2024 November 23 to December 4
Prices listed are per person:
Shared Cabin: $7998 – Available
Shared Cabin with Balcony(1 bed): $9698 – Waitlist
Private Cabin: $10,198 – Available
Private Cabin with Balcony: $11,498 – Waitlist
“My trip to Egypt and Jordan fulfilled a boyhood dream. And thanks to HE travel, it surpassed all my expectations in an adventurous, safe and unforgettable experience.” – S. Wyatt, New Westminster, British Colombia
“Drama, adventure, intrigue, excitement and romance…I would sign up for it again tomorrow”-Greg Gariss, Captain Cook, HI
“Cruising on the Nile: It was so beautiful. No wonder people throughout time have been drawn to it and the rest of Egypt”-Robert Westhoff, New York, NY
Cruise for a week on our chartered century-old steamship, the ss Karim
Stand in awe as you observe the grandeur of the three great pyramids and the Sphinx.
Explore the ancient temples of Upper Egypt including those of Queen Hatshepsut, Karnak and Luxor.
Cross the Nile from Aswan on an ancient sailboat known as a felucca, then ride a camel to visit an abandoned monastery high up in the golden desert hills.
Experience an optional half-day excursion to see the 4 great seated figures of Abu Simbel.
Return to the center of Cairo to see the Egyptian Museum and the heart of modern Egypt.
Gaze at items from King Tut’s tomb at the Egyptian Museum.
Hone your bargaining skills in the bazaars of Cairo and Aswan.
Visit the rarely-seen Bent, Red and Sakkara pyramids on the Giza Plateau on the one-day pre-tour extension.
Join our 3-night Extension to see the wonders of Petra and Amman in Jordan.
See the Glories of Egypt
Egypt, the wonder of travelers for thousands of years, calls us for a pilgrimage to the treasures of this historic land. And what a fascinating time this will be as the Egyptians of today work together across society to create a new Egypt.
On our gay Egypt cultural tour, we offer an intimate experience for inquisitive travelers who wish to delve deeply into the history of civilization. From our deluxe hotel overlooking the Pyramids to our own luxurious ship on the Nile, every detail is designed to offer our guests the most memorable experience possible.
We invite you to join us as we sail down the Nile on the ss Karim. From our comfortable home on the water, the riches of antiquity become our backdrop as we leisurely cruise through the land of the pharaohs and visit the famous sites to explore their treasures.
In Cairo, we start with two nights at one of the city’s finest hotels, next to the pyramids in Giza. From this elegant base, we first visit the pyramids. For those with enough time, we are offering two pre-tour excursions. Anyone arriving two days early can join our full-day trip to the ancient city of Alexandria. And if you arrive one day early, you can join our leisurely visits to the Sakkara pyramids and the Red and Bent pyramids of Dahshur that few visitors get to see.
From Cairo, we fly to Luxor where we board our ship. For one glorious week, we cruise slowly on the Nile between Luxor and Aswan in our privately chartered, historic paddlewheel steamer. From our ship, we can watch village life that has been virtually unchanged for a millennium.
Each day we go ashore to visit major archeological sites including the Karnak and Luxor Temples, the Valley of the Kings in Western Thebes, and the splendid temples of Esna, Edfu, and Kom Ombo. Fabulous as these sites are, our journey is made truly meaningful because we refuse to rush you. As our ship cruises along the Nile, we take plenty of time for relaxation and contemplation between our busy days of sightseeing. Previous tour members particularly enjoyed our forays into the countryside where they could establish a friendly rapport with the courteous Egyptian people who have welcomed our groups for over forty years.
After our week exploring the Upper Nile region, we will return to Cairo to spend the last two nights of our main tour at a deluxe hotel. This will be our base for seeing the sights of the capital city. During our stay in the city, we will tour the lauded Egyptian Museum. (When the new Grand Egyptian Museum opens, we will visit there instead.) While in Cairo, we’ll see some of the Pharaonic, Classic, Early Christian, and Arab monuments built in this ancient land over the course of five thousand years of civilization.
