How to Score a Cheap Egypt Nile Cruise

How to Score a Cheap Egypt Nile Cruise

Taking an Egypt Nile Cruise is one of the quintessential things to do in this country, but if you’re anything you like me, you probably have reservations about how expensive this notoriously tourist experience might be.

But fear not, I managed to score a bargain-priced Nile cruise when I was in Egypt and now, to help you do the same, here’s the full lowdown on how… 


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Egypt, Nile Cruise, Sunset Pool
So, What Is an Egypt Nile Cruise All About?

Basically an Egypt Nile Cruise is a great way to travel between the southern cities of Luxor and Aswan (or visa versa) in Egypt.

Both of these destinations are must-see cities on your Egypt itinerary and while it is possible to travel by road or train between Luxor and Aswan, taking a cruise up (or down) the Nile between them is a much nicer way to travel.

Yup, normally lasting between 3-5 nights, drifting slowly up the world’s most famous river as you laze by a pool and take in the amazing views really is a spectacular experience.

Don’t you agree?

And that’s not to mention the temples you get to see along the way, which are otherwise difficult to get to.

This makes an Egypt Nile cruise a classic traveller experience in this country and after the fabulous time I had, I highly recommend getting it on your list.

 

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Egypt, Aswan, Me at Philae

Aswan to Luxor Vs Luxor to Aswan

So after deciding you want to make a Egypt Nile Cruise, the next thing to plan is in which direction to take it.

Generally speaking, Luxor to Aswan cruises follow a longer itinerary than Aswan to Luxor routes.

If you’re on a budget therefore, it’s likely making the latter journey is going to work out more cost effective for you, simply because it’s shorter.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that each leg of the cruise normally includes a tour in the respective city of your final destination.

i.e. If you’re travelling from Aswan to Luxor, a day exploring Luxor’s attraction like the Valley of the Kings and Karnak Temple will be included in your itinerary.

Likewise, if you’re travelling from Luxor to Aswan, a day exploring Aswan and /or Abu Simbel will be included in the cruise programme.

If you’re planning to stay in either Luxor or Aswan for a few days either side of your cruise therefore, another great way to keep the price of your Egypt Nile cruise down is cut the programme short, check into a Luxor or Aswan hostel and see the attractions in this city independently.

Looking for the best budget accommodation in Aswan?
Look no further than the amazing Eka Dolli Guest House, perhaps my favourite spot in the whole of Egypt!

Egypt, Aswan, Nile

Normal Costs of an Egypt Nile Cruise

Egypt Nile cruises can however be expensive.

Just have a look online at the prices offered by companies and you’ll probably take a large and sharp inhale!

Yes these cruise packages offered online or by travel agencies in Egypt start from around $200 per day and that’s just for a basic ship – roughly equivalent to a 3*star hotel.

Generally these prices include 3 meals a day, plus use of all ship facilities and some temple tours, but nevertheless it’s pretty steep.

And that’s because booking online or through an agency in Egypt means you’re covering a huge level of commission.

In order to get the best prices therefore, you need to cut out the middle man for your Egypt Nile cruise and head straight to the source (pun intended!)

Egypt, Luxor, Ramses II at Night

 

5 Things You Shouldn’t Travel to Egypt Without

#1 Egypt Lonely Planet – An excellent resource when it comes to finding out the history of what you’re seeing in Egypt without the need for a guide, the Egypt Lonely Planet is a must.

#2 Head Lamp – Great for taking into tombs to get an even better look at the amazing artwork and inscriptions. I love my Black Diamond Storm, which has served me super well throughout Africa.

#3 Sun Hat – Temple viewing means many hours in the hot sun of Egypt. Do yourself a favour and bring a wide-brimmed hat to protect you. I love this Hello Sunshine design.

#4 Egyptian Arabic Phrasebook – Egypt has its own slant on Arabic so, even if you know some of this language, an Egyptian Arabic Phrasebook will help you out a lot here.

#5 Travel Insurance – A good idea whenever you travel in Africa, I love travel insurance from World Nomads and have used it throughout my time in Egypt and beyond.

 

Egypt, Nile Cruise, Pool

How to Score a Cheap Nile Cruise

So how do you cut out the middleman?

Well first of all, you need to be in Egypt to make sure you are booking direct.

