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First of all, it is very nice to unpack
and once and have your hotel travel with you, rather then the hectic
routine that accompanies the stop and go itineraries of air and
land tours. But besides the more relaxed mode of travel, there are
other significant advantages. Nile cruises often visit a wider variety
of antiquities along the banks of the river.
equally important, they also allow the tourist to gain a prospective
of the rural Egypt, where people live much the same way they did
even thousands of years ago, in mudbrick homes, tending their fields
with wooden plows and moving produce via donkey.
It's a wonderful experience to sit
on a shaded deck of a floating hotel, sipping an iced beverage while
watching 5,000 years of culture slowly drift by.
Nile cruises may very considerably,
but typical Nile cruises are either three, four or seven nights.
The shorter tours usually operate between Luxor and Aswan, while
the longer cruises travel further north to Dendera, often offering
day tours overland to more remote locations. Therefore, a fairly
complete 14 day tour of Egypt might include several days around
Cairo, seeing the pyramids, museums and other antiquities, a short
flight to Abu Simbel in the very southern part of Egypt surrounding
a seven day Nile Cruise.
The usual cruise is aboard a Nile cruiser,
often referred to as a floating hotel. Indeed, the better boats
have most the accommodations of a land based hotel, including small
swimming pools, hot tubs, exercise rooms, nightclubs, good restaurants,
stores and even small libraries. Depending on what one is willing
to pay, rooms may be very utilitarian and small or larger then some
land based hotel rooms.
Some boats even have suites available.
Better boats will always have private baths, air conditioning, and
TVs. It is common for there to be video movies each night, and some
boats are equipped with cameras allowing passengers to view the
countryside from their TV. Floating hotels also offer various entertainment.
Many of the boats have dance areas with disco or even live entertainment,
and most offer a variety of nightly shows. These might include cocktail
parties, Nubian shows, belly dancers and whirling dervish, plays
and even dress up parties where guests don traditional apparel.
Like land hotels, meals onboard most
Nile cruisers are usually buffet style and include hot and cold
food along with a variety of international and local cuisine. Most
all boats have good modern water filtration, which is fine for showering,
but it is still recommended to drink bottled water, which the boat
will have aboard. A much more adventurous style of Nile cruise,
very different from the floating hotels can be arranged aboard feluccas,
Egypt's traditional Nile sailboat.
Most falucca trips are short,enjoyable
trips of several hours, but multi-day felucca cruises can be arranged
aboard larger vessels traveling between Aswan and Luxor. There is
really no comparison between cruising the Nile on a floating hotel
and a falucca. The accommodations on a falucca are primitive. Tourist
sleep in the open on deck and the sailors double as cooks.
Around the middle of April, locks on
the Nile river are closed due to water levels, ultimate time for
a Nile cruise is between October and mid April, when the weather
is fairly cool, but the locks are all open. However, most cruise
boats operate all year. If the locks are closed, cruise operators
will arrange boats on either side of the locks, and a transfer must
be made between boats.
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