Ships have sailed the mighty Nile since the days of the pharaohs—and modern cruising vessels were a common sight before the Arab Spring. Now they’re back: Abercrombie & Kent reported multiple sold-out sailings this year, Viking River Cruises increased its 2015 departures, Avalon Waterways returns in 2016, and Tom Harper River Journeys launches in December. While most ships follow the same three- or four-day route from Aswan to Luxor, our picks offer something more distinctive.

By Jane Wooldridge
May 26, 2015
Courtesy of Uniworld

Abercrombie & Kent

What we love: The October 2 departure includes a visit to Queen Nefertari’s tomb in the Valley of the Queens, which is normally closed to the public. Details: 10 days with four-night sail from $5,695 per person.

Oberoi Hotels & Resorts

What we love: The 25-cabin Oberoi Zahra has a weeklong Nile cruise, allowing for leisurely visits to more historic sites than many other cruises. Details: Seven nights from $6,568 per person.

Sanctuary Retreats

What we love: Egyptologists are on board each sailing to explain it all to you. And each of the 32 cabins on the Nile Adventurer has a river view. Details: Three- and four-night itineraries from $417 per cabin per night.


What we love: The seven-cabin Dahabeya Amirat is modeled on the ships that carried monarchs on the Nile in the 1920s, but with full-size tubs and Jacuzzis. Details: Seven nights from $5,215 per cabin.


What we love: The Splendors of Egypt & the Nile journey on the all-suite River Tosca includes a visit with a family in a traditional Nubian village. Details: 11 nights with seven-night cruise from $4,799 per person.

Viking River Cruises

What we love: After four nights on the Nile, guests on the Pathways of the Pharaohs adventure fly to the striking rock temples of Abu Simbel before spending three nights on Lake Nasser. Details: 11 nights from $3,998 per person.