"...Alexandria port saw its first big development in the times of Alexander the Great."
As your Mediterranean cruise ship approaches the port of Alexandria, you will be approaching one of the oldest ports in the world.
Founded in 1900 BC west of the river Nile, in the then village of Rhakotis, Alexandria port saw its first biggest development in the times of Alexander the Great, founder of the ancient Alexandria city.
That is whan the port area was cleared of silt and sand so it could become navigable again and home to Alexander the Great's fleet marine base.
It was at that time that Alexander's engineer Dinokrat linked the port of Alexandria with the island of Pharos, once home to the lighthouse of Alexandria, with a bridge 1200 meters (0.7 miles) and 200 wide (650 feet).
That way, in the port two harbours were formed which exists still to this day. The Eastern harbour is the shallow one, and you can often see it on Alexandria photos and postcards covered with little fishing boats.
The Western Alexandria harbour is home to the commercial port, which handles over three quarters of Egypt's foreign trade as well as the cruise ship terminal.
Find out more about the Port of Alexandria here!
IMPORTANT NOTE: The day before your ship arrives in Alexandria Egypt, Egyptian officials will stamp your passports.
After that you will collect your passports and take them out with you in port regardless of whether you will be on wone of the cruise ship organized Cairo tours or venturing out on your own.
On the morning of Alexandria, at least two thirds of the ship (1500-2500 people) will be getting off the ship at about the same time and each and every one's passport will be checked by the officials again, right there on the gangway.
With so many people getting off at the same time, that procedure can slow down the disebarkation process, so make sure you have your passport ready and open to the page with the Egyptian stamp to help the process go quicker!
The passenger part of Alexandria port has a couple of docks for cruise ships and a new terminal building with a number of shops located inside which, at the time of our last visit at the end 2009, still weren't functional.
In front of the terminal building, there is a tour bus parking area with souvenir stalls lined up on the sidewalk, selling typical Egyptian souvenirs: plush camels, belly dancing outfits, scarab paper hoders, fake papyrus etc.
If you are on one of the tours, you won't have a chance to shop there but don't worry, the merchants will surround you the moment you get off the bus in the envening, trying ot make you buy some of their goods before you get back on the ship. Don't forget to bargain!
If you are looking for taxis in the Alexandria port, make sure you read our article on Alexandria taxi transportation.
If you wish to walk out of the port, it is possible to do so, just follow the street next to where the blue taxis are parked, carry on straight ahead, up and over the overpass. It will take you about 5-10 minutes to get to the main port gate located on one of the busy streets donwtown Alexandria. At the port exit your passports will be checked again.
Just keep in mind that Alexandria is a big city and you won't get anywhere walking...the main Alexandria attractions are spread out all over the city. Besides, you may not feel very comfortable walking around on your own either!