Arrive Cairo, Egypt
Arrive in Cairo, capital of Egypt, where you are met by your A&K representative and transferred to your historic hotel with fantastic views of the pyramids.
Cairo | Ancient Treasures
This morning, join your expert A&K Egyptologist for an exploration of the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities (or the Grand Egyptian Museum, upon its opening), to view its huge collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts.
Giza | The Pyramids & the Sphinx
Today, roam the Giza Plateau, site of the pyramids of Mycerinus and Chefren as well as the Great Pyramid. Built in the Fourth Dynasty (approximately 2690 BC), it is the only survivor of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Revel in the opportunity to enter the interior of one of these legendary structures. Ride a camel across the sands of Giza, and then view the Great Sphinx backdropped by the pyramids, a setting that has captured the imaginations of adventurers for centuries.
Luxor | Luxor & the Valley of the Kings
Fly to Luxor, site of the ancient city of Thebes. Begin your full day of exploring here by visiting the striking Temple of Luxor. View the three large statues of Ramses II along the front of the temple pylons, the Courtyard of Ramses II and the Colonnade of Amenhotep III, with its 50-foot-high columns. Walk in the shadows they cast, as visitors have done since antiquity, and ponder the astonishing feats of engineering and artistry it took to create them. Then, step aboard ‘Sanctuary Sun Boat IV,’ an elegant river cruiser renowned for the warmth and attentiveness of its service staff. Enjoy lunch on board before disembarking to explore the west bank of the Nile and the Necropolis of Thebes and view the Colossi of Memnon. Next, arrive at the lovely Temple of Hatshepsut, ancient Egypt’s first female pharaoh and regarded today as one of its most successful. Continue to the Valley of the Kings, 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. Enter the tomb of Tutankhamun — found in 1922 by British archaeologist and Egyptologist Howard Carter — to discover for yourself the secrets of this storied chamber. Also, as a special treat, descend into the tomb of Seti I, the father of Ramses II, one of the best-preserved tombs in the Valley of the Kings.
Cruising the Nile | Luxor to Esna
Journey once more to the east bank of the Nile, this time visiting the Temple of Karnak, where generations of pharaohs wished to record their names. Walk through the Great Hypostyle Hall, strolling among its expertly aligned columns, which soar to 80 feet high. This afternoon, sail to Esna and visit the Temple of Khnum and marvel at its impressive art and hieroglyphs.
Cruising the Nile | Temple of Horus & Kom Ombo
Today, view the Temple of Horus, falcon-headed god of the sky. Built in 230 BC by Ptolemy III and once buried in sand and debris, this stunningly well-preserved and colorful structure reveals what temple worship in ancient Egypt was like. Back on board, learn to prepare local dishes on an authentic Chef’s Table experience — a cooking lesson with an on-board chef. Later, disembark at Kom Ombo (hill of gold) to visit the Greco-Roman temple dedicated to Haroeris (the sun god) and Sobek (the crocodile god), who was considered by some ancient Egyptians to be the creator of the world. While there, view the mummified remains of several crocodiles that once basked along the ancient Nile shore, just as their descendants do today.
Aswan | Majestic Philae
Cruise to Aswan and ride a motorized boat to 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 in the 1960s. Proceed to the impressive granite quarries and site of the Unfinished Obelisk. Illustrating the skills of Egypt’s stonemasons, this monolith is one-third taller than any other ancient Egyptian obelisk. Later, Ride Like a Local around the Aswan Islands in a felucca.
Abu Simbel | Temples of Ramses II & Nefertari
Today, bid farewell to ‘Sanctuary Sun Boat IV,’ disembarking to fly to Abu Simbel, and discover the commanding twin temples of Ramses II and his wife, Queen Nefertari. The former’s façade is dominated by four 70-foot-tall statues of the pharaoh. Perhaps even more impressive, this entire site was disassembled and moved here to save it from the floodwaters caused by the Aswan High Dam. Return to Cairo for an afternoon at leisure.
Cairo | Design your Day
Drive to Sakkara, site of hundreds of tombs and 14 pyramids, including the Step Pyramid of Djoser. After lunch, enjoy one of these Design Your Day activities:
Discover Coptic Cairo, visiting a church built where the Holy Family stayed, and ancient Ben Ezra Synagogue.
Tour Islamic Cairo, including a walk in El-Moez Street and the Khan el-Khalili Bazaar.
Relax Aboard a Felucca, viewing Cairo from a different perspective.
Return to your hotel for an evening at leisure.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and depart.