Luxury on the Nile: President’s 2018 Ancient Wonders of Egypt - 2018

Cairo • Abu Simbel • Aswan • Kom Ombo • Esna • Luxor • Edfu • Alexandria
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Sail the Nile on the luxury MS Star Goddess!

You’ll travel like a pharaoh when you join us for this exclusive Presidential version of our 2018 Egypt and the Nile journey. Just for the occasion, we’ve chartered the Five-star all-suites MS Sonesta Star Goddess for an exclusive 7-night voyage on the fabled river. As you explore Egypt’s many wonders, you’ll be treated to a series of unforgettable Presidential Features, including a private visit to the Egyptian Museum, home of King Tut’s treasures, a Gala Presidential Dinner & Dance at an ancient temple, a sunset sail on the Nile with a champagne toast, and many more. You’ll also spend four days delving into the intricacies of Cairo, one of the world’s most fascinating cities, with the newest and most talked about hotel in the city as your home base. Your journey concludes in fine style with a stay in luxury seafront hotel in Alexandria, "the Pearl of the Mediterranean."

This exclusive Presidential Journey with a special Nile river cruise is scheduled for just two departures. Both take place in October of 2018, the ideal season to visit this ancient land. Our team in Egypt is pulling out all the stops to make it memorable in every way. However, space is limited, so reserve now to be part of this extraordinary Presidential adventure. 

Cairo to Alexandria

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DAY 1:

Fly overnight to Cairo, Egypt

Your Presidential adventure begins with an overnight flight to Cairo. 

DAY 2:

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. 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.

Included Meals:


DAY 3:

Private audience with King Tut at the Egyptian Museum, and an elegant President’s Banquet

Presidential Feature: Following a leisurely morning and lunch at the hotel, visit Cairo’s renowned Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, which will be closed by special arrangement for our private visit. Among the museums spectacular collections are numerous fine examples of art and statuary from ancient dynasties, and the mummies of many of Egypt’s greatest pharaohs. 

Presidential Feature: This evening, enjoy the first Presidential evening. Toast the beginning of our journey at a cocktail party, followed by a sumptuous banquet, with a live band providing music for dancing during our Welcome Dinner.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 4:

Behold the Pyramids, 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 Pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx. The Great Pyramid  — or Pyramid of Khufu — is the oldest and largest of the three, dating back to 2580–2560 BC and reaching 455 feet high. You’ll also see the mystical Sphinx, the massive limestone statue of a reclining lion with a head of a woman. Following lunch at a local establishment, visit the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, which is also included in the Giza Plateau UNESCO designation. Built during Egypt’s third dynasty to honor King Djoser, it’s said to be the world’s earliest pyramid. After a busy day of discovery, you and your fellow travelers will dine at a local restaurant.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 5:

Discover Old Cairo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Today, delve into Cairo’s historic quarter, and also into the captivating story of Egypt’s predominant religion. Cultural Discovery: Begin with a tour of Islamic Cairo, featuring visits to the fortified, medieval Citadel and its grand, domed Mosque of Muhammad Ali (aka the Alabaster Mosque). Be sure to have your camera at hand for panoramic views of the city from the Citadel’s hilltop site. Then, transfer to Cairo’s scenic Al Azhar Park — a serene public green space in Old Cairo — for lunch at a popular restaurant**.

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 and a full soft drink beverage selection will be included and available for guests.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 6:

Discover the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Abu Simbel, and glide along the Nile in a traditional felucca sailboat in Aswan

You’ll get an idea of the vastness of Egypt’s ancient dynasties, as we fly south some 700 miles south from Cairo, following the Nile, to the great temples of Abu Simbel. Here, imposing 70-foot statues of Ramses II and Queen Nefertari overlook the Nile and were erected to mark the furthest boundaries of their reign. In the 1970s, in a feat almost as impressive as building them in the first place, the temples were sawn into great blocks and rebuilt on the upper plateau. The famous rescue mission, overseen by UNESCO, was undertaken to save them from the waters inexorably rising behind the great Aswan High Dam. Along with the Temple of Isis at Philae, they make up the UNESCO World Heritage Site known collectively as the Nubian Monuments. Afterwards, we’ll fly to the desert city of Aswan to board our Nile cruise vessel in time for lunch.

