The 8 Best Nile River Cruises (According To Real Reviews)

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Most river cruises that you can book focus on the European rivers, such as the Danube and the Rhine. But there are some more unique options available, and cruising on the Nile is one of the most thrilling.

You’re almost guaranteed stunning weather, and you get to enjoy some of the world’s most fascinating history and culture.

Several Nile cruise ships moored side by side at a dock in the golden hour of the early evening. The ships are multi-decked with rows of windows and life rings, bustling with activity against a backdrop of the distant shoreline under a clear sky. This scene captures the vibrant atmosphere of river cruising in Egypt.

But which Nile cruises are the best? I’ve picked out eight of the best options so that you can pick the perfect one for you.

Nile River Cruises – Ranking Explained

I haven’t personally sailed on all eight of these river cruise lines, so if I were to rank them based purely on my opinion, it wouldn’t be useful information. Even if I had cruised on them all, my opinion is subjective, and everyone has different priorities for their cruises.

So, to make this ranking as fair as possible, I’ve instead used the review scores from Cruise Critic, an independent site that collates thousands of real passenger reviews. 

Cruise Critic has two review scores for each cruise line – one from their experts and one that’s an average of customer review scores. I’ve ignored the experts’ score for the same reason I’m not using my own subjective opinions, and I’ve only used the customer review average.

Normally, when I write ranking lists, I also use TripAdvisor and to get a bigger average, but they aren’t great for river cruise lines. A lot of the cruise lines on this list aren’t included on those sites. 

So, this is just Cruise Critic’s scores, but those at least are based on a wider base of real reviews from actual customers, and not just my own gut instincts.

1. Avalon Waterways

The Avalon Farah, a modern river cruise ship by Avalon Waterways, sails calmly on the Nile. Its distinctive round windows and streamlined design give it a contemporary look. Passengers enjoy the view from the upper deck, taking in the serene river and lush palm trees lining the bank, reflecting the unique blend of luxury and exploration that river cruises offer.
  • Average Customer Score: 4.7/5
  • Average Nile Cruise Price: Approx. £300 per person, per night cruise-only
  • Children Allowed: 8 years+ only

Avalon Waterways has an excellent reputation for luxury touring. This isn’t just a river cruise – with Avalon Waterways you can expect fantastic packages that involve exciting sailings along with land tours to the best sights.

Guests love the onboard experience, with beautiful ships that offer really comfortable rooms and stunning food (often praised in reviews).

The cruise line isn’t cheap – you’ll pay a premium for the high standards of service and food onboard for your Nile cruise. But clearly, guests think that it’s worthwhile, based on that exceptional average review score.

There are two options for Nile river cruises. Both begin in Cairo and involve a flight to Luxor to then start the actual cruise to Aswan, before flying back to the Egyptian capital. This lasts 10 nights, with the option for a 4-night extension that includes a flight to Jordan and an exploration of Petra.

Throughout either itinerary, you can expect tours to give you as much time as possible to explore the sights, such as the Pyramids and the monument at Karnak, with expert guides bringing everything to life.

Suggested read: Avalon Waterways Vs Viking River Cruises

2. AmaWaterways

The AmaDahlia, AmaWaterways' luxury river cruise ship, navigates the historic Nile River. A traditional sailboat with a single white sail glides in the foreground, contrasting with the grandeur of the cruise ship. In the background, the rugged hills of Egypt's landscape and remnants of ancient structures blend the past and present, capturing the essence of cruising the Nile.
  • Average Customer Score: 4.6/5
  • Average Nile Cruise Price: £350-450 per person, per night cruise-only
  • Children Allowed: 4 years+ only

AmaWaterways has two river cruise ships offering Nile sailings – AmaDahlia and AmaLilia. This gives you a lot more flexibility on dates, letting you pick the perfect time of year to visit. Prices are lower during the summer months, often by as much as £1,000 per person.

This is another luxury cruise line and guests really do love the experience onboard – the food, in particular, is often praised, especially by those who’ve cruised on several different river cruise lines and can draw the comparison between them.

However, there are some comments that these two ships aren’t quite as luxurious as the rest of the fleet. Most guests still rave about their experience, but some people have said that the onboard experience felt a little more budget than European river cruises.

