• Newsletter
  • Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Deals
  • Find a Cruise
  • Reviews
  • News
  • Cruise Tips
You may also like

Nile River Cruise Map: Everything You Need to Know

Kim Foley MacKinnon
Carolina Pirola

Aug 23, 2023

Read time
5 min read

Thousands of years of history, pyramids, Cleopatra, the Nile River: Any one of these reasons might draw you to Egypt. The Nile River in particular, which is 4,184 miles long, flows northbound through nine nations from Lake Victoria in Uganda to the Mediterranean Sea and is an enticing attraction on its own. One of the easiest and most rewarding ways to see the highlights of Egypt is on a Nile River cruise.

On a Nile River cruise, you’ll get a chance to visit all of those places you’ve heard about since childhood: the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Luxor, and, if you book an extension, Abu Simbel, Cairo, and the Red Sea.

What Is a Typical Nile River Cruise Itinerary?

The Sphinx and Pyramid, Cairo, Egypt (Photo: rayints/Shutterstock)

A Nile River cruise usually includes 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 (all of which is depicted in the above Nile River cruise map).

However, there are plenty of options in terms of length. Just bear in mind that the actual cruise will most likely be four or five days long. The rest of the time will be spent in Cairo.

Regardless of the length of your trip, the vast majority of Nile River cruises start in Luxor and end in Aswan, or vice versa. Longer itineraries include a couple of nights in Cairo or, possibly, pre- or post-cruise extensions to the Red Sea for snorkeling or diving.

On three- to four-day itineraries, Abu Simbel and Cairo are always paid extensions, as are hot-air balloon rides in Luxor. Longer itineraries often include a couple of nights in Cairo; sometimes, flights to Abu Simbel will also be included.

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.

Nile River Cruises Hit All the Main Egypt Landmarks

Nile River cruises are the best way to hit all the main sights in Egypt in a short time. If you start in Cairo, you’ll probably have a couple of days to explore the city and the pyramids before traveling by train or charter plane to Luxor, which is where you will board your cruise ship.

Most cruises will include visits to either all or a selection of the following landmarks:

  • In Luxor: Valley of the Kings, Temple of Karnak, Temple of Luxor, the Theban Necropolis, the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, the Colossi of Memnon

  • In Edfu: Temple of Edfu

  • In Kom Ombo: Temple of Sobek and Haroeris

  • In Aswan: Philae Temple and, if you book the paid extension, Abu Simbel

Countries Visited on Nile River Cruises

Although the river flows through multiple countries, Nile River cruises visit only Egypt.

Standout Cruise Ship Ports on Nile River Cruises in Egypt

Cairo: The capital of Egypt is a fast-paced, busy city known for being home to the world-renowned Giza Pyramids. This is often a pre- or post-cruise extension on shorter cruises, but it’s worth every penny. The Pyramids, the grand Egyptian Museum and the Tentmakers Market are only some of the top attractions you will want to visit in Cairo.

Luxor: If you’re booking a southbound Nile River cruise, chances are you’ll be boarding in Luxor, the ancient city of Thebes. Here, you can’t miss the Karnak Temple complex, the Luxor Temple, the Thebes Necropolis, the Valley of the Kings, the Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut and the Colossi of Memnon. The good news is that the vast majority of Nile River cruises include all of these in their itineraries.

Aswan: This is often the last stop (or the first if you’re traveling north) on any Nile River cruise. The city itself is laid-back, pretty and sunny. The exceptionally preserved Philae Temple is the main attraction here. If you have a couple of days in town, don’t miss the Unfinished Obelisk. This is also where you’ll have the chance to fly to Abu Simbel if you’ve booked the cruise extension.

Edfu: Less known than many of the other ports in most Nile River cruises, this city is home to the Edfu Temple, built during the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Upper Egypt and still nearly intact.

What Are the Best Nile River Cruises?

Since most Nile River cruises have similar itineraries, it’s better to pick yours based on your budget, the length of the sailing and the visits included in the standard fare.

The services, food quality and overall standards range widely between cruise lines. Well-known, international cruise lines such as Viking and Avalon are safe bets, with stellar cabins, good food and pleasant common spaces. A wide array of local or regional companies offer cheaper options with average food, simple air-conditioned cabins and a rooftop deck with loungers.

Why Go on a Nile River Cruise?

Cruise ship on the Nile River (Photo: erichon/Shutterstock.com)

If you want to hit the highlights of Egypt, then a Nile cruise might be your best bet because it 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, 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 a Nile River Cruise?

Group Camel Riding (Photo: travin_photo/Shutterstock)

A Nile River 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 Like a Nile River Cruise?

If you aren't a fan of hot weather or of crowds, you might want to think twice about a Nile River cruise. Temperatures 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.

Updated August 23, 2023
How was this article?
About UsCruise DestinationsFirst Time CruisersFind A Cruise

International Sites

© 1995—2023, The Independent Traveler, Inc.

  • Privacy and Cookies Statement

  • Terms of Use

  • Site Map