Sail through 5,000 years of history on this incredible Nile river cruise getaway. In Cairo, marvel at King Tutankhamun’s treasures and masterpieces of ancient art, visit the enigmatic Sphinx, and see the Great Pyramids of Giza. Drive to the ancient capital of Memphis to see the 40-foot statue of Ramses II. Fly to Luxor, one of the greatest cities of ancient Egypt, and embark your 4-night Nile River cruise to Aswan. Along the way, visit the Luxor Temple, Colossi of Memnon, the Valley of Kings and Valley of Queens, the Temple of Isis, and Aswan Dam. Ride through Edfu to the Temple of Horus, built in the time of Cleopatra roughly 2,000 years ago. Sail across the water on a felucca, visit colorful local bazaars, and enjoy an exclusive lecture on this ancient civilization by your Egyptologist. Return to Cairo for the conclusion of your trip—it’s a vacation of a lifetime!
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 with a close-up look at one of the Seven Wonders of the World: the guardian of the great pyramids, the enigmatic SPHINX, and the daunting GREAT PYRAMIDS of Giza. Cheops, with an original height of 496 feet, is the most colossal pyramid ever built. Then, drive to 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. 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–Luxor (Embarkation). Today, fly 300 miles up the Nile Valley to Luxor, where your elegant river cruise vessel awaits your arrival. After lunch on board, see the stunning monuments of LUXOR and KARNAK, 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 is an experience you will treasure the rest of your life. (B,L,D)
Day #4 Luxor–Edfu. Focus on 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. For a little fun tonight, take part in a GALABYA PARTY on board. (B,L,D)
Day #5 Edfu–Kom Ombo–Aswan. 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 Old Egyptian standards and beautifully preserved. After lunch, 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. Later, sail on to Aswan and enjoy an exclusive lecture on this ancient civilization by your Egyptologist. (B,L,D)
Day #6 Aswan. This morning, consider an optional flight (weather permitting) to the huge sandstone temples of Abu Simbel. Return to your ship in time for lunch. This afternoon, board a FELUCCA and sail right 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. Haggle for bargains in the local souk before returning to your ship for a final night. (B,L,D)
Day #7 Aswan (Disembarkation)–Cairo. Sightseeing today starts at the GRANITE QUARRIES that supplied ancient Egypt with its hard stones for the pyramids in Giza. Then, 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. Later today, fly back to Cairo. How about our optional Nile River dinner cruise tonight to celebrate your Egyptian adventure? (B)
Day #8 Cairo. On your last day in Egypt, drive to the now-famous Tahrir Square and visit the EGYPTIAN MUSEUM with Tutankhamun’s fabulous treasures and many other masterpieces of ancient Egypt. Continue to walled Old Cairo, with Saladin’s 12th-century citadel, and the ALABASTER MOSQUE OF MOHAMMED ALI. In Coptic Cairo, see the Hanging Church where the Virgin Mary and Jesus stayed while in Egypt, then walk to see Cairo’s oldest synagogue, founded in the 9th century. There is still time for a visit to the labyrinthine Khan el-Khalili SOUK before returning to your hotel. (B)
Day #9 Cairo. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)