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Splendors of Egypt and the Nile

Operated by: Uniworld River Cruises

12 Days from $5,499 per person
Panoranic image of Giza Pyramids with blue sky, Egypt

Countries Visited

Egypt ...more Egypt

Locations Visited

Cairo, Dendera, Luxor, Esna, Edfu, Kom Ombo, Aswan ...more Cairo, Dendera, Luxor, Esna, Edfu, Kom Ombo, Aswan
  1. Day 1 Cairo

    Arrive at Cairo International Airport. If your cruise/tour package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, a Uniworld representative will be on hand to greet you and escort you to the opulent Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza.

    hotel Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza
  2. Day 2 Cairo Sightseeing

    The ancient quarter of Cairo is intense—the colors, the sounds, the density of people—and it’s likely been this way for thousands of years. Your local expert will show you a 12th-century citadel, the beautiful Alabaster Mosque and an unsurpassed collection of priceless artifacts, including mind-boggling treasures once buried with the boy king Tutankhamen.

    Note: Dressing modestly is recommended as a show of respect for the culture and customs of the Egyptian people. In particular, women should ensure that shoulders are covered and legs are concealed at least to the knee on all shore excursions throughout this itinerary.

    Featured Excursion: Citadel of Salah al-Din, Alabaster Mosque and Egyptian Museum

    Citadel of Salah al-Din, Alabaster Mosque and Egyptian Museum
    Your tour of this historic city includes a visit to the Citadel of Salah al-Din, a massive compound containing mosques and museums and offering breathtaking views of Cairo. Founded in the seventh century by Arab conquerors, the Fatimid dynasty rulers made Cairo their capital and named it al-Qahira (“the Victorious”). The great sultan Salah al-Din built his citadel in the 12th century as a government center and bulwark against invading armies of Crusaders. Located high above the eastern end of Cairo on El-Moqattam Hill, the citadel was the home of Egypt’s rulers for more than 700 years and is one of the oldest attractions in the city.

    After the Ottoman ruler Muhammad Ali seized power in the 1800s, he restored the walls of the citadel and built numerous palaces, schools and government buildings inside. His masterpiece was the great Alabaster Mosque, also known as the Mosque of Muhammad Ali, which you’ll have an opportunity to visit. Its two slender minarets were Muhammad Ali’s declaration of independence from Istanbul, as Ottoman law decreed that only a sultan could build a mosque with two minarets. The mosque’s expansive Turkish-style interior is lit by a beautiful array of lamps suspended from the intricately decorated ceiling.

    You’ll also visit the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, established in 1900 and by far the most impressive collection of Egyptian antiquities and pharaonic treasures in the world. Located in the heart of Cairo, the museum displays an astonishing number of objects. Ancient Egyptian history began with the founding of the Old Kingdom around 3100 BC and lasted 3,000 years, until Alexander the Great conquered the country in 332 BC and ended the rule of the pharaohs. The museum’s galleries are laid out in roughly chronological order as you move clockwise along the ground floor.

    Note: Photography of any kind is forbidden inside the museum, including digital cameras, cell phones and camcorders.

    meals Breakfast
  3. Day 3 Cairo, Fly to Luxor (Embark) Cruising the Nile River, Dendera

    Prepare to be amazed at the legendary Temple of Karnak, a massive and absolutely astounding site, with gigantic columns, broad avenues lined with stone sphinxes and halls of truly epic proportions. Your local guide is a trained Egyptologist with fascinating insights to share, many not found in any guidebook.

    Note: Flights to Luxor depart early in the morning to take advantage of more favorable weather and traffic conditions, and to optimize tour scheduling.

    Featured Excursion: Temple at Karnak

    Temple at Karnak
    After a short flight to Luxor on the east bank of the Nile, you can stroll through the grand avenues of sphinxes and halls of gigantic columns of the magnificent Temple of Karnak. This vast complex, situated about 2 miles from the Temple of Luxor, was originally established during the Middle Kingdom (1991-1633 BC), and various dynasties over the next 1,300 years continued to expand it. Karnak is a massive and simply astounding site, reflecting the combined achievements of many generations of ancient builders—as many as 80,000 laborers took part in its creation during the 19th Dynasty alone.

    Buried under sand for a thousand years, the UNESCO-designated Karnak complex is composed of three main temples, smaller enclosed temples and several outer temples. The largest of these is dedicated to Amun, a great pharaonic god. Enter the main compound, the Precinct of Amun, through the Great Court, and continue on to the dazzling Great Hypostyle Hall—sometimes called the Hall of Columns—an imposing forest of 134 enormous sandstone columns in the form of papyrus stalks.

