Legends of the Nile

Legends of the Nile

Embark on a once-in-a-lifetime journey to see the Pyramids of Giza, the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Karnak and more! This 10-night journey features a four-night luxury Nile cruise, and an expert Egyptologist will accompany you throughout the trip. Explore the Egyptian and Luxor museums, and learn about how ancient artifacts are preserved at the Oriental Institute’s Chicago House in Luxor. Also, tour Cairo and see some of the city’s most impressive mosques and its Coptic Christian churches. This small-group trip includes flights to Luxor and Abu Simbel.

Trip Itinerary:

February 12 Depart Gateway city

AHI FlexAir passengers depart for Cairo, Egypt. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your arrival city. Your claim checks should have the following airport code: CAI.

Meals – Appropriate in-flight meal service

February 13 Cairo, Egypt

Arrive at Cairo International Airport. Proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage. After completing customs, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer and Land/Cruise Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the designated meeting spot, where an AHI Travel representative will meet them. The meeting location will be provided with your final documents.

Upon arrival, transfer to the Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza. Please note that if you arrive at the hotel before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available.

Accommodations – Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza
Meals – Appropriate in-flight meal service

February 14 Cairo, Egypt

Each morning, savor a sumptuous breakfast. Look forward to exciting discoveries as your Egyptologist brings ancient Egypt to life during your excursions!

Discovery: Egyptian Museum.
This afternoon, tour the acclaimed Egyptian Museum, which contains the world’s most comprehensive collection of Egyptian artifacts, spanning 5,000 years of antiquity. More than 160,000 fascinating items are housed in its halls, including royal mummies, sarcophagi and objects of everyday ancient life. In the Tutankhamen galleries, marvel at the glittering treasures from the tomb of the “boy king,” including his magnificent gold funerary mask.

Tonight, in the hotel, mingle with your fellow travelers and get better acquainted at a Welcome Reception.

Accommodations – Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza
Meals – Breakfast

February 15 Cairo/Giza/Sakkara

Discovery: The Pyramids of Giza.
Today’s adventure takes you to the Great Pyramid of Giza, the sole surviving and oldest monument of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and a masterpiece of ingenious engineering. The largest of the three Old Kingdom pyramids in the complex, it was built for the pharaoh Khufu out of approximately 2.3 million massive blocks of stone.

Standing guard nearby is the instantly recognizable, mysterious Sphinx, a mythological creature with the head of a human atop a reclining lion’s body. Visit this imposing limestone statue, which stretches 240 feet in length and towers 66 feet overhead.

In the Solar Boat Museum, see a cedar vessel thought to be over 4,500 years old that was intended as a means of transport for a pharaoh in the afterlife. Then learn about the ancient process of handcrafting papyrus at the Papyrus Institute, followed by lunch at a nearby hotel.

Discovery: Sakkara.
Journey to Sakkara, an immense burial site that served as the necropolis for the ancient capital of Memphis, and visit the Mastaba of Mereruka and the Pyramid Tomb of King Teti.

Sakkara is also home to the Step Pyramid of Djoser, considered the first pyramid. Before Djoser’s reign, tombs had been rectangular, flat-roofed structures made of dried clay bricks, known as mastabas, the Arabic word for bench. Over King Djoser’s 20-year reign, his architect Imhotep adopted a new plan of adding six stepped layers of stone above a square-based mastaba. When it was completed more than 4,600 years ago, it was the tallest structure of its time.

Accommodations – Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza
Meals – Breakfast and lunch

February 16 Cairo

Discovery: Islamic and Coptic Cairo.
Discover the many mosques, churches and temples of Islamic and Coptic Cairo. Visit the city’s most famous Coptic Christian church, the Hanging Church, nicknamed for its original suspended appearance atop the gate of a Roman fortress. Continue to the Church of St. Sergius, believed to be built over a cave where Mary, Joseph and Jesus once rested after fleeing to Egypt. Step inside the 9th-century Ben Ezra Synagogue, one of the most-visited Jewish sites in Cairo.

While in the area, see beautiful rice-straw paper being made by hand at the El-Nafeza Foundation, a cooperative artisan workshop that provides training and job opportunities for impoverished people.

Then head into the colorful and exhilarating Khan el Khalili bazaar on your own for an exotic shopping experience filled with sensory delights. Afterward, meet the group to sample delectable Egyptian specialties at lunch in a local restaurant.

After lunch, pass through the walls of the Citadel, a medieval Islamic fortress complex, to visit the Mosque of Mohammed Ali, also known as the Alabaster Mosque. Conclude your day at the grand Al-Rifai Mosque, one of Cairo’s largest, where many members of Egypt’s modern royal family are entombed.

Accommodations – Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza
Meals – Breakfast and lunch

February 17 Cairo/Luxor

Very early this morning, check out of the hotel and transfer to Cairo’s airport for your flight to Luxor.

Discovery: Luxor Museum.
Through the museum’s informative and elegantly displayed exhibits, experience the glory of ancient Thebes as you admire artifacts collected from its temples and necropolis.

Continue to the Sonesta St. George Hotel Luxor and check in. Relax over lunch in the hotel.

Discovery: The Temple of Luxor.
Aboard a felucca boat, sail along the Nile River, and arrive at Luxor Temple. The complex’s construction began during the reign of Amenhotep III, and subsequent rulers, including Tutankhamen, Horemheb, Ramses II and Alexander the Great, added to it until 323 B.C. During the Opet Festival, one of ancient Egypt’s most significant religious festivals, statues of several revered deities were transported to this temple in processions from the Temple of Karnak.

Accommodations – Sonesta St. George Hotel Luxor
Meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner

February 18 Luxor

After breakfast, check out of the hotel.

