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Treasures of the Nile - luxury and legend on an Egyptian cruise

20 May 2016

Looking for a break that offers excellent weather, cultural sites and a touch of luxury that will make your friends envious? Consider a river cruise holiday along the Egyptian Nile.

A sailing boat on the Nile River in Egypt
A sailing boat on the Nile River in Egypt

Packed with world-famous landmarks for arts and culture enthusiasts plus opportunities for active holidaymakers to go hiking, Nile cruises combine the opulence and relaxation of fully catered cruise trips with some of the world’s best activities. You can easily tick a few more items off your travel wish list with our tours on the water.

So, sit back and relax as we take you through all of the reasons why a Nile river cruise is a break that you can talk about for years to come…

Cruises and convenience

Your Magic of the Nile cruise takes place over seven nights, allowing you to see the best that historic Egypt has to offer without becoming embroiled in the hustle and bustle of tourist-heavy Cairo. Sailing along Egypt’s largest river, you will see incredible world-famous attractions such as the Valley of the Kings and Esna.

The voyage starts and ends at the city of Luxor, which was once the ancient city known as Thebes. Your river cruise will take you all the way to Aswan and its remarkable dam before returning you to Luxor for your flights back to the UK. It’s a simple, safe and sophisticated way to travel.

Everything catered for

As with all of our river cruises, Saga’s Nile trips are highly rated and offer a dash of luxury that makes them unmissable. These holidays are all inclusive and feature three meals a day – that’s breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can sample local wine or beer with your meals later in the day.

Your holiday will benefit from a Saga tour manager who can help to plan your trip if you want to know the best sites for an itinerary. They are also available to partner you up with travel companions if you are travelling solo. Of course, if you prefer an independent approach, then you are welcome to strike out on your own and see the landmarks of your choice.

Follow in famous footsteps

Tread the same paths as Hercule Poirot in Agatha Christie’s iconic Death on the Nile with such legendary actors as Peter Ustinov and Dame Maggie Smith. For some time the British have revered all things Egyptian.

After Napoleon invaded Egypt in 1798, the people of Europe became increasingly fascinated by sites such as the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. Indeed, at the height of Britain’s colonial explorations in the 19th century, archaeologists would regularly publish excited letters about Egypt and its antiquities.

It has been suggested that many people of the time found this civilisation more enthralling than ancient Greece and even Rome. The Renaissance had placed Greco-Roman culture as the keystone of civilisation. This new and wondrous alternative suddenly seemed to suggest that mankind’s refinement had begun sooner. For some scholars, part of Victorian England’s love of Egypt resulted from the belief that both nations were seen as trailblazers of enlightenment.

Visit the Valley of the Kings

After you depart Luxor, you’ll travel to the opposite bank of the Nile to see this legendary burial site, which has provided the final resting place for centuries of pharaohs and powerful nobles for more than 500 years. Archaeological experts have now discovered 63 tombs and chambers. These rooms range in size from small pits to huge tombs with over 100 chambers.

Decorated with scenes from ancient mythology, the inscriptions on the walls provide incredible insights into the belief systems and rites of historic Egyptian culture. Although many of the tombs have been robbed since ancient times, the structures themselves highlight the wealth and opulence of the land’s royal and noble families.

Amongst the valley’s attractions is Tutankhamun’s Tomb, which was discovered by British explorers in 1922. Legend has it that those who found the tomb died because of the “Curse of the Pharaohs”.

Travel to ancient temples

Walk the same halls as followers of ancient Egyptian gods. The temple of Kom Ombo is remarkable because it has a highly unusual “double” design that features halls and sanctuaries for two sets of gods.

The southern side is dedicated to Sobek and Khonsu, the gods of fertility and the moon. The northern side, meanwhile, is devoted to the worship of Horus the Elder and Panebtawy, the falcon god of hunting and war and his son – the child god.

See the Colossi of Memnon

The Colossi are twin statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III carved in a seated position facing the river. These two figures stood guard over the pharaoh’s memorial temple, which was built to honour him.

The Colossi are heavily weathered and the features on the upper bodies are difficult to distinguish. However, the size of the memorial is testament to the greatness of Amenhotep III. None of the succeeding rulers ever managed to match the scale of the memorial.

Prefer to see Egypt by land?

Taking in Egypt by cruise is a luxurious and enjoyable experience, but there are plenty of options if you would prefer to stay on land to explore the history here. Take a look at our Radisson Blu or Pyramisa Island resort breaks, which both offer similar luxuries to our cruises.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.