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Treasures of Egypt and 5-Star Nile Cruise

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12 days From $4,695 per person
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The River Nile guides the course to great temples and ancient treasures on this five-star Egyptian expedition.

Travel among a group of like-minded travelers led by a professional tour manager

2024 Tour code: EYJ24

About the tour

Evocative visions of prehistoric pyramids and grand temples come to mind when thinking of Egypt, and they are precisely what lies ahead on this 12-day journey through time. While traveling by rail and cruising along the iconic River Nile, discover the secrets of pharaohs and archeological wonders. Our explorations cover centuries of history, beginning thousands of years ago when the Giza Pyramids were built and extending through the Greek and Roman times, World War II, and even the modern age.

Your grand Egyptian expedition is led by an expert Egyptologist who helps you dig deeper at each site and appreciate it not only for its beauty but also for its visceral impact. Spend time exploring catacombs, temples, museums, and iconic locations, including the Library of Alexandria, the Giza Pyramids, and the Great Sphinx. Enjoy VIP Class train accommodations, five-star hotel stays on land, and a private cabin on the luxurious MS Steigenberger Minerva during your four-night Nile Cruise. Combining these elements, delicious local meals, and unforgettable excursions make your journey as comfortable as it is enlightening.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive in Cairo

Our journey through Egypt begins as you arrive in the nation's sprawling capital - a city whose visible history predates almost everywhere else on Earth - Cairo. Transfer to our five-star Sheraton hotel located aside the River Nile on your own, and meet your group and Tour Manager. Enjoy your first dinner together at the hotel. The evening also includes an introduction to our tour guide for this incredible adventure through Egypt's past, an Egyptologist whose knowledge will only enhance each site along the way. Overnight Cairo.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 - Alexandria

Rise early for breakfast, as a full day of incredible sights lies ahead. We begin our day traveling by train in VIP Class from Cairo to Alexandria, a port city on the Mediterranean founded in 332 B.C. With our guide leading the way, we dive into Alexandria's history one wondrous site at a time. Visit the catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa and the remains of Alexandria's Lighthouse, a Wonder of the Ancient World. We continue to the Roman Theater and the impressive monolith, Pompey's Pillar, before having lunch overlooking the harbor at the city's famous fish market. We wrap up our sightseeing at the Library of Alexandria, a gorgeous modern structure that plays homage to the ancient library of the same name. The original building was constructed between 246 B.C. and 222 B.C. and once housed over half a million texts and scrolls created by ancient civilizations. Today's library is beloved not only for its incredible design but also for its priceless collection of Classical literature. Overnight Alexandria.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 3 - El Alamein Battlefield

We leave Alexandria by coach this morning, bound for the great city of Cairo once more. Our route is not direct; instead, it uncovers unique sites throughout northern Egypt. First, we visit El Alamein Battlefield, the site of one of World War II's most significant Allied victories. Look upon its monuments and cemeteries before we head inland, leaving the north coast behind as we make our way into the desert to Wadi El-Natrun. This village is set in a depression about 75 feet below sea level and played a significant role in ancient Egypt, thanks to the surrounding valley's twelve salty lakes. The nitrate within them was essential to the mummification process and, therefore, a prime commodity. Later, the village became a sanctuary for Christians fleeing Roman persecution, and a monastic order was formed. You will see the four remaining monasteries as we tour. As the Pyramids of Giza come into view, we arrive in West Cairo, our home for the next two nights. Overnight Cairo.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 4 - Great Pyramids and the Sphinx

A full day of touring introduces us to Cairo's most extraordinary attractions, including, of course, the Pyramids. The oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Pyramids of Giza, are now synonymous with Egypt. The Great Pyramid is the largest and was built as a resting place for the pharaoh Khufu. Our Egyptologist guide shares insight about the structure, ancient Egyptians, and more as we get an up-close look at the otherworldly tomb. You will likewise have a chance to see and learn about the Great Sphinx, one of the largest and oldest statues in the world, which stands next to the pyramids it was built to guard.

Our tour also includes a visit to the new Great Egyptian Museum. This highly anticipated institution will open in 2023 and become the largest archeological museum globally. Amongst its exhibits are over 100,000 artifacts from the ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman periods, as well as the entirety of King Tut's treasure. Overnight Cairo.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 5 - Luxor

A morning transfer sees us to Cairo's train station to board the southbound train to Luxor, once named Thebes. This destination in the south of Upper Egypt was called the "Hundred-gated Thebes" by Homer in the Iliad. It is now known as one of the world's greatest open-air museums, with majestic temples and ruins punctuating its landscape. Settle into your plush leather VIP Class seat and watch a presentation of lush Nile scenery as the train weaves south along the river. A packed lunch is provided, and eating it while looking over date palm trees is a treat. We arrive in Luxor in the early evening and transfer to our five-star hotel overlooking the Nile. Our accommodations are in a secluded and peaceful location within the city; however, shops, restaurants, and ancient artifacts are just a short taxi ride away, should you wish to explore on arrival. Overnight Luxor.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 6 - The Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens

