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Long Nile Cruise Tour

Highly recommend Encounters Travel. Entire tour was conducted without a hiccup, tour guides were amazing - friendly, highly knowledgeable, courteous and nothing was too much trouble to ensure our trip was of a high standard.

Chook31, 23 Oct 2018

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Long Nile Cruise OVERVIEW

TOUR SUMMARY

15 days

Cairo to Aswan

From

US$3609

Country(ies): Egypt

Tour type: Small Group

Group size: Min: 1 | Max: 45

Accommodation: 5-star deluxe cruise boat

Meals:

Transport: A/C minibus/coach & 5-star deluxe cruise boat

Highlights: Pyramids, Sphinx, Egyptian Museum, Tuna al Gebel, Tel el Amarna, Beni Hassan, Abydos, Dendera, Valley of the Kings, Temple of Karnak, Edfu, Komombo, Philae Temple

This iconic tour combines the pyramids, sphinx and Egyptian Museum in Cairo with the newly available Long Nile Cruise which sails between Cairo and Aswan. The lower parts of the Nile between Cairo and Abydos have been closed for most Nile cruisers for the last 15 years, cruise tour offers you an exciting opportunity to be one of the first to sail this route which is now officially re-open.

The cruise follows the Nile south from Cairo all the way to Aswan and passes through some of the Nile Valley's most rural areas where you can really experience traditional Egyptian life along the parts of the Nile which very few tourists are able to see. You will also be able to visit some of Egypt's most famous monuments and historical sites such as the Pyramids of Giza and the Valley of the Kings. You'll also have the opportunity to visit many more sites including Tel Amarna, Beni Hassan and Hermopolis which are rarely visited by tourists.

Currently very few boats are permitted to operate this route and due to continuing low tourist numbers to Egypt, long periods of time may pass in between sailings. Please confirm availability with us before booking any international flights. Shorter itineraries from Cairo-Luxor (12 days), Aswan-Cairo (13 days) and Luxor-Cairo (10 days) are also available on other dates - please ask for details.

ITINERARY

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Day 1 Arrive in Cairo, transfer to cruise boat

Upon arrival at Cairo airport, we will meet & greet you and transfer you directly to your Nile Cruise boat. The rest of the day is free for you to settle in and relax on board the boat or start to explore Cairo. The evening is spent moored up on the Nile in Cairo. Extra days in a hotel in Cairo are available if you would like to arrive earlier.

OVERNIGHT:

Nile cruise boat

MEALS:

Dinner

EXTRAS:

Single room supplement (EGSGLN)
Extra day in Cairo (4-star) - pre-tour


Day 2 Pyramids, Sphinx & Egyptian Museum tours

Your tours start today with visits to some of Egypt's most well-known attractions. Your first stop is the famous Pyramids and Sphinx in Giza, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Next you head into central Cairo to explore Pharaonic history at the Egyptian Museum, which is also home to the treasures from King Tutankhamun's Tomb. The evening is spent on board your Nile Cruise boat in Cairo.

OVERNIGHT:

Nile cruise boat

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 3 Start sailing to Beni Suef

Today we start sailing south for Beni Suef, and as the ship cruises along the Nile you can witness rural Egyptian life pass by. The whole day is free for relaxation and to enjoy the ships amenities.

OVERNIGHT:

Nile cruise boat

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 4 Sightseeing in Fayoum region

Today we stop at a number of important sites, including the Hawara and Meidum Pyramids near the oasis town of Fayoum. Overnight on board Nile Cruise in Beni Suef.

OVERNIGHT:

Nile cruise boat

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 5 Sail south towards Minya

Today we start cruising early, before breakfast. The journey to Minya is a long one and we aim to arrive in Minya just after lunch at around 2pm, where we spend the afternoon exploring the nearby by sites. The first tour of the afternoon is to Tuna al Gebel where you'll visit the Tomb of Petosiris, which has a unique fusion of Greek and Egyptian architectural styles. Next you'll also visit Ashmunein, site of Hermopolis a major city in antiquity, before spending the night on board your cruise ship in Minya.

OVERNIGHT:

Nile cruise boat

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 6 Tour of Tel el Amarna & Beni Hassan

Today will certainly be a highlight for the Ancient Egypt enthusiasts among us. After breakfast, we'll explore the fabled city of Tel el Amarna. This ancient city, originally known as Akhetaton, got its modern-day name from the nearby village of El-Till and the name of a local Bedouin tribe. The ancient name, Akhetaton means 'the horizon of the solar disk' in the ancient Egyptian language. The heretic pharaoh, Akhenaten controversially moved the capital of Egypt to this location as a sign of devotion to the Aten god after establishing monotheism in Egypt. After the death of Akhenaten his son, Tutankhamun, moved the capital back to Thebes (modern day Luxor) and re-established the polytheistic religion, much to the delight of the local population. Akhetaton was subsequently abandoned and almost totally forgotten. Today, archaeologists are still working on the site and we wait with anticipation the news on what treasures could be found.