Click on the Extension tab for information about the Jordan extension
Days 1-2: Giza and the Pyramids!
We arrive at Cairo Airport, then meet our transfer driver to cross the Nile to Giza. The first two nights will be at the lovely Mena House Hotel. We will have time to enjoy its attractive gardens, terraces, and fine restaurants, overlooking the grand pyramids at Giza. Tonight, we will gather for a reception and Welcome Dinner at our hotel as we begin our journey into Egyptian history and culture.
The next morning after breakfast, we will take the short drive to see the plateau dominated by the pyramids of Khufu (Cheops in Greek), Khafre (Chephren), and Menkaure (Mykerinus), and by the Sphinx. For those who are not claustrophobic, there will be time for the awesome experience of walking the low, narrow, sloping corridor into the interior of one of the Pyramids. We also inspect the beautifully restored solar boat of King Chephren, then enter the Valley Temple where the mummified body of the king rested before being interred in his pyramid.
In the evening, we will attend the spectacular Sound and Light performance at Giza. The presentation plays out on the three great pyramids and the Sphinx.
For those with a little more time, we are also offering pre-tour extension, including an extra night or two at the Mena House. These are a full-day trip to the ancient Mediterranean port city of Alexandria and to the Sakkara Pyramid and the Red and Bent Pyramids of Dahshur.
Days 3-4: Karnak, Esna, and Edfu Temples
After checking out from our Cairo hotel, we will take a morning flight to Luxor. Our first stop will be the magnificent Temple of Karnak, the largest religious building in the world. Ancient Egyptians came to present petitions at more than twenty sites within the temple complex. The most impressive is the vast Hypostyle Hall of Seti I.
It has been said that the pyramids are more stupendous, the Colosseum in Rome covers more ground, and the Parthenon of Athens is more serene. But for sheer majesty, this hall with its gigantic columns exceeds them all. It is truly one of the wonders of the world.
After exploring Karnak, we drive to the banks of the Nile and embark on the ss Karim for our 7-night cruise, with full breakfast, luncheon, afternoon tea, and dinner daily.
During our week’s cruise, we will enjoy our ship’s amenities and the ever-changing river scenery of palm trees, rolling hills, golden sand dunes, and cultivated land. We’ll pass several villages where, from the ship’s sundecks, we can view the activities on the riverbank. There are also splendid opportunities for bird watching.
The captain will decide on the exact order and timing of our shore visits. But during the week we will go ashore to visit the temples of Esna, Edfu, Kom Ombo, and Luxor. We will also explore the ancient city of Aswan and its Nubian heritage. The following gives an example of what we will see on a typical cruise.
Once aboard our ship, we will have dinner while sailing upstream to Esna. This is where our ship is raised through a lock some forty feet to the upper level of the river. We spend the night in Esna harbor, then in the morning visit the temple of Khnum, the creator god. Later in the day, we will visit Edfu, where we drive in horse-drawn carriages to the enormous and best-preserved temple in upper Egypt, dedicated to Horus, the sacred falcon god. Upon our return to the ship, we’ll continue our southbound, upstream voyage toward Aswan, and tie off for the night at Kom Ombo.
Day 5: Kom Ombo
In the morning we will inspect the double temple dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile god, and to Haroeris, a form of the sun god. It was built in the Ptolemaic Dynasty (180-47 BC), with additions later added by the Romans. This temple is most picturesquely sited on the riverbank, a short walk from our dock.
We will reach Aswan in the afternoon and dock for a couple of days. This is an enchanting town with its near-perfect dry climate and amazing texture of light. You may wish to stroll through the bazaar where Nubian spices, handicrafts, and charms are for sale and where gallabiya outfits are custom-made overnight.
Day 6: Aswan
In the morning, we will take a small boat across the reservoir created by the Old Aswan Dam to the temple island of Philae. This temple was constructed on a different island, but moved to this one before its original island was inundated by the building of the dam.
