Arrive in Egypt, the cradle of civilization, then transfer to the moderate deluxe Sofitel Cairo El Gezirah (or similar) on the banks of the Nile for a 3-night stay.*
This morning we take an excursion to the necropolis at Sakkara to see the world’s oldest step pyramid. After a typical Egyptian lunch, continue to Giza Plateau to behold the only Wonder of the Ancient World still standing: the Great Pyramids of Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure. There, you experience the “ships of the desert” with a brief camel ride. Nearby, see the Great Sphinx, forever facing due east. Return to your hotel for dinner and a free evening to relax or explore on your own. (B, L, D)
Today you see some of the sights of Cairo. This morning, tour Cairo’s Museum of Egyptian Antiquities and admire its huge collection of artifacts, then visit the famous gallery displaying the riches of King Tutankhamen. A guided walk takes you to landmarks like the iconic Citadel of Saladin and the Mosque of Muhammad Ali. Enjoy lunch on your own at or near your hotel. Enjoy dinner on your own in Cairo, or take an optional visit to Khan el-Khalili, a walking tour through a colorful outdoor souk (bazaar) where you can shop for all manner of Egyptian goods and admire the Al-Aqmar Mosque. Conclude the outing with a traditional Egyptian dinner in Al-Azhar Park. (B)
Early this morning, fly to Luxor, the city once called Thebes, where history will be brought to life by our expert Egyptologist. Visit the Great Temples of Luxor and Karnak, long buried beneath desert sands, and walk through monumental peristyles and examine the hieroglyphics illustrating how ancient Egyptians lived. Proceed to your Nile cruise ship for check-in and a welcome lunch. Enjoy an onboard dinner and a relaxing evening, or attend an optional sound and light show at Karnak Temple. (B, L, D)
Relax over breakfast, or (weather permitting) take an optional early-morning hot air balloon ride over Luxor’s temples and monuments. Upon arrival, visit the Valley of the Kings and the Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, one of Egypt’s few female rulers and most successful pharaohs, on the Nile’s west bank opposite the city of Luxor. Also see Madīnat Habu, the Mortuary Temple of Ramses III. Walk through its monumental peristyle hall decorated with complex hieroglyphics. Return aboard as we set sail for Edfu; lunch and dinner are served aboard as we cruise along the Nile. (B, L, D)
This morning, ride in a horse-drawn carriage to the Temple of Horus, the falcon god, built in Edfu during the Ptolemaic Dynasty. Have lunch aboard the ship while sailing toward Kom Ombo. There, you take a guided tour of the unusual double temple dedicated to the sky god Haroeris and the crocodile god Sobek, a protective deity thought to have created the world. Return to your ship before we continue cruising up the Nile. We arrive at Aswan during dinner; this evening, attend a Nubian party featuring the evocative traditional music of the region. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, visit the small, elegant Philae sanctuary, dedicated to Isis, rescued from the rising waters. This temple is one of the Nubian monuments that comprise a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tour the Nubian Museum to view treasures salvaged from temples and monuments flooded by the Aswan Dam; the museum’s gardens are beautifully landscaped with terraced waterfalls. You’ll also see the Aswan High Dam, completed in the 1960s. Enjoy lunch on board. This afternoon, take a scenic ride on a felucca, a traditional Egyptian wooden sailboat, on the Nile. Enjoy an onboard dinner and spend the night in Aswan. (B, L, D)
Abu Simbel, Egypt
After a final breakfast on board your ship, disembark and take a brief flight to Abu Simbel, then proceed directly to the temples. These magnificent structures, renowned for their four giant seated figures, were built in the 13th century BC by Ramses II and are thought to depict him and his queen, Nefertari. The colossal structures were dismantled and moved to this new location during construction of the Aswan High Dam, which created Lake Nasser, a major engineering feat. After exploring the temples on your own, check in on your second ship for your Lake Nasser cruise and enjoy the afternoon at leisure. Tonight, enjoy an onboard dinner, then relax or attend an optional sound and light show at the Abu Simbel temples. (B, L, D)
Kasr Ibrim & Amada, Egypt
This morning, we sail past the iconic Kasr Ibrim Fortress. Learn the story of the last Nubian monument remaining in its original location, and see it from the ship’s Sun Deck. Enjoy lunch on board as you cruise across Lake Nasser to Amada. This afternoon, tour the small but interesting Nubian Amada Temple. The oldest of the Lake Nasser temples, it houses a collection of brightly painted historical carvings. Return aboard and dine as we sail to Wadi el Seboua. (B, L, D)
Wadi el Seboua, Egypt
This morning, disembark for a walk through the Valley of the Lions, lined with sphinxes. Then, tour the Temple of Dakka, dedicated to the ibis-headed Thoth, and the Greco-Roman Temple of Meharakka, both located at the Wadi el Seboua Temple Complex. Return aboard for lunch and dinner as we sail toward Aswan. This evening, enjoy a Nubian show featuring traditional music, dance and costumes. (B, L, D)
After a leisurely onboard breakfast, disembark for a tour of the Temple of Kalabsha, which honors the androgynous Nubian sky and sun god, Mandulis. Afterward, you’ll see the Aswan High Dam, completed in the 1960s. After a local lunch, head to the airport for your flight back to Cairo. Check in to the superior first-class InterContinental Hotel Citystars Cairo (or similar) for 1 night, then enjoy free time. Return to your hotel for dinner and an evening at leisure, or attend an optional sound and light show at the pyramids. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, proceed to the airport for your return flight.* Or, extend your journey for 4 nights in Jordan to see the ‟lost city” of Petra, the Dead Sea and the capital of Amman. (B)
Viking - Pathways to the Pharaohs
Want more from your trip? Ask one of our agents about adding extensions to Jordan & Jerusalem! See the full itinerary below and call our travel expert for dates & pricing on this itinerary.
*Some dates may feature reverse itinerary.
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Sail to the Sphinx & pyramids
Sail into antiquity on a 12-day cruisetour that reveals the secrets of pharaohs and the warmth of Egyptian culture. Explore the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx and more during a three-night Cairo stay. Cruise the Nile for four nights from Luxor to Aswan, exploring timeless villages and ancient temples and tombs. What’s more, Viking includes a thrilling visit to the colossal temple of Abu Simbel and three nights sailing Lake Nasser, lined with Nubian treasures.