Nile River Cruises

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Review of Nile River Cruises

Egypt cruises on Nile River and Lake Nasser are of those experiences imperative to take at least once in a lifetime. Nile River has been the lifeline of Egypt since ancient times and the best way to trace the passage of Egypt's history is to follow the course of the river.

Nile cruise itineraries are between the ports of Luxor and Aswan. River cruising is a comfortable, luxury hotel-style way to visit Upper Egypt's archaeological sites. Most voyages on the river depart from Cairo and last between 3 and 7 days (round-trips), rarely over a week. Longer itineraries offer additional hotel stays in both embarkation / disembarkation ports, but also in the companies' privately owned hotel and resort properties located on Egypt's Red Sea coast - in or near the resort towns and port cities Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, El Gouna, El Quseir, Makadi Bay, Sokhna (55 km / 35 mi south of Suez).

Egypt Nile river cruises - CruiseMapper

Nile-based cruise ships - the very boats cruising the mighty river - are generally larger in comparison to typical river cruise ships, for example, to those sailing on European waterways. Each vessel accommodates up to 200 passengers. Similar sized (bigger) riverboats can be only deployed on wider inland waterways, such as Yangtze (in China), or Mississippi (in the USA).

Lake Nasser and Nile river cruises in Egypt

The Nile is a major river in northeastern Africa. This very special north-flowing waterway is generally regarded as the longest in the world at 4258 ml (6853 km). The resources of the Nile are shared by eleven countries, and the river is also the primary water source of Sudan and Egypt.

The Greek historian Herodotus once wrote that "Egypt was the gift of the Nile". Being a precious source of sustenance, Nile provided a crucial role in the evolution of Egyptian civilization. As the river played such an important role, even the ancient calendar was based on the 3 cycles of Nile.

To sail these life-giving waters, surrounded by millennia-old sites, is an unforgettable experience through Egypt’s heritage. Step back in time to explore the ancient wonders of the Great Hypostyle Hall of Karnak, the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Luxor, as well as temples devoted to Egypt's pantheon of gods and goddesses.

Colourful bazaars, ancient temples, and pyramids, that were already ancient by the time of Cleopatra, only begin to mark the highlights of the unique cruising vacation on Nile River through Egypt. Itineraries commonly include tours of landmarks in Aswan, Cairo, and Luxor, as well as visits to solitary temples, such as Abu Simbel. The Nile River cruise offers plenty of tours, but there is also time to relax while watching this ancient world float by.

Nile River cruse ship MS Mayfair

List of Lake Nasser cruise ships

These are the names of the few big-sized hotel ships and new riverboats deployed at Lake Nasser in Egypt:

  • Movenpick Prince Abbas - departures are on Monday (from Aswan) and on Friday (from Abu Simbel).
  • Movenpick Darakum (Nile River) - departures are on Monday (from Luxor) and on Friday (from Aswan).
  • SS Sphinx (2020, Nile River) is Uniworld's ship in Egypt, deployed on the route Aswan-Luxor (transfer flights Cairo-Luxor-Cairo).
  • AmaDahlia (2021, Nile River) is AmaWaterways' new boat with scheduled roundtrips from Luxor (transfer flights Cairo-Luxor-Cairo).
  • Kasr Ibrim - departures are on Saturday (from Aswan) and on Wednesday (from Abu Simbel). The ship is also exclusively chartered by Viking Cruises.
  • Steigenberger Omar El Khayam - departures are on Monday (from Aswan) and on Friday (from Abu Simbel). The ship is also exclusively chartered by Viking Cruises.
  • Movenpick MS Hamees - departures are on Monday (from Luxor) and on Friday (from Aswan). The boat is also chartered to Emerald Waterways and Riviera Travel UK.
  • MS Farah (2011-built, Nile River) operates between Aswan and Luxor. The ship is also exclusively chartered by Avalon Waterways.
  • MS Nubian Sea - departures are on Monday (from Aswan) and on Friday (from Abu Simbel).
  • MS Eugenie - departures are on Friday (from Aswan) and on Monday (from Abu Simbel).

Nile River cruise package prices

In this section are listed several of the numerous Nile cruise travel package deals. Know, that all offers and their pricing are only indicative. Prices are per person, in USD, and represent the lowest possible cruise fares. Group booking rates are different, and dependent on the number of passengers.

