Follow the course of the Nile River into the very heart of ancient civilizations on a 14-day exploration of Egypt’s rich heritage, including privately chartered on-tour flights between Cairo and southern Egypt and seven nights aboard the intimate Sun Boat III. Among the many highlights of this itinerary are the Great Pyramids and special private access to the paws of the Sphinx of Giza; the Valley of the Kings; the spectacular funerary boat of Cheops; the fabulous Temple of Karnak complex; the double temple dedicated to the gods Sobek and Horus at Kom Ombo; and the colossal statues of Ramesses II and his favorite queen at Abu Simbel.
- Pricing from
This program is exclusive to National Trust Tours and is limited to 28 participants. Payments are 100% refundable until October 11, 2021.
- Trip Type
- Group Travel Tour, International Land & Rail Voyages, International River Voyages
- Departure Dates
Jan 14, 2022 - Jan 27, 2022
The Sanctuary Sun Boat III is an intimate river yacht representing the ultimate in luxury Nile cruises. Style, comfort and refinement are reflected throughout, with white and ecru tones combined to create warmth and depth. Modeled on the opulent era of the 20s and 30s, this graceful cruiser has exquisite facilities from delicious gourmet dining in the restaurant to sipping refreshing cocktails around the pool area on the sun deck, or enjoying afternoon tea in the stunning lounge.
Accommodations: The ship has 14 standard cabins, two royal suites, and two presidential suites.
- Standard Cabins 102-108 on the Nile Deck: Cabins 103, 104, and 105 have king beds, and all others have twin beds. Cabins are 183 square feet.
- Standard Cabins 201-206 on the Promenade Deck: Cabins 203, 204, and 205 have king beds, and all others have twin beds. Cabins are 183 square feet.
- Presidential Suites 207 & 208 on the Promenade Deck: Both cabins have queen beds. Cabins are 312 square feet.
- Royal Suites 301 & 302 on the Tower Deck: Cabin 301 has a king bed and cabin 302 has twin beds. Cabins are 387 square feet.
Standard cabins: The 14 luxury cabins are all beautifully appointed with old fashioned four poster beds, draped with Egyptian linens, and each cabin has a Nile view. The shutters are the traditional focal point of the cabin and are a striking design element. The warm colours of the cabin and traditional tones evoke the glamour of the 1930s. The cabins also feature exquisite amenities, mini bar, hair dryer, satellite television and LCD screens.
Presidential Suites: The two Presidential Suites, with their own private balconies are luxuriously appointed with state of the art technology and opulent furnishings. Indulge in this spacious, elegant suite decorated in cool calm tones that will leave you in absolute serenity. Comfort and style are reflected in all corners of the presidential suite to give a naturally astonishing look. The suites also feature exquisite amenities, mini bar, hair dryer, satellite television and LCD screens.
Royal Suites: The two Royal Suites, with their own balconies, create the essence of tranquility and elegance during your luxury Nile cruise. Honey hues welcome you to these opulent and spacious suites. The suites also feature exquisite amenities, mini bar, hair dryer, satellite television and LCD screens.
OPTIONAL POST-TOUR EXTENSION – JORDAN
Extend your visit to this remarkable region with a four-night post-tour extension to enjoy Jordan’s archeology, history, desert culture, and rich cuisine. View the magnificent “rose-red” city of Petra, Jordan, where the 1,200-meter-long Siq, a narrow winding wadi (canyon), makes this site deservedly one of the modern world’s Seven Wonders; embark on a 4-wheel-drive adventure through Wadi Rum’s sweeping dun-colored expanses, otherworldly rock formations, and ancient hieroglyphs; and walk among soaring columns and arches on a guided tour of the ancient city of Jerash.
John Meffert, consultant on Heritage Conservation Services, has a long tradition with the National Trust. He has served as the Director for our Southern Office from and was the director of the Preservation Society of Charleston, the oldest nonprofit organization in the United States, responsible for preserving the historic resources of Charleston, S.C. John has delighted many study tour groups with his lectures and insights on preservation, and receives rave reviews as study leader.
