Pharaohs & Pyramids – A Luxury Small Group Journey (2023)

Cruise for seven nights along the Nile on an A&K-exclusive charter of ‘Sanctuary Sun Boat III,’ delving deeply into the majesty of ancient Egypt at a leisurely pace.

Journey Overview

Cruise for seven nights along the Nile on an A&K-exclusive charter of ‘Sanctuary Sun Boat III,’ delving deeply into the majesty of ancient Egypt at a leisurely pace, following a comprehensive itinerary that features sites found off the beaten path as well as special private openings, the convenience of privately chartered air and a stay at a top luxury hotel.

Journey Highlights

  • Embark on a leisurely seven-night river cruise aboard the exclusively chartered ‘Sanctuary Sun Boat III,’ visiting less-frequented sites, tombs and temples
  • Fly between destinations aboard aircraft chartered exclusively for A&K guests
  • Venture inside one of the pyramids and ride camelback on the Giza Plateau
  • Get up close to the massive paws of the enigmatic Great Sphinx on a special private visit
  • Rise early for a stunning balloon trip over the Nile, viewing the marvellous monuments of ancient Thebes as the sun rises
  • Descend into the tomb of Tutankhamun (King Tut) and visit famed archaeologist Howard Carter’s home
  • Be among the privileged visitors to explore Wahtye’s Tomb at Sakkara — discovered only recently after 4,400 years — during a private opening specially arranged by A&K
Itinerary

Journey Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Cairo, Egypt

Arrive in Cairo, Egypt’s “Mother of All Cities,” an age-old crossroads of Asia, Africa, and Europe, where you are met and privately transferred to your riverside hotel.

Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza

Day 2: Cairo | Immersed in Antiquities

Explore the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities (or the Grand Egyptian Museum, upon its opening), home to over 120,000 relics, some dating back to 4000 BC. After lunch, return to your hotel for an afternoon at leisure. This evening, join your fellow travellers for a welcome dinner.

Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza | Meals: BLD

Day 3: Cairo | The Great Pyramid and Paws of the Sphinx

Set out for the Giza Plateau on a full-day excursion. Observe the great pyramids of Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure as well as other historical sites. Enter the Great Pyramid of Cheops — oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World — stepping back in time some 4,000 years. Ride Like a Local on a camel, and then enjoy special private access to the nearby Great Sphinx, seizing the rare opportunity to lay your hands on its massive paws. Dine tonight in a local Cairo restaurant.

Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza | Meals: BLD

Day 4: Luxor | Two of Egypt’s Finest Temples

Fly south to Luxor, formerly known as Thebes. Upon arrival visit the Temple of Karnak, featuring 134 great columns that once supported an enormous roof. Board ‘Sanctuary Sun Boat III,’ your luxurious home on the Nile for the next seven nights, in time for lunch. This afternoon, explore the Temple of Luxor, built by Amenhotep III (1405-1367 BC). This evening, gather for a complimentary cocktail and canapés, followed by dinner.

‘Sanctuary Sun Boat III’ | Meals: BLD

Day 5: Cruising the Nile | Egypt’s Grandeur by Hot Air Balloon

Rise early this morning for an exhilarating hot air balloon ride over the Nile and the temples that line its shores. Proceed to the West Bank, starting at the fabled Colossi of Memnon, two enormous, seated statues of Amenhotep III. Then, in the Valley of the Queens, explore the tomb of Queen Nefertari, said to be the finest tomb in Egypt. The day’s explorations also include Deir el-Medina, an excavated village of craftsmen and artisans, founded by Amenhotep I, who contributed to the creation of tombs in the nearby valleys of the Kings and Queens. Return to ‘Sanctuary Sun Boat III’ for lunch and sail to Esna.

‘Sanctuary Sun Boat III’ | Meals: BLD

Day 6: Cruising the Nile | Remnants of Greece and Rome

This morning at Esna, explore the Greco-Roman Temple of Khnum with your Egyptologist guide. Its Great Hypostyle Hall was built during the reign of the Roman Emperor Claudius. Then, cruise upstream to Edfu, where you visit the well-preserved Temple of Horus (the falcon god). This afternoon, learn to prepare local dishes during a Chef’s Table experience with an onboard chef. Join the party tonight and dress up in traditional Egyptian galabeyyas. Sit down to a lavish buffet of Egyptian specialties, followed by Arabic music and dancing.

