4 DAYS FROM $959
Fly overnight to Cairo, Egypt
Your adventure begins with an overnight flight to Egypt, arriving in Cairo on Day 2.
Arrive in Cairo and relax in the shadow of the Pyramids
Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by our airport representative who will assist with the private transfer to your historic hotel, the Mena House. Once a royal hunting lodge that over the years has hosted a long list of celebrities and heads of state, this evocative lodging sits in the shadows of the Pyramids. This evening, join your Adventure Leader and fellow travelers for a Welcome Drink, followed by a Welcome Dinner at the hotel.
See the treasures of King Tut at Cairo’s Museum of Egyptian Antiquities
This morning, enjoy a Welcome Briefing and buffet breakfast before beginning your first full day in Egypt with a visit to Cairo’s renowned Museum of Egyptian Antiquities. Home to one of the world’s most impressive collections of ancient treasures, the Egyptian Museum features more than 120,000 artifacts — including the iconic, gold funerary mask of child-king Tutankhamun. Sit down together for lunch at a local restaurant. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure before dining at a local restaurant.
Behold the Pyramids, the Sphinx, and more
Unforgettable Moment: Today begins with an exciting excursion to the Giza Plateau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the southwest outskirts of Cairo, to see Egypt’s iconic Pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx. Constructed as tombs for the Pharaohs Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure, each of the three stone structures was built by hand using finely tuned ancient building techniques that remain a mystery today. The Great Pyramid of Giza — or Pyramid of Khufu — is the oldest and largest of the three, dating back to 2580–2560 BC and reaching 455 feet high. Located nearby on this otherworldly archaeological site, you’ll also see the mystical Sphinx, a huge limestone statue of a reclining lion with a head of a woman. Cultural Connection: Set out on an excursion to one Cairo’s many carpet making schools for a live demonstration of this skilled handicraft. Following lunch at a local establishment, you’ll visit another local UNESCO World Heritage Site — the Step Pyramid at Saqqara. Built during Egypt’s third dynasty to honor King Djoser, this ancient, limestone “skyscraper” is believed to be the world’s earliest pyramid. After a busy day of discovery, you and your fellow travelers will dine at a local restaurant.
Discover Old Cairo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Today, delve into the captivating history of Egypt’s most predominant religion — Islam — as you explore some of Cairo’s greatest Islamic monuments. 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), along with a lecture about Islam by a knowledgeable Adventure Leader. Be sure to have your camera at hand, as the Citadel’s hilltop site offers panoramic views of the city below. Then, transfer to Cairo’s scenic Al-Azhar Park — a vast 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.
Fly to Aswan, embark ship, and explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Abu Simbel
Departing Cairo you’ll fly south to Aswan on the Nile River. Here we transfer to our ship, the M/S Omar El Khayam, and enjoy a pleasant lunch on board.
Unforgettable Moment: Today will be a highlight of your journey as we head out to explore renowned Abu Simbel. The massive temple complex with its four 70-foot statues of King Ramses II and his Queen Nefertari were the object of a famed UNESCO rescue mission, during which the temple was disassembled from a sandstone cliff and painstakingly rebuilt on the upper plateau in order to be saved from the rising waters of Lake Nasser. Along with the Temple of Isis at Philae, Abu Simbel is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known collectively as the Nubian Monuments. Upon returning to your ship, you’ll enjoy dinner and an evening at leisure to settle in aboard your floating hotel.
Cruising and exploring in the Nubian Kingdom
Your first day aboard ship begins with a sumptuous breakfast buffet, followed by a leisurely morning cruise toward Qasr Ibrim. Sailing past this archaeological site, you’ll get a clear view from the vessel’s sun deck. Then, enjoy lunch aboard ship as you cruise toward your next destination of Amada. Upon arrival there, you’ll tour the Amada Temple — oldest temple in Egypt’s Nubia region. While the small temple’s exterior is nondescript, well-preserved reliefs and colors decorate its interior walls. Following your excursion, enjoy a leisurely afternoon of sailing Lake Nasser toward Wadi el-Sebua, and have dinner aboard ship.
Visit Wadi el-Sebua temple and then cruise leisurely to Aswan
This morning after breakfast, go ashore to Wadi el-Sebua, one of two temples built by Ramses II beginning in the 44th year of his reign. Like many other structures in Nubia, this temple was relocated during a major UNESCO-sponsored effort in the 1960s to save it from the rising water of Lake Nasser. Among the largest temples in Nubia, Wadi el-Sebua — Arabic for “Valley of the Lions” — features an “avenue” of sphinxes leading to its entrance. Returning to the ship before lunch, spend the remainder of the day sailing leisurely toward your next destination: Aswan. This evening, enjoy the final dinner aboard your Nasser Lake cruise ship.
