Day 1: Cairo
Welcome to Egypt. Arrive at Cairo International Airport, where you are welcomed and assisted with passport and customs formalities. Then, you are transferred to your hotel where the remainder of the evening is at leisure. Ritz Carlton or St. Regis Hotel
Day 2: Cairo
After breakfast, join you guide to begin your discovery of the magnificent Pyramids of Giza. Few things conjure up the long and intriguing history of Egypt as powerfully as these ancient structures. Rising from the desert, Khufu (Cheops), Khafra and Menkaura symbolize the enigmatic tug of Egypt in our imaginings. The Great Pyramid of Cheops immortalizes the son of Sneferu and Hetepheres. Though little is known of this pharaoh, his monument is the largest of the three, comprised of 2.3 million stone blocks, each weighing an average of 2.5 tons.
You enter the great pyramid to visit the chamber of the king. The Great Pyramid of Giza (also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops) is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Pyramid Complex bordering what is now El Giza. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact. It holds three known chambers inside with the lowest chamber cut into the bedrock upon which the pyramid was built and was unfinished. The so-called Queen’s Chamber and King’s Chamber are higher up within the pyramid structure.
Visit the colossal statue of the Great Sphinx, which has stood guard over the pyramids for more than 4,500 years. Carved from an outcrop of rock, the Sphinx remains the ultimate symbol of Ancient Egypt with its lion’s body and human head. The history and the lifestyle of ancient Egyptian pharaohs come alive before our eyes through the skilled narrations of our specialist guide. Enjoy lunch at 9 Pyramids Restaurant.
Next, take in the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), currently one of the largest museum development projects in the world due to open in late 2021. Given the global interest in the pharaonic history, Egypt and, in particular, the residents of Cairo are eagerly anticipating the opening of this new cultural destination. In February 2002, the foundation stone of the Grand Egyptian Museum was laid which was designed to encompass an area of 470.974 m2 and divided into main Museum and Conference Center Building with area 133.282 m2. Four Seasons Nile Plaza (B)
Day 3: Cairo / Luxor / Nile River Cruise
This morning. Fly to Luxor to check in for your cruise aboard the Oberoi Philae Nile cruise ship. Today you visit the East Bank’s Karnak temples and Luxor Temple. The temple of Luxor is close to the Nile and parallel with the riverbank. King Amenhotep III, who reigned during 1390-53 BC, built this beautiful temple and dedicated it to Amon-Re, king of the gods, his consort Mut, and their son Khons. This temple has been in almost continuous use as a place of worship right up to the present day. It was completed by Tutankhamun and Horemheb and added to by Ramses II. Towards the rear is a granite shrine dedicated to Alexander the Great.
The temple of Karnak is the largest temple in the world! The complex contains a group of temples such as the Great Temple of Amon Ra, Temple of Khonso, Ipt Temple, Temple of Ptah, Temple of Montho and Temple of the God Osiris. A 20-meter/66 feet high mud brick enclosure wall surrounded these buildings. This great temple of Amon Ra was known during the Middle Kingdom period as Ipt-Swt, which means the Selected Spot. It was also called Pr-Imn, or the House of Amon. The name Al-Karnak in Arabic was derived from Karnak, meaning fortified village. Dock tonight in Luxor. Oberoi Philae Nile Cruiser (B,L,D)
Day 4: Nile River Cruise
After breakfast, you discover the West Bank that includes the Valley of the Kings, the Colossi of Memnon, Medinet Habu and Dier El Madina. The Valley of the Kings consists of the East Valley, home to most of the tombs of the New Kingdom pharaohs, and the West Valley, which has only one tomb, the tomb of Ay, open to the public. Ay succeeded Tutankhamun to the Egyptian throne. You also visit King Tut’s tomb and the tomb of Ramsuess 6th. The Colossi of Memnon are two huge ruined statues, around 17 meters/56 feet high, once stood at the entrance gate of the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III, though very little of the temple behind them remains today. They were cut from two massive granite blocks brought from quarries near Cairo and carved to represent the pharaoh Amenhotep III of Dynasty XVIII.
Madint Habu is the name commonly given to the Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III, an important New Kingdom period structure in the location of the same name on the West Bank of Luxor. Aside from its intrinsic size, architectural and artistic importance, the temple is probably best known as the source of inscribed reliefs depicting the advent and defeat of the Sea Peoples during the reign of Ramesses III.
