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Cruises to Cairo (Port Said)

Cairo (Port Said) (Photo:Tunc Ozceber/Shutterstock)

About Cairo (Port Said)

Pick up just about any travel guide on Cairo, and you'll read about horrendous traffic, poor air quality, poverty and an unrelenting assault on the senses that can send the unprepared traveler into orbit.

The guides have it right. As cities go, Cairo is a tough customer. And the various strikes and protests that have continued since the country's January 2011 revolution -- some of them violent -- have made life in the Egyptian capital even more unpredictable.

But it's also a place with unique appeal. As a tourist destination, Cairo is known as the gateway to the legendary Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, fixtures in our psyche. But there are also mosques that are architectural masterpieces, still-inhabited neighborhoods that evoke thoughts of ancient Egypt, churches that date back to the beginning of Christendom, one of the largest bazaars in the world and, of course, the mighty Nile river.

Cairo traces its origins back to the Egyptian capital of Memphis, believed to have been founded in the fourth century B.C. Today, with a population of 16 million, it's both bustling and chaotic, but there are places to find respite, such as leafy Zemalek Island and the Citadel, the largest fortification in the Islamic world, which has dominated Cairo's skyline since 1176. From the Mohammed Ali Mosque at the fortress, you'll encounter views of the sand-colored city that bring to mind storybook Egypt. As a man notes in a tale from "One Thousand and One Nights," "He who has not seen Cairo has not seen the world."

Because it is often treated as a pass-through to the Pyramids and Nile River cruises, most travelers don't linger in Cairo -- except, perhaps, to take a perfunctory look at the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities' world-class collection of treasures or to take a curious look at Tahrir Square, where 2011's Arab Spring arguably began. And that's too bad, because this is a city that deserves far more than a fleeting first impression.

  • Why go to Cairo (Port Said)?

  • Cairo (Port Said) Cruise Port Facilities?

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Norwegian Dawn
Norwegian Dawn

14 Night
Cruise to Cairo (Port Said)Details

2,878 Reviews
Leaving:Tampa
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Feb 26, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Viking Mars
Viking Sky

35 Night
Cruise to Cairo (Port Said)Details

Leaving:Bangkok
Cruise Line:Viking Ocean Cruises
Apr 18, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Rhapsody of the Seas
Rhapsody of the Seas

7 Night
Cruise to Cairo (Port Said)Details

Leaving:Limassol
Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean International
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Norwegian Jade
Norwegian Jade

19 Night
Cruise to Cairo (Port Said)Details

Leaving:Athens
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Nov 13, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Virgin Voyages

11 Night
Cruise to Cairo (Port Said)Details

Leaving:Cairo
Cruise Line:Viking River Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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11 Night
Cruise to Cairo (Port Said)Details

24 Reviews
Leaving:Cairo
Cruise Line:Viking River Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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35 Night
Cruise to Cairo (Port Said)Details

Leaving:Athens
Cruise Line:Viking Ocean Cruises
Oct 25, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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22 Night
Cruise to Cairo (Port Said)Details

Leaving:Athens
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Oct 3, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Cruise to Cairo (Port Said)Details

Leaving:Athens
Cruise Line:Celestyal Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Cruise to Cairo (Port Said)Details

138 Reviews
Leaving:Barcelona
Cruise Line:Costa Cruises
Nov 4, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

11 Night
Cruise to Cairo (Port Said)Details

Leaving:Cairo
Cruise Line:Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Cruise to Cairo (Port Said)Details

Leaving:La Romana
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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5 Night
Cruise to Cairo (Port Said)Details

Leaving:Limassol
Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean International
May 16, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

20 Night
Cruise to Cairo (Port Said)Details

Leaving:Barcelona
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Nov 18, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Cruise to Cairo (Port Said)Details

Leaving:La Romana
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Mar 11, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Why go to Cairo (Port Said)?

Pros:

If you've dreamed of seeing the pyramids, you'll do it via Cairo, where you'll also find other architectural gems

Cons:

Cairo is a tough city, literally and figuratively, and might be a bit of culture shock for many visitors

Bottom Line:

If you can get past the grit and political unrest, you'll experience some of the world's greatest wonders here

Cairo (Port Said) Cruise Port Facilities?

