What better way to escape the swelter of Egypt than by sailing on a luxurious cruise on the most up-to-date vessel on the revered Nile River? Enjoy true glamor, relaxation, value, and convenience on this new 2020 cruise tour aboard the 5-star m/s Nebu when you embark on a thrilling sail. On this 12-night cruise, slip back through the millennia and placid waters to discover the glories of ancient Egypt, from the edge of the delta on the Lower Nile to the cataracts of Aswan on the Upper Nile.
Starting in Cairo, you’ll have the chance to tick the magnificent Pyramids and Great Sphinx off your bucket list and enjoy an audience with King Tut and his treasures. Then, cooled by refreshing river breezes, you’ll leave the bustle of the city behind and glide up the great waterway into a world lost in time.
Sit and watch scenery that could come straight out of the Bible pass by as you relax around the ship’s sparkling swimming pool. Stop along the way to explore a series of fascinating tombs and spectacular temples. Some, like the great temples of Luxor and Karnak, are on every traveler’s itinerary. Others, like the abandoned capital city of Akhenaten at Amarna and the elaborately decorated limestone tombs of Beni Hasan are less frequented, but no less extraordinary.
But, no matter how deep you delve into the past along the Nile’s banks, you’ll live in perfect modern comfort on the river. Vantage’s brand-new deluxe cruise ship, the m/s Nebu, has all the amenities and conveniences you’d expect from a luxury hotel, including stylish and spacious suites, lavishly appointed lounges, and an indulgent spa. Join us as we embark on a sultry summer voyage under the auspices of the sun god Ra!
Fly overnight to Cairo, Egypt
Your Egyptian journey begins with an overnight flight to Cairo.
Arrive in Cairo and board your Deluxe Nile cruise ship
On arrival at Cairo International Airport, you’ll be welcomed and assisted through immigration and customs by a Vantage representative, and then escorted to the Nile waterfront, where the brand-new Vantage-owned ship m/s Nebu invites you to climb aboard for your deluxe Nile cruise. After a safety briefing, you’ll enjoy dinner on board ship and settle in to your spacious and stylish suites.
Gaze on the Pyramids and the Sphinx, and see the treasures of King Tut
You can cross one of the world’s most iconic destinations off your bucket list today! We’ll drive in an air-conditioned motorcoach to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Giza Plateau 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 455 feet high. Also part of this World Heritage Site is the Great Sphinx. The massive statue is carved from the plateau’s limestone bedrock in the shape of a reclining lion with the head of the pharaoh Khufu.
You’ll also have a chance to enjoy authentic Egyptian cuisine with lunch at one of Cairo’s excellent restaurants, and pay a visit to Cairo’s renowned Egyptian Museum. Home to the world's largest collection of pharaonic antiquities, the museum’s cool stone hallways house spectacular displays of art and statuary from ancient dynasties. But, the stars of the show are most certainly the golden treasures of King Tutankhamun’s tomb, which simply have to be seen to be believed. With a full day of incredible sights under our belts, we’ll return to the ship in the late afternoon and enjoy dinner on board.
Discover some of Egypt’s mesmerizing scenery and off-the-beaten track locations from the comfort of your stateroom.
Embark on your cruise up the Nile River
After the heat and hustle of Cairo, it will be a treat to set sail today. As the city skyscrapers slowly dwindle into the distance, we’ll luxuriate in the peaceful rhythm of life on board our ship. In between sumptuous meals, cool off in the sparkling pool, sip cocktails in the shade on the deck, curl up with a good book, or sit and watch the scenery glide by. It’s a full day of cruising to Beni Suef, so you can simply relax and enjoy. The provincial capital of Beni Suef was famed for its luxurious textiles during the Middle Ages, and it remains an excellent place to buy Egyptian cotton and linen. The city is surrounded by many archaeological sites, including the mysterious Meidum pyramid — thought to be the second large royal pyramid ever completed.
Serene Nile cruising to Minya
The day is again spent in the most restful way possible, with more 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 stories. 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. This evening we’ll arrive in Minya, an important center of trade for the ancient Egyptians and believed to be the birthplace of Pharoah Khufu.
Visit the abandoned capital of Akhenaten, the necropolis of Khmun, and the tombs of Beni Hasan
Today is a full and exciting day of touring in Minya. We’ll start with a visit to Tell el-Amarna, built in 1346 BC by the pharaoh Akhenaten as his new capital city. Dedicated to his new religion worshipping the god Aten instead of Amun, it was abandoned shortly after his death, when Akhenaten's son Tutankhamun returned the capital to Thebes (Luxor) and resumed the worship of Amun-Ra. At Tell el-Amarna, we’ll gain some fascinating insights into ancient Egypt’s most controversial king, often called the "Heretic Pharaoh," as well as the uniquely realistic and informal art that briefly flourished under his rule.
From Amarna, we’ll continue to the necropolis of Khmun, today known as Tuna el-Gebel. Here we’ll see the mummy of Isadora, a wealthy young woman who drowned in the Nile in about 150 AD. We’ll also tour the catacombs where thousands of mummies of sacred animals were stored.
We’ll return to our ship for a refreshing lunch before paying an afternoon visit to Beni Hasan, where around 40 tombs dating back to Egypt’s Middle Kingdom housed the remains of the provincial rulers of the time. With their elaborate layout and complex decorations, the tombs are also unusual for being situated on the East Bank of the Nile — traditionally considered by the pharaohs to be the City of the Living.
Relax on board ship as you cruise to Asyut
After yesterday’s busy day of exploration, today offers another welcome opportunity to take it easy and put your feet up as we cruise on to Asyut. Indulge in souvenir shopping in the ship’s stylish boutique, or treat yourself to a special Egyptian massage treatment with soothing essential oils in the ship’s spa.
