5 DAYS FROM $1,599
Fly overnight to Cairo, Egypt
Your Inaugural adventure begins with an overnight flight to Cairo.
Arrive in Cairo and relax in splendor at your Deluxe Nile hotel
After arriving in the Egyptian capital on Day 2, transfer to your deluxe hotel, located in the heart of the city on the banks of the Nile River. Note that if you purchase your airfare from Vantage, you’ll be met outside the airport arrivals area and your hotel transfer will be waiting. If you plan to reserve your own airfare, ask when making your reservation about purchasing transfer service from Vantage. This evening, join your Adventure Leaders and fellow travelers for a welcome drink and briefing, followed by dinner at the hotel.
An audience with King Tut at the Egyptian Museum, and an elegant Inaugural Banquet
Following a leisurely morning and lunch at the hotel, visit Cairo’s renowned Museum of Egyptian Antiquities — home to the world's largest collection of Pharaonic antiquities. Among the museum’s spectacular displays are numerous fine examples of art and statuary from ancient dynasties, the golden treasures of King Tutankhamun’s tomb, and the mummies of many of Egypt’s greatest pharaohs.
Inaugural Feature: Tonight, we’ll toast the beginning of our Inaugural Journey at a cocktail party at the hotel, followed by a sumptuous banquet with a live band providing music for dancing.
Ride a camel around the Pyramids, shake paws with the Sphinx, and more
You can cross one of the world’s most iconic destinations off your bucket list today! We’ll make an excursion to the Giza Plateau on the southwest outskirts of the city to marvel at the Great Pyramids of Giza. The Great Pyramid — or Pyramid of Khufu — is the oldest and largest of the three, dating back to 2580–2560 BC and towering at 455 feet high.
You’ll also see the Great Sphinx, the massive statue carved from the plateau's limestone bedrock, of a reclining lion with the head of Pharaoh Khufu. Inaugural Feature: Most visitors must marvel at its noseless face from a distance, but we’ve made special arrangements with the Minister of Antiquities for entrance to its enclosure. You’ll be able to walk right between its paws to pose for photos, and even touch it.
But the excitement doesn’t end there. Inaugural Feature: Next, you’ll find yourself stepping into the stirrups for a camel ride along the plains overlooking the Pyramids. With a surprisingly graceful see-saw, you’ll be hoisted up and away on your ship of the desert for a parade straight out of a picture postcard.
Still staggered by the wonders we've seen, we'll board a bus and head for the date palm plantations of Saqqara. Here, we'll enjoy a peaceful poolside lunch at a local restaurant before visiting the Step Pyramid at Saqqara. Built during Egypt's third dynasty to honor King Djoser, it's said to be the world's earliest pyramid, and is also part of the Memphis Necropolis UNESCO site. After a busy day of breathtaking discovery, you and your fellow travelers will enjoy dinner together at a local restaurant.
Discover Islamic Cairo and the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Today, delve into Cairo’s historic quarter and the captivating story of Egypt's predominant religion. Begin with a tour of Islamic Cairo, featuring visits to the fortified, medieval Citadel and the Great Mosque of Muhammad Ali. The grand, domed mosque is built in the Ottoman style and partly clad in translucent alabaster, hence its nickname “the Alabaster Mosque.” Be sure to have your camera at hand to capture panoramic views of the city from the Citadel's hilltop site, where, on a reasonably clear day, you can see all the way across the city to the Pyramids.
From here, it’s a short drive to Al Azhar Park — a serene public oasis in the midst of an urban desert. The park, listed as one of the world's 60 great public spaces, was developed in 2005 at a cost of over USD $30 million and was a gift to the city from Aga Khan IV. We'll have lunch at a popular restaurant in the park, enjoying views over the landscaped gardens towards the Great Mosque.**
Your tour continues with a trip to the Museum of Islamic Art, home to one of the world's most important collections of Islamic artifacts, followed by an excursion to Cairo's Old Town — a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This evening, recall your adventures in and around Cairo during dinner at the hotel.
** NOTE: Please be advised that Al Azhar Park does not serve alcohol for religious reasons. A full soft drink beverage selection will be available and is included in your tour cost.
Board the m/s Nebu and attend a Gala Dinner and Dance in Luxor Temple
After breakfast, you'll transfer to Cairo Airport for your flight to Luxor — the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes. Here, you'll drive through lush farmlands to the Nile waterfront, where the brand-new Vantage-owned cruise ship m/s Nebu invites you to climb aboard as the first guests on her grand inaugural voyage.
