Nile River Cruise: Safe If Done Right

It seems that all we read about lately when it comes to the middle east is scary security concerns fueled by political and social unrest.  Everyone from the U.S. Department of State to cable news tells us it is not safe to go to Egypt for a Nile River Cruise.  Indeed, many travelers who might have planned a visit to that part of the world have put those plans on hold.  But at the end of the day, the big losers here are tourists who choose not go go and Egypt’s tourism industry, normally a huge contributor to the local economy.  On a recent land and river cruisetour with to luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent, one of the few operators still active in the region, we experienced an Egypt that provided far more than we thought it would, for a number of reasons.

Cairo Street Scenes - 37

Security Is Tight, Appropriately So
Cruise CompeteMake no mistake, this is not a part of the world to explore on our own.  The security concerns we read about in newspapers, magazines and on websites are founded in fact.  Just before we arrived for a 14-day tour through Egypt and into Jordan, a Mexican tour group was killed, mistaken for terrorists.

“Egyptian forces hunting militants mistakenly attacked the tourists’ convoy in Egypt’s western desert,” reported USAToday, adding “Survivors have said the attack was carried out by helicopters and an airplane and involved bombs dropped on the tourists’ vehicles.”

Yikes! Not exactly our idea of a fun time traveling abroad to be sure.  Still, there is something to be said for traveling with a company that has security and safety as a top priority.

On tour busses, we had a guide and an armed guard with us at all times. Often, our motorcoach was led by police escort who also followed us to insure our safety. On nearly every street corner, armed Tourism Police stood guard, insuring a safe visit for travelers.  Waking one morning to find a machine gun mounted on the stern of our river cruise ship did indeed give us pause.  Taking an in-country flight from Cairo to Aswan to see the magnificent ruins of Abu Simbel, on our return, the Cairo airport was closed to locals as we tourists passed through. Still, not once did we feel our personal safety was in jeopardy.

It took a few days to get used to that level of security, something we first time visitors to the middle east would find out later is just part of the deal when visiting that part of the world.  There is always a noticeable security presence.

Sundown 2 - 38

The Abercrombie & Kent Difference
What made our trip go well was the huge infrastructure Abercrombie & Kent has in place as the region’s top tour operator.  When I arrived in Cairo on an overnight flight from the United States, I was prepared to stand in line for an entrance visa then again to clear customs and pick up my luggage.  To my surprise, the A&K greeter walked me through the process in a matter of minutes, passing by hundreds of other travelers in the process of entering the country.

Much more than a quick look at the pyramids, something many of us had dreamed of for a lifetime, our well-planned A&K experience explored not only the expected but the unexpected as well.  We were prepared to go deep into Egypt’s history as an expected part of visiting iconic landmarks.  We got that but by the end of the trip had learned far more about Egypt’s social and political side; something that turned out to be one of the best parts of the trip.

Giza Pyramids - 58

Pyramids Are Only The Beginning
The thought did cross my mind before visiting here; ‘I wonder if I will finally see the pyramids and then be bored’. Not hardly. I did not believe it when our A&K Egyptologist said ‘the pyramids are just the beginning’ but he sure was right. See the Facebook photo gallery links posted below for an idea of what we saw. I am told that those places, numbering over 50, just scratched the surface. I don’t doubt that.

Thinking of visiting Egypt some day?  Now might be just the right time if done with a top tour company.  The river cruise part of our total experience was just four days, a standard amount of time for any Nile sailing.  What we found by land and air was an Egypt ready to handle mass tourism but with most of the crowds scared away.  Bad news for Egypt but good news for hearty travelers willing to give the destination a chance.  Another bonus: discounted airfare as airlines struggle to fill already scheduled flights.


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  1. Mena House Hotel Cairo
  2. On The Streets Of Cairo
  3. Egyptian Museum Of Antiquities
  4. Lunch On The Nile
  5. Karnak Bazar
  6. Cairo Street Scenes
  7. Mit Rahina Museum
  8. Step Pyramid
  9. Tomb of Ka Gimni
  10. Carpet School
  11. Aboushakra Egyptian Lunch
  12. Giza Pyramids
  13. The Solar Boat
  14. A Camel Ride In Egypt
  15. The Iconic Sphinx
  16. Valley of the Kings
  17. Mena House Dinner
  18. Luxor
  19. Temple Of Karnak
  20. Sanctuary Resorts Sun Boat IV
  21. Seen On The Nile
  22. Sun Boat IV Culinary 
  23. Egyptian Night
  24. Sunrise On The Nile
  25. Scenic Cruising On The Nile
  26. Luxor By Day
  27. Temple Of Goddess Hathor At Denderah
  28. Nile Dining On Deck
  29. Sundown On The Nile
  30. Luxor At Night
  31. Going Through Locks On The Nile
  32. Edfu Temple
  33. Egyptian Cooking Lesson
  34. Ptolemaic Temple At Kom Ombo
  35. Egyptian Night On Sun Boat IV
  36. Philae Temple
  37. Beautiful Flowers Of Egypt
  38. The Unfinished Obelisk
  39. A Felucca Sailboat Ride On The Nile
  40. Abu Simbel Temples
  41. Egypt Air
  42. Cairo Revisited- the pretty side of town
  43. The Four Seasons Cairo
  44. Cairo Mosques
  45. Cairo Bazzar
  46. Royal Jordanian Airlines
  47. Amman Jordan
  48. The Jordan Museum
  49. Amman Bazaars
  50. Amman Roman Theatre
  51. Lebanese House Lunch
  52. The Citadel
  53. Grand Hyatt Amman
  54. Mount Nebo
  55. Jordan Mosaic Workshop
  56. St George Church, Madaba
  57. Hitayet Siti Restaurant- Madaba
  58. Crusader Castle
  59. Little Petra
  60. Jordan sun
  61. Movenpick Petra Hotel
  62. Petra (Hi Res Large)
  63. Petra (iPhone unfiltered)
  64. Wadi Rum
  65. Driving To The Dead Sea
  66. Movenpick Dead Sea Hotel

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Chris Owen
Chris Owen
Chris Owen is a travel writer from Orlando Florida who shares frank, inside information about cruise vacations with fellow Cruise Addicts.

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