At Tel el Amarna you'll visit the northern tombs, the ruins of the great palace and the small and great temples of the Aten. After lunch, we'll visit Beni Hassan in the afternoon. The tombs at Beni Hassan help to show the transitional period between the Old Kingdom style Mastaba tombs and the famous deep cut tombs which were common throughout the New Kingdom (which you'll see later at the Valley of the Kings). You'll have the opportunity to visit 4 tombs whilst at Beni Hassan. Overnight on board in Minya.

OVERNIGHT:

Nile cruise boat

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 7 Sail towards Asyut

We spend the whole of the day on board the cruise boat, whilst continuing to sail south to Asyut.

OVERNIGHT:

Nile cruise boat

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 8 Sail to Sohag, visit Abydos

We continue sailing south to Sohag today, arriving at around 2pm. Our tour today will take us to Abydos, birthplace of the legend of Osiris. The ancient Egyptians believed that Osiris was resurrected at Abydos after he was killed by his brother Seth. Osiris was then granted powers to become the lord of the Afterlife.

While at Abydos you'll also visit the temple of Seti I, who founded Abydos. The temple was not finished during the lifetime of Seti, but was finally finished during the rule of his well-known son Ramses II. In the evening on board the cruise, there will be a black and white party.

OVERNIGHT:

Nile cruise boat

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch

EXTRAS:

None


Day 9 Sail to Qena

Today we sail south to Qena, and during the day we'll pass through two interesting locks and under a railway bridge in the town of Nag Hammadi. This evening will be spent on board in Qena.

OVERNIGHT:

Nile cruise boat

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 10 Tour of Dendera, sail to Luxor

Today we sail a little further south to the temple of Dendera. This important temple is dedicated to Hathor - the goddess of joy, dance and love. The ancient Egyptians believed that Hathor had healing powers, so often brought their sick to Dendra to be cured. After plenty of time exploring the temple we'll continue sailing the rest of the way to Luxor. In the evening we'll be joined by a belly dancer for some traditional entertainment.

OVERNIGHT:

Nile cruise boat

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 11 Luxor, West Bank tours

Luxor is often referred to as the world's largest outdoor musuem and this morning we cross the Nile early this morning to begin our tour of West Bank. Home to the Valley of the Kings, the dusty tombs in this ancient burial site are still revealing their secrets today and so it remains one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. Our tour includes several of these Pharaonic tombs, as well as the temple of Queen Hatchepsut.

OVERNIGHT:

Nile cruise boat

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

Hot air balloon in Luxor


Day 12 Luxor, East Bank tour, sail to Edfu

We'll have breakfast on board today before visiting the huge temple complex at Karnak, once the religious centre of Thebes and Upper Egypt. It was linked to Luxor by an extensive avenue, lined with sphinxes, and the whole complex was in turn linked to the Nile via a canal through which moved the sacred boats of the god Amun. Entering through a smaller sphinx-lined avenue, built by Ramesses II, you come to the immense pylon entrance. Inside the huge Courtyard are three chapels dedicated to the gods Amun, Khous and Mut. The remarkable Hypostyle Hall has 134 towering columns, each carved with scenes of gods and pharaohs, and hieroglyphic inscriptions adorn the walls.We'll also visit the smaller Luxor temple in the centre of town. You have a little more free time in Luxor before the boat begins to sail further south towards Edfu where we'll spend the night on board.

OVERNIGHT:

Nile cruise boat

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 13 Edfu & Komombo temple, sail to Aswan

Today we visit the impressive riverside Temple of Edfu, which is dedicated to the god Horus. The temple is one of the best-preserved temple in Egypt, so this visit is not to be missed. Sailing further south, towards Aswan, we'll stop at the unusual double temple of Komombo, which is dedicated to the gods Sobek and Horus. The unique design of the temple means that everything is perfectly symmetrical along the main temple axis. Whilst visiting the temple, you may also get the chance to see one of the mummified crocodiles which are on display here. From Komombo you'll sail the rest of the way to Aswan where you'll spend the night on board.

OVERNIGHT:

Nile cruise boat

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 14 Sightseeing in Aswan

This morning we take a short boat trip to the beautiful island temple of Philae. We'll also drive across the Aswan High Dam, which holds back the waters of Lake Nasser. After lunch we'll spend a little time visiting the Nubian Museum, where you can learn more about the Nubian people who inhabit much of southern Egypt.

