The River Tosca price includes shore excursions, all of which are aimed at showing you the very best of ancient Egypt. You'll receive a packed itinerary that has at least one outing a day on it, and possibly up to three. The ship automatically sets your wakeup call, as early as 6 a.m. on some days, so you can sightsee before it gets too hot out. While these activities are optional, you'll want to push through the exhaustion to get the most out of your time, as there's nothing better than seeing these sites with a trained Egyptologist.
Egypt's revolution has affected some of the excursions that River Tosca offers, for both good and bad. On the positive side, you'll find almost no crowds at even the most famous sights, such as Luxor's Valley of the Kings, Temple of Hatshepsut and Temple of Karnak. But, the smaller numbers of tourists on the Nile means that Egyptian police no longer patrol the stretch of Nile between Luxor and Dendera, necessitating a long van ride to the Temple of Hathor instead of a mellow cruise. And street and shop vendors are noticeably more aggressive.
River Tosca has several optional tours, which you sign up for at the beginning of your trip. In our tour group of six, everyone paid the extra $299 for the flight down to Abu Simbel, the famed temple built by Ramses II, which turned out to be money well spent. The $30 extra excursion to the Luxor Sound & Light show garnered more mixed reviews. (Most Uniworld Egypt tours already include the Sound & Light show at the Giza pyramids.) Those who were spending extra time in Egypt were also given the opportunity to book a day trip to Alexandria.
Besides the shore excursions, there's no entertainment or onboard lecturing during the day. While a few guests passed the time playing cards, the games in the library sat unused. You're constantly learning about Egyptian history during the day, so most people used their downtime to relax and recharge. Happy hours were sporadically attended.
Every other night, River Tosca either brings local entertainers onboard or has its staffmembers sing and dance with the guests. During a recent voyage, a belly dancer and a Sufi whirling dervish performed near Luxor, and Nubian men danced and sang traditional songs when the ship was tied up near their native lands in Aswan.
On the ship's Egyptian-themed nights, the staff put on their galabeyas (loose tunics worn by Egyptians to beat the heat) and performed for the guests after dinner. On one of these nights, an impromptu dance party broke out after an impressive display of drumming, with guests getting down to songs from the 50's, 60's and 70's. But, on a subsequent evening, people were too tired to boogie, and the party petered out after the performance.