- The timeless Nile, the easy way of life aboard the Steam Ship Sudan and all the great attractions away from the crowds
- Introduction in Cairo: Private tour of Giza, the Great Egyptian Museum and a meeting with a local from Cairo
- You'll stay in two historic hotels before and after the cruise: Old Winter Palace in Luxor, Old Cataract in Aswan
- Our usual additional services include private transfers and access to our local Concierge
Contact one of our Egypt specialists + 44 (0) 20 3958 6120
STEAM SHIP SUDAN, YOUR HOUSE ON THE NILEIt is the last historic steamboat still shuttling up and down the River Nile. The Steam Ship Sudan is distinguished from other cruise ships by its small capacity. It has just 23 cabins including five suites, each named after people related to the history of the ship or Egypt: Agatha Christie (who was then inspired to write 'Death on the Nile'), Gustave Flaubert, Herodotus... On board, the hardwood deck sits above an ink-black hull that for almost a century has plyed the water of the sacred river, guided by the slow pace of the paddlewheels. As the ship pumps out steam at slow and steady intervals, the banks of the Nile pass by; a sight you can never get tired of. We are proud of the quality of service on board, along with catering (The Steam Ship Sudan is the first ship to be supplied with 100% organic fruit, vegetables and eggs on the Nile ) and recruitment of guides present throughout the cruise. The boat was recently docked in order to undergo a complete renovation. During sailing hours you can sit on the deck in front of your cabin, or relax on the upper deck - equipped with deckchairs - while enjoying the hypnotising sight of the Nile river banks slipping by.
LEGENDARY PALACESOn the banks of the Nile, near Luxor Temple, stands another historic monument: The Old Winter Palace. Built in 1886, the inauguration of this prestigious hotel marked the beginning of tourism to the region. Comfort has adapted to the demands of the modern traveller, but the Victorian atmosphere still remains with the imposing marble staircase and the exceptionally elegant lounges. Bellboys wearing sirwals (loose fitting trousers) and fezzes and concierges in tailcoats add to the atmosphere. Something you have to do is find a spot on the terrace after nightfall overlooking the beautiful gardens to fully take in the magic of the place. In Aswan, it's the The Old Cataract that transports you back in time. Without disturbing the essence of the hotel, the historic wing has seen many of its rooms turned into suites. The 'Elephantine' wing (Nile Wing) - where you'll be staying - offers contemporary elegance, while the whole complex boasts a spacious spa measuring 13,000 square feet with an indoor swimming pool. Guests such as Agatha Christie, Winston Churchill and famous statesmen of the 20th century contribute to the aura of the place, and the palace maintains traditional hospitality and comfort in order to provide refined and flawless service. Behind its ochre walls, framed by the river and the rocks, the allure lingers on.
Flight to Cairo
Private transfer and two-night stay on Gezira Island. The hotel tower overlooks the River Nile. From its windows, you can see both the river and the city. The decor cleverly combines clean contemporary lines with Eastern-inspired motifs. Facilities and services provided perfectly satisfy the needs of guests. Among them is a hammam steam room and spa - when in need of a relaxing break - and a swimming pool accessible all year round. Not far away, a stroll through Zamalek offers a fantastic blend of Belle Epoque atmosphere and the latest expressions of Cairo creativity.
The itinerary – Giza and the Egyptian museum with a private tour guide. Symbols of the Pharaonic civilisation, the pyramids of Giza are the remains of a vast funeral complex built in the middle of the third millennium BC - a testimony to the power of the Pharaohs during the Ancient Egyptian Empire. The Great Pyramid of King Khufu is the only surviving example of the Seven Wonders of the World, the ultimate witness to the splendour of a bygone era. Take a tour to discover the entire site, including the Sphinx - the guardian of the Giza Necropolis - followed by the megalithic valley temple, the Solar Boat Museum and the three pyramids of Khufu, Khafra and Menkaure. The day will continue with a visit to the brand new Grand Egyptian Museum near the pyramids (provided your travel dates coincide with its hotly anticipated opening) or the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities founded in 1857 by French archaeologist Auguste Mariette. The latter contains some of the most extraordinary examples of Ancient Egyptian genius and gives us unparalleled records of the evolution of man, with 120,000 historical objects from prehistoric to Greco-Roman times. The tour concludes with the discovery of Tutankhamun's splendid treasure, discovered by Howard Carter in 1922.
Cairo - Luxor
The itinerary includes a free morning to discover Cairo in the company of an English-speaking local and true expert of the city. At their side, you'll get a feel for the city as if you lived there - grasping the nuances and contrasts of the place - and discover the hotspots, as well as more unknown corners. In a way it's like discovering Cairo 'with subtitles'. There's no set itinerary - the walk is adapted to each person's wishes. For example, some prefer to see the city from a felucca (traditional sailing boat) on the Nile. Others prefer to explore Cairo's cafes (known as ahawi), an institution in the capital and a place for relaxation and entertainment, but also one of the foundations of Egyptian social life in a city that hums with intellectual discussion. Or some will prefer to head to the historic side of Cairo, home to the largest concentration of Islamic monuments in the world, from Bab al-Futuh to Bab Zuweila via Al-Muizz li-Deen Illah Street and UNESCO restored monuments.