OVERNIGHT:

Nile cruise boat

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 15 Tour ends in Aswan, transfer to airport

Your tour end today after breakfast, but you may consider taking an optional sunrise tour to the stunning temples of Abu Simbel, situated on the shores of Lake Nasser. This optional tour requires a very early start and should expect to arrive back into Aswan by 1pm. We recommend booking a flight out of Aswan no earlier than 6pm to allow for of any delays on the road back from Abu Simbel.

We can assist with extra nights' hotel accommodation in Aswan if required as well as international flights into Cairo and out of Aswan (these will return via Cairo with Egypt Air). Please ask for details.

OVERNIGHT:

N/A

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

Abu Simbel overland


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Included:
  • Accommodation on 5-star deluxe cruise boat (Movenpick M/S Hamees or similar)
  • Meals as indicated (full board whilst on board the boat)
  • All transfers, including 24-hour airport transfer service in Cairo and Aswan
  • Tours & guides as indicated on the itinerary with a shared Nile Cruise guide (a supplement is available for a private Egyptologist guide)
  • All transport required for sightseeing along the way
  • All site entrance fees

Excluded:
  • International flights (available on request)
  • Visa fees (USD 25 available on arrival for most nationalities)
  • Travel insurance (compulsory, available on request)
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Drinks, snacks and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)
  • Tips
  • Cruise boat gala dinners (if charged by the boat on 24 & 31 Dec, see Tour notes)
  • Any other items not mentioned above
Notes:

Cruise Boat Gala Dinners
Many of Egypt's hotels and Nile cruise boats arrange a very special gala dinner with entertainment in the evening on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Payment for these is often optional on Christmas Eve (24 Dec) but may be compulsory on New Year's Eve (31 Dec), whether you attend or not. Prices can range from around US$50 to over US$150 per person. Final decisions on prices and whether dinners are compulsory are made relatively close to the time. We aim to always select hotels that make their Gala Dinners optional, though this is is not always possible. Gala dinner prices are therefore not included in our prices above, but will be added to your booking if they become required. More information is available on request.

Gallery


Dates and Prices

This cruise operates on very restricted dates and runs subject to availability and operation of the cruise boat. Shorter itineraries are also available on request (12-day Cairo-Luxor, 13-day Aswan-Cairo, 10-day Luxor-Cairo).

Start Date
End Date
Price (P/P)
Offer price
Note

30th of May 2019

13th of Jun 2019

US$3609

-

M/S Jaz Royale - twin/double


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30th of May 2019

13th of Jun 2019

US$5879

-

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27th of Jun 2019

11th of Jul 2019

US$3609

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27th of Jun 2019

11th of Jul 2019

US$5879

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25th of Jul 2019

8th of Aug 2019

US$3609

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25th of Jul 2019

8th of Aug 2019

US$5879

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22nd of Aug 2019

5th of Sep 2019

US$3609

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22nd of Aug 2019

5th of Sep 2019

US$5879

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M/S Jaz Royale - single


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1st of Sep 2019

15th of Sep 2019

US$8679

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M/S Darakum - single


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1st of Sep 2019

15th of Sep 2019

US$5739

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M/S Darakum - twin/double


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19th of Sep 2019

3rd of Oct 2019

US$6249

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19th of Sep 2019

3rd of Oct 2019

US$3829

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27th of Sep 2019

11th of Oct 2019

US$8969

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27th of Sep 2019

11th of Oct 2019

US$5879

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4th of Nov 2019

18th of Nov 2019

US$10149

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4th of Nov 2019

18th of Nov 2019

US$6689

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13th of Feb 2020

27th of Feb 2020

US$10149

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13th of Feb 2020

27th of Feb 2020

US$6689

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25th of Feb 2020

10th of Mar 2020

US$9339

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25th of Feb 2020

10th of Mar 2020

US$6179

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1st of May 2020

15th of May 2020

US$8679

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1st of May 2020

15th of May 2020

US$5809

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1st of Sep 2020

15th of Sep 2020

US$9629

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M/S Darakum - single


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1st of Sep 2020

15th of Sep 2020

US$6399

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27th of Sep 2020

11th of Oct 2020

US$9999

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27th of Sep 2020

11th of Oct 2020

US$6619

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4th of Nov 2020

18th of Nov 2020

US$11319

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4th of Nov 2020

18th of Nov 2020

US$7349

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Accommodation

The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we most often on this tour. From time to time we may exchange these for similar properties at the same level. In general, specific hotels cannot be guaranteed on our group tours, but you may select your preferred options if you are booking a tailor-made trip.

