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The Leader in Small Ship and River Cruising Worldwide

Worldwide Discovery at Extraordinary Value Since 1958

2018 NEW Suez Canal Crossing: Israel, Egypt, Jordan & the Red Sea

17 Days from only $8095 including international airfare

CRUISE COMFORTABLY IN SMALL GROUPS OF 25 ABOARD OUR PRIVATELY OWNED 89-PASSENGER M/V CLIO

Israel: Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Haifa, Tiberias, Golan Heights • Egypt: Suez Canal, Giza Pyramids, Luxor & Valley of the Kings • Jordan: Aqaba, Wadi Rum, Petra, Madaba, Mount Nebo, Dead Sea, Bethany Beyond the Jordan • Allenby Bridge Border Crossing • Israel: Jerusalem

Courtesy Shai Getzoff
City of Soul

Embark on a whirlwind tour of the places and faces that can be found in the City of Soul—Jerusalem.

Courtesy of David Conover & Paul Villanova
Travelogue: Jerash, Jordan 1969

Witness the ruins of Jerash, Jordan, though the eyes of a traveler from the 1960s.

©2012 The New York Times
Women at the Western Wall

Learn about Israel’s Women of the Wall prayer group, which is challenging Orthodox customs at the holy Western Wall.

Courtesy Jeffrey Worthington
Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Explore Qumran and learn about the Essenes’ complex culture—including the creation and preservation of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Courtesy of Kristian Hampton
7 Days in Egypt

Take a panoramic tour of Egypt's most beloved highlights, from the Pyramids and the Sphinx to Karnak Temple.

FROM
$8095
17 DAYS
$477/DAY
including international airfare
16 DAYS FROM $7095 Small Ship Adventure Only
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NEW Small Ship Adventure
Experience the timeless allure
of Israel, Egypt & Jordan.

 
 

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Itinerary Overview

Journey to lands traversed by prophets, pilgrims, and pharaohs since the dawn of civilization—and discover the rich cultural, religious, and historic tapestries that await. At the heart of your adventure is a six-night cruise aboard the 89-passenger M/V Clio from the Mediterranean to the crystalline Red Sea. In small groups of no more than 25, you’ll unravel a complex web of faiths during visits to icons like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Mount of Olives … uncover the mysteries of Egypt’s Pyramids and the inscrutable Sphinx … and witness relics of an ancient civilization as you explore the awe-inspiring city of Petra, carved into rose-colored cliff sides. Throughout your journey, the region’s geography will be revealed as you hike, sail, and ride across a diversity of landscapes: from the pastoral slopes of the Golan Heights, to the man-made might of the Suez Canal, and the jagged mountains of sunburnt Wadi Rum, beloved by Lawrence of Arabia. As you travel, you'll be joined by two Program Directors—one in Israel, and one in Egypt and Jordan—as well as local Egyptologist guides in Egypt, who will reveal local culture and help you understand the complexities of everyday life in this dynamic region. 

Day-to-Day Itinerary

  • 5 nights from only $995

    Journey beyond the headlines to discover the great natural beauty, timeless sites, and proud and resilient spirit of the Palestinian Territories. From the terraced city of Battir to the holy city of Bethlehem, this region encompasses some of the most revered religious sites and archaeological treasures in the world.

    View Extension Itinerary
Israel Jordan Expand All
  • Depart today on your flight to Tel Aviv, Israel. Please refer to your individual air itinerary for exact departure and arrival times. Or begin your discoveries early with our pre-trip extension.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Arrive in Tel Aviv, Israel, where you will be met at the airport and assisted with your transfer to your hotel. This evening, you’ll meet your Israeli Program Director and your fellow travelers during a Welcome Drink and Welcome Dinner together.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    After breakfast at your hotel, your discoveries begin with a walking tour of Jaffa. This 4,000-year-old city is believed to be one of the world’s oldest ports, and is mentioned in the Bible alongside such famous names as Jonah, Solomon, and Saint Peter. Today, it is a warren of winding streets flanked by weathered stone homes and artists' workshops and galleries that thrive on the multicultural influences of Jaffa’s mixed Arab and Israeli population.

