Last April, GoCruise franchisee Ian Warren debated the safety of Nile cruising. Egypt’s turbulent political situation has resulted in disastrous tourism figures. The situation was so bad that the country’s own tourism minister described the figures as the worst in modern times. However, with the election of a new leader – el-Sisi – are Egypt’s fortunes finally turning around?
Having just returned from Luxor, we asked Ian to give us his thoughts….
As I mentioned in my April 2014 article, I hadn’t been back to Egypt since my Nile cruise in January 2011, which was just before the uprising. Therefore, when Red Sea Holidays offered me the opportunity to go and visit the Nile in June 2014, and stay on the MS Grand Rose for 3 nights, I had no hesitation in saying yes.
As I had been told by recently returning customers, the atmosphere was really good, with no tension at all that I could see. Everyone was just as friendly as I remembered, and really happy to see tourists returning.
Interestingly enough, we saw fireworks being set off during the evening of 3rd June, and our guide Hady told us that it was in celebration of the fact that Mr Sisi had just been declared the new president, following the recent election.
I expected to be pestered endlessly by the street vendors due to the lower number of visitors. However, I am pleased to say that, if anything, it wasn’t as bad as I remembered. Yes they are there, as that is how they make their living, but if you aren’t interested in their goods, then a polite but firm ‘No Thank You’ or ‘La Shokran’ is usually enough.
In addition, your tour guide is always on hand should you need help with anything.
While in Luxor we visited several temples and tombs I had seen before, and the biggest change is the fact that everything is so empty. I remember queuing to enter every one, which is not so good if you are stood out in the sun, but now you are able to just go straight in.
We were also lucky enough to be taken to the recently opened exact replica of Tutankhamen’s tomb, which is situated very close to the house of Howard Carter, who discovered the original tomb.
This excellent replica has been built because the endless viewing by the public was damaging the original tomb, and would have ended up being seen by no-one. We then looked around Howard Carter’s house, which has been preserved as it was back in 1922, when he discovered Tutankhamen’s resting place.
Having been moored in Luxor for the first couple of days, we then cruised to Esna. Our group disembarked, and returned to Luxor for our flight, leaving the passengers to enjoy another 4 nights onboard cruising up to Aswan and then back to Luxor.
In summary, I would say that there has probably never been a better time to take a Nile cruise
I still haven’t seen Cairo, but I did manage to see the pyramids from the air as we flew over!
In summary, I would say that there has probably never been a better time to take a Nile cruise. With the lower number of visitors, not only are there some great deals to be had, you also get to spend more time actually in the tombs and temples.
All in all, a Nile cruise is great value for money and, even more importantly, an amazing experience and enjoyable holiday.