Nile River Cruise: Treasures of Egypt

Travel in the footsteps of Pharoahs on a luxury river cruise along the Nile. Stand in awe before the Great Pyramids, extraordinary relics of ancient times and a legacy to modern engineering feats.

11 Days
Cairo to Cairo
From (USD)
$ 7,345
Dates & Pricing

2020 Cairo > Cairo

Travel in the style of the ancient pharaohs along the storied Nile River—the lifeblood of Egypt.
Gaze up at the Pyramids at Giza, and discover the world’s largest collection of Egyptian artifacts at Cairo’s Egyptian Museum. Explore the spectacular Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens, where Egypt’s great pharaohs constructed elaborate tombs and monuments among the desolate desert cliffs; and puzzle over the colorful hieroglyphs on the Temple of Hathor at Dendera and the remarkable royal imagery in the mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut. Enjoy traditional dance and music performances aboard our luxurious ship as we glide past bustling villages, lush palm forests, and striking remnants of Egypt’s multilayered history. As we sail this storied waterway, enjoy the freedom and flexibility to tailor the itinerary to your interests, choosing from a variety of available excursions at each port of call—from guided tours of iconic sites to culinary experiences and active adventures.
Tour Map
Tour Code:
MEEE
Duration:
11 days
Departure City:
Cairo
Return City:
Cairo

Selected Itinerary

Nora Shawki

National Geographic Expert, Nora Shawki

Departure dates: April 17, 2020; May 1 & 15 2020; November 27, 2020
Nora Shawki is a National Geographic Explorer and Egyptian archaeologist. She has been excavating ancient sites in the Nile Delta for seven years. She has served as a field archaeologist on foreign missions at sites including Tell Timai (Thmuis), Sa El Hagar (Sais), and Tell Mutubis in Egypt as well as Tombos and El Kurru in Northern Sudan. Nora is now directing her own excavation at satellite sites in the Delta. She received her undergraduate degree in archaeology at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, followed by her master’s in archaeology at England’s Durham University. Currently working on her Ph.D. in a joint program at Cairo University and Durham University, she studies settlement archaeology, a relatively new subfield that focuses on non-elite settlements and the daily lives of the communities that lived in them. Her research is focused on Late Period settlements, using material culture and religious ideologies to better understand the impact of royal policy on non-elite Egyptians. Nora is a 2015 National Geographic Young Explorer grantee and is part of the 2017 Young Explorer Leadership and Development Program.
Kathryn Keane

National Geographic Expert, Kathryn Keane

Departure date: August 28, 2020
Kathryn Keane is Vice President of Public Experiences for the National Geographic Society. She is the Executive Director of the National Geographic Museum and its popular NG Live programming and events. She also founded National Geographic’s traveling exhibitions division, which produces a variety of experiences for museums and other venues in the U.S. and around the world. Kathryn manages a creative team of designers, curators, and producers who develop unique and award-winning exhibitions and live events. These have become an important platform for National Geographic storytelling, audience engagement, and educational outreach. Egypt has been the subject of many of these projects. National Geographic's blockbuster exhibitions on the treasures of King Tut traveled to more than a dozen cities in the U.S. and Europe between 2005 and 2012. The museum' s most recent exhibition, Queens of Egypt, features more than 350 artifacts that tell the story of ancient Egypt through the eyes of its most iconic female rulers.
ken Garrett

