.

A Nile Cruise Really is the Best ‘Bang for your Buck’

Edfu Temple

As I mentioned above there were a million Nile cruises to choose from.The one we went on wasn’t the fanciest Nile cruise on the market, but it was definitely one of the nicer ones and much more upscale than a basic felucca (I skipped this option because of the lack of onboard toilets- that was just asking for trouble). We did a 5 day, 4-night cruise from Luxor to Aswan on a nice ship with all meals included (except for drinks, which was a bit weird but they were super cheap). The main reason we picked this tour was good reviews, the timing worked, and our package included a private guide. One professional Egyptologist just for my brother and I. Which sounded a bit crazy but also awesome because we are both ancient Egypt nerds.

Sounds pretty swank, doesn’t it? Especially for someone trying to see Egypt on a budget. But guess what? We paid $395CAD*, taxes included, each for the whole package. That’s $79CAD per day for accommodation, transportation, 3 meals, tour entry, and a private guided tour of 2-4 sites each day. If that’s not a deal, then I don’t know what is. Especially because, in the end, our Nile river cruise actually ended up being cheaper than doing it all on our own. Not to mention it was a much more enjoyable experience.

*We did end up adding on a couple of extra sites, such as Abu Simbel, the light show at Karnak Temple, and the Nubian Village which bumped the prices up a couple hundred each. Totally worth it though! Also keep in mind these prices were from 2017.

A Nile Cruise is So Much Easier

Luxor Temple

Travelling through Egypt on your own isn’t exactly hard, but it’s not easy either. After spending so much time travelling solo through Southeast Asia I had an idea of what to expect and how to engage. Silly things like don’t just get into a taxi- make sure the meter is on or agree to a price ahead of time. Don’t really look at things unless you are actually interested in buying, etc. But, even with that experience behind me I had a couple tricky moments while travelling through Egypt and we were still constantly called after by shop vendors and touts (not troublesome, just annoying after the first 25 times).

Taking the Nile cruise took away a lot of those tricky situations. I didn’t have to worry about getting ripped off by taxis. I wasn’t left wondering whether the self-proclaimed guides who offered their services were legit or not. I didn’t have to stress making sure I got on the right bus or got off at the right stop. And, since I was travelling with a guide for the sites and attractions, we didn’t get harassed to shop nearly as much. I won’t go so far as to say it was a relief, because I do love having authentic experiences with locals and being subject to the everyday hustle and bustle, and we felt safe in Egypt, but I will admit that it was a nice break that did allow me to enjoy the experience more. Which I am very grateful for because our five days between Luxor and Aswan on our Egyptian Nile cruise were absolutely the highlight of our two weeks in Egypt. I’m sure some of that has to do with the fact that I was just able to relax, enjoy, and take it all in without the added stress of figuring out transportation, tickets, and guides on my own.

A Nile Cruise Allows You to See and Do More

Nile Cruise

Even if the Nile cruise we chose ended up being more expensive than our original DIY plans, we would have done it anyway. Because choosing a Nile cruise to travel between Luxor and Aswan offers travellers the opportunity to see and do so much more.

The most obvious aspect of this is the scenic cruising. Instead of cramming ourselves onto a bus to travel down boring old highways or bumpy roads, we got to sit on the sundeck and watch the wildlife, jungle, and desert hills go by. I spotted local fishermen at sunset, farmers with their cattle herds, and tons of beautiful scenery. So much of the cruising was peaceful and relaxing as we passed by lush green fields. It was a huge contrast to the dusty, noisy cities and something I’m thrilled that I got to see.

But while the cruising was definitely a plus, by choosing a Nile cruise over travelling by land, we also were able to add on a couple of extra stops that we probably wouldn’t have been able to do if we had planned this section of the trip on our own. Most people travelling by land focus on the attractions in Luxor then head straight to Aswan. On the Nile cruise, we got to add Edfu and Kom Ombo to out itinerary which allowed us to see two more temples: Edfu Temple and Kom Ombo Temple. Edfu Temple, which is dedicated to the God Horus, ended up being one of my favourite temples in Egypt. While Kom Ombo temple, which is dedicated to both Sobek and Horus, included a visit to the unique and strangely fascinating crocodile museum which has crocodile mummies among other things.

A Nile Cruise Isn’t as Touristic as You Think

Nubian Village Aswan

Part of why I wanted to do a DIY Egypt tour rather than join a group tour is because I love having the chance to meet and interact with locals. I was worried that by doing a Nile cruise, I would lose this aspect of my trip. But I didn’t.

