Vantage celebrates its 40th anniversary this year!
Prepare to embark on a luxury cruise fit for a pharaoh, featuring Vantage’s own all-suite, 5-star Nile cruise ship, the h/s Nebu. This is the most extravagant way to explore Egypt!
Over 15 days, you’ll unlock Egypt’s great mysteries. Marvel at Giza’s soaring pyramids, browse the treasures in the Egyptian Museum, and wander through the forest of columns at Karnak Temple. Spend seven nights cruising the lush Nile Valley, where sprawling temples venerate ancient gods and elaborate tombs reveal the secrets of pharaohs. You’ll even visit the colossal twin temples at Abu Simbel, which Ramses II had built for himself, and delve into another side of Egypt in Mediterranean-flavored Alexandria.
When you’re not being pampered by your luxurious accommodations, you’ll be welcomed by locals. See how carpets are woven at a local cooperative, meet shopkeepers as you browse bazaars, and even delight in an onboard belly dancing performance. In all, you’ll experience this nation’s heritage with 24 included features and Cultural Connections. Plus, with visits to four UNESCO World Heritage Sites, you won’t find a more comprehensive and engaging Egypt itinerary.
Start your adventure in the Middle East with a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Bethlehem, the ancient lands where the great stories of the Old and New Testaments unfolded. Explore an intricate tapestry of culture and history on this fascinating journey to some of the world’s most important religious sites. On this unforgettable five-day extension, you’ll uncover the complex, vibrant, and captivating history of one of the world's holiest places.
Fly overnight to Cairo, Egypt
Your journey begins with an overnight flight to Egypt, arriving in Cairo on Day 2. Or depart earlier for a fascinating pre-trip extension to Jerusalem & Bethlehem.
Arrive in Cairo and relax in splendor at your Deluxe Nile hotel
Welcome to Egypt! If you purchased your airfare with us, a Vantage representative will meet you at the airport and assist with transfers to your hotel. You’ll have time to settle in and relax before joining your fellow travelers for a Welcome Dinner at the hotel tonight.
View ancient artifacts at the Egyptian Museum
Your day will begin with breakfast and a Welcome Briefing at your hotel. Enjoy a morning at leisure and lunch at the hotel before heading out to explore Cairo’s Egyptian Museum. This is the oldest archaeological museum in the Middle East, and houses the largest collection of pharaonic antiquities in the world. The museum’s extensive collection spans from the Predynastic Period to the Greco-Roman Era. Following lunch at your hotel, you’ll head out for visit of this storied institution and its unrivaled collection, including the complete burials of Yuya and Thuya, and the Narmer Palette commemorating the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under one king. Later, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Behold the great monuments of the Giza Plateau and more
Your day begins with an exciting excursion to the Giza Plateau to see Egypt’s iconic Pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx. Constructed as tombs for the pharaohs Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure, each of these three structures was built by hand using finely tuned ancient techniques that remain a mystery today. At 455 feet tall, the Pyramid of Khufu — also called the Great Pyramid of Giza — is the oldest and largest of the three, dating back to approximately 2580 BC. Neighboring this ancient archaeological site, is the enigmatic Great Sphinx, a huge limestone statue depicting the body of a lion with falcon wings and a human head. While the true date of its construction is not, the consensus amongst Egyptologists is that the head bears a likeness to the pharaoh Khafre, making it over 4,600 years old. Next, visit one of Cairo’s many carpet-making schools for a live demonstration of this skilled handicraft before enjoying lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch, you’ll conclude your tour at the ancient UNESCO site of Saqqara, where you’ll explore the Step Pyramid. Built to honor Djoser, the second king of Egypt’s 3rd dynasty, this limestone structure is believed to be the world’s earliest pyramid, constructed around the 27th century BC.
