Explore the beauty and mystery of Egypt’s ancient temples and tombs during this memorable journey to Luxor. Along the way, you will visit the Karnak, Luxor and Hatshepsut Temples, Medinet Habu, Colossi of Memnon, and the Valley of the Kings .
Day 1 – Wednesday, October 14th, 2015
Upon disembarking the ship in Safaga, you will be met and depart for the 3-hour drive to Luxor. Upon arrival, you will enjoy lunch and then drive on to the Karnak Temple. Located about two miles north of the Luxor Temple, but connected to it by an impressive avenue of sphinxes, the Karnak Temple was the most important sanctuary of ancient Egypt, and the heart of the cult of the god Amon. Each pharaoh added his own contribution to the temple over the ensuing 2,000 years.
The Ptolemies erected the massive first pylon you will see. Past the second pylon, which is guarded by a pair of huge statues of Ramses II, you will find the great hypo-style hall, the largest hall of any temple in the world. It spans 50,000 square feet and contains 134 enormous columns. You may notice that some of the columns still have traces of the brilliant paint that originally covered them. The third pylon leads to the center court, and past the fourth pylon is the 97-foot-high obelisk of Queen Hatshepsut, carved from a solid piece of pink granite. As you pass through successive pylons and courts, you will journey back in time until you reach the oldest part of the temple, built by the pharaohs of the middle kingdom around 2000 B.C. At the south end of the temple, you will find the sacred lake where ceremonial boats took part in the worship of Amon. Cameras and video cameras are permitted inside the Karnak Temple free of charge.
Next, you will tour the renowned Luxor Temple, which was originally built during the reign of Amenophis the III and then expanded by Ramses II, who added a statue of himself and two obelisks. Today, only one of the statues remains at the Luxor Temple; Mohamed Ali gave the other one to Louis Philippe in 1831 and it is displayed at the Concorde in Paris. After Alexander the Great rebuilt the sanctuary in the 4th century B.C., the Romans subsequently rebuilt portions of it, and then the Muslims built a mosque in the temple. Cameras and video cameras are permitted inside the Luxor Temple.
Following your visit to the Luxor Temple, you will be transferred back to your hotel for check in and a bit of shopping if you like. In the evening, you will depart for a spectacular sound and light show at the Karnak Temple. It’s an amazing performance that traces the history of Thebes, including the lives of the pharaohs who built the necropolis. Afterwards, you will return to your hotel for dinner and to spend the evening.
Please note: Dinner will be served from 7:30pm to 10:30pm. Guests attending the Sound and Light Show will dine following the show.
Day 2 – Thursday, October 15th, 2015
After a buffet breakfast, you will cross over the Nile to the West Bank to visit the Valley of the Kings, which lies in the foothills of the Gourma Mountains. More than 60 tombs of pharaohs and noblemen have been excavated in this valley. The kings’ formal names and titles are inscribed in their tombs, along with their images and statues. Between the 18th and 20th dynasties, the kings abandoned the Memphis area and built their tombs in Thebes. Cameras and video cameras may be used during your visit, but are not permitted inside the tombs.
Continuing on, enjoy a photo stop at the Hatshepsut Temple, whose unique design features a series of grand terraces extending up a cliff with rows of square granite columns blending in with the mountainside. From here, you will proceed to Medinet Habu, a temple Ramses III built. It stands amongst the most interesting of the funerary chapels on the West Bank. The reliefs on both sides of the doorway depict battle scenes of Ramses III clubbing a number of vanquished people, with 86 captives nearby. The text on the north side is a description of the king’s conquest of the Libyans.
After your visit to Medinet Habu, a photo stop will be made at the Colossi of Memnon, which was originally built as a mortuary temple in Thebes and guarded by two gigantic statues on the outer gates. All that remains today are the 75-foot-high, 1,000-ton statues of Amenhotep III. Though damaged by nature and ancient tourists, the statues are still impressive nonetheless. Cameras and video cameras are permitted free of charge.
Following your visit to the Colossi of Memnon, you will be transferred to your hotel for a buffet lunch. After lunch, you will check out and depart for the 3.5-hour drive to Safaga. Upon arrival, you will proceed directly to the pier and embark the ship.
Overland Program Step by Step: Please note: The order of sites visited may vary to avoid congestion. The timings indicated are only approximate, and are given here for general reference purposes and are subject to change.
6:00am The ship arrives alongside in Safaga, Egypt
8:30am Depart for the drive to Luxor. The drive is approximately 3.25 hours. Restrooms are available on the bus. No comfort stop is scheduled.
12:00pm Buffet lunch at a deluxe hotel. Beverages include bottled water, tea and coffee
1:00pm Proceed to Karnak Temple
1:15pm Visit Karnak Temple
3:00pm Proceed to Luxor Temple
3:15pm Visit Luxor Temple
4:15pm Proceed to your hotel
7:30pm Proceed to Karnak Temple
8:00pm Sound and light show
9:00pm Drive back to the hotel
9:30pm Buffet dinner is served. Beverages include bottled water, tea and coffee
Buffet dinner will be served from 7:30pm to 10:30pm for those who opt out of the show
Overnight at the Sonesta St. George Hotel or similar (Nile view rooms not guaranteed)
6:00am Buffet breakfast at the hotel and check-out
6:30am Cross the Nile to the West Bank
8:15am Visit the Valley of the Kings. The ticket you receive will include entry to three tombs of your choice.
9:45am Proceed to Hatshepsut temple
10:00am Photo stop at Hatshepsut temple
10:10am Proceed to Habu temple
10:15am Visit Habu temple
11:00am Proceed to Colossi of Memnon
11:05am Photo stop at Colossi of Memnon
11:10am Drive back to the hotel
11:45pm Buffet lunch at the hotel and check-out. Beverages include bottled water, tea and coffee
1:00pm Drive back to Safaga. The drive is approximately 3.5 hours. Restrooms are available on the bus. No comfort stop is scheduled.
4:30pm Arrive back in Safaga and rejoin the ship
22 degrees C / 71 degrees F
What to bring:
Comfortable clothing, good walking shoes, camera, hat, sunscreen
Egyptian Pound but USD are widely accepted
220- 240 V
Carry on suggested for one night stay
Arabic language with the majority of people being Moslem
Sonesta St. George Hotel or similar hotel – standard room (Nile view rooms not guaranteed)
1 night at Sonesta St. George or similar (Nile View Rooms not guaranteed)
One breakfast, two lunches and one dinner
Bottled water, tea, coffee, one soda or one bottle of beer/one glass of local wine with meals
Entrance fees, guide
Any meals and drinks not listed above, gratuities, personal expenses, hotel incidentals
Please note: Land programs that encompass multiple days ashore customarily include extensive and prolonged activity, while those of shorter durations typically have more moderate activity levels. However, each program varies and participants should be prepared to negotiate a mixture of surfaces which may include: inclines, cobblestones, sand, and gravel or natural paths. There may also be a need to climb steps or stairs on occasion. Guests who utilize a wheelchair and those with mobility concerns are advised to check with the cruise line in advance to see if any portion of the tour program may not be considered suitable for their individual situation. Weather appropriate clothing; hats; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are generally recommended.