You may have read that violent protests have erupted for a second day in Port Said, Egypt. One of the most fascinating countries in the world to visit, Egypt has been in a state of near-constant turmoil since the “Arab Spring” uprising in 2010 altered the political landscape of the region.
But while numerous deep-ocean cruise lines have cancelled their calls in Egypt almost through the summer months, river cruises along the famous Nile River are still a go.
Which is why you may be wondering: Is it safe to take a river cruise through Egypt?
Uniworld Boutique River Cruises perhaps puts it best in their 2013 Egypt Terms & Conditions:
Your Egypt River Cruise: We are confident your river cruise through Egypt will be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Indeed, a cruise on the Nile River and/or Lake Nasser is the most comfortable way to experience this fascinating country. You will be traveling through a country that is continually changing. Many things are different from those at home, and what you might take for granted in Western countries may not be available during your cruise/tour. To make the most of your cruise/tour holiday through Egypt, please take along your spirit of adventure and willingness to be flexible and tolerant. You will be richly rewarded, because this river cruise/tour is more than just a vacation; it’s a unique cultural experience you will remember and talk about for the rest of your life.
Indeed, a fully escorted river cruise tour still provides an excellent (and safe) way to see and experience Egypt, provided that the normal precautions are exercised.
The US Department of State currently only has a travel advisory issued for Egypt that reads
The U.S. Department of State alerts U.S. citizens traveling to or living in Egypt to the continuing possibility of political and social unrest, incidents of which have led to recent violence. U.S. citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments and to be vigilant regarding their personal security. This Travel Alert expires on May 4, 2013.
While the Government of Canada advises Canadian citizens:
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Egypt. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to the unpredictable security situation and continued demonstrations throughout the country.
In other words: Take care and be aware of your surroundings.
So why have so many deep-ocean cruise lines axed calls in the country? The answer has to do largely with the number of guests they carry. Unlike a river cruise, which carries less than 200 guests at any given time, a large mainstream cruise ship can carry upwards of 3,000 guests that have to come ashore in frequently turbulent port cities.
Should the situation in Egypt become such that operating river cruises becomes unsafe, river cruise lines will take the appropriate and necessary steps. Until then, however, it’s still entirely possible to river cruise through Egypt, particularly at one of the most fascinating times in the rich history of this country.
More information about Egyptian river cruises can be found by viewing our Destination Profile here on River Cruise Advisor.