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Egypt: Land of the Pharaohs

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Departure Dates

  • Mar 08, 2018 - Mar 20, 2018


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Egypt: Land of the Pharaohs

For all of recorded time, the mighty waters of Egypt’s Nile River have been the source of life-giving sustenance, cultural riches, and mythic power. Aboard your private yacht, the 18-cabin Sun Boat III, explore the glorious age of the pharaohs. See the iconic pyramids in Giza, visit the stunning temples at Abu Simbel, delve into the tombs of the Valley of the Kings, marvel at the Great Dam at Aswan, and view the immense riches gathered at the Museums of Cairo and Luxor. Explore Islamic and Coptic Cairo. Embrace the cherished legacy, both ancient and modern, this region has bequeathed to future civilizations.

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Tour Map
Egypt Map

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Ship Information

SUN BOAT III was built in 1992 and extensively refurbished to reflect the graceful style of the 1920s and 1930s. Of the more than 200 cruisers now sailing the Nile, none surpasses this elegant vessel in comfort, service, or cuisine. Its limited capacity and old-world elegance evoke the feeling of sailing the Nile on a private yacht. Secure, well-located, private docking facilities in Luxor and Aswan ensure that Sun Boat III is always convenient and easy to board. All cabins face outside with two picture windows and are equipped with full en suite bathrooms with shower and hair dryer, individually controlled air-conditioning, satellite television, internal telephone and external telephone with international line access, safe deposit box, individual CD player, and mini-bar. Sun Boat III has large, inviting lounges rimmed with windows for comfortable observation of the passing scenery. On the vessel’s spacious sun deck, comfortable lounge chairs surround a plunge pool, perfect for a refreshing dip under brilliant Egyptian skies. Other amenities include a gift shop, restaurant, laundry service, and on-board Internet access.

Sun Boat III

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Thursday–Friday, March 8–9, 2018

Depart home on overnight flights to Cairo. On arrival, transfer to the historic Mena House Hotel. From its early days as a royal hunting lodge and later transformation to a deluxe hotel, it has hosted dignitaries and world leaders visiting the Egyptian capital. Enjoy its lovely gardens and the incomparable views of the great pyramid of the Pharaoh Khufu. Spend the afternoon at leisure. This evening gather for a welcome orientation meeting and reception. Afterwards, stroll the grounds and admire the pyramids lit in the evening shadows. MENA HOUSE HOTEL (R)

Saturday, March 10

Marvel at the last standing monument of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Great Pyramid on the Giza Plateau. Then, gain special access to the “paws” of the 4,500 year half man–half lion known as the Great Sphinx. Special access to the “sphinx paws” has been arranged. Before returning to the hotel for a leisurely afternoon, visit the restored funerary boat of Cheops, a 4th-dynasty Pharaoh who, according to tradition, left this world for the next transported aboard his solar barque. This evening gather in a private Egyptian home and meet locals at a welcome reception and dinner. MENA HOUSE HOTEL (B,L,D)

Sunday, March 11

Immerse yourself in the riches of the incomparable Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, repository of thousands of important artifacts, including the cache of gold found in Tutankhamen’s tomb. After lunch in the Khan al-Khalili bazaar, concentrate on Islamic Cairo with a focus on significant Islamic monuments, including the Ibn Tulun Mosque, the oldest surviving Muslim place of worship, and the Mamluk-era Sultan Hassan Mosque and Madrassa. Stroll along El-Moezz Street, an “open-air museum” featuring restored medieval architectural treasures of the Islamic world. MENA HOUSE HOTEL (B,L,D)

Monday, March 12

Fly to Luxor, where the Sun Boat III awaits. Upon arrival, explore the fabulous Karnak Temple complex, the largest ancient religious site in the world. Wander among the enormous 134 stone columns, and marvel at the myriad well preserved obelisks telling stories of the ancients. This evening visit the Luxor Temple under a rising moon. Then gather for a welcome aboard dinner on your private yacht. SUN BOAT III (B,L,D)