After a safety briefing, you'll enjoy lunch on board ship: the first of many memorable shipboard meals to come. This afternoon, you can enjoy settling into your spacious and stylish suites and exploring the m/s Nebu's magnificent lounges and pool deck.
Inaugural Feature: Tonight, you can look forward to a very special occasion: a gala dinner in Luxor Temple. This exclusive arrangement for a private function inside a 3,500-year-old temple is sure to be an amazing experience. A walkway lined with rams-head sphinxes leads to graceful inner courtyards lined with massive statues. Tables will be set under the stars, amidst the ancient columns, and dinner will be accompanied by a harpist, followed by music for dancing. It's going to be an Egyptian evening to remember!
Please note, that due to the religious nature of Luxor Temple, alcohol cannot be served. Dinner will include a full selection of soft drinks and nonalcoholic beverages.
Serene Nile cruising to Edfu
Today, the m/s Nebu proudly sets sail on her inaugural voyage down the Nile. As Luxor Temple and the Winter Palace dwindle into the distance behind you, you'll join a procession of other stately cruise ships, amongst which the m/s Nebu surely takes the gold.
The afternoon is spent in the most relaxing way possible, with scenic cruising on the Nile. As you pass tiny riverside villages and groves of date palms, you'll feel as if you're witnessing scenes straight out of biblical times. Glimpses of sand dunes and bare cliffs just beyond the slender strip of agricultural land attest to the life-giving importance of the Nile to this desert land.
Visit the unique Temple of Kom Ombo and cruise to Aswan
Today we continue cruising up the Nile, arriving at the Temple of Kom Ombo in the late morning. On a visit to the temple, beautifully situated on a small hillside right beside the river, you'll discover its unique "double" design, with symmetrical halves dedicated to two different gods. The southern half of the temple was dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek, god of fertility and protection against the dangers of the Nile, while the northern part of the temple was dedicated to the falcon god Haroeris, or "Horus the Elder,” patron god of the pharaohs. The path out of the temple complex leads to the Crocodile Museum, Egypt's first museum devoted exclusively to crocodiles, which houses a fascinating collection of mummified crocodiles and ancient carvings. We'll return to the ship for lunch and sail on towards the city of Aswan.
Fly south to see the twin Temples of Abu Simbel
You'll get an idea of the vastness of Egypt's ancient dynasties, as we fly 143 miles south from Aswan, to the visit the great twin temples of Abu Simbel. Along with the Temple of Isis at Philae, they make up the UNESCO World Heritage Site known collectively as the Nubian Monuments. Here, imposing 70-foot statues of Ramses II and Queen Nefertari overlook the Nile. Originally carved out of the mountainside in the 13th century BC to commemorate Ramses II's victory against the Hittites at the Battle of Kadesh, the huge rock relief figures at their entrances have become famous icons, and the sight of them is well worth the flight.
What makes them even more interesting, however, is that they had to be moved. A famous rescue mission, overseen by UNESCO, was undertaken to save them from the waters inexorably rising behind the great Aswan High Dam. Between 1964 and 1968, in a feat almost as impressive as building them in the first place, the entire site was carefully cut into large blocks, dismantled, lifted and reassembled in a new location 65 meters higher up.
After marveling at the architectural ingenuity of both past and present, we'll fly back to Aswan in time to enjoy lunch on board the ship. Inaugural Feature: This afternoon, another unforgettable experience takes place when we board traditional felucca boats for some relaxing afternoon sailing. Savor some sparkling wine as you sit back and enjoy the ride and the views on these dramatic sailboats, which rely solely on wind!
Discover the treasures of Aswan: the High Dam, Philae Temple, and more
Today you'll explore the area around Aswan, beginning with the massive Awan High Dam. This 13,000-foot-long and 3,200-foot-wide wall was built across the Nile between 1960 and 1970 with Soviet support. It supplanted the British-built Low Dam of the 1900s and created the vast reservoir known today as Lake Nasser.
You’ll also take a short boat ride across the reservoir of the Aswan Low Dam to visit the elegant Temple of Philae, another of UNESCO’s Nubian monuments that was rescued from flooding. Philae was originally located near the First Cataract but was flooded after the construction of the Aswan Low Dam. As part of the UNESCO Nubia Campaign project, the temple complex was drained, dismantled, cleaned, and moved to a nearby island, to protect it before the completion of the Aswan High Dam.
Our explorations then take us to an ancient quarry, where you’ll see the famed Unfinished Obelisk, whose construction was ordered by Queen Hatshepsut about 3,500 years ago. Marks from workers' tools are still clearly visible as well as lines marking where they were working. Abandoned after cracks appeared, the massive granite pylon would have stood 137 feet high; had it been completed, it would have been by far the largest of Egypt’s obelisks.