This does mean leaving your cruise slightly to the last minute, which may prove difficult if you have a jam-packed, tight or well-planned itinerary.

However if you are even slightly flexible, it’s generally possible to find a cheap Nile cruise just a few days ahead of time.

With this in mind, it’s also worth considering the season in which you’re travelling to Egypt.

It goes without saying that travelling in shoulder or low season is going to make it a lot easier for you to score a cheap Nile cruise.

So, if you’re yet to book your trip to Egypt at all, I’d definitely recommend avoiding the peak season of Nov-Feb and heading there during the shoulder season of Sept-Nov and Feb-April instead.

I visited Egypt in March and it was perfect, with delightful weather and much fewer crowds than I’m told are there in the high tourist season.

The second thing you need to bear in mind when trying to score a cheap Nile cruise is that the ships only run on certain days.

What I mean by this, is that there aren’t cruises ferrying up to Aswan or down to Luxor every day of the week.

Normally there are departures 2/3 times a week, but again it’s worth being a bit flexible with your dates when trying to score a cheap deal.

Egypt, Edfu Temple, Pylon

How to Avoid the Travel Agencies

So the best thing to do for your cheap Nile cruise is, as I’ve said, to cut out the middleman and go direct.

I’d read many blogs when I got to Egypt about heading straight onto the ship to score a cheap cruise, but I actually find this information wasn’t useful.

In Luxor, it was time consuming and ultimately unproductive walking between the many different ships trying to find when they were leaving, where to and whether they had space.

Also, new ships come and go daily, so keeping track of which ones you have and haven’t approached is time-heavy and often, success poor.

That’s not to mention the fact that a ship which might be leaving on your intended day of departure, with space for a couple of cheap last-minute bookings, may only dock the day before you want to leave.

Having the time to find this boat, head to this boat, talk to the staff, score a place on it and be ready to leave all within the space of an evening may be unrealistic.

At least it was in my case.

As such, I highly recommend seeking out some of the cruise scouts. These are basically guys that work on behalf of lots of different ships, filling the vacant places they have with last minute bookings.

As I was sailing from Aswan to Luxor, I managed to find a great guy in Aswan, down by the ships, who  hooked me up with a stellar deal – just $40 USD per day for a 3 day cruise to Luxor!

Egypt, Nile Cruise, Ship Sunset

My Egypt Nile Cruise

So yes, my 3 night cruise on the Nile cost me just $120!

This included 3 meals a day, a lovely cabin and a guided tour of Luxor, plus the possibility to see both Kom Ombo and Efnu Temples.

The itinerary ran also follows:

Day 1: Board ship in Aswan, sail to Kom Ombo, visit the temple, sail to Efnu.

Day 2: Visit Efnu Temple, sail to Luxor.

Day 3: Visit Luxor with a guided tour, final night aboard ship.

Day 4: Disembark in Luxor.

The level of service and provision I got was exactly the same as everybody else on the ship, except they had paid possibly 5 times more than me!

And in between all the temple viewing, I thoroughly enjoyed lazing by the pool, sunning myself and watching the Nile sail by!

Egypt, Kom Ombo Temple, Hieroglyphs

My Contacts for a Cheap Cruise

And so here they are people, my direct contacts for scoring a cheap Egypt Nile Cruise.

(I’d like to point out that, in no way, have I been sponsored, nor am I affiliated with either of these individuals. I just like helping fellow budget travellers out and can’t be held responsible for any trips you book with the below contacts.)

  • First up, the manager of the ship – Quest Cruise – I sailed with.

His name is Nasser and can be contacted for direct bookings on +20 112 666 000 41 or emailed on [email protected]

  • Secondly, the cruise scout who I actually booked my trip through:

Montasser Mohamed. He can be contact by phone on +20 122 33 59 105 or + 20 111 638 5004, on Whatsapp on +20 102 511 1063 or on email at [email protected].

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So there you have it folks, the full lowdown on how I scored my cheap Egypt Nile Cruise.

Hope you manage to get a bargain too!

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About the Author

About the Author: Creator of Big World Small Pockets, Stephanie Parker is a budget travel addict! Originally from Jersey in the Channel Islands, Stephanie backpacks the world collecting tips, advice and stories, to share with a smile .

