Chrismar Travel

15 Days in Egypt


  • Arrival at Cairo Airport. Meet & assist through formalities. 
  • Transfer to your hotel.  
  • Check in. We stay for four nights in the hotel.
  • The rest of the day is on your own, with dinner on your own as well—you are free to rest in your room after your long flight to prepare for tomorrow’s discoveries, eat dinner at one of the restaurants in the hotel, or reach out to your Trip Experience Leader for recommendations on things to do in the area.

Breakfast: Served buffetstyle at the hotel.

We will depart around for our visit to the worldrenowned Egyptian Museum. The museum’s collections are arranged chronologically, so you’ll feel as though you are walking through time. During our tour together, our Trip Experience Leader will be our guide to the highlights of each historical period, including the spoils of Tutankhamun's father, King Akhenaten, and his wife Nefertiti. Among them is a 13foot tall statue that originally stood at Karnak Temple.

We will depart the museum and arrive back at our hotel. You will have some free time on your own this afternoon.

Evening: You are free to retire to your room or gather at one of the hotel’s bars for a cocktail to go over the discoveries of the day.

Breakfast: Served buffetstyle at the hotel.

We’ll depart the hotel this morning to Sakkara, a sprawling complex of temples, pyramids, and funerary monuments that was not explored by archaeologists until the mid19th century, long after the Pyramids at Giza had been extensively cataloged. Though its monuments span every period of Egyptian history, it is best known as the primary necropolis for the pharaohs and their families during the time of the Old Kingdom. The largest of these monuments is the Step Pyramid of King Zoser, built in the 27th century BC, possibly the first pyramid constructed in Egypt. More than 200 feet tall, it is the oldest stone structure of its size in the world. The tombs at this site house murals that provide insights into everyday life in ancient Egypt. Be sure to peer into the serdab, a stone structure in front of the pyramid with two eyeholes that invites you to look deeper inside. When you do, you will discover a remarkably lifelike painted limestone statue of Zoser looking back at you. We’ll depart Sakkara by coach to Memphis. Here we’ll visit the Statue of Ramses II, an elevenmeterhigh likeness of the third Pharaoh that was created 3,200 years ago. We’ll board our motorcoach around to return to our hotel.

Dinner: On your own. Your Trip Experience Leader can recommend some of their favorite restaurants for local specialties, like falafel or mahshi, a vegetable (zucchini, eggplants, bell peppers, tomatoes, cabbage leaves, or grapevine leaves) stuffed with rice.

Evening: Free for your own discoveries—you may want to venture out to explore the city by night, or enjoy a nightcap at one of the hotel’s bars.

Breakfast: Served buffetstyle at the hotel.

Morning: we'll depart our hotel to discover Fatimid Cairo, or Medieval Cairo. With our Trip Experience Leader as our guide, we’ll first explore the Sultan Hassan Mosque. This mosque looms large—a grand structure that is widely held to be one of the best examples of early Mamluk architecture in Cairo. Constructed between 1356 and 1363 by Sultan Hassan, the site features a courtyard surrounded by four iwans (vaulted halls) and soaring minarets.

Directly facing the Saltan Hassan Mosque is massive AlRifa'i—one of Cairo’s largest mosques. It houses the tombs of many members of the Egyptian Royal Family, including Egypt’s last monarch, King Farouk—whose sister Fawzia was briefly married to the Sha of Iran, reigning as Queen of Iran from 1941 to 1948. We’ll spend about an hour exploring these two mosques before we depart via bus to Moez Street—one of the oldest streets in Egypt. Here, we’ll stroll past the ancient minarets, domes, and bazaars of this denselypacked neighborhood, which is always bustling with a mix of locals and visitors from around the world. Whenever possible, our Trip Experience Leader will facilitate meaningful interactions with the Egyptians you encounter. This morning's tour concludes at the fabled Khan elKhalili bazaar, a maze of narrow alleys teeming with shops of glittering gold, colorful silks, and exotic spices.

Afternoon: we have the opportunity to wander through Khan elKhalili bazaar. Perhaps you’ll practice your bargaining skills as you explore the colorful market stalls selling everything from fragrant roasted nuts, copper tea sets, and vibrant galabaya (traditional Egyptian tunicstyle clothing), to costume jewelry and leather luggage sets. We’ll pause for a moment of quiet here at a café frequented by locals, where you can sample mint tea and even try smoking shisha from a water pipe, a favorite pastimes of everyday Egyptians.