The itineraries for Nile cruises are all identical – 3 nights in Cairo, followed by a 7-night river cruise from Luxor and then one more night in Cairo. You can also add on an optional post-cruise tour of Jordan if you want to.

Suggested read: AmaWaterways Vs Viking River Cruises

3. TUI River Cruises

A TUI River Cruise ship smoothly sails the Nile, captured in the soft light of the morning. The ship's white exterior with rows of windows reflects on the water, contrasting with the lush greenery and palm trees on the riverbank. The tranquil waters and clear skies create a serene and picturesque scene of river cruising in Egypt.
  • Average Customer Score: 4.6/5
  • Average Nile Cruise Price: £240-285 per person, per night with flights included
  • Children Allowed: No

TUI River Cruises is aimed at the British cruise passenger, and so could be the perfect option for a Nile river cruise if you want to travel from the UK. 

It’s not quite as luxurious a river cruise line as some competitors, but the value you get from the fares is amazing – expect to pay less than you would with other cruise lines, but also get your international airfare included, with regional flight options available.

That makes a huge difference, and TUI is the best option on this list if you’re on a budget, especially with the option to book without a deposit. You won’t get pre-cruise or post-cruise stays included by default but there’s always the option to add them on.

Admittedly, the number of reviews on CruiseCritic for TUI River Cruises might be working in the cruise line’s favour – there aren’t a huge number. But guests generally love the service, with the crew and the little extra touches being mentioned several times. 

It’s probably best to avoid TUI if you want fine dining and the most luxurious accommodation, but for British-style cruising on a budget, it’s unrivalled.

Read more: TUI River Cruises – Your Ultimate Guide

4. Scenic

A Scenic luxury river cruise ship glides on calm waters during a pastel-hued sunset. The ship's white and gold trimmings gleam, and the top deck with lounge chairs is invitingly visible. Gentle ripples in the water and the silhouette of palm trees on the distant shore complete this idyllic river cruising moment.
  • Average Customer Score: 4.4/5
  • Average Nile Cruise Price: £540-640 per person, per night with flights included
  • Children Allowed: 12 years+ only

Scenic offers some of the most opulent tour options for exploring Egypt, with prices that reflect that – though you do get a completely inclusive experience, with international airfare covered.

Scenic’s ships are all-suite affairs offering a truly five-star holiday, with Nile dates available throughout the autumn and winter months.

What makes Scenic’s Nile getaways stand out is the extensive nature of the itinerary. Each package is 14 nights long, including extended stays in Giza and Cairo around the actual Nile cruise. This extended time means you get more opportunities to see all of the incredible sights that Egypt has to offer at your own pace, with lots of free time mixed in with organised tours.

Scenic is a great choice if budget is no concern – but if you’re stretching to pay for it, you might be better looking at other options on the list.

The service, food and accommodation standards are very high and guests do appreciate them, but you can still have a great time on a cheaper alternative if you don’t need the finest standards.

Suggested read: Scenic vs Emerald River Cruises

5. Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

A Uniworld Boutique River Cruise ship serenely sails on the Nile at dawn, with the soft light of sunrise illuminating the desert mountains in the background. Hot air balloons float gracefully in the sky, adding a touch of adventure to the peaceful scene. The ship’s decks are lined with passengers likely taking in the majestic views, mirroring the tranquil and exploratory spirit of a river cruise in Egypt.
  • Average Customer Score: 4.3/5
  • Average Nile Cruise Price: £430-490 per person, per night cruise-only
  • Children Allowed: 4 years+ only

Another cruise line that offers premium experiences, Uniworld’s cruises are very much aimed at those with a real passion for fine dining, decadent accommodations and refined service. While children are technically permitted from 4 years+, this really isn’t the cruise line for them.

The standard Nile cruise itinerary with Uniworld runs for 12 nights, including a pre-cruise stay in a luxury hotel in Cairo. There are also several options for tour extensions – similar to other cruise lines you can visit Jordan, but you can also add on a trip to Jerusalem if you prefer.

There’ll always be an experienced Egyptologist onboard your cruise, so these are great itineraries if you really are fascinated by the region and want to soak up as much knowledge as possible. Every day, you’ll get exciting tours to enjoy led by the experts too.

The guides get several mentions in the most positive reviews of Uniworld, praising their knowledge but also their approachability. An interesting negative comment mentioned a couple of times is that the itineraries cram too much in – so some destinations can feel a little rushed.