After lunch on board ship, we’ll start our relaxing return cruise towards Edfu.
Inaugural Feature: After dinner tonight, don a traditional galabiya — the long tunics native to the Nile Valley — during a special show and party on the ship!
Visit the almost intact Temple of Horus at Edfu and sail back to Luxor
Horse-drawn carriages will be waiting for us beside the river this morning for the ride through this small river city to Edfu’s famously well-preserved temple. The largest temple dedicated to Horus the falcon god, it is notable for the two stone falcons at its entrance and the huge relief figures on the 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 homes over it and, by 1798, when the temple was identified by a French expedition, only the upper reaches of the pylons were visible.
This afternoon, we enjoy lunch on board ship and more scenic cruising, as we return to Luxor once again.
Explore the Valleys of the Kings and Queens and the fabulous temples of Luxor and Karnak
We’ll cross the river this morning and drive through farmland to a range of low mountains. A series of rugged ravines in these hills are known today as the Valleys of the Kings and Queens. Part of the greater Theban Necropolis UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Valley of the Kings encompasses more than 60 tombs and burial chambers cut deep into rock cliffs over a 500-year span. Exploring some of these sacred chambers, you’ll see elaborate hieroglyphs and paintings that are almost as vivid now as they were three thousand years ago, when they were new.
Additional ancient wonders await in the nearby Valley of the Queens, a burial ground with as many as 90 tombs of the wives and children of the rulers. Before returning to the ship for lunch, we’ll also visit the magnificent multi-terraced Temple of Hatshepsut, named for Egypt’s longest-reigning female pharaoh.
This afternoon, we’ll explore two of Egypt’s most illustrious shrines, the Karnak and Luxor temple complexes. Said to be the world’s largest religious structure in area, the vast Karnak Temple complex was built and used over a period of 2,000 years. You’ll be absolutely amazed by the Great Hypostyle Hall, where a monolithic forest of 134 huge columns is ranked in 16 rows. The largest are 33 feet around and soar to 80 feet in height. You’ll also revisit the Luxor Temple complex, this time getting the chance to see it during the day.
Inaugural Feature: After dinner, treat yourself to one of the most traditional forms of Egyptian entertainment: a belly-dancing show! It's said that this dance originated in Cairo's nightclubs, but you'll find that these deliberate, controlled movements are much more artistic when a troupe of expert dancers joins us onboard for a spectacular show that will have you riveted by the costumes, dance moves, and the history!
Fly to Cairo then continue overland to coastal Alexandria
It's time to bid a fond farewell to the crew of the m/s Nebu, as we continue our journey to a city with a location and cultural climate unlike any other destination you’ve visited in Egypt so far. To reach Alexandria, the great Mediterranean port city founded by Alexander the Great, we’ll fly to Cairo, then continue to the coast by motorcoach. After checking into our beautiful seaside hotel, you’ll have lunch, followed by the afternoon at leisure with dinner included at the hotel.
Walk in Cleopatra’s footsteps as you explore Greco-Roman Alexandria
This morning we explore Alexandria on a panoramic tour showcasing the highlights of "the Pearl of the Mediterranean," including the seafront promenade and the faded glory of the downtown area. We’ll descend the ancient staircase to the underground catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, an extensive subterranean burial site that dates to the Greco-Roman era of the 2nd century AD Many of the features of the catacombs merge Roman, Greek, and Egyptian cultures — for example, some statues are Egyptian in style, yet bear Roman clothes and hairstyles. The location of the site had long been lost and was only rediscovered in 1900 when an unfortunate donkey stumbled into one of the shafts.
You’ll also visit Alexandria’s tallest monument, Pompey’s Pillar. Dating back to the 4th century, it stands 90 feet tall and 30 feet wide and was hewn from a single block of red granite brought all the way from Aswan, almost 700 miles away. Following lunch at a local restaurant, your tour of Alexandria's past continues with a visit to the Roman Amphitheater and the National Museum. Enjoy dinner at the hotel tonight.
Return to Cairo for a Gala Farewell Dinner
This morning, we return by road to Cairo. Upon arrival, check into your Deluxe hotel, located in the upscale Cairo suburb of Heliopolis, and conveniently close to Cairo Airport. Tonight we’ll toast a final goodbye to our Inaugural Adventure at a Gala Farewell Cocktail Dinner.
Depart Cairo and fly home; or continue on to Amman & Petra with a post-trip extension
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the Cairo airport for your flight home to the U.S., or fly to Jordan for your post-trip extension to the Lost City of Petra and Amman.
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 Adventure Leader or regional expert.
Please Note: 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.