There’s hardly a more romantic image of a cruise than gliding down the historic waterway of the Red Sea. Lying between Africa and Asia on the Egyptian coast, it is one of the planet’s most exotic seascapes and is blessed with warm weather all year long. Whether you want to ride through the desert on a camel, slip into the water for some sub-aqua exploration or visit the mysterious pyramids of Cairo, a Red Sea cruise combines culture and nature to satisfy all types of holiday-makers.

Cruise along the tranquil waters of the Red Sea

The Red Sea marks the point where the desert meets the ocean. Beneath its clear, tranquil waves lies an array of tropical fish, stingrays and colourful coral making it a truly incredible journey to make by water. The world’s northernmost tropical sea and the habitat of over 1,000 species and 200 types of coral, it occupies a unique position in the world, as well as having the historic connotations of the Suez Canal trade route, which connects to the Mediterranean.

Continent-crossing itineraries

Major cruise lines like Celebrity Cruises, Fred. Olsen and Princess Cruises all arrange trips to this part of the world. Take an in-depth tour of the sea and its sights, travel on to Middle Eastern destinations like Aqaba in Jordan or circle the Mediterranean first – a great variety of itineraries await. Specific cruises start in Sharm el Sheikh and travel to Safaga and Dubai like the ‘Gems of the Red and Arabian Seas’ cruise. Others set off from more northerly ports like Rome and swing by the ancient cultural Mecca of Alexandria.

Legendary ports of call

Sharm el Sheikh

Situated in the South of the Sinai Peninsula where the waters of the Gulf of Suez and Aqaba meet, lies the stunning port of Sharm el Sheikh. A popular tourist destination and home to world-renowned diving centre at Ras Mohammed National Park, it is one of the most celebrated excursions on a Red Sea cruise. Excursions to this port include a guided visit to the historic St Catherine’s Monastery and museum, as well as the chance to dine at first class resorts in Dahab.

Luxor (via Safaga)

Pause at Red Sea port Safaga and admire its shining coastline before heading on to Luxor, formerly ancient Thebes and home to several significant monuments, including Luxor Temple and the Temple of Karnak. Take an excursion across the Nile to discover the secrets of the Valley of Kings and the Valley of Queens – of the 75+ tombs here, Nefertari’s shrine is considered the most sublime, with its painstaking murals and starred ceilings.

Aqaba

Aqaba in Jordan is still traditional in many ways (you may even see the occasional camel) but development and modernization are happening at a fast pace; as such, Aqaba is often referred to as the Arabian version of Miami Beach! The climate in the Red Sea resort is very similar to the Florida city, as is the international vibe – many celebrities have vacation spots here. On a really clear day you can catch a glimpse of the borders of Israel, Egypt’s Sinai and Saudi Arabia which are all in within a half-hour drive.

It’s easy to get carried away by the imagery of a Red Sea cruise and the cultural significance of destinations like the Suez Canal and the Egyptian Pyramids in Cairo. It does remain one of the most sought after destinations in the world, so it’s well-worth taking a look at our full range of itineraries to see if you can tick it off your cruising check list this year…

Images by Derek Keats and Olaf Tausch, used under Creative Commons licence.

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