In the afternoon, we will board a traditional boat called a felucca, then tack across the river under a billowing white sail. Upon reaching the West Bank, we will climb aboard camels (or walk) to the abandoned 6th Century Coptic monastery of Saint Simeon. It is set on a hillside overlooking the golden desert.
During our felucca ride, we will also stroll through the fine Aswan Botanic Garden on Kitchener Island, then visit the Nubian Museum. We will then return to the ss Karim for another night docked at Aswan.
Day 7: Abu Simbel Optional Excursion, then sailing the Nile
This morning is free to join our optional excursion to Abu Simbel, or to explore Aswan’s bazaar on your own. The excursion includes a 30-minute flight, then a guided tour to view the rock tombs. These tombs were raised from the riverbank so they would not be inundated as Lake Nasser filled up behind the High Dam. They certainly rank among the most stupendous monuments of ancient Egypt and mark the southern extent of the kingdom of Pharaoh Rameses II.
After returning from Abu Simbel, those on the excursion will visit the Aswan High Dam, which was so controversial when it was built. The dam supplies a large part of Egypt’s power.
In the afternoon we set sail back north toward Luxor, riding fast on the downstream current. We can enjoy the amenities of the ship, including another afternoon tea on the deck as we watch the ever-changing life along the river. We will spend tonight docked in Edfu.
Day 8: Life along the Riverbank
Today is mostly a sailing day as we pass sugarcane fields and palm groves that provide a livelihood for the residents of the small villages that dot the riverbank. Sugarcane thrives in the rich soil along the river. During their harvesting seasons, it may be possible to see tiny narrow-gauge steam engines. They pull up to 40 cars of tightly packed sugar cane from the fields to the harbors.
At least once during the trip, we will try to leave the other tourists and walk through a local Egyptian market. During one recent trip, we observed a mother selling freshly baked bread from a blanket in front of her home. Young boys on donkeys followed us on the path and practiced their very limited English. Eventually, the mayor came along in his distinguished robes shooing away the youngest children to make sure no one begged from their honorable visitors. Contrary to stereotypes, it was also fascinating to see the variety of clothing for both adults and children in this conservative town. Some girls and women wore modest headscarves (usually in very stylish colors!), but others wore western clothes and did not cover their heads. Likewise, while many of the boys and men wore the traditional gallabiya robes, others wore button-down shirts and blue jeans.
Late in the day we pass back through the Esna lock and arrive in Luxor. We will be anchored here for two nights. Luxor is the modern name for ancient Thebes, once the capital of Egypt. It consists of two cities lying on the west and east banks of the Nile.
Day 9: Western Thebes; the Queen’s Temple
Today we will cross to Western Thebes early in the morning for a busy day of sightseeing. We will first stop at the Tombs of the Nobles. There is no electricity in the tombs. However, their custodians hold up mirrors to throw light onto walls painted with amazingly bright, lively scenes of everyday life in Egypt 3000 years ago. We drive on to the grand Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, and then to the Valley of the Kings. Here we will inspect several of the tombs, including that of Tut-ankh-amun (if it is open to visitors).
For lunch, we will dine at a typically Egyptian luncheon on the terrace of an inn near Medinet Habu Temple. We will also take a brief photo stop at the two weather-beaten Colossi of Memnon, before returning to the ss Karim for our last afternoon tea.
In the late afternoon, we will drive back into Luxor to visit the Luxor Temple, a magical location as twilight turns to darkness. Soon well-placed lights come on, showing the walls and statues of this well-preserved temple in full relief.
Day 10: Luxor to Cairo
This morning we disembark our ship and transfer to Luxor Airport for our return flight to Cairo. From Cairo Airport we will transfer to our centrally located hotel near the Nile and Tahrir Square, where we will stay for two nights.
