Much of the rating of Nile River Cruisers comes from the size of their cabins, and most average mainline tourist boats have relatively small cabins compared to hotels. In fact, most average cruisers have rooms no larger than enough to hold one or two beds, a night stand and a dresser, along with a small private bath. Rarely is there enough room for a table and chairs, as one finds in most hotel rooms. Of course, people are really not expected to spend too much time locked away in their cabin, and indeed, these typical cruise boats have all manner of activities and pleasures to choose from. Usually, there is a large bar and/or discotheque, along with a grand restaurant, on board shopping and plenty of activity on deck, including small to larger swimming pools, table tennis, and lounging areas. And of course, there are the many stops for tours to the ancient kingdom of Egypt.
On most typical Tourist class Nile Cruisers, it is best to inquire not only of the ship, but the size and type of room you will be staying in, and its position in the boat. Because of the close accommodations, it is best to avoid rooms near the engine, or for that matter, over or beside a noisy bar. Usually such rooms or areas are reserved for crewmembers, but not always.
Beyond the range of typical main line Nile Cruise ships one often finds opulence, and often this applies more to the accommodations within a boat. Some boats, such as the M/S Triton cater specifically and exclusively to the well appointed traveler with nothing but suites throughout the ship, while other more average boats will have both standard cabins and richly furnished and large suites. This is not to say that there are no differences between mainline tourist boats, but if one is willing to pay the price, he or she is likely to find accommodations matching that of any of the luxury hotels, with most of the same amenities.
Really, the bottom line is that many of the Nile Cruise boats have accommodations, amenities and facilities which more approach that of an ocean cruiser than a river boat. Its a great way to see Egypt in comfort and style, with a considerable bit of romance thrown in as a bonus.
This article is not meant to be a review of specific cruise ships, though we have included pictures from boats that range from fairly standard, to luxury. Over the coming months, we will, however, attempt to provide specific reviews of Nile Cruisers. In preparing to write this article on Nile River cruises, I started out looking to see what I could find on river cruises outside of Egypt. I knew, for example, that there were certainly a few cruise ships that ply the Mississippi river in the US. And of course, I found out that there are numerous river cruises around the world, in places such as Europe, Russia, South American and a few other places.
I even expected, and sought out, river cruises that might match the quality and sophistication of the Nile Cruise lines, but alas, that was not to be. I did find nostalgia riverboats boats on the Mississippi, barges in Europe, and even a few more modern looking vessels elsewhere, but nothing to match the Nile offerings. Of course, this is probably due to the fact that Egypt Nile Cruises have been an uninterrupted tradition in Egypt for hundreds of years, evolving and growing into a competitive, sophisticated industry, with facilities reflecting this. Of course, few other rivers can offer the scenery, much less the antiquities of a Nile Cruise, and most other cruises around the world are relatively simple and short in comparison.
Therefore, for at least the last 5,000 years, the Nile has been a great route, with boats drifting North, and raising their sails for the return trip upriver. And unlike many other rivers, the population and building activities are all concentrated along the Nile, as the land quickly becomes inhospitable only a few miles east or west of it, for the most part. So dominant is the river that the two ancient sections of Egypt are, confusingly for most people, called Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. Upper Egypt is actually Southern Egypt, because it is "up river", while Northern Egypt is Lower because it is down river.