Explore more of Cairo at your leisure
Following breakfast at your hotel, you’ll have a full day to explore Cairo at your own pace. Tonight’s dinner will be served at your hotel.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional excursion. Delve into the fascinating history of Islam in Egypt on an optional tour of the Cairo’s ancient religious sites. Learn more
This fascinating optional tour delves into the captivating, centuries-old history of Islam in Egypt. Characterized by hundreds of mosques, tombs, madrasas, and fortifications dating from the 7th century to the present day, Cairo holds one of the largest and densest concentrations of historic architecture in the Islamic world. Your tour will begin with a visit to the Citadel of Cairo. Built in the 12th century by Yusuf ibn Ayyub ibn Shadi (Saladin), this strategically placed, medieval fortification was the seat of Egyptian government and the residence of its rulers for nearly 700 years. Your tour will continue with a visit to the Great Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha, also known as the Alabaster Mosque. This grand Ottoman structure, with its twin spires and gleaming domes, is the most visible and easily recognizable landmarks in Cairo. After enjoying lunch at a local restaurant, your tour will continue with a stop at the 7th-century Hanging Church. Also referred to as Al-Moallaqa, this unique religious structure — with its wooden, Noah’s Ark-shaped roof — was built atop the ruins of an old Roman fortress and served as the residence of the Coptic Patriarch for several centuries. Your tour will come to a close at the Ben Ezra Synagogue, sometimes called El-Geniza Synagogue or the Synagogue of the Levantines. Located deep in the winding alleys of Coptic Cairo, Ben Ezra Synagogue is the oldest Jewish temple in Cairo, dating from the 9th century AD. The Synagogue once held an old copy of the Old Testament, believed to have been written by the prophet Ezra, who some Islamic texts have identified as the person mentioned in Qur'an 2:259.
Due to high call volume, we recommend you visit MyPortfolio to book this Destination Enhancement. Don’t wait — these optional experiences are limited to a select number of guests and are selling out fast!
Embark the h/s Nebu and enjoy an afternoon visit to the Luxor Temple
After breakfast, you’ll transfer to the Cairo airport and board a flight to Luxor. Upon arrival, you’ll embark the luxurious h/s Nebu, your home for the Nile River portion of your journey. Settle into your sumptuous stateroom and enjoy a delicious lunch on board, before heading out for an afternoon exploration of Luxor Temple. Situated on the East Bank of the Nile River, in what was once the ancient city of Thebes, this magnificent temple complex dates back to approximately 1400 BCE. Unlike other ancient Egyptian temples, Luxor Temple was not dedicated to a deity, but rather it signified the rejuvenation of kingship in Egypt. In fact, the temple was expanded over the following centuries by several pharaohs, including Amenhotep III, Ramses II, and Tutankhamun, among others. You’ll explore this massive structure before returning to the ship for dinner and an evening of relaxation on board.
Explore the Valley of the Kings and Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple
Following breakfast this morning, you’ll set off for an early morning visit to the West Bank of the Nile and the legendary Valley of the Kings. Over 60 pharaohs and other notable rulers of Egypt’s New Kingdom were entombed in the burial chambers excavated on this site over the span of 500 years. The West Bank location of this royal burial ground was specifically selected due to its religious significance. Due to the rising and setting of the sun, ancient Egyptians believed the sun god Set died in the west and was reborn in the east. For this reason, the west came to have funerary associations and ancient Egyptian cemeteries were generally situated on the West Bank of the Nile River. Your discoveries will continue with a visit to one of the most beautiful temples in all of Egypt: Deir el-Bahri. Built right into the side of a sheer rock wall, this multi-terraced, royal mortuary is known as the Temple of Hatshepsut. Following the death of her husband, Hatshepsut became Egypt’s longest-reigning female pharaoh. Her reign was marked by prosperity and the establishment of new trade routes, making her one of Egypt’s most successful rulers. You’ll return to the ship for lunch and an afternoon at leisure on board.
Visit the unique Temple of Kom Ombo and cruise to Aswan
Today you continue cruising up the Nile, arriving late morning at the Temple of Kom Ombo, beautifully situated on a small hillside right beside the river. Discover its unique “double” design, with symmetrical halves dedicated to two different gods.
