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Egypt and the Ancient Nile River

A beautiful country rich in history and cultural gems, Egypt beckons visitors as a "bucket-list" worthy destination. With an up-tempo tour, discover the magnetic attraction while delighting in five-star accomodations and cruising the Nile River aboard a privately chartered dahabiya. Gaze at the spectacular pyramids of Giza, admire antiquities at the Egyptian Museum, survey the changing scenery while gliding down the Nile, and explore the most legendary tombs and temples on this journey through the land of pharaohs.


NOTE: Tour information is current as of 4/21/2024.

Program Highlights

– Enjoy a full day exploring Cairo: visit the awe-inspiring Pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx, and admire the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities.

– In Luxor, view the Karnak Temple Complex—one of the largest religious buildings in the world, which includes contributions from approximately 30 pharaohs over thousands of years.

– On the west bank of Luxor, descend into the elaborately decorated tombs of former rulers in the Valley of the Kings, then visit the Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, one of the few female pharaohs.

– Embark in Esna aboard a private dahabiya—a traditional Egyptian sailing vessel—for three nights on the Nile River.

– Observe the layers of thousands of years of history at Elephantine Island, the only ongoing archaeological excavation site open to tourists.

– Stay in luxurious accommodations at Egypt's most renowned heritage properties, including the Marriott Mena House in Cairo, the Sofitel Winter Palace in Luxor, and the Sofitel Legend Cataract in Aswan.

What's Included

  • 6 nights luxury hotel accommodations plus 3 nights aboard a stately dahabiya
  • 8 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 4 dinners
  • All excursions listed on the 11-day itinerary including admission to sites and venues
  • Excursion transportation
  • Internal airfare between Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan
  • Gratuities to hotels, drivers, dahabiya staff, porters, and guides
  • Group airport transfers for guests arriving and departing during the suggested times

Itinerary

Day 1: En Route from U.S.

Day 2: Arrive in Cairo, Egypt
Welcome to Cairo—Egypt's buzzing capital city with more than 22 million residents. Settle into your first-class accommodations to refresh and enjoy the remainder of the evening at leisure. 
Overnight: Marriott Mena House

Day 3: Cairo | Giza
After breakfast, visit the iconic Great Pyramid of Giza (the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) and the Great Sphinx, impressively carved from a single mass of limestone. Absorb the profound existence of these structures, then enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. 

Later, take a guided tour of the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, featuring 107 halls filled with nearly 160,000 pieces of ancient artifacts covering 5,000 years of Egypt's past. View displays of treasures from royal tombs, royal portraits, and rare artifacts. 
Overnight: Marriott Mena House (B,L,D)

Day 4: Cairo | Flight to Luxor
Today, take a brief flight to Luxor to explore the Karnak and Luxor Temples.

Luxor, part of the city of Thebes, was an important political and religious center. Covering 200 acres of the city's east bank is the Karnak Temple Complex, one of the most important places of worship during the New Kingdom. This site is a fusion of stone structures, including an avenue of human-headed sphinxes, grand pylons, and towering obelisks, which experienced various phases of construction and restoration during a nearly 2,000-year period.

Check in to the elegant Sofitel Winter Palace, then enjoy lunch followed by free time to have a beverage on the terrace or stroll the tranquil gardens. 

Largely built by the New Kingdom pharaohs Amenhotep III and Ramses II, the Luxor Temple is a striking monument with large amounts of structure, statuary, and relief carvings still intact. The impressive temple, around 850 feet long, is located in the center of the city and was buried for centuries before its full excavation was completed in 1960. Enjoy the special opportunity to admire this structure by night, when dramatic lighting enhances its intricacies.

This evening dinner is at leisure. Choose from tempting dining options, including the two restaurants of the Winter Palace, or savor a unique barbecue dinner outside in the gardens that features a buffet and scrumptious meat kebabs served at your table. 
Overnight: Sofitel Winter Palace (B,L)

Day 5: Luxor | Esna – Embarkation
After breakfast and checkout, travel across the Nile to the west bank of Luxor. At the famous Valley of the Kings—designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978—descend into the elaborately decorated tombs of Egypt's most influential rulers, including Tutankhamun.

Next, admire the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, one of the few female pharaohs. This grand temple, framed by massive limestone cliffs, is notable for its precise architectural features.