    Later, you’ll board the elegant S.S. Sphinx and set sail for beautiful Dendera. Enjoy a Gala Reception and dinner onboard this evening.

    meals Breakfast, Lunch, Gala Reception, Dinner
  4. Day 4 Dendera, Cruising the Nile River, Luxor

    Like its twin shrine, the Temple of Karnak, the Temple of Luxor stands on the site of ancient Thebes, the once flourishing capital of Egypt’s New Kingdom. It was built over hundreds of years and even in ruins it is still an extraordinary place. You’ll also visit the Temple of Hathor, dedicated to the goddess of love and beauty.

    Featured Excursions:
    Temple of Hathor
    Temple of Luxor

    Temple of Hathor
    The impressive Temple of Hathor at Dendera was dedicated to the goddess of love and beauty. The temple dates to Egypt’s Ptolemaic era, when the heirs of Alexander the Great ruled over Egypt and adopted Egyptian culture and religion as their own. Built between 125 BC and AD 65, it is one of the best-preserved temples in all of Egypt and features a rare bas-relief of Cleopatra with Caesarion, the son she bore to Julius Caesar.

    Return to Luxor for some free time before visiting the ancient Temple of Luxor.

    Temple of Luxor
    Enter the temple through the great pylon—a ceremonial gateway—where two enormous statues of Ramses II still stand, along with a pink granite obelisk (its mate stands in the Place de la Concorde in Paris, France). Continue on to an enormous interior courtyard, where the Abu Haggag Mosque once stood atop the ruins of the temple. You can still see a ghostly remnant of the mosque on the east side of the courtyard, high above the columns, its arched doorway opening into thin air.

    The temple’s chief architects were Amenhotep III (Egypt’s “Sun King,” also known as Amenophis III) and Ramses II, and it was constructed over hundreds of years, beginning around 1400 BC. It was dedicated to the “father of all life,” the god Amun, sometimes referred to as Amon or Amon-Ra. Ancient Egyptians came to the temple to pay tribute to this god during the Opet Festival, celebrated during the annual flooding of the Nile. Once a year, a great feast was held and the statue of Amun was transported via a small sailboat from the Temple of Karnak to the Temple of Luxor. (Stages of the festival are depicted in friezes along the Temple of Karnak’s grand processional colonnade, the construction of which was started by Amenhotep III and finished by his grandson, Tutankhamen.)

    At the rear of the temple is the Sun Court of Amenhotep III, as well as the Bark Shrine that was rebuilt by Alexander the Great (who is depicted bare-chested on the walls). The Luxor Temple complex is at its most stunning at sunset, when it is illuminated with the golden glow of the setting sun.

    meals Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  5. Day 5 Luxor, Cruising the Nile River, Kom Ombo

    The word “colossal” will take on a whole new meaning after today’s excursion to the gigantic twin statues known as the Colossi of Memnon. And that’s just the beginning—you’ll also visit the temple of one of Egypt’s rare female pharaohs as well as the Valley of the Kings, used as a royal burial place for nearly 500 years and where the mummified remains of Tutankhamen are on display.

    Featured Excursion: Colossi of Memnon, Hatshepsut Temple and Valley of the Kings

    Colossi of Memnon, Hatshepsut Temple and Valley of the Kings
    Get an up-close view of two gigantic statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III, better known as the Colossi of Memnon. Sixty feet tall and gazing eastward toward the rising sun, the statues depict Amenhotep seated on his throne. Carved next to his legs are his mother and his wife, with side panels depicting the god of the Nile, Hapi. The figures originally sat in front of the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III and are believed to have surpassed even Karnak in size. Unfortunately, the temple itself was slowly dismantled over the centuries to provide building materials for new temples; the twin Colossi continue to stand guard nonetheless, just as they have done for the past 3,400 years.

    The Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahri is another highlight today. One of Egypt’s rare female pharaohs, Hatshepsut is considered by historians to have been one of the most successful rulers of ancient Egypt. Both the setting and the construction of her temple make it unique among the landmarks of Egypt; built into the face of steep cliffs at the basin, the temple is made of limestone instead of sandstone, unlike any other funerary temples of the New Kingdom period. Hatshepsut’s successor, Thutmose III, attempted to remove her name from the temple, and many images of the queen were damaged or destroyed during his reign.