Tuesday, March 13

In the cool early-morning darkness, cross the Nile to Thebes, ancient capital of Egypt. Enjoy special access to the evocative tombs in the Valley of the Kings, hidden for thousands of years. Marvel at the size, architecture, and artwork at the mortuary temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu, an important New Kingdom structure acclaimed for its inscribed reliefs depicting the rise and fall of the Sea Peoples during the reign of Ramesses III. Continue to the Colossi of Memnon, two massive stone statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III that have stood in the Theban necropolis since 1350 B.C. E. SUN BOAT III (B,L,D)

Wednesday, March 14

Leisurely cruising this morning allows for observation of people going about their daily activities in villages along the Nile riverbanks. Arrive in Qena for a visit to the temple complex of Dendera, dedicated to Hathor, the goddess of love, music, wine, and procreation. In the late afternoon, cruise back to Luxor. SUN BOAT III (B,L,D)

Thursday, March 15

Early this morning visit the unique tombs of two ancient nobles: Rekhmire and Sennufer. Rekhmire served as vizier during the reigns of Thutmosis III and Amenhotep II; his lavishly decorated tomb contains well-preserved scenes of daily life during the New Kingdom period, as well as a complete text of the duties of a vizier. Sennufer was the mayor of Thebes and overseer of the gardens of Amun during the reign of Amenophis III; his tomb, beautifully decorated, is sometimes referred to as the Tomb of the Vineyards. Also visit the grandiose mortuary temple dedicated to Hatshepsut, Egypt’s iconic female pharaoh. The temple took 15 years to construct and consists of three colonnaded terraces situated in the Valley of the Kings with a magnificent cliff backdrop. Enjoy an afternoon of relaxation as the Sun Boat III cruises to Edfu. SUN BOAT III (B,L,D)

Friday, March 16

Enjoy the educational program en route to Edfu for a visit to the best-preserved ancient temple in Egypt, dedicated to Horus, the ubiquitous falcon-headed god of the Egyptians. The main building includes a great Hypostyle Hall and, just outside, an entrance colonnade that remarkably still has visible, original, colored reliefs. Reboard your yacht and cruise to Aswan. This evening enjoy a festive Egyptian galabeyya party featuring lively music and dancing aboard ship. SUN BOAT III (B,L,D)

Saturday, March 17

Disembark from the Sun Boat III in the morning for a short flight to the astounding monument at Abu Simbel, located in former Nubian lands. At the twin temples built by Pharaoh Ramesses II, huge statues depict him and his favorite wife Nefertari. During construction of the Aswan High Dam, the temples were threatened with submersion under the rising waters of Lake Nasser. Between 1964 and 1966, a project sponsored by UNESCO and the Egyptian government dismantled both temples and reconstructed them 65 meters higher than the original site. Return to Aswan to view the engineering juggernaut of the still controversial High Dam, which forever changed Egyptians’ way of life, and the “unfinished obelisk” —the largest known ancient obelisk—at a nearby quarry. At dusk, board a traditional felucca sailboat and sail past Nile River islands Kitchener and Elephantine. SUN BOAT III (B,L,D)

Sunday, March 18

When the Russian-led Aswan Dam project got underway in the 1960s, archaeologists and citizens from all over the world dismantled the Temple of Isis at Philae Island and relocated it to higher ground. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the island has numerous ruins including the Kiosk of Trajan. After a visit to the island, cruise to Kom Ombo to explore its unusual double temple, half of which is dedicated to the crocodile god, Sobek, the other half to the falcon god, Horus. Savor your last evening aboard at a festive farewell dinner. SUN BOAT III (B,L,D)

Monday, March 19

Disembark and fly to Cairo in time for lunch and an afternoon tour of Coptic Cairo, including the 4th-century Hanging Church, named for its location above a Roman gatehouse of Babylon Fortress; the church’s nave is suspended over a passage. Your final evening in Cairo is at leisure. FAIRMONT TOWERS HELIPOLIS (B,L)


Tuesday, March 20
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for flights home. (B)