There are two options for your delightful 4-Day Nile River Cruise: Standard and Superior. The Superior cruise boats are newer, 5 years old or less, and the cabins are larger; Standard cruise boats are more than 5 years old and have smaller cabins. Otherwise the Standard and Deluxe cruise options are the same.
There is no hotel pick-up for this tour and you need to make your own arrangements for reaching your cruise ship in Aswan. You should arrange to arrive at the ship well before 0800h (8:00am) for standard option and 1200h (12:00am) for Deluxe option so that you can get settled in before the cruise departs.
On-board your ship is an English-speaking guide who will escort you to the monuments and explain their significance. You will spend 1 hour to 90 minutes at each site you visit. If you would like to visit the monuments in a smaller group with a private guide then this can be arranged (cost is approx US$90 per 3 nights cruise).
Your first visit will be to the Aswan High Dam. Built in the 1960s, the world-famous High Dam was hailed as an engineering miracle. It contains 18 times the material used in the Great Pyramid of Cheops. The Dam is 11,811 feet long, 3215 feet thick at the base and 364 feet tall. Today it provides irrigation and electricity for the whole of Egypt and wonderful views for visitors.
Next stop on your itinerary will be the
Temple of Philae. This temple to the goddess Isis was dismantled and reassembled (on Agilika Island about 550 meters from its original home on Philae Island) in the wake of the High Dam. You will see its shrines and sanctuaries celebrating the deities involved in the Isis and Osiris myth.
Your ship will sail on to the town of Kom Ombo, where you will visit an unusual temple dedicated to two gods – the crocodile god Sobek, god of fertility, and the falcon god Haroeris. A few of the 300 crocodile mummies discovered in the vicinity are displayed inside the temple.
Leaving Kom Ombo you will sail on to Edfu, where you will stay overnight.
After breakfast, go with your guide to visit the great Temple of Horus at Edfu. Dedicated to the falcon-headed god, the temple was begun in 237 BC and finished in 57 BC. It is not only the best preserved ancient temple in Egypt, but the second largest.
You can admire the numerous reliefs, some of which still have some color, depicting scenes such as ‘the Feast of the Beautiful Meeting’, the annual reunion between Horus and his wife Hathor.
In the afternoon, sail on to the town of Esna. After crossing an old lock that bypasses a 1909 Nile barrage, you will travel on to Luxor, where you will spend the night.
Luxor is the modern equivalent of the ancient city of Thebes, capital of Egypt at the height of its civilisation. Opposite Luxor, on the west bank of the Nile is what is probably the largest cemetery in the world, the Necropolis of Thebes where generations of Egyptian royalty and nobility are buried.
You will cross to the west bank and visit the great necropolis. The highlight is the Valley of the Kings, with over 60 tombs dating from 1570 BC to 1085 BC. Colorful depictions of daily life in Egypt, and elaborate spiritual texts adorn the walls and ceilings of many of the chambers. It was in this valley that Tutankhamen’s treasures were discovered.
Also in the Valley of the Kings, you will see the magnificent funerary temple of Queen Hatshepsut, an extraordinary woman who was one of just a handful of female rulers in Ancient Egypt.
Also within the Theban necropolis you will see the Colossi of Memnon, two massive stone statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III, which have stood here for the past 3400 years (since 1350 BC).
The statues are made from blocks of quartzite sandstone which was quarried at near modern-day Cairo and transported 420 miles overland to Thebes. Including the stone platforms on which they stand, the colossi reach a towering 18 metres (approx. 60 ft) in height and weigh an estimated 700 tons each.