Every once in a while, an enterprising ferry company will operate a ship between Crete and Egypt, but these ventures seem to be short-lived. And while some commercial shipping travels between Athens and Cairo, the average tourist won't book on a freighter.
So you can imagine how my ears pricked up in the breakfast room of the Hotel Ionion in Piraeus when I heard an Englishwoman announce to someone else that she would be taking a sea journey to Egypt later that day.
"How?" I blurted out loud, gulping down a bite of honey-soaked loukorides that should have been savored like all of its other cousins that morning. She was kindly willing to share her table and share her secret.
Over many years of travel to Egypt, she had discovered that while Greek ferry companies don't always offer the journey to Egypt, Cypriot (Cyprus-based) ferry companies invariably do.
And where else do Cypriot ferries go? The Greek islands, making connections relatively easy.
So, that morning in Piraeus, she was embarking on a ferry to Rhodes. At Rhodes, she was joining up with Louis Cruises, which would go first to Limassol on Cyprus and then on to Port Said, the seaport of Cairo, in Egypt.
Since flights from England to Greece are inexpensive, she was managing the journey for less than 200 pounds or about US $300 at that time.
I contacted Louis Cruises and a representative confirmed for me at that time that they do offer one-way transit. However, they don't offer reservations for one-way trips so you can't book these slots ahead. And double-check with Louis Cruises at the time of your trip to make sure this route is available.
In the unlikely event of a complete sell-out, the worst case scenario is that you might end up with a few extra days to spend in Cyprus - a fascinating destination in itself.
Plus, the vessels for the Louis Cruise truly are small cruiseships rather than ferry boats - you'll have an acceptable cabin and even entertainment on your journey.
So if one ancient civilization just isn't enough for you on your trip, there's finally a way to inexpensively combine both Greece and Egypt on the same trip.
Remember you may need a visa to visit Egypt even if you don't need one for Greece. Check with your country's authorities prior to your visit.
Also, if you are disembarking in Egypt, you will be processed differently than as a passenger remaining with the ship for the return journey. For one thing, you will need your passport, which might otherwise be kept by the ship until your return to Cyprus.
Egypt has been experiencing some civil unrest since the Arab Spring uprisings and the subsequent elections. During some of it, cruise ships cancelled port stops at Port Said and Alexandria. Obviously, this type of change cannot necessarily be perfectly predicted beforehand, so bear that in mind. While it is easy to change or cancel a flight or otherwise reroute yourself, it's a little harder to adapt when you're on a ship sailing past your intended destination delivering you to another country entirely.
Cyprus, as of this writing, is no longer using the Cypriot pound and posted prices will be in Euros. Click here to find a currency converter.
If you don't want to go by ferry or cruise ship, you can also fly directly to Cairo on Olympic Airlines from Athens and often from some other major cities in Greece, such as Thessaloniki and Heraklion on the island of Crete.
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