After lunch, a private transfer and flight to Luxor. Second private transfer and overnight stay at the Old Winter Palace, which has a modern wing - the Sofitel Pavillon Winter - which boasts a swimming pool and splendid gardens perfumed with orange trees and jasmine. Have dinner, stroll through the lounges and gardens, meditate on the shaded terrace and enjoy uninterrupted views of the Temple of Amun and the Nile.
Luxor - Qena (cruise)
The itinerary - Private transfer and overnight stay on the Steam Ship Sudan, lunch on board. You'll spend the afternoon visiting the Karnak complex, dedicated to the god Amun who was the protector of the pharaohs of the New Kingdom era, followed by the Luxor temple, the most elegant of the Ancient Egyptian buildings built under Amenhotep III, and extended by another great builder, Ramses II. After returning from the tours, the boat will begin sailing to Qena, north of Luxor. This part of the Nile, which is very rarely frequented by cruise ships, is magnificent and offers beautiful views of the surrounding countryside, especially at sunset. Dinner on board and overnight stay at the dock in Qena.
Qena - Abydos - Dendera - Luxor (cruise)
The itinerary - Leave the boat very early to get to Abydos by road (about two hours). The holy city - and the city of Osiris, king of the underworld and god of the afterlife - has been attracting visitors since the Ancient Egyptian era. The temple, which dates back to the reign of Seti I, is a wonder, with large colourful engravings, whose exquisite execution marks the birth of Ramesside art. The route back includes a visit to the Dendera Temple and the spectacular temple of Hathor, goddess of joy and love, protector of women and also nurse to the pharaohs. Bordered by different cultures and the desert, the remains of the ancient city of Dendera are particularly well preserved. Find intricately decorated chapels, columns topped with cow heads, dark passages and stairways, terraces and a roof which boasts a splendid view of the Upper Egypt countryside. It's then time to get back on board for lunch as the boat resumes sailing to Luxor. Dinner on board and overnight at the dock in Luxor.
Luxor - Esna - Edfu (cruise)
The itinerary - The last morning is devoted to the discovery of the Theban Necropolis, land of mysteries and domain of the god Osiris under the New Kingdom and the Valley of the Kings, whose ornately decorated tombs tell the story of the deceased's journey through the afterlife. Then visit the Valley of the Queens – the secret necropolis of royal wives – along with the Valley of the Nobles. Finish off the unforgettable morning with a stop at the Temple of Medinet Habu, where Ramses III engraved for eternity his victorious battles against the Sea Peoples, before heading back to the boat for lunch. Resume sailing to Esna, then Edfu. Dinner on board and overnight at the dock.
Edfu - Kom Ombo (cruise)
The itinerary - Visit the Temple of Edfu, built in the third century BC and dedicated to the falcon-headed god Horus, to Hathor his wife - goddess of beauty and love - and to Harsomtous, their son. This is one of the best preserved temples in Egypt. It's then time to get back on board for lunch as the boat resumes sailing towards Kom Ombo for a sunset arrival. The Temple of Kom Ombo is unique in Egypt because it is dedicated to two deities: the hawk-headed god Horus and the crocodile-headed god Sobek. Dinner on board and overnight stay at the dock in Kom Ombo.
Kôm Ombo - Aswan (end of the cruise)
The itinerary - Final leg of the journey to Aswan, where the Nile River ends and Nubia begins. The harvested fields bordering the river give way to large sand dunes. This was once the border of civilisation. You'll spend the afternoon visiting the Temple of Philae, the domain of the goddess Isis, a universal and magical deity reigning over life, death and the underworld. Philae was one of the most important shrines in Egypt and Nubia until 550 AD, until the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I ordered its closure. After the tour, there will be free time in Aswan to enjoy a quick haggle in the souq before dinner. Dinner on board and overnight stay at the dock in Aswan.
Private transfer in a felucca to the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract, with a stop on El Nabatat Island, otherwise known as the 'Kitchener's Island' after a former British Consul-General in Egypt turned this deserted island into a lush botanical garden. The west side of the island offers magnificent views of the west bank of the Nile and the desert beyond.
Overnight stay in the Nile Wing, the modern wing of the Old Cataract Palace, originally built to house Russian engineers during the construction of the Aswan Dam. Renovated and decorated by renowned interior designer Sybille de Margerie, it now boasts contemporary elegance and luxurious rooms and suites, all overlooking the river. With its spa, hammam and indoor pool, the Nile Wing offers an experience focused on water and a homage to the great river. Guests such as Agatha Christie, Winston Churchill and famous statesmen of the 20th century contribute to the aura of the place, and the palace maintains its historic charm.
Things to see and do - Visit the island of Elephantine, once centre of the cult of the god Khnum - master of the cataracts - and home to an impressive wealth of ancient ruins - namely at the Museum of Nubia. Oh, and don't forget to stop for strawberries and cream at the Palms of the Old Cataract.
Aswan - Return flight
Private transfer to the airport and international flight home via Cairo.
A la carte
GO ONE STEP FURTHER – ABU SIMBEL
186 miles from Aswan, in the heart of the ancient kingdom of Nubia, stand the temples of Abu Simbel. Built to honour the great pharaoh Ramesses II, they were carved out of two sandstone hills that face the Nile. Bathed in African light, this magnificent site enhanced the pharaoh's power in the eyes of the people from the south, over whom Egypt asserted its supremacy.
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