    You’ll also visit one of the most famous archeological sites in the world—the remote and barren Valley of the Kings, used for royal burials for nearly 500 years. Much of our understanding of Egyptian mythology has been garnered from these ancient chambers, located about four miles inland on the west bank of the Nile. It was here that the bodies of great pharaohs such as Ramses II and Thutmose III were once laid to rest and where the mummified remains of the boy king Tutankhamen are still on display. The idea for establishing this royal burial ground is thought to have originated with Thutmose I, who opted to conceal his tomb far from his mortuary temple in an effort to deter tomb robbers. Subsequent pharaohs did the same, changing a tradition that had endured for close to 2,000 years.

    Within the tombs and along the walls of the Valley of the Kings, inscriptions from the Book of the Dead provided instructions on how the pharaohs could safely journey to the next world and avoid the dangers that lay on the way. For the sake of preservation, only a handful of the most interesting tombs are open to visitors at any given time.

    Return to the ship and set sail for Kom Ombo. Tonight, don your galabeya (traditional Egyptian attire, samples of which will be available for purchase onboard if you’d like to participate but didn’t bring your own) for a festive onboard party featuring traditional Egyptian music.

    meals Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  6. Day 6 Kom Ombo, Cruising the Nile River, Aswan

    After visiting a temple dedicated to a crocodile god today (don’t miss the display of some of the 300 mummified crocs found in the local area), hop aboard a small boat for a bird-watching excursion along the Nile.

    Featured Excursions:
    Kom Ombo Temple
    Bird watching boat ride and tea with a Nubian family

    Kom Ombo Temple
    The Kom Ombo Temple, unlike most ancient Egyptian temples, is dedicated to two gods—the crocodile god Sobek and the falcon god Horus the Elder. Construction began under the reign of Ptolemy VI Philometor (180-145 BC) and continued under later rulers, most notably Ptolemy XIII (47-44 BC), who built the inner and outer hypostyle halls. Several of the 300 crocodile mummies discovered in the vicinity are displayed inside the temple.

    Bird watching boat ride and tea with a Nubian family
    After a scenic cruise to Aswan, you’ll take a small boat on a bird-watching excursion along the Nile. Keep an eye out for different species of herons, kingfishers, vultures, sunbirds and other wildlife that thrive in the marsh grass along the riverbanks.

    meals Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  7. Day 7 Aswan

    Today is an epic day, filled with wonders from start to finish. You’ll visit a marvel of modern engineering—the Aswan High Dam—as well as the Unfinished Obelisk and the beautiful Philae Temple complex, which was moved from one island to another back in the 1970s. But wait, there’s more. You’ll also take a ride in a felucca—a traditional Egyptian sailboat—and enjoy afternoon tea at a famous hotel depicted in Agatha Christie’s novel Death on the Nile.

    After dinner onboard this evening, you’ll be treated to an enchanting Nubian show featuring traditionally attired performers, live music and dancing.

    Featured Excursions:
    Aswan High Dam, Unfinished Obelisk and Philae Temple
    Boat ride in traditional Nile River felucca and afternoon tea at the Old Cataract Hotel Aswan

    Aswan High Dam, Unfinished Obelisk and Philae Temple
    The Aswan High Dam, completed in the 1970s, is a marvel of modern engineering that boasts some truly epic dimensions—it is 11,800 feet long; 3,215 feet wide at its base; and 304 feet high—with a reservoir capacity nearly five times that of the Hoover Dam. You’ll also visit the Unfinished Obelisk, commissioned by Queen Hatshepsut yet never completed due to a flaw discovered in the stone. If completed, it would have been the largest and heaviest obelisk ever attempted, weighing more than two million pounds.

    Another highlight today is the beautiful Philae Temple complex, originally situated on the island of Philae. It was painstakingly transferred to the island of Agilika after the construction of the Aswan High Dam to save it from the rising waters of Lake Nasser, a daunting UNESCO-funded endeavor that took 10 years to complete. The three principal monuments on the island all date from the Ptolemaic and Roman periods—the Kiosk of Trajan, the Temple of Hathor and the Temple of Isis.

    Note: Guests are welcome to climb around the Unfinished Obelisk, but please note the climb is physically demanding.

    Boat ride in traditional Nile River felucca and afternoon tea at the Old Cataract Hotel Aswan
    Today you will sail serenely down the Nile in a felucca—a small traditional boat with large triangular sails—a wonderful way to experience the river as Egyptians have for a thousand years. Later, relax over afternoon tea at the historic Old Cataract Hotel Aswan, a colonial-era gem that counts Winston Churchill and Princess Diana among its former guests. This famous hotel was depicted in Agatha Christie’s acclaimed mystery novel Death on the Nile.

