Asia Africa and Middle East: Splendors of Egypt and the Nile Cruise

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

For 12 adventure-filled days, experience Egypt and the Nile's most wondrous sites in style and luxury. Set sail on an eight-day voyage onboard the S.S. Sphinx, the new super ship debuting on the Nile in 2020. Wander amongst the towering ruins of the Temple of Karnak, the world's largest ancient religious complex, and the entrancing Temple of Luxor. Follow in the footsteps of renowned scholars and explorers as you venture forth into the Valley of the Kings, the ancient burial grounds of Egyptian royalty. You will enjoy an exhilarating ride in a felucca, a traditional Nile River sailboat. This captivating itinerary begins and ends in Cairo, where you'll visit the famous Egyptian Museum and its stupendous and unrivaled collection of pharaonic artifacts, including treasures recovered from the tomb of King Tutankhamun. Journey to Giza to gaze upon the mighty ancient Pyramids and the timeworn, enigmatic Sphinx—iconic images that continue to amaze.

All-Inclusive Cruise

  • True All-Inclusive Boutique River Cruising™

  • All gratuities for onboard services

  • Unlimited fine wine, beer, spirits and nonalcoholic beverages**

  • Shore excursions with local experts as your guide

  • Internet and Wi-Fi

  • All arrival and departure day transfers

Executive Member Benefit

  • Executive Members earn an annual 2% Reward on Costco Travel purchases

  • Receive a $50 shipboard credit per person (maximum $100 per stateroom)♦

Costco Shop Card

  • Member Exclusive: Costco Shop Card with every Uniworld river cruise†

Sailing Itinerary

Note: Cruise itineraries are subject to change. Please verify ports and times directly with the cruise line.

Day 1Cairo

Overview

Cairo, which Egyptians proudly call the 'Mother of All Cities', spreads along the banks of the River Nile for 40km (25 miles) north to south, the largest metropolis in Africa. Most of the city lies on the east bank of the river. While its western borders end abruptly at the Pyramids, new satellite cities are spilling into the Eastern Desert. Travellers through the ages have been both fascinated and repelled by Cairo. Visitors are intrigued by its twisting streets, medieval buildings, oriental bazaars and Islamic architecture of carved domes and sculpted minarets, while being appalled by its dirt, pollution, noise, crowds and constant demands for baksheesh (gratuities). Paying baksheesh is the local custom, however, so expect to give little and often. Culture shock is part of the experience of Cairo and can at times be wearing. But as is written in the ancient tales of the 1001 Nights, 'He who hath not seen Cairo, hath not seen the world'. Cairo is a disorienting place and visitors often feel most comfortable finding their feet in the Westernised downtown district of central Cairo around Midan Tahrir (Liberation Square). This is a public transport hub, separated from the Nile by the massive Nile Hilton Hotel. Here too is the city centre's main attraction, the Egyptian Museum. Opposite downtown is the Nile island of Gezira, with the island of Roda just to the south. The Pyramids of Giza are on the West bank of the river, some 18km (11 miles) from the centre. Old Cairo lies south of downtown, while Islamic Cairo encompasses a large area to the east. Although Cairo today is Egypt's capital and largest city, its position of prominence in the long timeline of Egyptian history is relatively recent. It did not even exist when the pyramids at Giza were constructed. Then, the town of Memphis, 24km (15 miles) to the south, was the Pharaonic capital. Cairo was not founded until the Romans rebuilt an old Persian fortress along the Nile in AD116, which was known as Babylon-in-Egypt, in today's Old Cairo district. From the latter ninth century, a succession of Arab rulers made their mark on the city: Ibn Tulun built his royal city el-Qatai, the Fatimids built the walled city of el-Qahira, from which Cairo takes it name. In the thirteenth century, the Mamluks, a caste of Turkish soldier-slaves, rose to power, then the Ottomans, the French under Napoleon and finally the British ruled in their turn. The birth of modern Cairo came in 1863, when the ruler Ismail expanded the city along the Nile in the style of the great European cities. After the country returned to Egyptian rule in 1952, Cairo rose to the forefront as the capital of the Arab world. Cairo is also called the 'City of 1000 Minarets' and it is the exotic skyline of graceful domes and towering minarets that casts a spell of magic over the grinding reality of the metropolis. Most visitors come to see the great Pyramids of Giza, the treasures of Tutankhamun's tomb and other wonders in the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, as well as to shop in the sprawling Khan al-Khalili marketplace. There are also dozens of mosques, Coptic churches, smaller museums and winding streets to explore. This tourism is Egypt's key source of foreign income, while the public sector, including government and social services and the military, makes up the largest 'industry'. The city is also the centre of a growing trade, finance and insurance sector. During the summer, temperatures in Cairo can climb to 38 degrees Celsius, though the low humidity is some consolation. The best time to visit is between October and April. Occasional downpours occur in January and February, while during March and April the khamseen, a strong, hot, dry wind, blows in periodically from the desert.