  • 1-Day Fishing Trip In Luxor (prices start from USD 100) - Nile river fishing trips give the opportunity to cruise on a traditional for Egypt sailboat (like Felucca) in the region of Luxor. Deals are inclusive of one oriental meal. No cabin or entertainment are included.
  • 1-Day Cruise From Luxor To Dendera Temple (prices start from USD 100) - the small boat cruise visits the Temple of Hathor.
  • 3-Night / 4-Day Cruise from Aswan to Luxor or the reverse Luxor to Aswan - prices start from USD 350).
  • 4-Night / 5-Day Cruise Tour Luxor-Aswan, or the reverse Luxor–Aswan - prices start from USD 420.
  • 7-Night / 8-Day Cruise Tour Luxor to Aswan, or the reverse Aswan to Luxor - prices start from USD 740.
  • 7-Night / 8-Day Red Sea and Nile Cruise - prices start from USD 730. The itinerary includes 3-night "Red Sea Cruise" round-trip from Hurghada, followed by 4-night "Nile Cruise" from Luxor or Aswan. The same pricing is offered on the tour package that includes 3-night "Nile Cruise", followed by 4-night Red Sea Cruise" round-trip from Hurghada.
  • 7-Night / 8-Day Cruise Tour from Cairo - prices start from USD 900. The itinerary includes 3-night Cairo hotel package, day tours visiting The Great Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx, the Sakkara necropolis (Zhoser’s step pyramid), Cairo Airport transfers, domestic (Egypt) flight travel to Luxor, a transfer from Luxor Airport to the ship and embarkation before lunch. On day 7 there is onboard Breakfast and disembarkation from the ship, transfer to Aswan Airport, domestic (Egypt) flight travel to Cairo, transfer to a Cairo hotel (second overnight stay), and on day 8 there is a Breakfast, hotel checkout and transfer to Cairo Airport. International flights to and from Egypt are not included in cruise fares.
  • 7-Night / 8-Day "Nile and Red Sea Cruise Tour from Cairo" (round-trip) - prices start from USD 1200. Itineraries start and end in Cairo (Sunday to Sunday, Tuesday to Tuesday, or Thursday to Thursday). Deals are inclusive of Cairo Airport meet, visiting the Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx, transfer a Cairo hotel(overnight stay), domestic (Egypt) flight Cairo to Aswan, visiting the Temple of Philae, transfer to the ship, embarkation before lunch. On day 5 there is disembarkation, visiting the Valley of Kings, bus travel from Luxor to Hurghada (the Red Sea, approx 280 km / 175 ml drive distance), a Hurghada hotel (2 overnights). On day 7 there is bus travel from Hurghada to Cairo (approx 450 km / 280 ml drive distance), a Cairo hotel (overnight). On day 8 is the hotel check out and transfer to Cairo Airport.
  • 11-Night / 12-Day "Nile and Red Sea Cruise" - prices start from USD 1150. The itinerary includes 7-night "Nile Cruise" from Luxor or Aswan, followed by 4-night "Red Sea Cruise" round-trip from Hurghada. The itinerary includes arrival in Luxor (private arrangement), transfer to the ship, embarkation before lunch. On day 8 there is Breakfast and disembarkation in Luxor, bus travel to Hurghada, plus 4-day Hurghada hotel package (included meals - Breakfast and Dinner).

Egypt river cruise ship companies

Among the largest cruise companies operating on the Egypt river cruising market (the Nile and Lake Nasser) are the "hotels, resorts and cruise" brands Travcotels, Steigenberger, Jaz, Sonesta, Iberotel, Sanctuary, Oberoi, Movenpick.

  • Travco Group (founded 1979) is a large corporation that owns around 160 luxury hotels, resorts and river cruise ships. The "Travco Travel" company handles over 1,3 million tourists annually. Among its renowned brands are the luxury resort and hotel chains Jaz, Travcotels, Iberotel, Steigenberger, Sol Y Mar. Since 2010, Travco and Air Arabia have a joint venture domestic airline called "Air Arabia Egypt"(50% Travco, 40% Air Arabia, 10% private investors). Travco Group has its network of local tour operators.
  • Oberoi (founded 1934) is an award-winning chain of 30+ luxury hotels and resorts located in premium destinations in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India, Indonesia, Mauritius. The company's head office is in Delhi, India.
  • Sonesta International Hotels Corporation owns prime hotel and resort properties in Egypt, USA, Brazil, Peru, Italy, Bermuda. The company also privately owns 4 luxury Nile cruise ships.
  • Movenpick Group (founded 1973, headquarters in Baar, Switzerland) is a joint venture hotel company owned by Movenpick Holding (66,7%) and Kingdom Holding Company (Saudi Arabia, 33,3%). Movenpick operates around 110 hotels, resorts, and Nile ships.
  • The hotel chain serves 5.8 million people per year, and in 2003 was named the “fastest growing hotel chain in the Middle East” by The World Travel Market.
  • CEO Jean-Gabriel Pérès left the company in early 2016. His replacement, Olivier Chavy, took over in September 2016.
  • Sanctuary Retreats is a chain of 17 luxury African safari camps and lodges, plus 6 luxury cruise ships operating on rivers in Egypt (Nile), Burma / Myanmar (Ayeyarwady, Chindwin) and China (Yangtze).

