Most tour companies include a Nile
cruise on their itinerary - we do not.
The glossy brochures make the cruisers
('floating hotels') look like a wonderful experience: floating
down the Nile with views from the pool/sun
deck of the river banks...
We can arrange a Nile cruiser trip
for our participants who really want one, but we do not
recommend them nor do we include them as part of our regular
1) Environmental issues -
most passengers never see what is happening at the back
of their boat. Garbage bins are emptied overboard (even
while in dock at cities like Aswan and Luxor!) - some rubbish
sinks while plastic water bottles and the like float. Being
anywhere behind a cruiser is unpleasant - the diesel fumes
choke you and a black flim floats on the water behind them.
Guests at the pool have no idea of the rubbish and pollution
being left in their wake!
"The Egyptian Organization for the Advancement of Children reiterated the conclusions of the Habi Center for Environmental Rights in its report on the pollution of the Nile waters. The studies confirm that every year some 17,000 children die from gastroenteritis caused by polluted water. The same study indicated that kidney failure, also caused by polluted drinking water, is four times higher in Egypt than in the rest of the world. It notes that there are some three hundred floating hotels between Luxor and Aswan which are responsible for the pollution of the river water, due to their lack of efficient water treatment systems." Source: allaboutegypt.org
Garbage transfer behind a cruiser, Aswan 2011. Dropped bags float away
Plastic bottles and diesel on the Nile at Aswan beside a cruiser
2) 'Flocking' - most people
who choose a Nile cruise have no idea how they actually
operate. The boats all travel at the same time, stopping
at the same places. This means that at stops on the trip
to visit sites like Kom Ombo, many ships arrive at the same
time. There is no chance for a quiet visit to the sites,
and your time at them is dictated by the ship's timetable.
For overnight stops the ships of the same company all berth
together, one beside the other. This means that for all
the boats in the middle of the row cabin blinds/windows
cannot be opened as you would look straight into the window
of the boat beside you. We have seen ships drawn up seven
deep! Moving off an outer ship to the shore means passing
through all the vessels between you and the bank.
Nile Cruisers 'in
formation': seven in a row (the most we have seen)
3) Costs - while some companies
offer special deals, the price of a cruise per night is
much greater than any of the hotels we recommend. We know
of many companies that make extra profits by charging
extra for 'additionals' (eg a charge of LE100 for transport
from the ship berthed at Luxor to Karnak Temple - a more
reasonable cost would be LE10!).
4) Philosphical Issues - the
type of experience offered by a Nile cruise is at odds with
our basic tour philosophy. We do not believe that 'galabeyya
disco parties' are the real Egypt. Cruisers offer
a 'five-star air-conditioned bubble' - we offer opportunities
to see the real Egypt and meet real Egyptians. We value
the opportunity to personally escort you at sites and to
travel with you - cruisers have their own Guides (of varying
quality) and you are either in your own cabin or sitting
by the pool on the top deck for much of the time on board.