M/S Darakum - 5-star luxury level

Cairo-Aswan


The MS Darakum is a luxury 5-star cruise boat operating on the Nile between Luxor and Aswan. It has 44 cabins and 8 suites, featuring river views and private bathrooms. On-board facilities include a bar, restaurant, pool, and gym.

Local rating

Our rating

Operated by Movenpick, the MS Darakum is a 5-star luxury cruise boat. It is one of the largest vessels found on the Nile between Luxor and Aswan. It features 44 cabins and 8 suites, each designed with Moroccan-inspired decor. Rooms are air-conditioned and have panoramic river views, private bathrooms, satellite TVs, safes, and minibars. A restaurant, bar, swimming pool, and sun deck are all available on board, as well as a gym and several shops. The services and standards on the MS Darakum are of the highest quality.

M/S Jaz Royale - 5-star deluxe level

Cairo-Aswan


The MS Jazz Royale is a Nile cruise boat with a 5-star deluxe rating, just one level below a standard 5-star rating. Its cabins feature private bathrooms and satellite TVs. Facilities include sun decks, pool, Jacuzzi, restaurant, bar, and salon.

Local rating

Our rating

The MS Jazz Royale is a luxury Nile cruise boat. It has a 5-star deluxe rating, which, at just one level below a standard 5-star rating, still ensures excellent standards and services. The Jazz Royale has 50 double cabins, two suites, and five decks. The cabins each have private bathrooms, satellite TVs, hairdryers, minibars, and safes. The Main and Upper Deck cabins provide panoramic views of the Nile. Facilities on board include a large restaurant, a lounge and bar, two sundecks, pool, Jacuzzi, gift shop, and beauty salon.

Options

Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination you‘re visiting. However, we do also offer some extra options to complement the tour and add some additional sightseeing or activities, or some extra time at either end of the tour.

All accommodation based options (e.g. Single supplements, extra nights, cruise upgrades) should be booked and paid for in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Other options may either be booked and paid for in advance or while you are on the tour, though we recommend booking in advance to ensure there are no issues with availability.

Many options are priced the same throughout the year, but some may incur single or high season supplements - full details are given on the tour reservation form or on request.

Single room supplement (EGSGLN)

Min numbers: 1 person


This option books a single room in all the accommodation throughout the tour. Room shares may be available but the supplement is payable if a room share cannot be arranged.

Price from
$1309.00
per person

This option books a single room in all the accommodation throughout the tour. If you are a single traveller and would be happy to share a room, let us know and we will aim to pair you up with another traveller of the same sex. If a room share is available, you will not need to pay the supplement.

Note: The price shown is a low season price. Slightly higher prices may apply during high and peak seasons - the exact price for your dates will be shown on the online booking form and is always available on request.

Private guide supplement

Min numbers: 1 person


This option covers the additional cost of having your own private Egyptologist guide for all sightseeing, instead of joining the resident cruise guide.

Price from
$279.00
per person

On this tour you join with the resident Egyptologist guides based on board the cruise boat and do your sightseeing tours with them. However we are also able to send one of our own Egyptologists on the boat with you, so that you do all the sightseeing tours privately, with just yourselves and our guide. This gives you more flexibility, and if you'd like it, more in depth and personalised explanations of all the historical sites you're visiting. Prices shown are based on 4+ people travelling, with higher costs if the are 1, 2 or 3 travellers (see reservation form or contact us for details).

Hot air balloon in Luxor

Min numbers: 1 person


A trully memorable, approx 1-hour, early morning flight over the West Bank of the Nile in Luxor.

Price from
$119.00
per person

This popular optional tour starts early in the morning so that you experience the sunrise over the Valleys of the Kings & Queens, temples and desert. We endeavour to use the earliest flights of the day as they are timed to fit with the rising sun, this means that times may vary. You get around 1 hour in the air.

Abu Simbel overland

Min numbers: 1 person


This option takes you from Aswan to see the amazing temples built by Ramses II at Aswan. We travel overland and return to Aswan by midday.