With two ships in the region, there are plenty of dates available for guests to choose from, though the cruises aren’t available from June to August.

6. APT Touring

The MS Sun Goddess, a multideck river cruise ship, majestically floats on the Nile River. Its sleek white structure with bold turquoise accents is marked by the sun emblem, symbolizing the vessel's name. Passengers can be seen enjoying the sundeck loungers, promising a relaxing journey with scenic river views and Egyptian hospitality.
  • Average Customer Score: 4.1/5
  • Average Nile Cruise Price: Approx. £500 per person, per night including London flights
  • Children Allowed: 12 years+ only

APT Touring is a company that offers a fantastic range of experience packages, including many that incorporate river cruises.

There are two main reasons to consider APT Touring for a cruise along the Nile, and both are related to flexibility…

Firstly, you can choose between a traditional APT cruise that’s more luxurious, and includes a better class of service onboard (more meals, more complimentary drinks etc.) or you can opt for an APT Travelmarvel cruise, which is still great quality but doesn’t include quite as many meals onboard and fewer additional experiences too.

The second reason is the range of itinerary options, with packages lasting 12, 16 or 20 days depending on your preferences, visiting as many as 21 different destinations across 3 countries.

7. CroisiEurope

An aerial view of the CroisiEurope river cruise ship, elegantly cruising on the water with a well-appointed sundeck featuring a large swimming pool. The ship's long, white structure with neat rows of windows is crowned with a spacious open-air lounge area, offering guests a luxurious and relaxing voyage.
  • Average Customer Score: 4.1/5
  • Average Nile Cruise Price: £180-200 per person, per night cruise only
  • Children Allowed: 5 years+ only

Looking to cruise the Nile on a restricted budget? CroisiEurope might be ideal. They offer the cheapest cruise fares starting at around £1,200 per person for a week, though that doesn’t include flights.

You still get all your meals included for that fare along with drinks during meals, and a host of excursions to see the sights too, such as local boat trips. The onboard experience is great too – expect local cuisine options and traditional Egyptian entertainment on several evenings.

Port-to-port options are available or you can choose longer packages that include pre-cruise stays in Cairo, though fares increase significantly for those.

One important thing to note is that, while CroisiEurope is generally an excellent river cruise line for families in Europe, offerings for children are a little more limited on Nile sailings. You won’t get free child places like you would on the Rhine or Danube but you can get discounts, and an extra bed can be added to your cabin.

Guest reviews are very positive on the overall CroisiEurope experience, but some guests who’ve cruised on several cruise lines say they can notice the difference in food quality and luxury levels, with CroisiEurope not being quite as good as more expensive rivals.

8. Riviera Travel

The Riviera Travel river cruise ship is captured mid-voyage on the Nile, its blue and white exterior crisp against the backdrop of the Egyptian landscape. Passengers on the upper deck appear to be enjoying the panoramic views, with the rural shoreline and palm trees providing a tranquil setting for their journey.
  • Average Customer Score: 4.0/5
  • Average Nile Cruise Price: £350-370 per person, per night including London flights
  • Children Allowed: 12 years+ only

Riviera Travel is the second cruise line on this list that is more catered to British travellers, and you could consider it a more luxurious competitor to TUI River Cruises, albeit with higher cruise fares to match.

However, some of the cruise reviews say it isn’t quite the 5* experience, which is why it’s bottom of this list (though still with a respectable average of 4 out of 5).

The ship is definitely comfortable, modern and attractive but the food is a little bit of a letdown to some guests who were expecting fine dining. Drinks packages are available for an extra charge.

The company offers two different Egypt river cruise options – either 10 days or 14 days – both of which include a stay in Cairo and return flights from London.

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Final Word

Whether you want to enjoy only a cruise between Luxor and Aswan along the Nile, or you prefer a more complete tour that includes pre- or post-cruise stays in Cairo and even more potential options in the region, those are the best options available.

Some may be out of your budget, or you might have a particular preference for the more luxurious cruise lines. The key point is that they are all excellent options – even the lowest average score of 4 out of 5 is still an overwhelmingly positive review score.

So if only one of these cruise lines fits in your price range and has the dates you want, you can be confident you’ll still have a fantastic Nile river cruise.

The best way to book a river cruise

Want expert help to plan your perfect cruise?

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Cruise Mummy

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

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