Meander down Egypt’s most famous river on our pick of the 10 best luxury Nile cruises. The river Nile runs from Luxor to Aswan, offering up religious sites and temples at Kom Ombo, Edfu, and Esna on its banks. The best way to discover these ancient landmarks is by boat.
The best cruise ships offer brilliant itineraries as you float effortlessly down the Nile. Explore the Pyramids of Giza and the impressive Karnak Temple and all the magnificent obelisks, columns, sphinxes, and statues. With many stunning historic sites just steps from your boat’s mooring, you can minimize trips along dusty roads in coaches.
The best time to take your Nile River cruise is between October and April. It’s not too hot during this period, so days spent exploring Ancient Egyptian temples will be a lot more pleasant. The summer heat peak occurs from June to August, so it’s definitely worth avoiding these months if you can.
Wherever you decide to stay, in Egypt, or elsewhere, book via our luxury travel concierge. We offer free upgrades, free breakfasts, and free perks at hotels, including the Four Seasons, Hyatt, Ritz Carlton, InterContinental, and more.
Typically, our free benefits at luxury hotels include:
- Room upgrade to next category
- Complimentary breakfast for two per bedroom
- Complimentary Welcome Gift
- $100 USD equivalent Hotel experiential credit per room per stay
- Early check-in / Late check-out, subject to availability
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
1. Sonesta St. George
Probably the most luxurious cruise ship of the Sonesta Fleet is the Sonesta St George. This ship is one of the most elegant and popular luxury ships on the Nile to cruise from Luxor to Aswan. Guests choose this luxurious cruise ship for its luxury plush and ornate interior and design.
All-suite cabins mean luxury for all guests, with all cabin amenities designed to the highest standards. All bathrooms are equipped with Full SPA to unite facilities, including Steam Jacuzzi, Shower, Music & Water massage.
The lobby area is extremely ornate with 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. But it is the sun deck is the place to go for a great view as you sail up the Nile.
Breakfast and lunch buffets have the reputation of being excellent, as does the Egyptian dinner evening. Numerous 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 center 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. This is the life!
2. 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 offers some of the best and most spacious accommodation 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 discover five thousand years of Egyptian culture leisurely.
The 25 Luxury Cabins are exceptional 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. The bathroom is finished in marble and mosaic with a vanity counter and a separate glass-enclosed steam and shower stall.
You will also enjoy gourmet dining on board The Oberoi Zahra. The Chef and his team pride themselves on offering the finest international cuisine offering a la carte service, with new menus daily.
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.
3. Salacia Nile Cruise
Discover 5,000 years of Egyptian culture on a cruise from Luxor to Aswan aboard the Salacia Nile Cruise. This ship 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.
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 are by a private air-conditioned vehicle. Free Wifi is included onboard the cruise and a free re-fill minbar with mineral water and soft drinks. All sightseeing tours and excursions are also part of your package. Excursions include Karnak Temple & Luxor Temples, Valley of the Kings & Hatshepsut Temple, Edfu & Kom Ombo Temples, Philae Temple, High Dam & the Unfinished Obelisk.
4. Mövenpick MS Darakum
The Mövenpick MS Darakum is one of the largest vessels cruising the river Nile between Luxor and Aswan. Its Moroccan-inspired design makes it stand out, and it offers an unforgettable journey while cruising through 7,000 years of history. A variety of recreational activities are available, including a swimming pool, sun deck with a recreational area, themed parties, and a gym.
5. Mayfair Nile Cruise
Experience luxury in Egypt aboard one of the best cruise ships on the Nile, the MS Mayfair. Sail the majestic Nile River between Luxor and Aswan aboard one of these cruises and experience true luxury. Mayfair Cruises offer 3, 4, and 7 nights itineraries between Luxor and Aswan that allow guests to visit ancient Egyptian temples, tombs, and ruins in the area guided by onboard Egyptologists during the day. Guests will also be invited to take part in leisure activities onboard during the evening.
6. MS Esplanade
MS Esplanade is also 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.
Take a ride aboard M.S. Esplanade and retreat to extravagant interiors and lavish dinners topped off with naturally memorable sightseeing. The excellent staff ensures 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.
Where contemporary lavishness meets Egyptian deserts’ sandy dunes, a cruise here translates into a rare, unprecedented experience.
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, two Jacuzzis, and a restaurant, lounge, and bar. With 26 suites, it’s an intimate atmosphere onboard, and you can sit back and enjoy the excellent service.
Highlights include all-suite state-of-the-art accommodation for just 52 guests, the Sun Deck with 360-degree views and shaded sitting areas, the pool and two Jacuzzis, the Lounge and bar with floor-to-ceiling windows, the restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows for panoramic views and Free Wi-Fi.
8. Sanctuary Zein Nile Chateau
The Sanctuary Zein Nile Chateau is a bespoke dahabiya, available for charter. With only four cabins and two suites, it is the epitome of style. The Sanctuary Zein Nile Chateau offers you the unique opportunity to tailor your Egypt cruise and each day’s sightseeing by offering an “a la carte” style touring itinerary.
This classic Nile cruise offers old-world charm using a river-going sailboat. This is how aristocrats traveled in the relaxed age of Egyptian monarchs (1920-40).
The Sanctuary Zein Nile Chateau is a bespoke dahabiya (traditional sailing boat) that is the first of its kind on the Nile. With its extended open spaces, the Zein features a beautiful upper deck, an Arabian-themed sun deck, and an opulently styled dining area. The itinerary for your Egypt cruise aboard the Sanctuary Zein Nile Chateau operates on an “a la carte” menu, offering you the unique opportunity to tailor your sightseeing. Bask in the beauty of the surrounding views – unchanged for hundreds of years – as you sip on delicate cocktails from the comfort of the dahabiya. This is what sailing on the Nile was meant to be.
9. M/Y Mirage 1
Another new cruise ship and one of the best on the Nile is the newly built Mirage with 62 cabins including triples and suites. This cruise ship is perfect if you want an oversized vessel with lots of activities.
Standard cabins are 20 sq meters, while suites offer a more spacious option. All cabins feature a large panoramic window and are comfortably furnished with an en suite. Facilities include an outdoor pool and jacuzzi, a shaded deck area, a gym, a 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. At the same time, they provide you with all the comforts and amenities you could wish for. 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.
Note: Benefits offered correct at the time of writing but may be amended at discretion of the vendor.
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