Discovery: Luxor’s West Bank ~ The Valleys of the Kings and Queens.
Visit the spellbinding Valleys of the Kings and Queens, where New Kingdom pharaohs and their families awaited immortality. These once-hidden tombs were designed to resemble the passage to the underworld. Amazingly, the hieroglyphics that adorn the walls still spring to life with vibrant color. Explore several tombs, including that of the legendary King Tutankhamen. Then, below dramatic limestone cliffs, walk up the ramp that leads into the striking Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, designed with sweeping, colonnaded terraces. Afterward, stop at an alabaster workshop. Continue to the tomb of Amun-her-Khepeshef featuring superbly preserved murals, and then snap some photos at the majestic Colossi of Memnon.

Travel to the pier to begin your Nile River cruise. Embark the Sonesta St. George I, and enjoy a delicious lunch.

Discovery: The Epigraphic Survey, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago (The Chicago House).
Enjoy an exclusive visit to the Chicago House in Luxor, which preserves Egypt’s ancient cultural heritage through documentation, conservation and restoration. Founded in 1924, the Chicago House has completed epigraphic surveys of important archaeological sites in and around Luxor and has produced numerous publications on ancient Egyptian monuments. These publications often represent the only reliable scientific documentation of endangered and deteriorating monuments. Learn more about their important work and see their unique documentation methods firsthand.

This evening, after your dinner onboard the ship, delight in a belly-dancing performance.

Accommodations – Sonesta St. George I
Meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner

February 19 Karnak/Cruising

Discovery: The Temple of Karnak.
This morning, visit the Karnak Temple, an enormous complex spread across 60 acres. Within this important ancient religious center are numerous pylons, halls, smaller temples and chapels. In the Temple of Amun-Ra, feel dwarfed by the veritable forest of 134 gigantic sandstone columns as you wander through its great hypostyle hall.

After lunch on the ship, enjoy the ship’s amenities during your leisure time this afternoon. Later, watch from the rail as the ship passes through the Esna Lock.

Accommodations – Sonesta St. George I
Meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner

February 20 Cruising/Edfu/Kom Ombo

Pursue your own interests this morning as the ship cruises to Edfu. Perhaps you’ll admire the tranquil Nile scenery from your spot on the sun deck.

Discovery: The Temple of Horus at Edfu.
Go ashore to visit one of Egypt’s best-preserved shrines, built circa 237 B.C. and completed almost 200 years later. The outstanding condition of its decorative reliefs have provided historians with invaluable details about ancient religious rituals and political life.

This afternoon, the ship sails to Kom Ombo. After lunch, gain insights during an engaging discussion with an Egyptologist.

Discovery: Temple of Sobek and Haroeris.
Arrive at Kom Ombo to explore the unusual double temple complex of Sobek and Haroeris. The building’s symmetrical ground plan unifies two adjacent temples, one dedicated to the crocodile-headed Sobek, god of fertility, and the other to the falcon-headed Haroeris, god of the sky.

Tonight, enjoy a traditional Nubian show on the ship.

Accommodations – Sonesta St. George I
Meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner

February 21 Aswan/Abu Simbel

This morning, the ship docks in Aswan, where it remains for the day. After breakfast, transfer to Aswan’s airport for your flight to Abu Simbel.

Discovery: Abu Simbel.
Visit the colossal Great Temple of Ramses II, a monument that commemorates triumphs over the Nubians, Hittites and Syrians. Marvel not only at the gargantuan size of this structure as you notice how the meandering tourists appear Lilliputian, but also at the mammoth feat of engineering that was required to reconstruct it on this higher ground, overlooking the Nile waters amassed by the Aswan Dam. Equally captivating is the smaller, neighboring temple dedicated to the goddess Hathor.

Depart for the Abu Simbel airport to catch your flight back to Aswan. When you return, relax during free time this afternoon.

Tonight, at a festive Farewell Reception and Dinner onboard the ship, gather together for a final celebration of your Egyptian adventure.

Accommodations – Sonesta St. George I
Meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner

February 22 Aswan/Cairo

After breakfast, disembark the ship.

Discovery: The Temple of Philae and the Aswan High Dam.
Board a felucca and sail to the island temple complex of Philae, dedicated to the goddess Isis. When the rising waters of the High Dam threatened the complex’s beautiful structures in the 1970s, they were dismantled and reassembled on higher ground about 500 meters from their original site. Continue to the High Dam itself, an engineering marvel built in the 1960s, which has helped to control the Nile’s annual flooding and improved the nation’s power supply.

Transfer to Aswan’s airport for your flight to Cairo. When you arrive, check in to the InterContinental CityStars Cairo and enjoy the evening at leisure.

Accommodations – InterContinental CityStars Cairo
Meals – Breakfast and lunch

February 23 Depart for gateway city

Very early this morning, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for a group transfer and Land/Cruise Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer depart for Cairo International Airport for your return flights home. Your Travel Director will provide the details.

Meals – Breakfast and appropriate in-flight meal service

Map:

Testimonials:

Every aspect was excellent. The AHI Director had everything planned perfectly—we didn’t have to lift a finger. We felt safe with the exceptional security that was in place everywhere, and all of our staff, drivers, etc, were exceptional and courteous.

- Gene Middendorf, 2018

We were fortunate to have a superb tour leader, Egyptologist, and a special additional hieroglyphics/ancient graffiti expert on our tour. Although we usually prefer traveling on our own or in smaller groups, our tour of Egypt operated so smoothly and everyone had a lot in common having been at the U of I.

- Laura Houston, 2018

The Egyptian Museum and the pyramids of Giza were a highlight of our trip! The tombs in the Valley of the Kings and the Luxor Temple were magnificent.

- Collette Henley, 2017


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