National Geographic Photographer, Kenneth Garrett

Departure dates: January 24, 2020 & October 30, 2020
National Geographic photographer Ken Garrett specializes in documenting ancient civilizations, archaeology, and human evolution. With an academic background in anthropology and investigative inquiry, Ken’s work gradually focused on his passion for the Origin of Civilization. In a career spanning over 40 years, Ken Garrett has photographed more than 60 feature stories for National Geographic and National Geographic Traveler magazines, and has been involved with multiple National Geographic books and museum exhibits. Ken’s work in Egypt started in 1994 with a National Geographic magazine feature story on Egypt’s Old Kingdom, followed by a major piece on the Valley of the Kings. Once established in Egypt, Ken went on to photograph 14 stories on new discoveries related to ancient Egypt, from predynastic to the times of Cleopatra. Some six book projects in Egypt were highlighted by “Egypt of the Pharaohs” and "The King Tut Exhibit Catalog," which was a huge success worldwide. Garrett’s work with Tutankhamun continued with the CT Scan of Tut and the DNA of the Tutankhamun Family, and more recently, the ongoing search for Queen Nefertiti has kept Ken busy until the present. Beyond Egyptian history, the subject of his work has ranged from Meso American civilizations to human evolution stories and more, and he has photographed on all seven continents. During his career in magazine journalism, Ken has also worked for a variety of publications, including Time, Fortune, Forbes, Smithsonian, Audubon, Natural History, Science 80, German GEO, Air and Space, as well as clients such as Marriott, IBM, Starbucks, UNC Aviation, and The Aluminum Association.

11 Day Itinerary

  1. Day 1 - Giza (Cairo)

    Arrive in Cairo and transfer to our iconic hotel, which offers spectacular views of Giza’s famed pyramids. Enjoy welcome drinks and dinner as the sun sets over the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the World. Please book flights to arrive into Cairo by 2pm.

    Meals Included: Dinner

  2. Day 2 - Giza

    Set out this morning to explore the Pyramids at Giza, elaborate burial complexes built some 4,500 years ago for Egyptian pharaohs. Our hotel is situated at the foot of the pyramids, ensuring that we arrive before the crowds for a peaceful view of the sun rising over the limestone peaks. Next, visit the Solar Boat Museum, home to a restored cedarwood barge built to transport Pharaoh Khufu to the afterlife and sealed in the Great Pyramid around 2500 B.C. Ponder the riddle of the Great Sphinx, the 240-foot-long monolith carved out of the limestone bedrock of the Giza plateau during the reign of Pharaoh Khafre. Then learn about the rich history of the Nile region during a talk given by our National Geographic expert. After the sun goes down, see the pyramids illuminated by Giza’s spectacular multicolored light show.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  3. Day 3 - Giza > Luxor

    Fly to Luxor, which makes up part of what was known in antiquity as the great city of Thebes. Settle into our historic hotel, where British archaeologist Howard Carter regularly gave updates after the discovery of King Tutankhamun’s treasure-filled tomb in 1922. Wander amid the fragrant gardens and opulent rooms of this former palace, once a winter retreat for the Egyptian royal family. Then visit the nearby Luxor Museum to peruse ancient relics. Tonight, take a guided walk through the souk, an open-air market where vendors sell spices, silks, jewelry, and fragrant street food.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  4. Day 4 - Nile Cruise

    Spend the day exploring the Valley of the Kings, ancient Egypt’s “gateway to the afterlife.” Enjoy an optional hot-air balloon flight to gain a stunning bird’s-eye view of the sites that dot this stark desert valley, where the pharaohs constructed underground tombs to hold treasures, jewelry, sacred objects, furniture, and even food for the next world. Here, in 2018, a highly publicized National Geographic–supported investigation using ground-penetrating radar concluded that there were no hidden chambers behind King Tutankhamun’s tomb. Discover the neighboring Valley of the Queens, where queens and some royal children were buried, and view the impressive mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut—the longest reigning female pharaoh. Then enjoy a special visit to the well-preserved mortuary Temple of Ramses III, who is believed to have been the victim of an assassination plot led by one of his wives. Board our riverboat this afternoon; then explore the vast open-air temple complex of Karnak, marveling at the towering columns of the Great Hypostyle Hall. After dinner, toast the beginning of our Nile cruise with cocktails and canapés on the sundeck.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  5. Day 5 - Nile Cruise