Deir el-Medina is an ancient Egyptian village, once home to the artisans who worked on the tombs in the Valley of the Kings during the 18th to 20th dynasties of the New Kingdom period (ca. 1550–1080 BC). The settlement’s ancient name was Set Maat”(translated as The Place of Truth), and the workmen who lived there were called “Servants in the Place of Truth”. During the Christian era, the temple of Hathor was converted into a church from which the Arabic name Deir el-Medina (“the monastery of the town”) is derived. Sail on to Esna for overnight. Oberoi Philae Nile Cruiser (B,L,D)
Day 5: Nile River Cruise
Enjoy breakfast on board as you sail to Edfu to visit Horus Temple, the site also known as Wetjeset-hor (classical name Apollinopolis Magna). This is where the god Horus was worshipped and site of the battle between Horus and his traditional enemy Seth in ancient mythology. The temple of Horus is the most well-preserved and the only one known to have been completed. Built from sandstone blocks, the huge Ptolemaic temple was constructed atop the site of a smaller earlier temple, oriented east to west, towards the river. Sail to Kom Ombo to see the temple shared by two gods Sobek & Haeroris. The Temple of Kom Ombo stands on the east bank of the Nile, right next to the river, about four kilometers/ almost 2.5 miles from town. It was dedicated to two Gods, Horus and Sobek. It was mainly dedicated to the God Sobek, the crocodile God, together with his wife in the form of the Goddess Hathor. The temple is a Greco-Roman structure dating back to the year 119 BC, when Ptolemy VI, who started its construction, built it out of limestone. Spend the night docked in Kom Ombo. Oberoi Philae Nile Cruiser (B,L,D)
Day 6: Nile River Cruise
Continue sailing to Aswan, and along the way take in the High Dam and the Temple of Philae. The temple of Isis in Philae is one of the greatest Temples in Egypt and it occupies about a quarter of the island. It is the main temple on the island with huge, complete pylons and beautiful scenes. The temple is built in the same style as the temples of the New Kingdom with elements that appeared in the Greco-Roman period such as the Mamisi, the house of the divine birth of Horus, and a Nilometer. The temple was submerged after the first Aswan dam was built in 1906.
The High Dam of Aswan was one of the most important achievements of the in the last century in Egypt, and for many years was a symbol of the New Era of the Revolution of 1952. It provided Egypt with water and electricity and secured the country from the risk of the destructive inundation of the River Nile.
Explore the Nubian Museum, which was built to house quantities of material recovered from tombs, temples and settlements. UNESCO was encouraged in the 1980s to plan a new Nubian museum in Aswan where the objects could be stored and exhibited. It was universally felt at the time that they should be kept as close as possible to their principal places of origin. Nearly 12 years later, the museum became a reality and opened its doors in November 1997 and won the Agha-Khan Award of Architecture 2001. Oberoi Philae Nile Cruiser (B,L,D)
Day 7: Nile River Cruise / Abu Simbel / Cairo
Enjoy breakfast before taking a flight to Abu Simbel, where you begin your exploration with the temple of Ramses II and Queen Nefertari. The temples of Abu Simbel are among the most interesting pharaonic temples. Located close to the southern border with the Sudan, it is 280 kilometers/174 miles south of Aswan and consists of two, rock-cut temples, which both date back to the reign of King Ramses II (1290-1223 BC). Unfortunately, these unique temples suffered from the raising waters of Lake Nasser while the High Dam was being built. Fly back to Cairo and check in at your hotel. Four Seasons Nile Plaza (B)
Day 8: Cairo
After breakfast, meet your Egyptologist guide for a special tour at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC), which houses the greatest collection of pharaonic treasures in the world. Take in the highlights, including the famed Tutankhamen Collection of golden treasures that are part of the museum’s expansive collections.
Continue discovering cultural landmarks that span three millennium of Egyptian history, beginning with the Citadel with its commanding views of the city. Completed in 1183, the Citadel was surrounded by sturdy walls and towers to withstand attacks from Christian crusaders. Inside, see the lavishly decorated alabaster Mosque of Mohammed Ali. Next you travel into Coptic Cairo to visit the famous Suspended Church (Hanging Church), dating to the late 4th and early 5th centuries. This basilica was named “Al-Mu’allaqah” because it was built atop the south gate of the Fortress of Babylon. Then, see the Church of St. Sergius, a fifth century Coptic Church. This basilica is built over the cave in which the Holy Family stayed and is regarded by many as a source of blessing. Take in the recently restored Synagogue of Ben Ezra, which marks the place where Moses was saved by the water girl of the pharaoh. This is the oldest Jewish synagogue in Egypt built in 882 AC. Then stroll with your guide through the Khan El Khalili, a bustling warren of shops where you can bargain for rugs, copper and leather crafts, perfumes, and other goods both exotic and familiar. Return to your hotel. Four Seasons Nile Plaza (B)
Day 9: Cairo / Depart
Today you are transferred to Cairo international airport for your departure flight. (B)