In Alexandria, ships dock right at the passenger marine terminal, home to all manner of souvenir stands, as well as a queue of bright blue taxis. (It's about a 10-minute drive to the Corniche, the city's waterfront boulevard.) Set a price with your driver up front before you get in. The port itself is pretty buttoned down, and you'll need your passport to exit. Egypt does require a visa, which is handled in advance onboard.

If there is time, Alexandria -- the aptly named "Pearl of the Mediterranean" -- is definitely worth exploring. Don't miss the fabulous Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Opened in 2002, the beautifully styled library, with space for eight million books, was inspired by a library built there in the 3rd century B.C. In its day, it was considered the greatest library of all time, a magnet for the world's intelligentsia. The new library, designed as a sun rising out of the Mediterranean, is believed to have been built on the site of its ancient predecessor.

In Port Said, you're at the entrance of the Suez Canal, and it can be fun to watch the huge vessels coming through. The town has some nice 19th-century buildings along its waterfront (as well as some that are falling down), so you'll have a nice view as you enter. The Port Said cruise terminal has room for up to four ships of varying size, and there are souvenir stands and transportation available outside. If you aren't heading on to other historical sites, your best bet for entertainment is to take the ferry across the canal to nearby Port Fuad on the eastern side. (Check with your ship on the latest safety conditions before venturing afield.)

Good to Know?

First, the currency. Unscrupulous vendors may try to give you piaster notes instead of (Egyptian) pounds when making change. The bills look quite similar, so get familiar with them before going on a spending spree. Also, Egyptian vendors are notoriously aggressive. Don't give them money until you've agreed upon a price and have your purchase in your hand.

Since Egypt is a Muslim culture, it's wise to dress appropriately in more traditional areas and mosques. Women should take care to cover their upper arms, cleavage, midriff and legs when visiting a mosque. A hair covering isn't necessary. Except in tourist resorts, modesty is the best policy, or women may attract unwanted attention.

As for staying healthy, don't drink the tap water in Cairo -- even at the best hotels. It's also a good idea to avoid raw vegetables, fruit without peels and street food.

Finally, always have change on hand. Baksheesh is the word for tipping -- and it is a way of life there. Expect to tip toilet attendants 1 L.E. or, possibly, be denied use of the facility.

Getting Around?

Taxis tend to be the preferred mode of transportation for foreign visitors. Hotel taxis are more expensive than the black and white cabs that are hailed on the street. Some taxis have meters; if the one in your cab works, this is the cheapest option. Otherwise, set a price before you get in, and don't pay until you arrive at your destination. However, don't haggle, or you'll never get to where you're going. If you don't like the price, take the next taxi. Fares are paid in cash, and most drivers accept Egyptian pounds, dollars or euros (though your change will come back in Egyptian). It's not unusual to ask the driver to meet you at an appointed hour and place for the return trip. Ask your hotel concierge or tour guide about average prices. Also, it is common practice for taxis to pick up extra passengers traveling in the same direction, so don't be alarmed if your group grows.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The national currency is the Egyptian pound, or L.E., which is divided into 100 piasters, or P.T. Visit www.oanda.com or www.xe.com for up-to-the-minute exchange rates. (Oanda also has a nice "cheat sheet" conversion chart that fits neatly into a wallet.)

Egypt is still largely a cash economy, though credit cards are widely accepted in finer stores, restaurants and hotels. Vendors will take American dollars, euros and Egyptian pounds interchangeably (although your change will come back in Egyptian currency). ATM's tend to be the least expensive way to obtain local currency. Note: Try not to have any Egyptian money left at the end of your stay, as you cannot exchange it outside of Egypt.

Language?

Egyptians speak Arabic, but you'll find that most people involved in the tourism industry know English.

Where You're Docked?

Mediterranean cruise ships dock in Alexandria and Port Said, each about a 2.5-hour drive from Cairo. Shore excursions to Cairo from both ports are routine. Many ships drop passengers off at one port and then pick them up the next day at the next, allowing for an overnight in Cairo.

Cairo also serves as the port of entry for Nile River cruises, which operate strictly between Luxor and Aswan. Passengers frequently overnight for one or more days in Cairo before taking the short flight to Luxor or Aswan meet their ships.


Cairo (Port Said) Cruise Reviews
Excellent tour. Time at pyramids was very limited, but was sufficient for us. Read More
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Clearwaterteacher
No stop at Cairo although transition through the canal is a must see experience Read More
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*marineboy
Never done before the Suez channel. A highlightRead More
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scheest
The Suez Canal.....enough saidRead More
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Heather681

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