Red Sea Cruise Highlights

For many people, the Red Sea is synonymous with the beach resort of Sharm El Sheikh and lazing on a sun lounger soaking up the sun.

However, there are actually a huge amount of other attractions on offer in this area of the world, both in Egypt and in the other countries bordering the Red Sea, and taking a cruise holiday represents the ideal way of exploring them all in a single holiday.  By seeing them this way you are ensure that you still have plenty of time to kick back, relax and enjoy the beaches and warm waters.

If this sounds like your kind of Red Sea holiday, it's well worth checking out what MSC Cruises has to offer, as it has some great itineraries in the Red Sea that include stops at not only Sharm El Sheikh, but also Eilat in Israel, Aqaba in Jordan and Safaga in Egypt.

To give you an idea of what you can see in these destinations, we've put together a little guide.

Eilat, Israel
Israel's premier seaside resort, the town of Eilat offers everything you want in a beach holiday; sun, sand, wall-to-wall sunshine, and a beautiful coral reef.

Don your snorkel and check out the marine life below the surface, windsurf and kite surf atop the waves, and sunbathe on the beach. You can really get up close and personal with the local wildlife at the Dolphin Reef rehabilitation centre.

Eilat is also the perfect base for exploring some of Israel's premier attractions. Take a coach ride through the wild Negev desert to Jerusalem; visit the ancient fortress of Masada; and explore the nature and history of the Timna Valley.

Aqaba, Jordan
Jordan's only sea port is the gateway to the wonders of the Wadi Rum desert. Located two hours coach journey north is the famous ancient city of Petra, which was hewn straight from the mountainside more than 2,000 years ago by the Nabataean civilisation.

There you'll find spectacular sights such as Al-Khazneh, or the treasury, which has a towering 43 m by 30 m facade.  Like Stonehenge and the Pyramids it will leave you wondering just how they did it.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Petra is regarded as one of the most treasured archaeological finds anywhere in the world and getting the chance to see it in person is a truly unforgettable holiday experience.

The Wadi Rum itself is a spectacularly beautiful landscape, which is fascinating to explore by jeep. Stop for tea in a traditional Bedouin tent for the ultimate Lawrence of Arabia experience.

Safaga, Egypt
Although not as well known as Sharm El Sheikh, Safaga is just as fine a beach destination, offering black sand dunes, scuba diving and mineral springs.

It also offers access to the spectacular ancient city of Luxor on the River Nile, which is around a 3h 30m drive inland.

Here you'll find treasures on both the east and west banks. On the east side of the Nile you can explore the Luxor Temple, which is guarded by towering statues and a giant obelisk, and the Karnak Temple complex, where you can stroll between enormous columns.

However, it's in the west where you'll find the areas most sacred treasures in the Valley of Kings. This region came to international prominence in 1922 when Howard Carter discovered the tomb of the boy pharaoh Tutankhamun.

Have you taken a Red Sea cruise?  What were your favorite parts and why?  Tell us in the comments!

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