Presidential Feature: As evening approaches, board a felucca, a traditional Nile boat with a triangular sail, for a sunset cruise, with a sparkling wine toast and a selection of hors d’oeuvres. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 7:

Nile cruising to the double temple at Kom Ombo, and a shipboard galabia party

Begin the day in relaxing fashion, 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 will attest to the life-giving importance of the Nile to this desert land. In the afternoon, your ship arrives in Kom Ombo — an agricultural town on the Nile’s East Bank, where you’ll visit its namesake temple. The unusual double temple features symmetrical halves, with one side dedicated to Horus, the falcon god, and the other to Sobek, the crocodile god.

Presidential Feature: Get ready for some fun this evening, at a festive cocktail party and Galabia Party aboard ship. A galabia is a traditional long, loose-fitting garment worn by both men and women, often with ornate trim, and a galabia costume party is a long-standing tradition of Nile cruises. Bring your own or choose one from the ship’s reasonably priced selection, and join the festivities!

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 8:

Tomb exploration in the legendary Necropolis of Thebes, an Egyptian lunch and show, and evening bellydancing

Today finds us in Luxor, site of the ancient capital of Thebes, once the richest city of the pharaohs. 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 — including the tombs of the powerful King Ramses and the famous boy-king Tutankhamen — you’ll see elaborate hieroglyphs and paintings that are as vivid now as they were millennia 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 your ship for lunch, you’ll also visit the multi-terraced, Temple of Hatschepsut, named for Egypt’s longest-reigning female pharaoh. 

Presidential Features:
When we leave the West Bank, we’ll board a dahabeya Nile boat for the short ride to Amira Island where a lunch will be waiting. After a relaxing meal with traditional entertainment, enjoy the afternoon back in Luxor at leisure. After dinner, a troupe of talented local dancers will perform a belly-dance show aboard ship.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 9:

Explore the fabulous Temples of Luxor and Karnak first by day, and then by night at a Gala Dinner Dance

Explore two of Egypt’s most illustrious shrines, the Karnak and Luxor temple complexes, which today are surrounded by the modern city of Luxor. 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 forest of 134 huge columns are ranked in 16 rows. The largest are 33 feet around and soar to 80 feet in height. You’ll also visit the Luxor Temple complex, where a walkway lined with sphinxes leads to graceful inner courtyards and temple spaces.

Presidential Feature: As amazing as these great temples may be in the daylight, you’ll find them even more enchanting this evening when you return for a Gala Cocktail Party, preceding a Presidential Dinner and Dance among these ancient stones. Tables will be set for our dinner, which will be accompanied by a harpist, followed by music for dancing under the stars. It’s going to be an Egyptian evening to remember!

Please note that due to the religious nature of Luxor Temple, dinners cannot include alcohol on-site. This exclusive arrangement for a private function inside the temple is sure to be an amazing experience and will include a full selection of soft drinks and non-alcoholic beverages; you'll also be treated to a special cocktail party onboard ship before departing for this gala event. It is formal, but due to the uneven terrain, ladies should please take note that shoes with low or no heels are encouraged.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 10:

Scenic cruising along the Nile

After all the exploring and the festivities in Luxor, you’ll appreciate a day of leisurely cruising today. This is a good opportunity to take advantage of the ship’s spa, perhaps to indulge in a massage, or just relax with a cocktail by the pool. As evening approaches, you’re invited to the Captain’s cocktail party in the lounge.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 11:

