With Egypt back on the radar, there’s no better time to sell Nile cruises to clients
Egypt is making a long-awaited comeback with flights to Sharm el Sheikh back on sale after four years of the FCO warning against all but essential travel to the region.
Operators are already reporting uplift in bookings across Egypt. John Fair, CroisiEurope’s UK sales director, says: “With a 40% increase in visitors last year, Egypt is enjoying a resurgence with tourists keen to visit while the main sites are still relatively quiet.”
And with Giza’s Grand Egyptian Museum opening this year, housing the largest-ever collection of Tutankhamun relics, now is an ideal time for clients to take a historic journey to Egypt.
A Nile river cruise is a great way for clients to see Egypt’s main sights, providing ease of travel and the opportunity to explore the country at the hands of an expert guide on shore excursions. Here we round up new Nile river cruises for 2020/21.
If brushing up on 2,000 years of history with the help of an Egyptologist appeals to clients, they can join CroisiEurope’s new eight-day round- trip cruise from Luxor onboard Steigenberger Royale. Guests will marvel at temples, tombs and pyramids, with the chance to also discover the customs and culture of villagers in Luxor and Aswan.
Guests can also choose to extend their visit with a three-night stay in Cairo pre-cruise, says Fair. “The season runs from September to May and you are pretty much guaranteed warm, sunny weather, even during the winter months,” he adds.
BOOK IT: Prices start from £1,364pp based on a 14 November 2020 departure including gratuities and port fees.
Emerald Waterways recently launched 2021 sailings of its 10-day Cairo and Ancient Egypt river cruise due to popularity. “We have found confidence in Egypt is on the increase. Last year, our Egypt, Jordan and Nile river cruise bookings increased 41% compared with the previous year,” says Joseph Grimley, director of UK trade sales.
Clients can immerse themselves in local life with a home-hosted cooking demonstration and a visit to a traditional Nubian village in Aswan.
BOOK IT: Prices start from £2,455pp including four nights onboard, departing May 2020, September 2020 and May 2021.
Riviera Travel has recently added 2021 itineraries for its Wonders of the Nile: Cairo and Luxor river cruise, which sets sail from Egypt’s capital. Cruisers will discover the three Great Pyramids before heading to the famous Sphinx at Giza. Other highlights include a visit to the Step Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara and the temple of Hathor at Dendera.
Hercules Zeris, head of worldwide travel at Riviera, says: “We also include a visit to the amazing new Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo, opening this year, which is proving to be a big draw for our guests.”
BOOK IT: Prices start from £2,635pp including flights, transfers and 10 nights’ accommodation.
Shearings Holidays is offering a new cruise and tour itinerary for 2020/21 that includes a four- day cruise on the Nile. Highlights include an excursion to Abu Simbel, the temples of Sobek and Horus the Elder, and a visit to Edfu Temple.
Combined cruise and tour itineraries are a great way to see everything Egypt has to offer, says Matthew Herbert, product and yield director at Shearings. “We combine our Nile cruise with a tour element so that our customers can also see the Great Pyramids and the Valley of the Kings. These are a real must for anyone with an interest in Ancient Egypt, which along with Cairo gives our customers a full Egypt experience.”
BOOK IT: Prices start from £2,109pp for departures in October 2020 including flights, five nights’ B&B at the Ramses Hilton hotel in Cairo and a three-night full-board Nile cruise.
This September, Uniworld will unveil new ship Sphinx, which will replace River Tosca on the 12-day Splendours of Egypt and the Nile itinerary.
Alongside visits to all the famous monuments such as the Pyramids of Giza, temples of Luxor, Karnak and Hatshepsut, highlights include a bird-watching boat ride and a traditional felucca sailing boat trip followed by afternoon tea.
Chris Townson, UK managing director of Uniworld, says: “Egypt is most definitely back and has been selling really well for us, with a 500% increase in bookings compared with last year.”
BOOK IT: Prices start from £5,899pp twin share, including flights, four nights’ accommodation at the Four Seasons in Cairo and seven nights’ accommodation on Sphinx.