Day 2Cairo

Overview

Cairo, which Egyptians proudly call the 'Mother of All Cities', spreads along the banks of the River Nile for 40km (25 miles) north to south, the largest metropolis in Africa. Most of the city lies on the east bank of the river. While its western borders end abruptly at the Pyramids, new satellite cities are spilling into the Eastern Desert. Travellers through the ages have been both fascinated and repelled by Cairo. Visitors are intrigued by its twisting streets, medieval buildings, oriental bazaars and Islamic architecture of carved domes and sculpted minarets, while being appalled by its dirt, pollution, noise, crowds and constant demands for baksheesh (gratuities). Paying baksheesh is the local custom, however, so expect to give little and often. Culture shock is part of the experience of Cairo and can at times be wearing. But as is written in the ancient tales of the 1001 Nights, 'He who hath not seen Cairo, hath not seen the world'. Cairo is a disorienting place and visitors often feel most comfortable finding their feet in the Westernised downtown district of central Cairo around Midan Tahrir (Liberation Square). This is a public transport hub, separated from the Nile by the massive Nile Hilton Hotel. Here too is the city centre's main attraction, the Egyptian Museum. Opposite downtown is the Nile island of Gezira, with the island of Roda just to the south. The Pyramids of Giza are on the West bank of the river, some 18km (11 miles) from the centre. Old Cairo lies south of downtown, while Islamic Cairo encompasses a large area to the east. Although Cairo today is Egypt's capital and largest city, its position of prominence in the long timeline of Egyptian history is relatively recent. It did not even exist when the pyramids at Giza were constructed. Then, the town of Memphis, 24km (15 miles) to the south, was the Pharaonic capital. Cairo was not founded until the Romans rebuilt an old Persian fortress along the Nile in AD116, which was known as Babylon-in-Egypt, in today's Old Cairo district. From the latter ninth century, a succession of Arab rulers made their mark on the city: Ibn Tulun built his royal city el-Qatai, the Fatimids built the walled city of el-Qahira, from which Cairo takes it name. In the thirteenth century, the Mamluks, a caste of Turkish soldier-slaves, rose to power, then the Ottomans, the French under Napoleon and finally the British ruled in their turn. The birth of modern Cairo came in 1863, when the ruler Ismail expanded the city along the Nile in the style of the great European cities. After the country returned to Egyptian rule in 1952, Cairo rose to the forefront as the capital of the Arab world. Cairo is also called the 'City of 1000 Minarets' and it is the exotic skyline of graceful domes and towering minarets that casts a spell of magic over the grinding reality of the metropolis. Most visitors come to see the great Pyramids of Giza, the treasures of Tutankhamun's tomb and other wonders in the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, as well as to shop in the sprawling Khan al-Khalili marketplace. There are also dozens of mosques, Coptic churches, smaller museums and winding streets to explore. This tourism is Egypt's key source of foreign income, while the public sector, including government and social services and the military, makes up the largest 'industry'. The city is also the centre of a growing trade, finance and insurance sector. During the summer, temperatures in Cairo can climb to 38 degrees Celsius, though the low humidity is some consolation. The best time to visit is between October and April. Occasional downpours occur in January and February, while during March and April the khamseen, a strong, hot, dry wind, blows in periodically from the desert.

Day 3Luxor

Overview

Luxor has often been called the worlds greatest open air museum, as indeed it is and much more. The number and preservation of the monuments in the Luxor area are unparalleled anywhere else in the world that know of. Actually, what most people think of as Luxor is really three different areas, consisting of the City of Luxor on the East side of the Nile, the town of Karnak just north of Luxor and Thebes, which the ancient Egyptians called Waset, which is on the west side of the Nile across from Luxor. To say that the Luxor area is a major attraction for tourists in Egypt would be an understatement. It has been a tourist destination since the beginning of tourism. Even in ancient times, during the late Dynasties of the Greek and Roman periods, the area drew tourists, and has been doing so ever since. Today Luxor is well equipped to accommodate tourists with many hotels and in general a tourist industry ready and willing to serve the people from many countries that descend on this area of the Nile Valley every year. Within Luxor, there are only three main streets consisting of Sharia al-Mahatta, Sharia al-Karnak and the Corniched, next to the Nile. The street in front of the train station is Sharia al-Mahatta and runs away from the Nile where it meets the gardens of Luxor Temple. Sharia al-Karnak, or Maabad al-Karnak which means Karnak Temple Street runs along the Nile from Luxor Temple to Karnak Temple. However, Sharia al-Karnak is known as Sharia al-Markaz where it meets Sharia al-Mahatta street, and to the south around the temple it is known as Sharia al-Lokanda. Along this street one will find the colorful signs of restaurants and cafes, as well as bazaars where the usual variety of Egyptian souvenirs can be found. Of interest is the alabaster, which is plentiful along the west bank and miled not far from here. Also look for the clay pots used by the locals for cooking, which are more unusual. Luxor today is governed by special statues that allow it more autonomy then other political areas of Egypt. One thing you might notice is that various government and other buildings confirm to an 'ancient' building code. Particularly, the National bank of Egypt (located near the winter palace), the spa south of the police station, and the railway station are all designed to appear as pharaonic constructs. All of this occurred after the Egyptianization of the modern town resulting mostly from the mania that resulted from Howard Carter's discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamun. As one might think, the city has all the amenities tourists might expect, including a variety of hotels, bars, nightclubs and restaurants.