Evening: we'll return to our hotel. You'll have the remainder of the evening free to do as you'd like.

Morning: we'll depart for the airport. Domestic flight to Luxor. Upon arrival, we'll be transferred to Karnak Temple to explore the huge complex of shrines, built and enlarged over a period of 1,300 years. The ancient Egyptians called the enormous temple complex of Karnak “the most perfect of places,” and today it is one of the most important sites in Egypt as it encompasses a wealth of ancient Egyptian history, primarily between the Twelfth and Twentieth Dynasties. Construction began under Senusret I in the 19th century BC, and subsequent rulers continued to expand the complex with their own shrines, rooms, and monuments.

Your Trip Experience Leader will point out some of the temple's most noteworthy features as you explore together. Its centerpiece is the huge Hypostyle Hall, with its outer walls decorated with battle scenes. Walk through the soaring Hall of Pillars, and imagine how difficult it must have been to construct the 134 columns here without the use of modern machinery. You'll also see the tallest obelisk in Egypt—97 feet tall and weighing approximately 320 tons—which was raised by Queen Hatshepsut in honor of the god Amun. You'll also have the opportunity to seek out your own discoveries. Be sure to take a close look at the walls—most are covered in hieroglyphics that seem as deep and pronounced today as they might've been when they were first carved 3,000 years ago.

Then, you will be transferred to the dock to embark your Nile cruiser. You will Travel this storied waterway as many have over the centuries—from Cleopatra to Agatha Christie—and trace the routes of legendary pharaohs who built their empires along the Nile. As we sail, relax on your private balcony—a feature not often found on other Nile River ships—and keep an eye out for traditional felucca boats gliding in the water alongside us, while simple stone homes cozy up to the riverbanks. While sailing, you'll get a glimpse of how locals live, work, and play along the Nile.

Lunch will be served on board upon embarkation. 

Captain of the ship will conduct a safety briefing, followed by an introduction to the crew. 

Dinner: Welcome Dinner onboard in the ship’s dining room. 

Evening: We are docked in Luxor for the evening; you have the freedom to explore the city as you wish.

Walking with your Trip Experience Leader, hone your bargaining skills at Luxor Market: Mingle with the locals while shopping for Egyptian keepsakes at the colorful Luxor Market. Whether you just want to soak in the atmosphere or sit down for tea with a merchant before purchasing a cotton galabeya, this is always a fun and authentic Egyptian experience.

Early Morning (OPTIONAL): As the sun rises over Luxor, so can you—aboard an optional hotair balloon ride (weather permitting) around 5am. The sights, sounds, and sheer spectacle of seeing these antiquities from the sky will surely make for a memorable morning.

Breakfast: All breakfasts onboard are served buffet style in the ship’s dining room. 

Relaxing on board.

Breakfast: Onboard in the ship’s dining room.

Morning: Early this morning, we will awake in Qena—a docking destination few other travel companies offer. Situated north of Luxor, Qena sits at a bend in the Nile, and is ideally positioned at the intersection of two main roads. Both a market town and a provincial city, Qena is also the perfect base for visiting the nearby Temple of Dendera.

Once we disembark around 6:45am, we'll take a 30minute coach ride to visit the colorful Temple of Dendera, built by Romans and Greeks and dedicated to Hathor—goddess of maternal and family love. This wellpreserved temple complex contains birth houses, a Coptic church, the Hathor Temple, and Hypostyle Hall. One of the celebrated features of the temple is an astronomical ceiling intricately decorated with vultures, winged disks, and the union between Hathor and Horus. Paintings on the ceiling—which are some of the most wellpreserved in the ancient world—also represent the two halves of the sky with its northern and southern constellations, the hours of day and night, the sun and moon, and the symbols of the zodiac.

We'll depart Dendera around 9:15am and return to ship by 10:30am. Approximately 30 minutes later.

