Spend the day exploring the Valley of the Kings, ancient Egypt’s “gateway to the afterlife.” Enjoy an optional hot-air balloon flight to gain a stunning bird’s-eye view of the sites that dot this stark desert valley, where the pharaohs constructed underground tombs to hold treasures, jewelry, sacred objects, furniture, and even food for the next world. Here, in 2018, a highly publicized National Geographic–supported investigation using ground-penetrating radar concluded that there were no hidden chambers behind King Tutankhamun’s tomb. Discover the neighboring Valley of the Queens, where queens and some royal children were buried, and view the impressive mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut—the longest reigning female pharaoh. Then enjoy a special visit to the well-preserved mortuary Temple of Ramses III, who is believed to have been the victim of an assassination plot led by one of his wives. Board our riverboat this afternoon; then explore the vast open-air temple complex of Karnak, marveling at the towering columns of the Great Hypostyle Hall. After dinner, toast the beginning of our Nile cruise with cocktails and canapés on the sundeck.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner