Today the fascinating sights of Cairo unfold before you. Marvel at the sprawling Citadel of the Mountain and the Mosque of Muhammad Ali. Then tour the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities and admire its huge collection of artifacts, and visit the famous gallery displaying the riches of King Tutankhamen. After lunch on your own at or near your hotel, use your free time in the afternoon to follow your own interests.
Later, you might join an optional visit to Khan el-Khalili, Cairo's most famous outdoor souk (bazaar). After an orientation from your guide, you can shop for all manner of Egyptian goods, from brassware to spices, and admire the Al-Azhar Mosque. Conclude your outing with a traditional Egyptian dinner at a local restaurant. (B)
Relax over breakfast, or (weather permitting) join an optional early-morning hot air balloon ride over Luxor's temples and monuments. Marvel at breathtaking views of an ancient city, the surrounding desert sands and the magnificent Nile. Later, head to the Nile's west bank to visit the Valley of the Kings, where ancient pharaohs were entombed deep in the hillsides, and the Valley of the Queens, resting place of pharaohs' wives.
Here you enjoy Privileged Access to the tomb of Queen Nefertari, an exquisitely preserved tomb only a few visitors get to see. Among the sites is the Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, one of Egypt's few female rulers and most successful pharaohs. Return to your ship as we set sail for Qena; lunch and dinner are served on board as we cruise along the spectacular Nile. (B/L/D)
Awake in Aswan this morning, Egypt's bustling market city. Today, you can choose to visit the Aswan High Dam, visit a local market and take a scenic Nile cruise on a felucca, a traditional Egyptian wooden sailboat. Or join an optional excursion to Abu Simbel to admire the Great Temple of Ramses II, Egypt's longest-ruling pharaoh. It is dominated by 4 colossal statues, 60 feet high and directly facing the rising sun.
The statues are all of Ramses, with his queen and daughters at his feet. Moved from its original location near Aswan to save it from the rising waters of Lake Nasser, it was built as a tribute to the deities and Ramses II's favorite wife, Nefertari. Make the most of your overnight stay with an optional sound and light show at Philae Temple, and discover the legend of Goddess Isis and God Osiris. Afterward, return to your ship for dinner on board and spend the night in Aswan. (B/L/D)
After breakfast, receive a warm welcome at a Nubian village, where you visit the elementary school and are invited into a local home to get a glimpse of day-to-day life. Then, visit Philae Temple—the small, elegant Temple of Isis, rescued from the rising waters of Lake Nasser that submerged Philae Island.
This temple is one of the Nubian monuments that comprise a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Have lunch on board as you enjoy scenic cruising along the Nile. Disembark later to explore Kom Ombo. Here, enjoy a guided tour of the unusual double temple dedicated to the sky god Haroeris and the crocodile god Sobek, a protective deity thought to have created the world. (B/L/D)
Viking River Cruises Ships