Lunch: Onboard in the ship’s dining room while sailing back to Luxor

Upon arrival, we visit Luxor Temple. Rising from the east bank of the Nile, this sprawling ancient complex was a center of power for Egypt’s mighty pharaohs over a nearly 1,500year period. The temple complex was largely built by Amenhotep III and Ramses II, the most celebrated pharaoh of the New Kingdom (his reign lasted some 66 years, up until his death at age 91). Many other pharaohs and rulers added to the temple over the centuries. Tutankhamen even contributed—the only mark left by the boy king. We will spend just over an hour here, walking in the footsteps of ancient kings.

Dinner: Onboard in the ship’s dining room.

Breakfast: Onboard in the ship’s dining room.

Morning: At around 8:30am, we'll depart our ship for a halfhour coach ride to the west bank of the Nile, the hilly area that was once the Necropolis of Thebes. It's here that we'll visit the Valley of the Kings, with its many tombs chiseled deep into the cliff sides. Several great leaders, as well as many less important rulers are buried here, and more tombs are being discovered even today. This is where Howard Carter discovered the treasures of Tutankhamun in 1922, which we will have the opportunity to discover for ourselves. Each tomb is long and narrow, has the king's formal name and title inscribed in it, and each is decorated with his images and statues. Because these tombs were long sealed from the elements, their walls have retained the vibrant colors and deeply chiseled details that were added by the original builders thousands of years ago.

We'll explore a few of these tombs together with our Trip Experience Leader, and also have time to visit others independently before traveling approximately 10 minutes by coach to visit the nearby Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, the monument of one of Egypt’s greatest rulers, and one of its only female pharaohs.

As we leave the fabled valley around 12:30pm, we'll stop at the pair of massive statues of Amenhophis, known as the Colossi of Memnon. These statues are the only remnant of a temple dedicated to Amenhotep III—later, the Greeks determined that the statues represented their hero, Memnon.

Lunch: Onboard in the ship’s dining room.

Afternoon: After lunch, the afternoon is at your leisure. Our vessel will pass south through the locks of Esna early this evening.

Dinner: Onboard in the ship’s dining room.

Breakfast: Onboard in the ship’s dining room.

Morning: We set sail for Edfu, arriving shortly after breakfast. we'll disembark and travel to Edfu's Temple of Horus via a local horse and carriage. During our 10 to 15minute ride.

We'll arrive at Egypt's bestpreserved temple dedicated to Horus, the god of the sun and planets, the falcon (Horus's symbol) is prominent in the vivid hieroglyphs and basreliefs of the temple. Thirtyeight columns surround the court, and a fine statue of Horus stands guard over the entry. Every available surface is carved with hieroglyphs describing offerings to the god. Our Trip Experience Leader will spend approximately 1.25 hours pointing out these main highlights. We'll also enjoy about 45 minutes to explore independently.

We'll head back to our ship via horse and carriage and arrive around noon, just in time to sail to our next destination—Kom Ombo.

Lunch: Onboard in the ship’s dining room, then we sail the Nile.

Afternoon: Disembark to visit the Temple of Kom Ombo. As we walk approximately 10 minutes, we'll pass local cafés, shops, and the hum of daily life.

Set on a hill overlooking a bend in the river, the GrecoRoman style temple of Kom Ombo (actually two temples) is unique, as it is Egypt's only double temple dedicated to two deities instead of one—Sobek, the crocodile god, and Horus, the great, winged falcon god. Everything here is doubled and perfectly symmetrical along a central axis—twin entrances, twin courts, and twin colonnades.

We'll leave the symmetrical temple of Kom Ombo behind and return to the ship on foot approximately 10 to 15 minutes later.

Dinner: Enjoy an Egyptian dinner buffet onboard in the ship's dining room.

Breakfast: Onboard in the ship’s dining room.

Morning: We sail to Aswan arriving around breakfast time. Then we'll set off to visit Philae Temple, which is dedicated to Isis, an enchantress known as the giver of life, the protector of kings, and the mother of god.

Originally located along the Upper Nile, Philae Temple was relocated downstream to Agilika Island in 1970 to protect it from the flooding caused by the construction of the Aswan Low Dam. We'll take a 15minute coach ride to the marina, followed by a 10minute motorboat ride to the island. The temple complex dates from the 26th Dynasty, with additions through the Roman period. It was one of the last temples built in the classical Egyptian style, as well as one of the last tributes to a goddess. Pilgrims would come from all over the Mediterranean to worship Isis here. This temple's towering silhouette has left a lasting impression on visitors for centuries, and its unique architecture makes for a fascinating journey through its jigsawlike halls. Your Trip Experience Leader will help you navigate the mazelike complex as you explore together for about an hour.