A short drive to Esna brings you to your sailing vessel and home-away-from-home for three nights. After a relaxing lunch, settle into your stateroom and spend time lounging on the sun deck as you watch the peaceful scenery go by. Join fellow travelers for dinner this evening.
Overnight: Dahabiya (B,L,D)

Day 6: Nile River | Edfu
Continue the journey to Edfu for a tour of the Ptolemaic Temple of Horus, the most complete and best-preserved temple in Egypt. Horus, the principal god of resurrection, is depicted in his role as avenger of his father, Osiris, who was murdered by his brother, Seth. Although construction of this temple was finished only a few decades before the rise of Antony and Cleopatra, its design reflects traditional pharaonic architecture. 

Gather for a special barbecue dinner this evening on a nearby island.  
Overnight: Dahabiya (B,L,D)

Day 7: Nile River | Kom Ombo | Aswan
Today, explore the unique Temple of Kom Ombo. Designed for and dedicated to two gods, Horus and Sobek (the ancient god of crocodiles), it's actually two temples in one. Captive crocodiles were once kept within the temple, and mummified crocodiles can be seen in the sanctuary today.

Now, there are no crocodiles north of the Aswan High Dam, but in ancient times a robust population lived in the Nile's waters. The ancient Egyptians believed that by worshipping Sobek they were protecting themselves from these predators.

Return to the dahabiya to sail to Aswan, and partake in a final gala dinner on board.
Overnight: Dahabiya (B,L,D)

Day 8: Aswan – Disembarkation 
After breakfast and disembarkation, take a motorboat ride to the island of Agilkia, site of the temples of Philae. The most famous temple is often referred to as the Temple of Isis and was completed around 690 BCE. Marvel at the abundance of hieroglyphs at Philae, as these are believed to be the last written by the ancient Egyptians. 

Lunch today is served at a Nubian guest house. Enjoy traditional Nubian cuisine in a peaceful setting overlooking the deep blue waters of the Nile and the surrounding scenery.

This evening, enjoy browsing and bargaining at Aswan Market, a central feature of the city. Colorful Egyptian and African goods are on display, including souvenirs, spices, handicrafts, and clothing. 

Tonight and tomorrow night relax and restore at a beautiful, five-star luxury hotel on the banks of the river Nile. This stylish property boasts Moorish arches, plush Persian carpets, hand-carved furnishings and a notable guest list of famous names. Two such inspired guests—Winston Churchill and Agatha Christie—have suites named for them here.
Overnight: Sofitel Legend Cataract Aswan (B,L)

Day 9: Aswan
After breakfast at the hotel, head directly across the Nile to Elephantine Island, which was an important trading center. Today, it is the only ongoing excavation site that is open to tourists. Feel like an archaeologist surveying a site for treasures. This is the oldest inhabited part of Aswan and provides an escape from the modern city with layers of ruins and a small museum. 

The remainder of the day is at leisure to take advantage of the extensive amenities at the Cataract, including an infinity pool and full-service spa (additional fees apply), or for further exploration of Aswan on your own.

Tonight enjoy a farewell reception with your fellow travelers and celebrate this memorable, whirlwind Egypt adventure. 
Overnight: Sofitel Legend Cataract Aswan (B,L,R)

Day 10: Aswan | Flight to Cairo 
This morning is free to enjoy at leisure before flying to Cairo to begin the return journey home. A room is available until departure. 
Day Room: Le Meridien Cairo Airport (B)

Day 11: Cairo | Depart for U.S.
Use the skybridge conveniently connecting the hotel to Terminal 3 of Cairo International Airport for flights home. (B)

(B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, R = Reception)

(Itinerary subject to change.)

Activity Level

Moderate

Activities are generally not very strenuous, but there is a considerable amount of walking—on uneven surfaces such as gravel, sand, and stone—climbing stairways, and standing for long periods of time. Guests should be able to walk more than a mile over uneven surfaces to be able to fully enjoy this program. Due to the nature of some structures, handrails may not be present, and facilities for people with disabilities are limited. Participation in itinerary activities is up to the individual.

Accommodations

Marriott Mena House – Cairo

While touring bustling Cairo, spend leisure time and evenings amidst the luxurious and modern comforts of Marriott Mena House, located just 45 minutes outside of the city. The property offers glorious panoramic views of the pyramids, 40 acres of lavish gardens, four restaurants and lounges, a heated outdoor pool, a health club, and a full-service spa (additional fees for services).

