Uncover the history and mysteries of ancient Egypt, one of the greatest civilisations of antiquity, as you cruise along the mighty Nile, enjoying sumptuous comfort and style along the way. Joined by a qualified Egyptologist and embarking on informative excursions visiting some of the most incredible and iconic monuments of the ancient Egyptian Kingdom, this classic Nile river cruise will bring history to life.
- Discover the UNESCO-listed Valley of the Kings and the Temple of Hatshepsut, and visit the Colossi of Memnon
- Admire the Temple of Horus and Kom Ombo Temple
- Explore the sights of Aswan, from the High Dam to the Unfinished Obelisk, and the Temple of Philae
- Enjoy sailing on a traditional Egyptian felucca along the Nile
- Optional excursion to iconic Abu Simbel - by coach or by air
- Visit the incredible temples of Karnak and Luxor
- Return flights
- Resort transfers and airport taxes
- 7 nights' accommodation onboard the MS Mayfair in a cabin with exterior view
- Full board with buffet breakfast, lunch, and dinner
- Excursions, as described
- Qualified Egyptologist on board
- Evening entertainment
Full itinerary below
Day One: Luxor
Today you'll set off from the UK with a flight to Luxor, set on the east bank of the River Nile, and once the site of ancient Thebes, the great capital of the Pharaohs during the apex of their power from the 16th to 11th centuries B.C. You'll be met upon arrival and transferred to the M.S. Mayfair, which boasts spacious public areas, panoramic views, and well-appointed cabins, with most offering a 'Juliette' balcony as standard (although it is possible to upgrade to a full 'sit-on' balcony). The MS Mayfair will be your home for the next seven nights, and you'll be welcomed aboard by the friendly crew, which includes an exclusive Egyptologist. The ship stays overnight in Luxor.
Day Two: Valley of the Kings
For some 500 years - between the 16th and 11th centuries BC - the greatest members of ancient Egyptian society, the mighty Pharaohs and even powerful nobles of the New Kingdom, were buried in rock cut tombs in a valley on the west bank of the Nile, close to Luxor. This site is known as the famous UNESCO-listed Valley of the Kings, and today you'll cross from the east to the west bank on your first excursion uncovering the ancient and fabled history of Egypt, starting with a visit to the impressive Temple of Hatshepsut, one of the greatest Pharaohs, and the second confirmed female Pharaoh. Before returning to the MS Mayfair for lunch, you'll also visit the enormous statues of the Colossi of Memnon, which depict Amenhotep III and date back over 3,400 years. In the afternoon, you'll enjoy some scenic cruising as you sail upstream to Esna, passing through the Lock; you'll stay overnight in Esna.
Day Three: Edfu and Kom Ombo
First today is a visit to the Temple of Horus in Edfu, which - first built in the Ptolemaic period between 237 and 57 BC - is one of the best preserved shrines to be admired in Egypt. Its walls are inscribed with texts which shine an illuminating light on to the language, myth and religion during the Greco-Roman period in ancient Egypt, but also highlight some of the important scenes relating to the age-old conflict between the falcon god Horus and Set, the god of storms, disorder, and violence, who killed his own brother Osiris, Horus' father. Afterwards, you'll return to the ship as it sails upstream to Kom Ombo, where you'll enjoy a late afternoon visit to the Ptolemic Temple dedicated to the gods Haroeris (or Horus the Elder) and Sobek, the crocodile god. Afterwards, the ship will continue to sail upstream, heading to Aswan, where you'll remain for the next two nights.
Days Four and Five: Aswan
Since antiquity, the riverside city of Aswan has been a key strategic and commercial gateway for southern Egypt, and you'll spend a full day exploring its delights, with sightseeing highlights including a visit to the High Dam, the Old Granite Quarries, the Unfinished Obelisk - the largest known ancient obelisk, ordered by Hatshepsut - before taking a boat to visit the Temple of Philae on Agilkia Island. Dating to the 4th century BC, the columned Temple of Isis features amongst Philae's ruins. You'll enjoy lunch back on the ship, before heading out on a traditional felucca (Egyptian sailing boat) for an afternoon's cruise down the Nile and around the picturesque Kitchener Island. On day five, you can enjoy a day at leisure to explore Aswan independently, or head out on a couple of optional excursions**, including a visit to the iconic Abu Simbel site. Although an early start, you'll certainly be rewarded as you admire the four colossal statues of Rameses II, one of the greatest Pharaohs, whether you choose to join the excursion by coach or by air. In the afternoon, you may also wish to join an optional bird-watching excursion and visit to a Nubian house.
Day Six: Cruising the Nile
Enjoy a day of tranquil downstream sailing along the Nile, perhaps taking a refreshing dip in the pool, catching up on some reading, or simply enjoying soaking up the passing scenery. Later you'll arrive in Esna, where the ship will moor overnight.
Days Seven and Eight: Luxor
This morning, you'll continue sailing from Esna, arriving at Luxor at lunch time. In the afternoon, you'll head ashore to visit the magnificent Temple of Karnak, a vast-open air museum comprising three temples dedicated to the Theban gods, with the oldest parts of the complex dating back to the reign of Senusret I in the Middle Kingdom, before continuing into the Ptolemaic period, although many of the extant buildings date from the New Kingdom. For the ancient Egyptians, the area around Karnak was Ipet-isut, or 'the most selected of places', and the main place of worship of the eighteenth dynasty 'Theban Triad' (the three most popular gods at the time: Amun, god of the World, Mut, Queen of the Goddesses and Lady of Heaven, and their sun Khonsu, the god of the moon). Afterwards, you'll visit another great temple site, the Temple of Luxor, which was once connected to the Temple of Karnak by an avenue of sphinxes. Unusually for an ancient Egyptian temple, the Temple of Luxor was not dedicated to a god or a deified version of the king in death, but instead to the rejuvenation of kingship, and it's believed that many of the Pharaohs were crowned here. To the temple's rear, chapels were built by Amenhotep III and Alexander the Great, while other parts of the temple were built by Tutankhamun and Ramesses II. In the evening, there's an optional excursion to watch the exhilarating Sound and Light Show at Karnak Temple.** On day eight, it's time to bid farewell to the MS Mayfair and her crew, as you transfer to the airport for your flight home, or to your next destination (should you wish to extend your trip to Cairo and the Pyramids, or beyond).
Various dates available
Contact one of our dedicated travel specialists today to enquire about this holiday
01234 819 699
Or visit us in our Bedford shop to find out more
*Order of sailing and touring is subject to change locally; your tour guide will advise you accordingly.
**Please note that optional excursions incur a supplement.
Temple of Hatshepsut, Valley of the Queens
Temple of Horus, Edfu
Lobby area, main deck, MS Mayfair
Cabin with juliette balcony, MS Mayfair
Pool on the sun deck, MS Mayfair
Hot tub on sun deck on MS Mayfair
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