Egypt is a destination that is on the top of many bucket lists. One of the world’s oldest and most historic civilizations, the monuments that speak to its grandeur nearly 5,000 years ago still stand today along the banks of the Nile River.

One of the best ways to see the evidence of Egypt’s one time greatness, as well as experience the way of life that remains largely unchanged even today, is by taking a Nile River cruise.

There a many advantages to choosing a cruise over a normal holiday on foot. Your river boat is essentially your hotel, and it travels with you. You unpack once, and enjoy the rest of your adventure. There is much less logistical planning as well. You also see more of the sights in Egypt because it takes less time to travel between places.

A cruise along the fabled Nile River not only gives you the opportunity to stop at ancient sites all along the way, but you can also get a sense of the modern Egyptian way of life. You will experience the bustle of the cities, but also the pastoral aspect of life along the river, which hasn’t changed much in several thousand years. It is an interesting and educational lesson in the culture and history of Egypt.

Choose from 3, 5, or 8 day voyages, usually traveling between Luxor and Aswan. You can opt for a longer 14 day cruise, which will give you the opportunity to spend a few days in Cairo, offering plenty of time to explore the famed pyramids and museums.

Nile cruises are very popular, and there are many river boats available to book, some owned by hotel chains, and some operated by tour companies. The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism has worked hard to standardize the quality of service and facilities on the river boats by mandating a grading system. The boats are rated from one to five stars, and as with hotels and restaurants, the more stars, the higher the quality of the cruise.

In short, you get what you pay for.The better, more higher rated river boats are essentially hotels on the water, and they offer all of the amenities that you would find at a reputable hotel or resort. Some boats have small swimming pools, restaurants, lounges, fitness centers, and even boutiques. Rooms vary in size, from very small and basic to relatively roomy suites.

Entertainment aboard the river boats can vary from movie nights and casino nights to cocktail parties and live entertainment, like belly dancers. Dining is much like any other cruise, with buffets serving a variety of hot and cold dishes, including local fare.

There is plenty to keep you busy while on board the river boat, but when you stop at the ports along the Nile, there is even more to see and experience. Typical stops along the way include Aswan, Edfu, Dendera, and Luxor.

Each stop offers its own stone temples at which to marvel, as well as museums and galleries. Guides are available – and recommended – for helping you get to the sites and back to the boat in the most efficient manner.

Longer cruises might include a stopover in Cairo, the modern capital of Egypt. There, you can explore the main museum, which houses many of the antiquities that have been excavated from pharaonic tombs. And you cannot visit Egypt without visiting the Pyramids of Giza – one of the seven wonders of the ancient world – or the Sphinx.

The Nile River cruises operate throughout the year. The autumn and winter months – between October and April – are the most favourable for cruising. The weather is cooler during those months.