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There Are 28 Brilliant Comments

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  1. cruisebay says:

    best blog i ever read thanks for such niceest blog

  2. Michael says:

    Hi Steph!
    My partner and I just had a read of this and we’re currently in contact with Montasser! Seems like he can help us out, but I guess there is a language barrier..

    I just wanted to ask how do I best pay him (e.g does he have an office?) and whether this transaction is considered legit?

    Apologies for my wariness as this is our first time in Egypt!!

    Looking forward to your reply 🙂

    • Steph says:

      Hi Michael – thanks for your comments. I think you also emailed me about this one and I’ve just replied, so please check your inbox for this. Otherwise, I paid Montasser a small deposit up front and the remainder once I’d seen the cabin and checked in on the boat. This worked well and I’d advise you doing the same. Good Luck!

      • Gaurav Garg says:

        Hi, Robinhood! Now the queries for Egypt. We have six days starting 30 Dec.
        1. What should be the new year like in Egypt?
        2. What is the best itinerary for the time one has?
        3. I too got in touch with Montasser and he is asking 50$ per pax per night. What kind of cabin is provided? What are the inclusions?
        Is it even wortht the cruise, or one should just fly to and fro from Cairo to Luxor and Aswan.

        • Steph says:

          Hi there, thanks for the questions – will answer them as best I can.
          1) Don’t know – haven’t been there at this time of year – sorry!
          2) I’ve written an Egypt itinerary post giving all the details – please search it out on the blog using search bar, or destinations tab > Africa > Egypt
          3) I’m not sure what Montasser has in mind, so it’s best to ask him for the details. I’d pay a bit more to upgrade for a good cabin if I were you. My inclusions were 3x meals per day + guided tours of the 2 temples we visited enroute and guided day tour in Luxor

          I definitely think a cruise is worth it. Views as you glide up the Nile and the experience of it were highlights for me.

    • Samina says:

      Hi Michael

      My husband and I are travelling to Egypt In December and I have contacted Montasser. It was rather difficult to understand everything he said but he appeared to be able to book us a cruise on the date we wanted. Did you book through him and how was your experience (if you have already been)? We would be grateful for any feedback/advice/information you may be able to provide. This will be our first time as well and any help will be much appreciated.

      Thank you !!

  3. Samina says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience Steph! My husband and I are travelling to Egypt next month and your blog is very helpful. I have just contacted Montasser. There is a language barrier as Michael commented but he appeared to be confident of booking us for a cruise on the date we want. We will arrive on 15th Dec and want to spend a couple of days in Cairo and visit Alexandria and embark on the cruise around 18th. A bit worried about leaving the cruise arrangements to the last minute.

    • Steph says:

      Hi Samina – I do find that strange as Montasser’s English was amazing when I spoke with him – perhaps it’s a written language barrier? Where are you hoping to get on the cruise from – Luxor? As I said in the post, I booked mine only a few days before via Montasser and was not at all sure it was going to work out either because everything was so casual. That said, all turned out fine. I hope you manage to get on! Please let me know your experience afterwards.

      • Samina says:

        Hi Steph

        I called him this morning, so maybe there was some problem with the connection. I shall establish communication through Whatsapp which may work better. I would prefer to get on at Luxor, trying to work out the logistics of travelling back to Cairo from Aswan. We want to fly back to London on the 24th Morning and there are suitable flights from Cairo and Luxor. I’m probably sounding muddled. Do you recommend taking the night train or flight from Cairo to either place? Many thanks!

        • Steph says:

          Hi Samina – both train and plane are good options for Cairo to Aswan / Luxor, depends on your timings really. Worth noting however that the night trains in Egypt are a LOT more expensive than the day trains, so do your price comparison against flights. Also research about getting tickets, because they can be some confusion. I got the train from Luxor to Cairo – 10 hours, but first class cost silly small dollars. I got someone from the hostel to book it for me the day before so I got the local rate. Even with a tip, much cheaper than tourist prices! Views were amazing and I love train travel, but I understand some people want to save time and fly.

  4. Hello Stephanie,

    We will be travelling to Egypt in Feb 2019. I read you blog and want to thank you as we found it quite helpful. We were planing a 4 day Nile cruise, so I got in contact via Whats app with Montasser for a preliminary exchange and I did not feel any language issue in our written conversation…He also wrote that he is at our service and to contact him closer to our trip date…So far so good!!! we will post again once we embark and enjoy!!!! Thanks again

    • Steph says:

      Great Jean-Marc, that’s wonderful to hear and I really appreciate your up-to-date info on this, as well as your kind words about the blog. Keep me posted how it goes nearer to the time too and happy travel planning. Thanks Steph 🙂

  5. Dorothy says:

    Hi Steph, do u get a full itinerary if we book with Montasser? Just wondering do you get the lower or upper deck with full facilities?

