Egypt Vacations: Enjoy An Unforgettable Luxury Nile Cruise

by Sam Njihia

From the ancient days of the Egyptian pharaohs, river Nile has been a top destination in Egypt travel. Luxury cruises in the Nile are today among the most enjoyable activities while on holiday in Egypt. The cruise affords you the chance to see most of the historical sites of ancient Egypt along the banks of the Nile, while enjoying your Egypt vacation in a relaxed manner. Fully equipped with restaurants, discotheques, lounge bars, shops and swimming pools, the Nile cruise ships are in actual sense floating hotels.

A typical luxury cruise ship in the Nile has air-conditioned rooms, though the rooms are slightly smaller than those of ordinary Egypt hotels based on land. The rooms have adequate space for twin beds, a private shower, nightstand and dresser, and a television. Like hotels and lodges, the cruisers are star graded according to their quality. Most of the top rated (5-star) cruisers are nearly as equipped as the luxury ocean cruise ships. Many travelers to Egypt agree that the Nile cruisers’ romance setting is superior to that of any other riverboats in the world.

Nile cruises normally take three, four or seven nights. During the cruise visitors see the most important and interesting monuments of ancient Egypt on the shorter and more popular cruises that ply between Luxor and Aswan. The more adventurous travelers or those on a tight budget avoid the luxury cruisers in favour of fellucas- the traditional Nile sailboats. The amenities on fellucas are very basic but are still a good option for budget visitors.

River Nile is deep calm and is at its most glorious at the Aswan – in deed a good place to embark on your Nile cruise. Aswan was for long Egypts southern frontier city and gateway to Africa. This was the region known as Upper Egypt, being upstream of the Nile. After Aswan, the Nile passes through a section of hard rock, resulting in rapids or cataracts.

Aswan is the home of a dark-skinned people, the Nubians, who are related to the people of Northern Sudan. The Nubian museum is one of the historical attractions in Aswan. The museum highlights the culture of Nubians from ancient days. At Elephantine island, you can also see a number of traditional Nubian villages.

About 48 km north of Aswan lies the historical Kom Ombo, home to the famous Graeco-Roman temple. Ptolemy VII is credited with having started the construction of this temple in the early second century BC. A number of his successors continued the work. This includes emperor Augustus in around 30BC.

The Graeco-Roman temple is in fact two separate temples, each dedicated to a different god. The southern temple is in honor of the crocodile god ” Sobek, while the northern temple is dedicated to Horus, the falcon god. Each temple has its own sanctuary, entrance, colonnades, and hypostyle hall. You get a chance to see mummified crocodiles in the Sobek temple.

Luxor is one other must-visit destination during your Nile cruise. The city is home to diverse historical monuments whose range and magnificence is unrivaled by any other location in Egypt. The city also went by the Greek name of Thebes. At around 2040 BC, Luxor was the capital city of Egypt. The Assyrians unsuccessfully attempted to destroy Thebes in the 7th century. After that, Luxor’s stature declined steadily till the Romans destroyed it in the first century BC.

Some of the important sites and attractions in Luxor include the Valley of the Kings and its necropolis complexes, the valley of the queens, and the tombs of other nobles. Due to its position in the Western bank of the Nile, Luxor was the burial ground for the nobles, including kings and queens. This follows the ancient Egypt tradition of burying their dead in the direction where the sun sets. You will also see a number of outstanding temples in Luxor.

The period from November to March is the best season for traveling to take a Nile cruise, owing to cooler temperatures. This being the peak tourism season in Egypt, you should start your tours early in the day to avoid crowds. It is also advisable to hire a local guide when visiting the monuments, though normally the guide will be provided if you buy a Nile Cruise package from a good travel agent.

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