Day 8. Aswan – Oberoi Zahra 3 Night Nile Cruise

Overnight – The Oberoi Zahra

Late this morning you are assisted with your checkout and driven to the pier where the Oberoi Zahra is docked. Given further on is the Oberoi itinerary sketch for the next 3 days, but your shore excursions will be a little different. Your Egyptologist Tour Director will orchestrate your excursions privately from the cruiser, including when you stop at Kom Ombo, Edfu and Esna. We are unimpressed with the quality of the onboard guides that all cruises (including those on the Zahra) on the Nile provide, along with their interpretation of ‘luxury groups’ (or luxury small groups as in Zahra’s version) on these excursions.

Just as one example, the Philae Temple Complex deserves more time than the rushed visit allotted to it. The Oberoi Zahra facilitates a visit to the High Dam and Philae starting at 3 pm, and then you are back well in time for Tea at the Club Lounge at 5:30 pm. We think that Philae deserves more time than the cruise group tour allows, and our version of the Philae Temple visit is as follows:

Philae Island was the original island home of these massive structures and they were moved as part of the incredible project that moved Abu Simbel’s Temples. This awe-inspiring complex was moved to Agilika Island by the Egyptian Government and UNESCO as Philae Island had existing flooding issues even before the Aswan High Dam was constructed – it is now mostly submerged.

The Temple of Isis on the island is a part of the Nubian Monuments UNESCO World Heritage Site and was dedicated to the Gods Isis, Osiris, and Horus. Among other subjects, the amazing bas-reliefs on the temple’s walls portray how Isis brought Osiris back to life, gave birth to Horus, and mummified Osiris after his death. It is purported to be Osiris’ final resting place. Originally built around 700 BC, the temple complex had subsequent additions made by both Egyptians and, later on, Roman rulers. The Temples of Philae were a major pilgrimage site for Nubians, Egyptians, and people from far away lands. The amazing details on the walls, statues and columns are among the most impressive you will find anywhere, and the worship of Isis continued here until the 6th Century.

Christians had established a foothold on Philae during the fourth century, and they initially co-existed with the ongoing religious practices at the Philae Temple. In the 6th century they took over and converted parts of the complex to a church, defacing a number of significant monuments and structures in the process. Just as many of Ancient Egypt’s most important sites, some of the most valuable artifacts of the Temple were removed by European archaeologists during later colonial times. Your visit will include the Pylon Panorama Ticket, which allows you to use the steps to reach the roof of a Pylon and take in the incredible views of the complex and the Nile. Your Tour Director will escort you back to the Zahra in time for Tea.

Oberoi Zahra Cruise Description

12:00 p.m.          Embarkation
12:30 p.m.          Lunch
03:00 p.m.          Visit the High Dam and Philae Temple
05:30 p.m.          Tea at the Club Lounge
07:00 p.m.          Cocktails with entertainment at the Club Lounge
07:30 p.m.          Dinner
08:30 p.m.          Sail in Aswan

Overnight in Aswan

05:00 a.m.          Sail to Kom Ombo
07:00 a.m.          Breakfast
08:00 a.m.          Visit the Temple of Kom Ombo
09:30 a.m.          Sail to Edfu
12:30 p.m.          Lunch
02:30 p.m.          Visit the Temple of Edfu
04:30 p.m.          Sail to Esna
07:30 p.m.          Dinner

Overnight at Esna

04:00 a.m.          Sail to Luxor
07:00 a.m.          Breakfast
09:00 a.m.  Visit the West Bank – Valley of Kings, Temple of Habu and Colossi of Memnon
01:00 p.m.          Lunch
04:30 p.m.          Visit the Temple of Luxor
06:00 p.m.           Tea at the Club Lounge
07:30 p.m.           Dinner

Overnight in Luxor

06:45 a.m.          Breakfast
08:00 a.m.          Disembarkation and visit to Karnak Temples


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