    Note: Feluccas are wind-powered and thus will operate only if weather conditions permit.

    meals Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  8. Day 8 Aswan, Cruising the Nile River, Kom Ombo, Edfu

    Spend the day at leisure or join us for an optional excursion to see the magnificent temples of Abu Simbel.

    meals Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  9. Day 9 Esna, Cruising the Nile River, Luxor

    On today’s excursion, you’ll learn how the Temple of Esna was buried under debris for many centuries and is one of the last great Egyptian temples ever built. Your Egyptologist guide will share all sorts of fascinating insights about this significant cultural site and show you the façade bearing the last known hieroglyphic inscriptions ever recorded in Egypt.

    Later, savor the Nile’s majestic scenery as the ship cruises to Luxor.

    Featured Excursion: Temple of Esna

    Temple of Esna
    The Late Roman Temple of Esna lies on the west bank of the Nile about 34 miles south of Luxor. Buried under debris for many centuries, the temple is just a short walk from the ship through the local market. It dates from the Ptolemaic and Roman period (180 BC to AD 251) and is one of the last Egyptian temples ever built. Visitors can see two large inscriptions praising Khnum, the ram-headed god of creation, who fashioned mankind on a potter’s wheel from the clay mud of the Nile. There’s also a hypostyle hall with 24 pillars and a ceiling depicting Egyptian astronomical figures and Roman zodiac signs. On the temple’s western wall, look for images of Horus, the god of victory, and Khnum, dragging a net full of fish. At the foot of this façade are the last known hieroglyphic inscriptions ever recorded in Egypt.

    meals Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  10. Day 10 Luxor (Disembark), Fly to Cairo

    Disembark in Luxor and transfer to the airport for your return flight to Cairo. Then, check in to the Four Seasons Hotel at Nile Plaza where you’ll have time to relax before tonight’s Farewell Dinner at the elegant Mena House Hotel.

    Note: Flights to Cairo depart early in the morning to take advantage of more favorable weather and traffic conditions, and to optimize tour scheduling.

    Featured Excursion: Farewell Dinner at the Mena House

    meals Breakfast
    hotel Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza
  11. Day 11 Cairo (Ancient Memphis)

    It’s a day of Bucket List Moments today as we venture to Ancient Memphis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a number of amazing monuments to see—including the enigmatic Great Sphinx. After seeing the pyramids from afar last evening, you’ll have a thrilling opportunity to view them from an up-close perspective, the only way to fully appreciate their remarkable size and grandeur. 

    Featured Excursion: Ancient Memphis sites, including the Pyramids of Giza, the Great Sphinx and Sakkara visit

    Ancient Memphis sites, including the Pyramids of Giza, the Great Sphinx and Sakkara visit
    Venture forth to Ancient Memphis, the capital of Egypt’s Old Kingdom and now a vast UNESCO World Heritage Site encompassing a number of extraordinary monuments. You’ll see the colossal statue of Ramses II and the Alabaster Sphinx, as well as the Step Pyramid of King Zoser (or Djoser) in nearby Sakkara, the oldest pyramid in the world and the prototype for all subsequent pyramids. The ancient architect and sage Imhotep initially designed the pyramid as a single story, then later added five more levels and covered the structure with a shell of fine limestone. In front of the pyramid, Imhotep built a stone structure containing a wooden box with two peepholes; peer inside and you’ll see a life-size painted statue of King Zoser. The peepholes were created to allow the king’s ka (life spirit) to communicate with the outside world.

    At the Giza Necropolis, the face of ancient Egypt—the Great Sphinx—awaits your visit. With the body of a crouching lion and the head of a man, it is the largest monolith statue in the world. Experts believe that the Sphinx (known to the early Arabs as Abu al-Hol, “Father of Terror”) was built in the 26th century BC during Khafre’s reign, perhaps as a portrait of the pharaoh himself. Unfortunately, much of this monument has either eroded or been deliberately destroyed over the years. Some of its facial features are no longer intact, such as the beard and the nose—the latter of which was not shot off by Napoleon’s soldiers, as widely believed, but chiseled away many centuries earlier. A number of excavations in modern times have removed the sand that built up around the Sphinx over the centuries and kept much of it buried. Despite its timeworn condition, the Sphinx still kneels gracefully as it has for thousands of years, looking toward the east with an enigmatic smile.