After eating breakfast at our hotel, we are transferred to the banks of the Nile to board our luxurious cruise ship, the MS Steigenberger Minerva. Take your time finding your cabin for the four-night cruise and scoping out the ship's amenities. Your first meal aboard the ship is served this afternoon, and then we alight to visit the famous sites on the West Bank of the Nile. Our excursion begins as we enter the Valley of the Kings, a barren valley in the western hills where most of the pharaohs from the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties were buried. The Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut on the cusp of the Valley of Queens is also highlighted during our explorations. This temple is dedicated to the longest-ruling female pharaoh of ancient times and is a true masterpiece of the 18th Dynasty architecture. We return to our ship following the guided tour for a delicious dinner and a night of cruising. Overnight ship.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - The Temples of the Nile’s East Bank

Gaze upon breathtaking Nile scenery as we begin sailing toward Edfu today, making stops that unfurl even more of Egypt's tale. First, we visit the ancient Karnak Temple Complex, built over 1,000 years between the 12th and 20th dynasties. One of Egypt's most sacred sites, this complex is home to the largest religious site ever built, the Temple of Amun-Ra. Near this 2,000-year-old site, the Luxor Temple is another ancient site we explore. Its location near the modern city of Luxor makes it an easily accessible place of worship. Return to the ship for an afternoon and evening cruise, a delicious dinner, and all of Egypt's timeless scenery. Overnight Ship.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 - Edfu/Kom Ombo Temple

Breakfast is served onboard this morning as we near our first port of call, Edfu. This beautiful town in Upper Egypt was once a thriving Greek metropolis and continues to attract visitors for a variety of reasons, including its impressive Temple of Edfu. Also called the Temple of Horus, this structure is one of the best-preserved temples in Egypt and honors the falcon-headed God. Our expert guide shows us the Greek influences in this traditional Egyptian building and offers interesting facts about its importance. We return to the ship for lunch, and then we are off to the Kom Ombo Temple, a structure built by men on elephants between 180 B.C. and 47 A.D. It is one of a kind in that it is an entirely symmetrical double temple. Learn about the gods it honors - Soken and Horus the Elder - and its history while visiting. Overnight ship.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9 - Aswan/Kitchener Island Cruise

Awake with changing scenery passing by as the ship continues toward Aswan. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and time to overlook the riverbanks from the ship's decks as we continue our approach. Upon docking, we set out for a tour featuring the impressive High Dam and the fascinating Philae Temple, a touchstone of the cult of the goddess Isis, which had to be painstakingly moved and reconstructed on Aglika Island following the High Dam's construction. We also visit the Unfinished Obelisk, whose site was abandoned because of fissures and imperfections in the stone yet was set to become the tallest Obelisk in Egypt at its time.

Enjoy a leisurely lunch aboard the ship before setting out for our next adventure aboard a traditional wooden sailboat called a felucca. Our voyage sees us to Kitchener Island, also called El Nabatat Island, a gift to Lord Horatio Kitchener. The island is home to Aswan Botanical Garden, where exotic flora and colorful birds thrive. We view its wild beauty from the water before returning to the MS Steigenberger Minerva for our final dinner aboard. Overnight ship.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10 - Abu Simbel

With a breakfast box in hand, we disembark our opulent cruise ship this morning and continue our journey by air. A short flight takes us to Abu Simbel near the Sudan border, and here, we are introduced to its awe-inspiring twin temples on a coach tour. The two temples were carved into the mountainside in the 13th century B.C., with the larger of the two dedicated to Pharaoh Ramesses II and the second, smaller temple honoring his wife, Queen Nefertari. We return to the airport following our visit to return to Cairo. Delight in a leisurely evening to continue sightseeing in the city or relax at your hotel. Overnight Cairo.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 11 - Cairo Sightseeing Tour

A final day of sightseeing gives you a peek at the culture and history within this buzzing capital city. We first explore the Coptic Museum, which contains the world's most extensive collection of Coptic Christian artifacts. Over 16,000 pieces of art and 6,000 scrolls are here, tracing Egyptian culture from the 2nd century forward. From here, we continue to the Coptic Hanging Church, also called the Suspended Church, built on the southern gate of Cairo's Roman fortress. This church is one of the oldest Christian sites in Egypt and is stunning in its designs. The tour's final stop is a sacred spot that, according to legend, is where baby Moses was found: Ben Ezra Synagogue. It was built over 1,000 years ago and has been the source of extensive restoration efforts to preserve its age-old beauty. Tonight, we visit the home of a local family for a traditional Egyptian dinner. Overnight Cairo.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 12 - Tour Conclusion

With treasured memories of towering pyramids built thousands of years ago, temples dedicated to Pharaohs and gods, and the unimaginable Egyptian heritage found along the banks of the River Nile, your tour concludes today. After a leisurely morning at the hotel, transfer on your own to Cairo's airport for your flight home.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Sheraton Cairo Hotel & Casino, Cairo

Sheraton Cairo Hotel & Casino, Cairo

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Crowne Plaza, West Cairo Arkan

Crowne Plaza, West Cairo Arkan

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Helnan Royal Hotel, Alexandria

Helnan Royal Hotel, Alexandria

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Sonesta St George Hotel, Luxor

Sonesta St George Hotel, Luxor

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Ship

MS Steigenberger Minerva