    Today we make our way to Dendera, one of the best-preserved temple complexes in Egypt. Enormous mud brick ramparts enclose more than 130,000 square feet of desert studded with remnants of shrines and towering colonnades. Marvel at the vibrantly painted hieroglyphs adorning the roof of the Temple of Hathor. Later, return to Luxor and explore Luxor Temple, created over hundreds of years by various pharaohs. This evening, delight in a mesmerizing performance by whirling dervishes and a Nubian dancing performance.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  6. Day 6 - Nile Cruise

    Follow the procession route of the pharaohs as we cruise south along the Nile, where magnificent temples and ancient villages line the banks against a dramatic desert backdrop. Disembark at Edfu to explore the well-preserved Temple of Horus, erected to honor the god of the sky. Stand tall beside larger-than-life carvings of pharaohs on the outer walls, and gaze up at the blackened ceiling of the hypostyle hall, believed to be the result of ancient arson. Travel further upriver to Kom Ombo, a temple perched high on the east bank of the Nile and dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile-headed god. Tonight, enjoy a lively evening of music and dance with performers adorned in galabia, traditional Egyptian dress.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  7. Day 7 - Nile Cruise

    Continue sailing south to Aswan, a busy market town located just north of the colossal Aswan High Dam, completed in 1970 to tame the regular flooding of the mighty Nile. Meet National Geographic grantees who are excavating an ancient quarry at nearby Gebel el Silsila, where laborers once cut stone for the construction of temples such as Luxor and Karnak. Explore the island temple of Philae, a site of ancient pilgrimage for devotees of the goddess Isis. In the 1960s the entire temple complex was moved to its present location on Agilkia Island because of flooding caused by the construction of the Aswan dams. Visit a nearby quarry to learn about ancient carving techniques and view the “unfinished obelisk.” This enormous monument, half-carved out of granite bedrock, was intended to be larger than any ancient obelisk ever erected, before a large crack caused the project to be abandoned. In the afternoon, explore the Nile by felucca, a traditional wooden boat with one or two distinctive lateen sails. After an educational presentation from our expert, join the captain and crew for a gala dinner.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  8. Day 8 - Cruise > Aswan

    Fly to Abu Simbel, part of a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to two of Egypt’s most impressive temples, built by the Egyptian king Ramses II. In the 1960s, the site was dismantled, lifted, and reassembled some 600 feet west and 200 feet above the original site, a feat of engineering rivalling the original construction of the temples. Stand at the base of the colossal statues of Ramses II and puzzle out the hieroglyphs carved on the walls of the inner hall.
    Later, check in to our hotel—converted from a 19th-century Victorian palace, where notable guests such as Sir Winston Churchill and Agatha Christie once stayed—and admire sweeping views of the river from your balcony. Watch the sun set over swaying date palms as you sample delicious Mediterranean cuisine during a private dinner at the hotel’s renowned restaurant.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  9. Day 9 - Aswan > Cairo

    Choose to visit a traditional Nubian village, ride in a motorboat to the upper reaches of the Nile, or explore the vibrant Aswan Botanical Garden.
    Later, continue by local flight to Cairo and enjoy a free evening to explore Egypt’s capital city on your own.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

  10. Day 10 - Cairo

    Delve deeper into ancient history during a visit to the Egyptian Museum. View relics recovered from Tutankhamun’s tomb, documents made of delicate papyrus, elaborate sarcophagi, and a selection of royal mummies. After lunch, explore the walled city of Islamic Cairo, originally founded as the royal enclosure of the Fatimid caliphs. Weave your way through narrow streets lined with hundreds of mosques, tombs, and madrassas. Then make your way to Old Cairo, the location of the earliest original settlement, where the Canal of the Pharaohs once connected the Nile to the Red Sea. This area is home to the Coptic Christian community, the ruins of Roman fortifications, the first mosque built in Egypt, and the oldest synagogue in Cairo. This evening, gather for a festive farewell dinner to celebrate our adventure.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  11. Day 11 - Cairo

    Transfer to the airport in Cairo for your flight home.

    Meals Included: Breakfast

Pricing & Availability