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Embark your ship and visit the Valleys of the Kings and Queens
Upon arrival in Luxor, you’ll be greeted at the airport and board your private transfer to the Deluxe, 5-star m/s Nebu to begin seven nights of luxury river cruising. After a safety briefing, you’ll enjoy lunch on board ship and settle in to your spacious and stylish suite.
This afternoon you’ll explore the vast Necropolis of Thebes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes the Valley of the Kings, where more than 60 pharaohs’ tombs and burial chambers were cut deep into rock cliffs over a 500-year span. Exploring some of these sacred chambers — including the tombs of the powerful King Ramses and the famous boy-king Tutankhamun — you’ll admire the elaborate hieroglyphs and paintings that adorn their walls with illustrative stories of lives and dynasties past. (Note that tombs are open to the public on a rotating basis to limit their exposure.)
Additional ancient wonders await in the nearby Valley of the Queens, a burial ground with as many as 90 tombs for the pharaohs’ wives, princes, and princesses. Before returning to your ship, you’ll also visit one of the most beautiful temples in all Egypt, Deir el-Bahri. The wings of this multi-terraced, colonnaded building are built right into a sheer rock wall, with a long processional wall in front. This royal mortuary is known as the Temple of Hatshepsut, who became Egypt’s longest-reigning female pharaoh following her husband’s premature death. Many scholars consider her one of Egypt’s most successful rulers, as her mostly peaceful reign was marked by prolific building, the establishment of new trade routes, and general prosperity. Afterwards, we’ll return to the ship for dinner.
Scenic Nile cruising to Esna and Edfu
The morning is free as we prepare to set sail around midday. This will be a wonderful day to relax, read, and enjoy the shipboard amenities. Mostly, it is a great opportunity to watch the passing scenery as we float up the Nile towards Esna, where the ship will pass through some locks. As we cruise you will see riverside farms lined by lush grasses and date palms, an indication of how the river has sustained almost all Egyptian agriculture for millennia. The small villages with flat-roofed, clay houses look much as they did hundreds of years ago, and occasionally, we’ll see children playing on banks who will invariably wave and shout as we pass by. We continue making our way south till we reach Edfu around dinner, which we will enjoy on board.
See the double temple at Kom Ombo
After breakfast on board you’ll have some time to relax before we disembark in Kom Ombo, a small agricultural town on the Nile’s East Bank. Here we will visit the town’s elegant namesake temple. Kom Ombo is unusual in that it is a “double” temple whose symmetrical halves honor Haroeris (Horus) the falcon god and Sobek the crocodile god. Built during the Ptolemaic era, both temples are decorated with distinctive, sturdy columns and intricate, well-preserved reliefs. Some 300 crocodile mummies were discovered here, and you can see some of them displayed at the on-site Crocodile Museum. Return to the ship for lunch and afternoon tea as you sail towards Aswan. As you sail, enjoy the scenery of Aswan, Upper Egypt’s most beautiful location, with its views of the West Bank tombs lit up in the evenings and the sails of traditional feluccas drifting along Nile waters.
Treasures of Aswan: The High Dam and Temple of Philae
After breakfast we begin exploring some of Aswan’s most prominent sites. First, visit the Aswan High Dam, built across the Nile in 1970 with Soviet funding to create the Lake Nasser reservoir. While there, your Cruise Director will describe some of the significant effects of the project. Though it tamed the destructive flooding of the Nile, it also necessitated the relocation of several important archeological treasures and the displacement of entire communities.
You’ll also visit the renowned Temple of Philae. A treasured monument dedicated to the goddess Isis, this cultural treasure was painstakingly moved to its current location on Agilkia Island by UNESCO engineers after the High Dam's completion. To reach the island you’ll travel aboard small local boats, then explore the various halls and temples. Philae was one of the last pagan temples to operate after the advent of Christianity in Egypt, and in some places you can see where crosses were etched into walls and where the gods’ images were defaced.
Sail to Edfu and enjoy an evening galabiya party
Today offers another perfect opportunity to marvel at the timeless scenery of the world’s longest and most legendary river as you cruise back downriver past Kom Ombo and towards Edfu. Perhaps you’ll relax on deck in the glorious sunshine as dry deserts, lush farmlands, and rural villages unfurl onshore. Listen to the laughing calls of pied kingfishers as they skim the waters, and to the beautiful adhan (Muslim call to prayer) floating up from the minarets of passing mosques.
After a day of enchanting relaxation, you’ll don traditional galabiyas for a fun costume party on board. Now that you’re dressed like an Egyptian, you’ll be ready to dance like one, too! A vibrant Oriental show with lively music will set the festive mood.
See the massive Temple of Horus at Edfu
Horse-drawn carriages will be waiting for us along the waterfront at Edfu this morning for the ride through this small river city to the famously well-preserved temple of Horus. The largest temple dedicated to the falcon god, it is notable for the two stone falcons at its entrance and the huge relief figures on its façade.
The temple was built in the Ptolemaic Kingdom between 237 and 57 BC, but was literally lost beneath the sands of time as drifting desert sand and river silt deposited by the Nile buried it to a depth of 40 feet. Local inhabitants built their homes over it and, by 1798, when the temple was discovered by a French expedition, only the upper portions of the pylons were visible.
This afternoon, you’ll enjoy more scenic Nile cruising as you return to Luxor. Enjoy opportunities for birdwatching as you sail — be sure to step out onto the deck with your camera or GoPro to capture some of the action.
Temple of Karnak, Temple of Luxor, and an evening belly dancing performance
This morning after breakfast, you’ll come ashore on the Nile’s East Bank to see two of Egypt’s most illustrious shrines. First is the Karnak Temple Complex, built and used over a period of 2,000 years — encompassing the ruins of numerous temples, chapels, and other structures, as well as a lovely sacred lake. Its Great Hypostyle Hall alone measures some 54,000 square feet, and is adorned with 134 79-foot high columns arrayed in 16 rows. Karnak was once connected by a ceremonial, sphinx-lined avenue to Luxor Temple, which we will also explore. This latter site once also served as a Roman legionnaire outpost and it boasts chapels built by Alexander the Great and Tutankhamun. The afternoon is free for relaxation or independent exploration. Perhaps you’ll ride an old-fashioned, horse-drawn calèche to the Luxor Museum, or to the downtown souk. After your included dinner tonight, a troupe of talented local dancers will perform an entertaining belly-dance show.
After breakfast, bid farewell to the crew of the m/s Nebu and transfer to the Luxor airport for your flight home.
Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Cruise Director or regional expert.
Please Note: Port Times & Itineraries are subject to change. The hotels listed are preliminary and subject to change. Although we contract our hotels a year in advance, unforeseen situations do occasionally occur. Should it be necessary to change a hotel, one of equal quality and value will be substituted. You will receive verified hotel information with your final itinerary.
Note: Hotel ratings are based on the Hotel Index, a leading travel industry authority on hotels throughout the world.