Step back in history as you discover Egypt on this marvelous vacation. You’ve seen photos of the Great Pyramids of Giza—now’s your chance to visit them! You’ve learned about the magnificent treasures found in King Tutankhamun’s tomb—now’s your chance to see them! You’ve heard about the Nile River—now’s your chance to sail on it! On this Nile River cruise vacation, you’ll visit some of the country’s most famous sights and sail through 5,000 years of history. Among the many tour highlights are the Great Pyramids, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and the famous Sphinx. Admire the 40-foot statue of Ramses II, and marvel at the Valley of Kings and Valley of Queens, where generations of pharaohs and nobles were buried in great splendor. Take photos at the two Colossi of Memnon, the only surviving remains of the funerary temple of Amenhotep III. Walk among the pillars of the colossal Temple of Amun-Ra and along the Avenue of the Sphinxes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy the souks—local markets—where you can stroll from stall to stall, smelling the scents of spices, hearing the sounds of the cities, and looking for the perfect souvenir of your trip. Of course, your 7-night Nile cruise is a wonderful way to appreciate this sacred river with its landscapes and monuments. These are just a few of the many temples and highlights of this memorable vacation. So grab your camera and get ready for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure!
Day #1 Arrive in Cairo, Egypt. A welcome drink awaits you at your hotel; settle in and start soaking up the atmosphere of this exciting city.
Day #2 Cairo. Meet your Egyptologist and traveling companions at 8 am. Sightseeing in and around Africa’s largest metropolis starts at the ancient Egyptian capital of MEMPHIS, where you can admire the 40-foot statue of RAMSES II and the ALABASTER SPHINX. On to Sakkara, a vast desert necropolis built for kings and nobles, and its “STAIRWAY TO THE SKY,” the oldest of all pyramids. In the afternoon, drive south to the now-famous Tahrir Square and visit the EGYPTIAN MUSEUM with Tutankhamun’s fabulous treasures and many other masterpieces of ancient Egypt. Tonight, enjoy a SOUND & LIGHT SHOW at the pyramids that will put these wonders of the ancient world into an easily understandable historic context. (B)
Day #3 Cairo. Today, visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Take a close-up look at the daunting GREAT PYRAMIDS of Giza. Cheops, with an original height of 496 feet, is the most colossal pyramid ever built. A little farther away you find the mystic guardian of the pyramids, the enigmatic SPHINX. Drive back to Cairo to Saladin’s 12th-century citadel, whose robust walls and towers were constructed with stones stripped from the pyramids at Giza. Visit the ALABASTER MOSQUE OF MOHAMMED ALI, built completely in Turkish style and making no attempt to incorporate the Egyptian architecture of the time. In Coptic Cairo, see the Hanging Church where the Virgin Mary and Jesus stayed while in Egypt, then walk to see the oldest synagogue in Cairo, founded in the 9th century. There is still time for a visit to the labyrinthine Khan el-Khalili SOUK. How about an optional Nile River dinner cruise tonight? (B)
Day #4 Cairo–Alexandria. This morning, a pleasant drive through the fertile Nile Delta takes you to the seaport of Alexandria. Founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC, this Mediterranean port city soon became one of the major commerce and science centers of the Hellenistic world. Your sightseeing features the NATIONAL MUSEUM, Pompey’s massive red granite pillar, and the intriguingly decorated CATACOMBS, the Library of Alexandria, and the Pharoah’s lighthouse, built to aid ships navigating the featureless coastline of Mediterranean Egypt. (B)
Day #5 Alexandria–Aswan (Embarkation). Today, return to Cairo for your flight up the Nile Valley to Aswan, where you board your Nile cruiser in time for lunch. This afternoon, visit the SOUK of Aswan before meeting your friendly crew over a welcome cocktail on board. (B,L,D)
Day #6 Aswan–Kom Ombo–Edfu. This morning, consider an optional flight (weather permitting) to the huge sandstone temples of Abu Simbel. Return to your ship in time for lunch. Later, dock at KOM OMBO for a short walk to its bluff-top twin temples. The right side is dedicated to the crocodile god, Sobek-Re, while the left side is dedicated to the falcon god, Horus. This is where you will also find man’s first calendar. After dinner tonight, it’s time for some fun and an onboard GALABYA PARTY. (B,L,D)
Day #7 Edfu–Luxor. This morning visit the TEMPLE OF HORUS with its menacing black stone statue of the falcon god. Built in the time of Cleopatra about 2,000 years ago, it is recent by Egyptian standards and beautifully preserved. Sail on to Luxor and visit the TEMPLE. Later, visit the LUXOR MUSEUM, containing one of the best displays of antiquities in Egypt. (B,L,D)
Day #8 Luxor. After breakfast, disembark and visit the VALLEY OF KINGS and VALLEY OF QUEENS on the west bank of the Nile, where generations of pharaohs and nobles were buried in great splendor in crypts cut into the cliffs. Sixty-two royal tombs have been uncovered so far, of which only the tomb of Tutankhamun was nearly inviolate when discovered in 1922. Visit DEIR EL-BAHRI, Queen Hatshepsut’s monumental rock temple. Stop for pictures at the two COLOSSI OF MEMNON guarding the valleys. Later, visit KARNAK, which, together with Luxor, were the greatest cities of ancient Egypt that had a combined population of more than one million. To walk among the pillars of the colossal TEMPLE OF AMUN-RA and along the AVENUE OF THE SPHINXES, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an experience you will treasure the rest of your life. This afternoon, learn more about this ancient civilization during an exclusive lecture by your Egyptologist. (B,L,D)
Day #9 Luxor–Excursion to Dendera–Edfu. Today, drive northward to Dendera to visit the TEMPLE OF HATHOR, one of the very few temples that remains almost completely intact. (B,L,D)
Day #10 Edfu–Kom Ombo–Aswan. A leisurely day today lets you relax on the comfortable sun deck of your ship to catchup on postcard writing or to simply muse over the marvelous sights and sounds you have experienced in recent days. The more active may wish to return to the temples for another look and more photos. (B,L,D)
Day #11 Aswan. Sightseeing today starts at the GRANITE QUARRIES that supplied ancient Egypt with its hard stones for the pyramids in Giza. Also see the famous unfinished obelisk, still in the quarry. Next, visit the gigantic Aswan HIGH DAM, completed in 1970. Board a motorlaunch to the island of AGILIKA, situated between the two dams, and visit the TEMPLE OF ISIS, transplanted from the submerged island of Philae. This afternoon, board a FELUCCA and sail across the blue waters of the river. En route, see the ancient “nilometer” on Elephantine Island, Kitchener Island’s lush BOTANICAL GARDENS, and the splendid Aga Khan Mausoleum on the left bank. (B,L,D)
Day #12 Aswan (Disembarkation)–Cairo. A last chance to catch up on postcard writing. Fly back to Cairo and enjoy a special FAREWELL DINNER tonight. (B,D)
Day #13 Cairo. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)