List of owned by Egypt river cruise companies hotels and resorts

Follows the list of owned by Nile riverboat cruise lines hotels and resorts. These are premium location properties, that are included in the "cruise and hotel" package. Another option is to book "cruise and stay" package that includes more hotel overnights or even resort vacation in Egypt - all at discounted pricing.

  • Iberotel's hotels in Egypt are named: Iberotel Makadi Beach (Hurghada), Iberotel Luxor, and Iberotel Palace (Sharm El Maya Bay).
  • Steigenberger's leisure properties in Egypt are named: Steigenberger Cecil Hotel (Alexandria), Steigenberger El Tahrir (Cairo), Steigenberger Golf Resort (El Gouna), Steigenberger Al Dau Beach Hotel (Hurghada), Steigenberger Aqua Magic (Hurghada), Steigenberger Nile Palace (Luxor), Steigenberger Makadi (Madinat Makadi, Safaga), Steigenberger Coraya Beach (Marsa Alam), and Steigenberger Alcazar (Sharm El Sheikh).
  • Oberoi's leisure properties in Egypt are named: The Oberoi Philae (hotel ship), Oberoi Zahra (hotel ship), and Sahl Hasheesh (on the Red Sea, across Sharm El Sheik, approx 18 km / 11 mi south of Hurghada Airport).
  • Sonesta's leisure properties In Egypt are named: "Sonesta Cairo Hotel, Tower & Casino", "Sonesta Beach Resort & Casino" (Sharm El Sheikh, Red Sea), and "Sonesta Pharaoh Beach Resort" (Hurghada, Red Sea).
  • (Travco) Jaz Travel hotels and resorts in Egypt (on Red Sea, near Sharm El-Sheikh) are named Jaz Belvedere (El Montaza), Jaz Fanara Resort (Ras Om El-Seid), Jaz Mirabel Beach (Nabq Bay), Jaz Mirabel Club (Nabq Bay), Jaz Mirabel Park (Nabq Bay), Sol Y Mar Naama Bay, and Sol Y Mar Sharks Bay. Jaz Travel properties near Marsa Alam are named: Jaz Dar El Madina, Jaz Lamaya, Jaz Samaya, and Jaz Solaya. Company's leisure properties near Hurghada (Madinat Makadi) are named Jaz Acquaviva, Jaz Makadi Oasis Club, Jaz Makadi Oasis Resort, Jaz Makadi Saraya Palms, Jaz Makadi Saraya Resort, Jaz Makadi Star & Spa, Jaz Makadina, Sol Y Mar Makadi Sun, and Sensimar Makadi Hotel. The company's leisure properties in Hurghada (Magawish District) are named Jaz Aquamarine, Jaz Bluemarine, and Sol Y Mar Ivory Suites.
  • Movenpick resort and hotel properties in Egypt are mainly at the Red Sea - in Hurghada (incl Soma Bay), El Gouna (approx 30 km / 19 ml from Hurghada Airport), El Quseir, Ain Sokhna, Sharm el Sheikh, and Taba (Gulf of Aqaba). In Cairo are Movenpick Hotel Cairo Pyramids, and Movenpick Hotel & Casino Cairo.

Note: You can see the CruiseMapper's list of all river cruise ships and riverboats in the "itinerary" section of our River Cruises hub. All companies and their fleets are listed there.


Itinerary of Nile River Cruises

This is a review of the longest (12 days) the Red Sea and Nile cruise itinerary, as it includes the typical Nile River itinerary with all its ticket price inclusive tours, also domestic flights (in Egypt, between embarkation/disembarkation ports) and the coach transfers to and from the ship. The itinerary map below shows also Lake Nasser.


(Day 1) Arrival in Luxor and Embarkation

  • Arrival in Luxor, bus transfer to the ship, embarkation before lunch.
  • Tours included on the river's East Bank - Temple of Karnak, Temple of Luxor
  • Bus transfer to the ship
  • Onboard welcome dinner, overnight stay on the ship in Luxor
  • Lunch and Dinner are included.

(Day 2) Southbound cruising from Luxor to Esna

  • Onboard Breakfast
  • Tours included on the river's West Bank - Valley of Kings, Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut (aka Djeser-Djeseru, at Deir El-Bahari), Colossi of Memnon
  • Cruising to Esna Lock
  • Onboard Lunch
  • Arrival in Esna (Dinner and overnight on the ship)
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner are Included.

