Recognized as a leading scholar of ancient Egyptian history, “Aki” Allam has been a licensed Egyptologist for more than 15 years. Born in Cairo, he received a university degree with a specialty in ancient Egyptian history. An entertaining and enthusiastic teacher, Aki will reveal the wonders of the monuments as well as the ancient spiritual history and significance of the artwork you will encounter. Aki has guided many well-known Americans through Egypt, and will share with us his extensive knowledge of and insights on his native land.
On this Nile odyssey, the wonders of ancient Egypt come to life as we journey to the Pyramids and the Sphinx, the temples of Karnak and Luxor, the tomb of King Tutankhamun and the temples at Abu Simbel. Cruising the Nile from Aswân to Luxor, see how the Nile has sustained the land and the people since antiquity.
ITINERARY: 12 DAYS
Days 1 and 2 New York/London/Cairo, Egypt
Depart on an overnight flight to London. The next day, fly to Cairo, arriving late evening.
Conrad Cairo Hotel
Day 3 Cairo
Cairo, Egypt’s capital, is a blend of ancient and modern civilizations. Visit the world-famous Egyptian Museum, with its fabulous collection of artifacts dating back to 4000 B.C. Highlights include the treasures of the tomb of Tutankhamun and the stunning Royal Mummies Room. Tonight, gather for a festive welcome dinner at our hotel.
Day 4 Cairo
After breakfast, enjoy a lecture by Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence. Visit Gîza for a private tour of the latest discoveries, and explore one of the world’s most spectacular sights, the great Pyramids. Stand in awe before the imposing figure of the Sphinx. Continue to the Solar Boat Museum, the reassembled funerary boat of King Cheops.
Day 5 Cairo
Visit Memphis, capital of the ancient kingdom, and see the magnificent statue of Ramses II. Just outside the city, stop at the famous Step Pyramid built by King Djoser in 2700 B.C. Later, explore the Pyramids of Dahshûr. This evening, dine in the Bazaar area, and afterwards transfer to see a folklore performance.
Day 6 Cairo/Abu Simbel/Aswân
Fly to Abu Simbel to see the amazing Temple of Ramses II and the Temple of Hathor, dedicated to Ramses II’s favorite wife, Nefertari. Fly to Aswân, where you will board the Sun Boat IV, our home for the next four nights. Weather permitting, sail along the Nile in a felucca, a traditional Egyptian sailboat. Return to the Sun Boat IV for dinner.
Day 7 Aswân/Kôm Ombo/Idfu
Pay a visit to the Aswân High Dam, a masterpiece of modern engineering. Later, at the “unfinished obelisk,” get a lesson in the methods that ancient craftspeople used to create the huge monuments. Travel to Kôm Ombo and visit the beautiful Greco-Roman temple, dedicated to Horus, the falcon-headed sun god; and Sobek, the crocodile god.
Day 8 Idfu/Isna
Explore the Temple of Horus in Idfu. This well-preserved structure makes it easy to imagine what temple worship in ancient Egypt might have been like. Sail to Isna, and visit the Temple of Khnum, 36 feet below the present level of the town and covered with hieroglyphics. Return to the Sun Boat IV and sail to Luxor.
Day 9 Luxor
Spend the day on the West Bank of the Nile. Continue to the fabled Colossi of Memnon and the mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, Egypt’s first female pharaoh. At the Valley of the Kings, step from a dramatic landscape of sun and sand into the dark silence of the many tombs discovered here to date. Experience the most famous of them all, the awe-inspiring tomb of Tutankhamun. See the Great Temple of Amun-Re at Karnak and the Temple of Luxor.
Day 10 Luxor
Disembark the Sun Boat IV in Luxor, often called the world’s greatest open-air museum. Luxor is home to a vast array of temples and other monuments of ancient Egypt. Attend a talk by the director of Luxor’s antiquities about the new findings on the West Bank. Then, explore the Ramesseum, Ramses II’s stupendous mortuary temple. After lunch, ride by horse-drawn carriage to the new Luxor Museum where you will see beautifully presented artifacts.
Le Meridien Luxor Hotel (B,L)
Day 11 Luxor/Cairo
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to Cairo. After lunch, you are free to explore one of the city’s oldest districts, the bazaar of Khan-al-Khalili, alive with the sounds and excitement of age-old bargaining. Tonight, gather for a farewell dinner in a private Egyptian home and experience true Egyptian hospitality.
Conrad Cairo Hotel (B,L)
Day 12 Cairo/New York
Transfer to Cairo International Airport for your return flight to the U.S.
February 21-24; March 21-24; October 24-27; November 14-17, 2005
Participants on the Egypt trip may join a post-trip extension to Petra, Jordan, led by an English-speaking Jordanian guide. Following is a detailed itinerary.
Day 1 Cairo/Amman, Jordan
Upon arrival in Amman, transfer to your hotel. The remainder of the day will be at leisure. This evening enjoy dinner at your hotel with your fellow travelers.
Four Seasons Hotel (D)
Day 2 Amman/Petra
Today you travel through the countryside to Petra. Pass through the beautiful Gorge of Amman, known today as Wadi Mujib, to Madaba, where dozens of mosaic tiles from Byzantine churches have been uncovered; continue on to the burial sites of Moses on Mount Nebo, and to Kerak, a former Crusader village, built and walled for defense.
At sunset there will be an excursion using 4×4 vehicles to Wadi Rum, where T.E. Lawrence (“of Arabia”) lived with Bedouin friends and allies during World War I. Explore amid sand dunes and rose-tinted mountains where bedouin tribes still camp. See the inscriptions the bedouin have engraved on the rocks representing animals, people, and events of their world.
Petra Movenpick Hotel (B,L)
Day 3 Petra/Amman
Enjoy a full day exploring the city of Petra. Enter Petra by horse through its only entrance, known as the “Siq,” a very narrow passageway, which could be easily defended against attack by an invading army. Visit the major sites include the baths, markets, the Treasury, the Temple of the Winged Lions, the Corinthian Tomb, and the Palace Tomb. Later this afternoon return to Amman for dinner.
Four Seasons Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 4 Amman/USA
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home.
Mysteries of Ancient Egypt
ABOUT THE M.S. SUN BOAT IV
M.S. Sun Boat IV The 84-passenger M.S. Sun Boat IV, our home for the four-night Nile cruise, is one of the newest ships cruising the Nile. Facilities include a comfortable lounge, swimming pool, restaurant, two sundecks, gymnasium, boutique, and library. All cabins have windows with Nile view, private bathroom, and individually controlled air-conditioning.