Nile Dinner Cruises in Cairo
by Seif Kamel
Nile Cruise ships no longer ply the Nile out of Cairo south, though that might change at some point in the future. However, that doesn't mean that one cannot take a cruise on small boats or large ones within Cairo. One of the best ways to do this is aboard a Nile dinner cruiser. Some of these boats are, in fact, converted Nile passenger ships, which stay out usually for several hours and include good food, fine entertainment, and a romantic evening gazing at the lights along the the banks. Really, this is one form of entertainment that should not be missed on a visit to Egypt.
There are actually a number of dinner cruise boats, but we have tracked down some of the best.
- Address: Kornish El Nile St, Old-Cairo, After El Malek El Saleh Bridge
- Time of Cruises: 5 PM 8 PM, The cruise takes around 1-1/2 to 2 hours
- Telephone: 02/51 70 839
What to expect:
The Nile Peking is one of the best Nile dinner cruises in Egypt. It is said that this is the modernized boat from Agatha Christie's famous novel "Death on the Nile". Its facilities consists mainly of three parts, the dining room, the Shanghai Pub, and the deck where one can sit and watch the Nile or have a dessert. There are also land based Peking restaurants, and as the name implies, they are all decorated in a Chinese style with lots of reds. This is an unusual boat as it has no entertainment to speak of, but this makes for a very nice, romantic dinner for those who have already seen their share of belly dancers and whirling dervish. There is just the smooth music and the sound of the Nile rushing by..
I had dinner there with my fianc last Valentines Day and honestly it was a great experience. We started out with soup, and afterwards I had fried fish with curry sauce, and it was delicious. Sarah, my fianc, had chicken with sweet and sour sauce and it was also very nice. We spent the time chatting quietly and then we had dessert on the deck of the boat. Everything was so quiet and romantic, with a candle lit on the table and the wonderful scenery of the Nile all around.
Cuisine: All kinds of Chinese food such as:
- Appetizers: Fried Mushrooms Chinese
- Chinese Chicken Wings
- Crisp Fried Chicken
- Salads: Cabbage Chili
- Seafood Salad
- Peking BBQ: Calamari Barbecue
- Calamari Barbecue
- Peking Classics: Prawns with Mushrooms
- Chicken with Green Pepper & Chili
- Beef with Mushrooms & Bamboo
- Noodles: Fried Noodles with Chicken, Beef, or Prawns
Of course these are only examples of the menu.
- Address: In front of the Marriott Hotel in Zamalek, as it is operated by the hotel.
- Time of Cruises: 7 30 PM and 9 30 PM and the cruise takes 2 hours more or less
- Telephone: 02/7388888
What to expect:
This is one of the most elegant dinner cruise ships on the Nile, operated by Marriott Hotels. The boat is quite fascinating inside and out. They have a very good entertainment program with a belly dancer, a Tanoora show, and a live band. They also have the best quality of service one can find on a Nile cruise in Egypt.
When I was younger, I used to watch the Nile Maxim, particularly when studying for high school finals, as I could see the boat from the balcony of my room. This boat is really well built and ornately decorated. That was 10 years ago, when the minimum price per person was about 65 L.E.
Cuisine: They have an ala carte menu that honestly has everything, but they mainly specialize in eastern famous dishes:
- Tehina Salad
- Green spices Salad
- Fried Kofta
- Fried shrimps
- Different kinds of rice and macaroni
- A special dessert menu
- Address: 138 El Nile St. Giza
- Time of Cruises: 7 PM and the main is at 8 PM with two boats and the cruise takes 2 hours in the part of the Nile around Giza and Zamalek
- Telephone: 57 01 000.
What to expect:
Pharos boat is one of the most famous Nile dinner cruisers. It is operated by the Oberoi Hotel, which also operates the famous Mena House Hotel. It is the only famous theme boat in Cairo. Everything inside the boat is decorated in a Pharaonic style. From the moment one approaches the door of the boat one will be treated as Pharaonic royalty and every guest has his own special welcome. It is a very good chance to feel like an ancient Egyptian on the Nile. Their program consists of a western and eastern band with some folklore. The most significant thing about the Pharos boat is the theme of the cruise.
Cuisine: They offer a huge open buffet with a lot of items. Mainly there are international dishes, with some Egyptian specialties, because of the many tourists.
- Address: In the beginning of the Maadi Road of Kornish El Nile
- Time of Cruises: 8-9 PM with a more than 2 hours cruise
- Telephone: 02/3190009
What to expect:
Nile Crystal is operated by Misr Travel, and it has two large dining rooms. It is a huge dining boat with modern decorations. They have one of the best entertainment programs for Nile cruises. It includes a western music band, a belly dancer, and the famous Tanoora dancers.
Cuisine: Mainly Egyptian cuisine with lots of meat and some pasta. They also have a nice average dessert buffet.
- Address: in front of the Shepheard Hotel on Kornish El Nile. Garden City
- Time of Cruises: 8 and 10 30 PM around 2 hours cruise but you have to check for their schedule
- Telephone: 02/3543199
What to expect:
Scarabee is one of the oldest Nile dinner cruisers in Cairo. It is a smaller ship than other Nile cruisers, but it is not less elegant. They have a very good belly dancer that puts on a fairly long show, as well as a live band that plays while dinner is being served. Scarabee is a wonderful example of a floating night spot. They also serve all kinds of alcoholic beverages.
Cuisine: An international flavor open buffet and the food is really tasty. They specialize in some dishes like grilled meats, chicken and fish and they have an excellent dessert as well.
These are only some examples of Nile dinner cruise boats in Cairo. There is also Nile Aquarius in El Nile St. in Giza, and the Imperial boat in Zamalek. Whichever boat one chooses, a Nile dinner cruise is simply one of those experiences that one should not miss while visiting Egypt. To do so would be like visiting Cairo and never seeing the Great Pyramids.
Last Updated: June 8th, 2011