Arrive Cairo, Egypt
Arrive at Cairo International Airport, where an A&K representative is on hand to greet you and escort you to your hotel. The Fairmont Nile City Hotel is located on the banks of the Nile River, just 30 minutes from the Great Sphinx and the Great Pyramid with panoramic views of the Nile.
Cairo | Sakkara, the Pyramids & the Great Sphinx
Immerse yourself in the world of the pharaohs today, beginning with a visit to Sakkara, site of the earliest surviving monuments to ancient Egypt’s god-kings. Sakkara features numerous step-pyramids, including the famous pyramid of King Zoser, the world’s oldest freestanding structure. Continue to the pyramids of Giza, perhaps the most iconic monuments in the world, built some 4,500 years ago as tombs for the pharaohs Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure. Nearby sits the enigmatic Great Sphinx, with the body of a lion and the face of a man wearing a royal head cloth. About a thousand years after the Sphinx was built, it was buried in sand until a young prince had a dream in which the Sphinx told him he would become pharaoh if he uncovered the monument. This story is inscribed on the "Dream Stela" that was placed between the Sphinx's paws by King Tuthmose IV.
Aswan | Embark on Your Nile Cruise
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Aswan, where you step aboard your luxury Nile River cruiser, Sanctuary ‘Sun Boat IV.’ Designed in vintage Art Deco style, ‘Sun Boat IV’ offers fully air-conditioned cabins with floor-to-ceiling windows, along with an elegant dining room with delightful views of the passing scenery. Enjoy lunch on board, and in the afternoon, take a short motorboat ride to visit the Granite Quarries, which supplied the ancient Egyptians with most of the hard stone used in pyramids and temples; view the Unfinished Obelisk, a partially carved segment of stone abandoned when it cracked. Return to the boat for afternoon tea and a gourmet dinner.
Cruising the Nile | Philae Temple & Kom Ombo
Take a short motorboat ride to visit the romantic and majestic Philae Temple on the Island of Agilika. This sacred complex was dedicated to the Goddess Isis and reflects a fusion of three great civilizations — Egyptian, Greek and Roman. The temple was dismantled, and then painstakingly reassembled when the Aswan High Dam was constructed. Enjoy an Egyptian cooking lesson on board, followed by lunch. Arrive at Kom Ombo in the afternoon and visit its magnificent temple, dedicated to the crocodile-god Sobek. Afternoon tea is served while you cruise to Edfu, followed by a chance to explore the Temple of Horus at Edfu. Tonight's dinner on board is an "Egyptian Night" costume party. Savor a lavish buffet of Egyptian specialties, followed by music and dancing for everyone.
Cruising the Nile | Luxor & Karnak
Disembark this morning for a visit to the Temple of Luxor. Behold the three large statues of Ramses II along the front of the temple pylons; the Courtyard of Ramses II behind the East Tower; and the Colonnade of Amenhotep III, with its 14 papyrus-headed columns, some fully 50 feet in height. Continue to the Temple of Karnak, the largest religious complex in the world, where generations of pharaohs wished to record their names. Walk through the Great Hypostyle Hall; its expertly aligned columns, the largest of which is 80 feet high with a 33-foot circumference, are a sight to behold. After lunch, visit the Valley of the Kings, legendary burial ground of the pharaohs and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For a period of 500 years beginning in the 16th century BC, tombs were built along this valley for pharaohs and nobles, including that of the “boy king,” Tutankhamun. Later, stop at the lovely Temple of Hatshepsut, ancient Egypt’s first female pharaoh and regarded today as one of its most successful. On the way back to the Nile, pass by the famed Colossi of Memnon, known in Ancient Greek times for their haunting voices at dawn. Tonight's farewell dinner on board is a gala affair with white-gloved waiters serving gourmet cuisine.
Cairo | City of Kings
Return to Cairo this morning and check in to your luxury hotel. The remainder of today is at leisure to explore Cairo as you choose.
Cairo | Treasures of the Pharaohs
This morning, visit the Egyptian Museum to view its unrivaled collection of Ancient Egyptian artifacts, chief among them the treasures from the tomb of Tutankhamun — his funeral mask is one of the most iconic images of all time. Continue to the Citadel, a medieval fortress built by Salah el-Din (Saladin) in 1176 to protect the city from Crusaders. The Citadel has always had a military use, and was expanded over the centuries by Egypt's rulers who often resided there. Today, the Citadel complex has mosques and museums, including the National Military Museum. Visit the Mosque of Sultan Hassan, with its grand, soaring architecture and rich decoration, and the nearby Refaie Mosque, completed in 1912 with well-preserved, colorful decoration. Finish your day at the Khan El-Khalili Bazaar, reputed to be the largest bazaar in the Middle East. Originally founded as a watering stop for caravanseray in the 14th century, the bazaar has grown to vast proportions. Wander through the labyrinth of narrow streets to find workshops and stalls selling all manner of things from woodwork, glassware and leather goods to perfumes, fabrics and curiosities. Celebrate the end of your journey with lunch on board a vintage paddleboat moored on the Nile banks.
Transfer to the airport for your return flight.
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