Cairo, Egypt’s sprawling capital, is set on the Nile River. Famously associated with ancient Egypt, Cairo is a trove of antiquities including royal mummies and gilded King Tutankhamun artifacts. Nearby, Giza is the site of the iconic pyramids and Great Sphinx, dating to the 26th century BC.
Cairo has long been a centre of the region’s political and cultural life and is titled the “ctiy of a thousand minarets” for its prevalence of Islamic architecture. It is now the largest city in the Arab world by population and many international businesses and organizations have regional headquarters in the city.
- Enjoy a dinner on the Nile
- Explore the ancient ruins of Giza
- Travel downstream to the Temple of Abu Simbel
- Visit the tomb of Tutankhamun
- Witness a once-in-a-lifetime complete solar eclipse
DAY 1 – YOUR EGYPT ADVENTURE
Cairo & the Nile
In the heart of Cairo on the banks of the River Nile, the Hotel opens the door to discovering Egypt’s 5,000-year-old ancient mysteries. Just a short drive away, set out to explore the majestic pyramids, the 1,000-year old market, the 12th-century citadel and the ancient Egyptian museum. Later, experience Cairo’s breathtaking sunset from the Nile on a traditional felucca, dine at our nine acclaimed restaurants, relive the pharaoh’s beauty secrets at the Spa or simply take an art tour to see the collection of contemporary local artwork that fills the halls.
Cairo Giza Tour
Begin with the legendary city of Memphis, founded in 3,100 BC by Menes, the Pharaoh who united Upper and Lower Egypt. Next, move to Sakkara, a former necropolis and the place where the very first pyramids were built as tombs for kings.
Discover the famous Step Pyramid of King Zoser, the first pyramid ever built and the world’s oldest freestanding stone structure. The Great Pyramids of Giza are the only present-day survivors of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, built over 4,500 years ago as giant tombs for the mummies of the pharaohs Khufu, Khafre, and Menakaue, who were a father, son, and grandson.
Nearby sits the enigmatic Sphinx with the body of a lion and the face of a man wearing a royal head cloth, which workers may have based on King Khafre to guard his enormous funerary monument.
Luxor & the Valley of the Kings
Once an Ancient Egyptian capital, is known today as the world’s “greatest open-air museum.” From the tomb of Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings and the magnificent sunset views at the majestic temple complexes of Karnak and Luxor to the exciting and fun Nile cruises,
Luxor is the perfect choice for culture vultures. Luxor is divided by the Nile into two areas commonly called the East Bank and West Bank which were considered in Ancient Egyptian times as symbolizing respectively Life and Death.
DENDERA & ABYDOS
Your tour will take you to visit Dendera to see the Ptolemaic temple of the goddess Hathor, who enjoyed great devotion as the deity of maternal and family love, beauty and music, and whom the Greeks associated with Aphrodite. This wonderfully-preserved temple complex is almost intact, allowing a special glimpse of its former glory.
You will also visit the ancient city of Abydos, once a center for the cult of Osiris, lord of the netherworld, and also a burial place for pre-dynastic kings and pharaohs. Today all that remains of Abydos is the limestone Temple of Seti I, built for a 19th dynasty pharaoh. The temple has some of the best bas-reliefs in Egypt and is the site of the famed ‘Kings’ List,’ a list of 76 Egyptians rulers which helped Egyptologists figure out the order of Egyptian dynasties.
The Nile River
The Nile River is the longest in the world. During your cruise, you will see highlights in Aswan, Luxor, and everywhere in between.
Today is also the day of a magnificent wonder of nature – the complete solar eclipse. From the deck of the boat, you will witness this incredible astral phenomenon fall across breathtaking views of some of the world’s most ancient architectural relics.
Today check in and receive a warm welcome from the crew and enjoy lunch on board in the main restaurant. Enjoy your afternoon at leisure with tea in the lounge. Later this evening, a gourmet dinner will be prepared on board as you enjoy music in the lounge.
M.S. Mayfair Nile Cruise
Visit the Valley of the Kings where you have the chance to visit the tomb of King Tutankhamun. You will then visit a series of temples built by Pharaoh Ramses III and second only to Karnak Temple in size and complexity. The holy ground was believed to be the site where the Ogdoad, the eight primordial gods, were buried.
On the way back to the Nile River, pass by the famed Colossi of Memnon, known in Ancient Greek times for their haunting voices at dawn.
M.S. Mayfair Nile Cruise (cont’d)
This morning you will enjoy breakfast on board before visiting Edfu Temple and exploring the extraordinary Temple of Horus.
In the afternoon, visit the magnificent Temple of Kom Ombo, dedicated to the crocodile god: Sobek. The temple stands at a bend in the Nile where in ancient times, sacred crocodiles basked in the sun on the riverbank.
This evening, enjoy a gourmet dinner as well a an Egyptian Night costume party, with a chance to dress up in traditional Egyptian galabeyyas.
M.S. Mayfair Nile Cruise (cont’d)
Following breakfast on board, visit the High Dam, the Unfinished Obelisk and the Temple of Philae on the Island of Agilika. You will then return to the ship where lunch will be served. This afternoon take a traditional Felucca (sail boat) out on the Nile around Kitchener’s Island.
Aswan & Abu Simbel
This morning, visit the Temple of Abu Simbel built by the Great Ramses II. This temple is one of the most recognizable images in the country. Two temples, namely the Great Temple of Ra-Harakhte, fronted by the four colossal statues of Ramses II and the Temple of Hathor, dedicated to Ramses’ favorite wife Queen Nefertari. Both were moved to their current location when the creation of Lake Nasser threatened their existence.
Following your tour, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Cairo.
Tour 7,000 years of history at the Egyptian museum, which houses the largest collection of Egyptian art in the world. Key features of the museum include the treasures of the boy king Tutankhamun, including his gold mask, the solid gold sarcophagus that held his mummy, and his beautiful throne.
Next, explore the city’s numerous museums, mosques and the hilltop citadel complex.
Finally, visit the fascinating Khan El-Khalili Bazaar, reputed to be the largest bazaar in the Middle East. Originally founded as a watering stop for caravans in the 14th century, the bazaar has now grown to vast proportions. Wander through the labyrinth of narrow streets with your guide to find workshops and stalls selling all manner of things from woodwork and glassware to leather goods and perfumes.
Alexandria & the Catacombs of Kim El Shuqafa
The Catacombs of Kom El Shugafa are the largest Roman burial site discovered in Egypt to date, consisting of three tiers of tombs and chambers cut into the bedrock to a depth of about 115 feet (35 meters) and constructed in the 2nd century AD.
The only Roman amphitheater in Egypt was discovered quite recently, during the foundation digging for a new apartment building. The well-preserved theatre contains galleries, sections of mosaic-flooring, and marble seats for up to 800 spectators
Alexandria national museum was formerly the site of the United States Consulate and now comprises more than 1,800 archaeological pieces that narrate the Pharaonic, Greek, Roman, Coptic, Islamic and modern history of Egypt.
Today you will be transferred from the hotel to the airport for your international flight home.