Originally built as a hunting lodge in 1869, Mena House served as a private residence until 1886, when it was opened to the public as a hotel. It has hosted a variety of visitors, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra, and Charlie Chaplin.

Room Amenities: Individual climate control, sofa and chair, cable/satellite LCD TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, phone, alarm clock, mini-fridge, safe, complimentary bottled water, coffee maker, bathrobes and slippers, and en suite marble bathroom with sundries and hair dryer.

Sofitel Winter Palace Luxor

Perched peacefully on the bank of the Nile River, Winter Palace's five-star accommodations provide an alluring atmosphere for a regal respite. Once the winter residence of King Farouk, this property also housed 19th-century explorers in search of Egyptian antiquities and artifacts.

During leisure time, take a dip in the welcoming pool or roam the manicured gardens while reflecting on your time in Egypt.

Room Amenities: Individual climate control, plasma screen TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, minibar, complimentary mineral water, safe, and en suite bathroom with sundries and hair dryer.

Your Vessel on the Nile: Dahabiya

With a capacity of just 14 guests per boat, our 155-foot dahabiyas are designed to provide the ultimate in comfort and adventure while sailing the Nile River. Each stateroom provides spacious, fully air-conditioned accommodations with en suite facilities. 

Guests can savor healthy, fresh, and delicious international and Egyptian cuisine at every meal. Enjoy the large sun deck, dining and lounge areas, and the services of an enthusiastic crew who are committed to your comfort. 

Stateroom Categories

Standard: Features one king or two twin beds, view window, and private en suite bathroom. (Approx. 205 sq.ft.)
Suite: Features one king bed, view window, private balcony, and private en suite bathroom. (Approx. 250 sq.ft.)

Stateroom Amenities: Individual climate control, complimentary minibar, safe, and en suite bathroom with sundries and hair dryer.

Sofitel Legend Cataract – Aswan

Step back to the time of the pharaohs, surrounded by grandeur and opulence of this five-star property—with the Nubian Desert and Elephantine Island within your sights. Walk the ravishing grounds, and feel a part of royalty that once frequented the hotel, where King Fouad once entertained Agatha Christie.

During free time, perhaps take a pleasant stroll to Aswan's city center or relax poolside with a hibiscus tea. A fully equipped gym awaits those guests seeking to energize with a workout, and a full-service spa is available for blissful indulgence (additional fees apply).

Dine at one of the hotel's four restaurants, each providing gourmet fare, featuring French, Mediterranean or regional cuisine.

Room Amenities: Individual climate control, Nile River views, Sofitel My Bed, writing desk, LCD TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, minibar, complimentary mineral water, coffee maker, safe, and en suite marble bathroom with sundries and hair dryer.

Le Méridien Cairo Airport

This fully soundproofed luxury hotel is conveniently linked to Terminal 3 of Cairo International Airport by a pedestrian bridge. The property features an impressive sports bar, three restaurants (serving Chinese, Lebanese or Mediterranean cuisine), a fitness center, and a heated outdoor pool.

Room Amenities: Individual climate control, floor-to-ceiling soundproofed windows, writing desk, cable/satellite LED TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, minibar, bathrobes and slippers, coffee maker, safe, iron and ironing board, and en suite bathroom with premium sundries and hair dryer.

Deluxe Accommodations Package (availability limited)
While all accommodations at the listed properties are exceptional, guests wishing the ultimate indulgence may choose to purchase the Deluxe Accommodations Package, which includes the following upgrades:

• Marriott Mena House: Upgrade to Pyramid View Room—a room with views of the pyramids.
• Sofitel Winter Palace Luxor: Upgrade to Luxury Garden View Room—a larger room with additional seating and garden views.
• Sofitel Legend Cataract: Upgrade to Luxury Nile View Room—a larger room with separate spacious seating area and panoramic views of the Nile River.

(Accommodations subject to change.)

Optional Pre-Tour

Jordan


Step back in time to the ancient world of the Middle East, where overwhelming historic architecture towers over the present day. Embrace the endless layers of spiritual and religious icons dotting this Holy Land.

Itinerary

Day +1: En Route from U.S

Day +2: Arrive in Amman, Jordan
A sprawling city spread over 19 hills, Amman is the modern—as well as the ancient—capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Known as Rabbath-Ammon during the Iron Age and later as Philadelphia, the city was once part of the Decapolis League (10 cities in eastern Palestine that were formed after the Roman conquest of Palestine in 63 B.C.). The city now boasts a population of around 4 million people. 