‘Sanctuary Sun Boat III’ | Meals: BLD

Day 7: Cruising the Nile | Island Temple of Isis

Disembark in Aswan to visit the granite quarries that supplied stone for many of Egypt’s pyramids and temples. View the 1,200-ton ‘Unfinished Obelisk,’ which exemplifies the technique used to create such enormous monoliths. Then, boat to the island of Agilika to view the exquisite Temple of Philae, dedicated to the goddess Isis. Later this afternoon, sail by felucca (traditional sailing vessel), weather permitting, around Elephantine Island and view the splendid Aga Khan Mausoleum, which overlooks the river.

‘Sanctuary Sun Boat III’ | Meals: BLD

Day 8: Abu Simbel | Massive Tribute to Ramses II

Fly to Abu Simbel, site of the magnificent temple of Ramses II, and marvel at the four enormous statues of the pharaoh that grace its façade, each over 18 metres high. Amazingly, the site was raised up the hillside to avoid floodwaters caused by the Aswan High Dam project. Then, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before boarding your privately chartered aircraft back to Aswan, to return to your ship.

‘Sanctuary Sun Boat III’ | Meals: BLD

Day 9: Cruising the Nile | Temple of the Sun

Relax on board or explore a local Aswan spice market this morning. Have lunch while you cruise to Kom Ombo. Disembark for a walking visit to this lovely Greco-Roman temple dedicated to Haroeris (the sun god) and Sobek (the crocodile god), whom some ancient Egyptians considered the creator of the world. View the mummified remains of several crocodiles that once basked along the ancient Nile shore, just as their descendants do today. Partake in a Scenic Sundowner as you cruise toward Esna.

‘Sanctuary Sun Boat III’ | Meals: BLD

Day 10: Cruising the Nile | The Discovery of Tutankhamun

Return to the west bank of the Nile this morning. Begin at the terraced funerary temple of Queen Hatshepsut, Egypt’s first female pharaoh. Continue on to the famous Valley of the Kings. Enter the iconic tomb of Tutankhamun (King Tut) before visiting the former home of the legendary archaeologist who unearthed it, Howard Carter, to see the original tools he used for the excavation. Gain entry to the lesser-visited, well-preserved tomb of Seti I, father of Ramses II. Go off the beaten path to one of Luxor’s lesser-known sites, the New Kingdom necropolis Dra Abu Naga. After lunch and afternoon tea aboard ship, visit the Luxor Museum, browsing its fascinating collections. Your final dinner on board is a gala affair.

‘Sanctuary Sun Boat III’ | Meals: BLD

Day 11: Luxor/Cairo | Design Your Day

Disembark ‘Sanctuary Sun Boat III’ and return to Cairo in time for lunch. This afternoon, enjoy one of these Design Your Day activities:

  • Discover Coptic Cairo, visiting a church built where the Holy Family stayed and other Christian sites.
  • Tour Islamic Cairo, including the lively Khan el-Khalili Bazaar and Sultan Hassan mosque.
  • Sail on a Felucca, experiencing Cairo from a different perspective.

The remainder of your day is at leisure.

Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza | Meals: BL

Day 12: Cairo | Private Opening of Wahtye’s Tomb

Today, venture just outside the city to Sakkara, the vast necropolis of ancient Memphis, site of the famous Step Pyramid. Built by Zoser I in 2700 BC, it is the world’s oldest stone structure. Enjoy a special private opening of the 4,400-year-old tomb of Wahtye. Unearthed in 2018, it is considered one of the biggest discoveries of the decade, completely untouched and filled with painted hieroglyphics, sculptures, and inscriptions. Also visit the Mereruka Tomb, one of the most exquisitely decorated tombs of the Old Kingdom. Tonight, enjoy a memorable farewell dinner.

Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza | Meals: BLD

Day 13: Depart Cairo

After breakfast, transfer to the airport and depart.