A full day of Nile cruising to Sohag
Soak up the sights and sounds of the Nile as we journey on to Sohag. Cool breezes will waft the calls of the muezzins to us from passing minarets, and fill the sails of traditional wooden feluccas floating alongside as we effortlessly continue our exploration of the world’s greatest river.
Tour the Great Temple of Seti I at Abydos
This morning, we’ll sail to Balyana, where we’ll disembark for a short drive to nearby Abydos, a center of worship dating right back to the beginning of the first pharaonic dynasty. Considered one of the most important archaeological sites in Egypt, the town was the site of a royal necropolis and numerous ancient temples, many of which have been irretrievably lost. However, the Great Temple of Seti I, also known as the Great Temple of Abydos, is still almost complete, and is undoubtedly one of Egypt’s most impressive ancient structures.
The Temple of Seti is also notable for the Abydos King List, a list of 76 of Seti’s predecessors found carved on a wall. Although it conveniently omits the names of pharaohs Seti considered illegitimate, such as Hatshepsut and Akhenaten, the list is valued as the only source of the names of many ancient Egyptian kings. In fact, it has been called the Rosetta Stone of Egyptian archaeology.
We’ll return to our ship for lunch and set sail once again. During our cruise this afternoon, we’ll pass the Naga Hammadi Dam. This impressive feat of modern engineering allows water levels to be raised up to 26 feet to irrigate the Nile Valley, and drives a hydroelectric plant that produces vital clean energy for Egypt’s growing population.
Visit the Temple of Hathor at Dendera and the Temple of Luxor
After breakfast this morning, we’ll take a short drive through the lush farmlands on the outskirts of Qena to reach the astonishing Dendera temple complex, and the Temple of Hathor. Largely believed to be the best-preserved temple of its kind in all of Egypt, this vast structure covers almost 10 acres. The temple's ceiling was recently cleaned of hundreds of years of black soot to reveal some of the most vibrant and colorful paintings of antiquity.
On our arrival in what was once the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes, we’ll disembark for an afternoon tour of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Temple of Luxor. The 3,500-year-old temple complex was dedicated to the Theban Triad of Amun, Mut, and Khonsu. Here, a walkway lined with rams-head sphinxes leads to graceful inner courtyards lined with Ramesside colossi and columns covered in intricate carvings.
After dinner on board ship, we’ll be treated to a transfixing belly-dancing show. Famed for its controlled and precise movements, Egyptian belly-dancing is said to have originated in Cairo’s nightclubs before helping to create several stars of the silver screen.
Enjoy views of the Dendera Temple, one of the best-preserved temple complexes in the country.
Descend into the tombs of the Valleys of the Kings and Queens and stand among the great columns of Karnak
This morning, we’ll drive across the river 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. We’ll also visit the magnificent multi-terraced Temple of Hatshepsut, named for Egypt’s longest-reigning female pharaoh — the queen who ruled as a man.
Back on the East Bank, we’ll visit one of Egypt’s most illustrious shrines. Said to be the world’s largest religious structure in area, the vast Karnak Temple complex was built and used over a period of two thousand years. You’ll be awed 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.
We’ll return to the ship for a delicious lunch and sail onwards to Edfu. On our way, we’ll pass through the mighty Esna Locks, which are large enough to hold two cruise ships at a time.
Enjoy two spectacular temple visits and a fun galabiya party
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 homes over it and, by 1798, when the temple was discovered by a French expedition, only the upper portions of the pylons were visible. Thanks to spending centuries underground, the temple escaped many of the ravages of time.
This afternoon, we enjoy lunch on board ship as we continue cruising to Kom Ombo, the site of a striking temple situated on a small hillside right beside the river. As the ship docks, you’ll be treated to the sight of its golden walls glowing in the late afternoon light. On a visit to this temple, you’ll discover its unique "double" design, with symmetrical halves dedicated to two different gods. The southern half of the temple is devoted to the crocodile god Sobek, god of fertility and protection against the dangers of the Nile, while the northern part of the temple is devoted 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, which houses a fascinating collection of mummified crocodiles.
As we sail on to Aswan this evening, we’ll don traditional galabiyas (also known as Jellabiyas) for a fun party on board. Dressed like an Egyptian, you’ll be ready to dance like an Egyptian, and a vibrant show with lively music will set the mood for a festive night like no other.
Enjoy cruising through 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.
Discover Aswan’s treasures: the Aswan High Dam, the Temple of Philae, and the Granite Quarries
Today we'll explore the area around Aswan, beginning with the massive Aswan High Dam. This 2.5-mile-long wall is almost half a mile wide at its base, and was built across the Nile in the 1960s with Soviet support. It supplanted the British-built Low Dam of the 1900s and created the vast reservoir known today as Lake Nasser. Standing atop its ramparts, you’ll learn how it transformed the economy and culture of Egypt.
We’ll also take a short boat ride across the reservoir of the Aswan Low Dam to visit the elegant Temple of Philae, one of UNESCO’s Nubian Monuments that had to be 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 granite quarry. Here 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. 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.
We’ll return to the ship in time for lunch and enjoy a relaxing afternoon at leisure on board.
Begin your journey home or continue on a post-trip extension to Alexandria
Today we bid a fond farewell to the mighty Nile River and the friendly crew of the m/s Nebu, as we transfer to Aswan airport for a flight back to the U.S. Or continue your journey by motorcoach for a post-trip extension to the historic coastal city of Alexandria.
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.
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.