The southern half of the temple is dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek, god of fertility and protector against the dangers of the Nile, while the northern part of the temple is dedicated to the falcon god Haroeris, or "Horus the Elder,” patron god of the pharaohs. The path out of the temple complex leads to the Crocodile Museum, which houses a fascinating collection of mummified crocodiles and ancient carvings. We’ll return to the ship for lunch and sail onwards to the city of Aswan.
Enjoy cruising toward Aswan, Upper Egypt’s most beautiful location, with its views of the West Bank.
Fly south to see the twin temples of Abu Simbel
You’ll get an idea of the vastness of Egypt’s ancient dynasties as we fly 175 miles south from Aswan to visit the great twin temples of Abu Simbel. Along with the Temple of Isis at Philae, they are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known collectively as the Nubian Monuments. Here, imposing 70-foot statues of Ramses II and Queen Nefertari overlook the Nile. Originally carved out of the mountainside in the 13th century BC to commemorate Ramses II’s victory against the Hittites at the Battle of Kadesh, the huge rock relief figures at their entrances have become famous icons, and the sight of them is well worth the extra flight.
What makes them even more interesting, however, is that these enormous temples were not always found here. Between 1964 and 1968, a famous rescue mission — overseen by UNESCO — was undertaken to save them from the waters’ inexorable rise behind the Aswan High Dam. In an epic feat of engineering, the entire complex was carefully cut into large blocks, dismantled, lifted and reassembled in a new location.
After marveling at the architectural ingenuity of both the past and present, fly back to Aswan in time to enjoy lunch on board the ship. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure in Aswan. Enjoy dinner back on board this evening.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional excursion. Embark on a leisurely cruise along the Nile River aboard a traditional wooden felucca sailboat. Learn more
Feluccas, traditional sailboats constructed entirely of wood with one or two canvas sails, once dominated the waterways of Egypt, Sudan, and the Mediterranean. Over time, as modern motorized vessels came to prominence, the use of feluccas became less prominent for day-to-day use by locals. Today, felucca cruises offer visitors a relaxed way to explore the beauty of the Nile River as people would have in the time of the pharaohs. On this optional Nile River excursion, you’ll relax aboard a traditional open-deck felucca, taking in the sites along the riverbank. Glide past Elephantine Island, once the site of an ancient town that served as a strategic gateway to the Nubian kingdoms south of Aswan. Adjacent to Elephantine Island, you’ll also be able to glimpse Kitchener’s Island, home to Aswan’s lush Botanical Garden.
Discover Aswan’s treasures and dress up for a festive galabiya party
Today you’ll explore the area around Aswan, beginning with the massive Aswan High Dam. This 13,000-foot-long and 3,200-foot-wide wall was built across the Nile between 1960 and 1970 with Soviet support. It supplanted the British-built Low Dam of the 1900s and created the vast reservoir known today as Lake Nasser. Standing atop its ramparts, you’ll learn how it transformed the economy and culture of Egypt.
Later, take a short boat ride across the reservoir of the Aswan Low Dam to visit the elegant Temple of Philae, another of UNESCO’s Nubian Monuments that had to be rescued from flooding. Philae was originally located near the First Cataract but was flooded after the construction of the Aswan Low Dam. As part of the UNESCO Nubia Campaign project, the temple complex was moved to a nearby island to protect it before the completion of the Aswan High Dam. You'll also see the granite quarries of Aswan, where high-quality stone was sourced for sculptures and structures throughout ancient Egypt, and visit some of the monuments here.
After lunch on board ship, you set sail for Edfu. This evening, don traditional galabiyas for a fun costume party on board. Dressed like an Egyptian, you’ll be ready to dance like an Egyptian, too, as a vibrant Oriental show with lively music sets the mood for a festive night like no other.
Visit the Temple of Horus at Edfu and sail back to Luxor
Horse-drawn carriages will be waiting for us along the waterfront at Edfu this morning for the ride through this small river city to the famously well-preserved temple of Horus. The largest temple dedicated to the falcon god, it is notable for the two stone falcons at its entrance and the huge relief figures on its façade.
The temple was built in the Ptolemaic Kingdom between 237 and 57 BC, but was literally lost beneath the sands of time as drifting desert sand and river silt deposited by the Nile buried it to a depth of 40 feet. Local inhabitants built their homes over it and, by 1798, when the temple was discovered by a French expedition, only the upper portions of the pylons were visible.
