Port Said, Egypt
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2 days/1 night
This morning’s drive to Cairo takes about 3½ hours. Upon arrival, you’ll proceed to the famous an unforgettable 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. Proceed to one of the leading hotels in Cairo where lunch will be served. After lunch, you will check in at your hotel and freshen up. This evening, you will head to the downtown area and visit the 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. 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. Later, you will head to the Old Cairo area and make your way to Moez Street. A unique cultural walking tour takes you from one end of the Khan El-Khalili Bazaar to the other—a remnant of a time when the area was the heart of the old walled city of Cairo. The ancient thoroughfare will lead you along some of the most traditional parts of the bazaar, where life has barely changed in centuries. It runs from the massive fortified Fotouh Gate to the beautifully designed Zuweila Gate. This stretch contains more heritage buildings per foot than any other street in the world. In this part of the bazaar, Egyptians themselves go to bargain for everyday items and you will be enthralled by the guide’s explanations of passing licorice-tea-sellers, spice markets with obscure roots and magical powders, black-swathed women, and brightly-painted donkey-carts overflowing with watermelons and mangos. Dinner will be served at a local restaurant among this authentic ambience.
Day 2 (B/L)
After breakfast, you will check out from the hotel and drive approximately three hours to Alexandria. Upon arrival in Alexandria, you will visit the famous Catacombs of Kom El Shogafa—the largest Roman burial site discovered in Egypt to date. The catacombs consist of three tiers of tombs and chambers cut into the bedrock to a depth of about 115 feet. Constructed in the 2nd century AD as a single-family crypt, these tombs represent the last existing major construction under the auspices of ancient Egyptian religion. They were later expanded to hold more than 300 individual tombs. There is even a banquet hall where grieving relatives paid their last respects with a funereal feast. Though the motifs are purely ancient Egyptian, the architects and artists were schooled in the Greco-Roman style, resulting in an amazingly integrated artform, quite unlike anything else in the world. Proceed to visit the National Museum of Alexandria. The collection in this newly-opened National Museum. The collection in this newly-opened museum includes thousands of items spanning from the Pharaonic Era, through Greco-Roman times, to the modern era. Papyrus scrolls, ancient perfume bottles and painted mummy cases are tastefully displayed as well as classic Greek statues showing the physical beauty that represented the ideals of that particular culture. The artifacts guide the visitor right up to the times of Mubarak and illustrate Alexandria’s role in the modern history of Egypt. After lunch, served at a local restaurant, you will proceed to the Library of Alexandria. This remarkable facility is not just a library—it is a stunning integrated cultural complex incorporating libraries, museums, exhibition areas, educational centers and an international conference facility. Its goal is to cross the frontiers of history and meet the challenges of the 21st century, and it is already an admired research institution. Leaving the library, re-board the coach and return to the ship at the pier in Alexandria.
Minimum age to visit the Library of Alexandria is 6 years. In the event the library is closed, a visit to the Fort of Qait Bay will be substituted. Those who wish to enter one of the pyramids can do so upon request (cost included); however, this is not recommended for anyone who suffers from claustrophobia, limited mobility, a heart condition or circulatory and breathing problems. 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. Important: It is each guest’s sole responsibility to obtain (before traveling) any visas, vaccinations or tourist cards that are required for participating in mid-cruise adventures or overnight journeys, 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 mid-cruise adventure or overnight journey, and for the country in which you will re-join the ship.