Transfer to your centrally located hotel and enjoy the remainder of the evening at leisure to refresh and relax.
Overnight: InterContinental Amman Hotel 

Day +3: Amman | Jerash 
This morning, travel to Jerash, the city of 1,000 Pillars. Buried beneath sand for centuries and excavated during the past 70 years, the ruins of Jerash reveal urban development from an ancient time, such as paved streets, public plazas, temples, and fountains. Admire its Triple Arched Gate, the enormous Hippodrome, the Roman Amphitheatre, and the only Roman Forum surrounded by 63 jonick columns.

Return to Amman for lunch, then ascend to the Citadel for a spectacular view of the old city, including the 6,000-seat, 2nd-century Roman theatre. 
Overnight: InterContinental Amman Hotel (B,L,D)

Day +4: Amman | Madaba | Mount Nebo | Petra
After breakfast, explore the region's history at the Jordan Museum. Then, continue to the prosperous ecclesiastical center of Madaba, where some of the world's finest Byzantine mosaics were produced between the 4th and 7th centuries. Several church floor mosaics can be seen in their original locations, including Madaba's real masterpiece inside the Orthodox Church of Saint George. It features a 6th-century A.D. map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, which is the earliest religious map of that area to survive from antiquity. 

Afterward, travel to Mount Nebo, which overlooks the Dead Sea, Jordan's River Valley, Jericho, and the distant hills of Jerusalem. A small church was built on Mount Nebo in the 4th century to commemorate the end of Moses' life. The church was subsequently expanded in the 5th and 6th centuries into the present-day large basilica with its stunning collection of Byzantine mosaics.
Overnight: Mövenpick Resort Petra (B,L,D)

Day +5: Petra 
Spend the day inside the ancient city of Petra, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 and considered Jordan's most valuable treasure and greatest tourist attraction. A major caravan city for merchants during the Hellenistic and Roman times, Petra is impressively carved from the surrounding red rock cliffs and is the site of on-going archaeological excavation missions.
Overnight: Mövenpick Resort Petra (B,L,D)

Day +6: Petra | Transfer to Amman | Flight to Cairo
After breakfast, drive to Amman to board the included flight to Cairo to join fellow travelers on the main program. (B,L)

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

Pre-tour pace is limited. We recommend reserving early for best availability.

(Itinerary subject to change.)

Activity Level

Moderate

Activities are generally not very strenuous, but there is a considerable amount of walking—on uneven surfaces such as gravel, sand, and stone—climbing stairways, and standing for long periods of time. Guests should be able to walk miles over uneven surfaces to be able to fully enjoy this program. Due to the nature of some structures, handrails may not be present, and facilities for people with disabilities are limited. Participation in itinerary activities is up to the individual.

Accommodations

InterContinental Amman Hotel

Situated at the top of one of Amman's seven hills, this five-star property provides modern amenities with a Middle Eastern touch. Bright, elegantly appointed rooms feature colorful décor and vibrant furnishings. 

Room Amenities: Individual climate control, writing desk, cable TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, safe, and en suite bathroom with sundries and hair dryer.

Mövenpick Resort Petra

Conveniently located at the entrance to the city of Petra—one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world—Mövenpick Resort's five-star comforts welcome travelers with luxurious flair. During free time, unwind in the sauna or take in the unparalleled views from the rooftop terrace. 

Room Amenities: Individual climate control, writing desk, HDTV, phone, complimentary Wi-Fi, complimentary minibar, coffee and tea maker, safe, bathrobes and slippers, and en suite bathroom with sundries and hair dryer.

(Accommodations subject to change.)

What's Included

  • 4 nights luxury accommodations
  • 4 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 3 dinners
  • Admission to all sites listed in the 6-day itinerary
  • Touring by an English-speaking guide
  • Internal airfare from Amman to Cairo
  • All gratuities and porterage
  • Airport transfers for guests arriving during the suggested times

Optional Post-Tour

Abu Simbel


Widen the "wow" of your Egypt experience with this opportunity to discover more of the land's rich past and compelling present with a visit to Abu Simbel and additional time in Aswan. Tour the magnificent temples of Ramses II and his queen Nefertari at Abu Simbel—widely regarded as a must see for their awe-inspiring colossal beauty and illustration of engineering might. Built in the 13th century B.C., the imposing 65-foot tall figures of Ramses II flank the entrance to his temple. Explore the series of halls and rooms of the interior depicting vibrant hieroglyphics and history. In Aswan, learn how an international UNESCO team banded together in the 1960s to painstakingly dismantle and relocate the complex piece-by-piece to preserve it from being flooded by the Aswan High Dam.  