(Day 3) Southbound cruising from Esna to Edfu and Kom-Ombo

  • Onboard Breakfast
  • Cruising to Edfu
  • Arrival in Edfu (on the river's West Bank) - an included tour to Temple of Edfu (God Horus).
  • Cruising to Kom-Ombo
  • Onboard Lunch
  • Arrival in Kom-Ombo (on the river's East Bank) - an included tour to Temple of Kom-Ombo (God Sobek and God Haroeris).
  • Onboard Dinner and overnight on the ship in Kom-Ombo
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner are Included.

(Day 4) Southbound cruising from Kom-Ombo to Aswan

  • Onboard Breakfast
  • Arrival in Aswan (aka Assuan, on the river's East Bank), onboard Lunch
  • Included tours to Temple of Philae (relocated to the nearby Agilkia Island), Aswan High Dam, Unfinished Obelisk, boat tour (by felucca/traditional for Egypt wooden sailing boat) around Elephantine Island and the Aswan Botanical Gardens.
  • Dinner and overnight on the ship in Aswan
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner are Included.

(Day 5) Optional tour from Aswan to bu Simbel

  • Overnight stay on the ship in Aswan
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner are Included.

(Day 6) Northbound cruising from Aswan to Kom-Ombo, Edfu, and Esna

  • Overnight stay on the ship in Esna
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner are Included.

(Day 7) Northbound cruising from Esna to Luxor

  • Optional excursion - Luxor Museum
  • Overnight stay on the ship in Luxor
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner are Included.

(Day 8) Cruise ending (disembarkation), transfer to Hurghada (Red Sea)

  • Onboard Breakfast, follows disembarkation and transfer (bus travel) to Hurghada
  • A Hurghada hotel check-in, free exploration time
  • Breakfast and Dinner are Included.

(Day 9, 10, 11) Hurghada (Red Sea)

  • Hotel Breakfast, free exploration time
  • Optional tour - Giftun Island snorkeling (lunch included)
  • Breakfast and Dinner are Included.

(Day 12) Hurghada (cruise vacation ending)

  • Hotel Breakfast, transfer to Hurghada Airport for departure.
  • Breakfast is included.

Avalon Waterways' Nile cruise itineraris are roundtrips from Cairo, with included all 4x Cairo hotel overnight stays and two domestic flights (Cairo-Aswan and Luxor-Cairo). Avalon Waterways currently charters for its Egypt Nile cruisetours the ship MS Farah.

Viking Cruises' "Nile and Lake Nasser" itinerary

Next is shown the Viking River Cruises' Nile and Lake Nasser cruise itinerary map. Also round-trip from Cairo, this river cruise tour includes an additional flight from Aswan to Abu Simbel, where the Lake Nasser based ship is docked for embarkation. From Abu Simbel, the riverboat visits Kasr Ibrim and Amada.


The itinerary (themed "Pathways of the Pharaohs") is also operated by the newbuilds Viking Ra (2018), Viking Osiris (2022), Viking Aton (2023), Viking Hathor (2024) and Viking Sobek (2025). Its total duration is 12 days, with included 17 guided tours and excursions ashore.

Below listed tours are all included in the fares.