Day 4Dandarah

Overview

DENDERA, a village in Upper Egypt, situated in the angle of the great westward bend of the Nile opposite Kena. Here was the ancient city'of Tentyra, capital of the Tentyrite nome, the sixth of Upper Egypt, and the principal seat of the worship of Hathor [Aphrodite] the cow-goddess of love and joy. The old Egyptian name of Tentyra was written Tn-t (Ant), but the pronunciation of it is unknown: in later days it was 'In't-t-ntr-t, " ant of the goddess," pronounced Ni-tent6ri, whence Tevnpa, Ttvrvpis. The temple of Hathor was built in the ist century B.C., being begun under the later Ptolemies (Ptol. XIII.) and finished by Augustus, but much of the decoration is later. A great rectangular enclosure of crude bricks, measuring about 900 X 850 ft., contains the sacred buildings: it was entered by two stone gateways, in the north and the east sides, built by Domitian. Another smaller enclosure lies to the east with a gateway also of the Roman period. The plan of the temple may be supposed to have included a colonnaded court in front of the present façade, and pylon towers at the entrance; but these were never built, probably for lack of funds. The building, which is of sandstone, measures about 300 ft. from front to back, and consists of two oblong rectangles; the foremost, placed transversely to the other, is the great hypostyle hail or pronaos, the broadest and loftiest part of the temple, measuring 135 ft. in width, and comprising about onethird of the whole structure; the façade has six columns with heads of Hathor, and the ceiling is supported by eighteen great columns. The second rectangle contains a small hypostyle hall with six columns, and the sanctuary, with their subsidiary chambers. The sanctuary is surrounded by a corridor into which the chambers open: on the west side is an apartment forming a court and kiosk for the celebration of the feast of the New Year, the principal festival of Dendera. On the roof of the temple, reached by two staircases, are a pavilion and several chambers dedicated to the worship of Osiris. Inside and out, the whole of the temple is covered with scenes and inscriptions in crowded characters, of ceremonial and religious import; the decoration is even carried into a remarkable series of hidden passages and chambers or crypts made in the solid walls for the reception of its most valuable treasures. The architectural style is dignified and pleasing in design and proportions. The interior of the building has been completely cleared: from the outside, however, its imposing effect is quite lost, owing to the mounds of rubbish amongst which it is sunk. North-east of the entrance is a “ Birth House “for the cult of the child Harsemteu, and behind the temple a small temple of Isis, dating from the reign of Augustus. The original foundation of the temple must date back to a remote time: the work of some of the early builders is in fact referred to in the inscriptions on the present structure. Petrie’s excavation of the cemetery behind the temple enclosures revealed burials dating from the fourth dynasty onwards, the most important being mastables of the period from the sixth to the eleventh dynasties; many of these exhibited a peculiar degradation of the contemporary style of sculpture. The zodiacs of the temple of Dendera gave rise to a considerable literature before their late origir’, was established by Champollion in 1822: one of them, from a chamber on. the roof, was removed in 1820 to the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. Figures of the celebrated Cleopatra VI. occur amongst the sculptures on the exterior of the temple, but they are purely conventional, without a trace of portraiture. Horus of Edfu, the enemy of the crocodiles and hippopotami of Set, appears sometimes as the consort of Hathor of Dendera. The skill displayed by the Tentyrites in capturing the crocodile is referred to by Strabo and other Greek writers. Juvenal, in his seventeenth satire, takes as his text a religious riot between the Tentyrites and the neighbouring Ombites, in the course of which an unlucky Ombite was torn to pieces and devoured by the opposite party. The Ombos in question is not the distant Ombos south of Edfu, where the crocodile was worshipped; Petrie has shown that opposite Coptos, only about 15 m. from Tentyra, there was another Ombos, venerating the hippopotamus sacred to Set.

Day 5Luxor

Overview

Luxor has often been called the worlds greatest open air museum, as indeed it is and much more. The number and preservation of the monuments in the Luxor area are unparalleled anywhere else in the world that know of. Actually, what most people think of as Luxor is really three different areas, consisting of the City of Luxor on the East side of the Nile, the town of Karnak just north of Luxor and Thebes, which the ancient Egyptians called Waset, which is on the west side of the Nile across from Luxor. To say that the Luxor area is a major attraction for tourists in Egypt would be an understatement. It has been a tourist destination since the beginning of tourism. Even in ancient times, during the late Dynasties of the Greek and Roman periods, the area drew tourists, and has been doing so ever since. Today Luxor is well equipped to accommodate tourists with many hotels and in general a tourist industry ready and willing to serve the people from many countries that descend on this area of the Nile Valley every year. Within Luxor, there are only three main streets consisting of Sharia al-Mahatta, Sharia al-Karnak and the Corniched, next to the Nile. The street in front of the train station is Sharia al-Mahatta and runs away from the Nile where it meets the gardens of Luxor Temple. Sharia al-Karnak, or Maabad al-Karnak which means Karnak Temple Street runs along the Nile from Luxor Temple to Karnak Temple. However, Sharia al-Karnak is known as Sharia al-Markaz where it meets Sharia al-Mahatta street, and to the south around the temple it is known as Sharia al-Lokanda. Along this street one will find the colorful signs of restaurants and cafes, as well as bazaars where the usual variety of Egyptian souvenirs can be found. Of interest is the alabaster, which is plentiful along the west bank and miled not far from here. Also look for the clay pots used by the locals for cooking, which are more unusual. Luxor today is governed by special statues that allow it more autonomy then other political areas of Egypt. One thing you might notice is that various government and other buildings confirm to an 'ancient' building code. Particularly, the National bank of Egypt (located near the winter palace), the spa south of the police station, and the railway station are all designed to appear as pharaonic constructs. All of this occurred after the Egyptianization of the modern town resulting mostly from the mania that resulted from Howard Carter's discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamun. As one might think, the city has all the amenities tourists might expect, including a variety of hotels, bars, nightclubs and restaurants.