Firstly, my private guide had lots of local friends and contacts in places he went. So my stroll through the market ended up turning into actually learning how Egyptian cotton scarves and alabaster were made. Things that I probably wouldn’t have experienced exploring on my own.

I was also surprised to learn that many Nile cruises are also incredibly popular among Egyptians as well. I would estimate that more than 50% of our specific cruise was made up of local Egyptians, many of which were fun and easy to talk to. I ended up making friends with an Egyptian woman at dinner one night when she explained to me the different Egyptian dishes and how to eat them. It was exactly the kind of local interaction I had hoped for.

So is a Nile Cruise the best way to go? I truly think so. I did tons of research before deciding to go this route and, now that I have done it, I honestly can’t imagine doing it any other way. An Egyptian Nile cruise offers so much and, with so many Nile cruise options, it’s pretty easy to find one that will fit your budget. Our Egypt Nile cruise was the highlight of our Egyptian vacation and I highly recommend one to anyone visiting Egypt.

Considering doing a Nile Cruise? I LOVE local activities with GetYourGuide which partners with trustworthy, local businesses. Take a look at:

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Don’t forget travel insurance!

Please do not travel without travel insurance! I’ve had to use it multiple times throughout my travels and it has saved me thousands of dollars. You can learn more about travel insurance here. If you are looking for a provider I love and recommend SafetyWing. For Canadian readers, take a look at SoNomad.

Book your accommodation

I love and recommend booking.com for accommodation. They have a range of hostels, guesthouses, hotels, and resorts. Plus, the platform has a great loyalty program that means the more you book, the more you can save. 

Book your tours

My go-to tour provider that I love to recommend is GetYourGuide. They have options all over the world and partner with local companies for everything from day trips to food experiences and even airport transfers. 

Get connected

If you want to have data while travelling for online maps or any other needs, an esim is one of the easiest solutions. I’m a big fan of Airalo and have used their sim cards around the world from Brazil to Uzbekistan, Greece to the USA. It’s really easy- you download the app, pick what country you want an esim for, and after you purchase it follow the installation instructions. You can use promo code HANNAH3326 to save $3USD on your next esim purchase. 

Not sure what to pack?

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Planning a trip to Egypt and debating a Nile Cruise? I'm sharing why an Egyptian Nile Cruise is definitely the best choice; for your wallet and for your adventures! #Egypt #Cruise #NileCruise


  1. Rebecca on June 5, 2018 at 8:53 am

    Fantatic! I would love to get over to Egypt soon

    • Hannah Logan on June 5, 2018 at 11:41 am

      It’s seriously one of my favs and the Nile Cruise was such a highlight!

  2. […] Read my post as to why a Nile cruise really is the best deal! […]

  3. Stephanie on June 9, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    I had no idea that a Nile Cruise was not only so affordable but would offer so much! Like you, Egypt has always been one of my dream destinations and I love all of your posts about your visit! You make it seem so much more doable than I thought.

    • Hannah Logan on June 10, 2018 at 4:51 pm

      It was not only affordable and a good deal in terms of what to see, but the highlight of our entire trip!

  4. michael on June 9, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    Quick question. Which boat were you on and how was the food..??

    • Hannah Logan on June 10, 2018 at 4:51 pm

      Food wasn’t decent. I wouldn’t rant and rave about it, but it was fine. I ate it, no problems. I think we were on a Movenpick…

  5. Adrienne on June 18, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    Hannah, did you do any diving while in Egypt? I am going to Hurghada in October for a beach and diving vacation.

    • Hannah Logan on June 19, 2018 at 12:09 am

      I did in Dahab! I asked a buddy who had a lot of Egypt diving experience and he suggested there since I was diving with my brother who was just certified. It was pretty relaxing and easy. I’d love to go back and go to Hurghada though because I think some of the bigger sites and wrecks are around there. That being said, if you do end up in Dahab definitely go to Liquid Adventures. They were fabulous!

  6. randy on November 10, 2018 at 11:35 pm

    Looking for your exact cruise and prices you have quoted and coming up empty—can you link to where you find that cruise and that price—THANKS!

    • Hannah Logan on November 11, 2018 at 1:47 am

      It’s been a year since I visited, more since I booked, so chances are prices have changed. The tour company’s name was Love Egypt tours. I think the boat they use depends on the dates.

