Expedition Overview

Expedition Overview

  • Alongside your private Egyptologist guide, explore the legendary Pyramids of Giza and ponder the riddle of the Sphinx, carved out of the limestone bedrock of the Giza plateau.
  • Discover stunning temples and elaborate burial chambers in Luxor, the capital of the ancient Egyptian empire at its peak; and embark on a four-night cruise down the fabled Nile.
  • Venture to the magnificent rock-cut temples of Abu Simbel, built by the pharaoh Ramses II, and hear from your private guide about the dramatic relocation of this sacred site.
  • Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of bustling Cairo, and encounter world-renowned treasures at the Egyptian Museum.

Itinerary

Itinerary

Venture to the land of the pharaohs and discover some of the greatest treasures of the ancient world with a private guide, from the Pyramids of Giza to King Tutankhamun’s legendary tomb. Trace the dramatic feats of Egyptian rulers—and the powerful deities they worshipped—as you wander the soaring temple of Karnak, or gaze upon the colossal statues of Ramses II at Abu Simbel. Couple your archaeological odyssey with a cruise down the Nile, the age-old lifeline of this fabled desert realm. 

Please note: The itinerary shown describes departures which start on Wednesdays. Call for details on departures starting on other days of the week.

Day 1: Cairo, Egypt
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Arrive at Cairo International Airport (CAI) and settle into your elegant hotel, located on the bank of the Nile River.

Meals Included:Dinner
Accommodations:Nile Ritz Carlton
Day 2: Dahshûr/Memphis and Saqqâra/Cairo
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Veer off the beaten path to the 5,000-year old ruins of Memphis with your Egyptologist guide, who will accompany you throughout your trip. Then stroll through the cemetery of Saqqâra, where you’ll come across Djoser’s step pyramid—one of the oldest known stone-cut buildings in history. Continue to the Dahshûr necropolis, which harbors some of Egypt’s oldest and most well-preserved pyramids. Dahshûr’s Bent Pyramid is said to be a first attempt at the flat-sided pyramid—at the time a formidable architectural feat—while the nearby Red Pyramid represents the world’s first truly flat-sided structure.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Nile Ritz Carlton
Day 3: GIZA/CAIRO
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Discover the fabled Pyramids of Giza, constructed some 4,500 years ago and guarded by the mysterious Sphinx, these perfectly symmetrical structures were designed as gateways to the afterlife for Egypt’s ruling elite. The Great Pyramid of Khufu—the largest of the three structures—stands at a staggering 481 feet and is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Enjoy lunch overlooking the pyramids, then explore the Egyptian Museum, home to the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts in the world. Gaze upon the immaculate gold mask of Tutankhamun, the boy-king who died at the age of 19, and admire the many treasures recovered from his tomb.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Nile Ritz Carlton
Day 4: Cairo
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This morning, venture to the 12th-century Citadel of Saladin, a hilltop fortress commissioned by sultan Saladin, and step inside the Mosque of Muhammad Ali, a multi-domed sanctuary built in the Ottoman style. Delve into the winding streets of Coptic Cairo, where Christianity flourished until the Islamic era. Visit the Coptic Museum; the nearby Hanging Church—one of the city’s oldest and most iconic Coptic churches; and the Ben Ezra Synagogue. This evening, immerse yourself in the labyrinthine alleys of Khan el-Khalili, an enchanting souk tucked away in the heart of the old city.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Nile Ritz Carlton
Day 5: Luxor
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Catch a flight to Luxor, known in antiquity as Thebes. This extraordinary city served as Egypt’s capital during part of the Middle Kingdom and at the height of the New Kingdom, and was dedicated to the god Amun, one of the most revered deities of the Egyptian pantheon. Explore the Karnak temple complex, a sprawling array of shrines, obelisks, and gateways where Amun and other deities were worshipped; then visit the Luxor Museum, located on the banks of the Nile. After lunch, take the afternoon to wander Luxor on your own. This evening, visit the striking Luxor Temple. With its colonnade of soaring columns and larger-than-life statues, this complex is particularly beautiful after dark, when evocative lighting creates a mystical, dream-like atmosphere.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Steigenberger Resort Achti
Day 6: Luxor/Nile River
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Today, venture to the famed Valley of the Kings, where the pharaohs of Egypt’s New Kingdom chose to build elaborate underground tombs instead of the pyramids typical of the Old Kingdom. Descend into the tomb of Tutankhamun—discovered in 1922 by British archaeologist Howard Carter—and see the remains of the boy-king. Admire the vivid wall paintings and hieroglyphics of the neighboring tomb of Seti I; then make your way to the beautiful Temple of Hatshepsut, one of Egypt’s first female pharaohs. Round off your time in Luxor with a visit to the Colossi of Memnon—two 60-foot-tall stone statues of the pharaoh Amenhotep III, which have guarded the king’s necropolis since 1350 B.C. Then board your vessel to begin your cruise down the river this evening.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:

M.S. Farah, M.S. Minerva or M.S. Tulip

Day 7: West Bank of Luxor/Isnâ Lock
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Sail to the West Bank of Luxor this morning and step ashore to explore the Ramesseum—Ramses II’s mortuary temple. This temple—and the scattered granite remains of the king’s giant likeness found here—inspired the poem “Ozymandias” by the English Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Discover the Valley of the Queens and visit the breathtaking tomb of Queen Nefertari, Ramses II’s favorite wife; and wander through the funerary complex of Ramses III, set against the backdrop of the Theban mountains. Return to your boat for lunch, and enjoy a cooking class on board. Navigate through Isnâ Lock on your way to the city of Idfu.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:

