While in Egypt it is advisable only to drink bottled mineral water. Bottles should be readily available from your hotel or cruise boat. Ensure that you carry water with you at all times to avoid dehydration. If you buy a bottle from an unknown source, then check to ensure the seals have not been tampered with.
Tipping on Cruise Boats
Advice should be sought when you board your boat, but usually nearing the end of the cruise, two envelopes will be provided one for the whole crew of the boat and one for the Egyptologist, you will also be given a guide as to what is considered to be a normal amount, but of course the final amount is completely up to you. This is a very good system as it spreads the amount evenly throughout the crew, and you don't have to keep putting your hand in your pocket to find change. Also the key to the whole visit is your Egyptologist who is your main point of contact, so this system gives him an extra incentive to ensuring you have a successful and enjoyable holiday. Tips also need to be paid when you go on your organized trips, these will be paid to your Egyptologist at the start of your holiday so, again it is something you can forget about and just carry on enjoying your holiday.
Tipping in General
Even if you have paid your Egyptologist or guide a sum of money to cover tips, you will find that this does not cover everything. If you are on an excursion and you go to the toilet, you can bet your life there will be someone there to give you a piece of toilet paper and expect a tip in return. When you visit one of the temples, there will be a man there dressed in a Galabeya insisting that he shows you the best places to stand to take your photographs, again a tip will be expected. Don't let this upset you, it's just the way it is in Egypt, the secret is to have some low denomination Egyptian money to hand to cover these situations. Although where these low denomination notes come from, I have no idea, they certainly keep them away from tourists, I wonder why.
Egypt is a Muslim country so the drinking of alcohol should not be acceptable, but the Egyptians are a realistic people and so you will find alcohol readily available in your hotel or on your cruise boat. If you wish to buy alcohol to keep in your room, then my advice is to buy it in the duty free shop at the airport as soon as you arrive, it is extremely good value.
You may visit the local bazaars, or when you visit one of the main temples, you will have to walk through an area where there are street vendors who will try their best to get you to buy something. If you do not wish to buy, just keep walking and look straight ahead, do not talk to them, do not make eye contact, if they throw a item of clothing they wish you to buy over your shoulder, just ignore it and keep walking. If you stop for a moment, you will find it difficult to get away again. If you do wish to buy something then remember to barter, the original price they offer will be extortionate, so barter hard and don't be afraid to walk away, they will most likely follow with a lower offer. If there is something you particularly want then ask your Guide what a fair price is to pay, and if you cannot get it for about that price then walk away. But remember these people rely on tourism to give them a living, so don't barter so hard as not to give them a reasonable profit.
There seems to be a modern tradition on the Nile cruise boats to have a Galabaya party. Everyone comes dressed in "traditional" Egyptian dress, the long flowing Galabaya. It is still very common to see local Egyptians going about their everyday business wearing a Galabaya, and it is easy to buy them in the tourist markets that have sprung up close to the tourist sights. If you have not yet plucked up the courage to buy from one of the market vendors, or, if due to a very busy excursion schedule, you just have not had the time, do not worry, Galabayas are easily purchased from a small shop on the boat. The ones bought on the boat are usually of a very fancy design and doubles as a souvenir of your holiday. If you prefer to buy at one of the markets, check with your guide as to what is a fair price to pay. When bartering over the price, be prepared to stick to your guns and walk away if needed. The intension should be to pay a fair price, not an extortionately high or low one.