To Cruise or Not to Cruise?
When you travel to Egypt we are often asked if a cruise element is recommended.
The section between Luxor and Aswan is the section of the River Nile between which most cruising takes place. They are generally of 3 or 4 nights. En route the cruises stop at the main points such as Esna and Kom Ombo, plus you will go through the locks albeit you may not notice this if it is dark. Whether you go by road or river between Aswan and Luxor (or vice versa) you will visit the same sights.
The cruise vessels on the Nile vary enormously in quality, from the ‘cheap and cheerful’ to the ones we use. Note: we will only use and recommend the Premium Deluxe category based on years of experience.
A cruise on the River Nile is a wonderful experience for sure! Watching life on the river side (where a huge proportion of Egyptians live) is fascinating and at dusk, really atmospheric. A Nile River cruise is not like one of those big ship cruises with hundreds or even thousands of fellow travelers. On the Nile you will have little more than a hundred companions normally. That said, if you arrive at a sight with lots of other vessels it can seem busy!
If you go by road you will stay in a hotel, likely on the river side and stand a good chance of having fewer crowds at the sights in between Aswan and Luxor.
In short each has its advantages and it boils down to being a personal choice!
Update from Egypt
If you have not been to Egypt for a while and you go now, you will recognize the amazing antiquities but there may be other surprises for you.
First of all, Egypt takes great care of its famous, but potentially fragile, wonderful antiquities. (It sometimes amuses me that the only defacing or graffiti on them comes from English or French soldiers/workers who stumbled over them and wanted to leave their mark, but that was over 100 years and a lot more, ago!). The current generation is not only preserving them but equipping the sites to withstand more visitors and give a better visitor experience.
The Giza plateau, home to the Pyramids now has a much better road network for example, which generally keeps well away from the main sites and yet eases movement for all. Of course, the yet to open, Great Egyptian Museum is another example of showing off Egypt’s history in a much better way. More on that in the coming months.
There is work on modernizing the passenger rail network with improvements on many longer distance and inter city routes. We look forward to the day when the trip from Cairo to Luxor can be reasonably undertaken, reliably by train. There is work on the Cairo Metro and it will soon extend as far as the gateway to the Pyramids. A freight railway is being built from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, sort of a parallel route to the Suez Canal – which was famously blocked for a week or so a while back when a ship lost control!
The road network is being improved around Cairo and you may notice an improvement in Cairo’s notoriously bad traffic. If you go to Alexandria the Desert Road has massive construction ongoing but the journey times are ever improving.
It is good see real infrastructure improvements and replacements as the country tries to better position itself for the future.
The Great Egyptian Museum -latest
Jun2 2023 – After many delays the latest information is that the GEM will open, at least in part, at the end of 2023.
Where Has The Solar Boat Gone?
February 2022 – If you have been to see the Pyramids since 1982 you may have been in to the Solar Boat Museum, located right next to the largest Pyramid. It was situation where the Boat was found, in the 1950’s.
Now the Museum and Boat have gone and the view of the Pyramids is unobstructed once again.
Don’t worry, it has been relocated to the nearby Great Eygptian Museum!