Meals: B

Journey Details

Internal air included: Cairo/Luxor; Aswan/Abu Simbel/Aswan/Cairo
Routes may run in reverse on select departures (cruise beginning and ending in Aswan instead of Luxor).
This journey contains some active elements.
Minimum age is 10 years.
First group event: welcome briefing at 8:00 a.m. on Day 2.
Last group event: farewell dinner at 7:00 p.m. on Day 12.
Departures are not guaranteed to operate.

Please note: Proof of COVID-19 full vaccination is required for this program.

Included with every Luxury Small Group Journey

  • English-Speaking Resident Tour Director and Local Guides
  • Hand-Selected Luxury Accommodations
  • Airport Meet and Greet with Private Transfers
  • Travelling Bell Boy Luggage Handling
  • Breakfast in Bed on Select Days
  • Full Breakfast Daily; Select Lunches and Dinners
  • Your Choice of Activity on Design Your Day
  • Traveller’s Valet Laundry Service
  • Internet Access
  • Entrance Fees, Taxes and All Gratuities Except Resident Tour Director
  • 24/7 A&K On-Call Support

Customise this Journey

Talk to one of our expert Journey Designers or your travel agent about booking this tour as a private journey for your own small group with family or friends. Or, if you would prefer to travel privately, find out more about creating the perfect bespoke tailor-made journey based on this itinerary.

Show Full Itinerary
Preferred Accommodation

Preferred Accommodation

This journey features the following Preferred Accommodations:

Four Seasons Hotel Cairo

Pharaohs & Pyramids – A Luxury Small Group Journey (2023)
A&K Favourite

The majestic Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza is a beacon of sophisticated hospitality on the legendary Corniche along the bank of ... Read more

Sanctuary Sun Boat III

Pharaohs & Pyramids – A Luxury Small Group Journey (2023)
A&K Favourite

Perfect for a relaxing journey along the River Nile, this stylish cruiser combines timeless beauty, grace and cutting-edge efficiency wit... Read more

Dates & Prices

Journey Dates & Prices

Prices are per person, based on double occupancy

Feb 1, 2023 - Feb 13, 2023
Cabin Class Sanctuary ‘Sun Boat III’: Nile Deck Price AU$23,445pp Single Supplement AU$3,795 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary ‘Sun Boat III’: Promenade Deck Price AU$24,150pp Single Supplement AU$4,500 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary ‘Sun Boat III’: Presidential Suite Price AU$29,785pp Single Supplement AU$10,135 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary ‘Sun Boat III’: Royal Suite Price AU$31,190pp Single Supplement AU$11,540 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Mar 2, 2023 - Mar 14, 2023
Cabin Class Sanctuary ‘Sun Boat III’: Nile Deck Price AU$23,445pp Single Supplement AU$3,795 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Available Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary ‘Sun Boat III’: Promenade Deck Price AU$24,150pp Single Supplement AU$4,500 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Call for Availability Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary ‘Sun Boat III’: Presidential Suite Price AU$29,785pp Single Supplement AU$10,135 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Available Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary ‘Sun Boat III’: Royal Suite Price AU$31,190pp Single Supplement AU$11,540 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Available Enquire
Aug 30, 2023 - Sep 11, 2023
Cabin Class Sanctuary ‘Sun Boat IV’: Nile Deck Price AU$21,050pp Single Supplement AU$3,375 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Available Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary ‘Sun Boat III’: Promenade Deck Price AU$21,755pp Single Supplement AU$4,075 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Available Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary ‘Sun Boat III’: Presidential Suite Price AU$27,390pp Single Supplement AU$9,710 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Available Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary ‘Sun Boat III’: Royal Suite Price AU$28,795pp Single Supplement AU$11,120 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Available Enquire
Dec 1, 2023 - Dec 13, 2023
Cabin Class Sanctuary ‘Sun Boat III’: Nile Deck Price AU$23,445pp Single Supplement AU$3,795 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Available Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary ‘Sun Boat III’: Promenade Deck Price AU$24,150pp Single Supplement AU$4,500 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Available Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary ‘Sun Boat III’: Presidential Suite Price AU$29,785pp Single Supplement AU$10,135 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Available Enquire
Cabin Class Sanctuary ‘Sun Boat III’: Royal Suite Price AU$31,190pp Single Supplement AU$11,540 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Available Enquire
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