Day 6Kom Ombo

Overview

Kom Ombo used to be an important caravan town - it was here that the 40 days caravans from Sudan or Nubia met the caravans carrying gold from the mines in the eastern desert. In Ptolemaic times (from the 3rd century BCE until early 1st century CE) Kom Ombo was the training ground for army elephants. Today only a small town remains, noted for its sugar production and the many Nubians who settled here after their villages were inundated by the Aswan High Dam in the 1960's. The temple of Kom Ombo is unique in one respect: it is dedicated to two gods, and the entire temple holds two perfectly symmetrical sections. The sanctuary to the left is dedicated to the falcon-headed sky god Harwer (also written Haroeris), or Horus the elder and his family. The one to the left is dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile god, also worshipped in Fayyum. The temple was started to be built as late as 2nd century BCE by Ptolemy 13, also known as Neos Dyonysos. The original front, erected by the command of Augustus after 30 BCE, has been lost to the erosions of the Nile or pillaged by stonemasons. All that is left of the pylon are a few of the foundations. But nature has also protected the temple, as the parts covered were hidden for Coptic Christians of earlier times out to clean pre-Christian elements from Egyptian history. To the south lies the Chapel of Hathor, where mummified crocodiles used to be stored. Four of these are still on display. There are a couple of hotels in town. Not much but quite OK for one night's stay. Eating is best done from the standard food stalls in town. There are good connections with Aswan by minibuses and service taxis. Connections between Kom Ombo and Edfu are less frequent, but unless you try to travel late in the afternoon or evening, there should be no danger of long waits. The best way of arriving at the temple complex is by boat, either a Nile cruiser or a felucca: The temple is beautifully located right beside the river.

Day 7Aswan

Overview

Aswan, Egypt's sunniest southern city and ancient frontier town located about 81 miles south of Luxor, has a distinctively African atmosphere. Its ancient Egyptian name was Syene. Small enough to walk around and graced with the most beautiful setting on the Nile, the pace of life is slow and relaxing. Days can be spent strolling up and down the broad Corniche watching the sailboats etch the sky with their tall masts or sitting in floating restaurants listening to Nubian music and eating freshly caught fish. In Aswan the Nile is at its most beautiful, flowing through amber desert and granite rocks, round emerald islands covered in palm groves and tropical plants. Explore the souk, full of the scent and color of spices, perfumes, scarves and baskets. View the spectacular sunsets while having tea on the terrace of the Old Cataract Hotel (Named due to the location of the Nile's first cataract located here). Aswan has been a favorite winter resort since the beginning of the nineteenth century, and it's still a perfect place to get away from it all. Every night Nubian dancers and musicians perform in the Cultural Center, just off the Corniche. Folklore troupes recreate scenes from village life and perform the famous Nubian mock stick-fight dances. Aswan is a strategic location which currently houses a garrison of the Egyptian army, but which has also seen ancient Egyptian garrisons, as well as that of General Kitchener, Turkish troops of the Ottoman empire and the Romans. The city proper lies on the east bank of the Nile. Relax here, visit a few mosques, but then prepare for an adventure. The bazaar runs along the Corniche, which continues past the Ferial Gardens and the Nubian Museum, and continues on to the Cemetery, with its forest of cupolas surmounted tombs from the Fatimid period. Just east of the cemetery in the famous area quarries is the gigantic Unfinished Obelisk. Just to the south of this, two Graeco-Roman sarcophagi and an unfinished colossus remain half buried in the sand. The most obvious is Elephantine Island, which is timeless with artifacts dating from pre-Dynastic times onward. It is the largest island in the area. Just beyond Elephantine is Kitchener's Island (Geziret el-Nabatat). It was named for the British general Haratio Kitchener (185--1916) and was sent to Egypt in 1883 to reorganize the Egyptian army, which he then led against the Sudanese Mahdi. But the island is known for its garden and the exotic plants the Kitchener planted there, and which continue to flourish today. On the opposite shore (west bank), the cliffs are surmounted by the tomb of a marabut, Qubbet el-Hawwa, who was a local saint. Below are tombs of the local (pharaonic) nobles and dignitaries. Upriver a bit is the tomb of Mohammed Shah Aga Khan who died in 1957. Known as the Tomb of the Aga Khan, it is beautiful in its simplicity. A road from there leads back to the Coptic Monastery of St Simeon, which was built in the sixth century in honor of Amba Hadra, a local saint. Just up river a bit, there is also the old Aswan dam, built by the British, which was enlarged, expanded, but unable to control the Nile for irrigation.

