Follow in the footsteps of the pharaohs as you drift down Egypt’s most famous river on our pick of the 10 most luxurious and best Nile cruise ships. The river Nile extends from Luxor to Aswan. Iconic landmarks and ancient gems, including the religious sites and temples at Kom Ombo, Edfu, and Esna, are dotted along its vast banks, and the best way to see them is to cruise the Nile.
A captivating itinerary can be enjoyed aboard each of the best Nile cruise ships that we have handpicked below. We include options that range from the ultra-luxury to more 5-star budget cruises that still offer the journey of magic and mystery that you desire.
Best of all, by taking a cruise, you will float effortlessly down the Nile and can enjoy a range of incredible trips with minimal effort. From the Pyramids of Giza to the impressive Karnak Temple and all the magnificent obelisks, columns, sphinxes, and statues, trips are laid on for you during the day, and you can escape the dusty roads and coaches in the evening once you are back on the boat.
With many of the stunning historic sites just steps from your boat’s mooring, drifting down the Nile on a river cruise really is the best way to see the treasures of this magnificent country. Many of these Nile cruises also focus on the lesser-known historic gems that you never knew existed, so that your journey is one of exploration too.
The best time to take your Nile River cruise is between October and April. During this period, it’s not too hot so days spent exploring Ancient Egyptian temples will be a lot more pleasant. The peak of the summer heat occurs from June to August so it’s definitely worth avoiding these months.
1. Salacia Nile Cruise
Discover 5,000 years of Egyptian culture on a cruise from Luxor to Aswan aboard the Salacia Nile Cruise. With 160 passengers, this is one of the best large Nile cruise ships. It feels boutique but spacious and is spread over 225 to 300 square feet. All rooms offer a panoramic view of the Nile and its banks, so you will be sure to enjoy a Nile cruise to remember.
The extraordinary 4 day Nile Cruise on the MS Salacia Cruise Ship is a relaxing experience. Commemorate this upper Egypt journey with some archaeological visits to various locations such as Karnak, Luxor Temples and High Dam, and many other offboard and onboard activities.
Included in this Nile cruise is the accommodation on board the MS Salacia on a full board basis, shore excursions and Nile Cruise sightseeing tours, meet and greet service upon arrival & departure. all transfers by a private air-conditioned vehicle. Free Wifi is included onboard the cruise along with free re-fill minbar with mineral water and soft drinks, all sightseeing tours and excursions, entrance fees to all sights between Luxor and Aswan as per itinerary, and an English-speaking tour guide for all Nile Cruise tours and shore excursions.
Excursions include Karnak Temple & Luxor Temples, Valley of the Kings & Hatshepsut Temple, Edfu & Kom Ombo Temples, Philae Temple, High Dam & the Unfinished Obelisk.
2. Movenpick MS Royal Lotus Nile Cruise
If your budget is stretched, the Movenpick MS Royal Lotus Nile cruise ship is one of the best cheaper Nile cruise alternatives, whilst maintaining a 5 star level of luxury.
Dive into aromatic cuisine, breathtaking scenery, and beautiful landscapes as you lay back and enjoy a Nile Cruise on the Movenpick MS Royal Lotus Nile cruise ship. This 5-star Deluxe Nile cruise will allow you to discover the ruins of Ancient Egypt with style and comfort. This river cruiser is appointed with elegant suites, a large sundeck with a large swimming pool, a gym, and more.
Included in this Nile cruise is a meet and assist service upon arrival & departure, all transfers by a modern air-conditioned deluxe vehicle, accommodation on board 5-star cruise on full board basis, all Nile Cruise excursions as mentioned in the itinerary, entrance fees to all sights between Luxor and Aswan and an English-speaking tour guide during your excursions.
3. MS Mayfair Nile Cruise
Experience true luxury in Egypt aboard one of the best cruise ships on the Nile, the MS Mayfair Nile cruise ship which sails between Luxor and Aswan. This cruise ship has 5 elegant decks, tastefully decorated public spaces, a spacious sundeck for relaxation with a swimming pool and Jacuzzi, and homey accommodations. Your trip on the Nile is sure to be memorable, not only for the impressive ruins that you will see but the comfort of your home on one of the best ships on the Nile.
Included in this Nile cruise are: Meet and assist service upon arrival & departure, all transfers in a modern air-conditioned deluxe vehicle, accommodation onboard 5-star cruise on full board basis, all Nile Cruise excursions as mentioned in the itinerary, entrance fees to all sights between Luxor and Aswan and an English-speaking tour guide during your excursions.
4. Sonesta St. George Nile Cruise
Probably the most luxurious cruise ship of the Sonesta Fleet, the Sonesta St George is one of the most popular of the range of luxury ships on the Nile. Guests choose this luxurious cruise ship for its luxury plush and ornate interior and design.
All-suite cabins means luxury for all guests with all cabin amenities to the highest standards and design. The lobby area is extremely ornate in a grand design fit for royalty, giving a glorious first impression on boarding the boat. Beautiful paintings adorn each cabin along with the lobby, restaurant, and lounge areas.
