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The Essence of Egypt & Jordan
(National Geographic Cruise)

20 days with Scenic  Rating: Deluxe

River Cruise Itinerary
Day 1 Cairo (Giza)
Arrive in Cairo and transfer to our iconic hotel, which offers spectacular views of Giza’s famed pyramids. Enjoy welcome drinks and dinner as the sun sets over the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the World. (Dinner)
Day 2 Giza
Set out this morning to explore the Pyramids at Giza, elaborate burial complexes built some 4,500 years ago for Egyptian pharaohs. Our hotel is situated at the foot of the pyramids, ensuring that we arrive before the crowds for a peaceful view of the sun rising over the limestone peaks. Next, visit the Solar Boat Museum, home to a restored cedarwood barge built to transport Pharaoh Khufu to the afterlife and sealed in the Great Pyramid around 2500 B.C. Ponder the riddle of the Great Sphinx, the 240-foot-long monolith carved out of the limestone bedrock of the Giza plateau during the reign of Pharaoh Khafre. Then learn about the rich history of the Nile region during a talk given by our National Geographic expert. After the sun goes down, see the pyramids illuminated by Giza’s spectacular multicolored light show. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 3 Luxor
Fly to Luxor, which makes up part of what was known in antiquity as the great city of Thebes. Settle into our historic hotel, where British archaeologist Howard Carter regularly gave updates after the discovery of King Tutankhamun’s treasure-filled tomb in 1922. Wander amid the fragrant gardens and opulent rooms of this former palace, once a winter retreat for the Egyptian royal family. Then visit the nearby Luxor Museum to peruse ancient relics. Tonight, take a guided walk through the souk, an open-air market where vendors sell spices, silks, jewelry, and fragrant street food. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 4 Luxor
Spend the day exploring the Valley of the Kings, ancient Egypt’s “gateway to the afterlife.” Enjoy an optional hot-air balloon flight to gain a stunning bird’s-eye view of the sites that dot this stark desert valley, where the pharaohs constructed underground tombs to hold treasures, jewelry, sacred objects, furniture, and even food for the next world. Here, in 2018, a highly publicized National Geographic–supported investigation using ground-penetrating radar concluded that there were no hidden chambers behind King Tutankhamun’s tomb. Discover the neighboring Valley of the Queens, where queens and some royal children were buried, and view the impressive mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut—the longest reigning female pharaoh. Then enjoy a special visit to the well-preserved mortuary Temple of Ramses III, who is believed to have been the victim of an assassination plot led by one of his wives. Board our riverboat this afternoon; then explore the vast open-air temple complex of Karnak, marveling at the towering columns of the Great Hypostyle Hall. After dinner, toast the beginning of our Nile cruise with cocktails and canapés on the sundeck. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 5 Dendera/Luxor
Today we make our way to Dendera, one of the best-preserved temple complexes in Egypt. Enormous mud brick ramparts enclose more than 130,000 square feet of desert studded with remnants of shrines and towering colonnades. Marvel at the vibrantly painted hieroglyphs adorning the roof of the Temple of Hathor. Later, return to Luxor and explore Luxor Temple, created over hundreds of years by various pharaohs. This evening, delight in a mesmerizing performance by whirling dervishes and a traditional belly dancer. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 6 Edfu/Kom Ombo
Follow the procession route of the pharaohs as we cruise south along the Nile, where magnificent temples and ancient villages line the banks against a dramatic desert backdrop. Disembark at Edfu to explore the well-preserved Temple of Horus, erected to honor the god of the sky. Stand tall beside larger-than-life carvings of pharaohs on the outer walls, and gaze up at the blackened ceiling of the hypostyle hall, believed to be the result of ancient arson. Travel further upriver to Kom Ombo, a temple perched high on the east bank of the Nile and dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile-headed god. Tonight, enjoy a lively evening of music and dance with performers adorned in galabia, traditional Egyptian dress. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 7 Nile River/Aswan
Continue sailing south to Aswan, a busy market town located just north of the colossal Aswan High Dam, completed in 1970 to tame the regular flooding of the mighty Nile. Meet National Geographic grantees who are excavating an ancient quarry at nearby Gebel el Silsila, where laborers once cut stone for the construction of temples such as Luxor and Karnak. Explore the island temple of Philae, a site of ancient pilgrimage for devotees of the goddess Isis. In the 1960s the entire temple complex was moved to its present location on Agilkia Island because of flooding caused by the construction of the Aswan dams. Visit a nearby quarry to learn about ancient carving techniques and view the “unfinished obelisk.” This enormous monument, half-carved out of granite bedrock, was intended to be larger than any ancient obelisk ever erected, before a large crack caused the project to be abandoned. In the afternoon, explore the Nile by felucca, a traditional wooden boat with one or two distinctive lateen sails. After an educational presentation from our expert, join the captain and crew for a gala dinner. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 8 Aswan
