Connecting the Mediterranean with the Red Sea since 1869, the Suez Canal allows ships of all shapes and sizes to travel between Europe and Asia without going around the Horn of Africa — a complicated and expensive proposition. Unlike the Panama Canal, your ship won’t have to transit any locks, but this engineering marvel is no less impressive.
While recent geopolitical situations have made Suez Canal cruises rare, they’re certainly not gone, with a handful of ships making the transit each year between Asia and Europe. A typical Suez Canal voyage might go from Athens to Dubai, or from Rome to Oman, though itineraries can vary greatly by line and ship.
What We Love
Port Said, Egypt: Pronounced say-eed, Port Said has free passenger and car ferries that take travelers from Port Said to Port Fuad, on the eastern — or Asian — side of the Canal. Thus, you can stand on both the Asian and African continents on a single day.
Ships of All Sizes: Ship-lovers will go nuts for the entire Suez Canal transit, which takes you past an amazing variety of ships, from crumbling local ferries and fishing trawlers to state-of-the-art cargo ships and cruise vessels.
Best Known For
The Transit: You don’t come here to see sand dunes on either side of your ship; you come for the unique opportunity to sail between Asia, Europe, and Africa.
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Who It's Best For
Bucket-Listers: While this journey presents a lot of time on the ship (and a lot of time waiting to get the show on the road), transiting the Suez Canal is a once-in-a-lifetime cruise not many can say they've done.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
It May Take Longer Than Expected: Though a Canal Transit time may be listed on your itinerary, don’t take that as gospel: transit times are subject to change and, in Egypt, this is always a strong possibility. On one cruise, our transit time was changed from 2 pm to 10 pm — and that’s not unusual.
Aaron Saunders is a Calgary-based contributor to ShermansCruise.com.