Why don't we use Nile cruises?

We offer many opportunities for travelling on the Nile aboard feluccas - traditional sailing boats. We don't recommend Nile cruise ships.

Back to Our Tour Menu



Nile Cruises

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 itinerary.

Why not?

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.