Price from
$119.00
per person

The temples built by Ramses II at Abu Simbel are one of Egypt's highlights, and have a fascinating story behind them to go with their impressive size. When Lake Nasser was flooded, the final water level was going to submerge several temples, the most important of which being Abu Simbel. The temple was therefore dismantled completely and rebuilt further up the hillside where it sits today. The temple stands today as a testament to Ramses II and the great building prowess of the ancient Egyptians, as well as to modern engineering. We depart Aswan early in the morning to join an escorted convoy which departs Aswan at around 04.30. This gets us to Abu Simbel to see the temples in the light of the rising sun, and we then have a guided tour with one of our Egyptologists and some free time before we drive back to Aswan (approx. 3 hours drive each way, with around 2 hours at the temples). All transfers, guide, and entrance fees are included. The tour itinerary is designed so you will not miss any other activities if you choose this option. Note - we choose the overland route to get to Abu Simbel as the flight times there are unreliable and the journey using the flight is much more segmented (you get more rest on the coach), not to mention it is much more expensive to fly.

Extra day in Cairo (5-star+) - pre-tour

Min numbers: 1 person


This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, usually staying in the Mena House hotel (subject to availability). Your airport arrival transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Price from
$79.00
per person

This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, usually staying in the Mena House hotel (subject to availability). Your airport arrival transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Note: Single room and peak season supplements apply.

Tour Notes

The detailed Tour Notes below have been written to give you some more detailed information about how the tour runs, what to expect, and how to prepare for your holiday. We recommend downloading an up to date copy of these shortly before you travel in case of any changes.

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  1. Accommodation

Most of our small group tours use high quality hotels at the Egyptian 5-star level in Cairo, Aswan, Luxor and Hurghada, all with swimming pools and a choice of restaurants and bars. 

Shoestring tours use good quality 3 and 4-star level hotels, all with air-conditioned en-suite bathrooms. The hotels in Aswan and Luxor on this level of tour also have swimming pools.

Our private/tailor-made tour itineraries use a wider mix of hotels, from comfortable mid-range hotels at the 2-4 star level (generally the best available in some of the less visited places included in the particular itinerary) up to some of the very best deluxe 5-star properties in the country.

Please check the Accommodation tab on the tour page or download these Tour Notes for details of the normal hotels used. On our small-group and shoestring tours, these hotels may change from time to time for other properties of a similar standard. If you would like to guarantee a particular hotel, please request a tailor-made tour.

Nile cruise tours are generally based on Egyptian 5-star deluxe level boats - please check the Accommodation section on the tour page for details.

Accommodation is based on twin, triple or double en-suite rooms/cabins with air conditioning. All couples will be given a private double room/cabin. Single travellers may choose to pay a single room supplement to guarantee themselves a single room throughout the tour. Alternatively, they may choose to share a room with one or two other travellers of the same sex.

Single travellers
On most of our Egypt tours, if you are happy to share a room/cabin with another traveller of the same sex, then we will aim to pair you up and arrange a room-share. If a room share is not available, or if you would like to guarantee yourself a single room throughout the tour, then an additional single room supplement will be payable. This will be refunded or removed from your booking if you have requested a room share and are paid up later. Room shares are arranged in order of booking.
Some tours have different rules for single supplements - please check the single room supplement option on your tour for full details.

Gala Dinners
Many of Egypt's hotels and Nile cruise boats arrange a very special gala dinner with entertainment in the evening on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Payment for these is often optional on Christmas Eve (24 Dec) but may be compulsory on New Year's Eve (31 Dec), whether you attend or not. Prices can range from around US$50 to over US$150 per person. Final decisions on prices and whether dinners are compulsory are made relatively close to the time. We aim to always select hotels that make their Gala Dinners optional, though this is is not always possible. Gala dinner prices are therefore not included in our prices above, but will be added to your booking if they become required. More information is available on request.


  2. Transport

The vast majority of the travel on this tour is done on the Nile Cruise boat, and that is one of the main attractions of this trip. Sightseeing tours are done from the boat using air-conditioned minibuses or coaches.

Nile cruise boat itineraries are subject to alterations depending on local conditions at the time of travel. Some sailing may be done after dark. Between Luxor and Aswan, boats may moor up alongside each other at night, requiring you to cross through other boats to reach the shore. On Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve the cruise boats normally run a special Gala Dinner. The cost of this is normally compulsory, whether you attend or not, and is included in our group tour prices, and will be added to private and tailor-made tour quotes as required.


  3. Transfers

Our Egypt tours include a 24-hour airport meet & assist service in Cairo airport, your arrival and departure airport-hotel transfers and all other transfers. Our representative will meet you in the immigration hall of Cairo airport before you get to passport control. They will assist with visa formalities before helping you collect your luggage and taking you to your hotel.

Your airport transfers are only included on the first and last day of the set tour itinerary, plus on any additional days if you book your hotel room with us. If you make your own arrangements for additional accommodation at either the beginning or the end of the tour then you will need to arrange your own airport transfers on these days.