Disembark at Aswan and check in to our hotel—converted from a 19th-century Victorian palace, where notable guests such as Sir Winston Churchill and Agatha Christie once stayed—and admire sweeping views of the river from your balcony. This afternoon, choose to visit a traditional Nubian village, ride in a motorboat to the upper reaches of the Nile, or explore the vibrant Aswan Botanical Garden. Watch the sun set over swaying date palms as you sample delicious Mediterranean cuisine during a private dinner at the hotel’s renowned restaurant. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 9 Abu Simbel/Cairo
Fly to Abu Simbel, part of a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to two of Egypt’s most impressive temples, built by the Egyptian king Ramses II. In the 1960s, the site was dismantled, lifted, and reassembled some 600 feet west and 200 feet above the original site, a feat of engineering rivalling the original construction of the temples. Stand at the base of the colossal statues of Ramses II and puzzle out the hieroglyphs carved on the walls of the inner hall. Later, continue by local flight to Cairo and enjoy a free evening to explore Egypt’s capital city on your own. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 10 Cairo
Delve deeper into ancient history during a visit to the Egyptian Museum. View relics recovered from Tutankhamun’s tomb, documents made of delicate papyrus, elaborate sarcophagi, and a collection of royal mummies. After lunch, explore the walled city of Islamic Cairo, originally founded as the royal enclosure of the Fatimid caliphs. Weave your way through narrow streets lined with hundreds of mosques, tombs, and madrassas. Then make your way to Old Cairo, the location of the earliest original settlement, where the Canal of the Pharaohs once connected the Nile to the Red Sea. This area is home to the Coptic Christian community, the ruins of Roman fortifications, the first mosque built in Egypt, and the oldest synagogue in Cairo. This evening, gather for a festive farewell dinner to celebrate our adventure. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 11 Cairo/Amman
Fly to Amman, the capital of the Kingdom of Jordan for two nights. Join your Jordanian Tour Director for a dinner of local delicacies. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 12 Amman
Discover the ancient Roman city of Jerash, inhabited since the Bronze Age. Explore the impressive ruins and witness an exciting re-enactment of a Roman chariot race in the hippodrome. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 13 Amman > Petra
During a visit to the Royal Automobile Museum view the extensive private collection of the Royal Family. At Madaba discover the famous mosaic map of the Holy Land then continue to the rose red city of Petra for your two night stay. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 14 Petra
This magnificent World Heritage-listed city is the legacy of the Nabataeans, who settled in southern Jordan more than 2,000 years ago. The impressive eastern entrance leads through a brilliantly coloured narrow gorge to the imposing Treasury, more than 40 metres high. Designed to impress, the rock-cut facade will take your breath away. This is only the first of many wonders you will discover here today. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 15 Petra > Wadi Rum
After a free morning in Petra, continue your journey to Wadi Rum. You will feel like you have stepped onto the moon during your Special Stay in the luxurious Martian tents of the Sun Camp.
Witness the vivid and dramatic colours of the desert at sunset over a refreshing drink. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 16 Wadi Rum > Aqaba
This morning travel in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia as you discover the dramatic desert landscapes of Wadi Rum. Explore Lawrence Road and be awed by the vistas of ancient valleys and towering weathered sandstone mountains rising out of the pink and white sands. Later, continue south to Aqaba for a two night Special Stay. Relax in the luxurious surrounds of your hotel, step onto your balcony with sweeping Red Sea views or take a dip in the pool. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 17 Aqaba
The afternoon is at leisure to relax and enjoy the facilities of your resort.
Cruise and snorkel the Red Sea in search for marine life. Alternatively, you may choose a relaxing Spa treatment. (Breakfast)
Day 18 Aqaba > Dead Sea
Travel north toward the Dead Sea, stopping at Bethany Beyond the Jordan to see where Jesus was baptised and view the memorial to Moses at Mount Nebo. Continue on to the Dead Sea for a two night stay at your luxurious resort. Relax and take in the views over the Dead Sea across to Israel from your balcony. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 19 Dead Sea
Enjoy the facilities of your resort including direct access to the sea. Spoil yourself and allow the staff to slather you in the therapeutic mud. Or float in the hypersaline waters of the Dead Sea, while reading a book or the newspaper.
Join your Tour Director at the Sky Bar and toast the end of a wonderful journey. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 20 Dead Sea > Amman
Say farewell as you transfer to Amman airport taking a lifetime of wonderful memories with you. (Breakfast)
Tour Map
All This Included
From Cairo to Amman, explore the ancient and natural wonders of Egypt and Jordan. Discover the Great Pyramids and Sphinx at Giza and the Treasury at Petra.

