Port Said, Egypt
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2 Days/ 1 Night
Day 1 (L/D)
Drive three hours from the port of Port Said to the outskirts of Cairo. Upon arrival in Cairo, you will visit the Citadel and the Mohammed Ali Mosque. The Citadel dominates Cairo from its vantage point on the Mokattam Hills, and was the heart of the city for more than 200 years beginning in 1176. Its history is incredible—built by the legendary Saladin who conquered the Crusaders in Palestine, and later occupied by Napoleon and the reigning Royal Family. Next, you will drive to an upscale hotel for a buffet lunch and, afterwards, visit the fabulous Egyptian Museum of Antiquities. The museum exhibits more than 120,000 objects in its 107 halls, comprising the world's greatest collection of Ancient Egyptian artifacts. Two grand halls contain countless artifacts and one room is reserved for the golden treasures from the legendary tomb of the boy-king Tutankhamon. These treasures have a tendency to astound and delight visitors, and attract more than two million people to the museum each year. Check in at your hotel in the late afternoon and take some time to freshen up before you head out again. Now, you're headed to the Sphinx and the magnificent Sound & Light Show held at the foot of the Giza Pyramids. It is an incredible spectacle narrated by the enigmatic Sphinx. The show will lead you on a fascinating tour through the history of the Pyramids; then, you will drive back to your hotel.
Day 2 (B/L)
Relax over a buffet breakfast while enjoying a wonderful cruise on the Nile River. Back on dry land, you will drive to the Sakkara Step Pyramid—the oldest-known of Egypt's 107 pyramids. It was built by Imhotep, a figure who looms large in the history of Egypt. He was the architect of the world's first freestanding stone structure, which you will visit today with your Egyptologist, and is often also recognized as the world's first doctor. Imhotep was also a priest, sage, poet and astrologer. Although the pyramid's original structure was a burial chamber 80 feet underground, Imhotep enlarged it several times to eventually form a six-tiered rectangle more than 180 feet tall. Sakkara seems to have been the first area where limestone was used, not only for the outer casing of the pyramid but also to cover the interior walls. Leaving Sakkara, you will drive to a local souvenir shop for a chance to purchase mementos. Then, you'll take an unforgettable tour to the Great Pyramids of Giza, built for the Pharaohs Cheops, Chephren and Mycerinus. They were constructed around 2500 BC with blocks of limestone from the plateau and from the Turah hills on the outskirts of Cairo. The Great Pyramid of Cheops alone—the only present-day survivor of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World—required more than 2,300,000 blocks of stone, each weighing about 2½ tons. At its base, it covers 13 acres of land. Millions of visitors come each year to ponder the fascinating mystery of their existence and to explore the ancient burial chambers within. Finally, you will visit the Sphinx and the Valley Temple, which houses this mysterious creature that is half-lion and half-man. The Sphinx is located in what was once a quarry to the east of Chephren's pyramid. One theory suggests the Pharaoh's workers shaped the body into a lion and gave it their king's face as a guardian of the necropolis. Almost a thousand years after its construction, King Thutmose IV placed a stele between the front paws. It describes how the Sphinx had spoken to him in a dream, promising him kingship if he cleared away the desert sand that was choking the Sphinx. Explore this and the many other legends surrounding this timeless regal figure. After your visit, you'll head to one of the leading hotels in Giza where lunch will be served. Finally, you will transfer three hours across the desert to the port where you will re-join your vessel.
If time permits, independent entrance to the pyramid may be possible, but it is not recommended for those who suffer from claustrophobia or heart and respiratory conditions. It is very hot and stuffy inside the pyramid and you must be able to bend over and crouch down at times while you are inside. Bring a flashlight for the Sound & Light Show, as lighting can be dim when you are arriving at or leaving the show. Important: It is each guest’s sole responsibility to obtain (before traveling) any visas, vaccinations and/or tourist cards that are required for participating in overland adventures or overnight tours, unless noted otherwise in the description. Please be aware that you may need a visa for any and/or all countries that you will depart from and travel through as part of your overland adventure or overnight tour, and for the country in which you will re-join the ship.