Day 8Aswan

Overview

Aswan, Egypt's sunniest southern city and ancient frontier town located about 81 miles south of Luxor, has a distinctively African atmosphere. Its ancient Egyptian name was Syene. Small enough to walk around and graced with the most beautiful setting on the Nile, the pace of life is slow and relaxing. Days can be spent strolling up and down the broad Corniche watching the sailboats etch the sky with their tall masts or sitting in floating restaurants listening to Nubian music and eating freshly caught fish. In Aswan the Nile is at its most beautiful, flowing through amber desert and granite rocks, round emerald islands covered in palm groves and tropical plants. Explore the souk, full of the scent and color of spices, perfumes, scarves and baskets. View the spectacular sunsets while having tea on the terrace of the Old Cataract Hotel (Named due to the location of the Nile's first cataract located here). Aswan has been a favorite winter resort since the beginning of the nineteenth century, and it's still a perfect place to get away from it all. Every night Nubian dancers and musicians perform in the Cultural Center, just off the Corniche. Folklore troupes recreate scenes from village life and perform the famous Nubian mock stick-fight dances. Aswan is a strategic location which currently houses a garrison of the Egyptian army, but which has also seen ancient Egyptian garrisons, as well as that of General Kitchener, Turkish troops of the Ottoman empire and the Romans. The city proper lies on the east bank of the Nile. Relax here, visit a few mosques, but then prepare for an adventure. The bazaar runs along the Corniche, which continues past the Ferial Gardens and the Nubian Museum, and continues on to the Cemetery, with its forest of cupolas surmounted tombs from the Fatimid period. Just east of the cemetery in the famous area quarries is the gigantic Unfinished Obelisk. Just to the south of this, two Graeco-Roman sarcophagi and an unfinished colossus remain half buried in the sand. The most obvious is Elephantine Island, which is timeless with artifacts dating from pre-Dynastic times onward. It is the largest island in the area. Just beyond Elephantine is Kitchener's Island (Geziret el-Nabatat). It was named for the British general Haratio Kitchener (185--1916) and was sent to Egypt in 1883 to reorganize the Egyptian army, which he then led against the Sudanese Mahdi. But the island is known for its garden and the exotic plants the Kitchener planted there, and which continue to flourish today. On the opposite shore (west bank), the cliffs are surmounted by the tomb of a marabut, Qubbet el-Hawwa, who was a local saint. Below are tombs of the local (pharaonic) nobles and dignitaries. Upriver a bit is the tomb of Mohammed Shah Aga Khan who died in 1957. Known as the Tomb of the Aga Khan, it is beautiful in its simplicity. A road from there leads back to the Coptic Monastery of St Simeon, which was built in the sixth century in honor of Amba Hadra, a local saint. Just up river a bit, there is also the old Aswan dam, built by the British, which was enlarged, expanded, but unable to control the Nile for irrigation.

Day 9Isna

Overview

Isna is located about 33 miles south of Luxor. The town's Greek name was Latopolis and here fish (lates) where thought to embody the goddess Neith, who was sacred to the area. Isna was increasingly important during the 18th dynasty due to Egypt's developing relationship with the Sudan. There was a route established between Isna and Derr. Later, the city slowly declined until it received renewed interest during the 26th Dynasty. Later, under the Greeks and Romans, it became the capital of the Third Nome of Upper Egypt. We also know of an Isna about a hundred years ago from Flaubert, who later wrote Madame Bovary, was propositioned by a 'almeh' while aboard his boat. He went with her to the house of Kuchuk Hanem, where she danced (not so virtuously) the Bee. In other words, wild times could be found here. Mohammed Ali had band almeh (meaning learned women) from Cairo, so they had gathered to make their living in Qena, Isna and Aswan. But today, Isna is a somewhat sleepy if busy merchant and farming town, with a weaving industry, on the west bank of the Nile where the entertainment more resides in the Saturday animal market. On the covered market street, one may purchase fabric, or have the fabrics made into clothing. There are some fine old houses about with fine brickwork and mashrbiyya screens. There is also a barrage just outside of town which was built in 1906. About 4 miles southwest of town is the Deir Manaos Wa al-Shuhada (Monastery of the Three Thousand Six Hundred Martyrs), who's 10th century church is said to be one of the most beautiful in Upper Egypt. Perhaps this monastery is a lasting commemorative to Emperor Decius (249-51 AD) who degreed that all Christians would suffer death if they did not sacrifice to the pagan gods. His cartouche was the last to be carved on the walls of the Temple of Khnum in Isna. But the main attraction is the Temple of Khnum, which lies beneath the level of the houses in a pit. Most of the ruins of around the Temple and the old city are yet to be explored as they lay under these modern dwellings. This was not the first temple here, for during the reign of Thutmose III, a temple was built here that preceded it. There are blocks from an early Christian church in the forecourt of the temple, foretelling of a time when Isna was an important Christian center. Near the Temple of Khnum on the stone quay along the corniche are carved cartouches of Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