  4. International Flights

We want to give you as much flexibility as possible when it comes to booking your holiday with us. So, to take account of people with varying travel plans, we don’t include your international flights in the main tour price. We are however very happy to suggest flights to go with the tour. Please contact us with your preferred dates and departure airport and we’ll give you a selection of airlines, times and fares to choose from.

Your airport arrival & departure transfers are included on the first and last days of the tour. Nearly all our Egyptian tours start and finish in Cairo airport (CAI).


  5. Group Size/Tour Leaders/Guides

We are committed to being a small group operator, as we feel this gives everyone in the group the best chance to get to know their fellow travellers and to hear and make the most of their guide. There’s no point in us providing great guides if you’ve got to peer over 30-40 shoulders to see them! So, we won’t ever put you in a 50-seater coach with 49 other people and just one guide. Instead, we set our Egypt small-group departures to have a maximum of 18 travellers.
Shoestring tours have a maximum group size of 26. On dedicated Nile Cruise tours you may join larger boat groups for the sightseeing trips, though a supplement is always available for a private Egyptologist guide for these tours (requires advance booking).
Specialist escorted tours and workshops may have different group sizes - please download the Tour Notes for details.

In Egypt we provide fully trained, local English-speaking graduate Egyptologist guides to run your tour and escort you during all of the sightseeing in Cairo and the Nile Valley. We also have permanent local reps in all the main towns/cities and Red Sea resorts who are also at your service, and will be handling all the practical arrangements for the tour. We use local Bedouin guides for tours through the desert.

On some departures we may use one guide in Cairo, and a second guide for the Aswan to Luxor section.

At Encounters Travel we only use local Egyptian guides and reps. We feel this gives you the best experience of the country and the sites you are seeing. Please check our website for more details and profiles of some of our most famous Egyptian guides.


  6. Entrance Fees

Our Small Group tours do not include entrance fees to the tourist sites mentioned in the itinerary. We do however normally include these in prices for Tailor-Made and Escorted tours. Please check the Inclusions and Exclusions section below the tour itinerary for a details about your tour and the amount you may need to budget. This amount is subject to change and will be reconfirmed in Egypt at the start of your tour. A 50% discount for minors or ISIC card holders is often, but not always available.

Your guide will be happy to collect payment for all the entrance fees at the start of the tour, and pay them for you as you go along if you wish. This payment is normally collected in US Dollars cash together with payment for any Tipping Kitty used on the tour, though you may also pay with Egyptian Pounds or other currencies, converted to USD. Local exchange rates are set on a monthly basis and based on local bank rates so may not match the exact rates you may find online on the day.


  7. Tipping

Tipping is very much a part of Egyptian culture and customs. To make our prices more transparent and so it is easier for you to budget and less hassle while in Egypt, on our small group tours we organise a ‘Tipping Kitty’ which needs to be paid as a local payment and will be around US$25-45 depending on the length of yoru trip. Payment is collected in US Dollars cash or can also be paid with Egyptian Pounds or other currencies converted to US Dollars at our local monthly exchange rate. This kitty provides tips for a wide range of people you’ll meet along the tour including hotel porters, train and station staff, drivers, site guards, local reps etc. Please check the Included/Excluded notes below the tour itinerary for more information on how much to budget for this kitty.

Your Egyptologist guide (and Bedouin guides in the desert) is not included in this kitty and you may tip them at the end of your tour subject to your satisfaction with and appreciation of the service they have provided.  You should not feel obliged to tip any particular amount, and should consider your personal budget. We are often asked to provide a guide however, and can suggest that approx. USD 10-15 per person per day would be appropriate.

On private/tailor-made tours we can also arrange a tipping kitty if you wish, or you can tip people as you go along the tour. Your guide will be happy to help advise either way.


  8. Health and Vaccinations

You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation.

Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination.  You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions.
In addition, additional courses or boosters normally recommended for the countries in this region are:

Egypt: Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A
Jordan: Tetanus, Hepatitis A
Israel: Hepatitis A, Poliomyelitis
Lebanon: Dipheria, Hepatitis A

Malaria is not generally present unless it has been contracted abroad; you do not need to take malaria prophylactics.

More information is available here: Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon

Note: We are aware of some places in Egypt using 'black henna' instead of pure brown henna. Black henna contains a chemical dye PPD (paraphenylenediamine) which can result in severe allergic reactions and resultant scarring. To be safe we recommend avoiding any henna tattoos while in Egypt unless you are certain they are using pure brown henna.


  9. Passports and Visas - Egypt

Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities.

We recommend that you contact your closest Egyptian consulate or embassy for current information for your nationality.