See the Aswan High Dam, Temple of Phliae, and ancient Quarry, then transfer to your Nile river ship
Today, you’ll visit Aswan’s ancient Temple of Kalabsha — the largest freestanding temple in Nubia. Originally located 35 miles south of Aswan, this sandstone temple is another of the many monuments successfully dismantled and salvaged from the waters of Lake Nasser. Afterwards, disembark your first cruise ship, and transfer below the Aswan High Dam to embark the ms Monaco for your second cruise
Once you embark and have lunch aboard your new cruise ship, some of Aswan’s most prominent sites await you. First, visit the Aswan High Dam itself — a dam built across the Nile in 1970 with Soviet funding that created the Lake Nasser reservoir. While there, your Adventure Leader will describe some of the significant effects of the project on adjacent communities. You’ll also visit the renowned Temple of Philae, a treasured monument dedicated to the Goddess Isis that was painstakingly moved to its current location when the High Dam was completed. Conclude your afternoon at an Aswan quarry to see one of the most famous of ancient stones — the “Unfinished Obelisk.” Lying where it was abandoned after cracks appeared, the ancient, granite obelisk would have stood 120 feet high had it been raised. This evening, raise a glass to your day’s many discoveries during a Welcome Reception on board, followed by dinner.
See the double temple at Kom Ombo and celebrate at a shipboard Galabiya Party
Begin the day in relaxing fashion, with a buffet breakfast and morning of scenic sailing toward Kom Ombo. As you cruise, have lunch onboard and witness everyday life in the riverside towns and villages lining the fabled Nile River. After lunch onboard, your river ship will arrive in Kom Ombo — an agricultural town on the Nile’s East Bank, where you’ll visit its namesake temple. This unusual “double” temple features symmetrical halves dedicated to Horus the falcon god and Sobek the crocodile god, each decorated with intricate, well-preserved reliefs. Return to the ship for lunch and afternoon tea as you sail toward Edfu. Cultural Discovery and Unforgettable Moment: Don a traditional Galabiya (a long, loose-fitting garment worn by both men and women, usually with ornate trim) for dinner this evening, followed by an Egyptian dance show and Galabiya party aboard ship.
Egypt’s largest and most impressive temples: Horus, Karnak, and Luxor
After breakfast, begin the day on the west bank with a morning excursion to Edfu’s famously well-preserved temple. Dedicated to Egypt’s falcon-headed god, the Temple of Horus at Edfu was constructed between 237 and 57 BC, partially during the reign of Cleopatra VII. Following your visit, re-board your ship for lunch and a scenic cruise toward Luxor. This afternoon, go ashore on the Nile’s east bank to see two of Egypt’s most illustrious shrines, the Karnak and Luxor temple complexes. Believed to be the world’s largest religious structure (some believe Cambodia’s Angkor Wat is larger), the vast Karnak Temple Complex was built and used over a period of 2,000 years — encompassing the ruins of numerous temples, chapels, and other structures, as well as a sacred lake. Nearby, visit the Luxor Temple Complex, considered one of the most beautiful in Egypt. Cultural Discovery: After dinner, a troupe of talented local dancers will perform an entertaining belly-dance show.
A day of tomb exploration in the amazing Necropolis of Thebes
Today, the final day of your Nile River cruise, you’ll enjoy another exciting morning of Egyptian exploration — featuring several of Luxor’s most historic destinations: the Valley of the Kings and Queens, and the Temple of Hatshepsut. Part of the greater Theban Necropolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Valley of the Kings encompasses more than 60 Pharaohs’ 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 Tutankhamun — admire the elaborate hieroglyphs and paintings that adorn their walls with illustrative stories of lives and dynasties past. Additional ancient wonders await in the nearby Valley of the Queens, a burial ground with as many as 90 tombs for the Pharaohs’ wives and children. Before returning to your ship for lunch, you’ll also visit the multi-terraced, royal Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, named for Egypt’s longest-reigning female pharaoh following her husband’s premature death. After a busy morning, enjoy an afternoon at leisure and dinner aboard.
Fly back to Cairo for a free afternoon and Farewell Dinner
Disembark your Nile River ship this morning, and transfer to Luxor airport for your return flight to Cairo. Upon arrival, check into your hotel — and spend the afternoon exploring Cairo at your own pace. This evening, gather with your fellow travelers at the hotel for a celebratory Farewell Dinner.
Depart Cairo and fly home; or continue on for the Alexandria post-trip extension
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the Cairo airport for your flight home to the U.S. — or remain, and begin your post-trip extension to Alexandria the next morning.
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.