THE LONG NILE CRUISE 'THE GOLDEN AGE' With Kent Weeks
Our luxury boat, the S/S Misr built in 1918 and once owned by King Farouk has just 24 cabins, including 8 suites, silver-service dining, international gourmet cuisine and the friendliest, most efficient staff on the river. This wonderful itinerary sailing the length of the Nile will be remembered for years to come. No galabeya parties; no musak; no other groups – just our own like-minded travellers enjoying the beauty of the River Nile.
Day 1– Monday 14th September 2015
Fly London to Luxor with EgyptAir and on arrival we take our private transfer to the Old Winter Palace, Garden Pavilion Wing, for one night on room and breakfast basis.
Day 2 – To Aswan
We set off by road to Aswan and on our journey south we explore the rarely visited site of the temple of el Tod. Founded as a temple to the war god Montu the origins of the temple date back to the fifth Dynasty although most of the remains we see date from the New Kingdom. Next stop will be at the Ptolemaic Temple of Horus at Edfu, one of the best preserved cult temples in Egypt with its scenes of battles between Horus and Seth. Lunch today will be picnic boxes provided by the Old Winter Palace. We continue to Aswan and on arrival we board our luxury cruiser the S/S Misr. This elegant, 5-star steam vessel, fully restored and air-conditioned, still retains its 19th century character. This will be our home for the next twelve nights on full board basis. (BLD)
Day 3 – Abu Simbel
This morning, there is the chance to take the optional excursion, by air, to the great Sun Temple of Abu Simbel. A guided tour of the two spectacular temples built by Ramesses II saved by UNESCO in the 1960s and now sited on the west bank of Lake Nasser. Morning at leisure for the rest of the group. This afternoon we begin our exploration of Aswan with a local boat ride to the Old and Middle Kingdom Nobles’ Tombs of Kubbet el Hawa. These tombs have some fascinating inscriptions including, a request from a young Pepy II to Harkhuf for a ‘dancing dwarf’ from the land of spirits. This evening we will visit the Nubia Museum displaying some wonderful pieces from the area. (BLD)
Day 4 – Island of Isis
Today we visit the Temple of Philae built by Ptolemaic and Roman rulers to honour the cult of Isis and saved by UNESCO in the late 1970s when it became clear it would be lost for ever with the building of the new High Dam. We also visit the Open-Air Museum of the Unfinished Obelisk to view the abandoned worksite of this flawed sculpture. We sail for Kom Ombo famous for the Ptolemaic Temple of Haroeris and Sobek situated high on the bank at a strategic bend in the river. We visit the temple before we sail on for Luxor. (BLD)
Day 5 –The West Bank
We visit the Valley of the Kings where we have entrance tickets to three of the tombs that are open on the day. Next, to the Ramesseum, the Mortuary Temple of Ramesses the Great and the inspiration for Shelly’s ‘Ozymandias’. On to the impressive Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu. Here we see the remains of some highly coloured scenes and beautiful reliefs. We return to the boat for lunch and a rest before a chance to enjoy a leisurely sail on a Felucca. Later we plan to visit Luxor Museum and Luxor Temple. (BLD)
Day 6 – The Temple of Amun
After tea and coffee we make an early start to be at Karnak for sunrise. We walk straight to the Sacred Lake where the reflections of the temple in the water make for stunning photography. We usually find we are alone at this time of the morning so it is well worth the early start. We return to the boat for breakfast while we sail towards Qena. On arrival at Qena we travel by road to the Ptolemaic Temple of Dendera. The columns and ceilings of this lovely temple are newly cleaned and we can now see the vivid blue painted scenes free of soot for the first time in hundreds of years. We overnight at Qena. (BLD)
Day 7 – Cruising
Today we are sailing all day as we head to Sohag. We pass through the swing bridge at Nag Hamadi before we arrive at the barrage where we continue through the great lock. Today we may take a tour of the Misr's engine room and kitchen. A wonderful day to relax and enjoy travelling on the Nile. (BLD)