In general official advice is that all nationalities obtain their Egypt visas in advance, as we cannot guarantee that you can get them in the airport. An online e-visa is available through https://visa2egypt.gov.eg/eVisa/. Please do not use any other website as there are many scam sites offering Egypt e-visas.
In practice however, many nationalities (including British and European, Australian, New Zealand, USA, Canadian) can and do obtain their visas on arrival in Cairo airport. The process is much quicker and simpler, the cost is currently US$25 p/p and must be paid in hard currency (i.e. GBP, USD or EUR) - you'll be given change in local currency if necessary. There are no forms to fill in and you don't need to bring passport photos. Visas are issued at one of the bank desks in the immigration hall, before you get to passport control. Our representative will have met you by this stage and will assist with the process.

All African & Indian nationals, and some others, will need to obtain their visas in advance.

For further information on your visa requirements, please either contact us or your local Egyptian embassy/consulate.


  10. Time

The time in Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon is GMT plus 2 hours and in UAE GMT plus 3 hours. Daylight saving adjustments have historically been applied in some years but not others. At present it appears that there will be no daylight saving changes in Egypt 2016 and beyond, though this may change at short notice (with a resulting impact on flight times and schedules). In Jordan and Israel, daylight saving of one hour is generally applied between the end of March and the end of October, making it GMT plus 3 hours. Exact dates vary from year to year and sometimes the changes may be scrapped altogether.


  11. Voltage

Sockets are two round pronged and 220 volts (Type C). Universal adaptors are available in most airport shops if you don't have one already. Standard European adapters will work fine, though sometimes they may feel a little loose in the sockets. All hotel rooms have electrical sockets where you can re-charge cameras, phones etc. Hair dryers are normally available on request from the hotel reception if not in your room already.
If you have US appliances (110 volts) you will need a voltage converter as well as a plug adapter.


  12. Money - Egypt

The local currency in Egypt is the Egyptian Pound, often denoted 'LE'. The Egyptian Pound can vary significantly in value against the British Pound, but sticks fairly close to the value of the US Dollar. You do not need to arrange to bring any Egyptian Pounds with you to Egypt, as change facilities are available in all the hotels, airports and banks. You should try to obtain and keep hold of small denomination notes or coins on you during the tour as these are useful for toilets, tips and small purchases. ATMs are readily available in major towns and many local shops will accept VISA/Mastercard or Amex, but may charge fees of up to 10% - check before you pay. Travellers cheques are not recommended as they can not be changed in many places now, and can incur high fees.

While in Egypt you will need sufficient funds to cover meals not included in the itinerary, drinks, snacks, souvenirs and personal expenses such as laundry. These should generally all be paid for in Egyptian Pounds. You may also need to pay for the tour Tipping Kitty and site Entrance Fees while you are in Egypt. Payments for these may be made to your tour guide in hard currency (USD, GBP, EUR) at the start of your tour. Please see your tour Included/Excluded details for more information and guideline amounts for these.

It is difficult to recommend a level of personal spending money which will suit everyone as this can differ greatly, but as a guideline, we would suggest allowing USD 15-25 per person per day as a minimum. Allow more if you plan on doing lots of shopping, or buying many alcoholic drinks.


  13. What to take

Luggage: Suitcases, rucksacks or fabric holdalls are all fine to bring with you to Egypt. You should also bring a small daypack/bag to take out during the day. Your main luggage will normally be left in the hotel during your sightseeing trips – you will not need to carry it far, and there are nearly always hotel porters to assist.

Luggage limits: There is no luggage limit for this tour. However, most airlines restrict you to between 20kg and 25kg for your hold luggage and between 5kg and 10kg for hand luggage. Please check with your airline before travelling to the airport.

Clothing: Most of your time in Egypt will be in a hot climate. However, at night, and especially in the deserts, the temperatures can drop quite dramatically. So you must pack for cool conditions. Formal dress (eg. suits & ties) is not required on the cruise boats or in 5-star hotel restaurants. Long sleeves are recommended to protect from mosquitoes if you are on the felucca. Modesty rates highly in Egypt, especially for women, so to respect the local culture & people, please ensure all clothes are loose fitting and not revealing. Shorts (not hot-pants) are OK in tourist sites, as are T-shirts, but these should not show too much bare flesh (we suggest that your shoulders should remain covered). In the centre of Cairo, and when visiting any mosques, legs and arms should be covered.

Other items: If you will be travelling on a felucca then we recommend bringing a light sleeping sheet or sleeping bag liner all year round for comfort, and a light sleeping bag in the winter months (November to February). We also recommend you bring a sun hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, a basic first aid kit, toiletries, small towel, money belt, small torch, camera & charger.