See the massive Temple of Horus at Edfu

Horse-drawn carriages will be waiting for us this morning for the ride through the small river city to Edfu’s famously well-preserved temple. Note the two tall bird statues standing at the entrance with pharaonic headgear — they indicate that the temple is dedicated to Horus, the falcon god. Also pay attention to the gigantic relief figures carved on the façade. Impressive in their own right, they’re significant for indicating the influence of Greco-Roman sculptural style on the Egyptians. Enjoy more scenic cruising this afternoon, as we near Aswan once again. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 12:

Discover the treasures of Aswan: the High Dam, Philae temple, the Quarry and more

You'll explore the area around Aswan today, beginning with the massive High Dam. Built across the Nile in 1970 with Soviet funding, it supplanted the British-built Low Dam of the 1920s and created the vast reservoir known today as Lake Nasser. You’ll also visit the elegant Temple of Philae, another of UNESCO’s Nubian monuments that was rescued from the lake’s rising waters. Our explorations then take us to an ancient quarry, where you’ll see the famed Unfinished Obelisk. Abandoned after cracks appeared, the massive granite pylon would have stood 120 feet high, had it been raised. 

Presidential Features: This evening, enjoy a Nubian folklore show aboard ship. Afterwards, gather on the Sun Deck to bid farewell to the cruise portion of your adventure at an Egyptian barbecue, with live music to keep the festivities going.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 13:

Fly to Cairo then continue overland to coastal Alexandria

It's time to disembark our Nile ship, as we depart for a city whose location and cultural climate set it apart from the other destinations you’ve visited in Egypt. To reach Alexandria, the great Mediterranean port city founded by Alexander the Great, you’ll fly to Cairo, then continue to the coast by motorcoach. Upon arrival, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. We will check into our beautiful seaside hotel and you will have the afternoon at leisure. Dinner is included at the hotel this evening.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 14:

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. After our city tour, we visit the world-renowned Bibliotheca Alexandrina to begin your explorations of Alexandria’s past. The discus-shaped library, cultural center, and museum complex was built to reincarnate what was once the ancient world’s most important library — and it succeeds brilliantly. After perusing fascinating exhibits and displays, go underground to the catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, an extensive subterranean burial site that dates to the Greco-Roman era. The precise location of the site had been lost, and, according to legend, was only rediscovered in 1900 when an unfortunate donkey broke through into one of the shafts. You’ll also visit Alexandria’s tallest monument, Pompey’s Pillar, which is hewn from a single block of red granite that has been traced to Aswan. Following lunch at a local dining establishment, your tour of Alexandria's past continues at the Roman Amphitheater and National Museum. Dinner is included at a local restaurant.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 15:

A day at leisure to enjoy Mediterranean Alexandria

Enjoy your day at leisure, perhaps enjoying your hotel’s private beach, taking a dip in the pool, or scheduling an afternoon of pampering at the hotel. Your Vantage Adventure Leader will be happy to provide tips and directions for independent sightseeing, shopping, and other excursion. This evening, gather at the hotel’s restaurant for dinner.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 16:

Revisit WWII history at El Alamein, then return to Cairo for a Farewell Dinner

This morning we head west along the coast to the site of the decisive WWII Battle of El Alamein in 1942 that halted the German offensive in North Africa. We'll visit the El Alamein War Cemetery, where more than 8,000 Allied soldiers were laid to rest. After your outing to this solemn locale, have lunch at a local restaurant before returning to Cairo. Upon arrival, check into your Deluxe hotel, which is located in the upscale Cairo suburb of Heliopolis. 

Presidential Feature: Toast a final goodbye to our Presidential adventure at this evening’s Gala Farewell Cocktail Party and Dinner.   

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 17:

Depart Cairo and fly home; or continue on for Jordan & Petra 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 the Lost City of Petra and Amman. 

Included Meals:


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: That hotel ratings are based on the Hotel and a leading travel industry authority on hotels throughout the world.

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Luxury on the Nile: President’s 2018 Ancient Wonders of Egypt - 2018

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