Day 8 – Mystical Abydos
This morning we travel by road to Abydos. Here we see some of the finest reliefs in Egypt and the famous ‘King List’ carved on the walls in the Temple of Seti I. We walk the Corridor of the Bulls out to the intriguing Osireion, regarded as the burial place of Osiris. Then we will walk across the desert sands to the Temple of Ramesses II. Here we see wonderful scenes of the Battle of Kadesh on the outer walls and some well preserved colourful scenes that survive inside the temple. We return to the boat for lunch and sail towards Asyut. (BLD)
Day 9 – Cruising
Today is a wonderfully relaxing day as we sail from Sohag to Minya. Time to sit back and enjoy the scenes of daily life acted out on the banks of the river. The pace of life unchanged for centuries, we sail past villages and farmland all the while watching the birdlife on sand banks and islands. A day for binoculars, cameras and books. (BLD)
Day 10 – Amarna
An absolute highlight of any trip through Middle Egypt is the chance to explore Amarna, the amazing capital city of Pharaoh Akhenaten and Queen Nefertiti. We will visit the Royal Tomb for Akhenaten himself and the Southern Tombs, where we see the unfinished Tomb of Ay with its text of the ‘Hymn to the Aten’. Time also for the central city, palaces, private houses and the Great Temple of Aten. We spend the day at this incredible site and lunch will be provided by our own chefs from the Misr. (BLD)
Day 11 – Beni Hassan
This morning we head to the superbly decorated Middle Kingdom tombs of the local governors of Beni Hassan. Here we see the famous, vivid murals depicting daily life, hunts and wrestling scenes. The view from the tombs is memorable for showing the contrast between the fertile banks of the Nile and the desert that falls so close to the river. We then head to the rarely visited rock-cut Fraser Tombs that date back to the 5th and 6th Dynasties. Returning to the boat for lunch we cruise towards the city of Beni Suef where we will overnight. (BLD)
Day 12 – Faiyum Pyramids
We begin our day exploring Meidum with its tower-shaped pyramid rising above a hill of debris and the brick built mastabas nearby. There will be time to enter the pyramid or ‘Mastaba 17’ for those who wish. Next, the mud brick pyramid of Amenemhat III at Hawara, site of the fabled Labyrinth as described by Herodotus. This is also the location of Petrie’s excavation in the Roman cemetery where he discovered the famous Faiyum Portraits. Over lunch we sail on towards Cairo for our overnight mooring and final destination. (BLD)
Day 13 – Giza
After breakfast to the Giza Plateau and the Pyramids of Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure as well as an in-depth look at the satellite pyramids, boat pits, the mortuary temple of Khafre and the mighty Sphinx. Time is allowed for those who wish, to enter the Solar Boat Museum to view the boat of Khufu, or perhaps enter a pyramid. We return to the cruiser for lunch on board. Later we board our coach and head in to the city to view the amazing collection at the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities. Our guide will take us on a chronological journey covering 3,000 years with a chance to look at artefacts from many of the sites visited over the last two weeks. Free time to view the Tutankhamun Treasures at a more leisurely pace or perhaps take an optional visit to the Mummy Room to view the Royal Mummies. This evening we have a grand farewell dinner and a chance to say goodbye to all the staff and friends on the S/S Misr that has been our home for nearly two weeks. (BLD)
Day 14 – Sunday 27th September 2015
After breakfast we transfer to the airport for our EgyptAir flight to London arriving early afternoon. (B)
Cabin upgrades are available: Royal (Panorama) Suites, Large Front Suites, Standard Suites and Upper Deck.
Expert: Kent Weeks is one of the most celebrated archaeologists in the world for his work on the Theban Mapping Project and his re-discovery of KV5, the largest tomb ever found in the Kings' Valley. Kent’s enthusiasm for his subject and ability to communicate with depth and humour makes him a star expert.
(B) = Breakfast (BL) = Breakfast and Lunch (BLD) = Breakfast Lunch and Dinner