Day 11: Cairo: City of Past & Future
Today we tour Cairo, the greatest metropolis of the Middle East, to explore the highlights of Islamic Cairo. In the morning we visit the alabaster Mohammed Ali Mosque on the Citadel overlooking the modern downtown. Then we will head to the rarely-visited Gayer-Anderson House, the former home of Great Britain’s last pasha. This unique house served as a location in the James Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me. In the afternoon we will tour the classical Egyptian Museum at Tahrir Square, including the fabulous jewels of King Tutankhamon. We will also allow some independent time in the Museum for those who want to explore other corners of this vast museum. (Please note that whenever the new Grand Egyptian Museum (G.E.M.) in Giza opens, we will replace the visit to the old museum with the magnificent G.E.M.)
Tonight, we will enjoy our farewell dinner, and share stories about the week we’ve just experienced together in this unique land.
Day 12: Departure Day or Start Extension
Transfers will be provided from our hotel to Cairo Airport for travelers departing today.
If you have an evening flight, join the optional Cairo City Tour. It includes the Coptic Hanging Church of St Mary, Abu Serga Church, Ben Ezra Jewish synagogue, and the new National Museum of Ancient Civilization which hosts the Royal Mummies. The cost includes entrance fees, transportation, and a private guide for our group. Tour typically starts at 9 am and concludes at our group hotel by 3 pm.
The Nile in Style Main Tour Price
Price includes: Accommodations at fine hotels for two nights in Giza, on our chartered ship for seven nights, and for two nights at a riverside hotel in downtown Cairo, in double occupancy; All transportation by motorcoaches, cars, horse-drawn carriages, and boats when traveling as a group; Arrival and departure airport transfers in Cairo; Airfare between Cairo and Luxor; Domestic airport departure taxes when traveling with the group; All meals during the main tour except one lunch and two dinners; Wine or soft drinks at the Welcome and Farewell dinners; Services of a knowledgeable HE Travel tour host (subject to minimum participation) and an Egyptologist; Admission fees to all locations listed in the itinerary; Meal and driver gratuities; Porterage at hotels. HE Travel provides complimentary Medical & Evacuation Insurance for every US Resident on our group tours who does not have other coverage.
Not included: Airfare between home and Cairo; Optional full-day pre-tour Alexandria excursion; Optional half-day Sakkara Pyramid excursion on first official tour day; Optional half-day excursion to Abu Simbel including 30-minute flight from Aswan and guided tour; One lunch and two dinners; Tips to Egyptologist, local guides, hotel and ship staffs and gratuity for the HE Travel tour host(s); International departure taxes; Personal items such as alcoholic beverages, telephone calls, and laundry.
Optional Tour Choices:
$190 Cairo City Tour For those with a late departure on the last day (departure day)
$410 Abu Simbel Excursion (including a flight from Aswan and guided tour). Subject to change based on airfares
Pre-Tour Excursion to Alexandria
$360 per person for a full-day Alexandria Excursion from Giza one day before Day 1 of the tour, for those who arrive two days early.
Pre-Tour Excursion to Sakkara
$190 per person for a half-day excursion from our Giza hotel on Day 1 of the tour, for those who arrive at least one day early.
Price includes: Transportation, an Egyptologist guide, admissions fees, and lunch.
Not included: Items of a personal nature, and gratuities for the guide.
Jordan Extension Price
$2690 Jordan Extension (per person in a shared room)
$3190 Jordan Extension (for solo travelers who wish to enjoy a private bedroom and bathroom)
Price includes: Flight from Cairo to Amman, Jordan; two hotel nights near Petra and one night in Amman; all meals in Jordan; a tour of Petra, a half-day visit to a Dead Sea resort, and visits to Madaba and Mount Nebo (flight schedules permitting).
Not included: Items of a personal nature, gratuities for guide(s).
We strongly recommend the purchase of Trip Cancellation and Interruption insurance to protect your vacation investment in case of unforeseen circumstances such as flight delay, illness, or injury. Click Here to learn more about our Insurance partner.
Pre-Tour Excursion to Alexandria
Full-day excursion to Alexandria one day before the start day of the tour. The tour starts from our hotel at 6:30 am and we will see the National Museum, the new Library, Pompey’s Pillar, the Roman Catacombs, and the lovely corniche (promenade) while driving along the Mediterranean coast. Lunch will be on your own.
