We may be in the middle of winter, but as you’ll see from the abundance of holiday adverts, it’s the perfect time of year to plan your next holiday. What better antidote to the short dark days and cold, blustery weather than booking a luxury Nile river cruise? In fact, why not go one step further and have the best of both worlds, by booking a ‘cruise and stay’ package that combines a Nile river cruise with a 5 star Red Sea resort break?
If you’re thinking of booking a Nile river cruise, or a cruise and stay package, here are some things to take into consideration:
When to go
The first thing to take into consideration is the time of year. The high season for Nile cruise holidays is November-February. At this time of year, temperatures average 20 degrees centigrade during the day, making it the perfect climate for exploring the multitude of UNESCO World Heritage sites, like the Valley of the Kings in Luxor. If you’re hoping to combine your cruise with a resort stay, it may be a little cool for you in the northern part of the river delta, but you can easily combine your sublime cruise with a luxurious stay in one of the southerly Red Sea resorts of Sharm el Sheikh, Marsa Alam or Hurghada on one of our ‘cruise and stay’ packages. Temperatures in these resorts will be in the mid-20’s, perfect for sunbathing and a spot of local sightseeing.
Don’t panic if you can’t take time off during this time of year, Egypt is a year-round holiday destination. If you travel out in the late spring or early autumn, the temperatures will be hotter – in the early 30’s – which may actually suit you better if you’re a sun worshipper. Just be aware of Ramadan, which takes place this year from April 12rd – May 11rd and the end of Ramadan, which is celebrated on May 12th. On this religious festival, although the major landmarks will be open as usual, and resorts will run normally, local eateries will have disrupted opening hours. Also be aware that May 12th is a national holiday, so certain areas will be busy.
If you’re fixed to the school holidays, in July and August, bear in mind that temperatures in the Red Sea resorts can reach a scorching 40 degrees centigrade, with northerly cities such as Cairo reaching the mid-30’s. If you can cope with these soaring temperatures, then don’t be put off booking a holiday. In fact, because it’s considered low season, there are some great deals on offer at this time of year. Just make sure you take your time while exploring the ancient landmarks, as some – such as Karnak Temple in Luxor – are spread over wide areas. Make sure you drink plenty of water and always shade your head from the sun.
Budget and protecting your booking
Depending on the time of year you want to travel, and how long you want to go away for, there are a wide variety of Nile river cruises on offer. Although online searches will uncover a huge variety of holidays, make sure you book with a company that’s ABTA and ATOL protected. These protection schemes safeguard your money in case a firm goes bust and ensures you get home safely if you’re already on holiday. As well as protecting your booking by ABTA’s regulations and insuring your holiday.
When you find a good, reputable company you’d like to book with, keep checking their website for the best deals and don’t be afraid to call up and speak with a travel expert. They can help you find the best deals for your budget. Although cruise holidays tend to be all-inclusive, with flights and transfers included, make sure you’ve budgeted for excursions and any additional sightseeing you plan on doing. Also, if you fancy a spot of shopping or eating with the locals, then try to convert your pounds, euros or dollars to the Egyptian pound, you’ll get a lot more for your money if you use the local currency. Finally, for absolute peace of mind, don’t forget to budget for travel insurance.
Duration and booking leave
This isn’t a long weekend break. Nile river cruises can be as short as 3 nights duration, but to see a good deal of the major sites you’ll need to book a cruise that has a minimum 7-night duration. If you opt to include a resort stay, then cruise and stay packages can be 2-3 weeks long. You’ll also need to allow travel time when booking leave – Egypt isn’t a long-haul destination, with average flight times being 5-6 hours duration, but even a 7-night stay will require 8 clear days including travel.
What do you want from your holiday?
The final question you’ll need to ask yourself is what do you want from your holiday? If you need to decompress, then you should definitely book a cruise and stay package. Although it is sublimely calming, drifting slowly past magnificent monuments and temples from ancient Pharaonic times, it can also be tiring exploring the attractions. That’s why cruise and stay packages are so popular. You’ll not only get to see the major tourist attractions but also have time to decompress and unwind in a luxurious 5-star resort.
If you’re a culture vulture and desperate for adventure, then a luxury Nile river cruise is definitely for you. Make sure you double-check the itinerary and get to see everything that’s on your wish list. Some ships are larger than others – and some will offer more in the way of entertainment. So think about what you want from your holiday, the type of person you are and what you really need from your much-deserved vacation.
You may think you’ve missed the boat for booking this year, but there are still plenty of holiday packages on offer, just check our website for availability. Or you can call one of our team to discuss your requirements and let us direct you to your dream holiday. We can be reached on 0207 0303971, or you an email us on [email protected].