Day 10Luxor

Overview

Luxor has often been called the worlds greatest open air museum, as indeed it is and much more. The number and preservation of the monuments in the Luxor area are unparalleled anywhere else in the world that know of. Actually, what most people think of as Luxor is really three different areas, consisting of the City of Luxor on the East side of the Nile, the town of Karnak just north of Luxor and Thebes, which the ancient Egyptians called Waset, which is on the west side of the Nile across from Luxor. To say that the Luxor area is a major attraction for tourists in Egypt would be an understatement. It has been a tourist destination since the beginning of tourism. Even in ancient times, during the late Dynasties of the Greek and Roman periods, the area drew tourists, and has been doing so ever since. Today Luxor is well equipped to accommodate tourists with many hotels and in general a tourist industry ready and willing to serve the people from many countries that descend on this area of the Nile Valley every year. Within Luxor, there are only three main streets consisting of Sharia al-Mahatta, Sharia al-Karnak and the Corniched, next to the Nile. The street in front of the train station is Sharia al-Mahatta and runs away from the Nile where it meets the gardens of Luxor Temple. Sharia al-Karnak, or Maabad al-Karnak which means Karnak Temple Street runs along the Nile from Luxor Temple to Karnak Temple. However, Sharia al-Karnak is known as Sharia al-Markaz where it meets Sharia al-Mahatta street, and to the south around the temple it is known as Sharia al-Lokanda. Along this street one will find the colorful signs of restaurants and cafes, as well as bazaars where the usual variety of Egyptian souvenirs can be found. Of interest is the alabaster, which is plentiful along the west bank and miled not far from here. Also look for the clay pots used by the locals for cooking, which are more unusual. Luxor today is governed by special statues that allow it more autonomy then other political areas of Egypt. One thing you might notice is that various government and other buildings confirm to an 'ancient' building code. Particularly, the National bank of Egypt (located near the winter palace), the spa south of the police station, and the railway station are all designed to appear as pharaonic constructs. All of this occurred after the Egyptianization of the modern town resulting mostly from the mania that resulted from Howard Carter's discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamun. As one might think, the city has all the amenities tourists might expect, including a variety of hotels, bars, nightclubs and restaurants.

Day 11Cairo

Overview

Cairo, which Egyptians proudly call the 'Mother of All Cities', spreads along the banks of the River Nile for 40km (25 miles) north to south, the largest metropolis in Africa. Most of the city lies on the east bank of the river. While its western borders end abruptly at the Pyramids, new satellite cities are spilling into the Eastern Desert. Travellers through the ages have been both fascinated and repelled by Cairo. Visitors are intrigued by its twisting streets, medieval buildings, oriental bazaars and Islamic architecture of carved domes and sculpted minarets, while being appalled by its dirt, pollution, noise, crowds and constant demands for baksheesh (gratuities). Paying baksheesh is the local custom, however, so expect to give little and often. Culture shock is part of the experience of Cairo and can at times be wearing. But as is written in the ancient tales of the 1001 Nights, 'He who hath not seen Cairo, hath not seen the world'. Cairo is a disorienting place and visitors often feel most comfortable finding their feet in the Westernised downtown district of central Cairo around Midan Tahrir (Liberation Square). This is a public transport hub, separated from the Nile by the massive Nile Hilton Hotel. Here too is the city centre's main attraction, the Egyptian Museum. Opposite downtown is the Nile island of Gezira, with the island of Roda just to the south. The Pyramids of Giza are on the West bank of the river, some 18km (11 miles) from the centre. Old Cairo lies south of downtown, while Islamic Cairo encompasses a large area to the east. Although Cairo today is Egypt's capital and largest city, its position of prominence in the long timeline of Egyptian history is relatively recent. It did not even exist when the pyramids at Giza were constructed. Then, the town of Memphis, 24km (15 miles) to the south, was the Pharaonic capital. Cairo was not founded until the Romans rebuilt an old Persian fortress along the Nile in AD116, which was known as Babylon-in-Egypt, in today's Old Cairo district. From the latter ninth century, a succession of Arab rulers made their mark on the city: Ibn Tulun built his royal city el-Qatai, the Fatimids built the walled city of el-Qahira, from which Cairo takes it name. In the thirteenth century, the Mamluks, a caste of Turkish soldier-slaves, rose to power, then the Ottomans, the French under Napoleon and finally the British ruled in their turn. The birth of modern Cairo came in 1863, when the ruler Ismail expanded the city along the Nile in the style of the great European cities. After the country returned to Egyptian rule in 1952, Cairo rose to the forefront as the capital of the Arab world. Cairo is also called the 'City of 1000 Minarets' and it is the exotic skyline of graceful domes and towering minarets that casts a spell of magic over the grinding reality of the metropolis. Most visitors come to see the great Pyramids of Giza, the treasures of Tutankhamun's tomb and other wonders in the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, as well as to shop in the sprawling Khan al-Khalili marketplace. There are also dozens of mosques, Coptic churches, smaller museums and winding streets to explore. This tourism is Egypt's key source of foreign income, while the public sector, including government and social services and the military, makes up the largest 'industry'. The city is also the centre of a growing trade, finance and insurance sector. During the summer, temperatures in Cairo can climb to 38 degrees Celsius, though the low humidity is some consolation. The best time to visit is between October and April. Occasional downpours occur in January and February, while during March and April the khamseen, a strong, hot, dry wind, blows in periodically from the desert.