Pre-Tour Excursion to Sakkara
Half-day excursion to Sakkara and nearby pyramids on our official arrival day for the tour. The price includes transportation, an Egyptologist guide, admissions fees, and lunch. Local conditions permitting, we will observe the Red and Bent Pyramids of nearby Dahshur.
Post Tour: Petra and Amman, Jordan – Dates: Dec 4 to 7, 2024
If you have extra time to see more of the antiquities of the Middle East, we invite you to join our Jordan Extension. It includes a flight from Cairo to Amman, Jordan, two nights near Petra, then one night in Amman. While in Jordan, view the Byzantine mosaics of Madaba and Mount Nebo from which Moses saw the Promised Land (flight schedules permitting). Then spend a day exploring the unique cliff-carved buildings of the Nabatean capital of Petra, selected in a worldwide vote in 2007 as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Day 12: Fly from Cairo to Amman then Drive to Petra
For those joining the extension, we will board a short flight from Cairo to Amman. Time permitting, we will stop at the historic sites of Madaba and Mount Nebo. We will then continue south through the Jordanian desert to our hotel in the Bedouin hillside town of Wadi Moussa. This is the closest modern town to the abandoned city of Petra.
Day 13: Petra: a New Wonder of the World
The next morning, following an early breakfast, an extraordinary day awaits us. We will walk or drive a short distance to the entrance of the Nabatean capital of Petra. We will walk into the chasm (called a siq in Arabic) that ripped through the rock in a prehistoric quake.
Petra’s most famous monument, the Treasury, appears dramatically at the end of the siq. We will explore the Treasury, the 3000-seat theater from the 1st century, the Monastery, and other sites. Marvel at the rose-red stone and at how the colors change as the day progresses.
In the afternoon and evening, we will relax and enjoy the amenities of our hotel.
Day 14: Dead Sea Spa Day
After breakfast, we will drive to the shore of the Dead Sea for a rejuvenating float in the warm mineral-rich water. The Dead Sea has long attracted visitors who soak up the healthy minerals and bask in the gentle sunshine.
Time permitting, if we did not visit on our southbound trip, we will stop at Madaba to see the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George. It houses many ancient mosaics, the most famous of which is a 6th-century map of the Middle East, possibly the oldest surviving map of the region.
From here it’s a 10-minute drive to Mount Nebo. This is the site from which Moses, the great prophet of all three major religions of the region, was able to look into the Promised Land, although he was not permitted to enter. The inspiring vista takes in the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea, and the spires of Jerusalem.
Back in Amman, we will enjoy our farewell dinner at the renowned Books@Cafe. It overlooks the twinkling lights of this ancient capital city that is spread across several hillsides.
Day 15: Departure Day
Transfers will be provided to Amman Airport for return flights home, based on flight departure time during the night or the following day. Depending on your routing, you may be able to fly on OneWorld Alliance member Royal Jordanian Airlines directly to New York or Chicago; return to Cairo to connect with a homeward flight; or fly from Amman to a European hub where you can connect with your flight home.
- What if I am traveling alone?
- Most of our trips draw more single travelers than couples. When couples do join us, it’s usually because they’re looking forward to interacting with a gay group; if they wanted a holiday by themselves, they wouldn’t have signed up to travel with us. Furthermore, the activities included with our trips serve as natural ice-breakers. Within a day, you’ll be traveling with friends. You don’t need to pay the single supplement if you’re traveling alone. We’ll be happy to match you with a roommate. Pay the single supplement only if you want a bedroom to yourself. For selected trips, including cruises, we will charge half the single supplement if you request a roommate but we can’t match you with someone.
- What is the physical activity level of this tour?
Physical Activity Level
To fully enjoy this tour you need to be able to walk around unevenly paved ancient sites for 1-4 hours each day. During the Nile cruise, those who don’t feel like going ashore on any given day can remain on the ship. During the season we visit Egypt, days should be warm and dry but not too hot, with occasional chilly evenings.
- Where does the tour start and end?
- This tour starts and ends in Cairo, Egypt.
