Nile cruise and Egypt has always been a bucket list as I grew up with Agatha Christie books.
When I first browsed about Nile Cruise, the standard packaged will be 4D3N from Aswan to Luxor or 5D4N from Luxor to Aswan. I didn’t have much time in Egypt to be spent on a 4 days cruising and also it comes with a hefty price tag. So I had to sadly bid farewell to Nile Cruise until I read about last minute Nile Cruise.
What is a last minute Nile Cruise?
What tour operator did not tell you is in the Nile Cruise, the actual boat did not actually sail all those times. For instance in a 4D3N cruise, the boat docks the whole day on Day 1 and only start sailing on Day 2 (either morning or afternoon). So the boat is actually like a moving hotel only on Day 1 and Day 4.
Nile cruise boats typically depart from Aswan on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. From Luxor the boats typically depart on Sunday and Tuesday.
International tour operators sell a lot of boats and names but in the end they put together guests into a few boats and tell the guests after arrival that the boat names have been changed. The remaining rooms in the boat which have not been sold to the international tour operator then being sold to Egyptian Travel agents.
I paid $75/night/person for the last minute cruise. Waleed got us a suite room for the 3 of us in MS Opera. Food is included except for drinks which we have to pay separately
This is MS Opera cruise itinerary from Aswan to Luxor:
Day 2: Where we checked in. Boat sailed 13.30 and we had lunch as it sailed. There is Tea time at 15.00-15.30. Stop in Kom Ombo temple at sunset for 2 hours before it sail again. Dinner and Galabeya party
Day 3: Stop in Edfu temple before sunrise. Breakfast. Sailing past Edna Lock. Lunch. Reaching Luxor around Tea time. The boat then docks in Luxor and people have free time to go and see Luxor. Dinner from 19.00-21.00 followed by Belly dancing show in the lounge.
Day 4: Open for breakfast from 06.00 to 07.30 and everybody need to check out by 8am
My opinion about Nile Cruise
I found Nile cruise to be a nice slow way to travel between Aswan to Luxor with added bonus to visit 2 temples along the way and see life goes by at Nile river in a style. Last minute cruise works out to be more value of money for me because it is not bundled and we enjoy the experience of having our own private guide rather than travelling together in a big group.
The weakness of last minute cruise is of course you don’t know which boat you will get and you just have to trust that your agent will find a nice boat which schedule will fit your itinerary. That is why finding a reputable local agent is important.
Alternative way to travel between Aswan to Luxor is via car which will take around 6-7 hours (in a not always smooth road) or take the train direct and skip both temples