After returning to the mainland by motorboat around noon, travel approximately 30 minutes via coach back to our ship.

Lunch: Onboard in the ship’s dining room around 1pm.

Afternoon: The remainder of the afternoon is yours to relax onboard.

Dinner: Onboard in the ship’s dining room.

Evening: Our experience of local life along the Nile deepens this evening as, at around 8:30pm, we visit a spice market located just across the street from our ship and learn about the seasonings that give Egyptian cuisine its zest. We'll also stop into a local café, perhaps sampling Aswan's famous hibiscus tea, and interact with the café's regular customers.

Breakfast: Enjoy breakfast onboard in the ship's dining room.

Morning: Today, we'll take part in a fullday excursion to Abu Simbel. After an early breakfast, we'll depart around 6am and spend the morning traveling four hours south by coach to Egypt's Nubia region. During our transfer, our Trip Experience Leader will shed light on Egypt's Nubian people. An indigenous group of African descent, Nubians have long maintained a language and culture distinct from those of their Arab neighbors. With the construction of the Aswan High and Low Dams, thousands of Nubian people and monuments—including Abu Simbel—were displaced by flooding. We'll stop 1.5 hours into our drive to stretch our legs, before continuing on the rest of the way to our final destination. About one hour prior to arrival, our Trip Experience Leader will share details about the construction of Abu Simbel, as well as efforts to save it from the rising Nile.

Upon arrival around 10am, we'll explore the two temples built by Egypt's great Pharaoh Ramses II (Egypt's longestruling king) as a tribute to the deities and his favorite wife Nefertari. Originally carved into a mountainside, the temples feature richly detailed stone monuments—including four 65foot tall statues that flank the entrance to the Great Temple. Unlike other Egyptian temples, which typically feature a linear structure, Abu Simbel's design includes myriad side chambers. The whole interior is packed with basreliefs depicting battle scenes, as well as pillars and monuments to the gods.

In an epic feat of modern engineering, the massive temples of Abu Simbel were moved to their present location when construction of the Aswan High Dam in 1960 created Lake Nasser and flooded their original location. This extraordinary operation to save one of the world's greatest treasures took years, and the efforts of an international team of engineers and archaeologists. The temple is now backed by an artificial mountain built to resemble its original setting.

We'll have approximately 2.75 hours to explore the site, both with our Trip Experience Leader and on our own, before boarding our coach for a 10minute drive to lunch.

Afternoon: Around 2pm, we'll begin our fourhour return trip to Aswan. As we drive, our Trip Experience Leader will facilitate a conversation about our discoveries, and answer any questions you may have. As sands swirl around us, we'll also discuss the Toshka Canal Project, which is aimed at creating arable land in the desert by rerouting water from Lake Nassar. After approximately 1.25 hours on the road, we'll stop to stretch our legs before continuing on to our ship.

Upon arrival around 5:30pm, we'll have approximately one hour to relax prior to dinner.

Dinner: Around 6:45pm, join your fellow travelers for a Farewell Cocktail followed by a Farewell Dinner at 7:30pm as we prepare to say goodbye to our ship and crew.

Evening: Enjoy a live Nubian show around 8:30pm, which will acquaint us with the traditions of this indigenous group. The highlight is the tanura dancer, whose brightly colored, multitiered skirts rise higher and higher as she spins to the increasingly intense beat of drums.

Breakfast: Onboard in the ship’s dining room.

Morning: Disembark the ship and begin your coach transfer to the airport for your flight back to Cairo. Along the way, we'll stop at the Aswan High Dam, which was built in 1960. The dam forever changed the agricultural rhythms of Egypt. Once subject to devastating Nile floods, Egyptian farmers looked to the Aswan High Dam as a way of improving their ability to control their crops. However, the large reservoir it created displaced nearly 10,000 of the indigenous Nubian people who lived in the region and created Egypt's own lost city of Atlantis, as the waters swallowed up both homes and priceless archaeological ruins.

Upon arrival at Cairo, we'll transfer you to the hotel and check in.