- What are the tour prices based on ss Karim cabin selection?
- These are the tour prices based on the ss Karim accommodations selected and based on availability: Staterooms No. 1, 2 or 14: each with private balcony and one large bed:
- Two friends sharing, per person TBA
- Single occupancy TBA
- Two friends sharing, per person TBA
- Single occupancy TBA
- What are the key dates of the Nile in Style tour?
- For 2024: to arrive on November 23, the first tour day, North American travelers will depart home on November 22 or earlier. The Alexandria excursion is on November 22 (so arrive two days early). The Sakkara Pyramids excursion is on November 23 (so arrive at least one day early). Our farewell dinner is the night of December 3 in Cairo, allowing flights anytime on Dec 4 or later. Jordan/Petra Extension: we fly from Cairo to Jordan on December 4. Depart Amman to home anytime on December 7.
- What kind of weather should I expect?
- The weather in Egypt in the early and late winter is generally sunny, and temperatures in Cairo range from a maximum of 80° Fahrenheit during the day to a minimum of 50° at night. Cold waves occasionally blow across the sea from Europe, but they tend to be short-lived. The daytime temperature in Upper Egypt (Luxor, Aswan and Abu Simbel) is usually about ten degrees higher, without any humidity, but nights are often quite cold. Rain is most exceptional in Cairo, and virtually none falls in Aswan, Abu Simbel and other areas south of Luxor.
- What is the boat, the ss Karim, like?
- The ss Karim is of a type developed in the 19th Century to accommodate fastidious early travelers to Egypt. Built in Scotland in 1917 for Egypt's King Fuad, and later used by King Farouk and Presidents Nasser and Sadat, it has been stylishly refurbished, and now combines the grandeur of its distinguished past with all the comforts of today, including air-conditioning throughout (but not heat), and compact but modern bathrooms in each cabin. Our ship is 151 feet long and 33 feet wide, with a draft of 5 feet. All the modern technical installations - radar, water-purifying equipment, etc. - are in accordance with the regulations of the US Bureau of Shipping, and during the ship's restoration, all walls and ceilings were fire-proofed and sound-proofed. We are hesitant to describe anything as being luxurious, but the ss Karim's public rooms and staterooms unquestionably qualify for this accolade as befitting the style of its day. The ship is not merely comfortable; rather, its gracious ambiance enables us truly to cruise the Nile in style. The lounge resembles that of a traditional British men's club, with its upholstered settees and armchairs, and an elegant bar. The dining room, too, is superbly appointed, with seating at tables for four and six persons. The ship boasts three spacious, open decks. The shaded deck is furnished with cane chairs and tables where afternoon tea is served. The two sun decks are ideal for enjoying the views of the passing riverbanks and village activities and feature large lounge chairs, a cool-water Jacuzzi, and even a treadmill. Please note that we do not allow smoking in any interior space while our groups are on the ss Karim, but there are outside decks where smoking is permitted. Floorplan:
- Can you describe the staterooms on the boat?
- The fifteen staterooms are exceptionally large for a river ship. Average dimensions are 10 feet by 14 feet with 8-foot ceilings. Each features private bath and shower, one or two wide picture windows with heavy wood shutters, double or twin beds, armchairs, a dressing table and a hanging closet designed for an age when travelers took along cabin trunks. Three of the roomiest staterooms lead onto private balconies in the bow and stern of the ship.
- Tell me about the crew and meals...
- The ship's highly professional crew members are all Egyptian, with most being from Luxor, Aswan or the villages in between. Most of them speak some English and are honored to demonstrate traditional Egyptian hospitality to guests. Breakfast and luncheon are buffet-style. Afternoon tea with pastries (a relic of the British influence on Egypt) is served on deck by uniformed waiters, to the accompaniment of 1920's music. Dinner has a different theme every evening, from the Captain's Welcome Dinner to the 1920's evening to the Nubian night, when some of our group don their new Egyptian finery.
- Additional Questions
- For answers to your additional questions, please email email@example.com or call 305-294-8174