    Today you’ll also visit the only surviving Wonder of the Ancient World, the Pyramids of Giza. Beholding these legendary structures up close lets you appreciate their stone masonry and awe-inspiring architectural precision. Until as recently as the 19th century, the oldest and largest of the three pyramids—Khufu—was the tallest building in the world; when it was completed around the 26th century BC, it stood about 50 stories high.

    meals Breakfast
  12. Day 12 Depart Cairo

    Check out of your hotel and transfer to the Cairo International Airport for your flight home, or extend your trip with a memorable optional extension in Jerusalem.

    Note: Ship schedule and order of sightseeing may change throughout the itinerary. Tour to port of destination by motorcoach and substitute visits to other sites may occur during your trip due to the impact of water levels, closures because of public holidays or other uncontrollable factors.

    meals Breakfast
SECC Splendors Of Egypt And The Nile Map Uw 2020
Price Includes

Dining

  • All meals onboard, prepared using the finest and freshest ingredients
  • 11 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 8 dinners
  • Captain’s Gala Reception
  • Five-star farm-to-table cuisine
  • House wine, local beer, soft drinks, tea and coffee during lunch and dinner onboard

Accommodations

  • 7-night cruise in a riverview stateroom on the stylish S.S. Sphinx
  • 4 nights at the luxurious Four Seasons at Nile Plaza
  • Elegant and well-appointed riverview staterooms and suites, with the finest linens and towels
  • Onboard fitness center, plus exercise and wellness classes
  • Shipwide Inernet and Wi-Fi access

Excursions

  • 12 included excursions all led by English-speaking local experts
  • Services of a local guide, a trained Egyptologist

Experiences

  • 1 country: Egypt
  • 4 UNESCO World Heritage sites
  • Services of an experienced Uniworld Cruise Manager
  • All scheduled airport transfers
  • All gratuities, both onboard and onshore
  • Onboard entertainment and enrichment

All fares are per guest in US Dollars based on double occupancy unless otherwise noted.

Fares are capacity controlled and are subject to change at any time without notice.

Availability of all stateroom categories cannot be guaranteed.

Single Supplement applies for single accommodation.

Itineraries, hotels, and vessels may change, and substitute visits to other sites may occur during your trip due to water level fluctuations and other uncontrollable factors.

The order of sightseeing and docking ports are subject to change according to port authority assignments.

Dates & Prices
Airfare is not included, but can be added to quote upon request Trip prices are based on double occupancy; single supplement discounts are available on select departures, call us at 1-877-622-9109 for more info
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Ship Information

Launching on the Nile in 2020

The S.S. Sphinx will make her debut on the Nile river on January 4, 2020. As the only luxury river cruise ship in Egypt, S.S. Sphinx will offer three gourmet dining venues, including a private dining room and an al fresco dining experience on the upper deck, a swimming pool, massage room and 42 gorgeously appointed suites. Egyptian artwork, fabrics and hand-carved furnishings will bring the beauty of the region to life onboard.

Reviews
Service
Vacation
Independent Reviews
Susan Fischer
Saturday, November 11, 2017
Service
I have taken a few trips with GET and all were enjoyed greatly due to the service provided in the past but this trip is definitely the topper! The service and friendliness given by all the people involved with this trip to Egypt was above and beyond my expectations. It was a trip of a 'lifetime' for me and would recommend this "Splendors of Egypt and the Nile" to everyone! And just for the record, we all felt very safe and secure in Egypt.
Vacation
The cost of this trip was worth every dollar spent on the purchase of Splendors of Egypt and the Nile for the simple reason we did not miss any of the sights.
Trusted Customer
Thursday, February 18, 2016
Service
I have used Grand European for several trips and have never been disappointed.
Response from Grand European Travel:
Thank you for your feedback. Yes, there are a few excursions that are still optional and not included. We apologize for any confusion. We have sent your comments to Uniworld for immediate review. We're happy to see that you enjoyed Egypt despite this miscommunication. Grand European Travel
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Vacation
There were good and bad experiences with this trip. Uniworld's main drawing card for trips is that it is all inclusive. This was the assumption I had when booking the trip. I was very unhappy when I discovered that this did not include trips to Egypt - - false advertising? ? ? When all was said and done the trip was great, the crew on the ship could not have done more to make the trip comfortable. Our guide, Akram, was great. His knowledge of Egyptian history was exceptional. Uniworld - clean up your advertising! ! ! !
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