Lunch: On your own shortly after arrival—ask your Trip Experience Leader for local restaurant recommendations.

Afternoon: The balance of the afternoon is yours to delve even deeper into the city’s treasures. Perhaps after exploring the various ancient sites from your Nile cruise, you'll feel inspired to return to the Egyptian Museum for a fresh perspective of the artifacts you've seen and discover ones you may have missed the first time.

Dinner: On your own. Ask your Trip Experience Leader for local restaurant recommendations.

Evening: You have the freedom to spend the rest of your evening as you wish—ask your Trip Experience Leader for recommendations.

Breakfast: enjoy a buffetstyle breakfast at your hotel.

Morning: Around 9 am we’ll leave to the Giza Plateau, home of Egypt’s signature attractions: the Pyramids of Giza. The largest of these three structures is the Great Pyramid of Khufu, probably built more than 2,600 years before the time of Christ. Standing 480 feet tall, this pyramid is the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that still stands. Of course, we'll also see the inscrutable and mysterious Sphinx, carved almost entirely from one piece of limestone. When Napoleon first set eyes on the monument, it was still covered in sand up to its neck. Today it has been excavated, revealing the paws of a resting lion and chambers at its base. Take some time to revel in the history embedded in every block of stone and in the incomprehensible size of each structure standing tall in the desert sand.

Our Trip Experience Leader will guide us around this iconic site, and we'll also have ample time to explore on our own. Be sure to have your camera ready—there's no better way to convey the scale of these structures than by snapping a photo of yourself right up next to them.

Lunch: will be served in a local restaurant in the area.

Afternoon: We'll return to our hotel and the rest of the day is at your leisure. You may choose to relax at our hotel or walk around Cairo. Perhaps you'll opt for a 20minute stroll along the Kasr el Nil Bridge to Gezira Island. The bridge offers fines views of the Nile, and is a popular local hangout as the day winds down.

Dinner: On your own—ask your Trip Experience Leader for local restaurant recommendations. You may want to sample some of Cairo's famous street food. Ful is one of the country's most popular dishes and, while traditionally served at breakfast, can be found nearly everywhere. Comprised of slowcooked fava beans with oil and salt, it is quintessential Egyptian comfort food.

Evening: You have the freedom to spend the rest of your evening as you wish. Perhaps you'll choose to ascend to the top of Cairo Tower for a glimpse of the Pyramids as the sun sets.

Breakfast: enjoy a buffetstyle breakfast at your hotel.

Morning: At approximately 8:30am, we’ll depart our hotel by coach to Old Cairo (also referred to as “Historic Cairo” and “Islamic Cairo”) which we'll explore today with our Trip Experience Leader. Officially founded in AD 969, this section of the city characterized by its farreaching history; no matter which direction you glance in, you’ll be met by preserved remnants of cities long gone including Fustat, alAskar, and alQatta’i. Observe the bustling locals, winding roads, and shops and houses mixed together creating a colorful scene.

Around 9am, we'll arrive at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization. Your Trip Experience leader will guide you through the halls of cultural artifacts, ancient treasures, and even though the Mummies Hall, where Egyptian kings and queens of old can be viewed, preserved for all time in elaborate rituals. You can see artifacts here from the predynastic age, more than 5,000 years ago, to the Ottoman rule of Egypt into the 19th century, showing you the true scope of Egypt's past.

We’ll depart for Coptic Old Cairo, which served as the Christian bastion of Egypt prior to Islamic rule. Here we’ll discover some of the oldest Christian churches in Egypt, including the Hanging Church, so named because it was built above a Roman fortress, and its nave is suspended over a passageway. We'll also explore the Church of St. Sergius where, according to the Holy Bible, Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus stayed after their escape to Egypt from King Herod's wrath. These buildings date back to the third and fourth centuries.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We’ll return to our hotel. You'll then have the chance to fit in any lastminute discoveries in the city. Or perhaps you'll want to search for the perfect memento to bring back from your travels. Traditional Agard Wood incense will allow you to bring the fragrant, spicy aromas of the markets into your home.

Evening: You have the freedom to spend the rest of your evening as you wish—ask your Trip Experience Leader for recommendations.

Morning: Transfer to the airport for your flight back.

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