Explore the incredible legacy of these two intriguing countries, from magnificent monuments immortalising the pharaohs in Egypt to the footsteps of the Romans and Nabateans in Jordan. Natural wonders abound, from extraordinary desertscapes to soaring mountains, world-famous seas and, of course, the mighty Nile.

Delve into the wonders of Egypt and discover the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx at Giza before marvelling at the ancient temples, tombs and monuments at Luxor. Glide along the Nile on a luxury cruise to Aswan and stand in awe before the extraordinary temples of Abu Simbel, then top it all off with the treasures of Cairo’s Egyptian Museum. In the Kingdom of Jordan, discover the capital Amman before travelling to the World Heritage-listed city of Petra for a spine-tingling exploration of the incredible Treasury and ruins. Marvel at the moon-like desertscape of Wadi Rum before relaxing by the azure waters of the Red Sea, and floating in the hypersaline waters of the Dead Sea.

These departures will be accompanied by a National Geographic expert who will give talks throughout the week and join guests on off-ship excursions. We’ve added extra choice excursions as well, from hikes and bike rides to in-depth learning experiences that focus on the natural world, culture, and history.
  • Scenic Sundowners
  • Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx
  • Luxor Museum
  • Valley of the Kings and Karnak Temple, Embark Nile cruise
  • Temple of Hathor at Dendera
  • Kom Ombo Temple
  • Philae Temple
  • Scenic Enrich – Dinner at The Terrace
  • Temples of Abu Simbel
  • Egyptian Museum and Mummies Room, Scenic Freechoice
  • Fly to Amman
  • Jerash
  • Royal Jordanian Automobile Museum, Madaba mosaics
  • The amazing Treasury
  • Desert Jeep safari
  • The Red Sea
  • Scenic Freechoice
  • Intriguing desert landscapes, Mount Nebo
  • Floating in the Dead Sea
  • Farewell
  • 44 meals including 19 Breakfasts, 12 Lunches and 13 Dinners
Accommodations on this Tour
Cruising: Cabin onboard Santuary Sun Boat III
  • Itineraries are subject to change.
  • Cabin upgrades are available.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.

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