The River Cruise We Can’t Wait to Take Next
Seven years after the Arab Spring, we’re tired of waiting: The rewards of seeing the Pyramids, the temples of Abu Simbel, and the Valley of the Kings outweigh any risks. (The U.S. Department of State says Egypt merits only “increased caution,” on par with France, Italy, and the U.K.) For maximum sightseeing in a minimum amount of time, a Nile cruise is the way to go. We’re obsessed with Nour El Nil’s stylish 10-cabin dahabiyahs and the elegant Oberoi Philae; the fashion designer Victor Glemaud raves about his recent trip aboard the Sanctuary Sun Boat IV, during which he saw “every temple there was and then some.” The new Viking Ra makes her first Nile trips this year, or you could go old school aboard the S.S. Sudan, which is like a floating Orient-Express with wood-paneled staterooms. Because all Nile cruises operate between Aswan and Luxor, says Jim Berkeleyof Destination & Adventures International, travelers can see most everything in three or four nights—and longer itineraries are “a waste of valuable touring time,” he says.
Whichever ship you choose, go soon. “Gone are the days when no one was at these ancient sites and you could stroll around and not bump into another tourist,” says Berkeley. “But they’re not bursting at the seams like they once were.” That sentiment is echoed by another expert, Rami Girgis of Abercrombie & Kent. “The ability to see the Pyramids without the crowds won’t last long,” Girgis says. “I’ve been designing itineraries for Egypt since 2005, and the experience for tourists in Egypt right now is as welcoming and upbeat as I’ve ever seen it.”