This afternoon, during lunch on board ship, you’ll enjoy more scenic Nile cruising as we return to Luxor.
Explore the fabulous Temples of Luxor and Karnak and enjoy a belly-dancing show on board
Today, you’ll explore two of Egypt’s most illustrious shrines: the Karnak and Luxor temple complexes. Said to be the world’s largest religious structure in area, the vast Karnak Temple complex was built and used over a period of 2,000 years. You’ll be awed by the Great Hypostyle Hall, where a monolithic forest of 134 huge columns is laid out in 16 rows. The largest are 33 feet around and soar to 80 feet in height.
A walkway lined with rams-head sphinxes leads all the way from Karnak to the 3,500-year-old Luxor Temple complex. Dedicated to the Theban Triad of Amun, Mut, and Khonsu, Luxor’s graceful inner courtyards are lined with Ramesside colossi and graceful columns covered in carvings and hieroglyphics.
After dinner this evening, you’ll be treated to a transfixing belly-dancing show on board ship. Famed for its controlled and precise movements, this gyrating art form is said to have originated in Cairo’s nightclubs before graduating to the silver screen.
Fly to Cairo, then continue overland to coastal Alexandria
It's time to bid farewell to the Nile and the crew of the h/s Nebu, as you continue to the city founded by Alexander the Great, Egypt’s port with a decidedly Mediterranean climate. After a flight to Cairo and a transfer to Alexandria, you arrive in time for lunch at a local restaurant — the perfect opportunity to indulge in some of the city’s famous seafood. After checking into your sumptuous shorefront hotel, you’ll have the evening and dinner at leisure.
Walk in Cleopatra’s footsteps as you explore Greco-Roman Alexandria
After breakfast, you'll explore Alexandria's historical treasures. Begin with the underground catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, an extensive subterranean burial site that dates to the Greco-Roman era of the 2nd century. Many of the features of the catacombs merge Roman, Greek, and Egyptian cultures; for example, some statues are Egyptian in style, yet bear Roman clothes and hairstyles. The location of the site had long been lost and was only rediscovered in 1900 when an unfortunate donkey stumbled into one of the shafts.
You’ll also visit Alexandria’s tallest monument, Pompey’s Pillar. Dating to the 4th century, it stands 90 feet tall and 30 feet wide and was hewn from a single block of red granite brought all the way from Aswan, almost 700 miles away. Following lunch at a local restaurant, your tour of Alexandrine history and culture continues with a visit to the Roman Amphitheatre and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Built in 2002 as a worthy successor to the lost Ancient Wonder of the Great Library of Alexandria, the extraordinary library and cultural center contains millions of books in English, French, and classical Arabic, as well as four museums. Enjoy dinner on your own tonight.
Return to Cairo for a Gala Farewell Dinner
This morning, we’ll conclude our explorations of Alexandria with a visit to the Royal Jewelry Museum, home to the vast collections of jewelry and acquired by the royals of Egypt’s Muhammad Ali Dynasty. After, we return by motorcoach to Cairo. Upon arrival, check into your deluxe hotel, located in the upscale Cairo suburb of Heliopolis, conveniently close to Cairo Airport. After an afternoon at leisure to pack or relax in the hotel’s pool and garden, drink a final toast to your Egyptian journey during a Farewell Dinner at the hotel.
Depart Cairo and fly home; or continue on to Jordan & Petra with a post-trip extension
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Cairo airport for your flight home to the U.S., or fly on to Jordan for your post-trip extension to the Lost City of Petra and Amman.
Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Cruise Director or regional expert.
Please Note: Port Times & Itineraries are subject to change. The hotels listed are preliminary and subject to change. Although we contract our hotels a year in advance, unforeseen situations do occasionally occur. Should it be necessary to change a hotel, one of equal quality and value will be substituted. You will receive verified hotel information with your final itinerary.
Note: Hotel ratings are based on the Hotel Index, a leading travel industry authority on hotels throughout the world.