Sonesta Cruise Collection - Nile River

Excursions

Luxor
Luxor stands where ancient Thebes, the "City of the Thousand Gates," once stood. Luxor, which means "the Palaces" in Arabic, is true to its name with a great number of magnificent temples and tombs.

The East Bank
In an unforgettable excursion, you will visit the Luxor Temple, which was built by the two great pharaohs, Amenhotep III and Ramses II. After touring the temple, you will travel along an avenue of ram-headed Sphinxes, extending for about two miles, which link Luxor Temple with Karnak Temple, the center of worship in ancient Egypt. No site in the world makes a more overwhelming and lasting impression than this "Temple of all Temples."

The West Bank
Cross the Nile from Luxor where you will visit the Valley of the Kings which includes the tombs of the Thebian rulers. Next, tour the mortuary temple of Hatshepsut, the only woman pharaoh to reign in ancient Egypt (in the new Kingdom). Her temple, with its impressive architecture, is traditionally associated with Hathor, the goddess of love and joy. It was formerly surrounded by tropical gardens with plants imported from Somali land.
Later, tour the Valley of The Queens and the famous Colossi of Memnon, which once guarded the entrance to the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III. The temple was destroyed by an earthquake but the Colossi still remain.

Edfu
Edfu lies 100 kilometers south of Luxor and is the site of one of the greatest and best preserved temples of ancient Egypt. The temple, completed during the Ptolemic age (305-30 B.C.), was dedicated to Horus and provides a wealth of information through its inscriptions, which describe the founding and construction methods of similar temples, as well as daily rituals and myths of ancient times.

Kom Ombo
Kom Ombo is 40 kilometers north of Aswan and since earliest times, has received visitors who have traveled through the Libyan and Arabian deserts from Sudan caravan routes. The town of Ombos gained administrative importance during the Ptolemic age as it protected the southern border of Egypt and in the Roman period was a military station. The temple has a double sanctuary and is dedicated to two divinities: Haroeris (Horus the Elder) and Sobek (the Crocodile God).

Aswan
Aswan, Egypt's smallest governorate, was the country's premier winter resort from 910 to 24 BC, offering natural beauty, a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere and a warm, dry climate.

The Aswan High Dam
The old dam was built by Sir W. Wilcock on behalf of the British authorities in 1898. It was constructed from granite quarried in the Aswan area and the official opening took place in 1902. In the 1960's, a new dam was built by the Egyptian government.

The Unfinished Obelisk
Also in Aswan, the Unfinished Obelisk gives us a great deal of information about how granite obelisks were carved in ancient times. The existence of granite in the Aswan area was of particular interest to the ancient pharaohs since it provided them with a ready source of material for their building projects.

The Island Tour and Philae Temple
For this delightful excursion, you will sail by felucca (Egyptian-style sail boat), to the small granite island called Kitchener of the Botanical island. You will also visit Elephantine Island.

Philae
On the island of Philae, now situated between the High Dam and the "old" dam, is the sacred complex of monuments built for the cult of Isis and Osiris. Philae was built under the Ptolemies and finished in Roman times.