Itinerary

Day 10: Aswan | Flight to Abu Simbel | Flight to Aswan
Begin with an early morning departure to the airport for a brief, 45-minute flight to Abu Simbel.

Today, on the west bank of Lake Nasser, tour another World Heritage Site—an outstanding archaeological area containing two impressive rock temples guarded by statues of Ramses II and his wife Nefertari in Abu Simbel. Originally carved into a mountainside between 1264-1244 B.C., the temples were moved stone by stone to their current location in 1968 to prevent being flooded and submerged by Lake Nasser. Learn how restoration crews transported over a thousand pieces, some weighing as much as 30 tons, and raised them over 200 feet to reassemble on an artificial hill. Step back in time exploring the paths and rooms of the temples and admiring well-preserved murals depicting military victories, personal life, and portrayals of ancient Egyptian gods.  

Afterwards, return to the airport for the flight back to Aswan and a boxed lunch. The rest of the day is at leisure for discovering Aswan independently or enjoying the premier accommodations' amenities, including a luxurious spa, adult-only indoor pool, Jacuzzi, well-equipped gym, and cozy library. 
Overnight: Sofitel Legend Cataract Aswan (L)

Day 11: Aswan
Enjoy breakfast and a full day at leisure. Take additional time to indulge at the Cataract, or perhaps venture out to explore the Nubian Museum and learn more about this fascinating ancient civilization.
Overnight: Sofitel Legend Cataract Aswan (B)

Day 12: Aswan | Flight to Cairo
The morning is yours for savoring breakfast and spending as you wish before flying to Cairo to begin the journey home. A room is available for your comfort and convenience until departure. 
Overnight: Le Meridien Cairo Airport (B)

Day 13: Cairo | Depart for U.S.
Flights to the U.S. depart this morning. 

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch

Post-tour space is limited. We recommend reserving early for best availability.

(Itinerary subject to change.)

Activity Level

Moderate

Activities are generally not very strenuous, but there is a considerable amount of walking—on uneven surfaces such as gravel, sand, and stone—climbing stairways, and standing for long periods of time. Guests should be able to walk miles over uneven surfaces to be able to fully enjoy this program. Due to the nature of some structures, handrails may not be present, and facilities for people with disabilities are limited. Participation in itinerary activities is up to the individual.

Accommodations

Sofitel Legend Cataract – Aswan

Step back to the time of the pharaohs, surrounded by grandeur and opulence of this five-star property—with the Nubian Desert and Elephantine Island within your sights. Walk the ravishing grounds, and feel a part of royalty that once frequented the hotel, where King Fouad once entertained Agatha Christie.

During free time, perhaps take a pleasant stroll to Aswan's city center or relax poolside with a hibiscus tea. A fully equipped gym awaits those guests seeking to energize with a workout, and a full-service spa is available for blissful indulgence (additional fees apply).

Dine at one of the hotel's four restaurants, each providing gourmet fare, featuring French, Mediterranean or regional cuisine.

Room Amenities: Individual climate control, Nile River views, Sofitel My Bed, writing desk, LCD TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, minibar, complimentary mineral water, coffee maker, safe, and en suite marble bathroom with sundries and hair dryer.

Le Méridien Cairo Airport

This fully soundproofed luxury hotel is conveniently linked to Terminal 3 of Cairo International Airport by a pedestrian bridge. The property features an impressive sports bar, three restaurants (serving Chinese, Lebanese or Mediterranean cuisine), a fitness center, and a heated outdoor pool.

Room Amenities: Individual climate control, floor-to-ceiling soundproofed windows, writing desk, cable/satellite LED TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, minibar, bathrobes and slippers, coffee maker, safe, iron and ironing board, and en suite bathroom with premium sundries and hair dryer.

(Accommodations subject to change.)

What's Included

  • Round-trip internal airfare between Aswan and Abu Simbel
  • Internal airfare from Aswan to Cairo
  • 2 nights luxury accommodations plus a day room on departure day
  • 2 breakfasts and 1 lunch
  • Admission to all sites listed in the 4-day itinerary
  • Touring by an English-speaking guide
  • All gratuities and porterage
  • Airport transfers for guests departing during the suggested times

Terms and Conditions