  14. Dates & Prices

This cruise operates on very restricted dates and runs subject to availability and operation of the cruise boat. Please contact us to confirm availability before booking any international flights.

Shorter itineraries are also available on request on other dates (12-days Cairo-Luxor, 13-days Aswan-Cairo, 10 days Luxor-Cairo).


  15. Booking & Payment

If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website (via the Dates & Prices tab on the tour page). You may make a deposit or full payment online, or just hold a reservation if you prefer (full payments are due 8 weeks before departure). We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by debit or credit card (subject to a card processing fee), or by making a bank transfer, or posting us a cheque/bank draft. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.


  16. Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event). More information...

You may arrange your own insurance, or you can take advantage of a comprehensive policy that we can arrange for you through Endsleigh Insurance which has been designed to be suitable for our tours. The policy is available to travellers of all nationalities and you do not need to live in the UK  to take out the policy. For full details of cover provided, prices and to apply for one of our policies, please complete travel insurance application form.
Note: Any country that borders the Mediterranean is considered as 'Europe' for the purposes of travel insurance (including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco). If you are doing a tour that visits one country in 'Europe' and one that is 'Worldwide' (for example, an Egypt and Jordan tour), then you need a 'Worldwide' policy. When completing the form you should enter your travel dates including any extra days involved in overnight flights or connecting travel between your home and the tour. Our policies are not able to cover any extra time or activities other than your tour and options booked with us and your travel to & from home.

Note - to comply with insurance sales regulations, our travel insurance policies are only available to customers booking directly with us. If you have booked through a travel agent you will need to arrange your own insurance.

If you plan to arrange a hot air balloon flight locally, or do some scuba diving during your tour, you should check the small print in your policy to make sure these are covered (these are covered in our policy). Please also check the maximum altitude that you will be reaching and that full cover including emergency evacuation is provided up to this altitude.

If you are taking expensive camera gear or other electronic equipment with you then please check the coverage and the fine print of your policy to ensure that you have sufficient cover.

IMPORTANT:  We must have your travel insurance details (policy number and type of insurance) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour.  If you haven't told us already, please let us know the details when you can. You should take a paper copy of your insurance policy with you as you may be asked to show this at the start of the tour.


  17. Financial Security

We are a UK registered company and an ABTA Member (Y4447) and you can be confident when booking with us that your money is safe and protected.
Financial failure insurance is also provided through Affirma to protect all customers for the land portion of your tour.
Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.


  18. Responsible Tourism

It is impossible not to have an impact on the local environment, cultures and eco-systems when you travel. However, it is very possible to try and ensure that these impacts are as limited, or positive as possible. We are committed to ensuring that we try to leave our host countries in a better state than we found them and encourage and assist our travellers to help us with this.
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.

  • Don't prejudge: Things in different countries will almost certainly be different. That doesn't make them worse or inferior, just different.
  • Communicate: Don't expect locals to speak your language. Take the trouble to learn a few words or phrases of the local language. Don't worry about sounding silly. Most locals are patient and accommodating and appreciate you making the effort to communicate in their language.
  • Conserve energy: Be careful not to waste valuable resources. Use local resources sparingly. Switch off lights, air-conditioning and fans when you leave the hotel room and don't waste water. Remove superfluous packaging. Many countries have far less efficient waste disposal systems than ours. Remove packaging from newly acquired items before leaving home.
  • Don't litter: No matter how untidy or dirty the country you're travelling in may look to you, avoid littering, as there is no need to add to the environment's stress. Many of the countries we visit have a tough challenge dealing with rubbish and waste. Please consider taking home as much plastic waste as you can (e.g. water bottles).
  • Choose environmentally friendly products: By using environmentally friendly (bio degradable) sun creams, shampoos and detergents you can help reduce pollution.
  • Respect local customs and traditions: As you are a guest in these countries, you should also comply with the local customs. If you are friendly and well mannered, the locals will reciprocate and it will only enhance your experience. It's important to follow dress and behaviour guidelines especially when visiting religious or sacred sites (your tour leader will advise you how best to do this).
  • If a client commits an illegal act the client may be excluded from the tour and Encounters Travel shall cease to have responsibility to/for them. No refund will be given for any unused services.

All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).


  19. Follow Us Online

You can stay in touch with us online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on relevant travel news in our destination countries, special offers and discounts and other interesting travel related news and information.
www.facebook.com/encounterstravel
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')


  20. Before you travel

It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters.

General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not.

You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds.

Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Travel Aware' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.

'Travel Aware' campaign

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Long Nile Cruise & Country Reviews

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Posted 25th of Oct 2015

As above