    • Steph says:

      Honestly Dorothy, you’re best to ask him yourself. I’m not affiliated with Montasser in any way and really can’t speak on his before about the trip you are arranging. Thanks

  6. Gaurav Garg says:

    Sorry Steph, one last question (for now), is Hot Air Balloning over Luxor worth it?

  7. milena says:

    Hi Steph, Just contacted Montasser and can’t wait to visit egypt soon. I had to questions; did you get private tours of the temples or did you join a group? everyone i’ve contacted so far, always only offered private tours and as i’m travelling solo, i’d love to mingle a bit and join a shared tour. How was that for you, as you werer also travelling solo? Also, after booking with montasser, did you get some kind of confirmation from the cruise or from him? I’m heading to egypt late january on a bit of a tight schedule & will be arriving in Aswan, one day before boaridng the cruise. I’m worried, that i’ll arrive there and i won’t be able to board the cruise the following day..

    • Steph says:

      Hi Milena, all great questions and excited to hear you are travelling to Egypt soon. I did not get confirmation from Montasser. Honestly, I just found him at the dock and got a bit of paper saying I’d paid a deposit. It is far from official and I’m in no way affiliated with him or can vouch for what he does – just sharing my experience – I hope it works out for you. The temple tours along the Nile and in Luxor should be included in the package, so you don’t need to pay extra for that. I was travelling solo yes, and in Aswan, I booked a group tour at my hostel to see Abu Simbel and the other days used a taxi driver to take me around the local sights. Hope that helps and you get your cruise 🙂

      • milena says:

        Thank you so much for your quick response. It helped a lot 🙂 also; were the included tours along the Nile and in Luxor shared tours or solo private tours?
        Kind regards from Switzerland!

        • Steph says:

          Hi Milena, so glad to hear I’m helping out with your Egypt plans – fingers crossed they go well! They were shared tours I got, which as a solo traveller I enjoyed – but do check the specifics of what you’re getting too for your money. My experience, of course, doesn’t mean yours will be the same. Good luck, Steph 🙂

  8. Ali says:

    Hi Steph

    Thank you for the informations. I heading next month to Egypt for 2 weeks and I was planning to do the Nile Cruise. I am just wondering about the boat quality and condition is it a 5 stars.

    • Steph says:

      Hi Ali, the boat I went on was not 5 star – that’s how I got such a bargain price, but it was totally fit for purpose and quite comfortable. If luxury is important to you, I would consider being sure of the standards of the vessel you will be travelling on and pay to upgrade 🙂

  9. Hanh says:

    Hi Steph,
    Thanks a lot for your posts. I’ve contacted Nasser and he gave us a price as of 165 usd /per for the 3 night cruise, and an extra fee for the excursion package of 190 usd /per, so the total price for the cruise will be 355 usd /per. I find it quite expensive compared to other 5-star cruises. How were you able to negotiate the incrediable 120 usd for 3 nights ?
    Thanks for you advises, Hanh.

    • Steph says:

      Hi Hanh, I booked it with Nasser in person in Aswan 2 days before the tour left, but it was not a 5* cruise. I’m guessing a last minute booking in person on a cheaper boat might have been how I scored such a deal.

  10. Kevin says:

    Hi Steph, I have greatly enjoyed reading your many travel blogs! Thank-you for that!
    I am looking to get on a boat from Aswan to Luxor on Wednesday, April 17th. I will be in Aswan from the 14th until the 17th. Do you recommend that I go to the boat docks (and look up Nasser) on Tuesday, the day before? Or should I do it the morning of departure (the 17th), or would it be best to go on Monday the 15th? Thanks so much!

    • Steph says:

      Thank YOU Kevin, so happy to hear you are enjoying the blog and also that you will be heading to Egypt soon. I think it would be best to go and find Nasser as soon as you reach Aswan, because cruises don’t leave every day and some might be full – I’d say the more prep time you have to sort in when you’re in Aswan the better. Good luck 🙂

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