Day 12Cairo

Overview

Cairo, which Egyptians proudly call the 'Mother of All Cities', spreads along the banks of the River Nile for 40km (25 miles) north to south, the largest metropolis in Africa. Most of the city lies on the east bank of the river. While its western borders end abruptly at the Pyramids, new satellite cities are spilling into the Eastern Desert. Travellers through the ages have been both fascinated and repelled by Cairo. Visitors are intrigued by its twisting streets, medieval buildings, oriental bazaars and Islamic architecture of carved domes and sculpted minarets, while being appalled by its dirt, pollution, noise, crowds and constant demands for baksheesh (gratuities). Paying baksheesh is the local custom, however, so expect to give little and often. Culture shock is part of the experience of Cairo and can at times be wearing. But as is written in the ancient tales of the 1001 Nights, 'He who hath not seen Cairo, hath not seen the world'. Cairo is a disorienting place and visitors often feel most comfortable finding their feet in the Westernised downtown district of central Cairo around Midan Tahrir (Liberation Square). This is a public transport hub, separated from the Nile by the massive Nile Hilton Hotel. Here too is the city centre's main attraction, the Egyptian Museum. Opposite downtown is the Nile island of Gezira, with the island of Roda just to the south. The Pyramids of Giza are on the West bank of the river, some 18km (11 miles) from the centre. Old Cairo lies south of downtown, while Islamic Cairo encompasses a large area to the east. Although Cairo today is Egypt's capital and largest city, its position of prominence in the long timeline of Egyptian history is relatively recent. It did not even exist when the pyramids at Giza were constructed. Then, the town of Memphis, 24km (15 miles) to the south, was the Pharaonic capital. Cairo was not founded until the Romans rebuilt an old Persian fortress along the Nile in AD116, which was known as Babylon-in-Egypt, in today's Old Cairo district. From the latter ninth century, a succession of Arab rulers made their mark on the city: Ibn Tulun built his royal city el-Qatai, the Fatimids built the walled city of el-Qahira, from which Cairo takes it name. In the thirteenth century, the Mamluks, a caste of Turkish soldier-slaves, rose to power, then the Ottomans, the French under Napoleon and finally the British ruled in their turn. The birth of modern Cairo came in 1863, when the ruler Ismail expanded the city along the Nile in the style of the great European cities. After the country returned to Egyptian rule in 1952, Cairo rose to the forefront as the capital of the Arab world. Cairo is also called the 'City of 1000 Minarets' and it is the exotic skyline of graceful domes and towering minarets that casts a spell of magic over the grinding reality of the metropolis. Most visitors come to see the great Pyramids of Giza, the treasures of Tutankhamun's tomb and other wonders in the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, as well as to shop in the sprawling Khan al-Khalili marketplace. There are also dozens of mosques, Coptic churches, smaller museums and winding streets to explore. This tourism is Egypt's key source of foreign income, while the public sector, including government and social services and the military, makes up the largest 'industry'. The city is also the centre of a growing trade, finance and insurance sector. During the summer, temperatures in Cairo can climb to 38 degrees Celsius, though the low humidity is some consolation. The best time to visit is between October and April. Occasional downpours occur in January and February, while during March and April the khamseen, a strong, hot, dry wind, blows in periodically from the desert.

Onboard the S.S. Sphinx

Costco Member Reviews

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As the only luxury river cruise ship in Egypt, S.S. Sphinx will offer three gourmet dining venues, including a private dining room and an al fresco dining experience on the upper deck, a swimming pool, massage room and 42 gorgeously appointed suites. Egyptian artwork, fabrics and hand-carved furnishings will bring the beauty of the region to life onboard.

Onboard Activities

Activities & Services (included in cruise)

Fitness Center

  • Fitness Center
  • Pool - Outdoor
  • Bars/Lounges
  • Concierge Desk

Activities & Services (available for an extra fee)

Spa

  • Self-Service Laundromat

Costco Travel makes every effort to verify the accuracy of all information provided. Additional fees for amenities or services may be charged by the cruise line. Amenities or services may be discontinued or revised by the cruise line without notice. Staterooms designated as wheelchair-accessible do not necessarily meet ADA requirements. Costco Travel is not responsible for inaccuracies or provider modifications.