Upon payment of the $1,000 per person deposit, all reservations are subject to the cancellation provisions set forth below and by which the passenger agrees to be bound. Cancellations shall not be in effect until they are received in writing and confirmed by Criterion Travel. Deposits are refundable until final payment deadline (September 16, 2021). For bookings on or before June 30, 2021: All payments are 100% refundable if written notice of cancellation is received before October 11, 2021. Cancellations after refund dates: All payments are 100% nonrefundable, regardless of booking date. Trip cancellation insurance is strongly recommended. NOTE: Neither the National Trust for Historic Preservation nor Criterion Travel, the tour operator, accepts liability for any airline cancellation penalties incurred with the purchase of non-refundable tickets.
day 1 & 2
DEPART U.S. CAIRO, EGYPT
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, Mena House has hosted dignitaries and world leaders visiting the Egyptian capital. Spend the afternoon at leisure, then gather for a welcome orientation meeting and reception. Afterward, stroll the grounds and admire the pyramids lit in the evening shadows.
Marvel at the last standing monument of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Great Pyramid on the Giza Plateau. Then enjoy specially arranged access to the “paws” of the 4,500-yearold half-man, half-lion known as the Great Sphinx. In the afternoon, optionally journey to the unique Djoser step pyramid at Saqqara, a precursor to the grand Giza pyramids, to explore the underground galleries where floor-to-ceiling hieroglyphs depict daily life during Egypt’s 3rd dynasty (c. 2670–2613 B.C.E.). Gather for a special welcome dinner at a private Cairene home.
After a special guest lecture, focus on Islamic Cairo’s significant monuments, including the Ibn Tulun Mosque, the oldest surviving Muslim place of worship, and the Mamluk-era Sultan Hassan Mosque and Madrassa. Have lunch near the bustling Khan al-Khalili bazaar. This evening is free for independent pursuits.
CAIRO LUXOR (EMBARK)
Enjoy a morning visit to the expansive Grand Egyptian Museum, described as the largest archaeological museum in the world and featuring the first exhibition of the full tomb collection of King Tutankhamun. Board a flight to Luxor to embark Sun Boat III. This evening, visit the Luxor Museum, on the corniche overlooking the west bank of the Nile.
LUXOR / VALLEY OF THE KINGS
Enjoy special access to the evocative tombs in the Valley of the Kings–including that of the young pharaoh Tutankhamun–and across the Nile in the Valley of the Nobles, all hidden for thousands of years. Then marvel at the size, architecture, and artwork of 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.
LUXOR / KARNAK
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. Also visit Luxor Temple, constructed around 1,400 B.C.E. and known in ancient Egyptian times as the “Southern Sanctuary,” as well as the Abu Haggag Mosque, built in the 13th century atop the temple ruins, and still in use today.
LUXOR / ESNA
Visit the remarkable (and rarely included) tomb of Queen Nefertari, widely regarded as one of the most beautifully preserved monuments in the country. Continue to the Colossi of Memnon, two massive stone statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III that have stood in the Theban necropolis since 1,350 B.C.E.
Visit 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 still has original, colored reliefs. Time permitting, enjoy a late afternoon sail on the Nile aboard a traditional felucca past Kitchener and Elephantine Islands.
ASWAN / ABU SIMBEL
After breakfast, take a short flight to see the astounding monuments 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. Between 1964 and 1966, during construction of the Aswan High Dam, both temples were dismantled and reconstructed 65 meters higher than their original site to protect them from the rising waters of Lake Nasser. Upon return, venture to a nearby quarry to view the “unfinished obelisk”—the largest known ancient obelisk. This evening enjoy a festive galabeyya (traditional Egyptian garment) party featuring lively music and dancing aboard ship.
PHILAE / KOM OMBO
Continue cruising to the island of Agilkia, where the Temple of Isis, once on Philae Island, was relocated when the Aswan Dam project got underway in the 1960s. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the island has numerous ruins including the Kiosk of Trajan. Stop at 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.
Fly to Cairo and spend the evening at leisure.
Take a short tour of Coptic Cairo including the Hanging Church, one of the oldest churches in Egypt, dating back as far as the third century C.E. Late this afternoon, gather with guest speakers to discuss current events of Egypt and the area. Gather at the hotel this evening for a farewell dinner.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for flights home or to the extension in Jordan.
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