Egypt is the site of one of the world’s earliest and most prolific civilizations. This is where pharaohs reigned in gilded grandeur, soaring pyramids rose from desert sands, and kingdoms changed the course of history. On this extraordinary river cruise, you’ll delve into the rich legacies and fascinating history of ancient Egypt.
The centerpiece of this luxurious journey is a 7-night river cruise aboard Vantage Deluxe World Travel’s own 5-star h/s Nebu, the finest all-suite ship on the Nile. Glide past lush farmlands, visit magnificent temples, and marvel at grand historical sites. Meander through Karnak Temple’s forest of columns, explore elaborate tombs in the Valley of the Kings, and gaze upon the enigmatic Great Sphinx and famed pyramids of Giza. And that’s only a fraction of all you’ll enjoy!
Beyond these major sights, you’ll engage in meaningful interactions with locals, whether visiting a carpet-weaving school, tapping your feet to the belly-dancing performance, or simply chatting with a local spice merchant. With 18 included features and Cultural Connections, and visits to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, you won’t find a more enlightening Nile River cruise.
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 the Egyptian capital
Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted at the airport and board your private transfer to your hotel. Settle into your surroundings here in the hub of Egyptian culture and unwind in your deluxe hotel. This evening, join your Cruise Director and fellow travelers for a Welcome Dinner at the hotel.
View ancient artifacts at the Egyptian Museum
The Egyptian Museum 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.
See the double temple at Kom Ombo
After breakfast on board you’ll have some time to relax before we disembark in Kom Ombo, a small agricultural town on the Nile’s East Bank. Here we will visit the town’s small and elegant namesake temple. Kom Ombo is unusual in that it is a “double” temple whose symmetrical halves honor Haroeris (Horus) the falcon god and Sobek the crocodile god. Built during the Ptolemaic era, both temples are decorated with distinctive, sturdy columns and intricate, well-preserved reliefs. Some 300 crocodile mummies were discovered here, and you can see some of them displayed at the on-site Crocodile Museum. Return to the ship for lunch and afternoon tea as you sail towards Aswan, one of Upper Egypt’s most beautiful locations. Its views of the West Bank tombs lit up in the evenings.
Enjoy a day at leisure in Aswan
Craft your own itinerary in Aswan today. Your onboard Destination Manager can provide suggestions and assist with transportation and reservations to make the most of your time ashore.
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.
Uncover the historical treasures of Aswan
After breakfast on board, you’ll set out to explore a few of Aswan’s most significant sites, beginning at the High Dam. Built in 1970 to create the Lake Nasser reservoir, the Aswan High Dam helped tame the destructive flooding of the Nile. However, it also necessitated the relocation of several important archeological treasures and the displacement of entire communities. Next, you’ll visit the ancient granite quarry. The majority of structures and statues found throughout ancient Egypt were created with high-quality stone sourced from this site. Finally, you’ll visit the renowned Temple of Philae. Built during the reign of Ptolemy II, this striking monument dedicated to the goddess Isis was painstakingly moved to its current location on Agilkia Island by UNESCO engineers after the completion of the High Dam. You’ll travel aboard small local boats in order to reach the island, where you will have time to explore this incredible site. Later, enjoy lunch on board and relax as we make our way to Edfu.
See the massive Temple of Horus at Edfu
After breakfast, begin the day on the West Bank with a morning excursion to Edfu’s famously well-preserved temple. Dedicated to Egypt’s falcon-headed god, the massive Temple of Horus at Edfu was constructed between 237 and 57 BC, partially during the reign of Cleopatra VII. It tells a central story in Egyptian mythology about Horus avenging the death of his father, Osiris, at the hands of his uncle, Set. Following your visit, reboard your ship for lunch and a leisurely afternoon cruise toward Esna, then Luxor — during which you can enjoy opportunities for birdwatching. Be sure to step out onto the deck with your camera or GoPro to capture some of the action.
Temples of Karnak and Luxor and an evening belly-dancing show
This morning after breakfast, you’ll come ashore on the Nile’s East Bank to see two of Egypt’s most illustrious shrines. First is the Karnak Temple Complex, built and used over a period of 2,000 years — encompassing the ruins of numerous temples, chapels, and other structures, as well as a lovely sacred lake. Its Great Hypostyle Hall alone measures some 54,000 square feet, and is adorned with 134 79-foot-high columns arrayed in 16 rows. Karnak was once connected by a ceremonial, sphinx-lined avenue to Luxor Temple, which we will also explore. This latter site once also served as a Roman legionnaire outpost and it boasts chapels built by Alexander the Great and Tutankhamun. The afternoon is free for relaxation or independent exploration. Perhaps you’ll ride an old-fashioned, horse-drawn calèche to the Luxor Museum, or to the downtown souk. After dinner tonight, a troupe of talented local dancers will perform an entertaining belly-dance show.
Disembark for a free afternoon in Cairo and a Farewell Dinner
Disembark your Nile River ship this morning, and transfer to the Luxor airport for your return flight to Cairo. Upon arrival, check into your hotel and spend the afternoon at leisure. You might enjoy a swim at the hotel’s pool, or explore more of Cairo at your own pace. This evening, gather with your fellow travelers at the hotel for a celebratory Farewell Dinner.
Depart Cairo and fly home, or continue on for an Alexandria post-trip extension
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the Cairo airport for your flight home to the U.S. — or remain, and begin your post-trip extension to Alexandria.
Follow in the footsteps of Alexander the Great with a visit to the ancient port city he founded in 331 BC. Often called the “Pearl of the Mediterranean,” Alexandria’s coastal and cultural climates set it apart from other Egyptian destinations. Thanks to its storied past, Alexandria boasts a wealth of cultural and historic sites. Explore its rich past as a center of learning at the celebrated Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Discover the mysterious underground world of its ancient Greco-Roman catacombs. You’ll also enjoy visits to the Alexandria National Museum, Roman Amphitheatre, and Pompey’s Pillar.
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.
Please Note: 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.