A typical Red Sea cruise will be about seven days in duration, and offer an itinerary such as Cairo, Suez, Sharm el Sheikh, Eilat, Aqaba, Safaga or Hurghada. The itineraries may differ between cruise operators, but there will be many delightful stopping off points with endless sunshine, azure blue sea and a shimmering backdrop of desert and mountains.
Egypt features large when cruising the Red Sea. On the west bank of the Gulf of Suez is El Sokhna, a beautiful resort with beaches of white sand that will appeal to all age groups. Visitors can also use the town as a base for visiting Cairo and the ancient pyramids.
Further south, the port of Safaga is a gateway to the treasures of the Nile Valley, where visitors can view in amazement the legacy of Ancient Egypt. Excursions can be taken to view the temple of Queen Hatshepsut, as well as the statues of Amenhotep III, the Avenue of Sphinxes and the Temple of Karnak.
Sharm el Sheikh is one of Egypt’s most popular resorts and a regular stopping off point on Red Sea cruises. Its main attraction is its remarkable underwater world, which visitors can view in a glass-bottomed boat.
There will also be opportunities to disembark and visit locations in Jordan and possibly Israel. Jordan’s only port, Aqaba, is famed for the remains of its ancient fort. Petra, the ancient city carved into sandstone cliffs and hailed as the Eighth Wonder of the World, can be visited as a day excursion from Aqaba.
On the opposite bank of the Gulf of Aqaba is the Israeli resort town of Eilat, which has found world fame as a diving mecca for snorkel and scuba enthusiasts.
Some Red Sea cruises may commence or end their journey in the Mediterranean Sea, via the Suez Canal. A much-loved stopping off point on such itineraries is Cyprus, particularly Larnaca to the east of the island and Limassol to the west. Larnaca is steeped in six thousand years of history, with famous sites including St John’s Cathedral and the Church of St Lazarus. However, the town also boasts a modern shopping centre and plush marina. There is nothing better than taking a stroll in the sun along Larnaca’s promenade lined by palms.
Also possible in the Mediterranean segment might be a visit to the Israeli port of Ashdod. A stop here provides access to some of the most iconic locations in the Holy Land – Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Sites worth visiting include the Wailing Wall, Dome of the Rock, Garden of Gethsemane and the Dead Sea, ensuring even more memories of the holiday of a lifetime.