  7. Cristina on March 19, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    Hi Hannah:

    Can I ask how was your email interaction with Love Egypt Tours? (Or did you use other methods). I have a feeling it’s a smaller company so Hass / Hassan answers his email usually after a long day.

    Also on your 5 day, 4-night cruise from Luxor to Aswan, did you have time to visit the sites? Do they stop for Esna, Edna, Kom Obo, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Colossi, Queen H, Valley of Kings etc.

    What was the price for water on the ship? small bottle? I’m not a big alcohol drinker. Do I have to buy “drink package”?


    • Hannah Logan on March 19, 2019 at 3:40 pm

      Hi Cristina,
      It is a small company. I booked blind through a 3rd party and (luckily) ended up with Love Egypt. But I think booking with them is a) cheaper and b) guarantees you actually get them. Hass is the boss- very nice man. I met him in Luxor- he’ll take care of you for sure even if he is a little slow in replying to emails.

      I’m not sure price of water on board, I went in November 2017 so it may have changed by now anyway. It’s not too expensive, though it is more expensive than what you can buy on the street. So I suggest getting small bottles for meals, but buying water for your day while out on the streets. Your guides can normally get you better prices anyway and will often offer to.

      We visited: Karnak Temple, Luxor Temple, Queen Hatshepsut’s temple, Valley of the Kings in Luxor. We also had some extra time so went to the Tombs of the Nobles (extra cost). On the way to Aswan we stopped at Kom Ombo, and Edfu. Then in Luxor we did the High Dam, Philae Temple, and we paid extra to go to Abu Simbel and the Nubian Village.

      • Cristina on April 8, 2019 at 1:23 pm

        Thank you Hannah. Sorry for the late response. I didn’t get an email telling me that you’ve already replied. I’m thinking of using Love Egypt (Hass) exclusively for the Nile and Cairo portions of our entire trip. Due to budget will have to visit the sites using private cars instead of the cruise.

        Can I ask how were the guides? I’m an Egyptology “illiterate” but just want to know if they spoke good English and gave adequate information? Thanks

        • Hannah Logan on April 8, 2019 at 2:32 pm

          The guides and drivers were fantastic. We did the cruise so had the same guide from Luxor-Aswan. His name is Abdul and he is amazing- great English, fantastic sense of humour, tons of fun! I met Hass as well, same thing- great English, fun personality. From my experience, they had an excellent and very professional team.

          • Cristina on April 8, 2019 at 2:34 pm

            Super. Good to know that you had good guides, drivers and the professional team. Thank you.

  8. Sandeep Ahuja on June 2, 2019 at 10:57 am

    You have answered so many of my questions in 15 minutes. Thank you.
    (I hope to book through the link you provided in the end)

  9. […] cruise, only a European River Cruise with Viking, a short Halong Bay Cruise in Vietnam, and a 5 day Nile River cruise in Egypt. While I loved all of these experiences, they were very different from the huge, oceanic cruise […]

  10. Keisha Finai on August 30, 2019 at 8:15 pm


    Recently booked a Nile Cruise with the company you recommended and am so beyond excited. We set sail on Monday, thank you for your advice! It really was a tough choice with how many options there are but after reading your reviews, we chose this one!


  11. Kristen B on September 15, 2019 at 3:49 am

    Which cruise did you book?

    • Hannah Logan on September 16, 2019 at 6:43 pm

      I booked online via a third party. The company we ended up being paired with was called Love Egypt Tours. It was fantastic!

  12. Kristen on September 15, 2019 at 3:52 am

    How did you get the private guide assigned to you on the cruise? Was it easy to book extra tours while on the cruise? Thanks

    • Hannah Logan on September 16, 2019 at 6:40 pm

      It was part of the package we booked- listed in the description. I reached out the company I booked with ahead of time to enquire about Abu Simbel (not included for us) and they just told us to bring the cash and would arrange it all- and they did! It worked out great.

  13. […] travel in Egypt we tend to think of the ancient history. The pyramids and the temples. Mummies and Nile cruises. Among the enchanting ruins is a splattering of chaos, especially when it comes to Cairo. Bazaars […]

  14. Ruwandi on October 12, 2022 at 4:11 am

    Hi, loved your post.
    I have a question please – does the cruise dock in the night (and we can hop off to eat out at a restaurant instead of having meals onboard) or day?

    • Hannah Logan on October 15, 2022 at 4:57 am

      Depends on where you stop. If you are stopped in a city then you can hop off sure. But some areas there isn’t much around so the best option is to eat on board.

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