Dining

Main Dining

Main Dining Room (open seating): This seating option allows you to choose when and with whom you dine. Menus are a blend of classic cuisine with a touch of contemporary elegance, and are created using only the finest and freshest ingredients often brought onboard from local ports of call. You'll be surrounded by the beauty of passing towns and villages.


Times, costs and other specifics are outside the control of Costco Travel. All information is at the sole discretion of the cruise line and is subject to change without notice. Dining time and table size preferences are submitted to the cruise line on a first-come, first-served request basis and are confirmed aboard ship. Questions, concerns and/or special needs regarding dining arrangements must be addressed with the maitre d' hotel aboard ship. Every effort is made to accommodate travelers' preferences; however, Costco Travel cannot guarantee dining arrangements. In specialty restaurants, space is limited and reservations are recommended. A cover charge and dress code may apply.

Staterooms

French Balcony (Category: FB)

Category: FB

  • 233 sq.ft – 21.6 sq.m

Deluxe French Balcony (Category: DF)

Category: DF

  • 285 sq.ft – 26.5 sq.m

Suite (Category: S)

Category: S

  • 344 sq.ft – 32 sq.m

Grand Suite (Category: GS)

Category: GS

  • 430 sq.ft – 40 sq.m

Deck Plan

Cruise Ship
Karnak Deck
Key to Symbols
SymbolDescription
ElevatorElevator

Ship Facts

S.S. Sphinx ship image
  • Ship Name: S.S. Sphinx
  • Year Built: 2020
  • Year Entered Present Fleet: 2020
  • Ship Class: River "Super Ship"
  • Number of Passenger Decks: 3
  • Officers' Nationality: Egyptian/International
  • Ocean-View without Balcony: 16
  • Ocean-View with Balcony: 26
  • Country of Registry: Egypt
  • Total Staterooms: 42
  • Crew/Hotel Staff Nationality: Egyptian/International
Costco Travel makes every effort to verify the accuracy of all information provided. Additional fees for amenities or services may be charged by the hotel, resort or cruise line. Amenities or services may be discontinued or revised by the provider without notice. Hotels, resorts, ships or accommodations designated as wheelchair-accessible do not necessarily meet ADA requirements. Costco Travel is not responsible for inaccuracies or provider modifications.

Available Dates & Prices

Departure Date

River-View Stateroom

French Balcony Stateroom

Balcony Stateroom

Suite Stateroom

Departure Date - 01/08/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$6,499

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$8,199

Departure Date - 01/15/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$6,499

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$8,199

Departure Date - 01/22/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$5,999

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$7,699

Departure Date - 01/29/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$6,499

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$8,199

Departure Date - 02/05/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$6,799

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$8,499

Departure Date - 02/12/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$6,799

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$8,499

Departure Date - 02/19/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$6,799

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$8,499

Departure Date - 02/26/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$6,799

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$8,499

Departure Date - 03/05/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$6,799

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$8,499

Departure Date - 03/12/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$6,799

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$8,499

Departure Date - 03/19/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$6,799

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$8,499

Departure Date - 03/26/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$6,799

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$8,499

Departure Date - 04/02/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$6,499

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$8,199

Departure Date - 04/09/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$6,499

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$8,199

Departure Date - 04/16/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$5,999

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$7,699

Departure Date - 04/23/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$5,999

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$7,699

Departure Date - 04/30/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$5,999

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$7,699

Departure Date - 05/07/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$5,999

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$7,699

Departure Date - 05/14/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$5,999

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$7,699

Departure Date - 05/21/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$5,499

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$7,199

Departure Date - 09/24/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$5,999

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$7,699

Departure Date - 10/01/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$6,299

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$7,999

Departure Date - 10/08/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$6,799

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$8,499

Departure Date - 10/15/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$6,799

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$8,499

Departure Date - 10/22/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$6,799

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$8,499

Departure Date - 10/29/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$6,799

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$8,499

Departure Date - 11/05/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$6,299

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$7,999

Departure Date - 11/12/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$6,299

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$7,999

Departure Date - 11/19/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$6,299

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$7,999

Departure Date - 11/26/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$6,299

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$7,999

Departure Date - 12/03/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$5,999

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$7,699

Departure Date - 12/10/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$6,499

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$8,199

Departure Date - 12/17/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$5,999

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$7,699

Departure Date - 12/24/2022

River-View Stateroom

N/A

French Balcony Stateroom

$5,999

Balcony Stateroom

N/A

Suite Stateroom

$7,699

Terms & Conditions

*Price shown is per person based on double occupancy and is valid for select stateroom categories only. Click on the Terms & Conditions link below for details.

**Unlimited beverages include premium wine and premium spirits. Diamond List of wine and spirits is available at an additional cost.

♦Executive Members receive a $50 shipboard credit per person, maximum $100 per stateroom. Executive Member benefit is valid for primary cardholder only. Shipboard credit is per stateroom based on double occupancy. Shipboard credit will be applied to your onboard account. Any unused portion of the credit is nontransferable, nonrefundable and may not be redeemed for cash.

†The exact amount of the Costco Shop Card will be calculated during the booking process. Click on the Terms & Conditions link below for additional information.

Ship's registry: Egypt

    Package ID: UNISPHASI20200104