Thousands of years history, pyramids, Cleopatra, Agatha Christie: Any one of these reasons might draw you to Egypt, where the Nile, an amazing 4,184 miles long, runs from Lake Victoria in Uganda to the Mediterranean Sea (as seen here on our Nile River cruise map). Making its way through nine nations, it also flows south to north, unlike most rivers.

Whatever the reason for your visit, one of the easiest and most rewarding ways to see the highlights of Egypt is on a cruise. Itineraries on the river usually include tours of landmark sights in Cairo, Luxor and Aswan, with the opportunity to visit more secluded temples, such as Abu Simbel, through a flight trip. A typical schedule includes cruising at night and tours on land during the day, usually in the morning or late afternoon to beat the heat.

Countries Visited:

  • Egypt

Standout Ports:

  • Cairo
  • Luxor
  • Aswan
  • Edfu

Map of a Nile River cruise route (Image: Viking River Cruises)

Reason(s) to Go: You want to hit the highlights of Egypt, and a Nile cruise takes you to the famous temples and tombs found along it in comfort and style. Depending on the length of your cruise, you'll be able to visit Luxor, Karnak, Kom Ombo, Edfu, Dendera, and the Valley of the Queens and Valley of the Kings. All sorts of optional activities -- such as taking off in a hot air balloon, camel rides and sailing on a felucca boat -- are often offered on Nile River cruises.

Who Would Love It: A Nile sailing is ideal for anyone interested in history, archaeology, pyramids, temples, tombs and pharaohs. When you're gliding along the river, it might seem as if you've been transported back in time.

Who Wouldn't: If you aren't a fan of hot weather or of crowds, you might want to think twice about a Nile cruise. Temps can reach over 100 degrees, and many sites offer little shade. Most tours from various outfits and cruises will head out early to avoid the heat, though this means some attractions are overcrowded at times.

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