M.S. Farah, M.S. Minerva or M.S. Tulip

Day 8: Idfu/Aswân
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Cruise amid lush sugarcane fields, sleepy rural villages, and oases of date palms as your boat glides up the Nile to the Temple of Kawm Umbū. Dating to Egypt’s Graeco-Roman period, this unusual structure harbors two sanctuaries—one dedicated to falcon-headed Horus, god of the sky; and the other to Sobek, the crocodile-headed god of the Nile. Crocodiles were once kept captive at Sobek’s temple, and many mummified specimens can be seen at the Kawm Umbū Crocodile Museum. Later, enjoy an epic Nile sunset from the deck of your boat as you continue south towards Aswân.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:

M.S. Farah, M.S. Minerva or M.S. Tulip

Day 9: Aswân
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Discover the Temple of Isis, an elegant Ptolemaic monument honoring the goddess Isis that was originally perched on the island of Philae. The site was threatened with flooding during the construction of the Aswân dams in the 1960s, which prompted UNESCO to relocate the temple complex to its present location on the island of Agilkia. This evening, board a felucca—a traditional wooden sailboat of the Nile—and enjoy sundowners as we cruise down the river. Round off the day with a visit to a lively souk in Aswân town.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:

M.S. Farah, M.S. Minerva or M.S. Tulip

Day 10: Abu Simbel/Cairo
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Disembark our riverboat and fly to Abu Simbel in southern Egypt this morning, where you’ll be joined by your local guide. Head out for a tour of this awe-inspiring ancient site, among Ramses II’s most impressive building achievements. Four nearly 70-foot-tall statues of the pharaoh grace the entrance to the main temple, carved out of a dramatic sandstone cliff. Like the temple at Philae, the Abu Simbel temples were also dismantled and rebuilt at a higher elevation to make way for the Aswân High Dam—a feat of engineering to rival Abu Simbel’s original construction. After lunch, catch a flight to Cairo via Aswân and relax at your hotel.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Intercontinental Citystars Cairo
Day 11: Cairo
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After breakfast, transfer to the Cairo International Airport (CAI) and catch your flight home.

Meals Included:Breakfast

Optional Extensions

Optional Extensions

  • Jordan Extension
Jordan Extension

Post trip - 5 Days
Located at the crossroads of Asia, Africa, and Europe, the desert kingdom of Jordan is packed with natural wonders, spellbinding ancient cities, and sacred Biblical sites. Delve into eclectic Amman, a maze of restaurants, mosques, and historic monuments. Then venture to the fabled rock-cut city of Petra, and spend a night at a luxurious hotel on the shores of the Dead Sea.

Day 1: Amman, Jordan

Arrive in Amman, the capital of Jordan. Dating to the Chalcolithic Age, this ancient city bears the traces of countless empires and peoples, from the Ammonites to the Romans and the Umayyads to the Ottomans. Take a drive through the modern part of the city before lunch, then set out to explore old Amman. We begin our tour at the historic Citadel, considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world. Marvel at fascinating artifacts at the Jordan Archaeological Museum and wander the steps of the magnificent Roman Theatre, boasting a seating capacity of 6,000. The evening is yours to relax at our hotel or discover Amman on your own. Enjoy a delicious dinner of typical Levantine dishes tonight.

Meals Included:Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Four Seasons Hotel Amman
Day 2: Madaba/Petra

Drive to Mount Nebo, a hill outside of Amman where Moses was offered a glimpse of the Promised Land, according to the Hebrew Bible. Take in your first view of the Dead Sea from the summit, and continue to Madaba. A town of importance during the early Byzantine era, Madaba is home to a stunning mosaic floor map—the oldest surviving map of the Holy Land. Pause for a traditional Jordanian lunch, then make your way to legendary Petra, carved out of sandstone cliffs by the Nabataean Arabs as early as the second century B.C. Settle into our hotel, and head out after dinner to experience the city by night, when it glows under the light of more than a thousand candles.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Mövenpick Resort Petra
Day 3: Petra

Set out on a full-day tour of Petra with an expert guide, venturing into the rock-cut city by way of the Siq, a narrow gorge that forms a natural opening to this UNESCO World Heritage site. Admire the exquisite façade of the iconic Treasury, which once served as a royal tomb; stroll the colonnades of the Great Temple complex; and choose to climb up more than 800 steps to the top of the impressive Monastery. Enjoy a refreshing lunch at the Basin Restaurant, surrounded by towering rose-colored ruins, and return to your hotel for an evening at leisure.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Mövenpick Resort Petra
Day 4: Dead Sea

Travel north to the Dead Sea Panoramic Complex. Take in breathtaking views of the Dead Sea and the Jordan Rift Valley from the lookout, and visit the Dead Sea Museum to learn about the geology and history of this fabled salt lake, situated at the lowest point on the surface of the planet. Then continue to the lakeshore and settle into our luxurious spa hotel. The mineral-rich waters and mud of the Dead Sea have long been known for their healing properties; Queen Cleopatra is said to have been a frequent visitor here. Treat yourself to a revitalizing spa treatment this evening.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea
Day 5: Amman

Depart our hotel after breakfast. Drive to Amman and transfer to the Queen Alia International Airport (AMM) to connect with your flight home.

Meals Included:Breakfast