Departures in January & March 2020
Egypt, just the name is enough to set your imagination spinning back to the start of recorded human history – to a time when all-powerful Pharaohs controlled a mysterious and fabulously wealthy empire which lasted virtually intact for over 5,000 years! Our Nile cruise explores the mighty monuments, the intriguing history and the extraordinary artistic masterpieces from the greatest and oldest of all the ancient civilizations.
We fly direct to Luxor, known as Thebes in ancient times, centred around the two great temple complexes of ancient Egypt – Karnak and Luxor. These are both on the East bank of the Nile and dedicated to the sun god, Amun Ra, the giver of life. The West bank, where the sun sets, was reserved for the tombs and funerary temples of the Pharaohs – the famous Valley of the Kings. As our ship sails south, we pass the great docks at Esna and We’ll spend some time in Aswan, so that you have time to enjoy the town as well as have the option to visit the incredible temples of Abu Simbel. As our ship sails back north, visit the riverside temple complex at Kom Ombo, uniquely dedicated to two gods and featuring some of the earliest depictions of surgical instruments.
Today’s Egyptians are immensely proud of their ancient lineage and with typical middle-eastern courtesy and hospitality they are some of the most welcoming and friendly people you are likely to meet.
You should arrive at the airport to take your direct flight to Luxor. After our late evening arrival, we transfer to our home for the next 7 nights, the MS Movenpick Hamees.
After breakfast we’ll explore the Valley of the Kings. It is simply remarkable that so much artistic beauty is hidden below the barren earth of this hot, dry, rock-strewn valley. The incredible state of preservation and the vividness of the paintings and hieroglyphics is simply astounding. It is tantalising to imagine what treasures all these tombs once held, lost to incredibly efficient grave robbers thousands of years ago. We will also visit Howard Carter’s house which has been beautifully preserved and is next to the newly-opened remarkably accurate replica of King Tutankhamun’s tomb. Our tour ends at the mortuary temple of Hatshetput, the first female pharaoh, with its stunning three-tiered colonnaded terraces reflecting the outline of the cliffs above. We return to our ship at lunchtime and set sail for Esna where we go through the large locks on the river and moor overnight. This evening you’ll enjoy a Welcome cocktail reception before dinner.
After breakfast we set sail for Edfu from where we visit the ancient site of El Kab – a fascinating hidden gem of a place, off the main tourist trail. Here we’ll see an ancient town still encircled by its original 38-foot thick mudbrick walls, as well as the remains of temples and a Roman-era fort. This afternoon we sail to Aswan and moor overnight. This evening there’s a ‘galabiya’ party for all guests, a fun and long tradition on all Nile ships!
Today we’ll start our exploration of Aswan by visiting the world-famous Aswan High Dam. We continue to the temple of Isis at Philae, which had to be rescued from the rising waters of Lake Nasser. After lunch we take to the water on a felucca sail as the sun sets in the west, in this, the most picturesque part of the river, around Kitchener Island, which the eponymous general converted to a botanical park.
A day at leisure to explore Aswan, surely one of the most beautifully sited towns on the Nile. Why not enjoy high tea at the Old Cataract hotel or visit the fascinating Nubian museum. Alternatively, you can choose to travel along the shores of Lake Nasser to the site of the amazing rock-cut temples of Abu Simbel, moved here block-by-block in an incredible UNESCO-sponsored operation in 1968.
Today you have a relaxing day on board to enjoy the Sun deck, pool and bar as well sail back north, stopping at the temple of Kom Ombo. This a unique site in that it’s dedicated to two gods, Horus and Sobek, the crocodile. The temple had a lake with sacred crocodiles and many mummies of them have been found nearby.
This morning we set sail back towards Luxor. After lunch, we visit the temples of Karnak and Luxor on the eastern bank of the Nile. The astounding Hypostyle Hall is the most awe-inspiring part of this vast complex, said to be the largest religious centre of the ancient world. Its 134 gigantic columns stretch up to 80ft high and are covered in hieroglyphics – look carefully and you’ll spot traces of the original colours still visible. One of the many interesting features is the first documented peace treaty in history, between Ramses II and the Hittites. Another highlight is the great Obelisk of Hatshepsut, carved from one 97-foot high block of polished red granite and weighing in at over 300 tons, it has stood here for over 3,450 years, a testament to the amazing abilities and ingenuity of its creators. We also visit the smaller, but equally remarkable Temple of Luxor, which was originally connected to Karnak via the 2-mile long Avenue of the Sphinxes. Tonight, prepare to experience the popular belly dance show – you may even join in if you wish!
Early this morning we make our way to Luxor airport for the return direct flight to the UK after a unique and truly fascinating tour.
The price of this holiday is per person based on sole occupancy of a twin/double cabin on board the MS Hamees. The price includes seven nights’ accommodation with breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, including a welcome dinner and drinks on the second night, all tours as mentioned, scheduled flights as mentioned, airport departure taxes, all local accommodation taxes, transfers and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager.
An Egyptian visa is not included in the price, please see below.
All transfer times listed here are approximate, and dependent on traffic. If you have a question regarding transfer times please don't hesitate to contact us.
|Airport||Ship location||Transfer time|
|Luxor International Airport||Luxor||30 mins|
All British passport holders require an Egyptian visa. This is available on arrival at Cairo airport for £20 per person in cash (in UK pounds), or from the Egyptian Consulate in London prior to departure.You may now also obtain an e-visa online prior to departure, please visit www.visa2egypt.gov.eg.
Please ensure that you have at least one empty page in your passport and that it is valid for at least 6 months after your return date.
Visa fees are subject to change without notice and are non-refundable.
Whilst care has been taken to ensure that the information provided relating to visa requirements is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in requirements after this time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information. therefore, whilst we strive to provide the most up-to-date information, we strongly suggest that you re-confirm requirements with the relevant embassy prior to travel.
Whilst the travelling schedule shall pose no problems for people of any age in normal physical health, we would point out that in visiting a number of historical sites, paths are uneven and uphill and we often enjoy walking tours of the main sights.
A reasonable level of fitness is required to get the best out of this tour, for example there are no lifts on board the MS Darakum and entry into some of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings involves steep descents with numerous narrow steps. Therefore this holiday will not be suitable for clients of greatly impaired mobility.
Daytime temperature levels will also be high for most of the year and in summer months most excursions start early in order to avoid excessive midday desert heat.
Please consult your GP regarding the appropriate inoculations required for Egypt at least a month before departure.
We want to ensure you make the correct choice before you book your holiday with us. If you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility we would encourage you to call us to discuss these concerns. General information on mobility in connection with our tours can be found here.