Facilities include the main dining room, sun deck bar, lounge, panoramic lounge, piano bar, nightly entertainment, sun deck, swimming pool with shallow water extension and Jacuzzi, spa and wellness centre with gym, massage services, sauna, and steam bath, daily guided sightseeing excursions, dry cleaning service, Fully-purified Water, filtered and softened before distribution, plus there is a doctor on call on the cruise.
5. The Oberoi Zahra Cruise
The Oberoi Zahra, Luxury Nile Cruiser continues the Oberoi Hotels & Resorts’ tradition of offering the highest standards of hospitality, but this time on one of the best luxury cruise ships on the Nile.
This cruise ship is amongst the best and most spacious accommodations on the Nile. The elegant interior of the Luxury Cabins and Luxury Suites is complemented by the views of the river framed by large windows within the cabins and the en suite bathrooms.
The Oberoi Zahra is the only boat on the Nile with a full-service spa. This cruise ship sails on a seven-day itinerary from Luxor to Aswan (and vice versa), allowing guests the opportunity to leisurely discover five thousand years of Egyptian culture.
The 25 Luxury Cabins are very special with timber floors and elegant interiors. Large windows in the cabins offer panoramic views of the Nile. There are even windows in the cabin bathrooms, which makes using your bathroom an absolute pleasure.
At the top end, the very best rooms on this ship are the 2 spacious Luxury Suites with separate living rooms, private terraces, and Jacuzzis redefine luxury on the Nile. If you want to see the Nile the way millionaires do, this is the way to do it!
The standard Luxury Cabin is spread over 27 square meters and minimally furnished with a choice of king-size bed and twin beds, with large bedside tables and two lounge chairs with a coffee table. The bathroom is finished in marble and mosaic with a vanity counter and a separate glass-enclosed steam and shower stall. The highlight is, of course, the picture window offering magnificent views of the passing scenery.
Each cabin includes a 26-inch high-definition LCD television. Other amenities include a CD and DVD player, complimentary high-speed Internet access, two-line speakerphone, data port, a well-stocked mini-bar, and tea and coffee.
Additional in-cabin/suite facilities include air-conditioning, bathrobes, and slippers, complimentary wireless Internet connection, a daily basket of fresh fruit, down pillows, hairdryer, housekeeping service, work desk and bedside telephone, inter-connecting cabins, non-allergic foam pillows, shaver adaptor, tea/coffee making facilities, voice mail, welcome drink on arrival and in-room electronic safe.
You will also enjoy gourmet dining onboard The Oberoi Zahra. The Chef and his team pride themselves on offering the finest international cuisine offering a la carte service, with new menus on a daily basis.
Let’s not forget the swimming pool, gymnasium, astronomy lectures, theatre, library and cigar lounge, Internet/games room, laundry, boutique, medical service on call, Egyptologist, and the luxury coaches for sightseeing via private docking areas. This is the life!
6. MS Esplanade
A dreamlike journey awaits you in Egypt, the land of the pharaohs on the MS Esplanade, one of the best cruise ships on the Nile.
This chic boat is one of the best on the Nile and offers 55 luxurious cabins and 2 suites. Enjoy incredible Nile sunsets as you uncover a new kind of luxury en route M.S. Esplanade.
Take a ride aboard M.S. Esplanade and retreat to extravagant interiors and lavish dinners topped off with naturally memorable sight-seeing. The excellent staff ensure your experience is that of a five-star hotel. Feast on fine dining, relax by the stylish open-air pool area, and don’t miss a treatment at the full-service spa.
7. Viking Ra
One of the newer ships to cruise the Nile is Viking Ra. This means it is one of the best ships if you like a modern ship. The all-suite, state-of-the-art ship features Scandinavian décor, a Sun Deck, pool, and two Jacuzzis, as well as a restaurant, lounge, and bar. With 26 suites, it’s an intimate atmosphere onboard, and you can sit back and enjoy the excellent service.
8. Sonesta Moon
The Sonesta Moon is another great option for more affordable luxury. Like the MS Mayfair Nile cruise ship featured above, the facilities are excellent, but the price is better.
With an outdoor swimming deck, a restaurant, lounge, and bar as well as a fitness room plus a jogging track on the top deck, you won’t get bored! The décor is fresh and classic, and there are 49 standard cabins and 4 suites.
9. M/Y Mirage 1
Another new cruise ship and one of the best on the Nile is the newly built Mirage. This cruise ship is perfect if you want an oversized vessel with lots of activities.
With 62 cabins and suites, you don’t get many bigger ships sailing the Nile. Facilities include an outdoor pool and jacuzzi, and a shaded deck area, as well as a gym, lounge bar, and the main dining room. It’s more contemporary than some of its counterparts and is another brilliant and affordable luxury choice of Nile cruise ship.
10. Nour el Nil
Nour el Nil dahabiya is propelled by the gentle winds in its sails down the River Nile. You will discover the many archaeological treasures, magnificent deserts, and breathtaking vistas Egypt has to offer. You will walk in villages and through orchards, meeting Egyptians as they go about their daily lives.
This cruise removes you from the rush and crowds of typical Egyptian tours, and you will find yourself traveling to Egypt’s finest destinations at your own leisurely pace while they provide you with all the comforts and amenities that other Nile cruises can only claim to offer. This may be the most luxurious boutique cruise ship, and all prices include full board, excursions, and transfers, and are based on two people sharing.
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