  • (Day 1, 2, 3) Cairo - 3-night stay
  • (Day 2) tour to Sakkara necropolis, Giza Plateau, Great Pyramids (Khufu, Khafre, Menkaure), camel ride, Great Sphinx
  • (Day 3) tour to Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, guided city tour (Saladin Citadel, Muhammad Ali Mosque), walking tour (bazaar, Al-Aqmar Mosque), Al-Azhar Park dinner
  • (Day 4) flight from Cairo to Luxor, in Luxor - tour to the Temples of Luxor and Karnak, embarkation, optional tour (Karnak Temple - evening sound and light show)
  • (Day 5) Luxor - optional tour (hot air balloon ride over the temples and monuments), including tours to Valley of the Kings and Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, Mad─źnat Habu, Mortuary Temple of Ramses III. Follows cruising to Edfu.
  • (Day 6) Edfu - horse-drawn carriage ride (tour) to Temple of Horus. Follows cruising to Kom-Ombo (arrival, tour to the temple of Haroeris and Sobek. Follows cruising to Aswan (dinner time arrival), an onboard Nubian party in the evening (traditional music and dancing)
  • (Day 7) Aswan - tour to Philae Temple (Isis), tour to Nubian Museum (gardens, terraced waterfalls), tour to Aswan High Dam, a scenic boat tour on a felucca sailboat, overnight in Aswan
  • (Day 8) Abu Simbel (flight from Aswan), arrival, tour to the temples, embarkation on the Lake Nasser cruise ship. Optional evening tour - Abu Simbel temples (sound and light show)
  • (Day 9) Lake Nasser cruising to Kasr Ibrim and Amada (sun deck / onboard lecture on Kasr Ibrim Fortress, Amada arrival in the afternoon, tour to Temple of Amada (by Pharaoh Thutmose III, dedicated to Amun), cruising to Wadi el Seboua
  • (Day 10) disembarkation, excursion to Wadi el Seboua (Valley of the Lions), tour to Temple of Dakka (Thoth) and Temple of Meharakka, afternoon cruising back to Aswan, evening Nubian show (traditional music, dance, costumes)
  • (Day 11) Aswan - morning arrival, breakfast, tour to Temple of Kalabsha (God Mandulis), tour to Aswan High Dam, shore lunch, transfer to Aswan Airport (flight to Cairo). 1 overnight in a luxury hotel (Citystars Cairo, or similar first-class hotel, dinner is included. Optional tour - Giza pyramids (sound and light show).
  • (Day 12) Cairo - hotel breakfast and transfer to Cairo Airport for the return flight from Egypt.

Viking Cruises Nile River itinerary map (Egypt)Viking's Nile cruise fares are inclusive of:

  • 4-night Nile River voyage
  • 3-night Lake Nasser voyage
  • 3-night Cairo hotel package (Sofitel Cairo El Gezirah)
  • 1-night luxury Cairo hotel stay (Cairo CityStars)
  • 17 fully escorted and professionally guided tours - each led by a certified Egyptologist
  • A total of 11 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 9 dinners, including Welcome Cocktail Reception and Gala Dinner
  • Complimentary beverages (wine, beer, soft drinks - during onboard dinners and lunches)
  • 3 domestic (Egypt) flights
  • Onboard enrichment programming (in-depth narration by Egyptologists, Nubian evening event), also camel riding
  • All transfers and port charges.

Note: In March 2018, the company started its own operations on Nile River with the newly refurbished/reconstructed ship Viking Ra.

Nile River cruise fleet

Follows a list of large-sized riverboats operating on the Nile River in Egypt. Most of the vessels are operated as "hotel ships". It means they are moored dockside and their staterooms are bookable as hotel accommodations. In brackets are shown the shipowners and hotel brand companies' names.

  • (Sunrise Resorts and Cruises Egypt ships) Sunrise Terramar, Sunrise Semiramis 1, Sunrise Semiramis 2, Sunrise Semiramis 3
  • (Travco Group / Travco-Steigenberger Hotels and Resorts ships) Steigenberger Minerva, Steigenberger Legacy
  • (Travco Group / Travcotels ships) Regina, Regent, Nile Monarch, Nile Empress, Lady Sophia, Imperial, Helio, Crown Prince, Crown Jewel
  • (Travco Group / Travco-Jaz Hotels and Resorts ships) Jaz Jubilee, Jaz Regency, Jaz Senator, Jaz Yakouta
  • (Travco Group / Travco-Iberotel Hotels and Resorts ships) Iberotel Crown Empress, Iberotel Crown Emperor
  • (Movenpick Hotels and Resorts ships) Sun Ray, Royal Lotus, Royal Lily, Hamees, Darakum
  • (Oberoi Hotels and Resorts) Oberoi Philae
  • (Presidential Nile Cruises ships) Nile Symphony, Nile Ritz, Nile Plaza, Nile Odyssey, Nile Commodore, Nile Admiral
  • (Grand Circle Cruise Line GmbH) River Anuket
  • (Grand Cruises Egypt ships) Nile Romance, Nile Beauty, Grand Star, Grand Rose, Grand Preziosa, Grand Palm, Grand Glory
  • (Sakkara Tours ships) Monte Carlo, Monaco, Mojito
  • (Amarco Nile Cruise) Amarco II Antares
  • Tamr Henna, Tower Prestige
  • Stephanie, Solaris II, Sentido Mahrousa
  • Royal Viking, Royal Ruby, Royal Esadora
  • Ra I, Ra II
  • Nubian Sea, Nile Supreme, Nile Smart, Nile Rhapsody, Nile Premium, Nile Festival, Nile Crown
  • Moon Dance, Monica, Magic I
  • Lady Mary, Lady Carol
  • Golden Boat
  • Eugenie, Emilio
  • Domina Prestige
  • Amarante Osiris, Amarante Isis, Alexander The Great


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