    After savoring an included lunch in a local restaurant, you’ll venture to the colorful Jaffa Flea Market, and have a chance to browse the vendors’ extensive collection of antiques during free time.

    This afternoon, you’ll join members of the Jewish-Arab Association for an exclusive Discovery Series discussion on the ongoing conflicts in this area, and learn how local people are working to overcome their differences to live together in harmony.

    Dinner will be on your own this evening.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Depart Tel Aviv today for Haifa, an ancient seaport on the slopes of Mount Carmel that is invested with both the historical weight of Jerusalem and the modern ambiance and tempo of Tel Aviv. It is in some senses Israel's model city, rich with history, replete with a stew of cultures and religions working side by side, and evolving rapidly into the modern world.

    After a morning transfer, you'll arrive in Haifa in time for lunch in a local restaurant. Then, you’ll explore the city—Israel’s third largest—during a walking tour. Your discoveries begin in the Arab Wadi Nisnas neighborhood, where you’ll learn about the peaceful Jewish-Arab coexistence in Haifa. Then head to Mount Carmel for a panoramic view of the Baha'i Gardens. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is an exquisitely detailed, multi-terraced landscape built in honor of Prophet-Herald of the Baha’i faith.

    Late this afternoon, you’ll embark the Clio, your home for the duration of your cruise. Prior to dinner onboard, your Program Directors will present the first in a series of nightly Port Talks about the discoveries to come tomorrow.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    This morning, you’ll travel overland to discover holy sites along the Sea of Galilee, including the fishing village of Capernaum, home to two ancient synagogues, as well as a church that is believed to have been constructed on the site of Saint Peter’s former home. You’ll also visit the Mount of Beatitudes, the hill where Jesus is believed to have delivered his oft-quoted Sermon on the Mount.

    Then, continue on to Golan Heights, a mountainous region in northern Israel. This picturesque setting—replete with basalt cliffs and volcanic mountains—belies the area’s tumultuous past. Formerly administered entirely by Syria, Golan Heights was occupied by the Israelis during the Six-Day War of 1967, and was the site of intense fighting during the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Eventually, the territory was split between the two warring countries, with two-thirds going to Israel, and one-third remaining under Syrian jurisdiction. The border is still patrolled by U.N. troops to this day.

    During your tour here, you’ll visit Mount Bental, renowned for its role in the Yom Kippur War. It was here that after four days of intense fighting the Israeli army managed to fend off the Syrians and maintain control of the Golan. From your vantage point on Mount Bental, you’ll see the Valley of Tears below, named in honor of the many casualties sustained during this battle. Lunch is included in your visit today.

    Before you board the Clio tonight, you'll bid farewell to your Israeli Program Director. Your Jordanian Program Director will join you onboard tomorrow evening before you begin your Suez Canal crossing. You will meet your Israeli Program Director again on Day 15. 

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Begin cruising toward Port Said today, the gateway to Egypt’s storied Suez Canal. Spend the day at leisure onboard in the company of your fellow travelers and crew. You may choose to relax with a book in the lounge, or admire the glittering Mediterranean Sea from your seat on the Sun Deck. 

    Later this afternoon, your ship will reach the assembly point for the Suez Canal crossing, and drop anchor in the waters of Port Said as we wait for other ships to join the convoy. 

    This evening, get to know your Jordanian Program Directors, who will accompany you during your cruise and your travels in Egypt and Jordan. 

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    For centuries, Egyptians had dreamed of building a waterway connecting the Mediterranean and Red Seas: Evidence of ancient canals dates back as far as 1850 BC. In 1869, that dream was realized when the French-owned Suez Canal Company completed construction on the Suez Canal. Today, the 120-mile-long marvel is 100% Egyptian-owned and operated, and serves as a vital trade route, supporting around eight percent of the world’s commerce annually. Due to its flat terrain, the Suez does not contain any locks, allowing cargo ships and military vessels to pass between the African and Asian continents freely.

    The convoy will begin cruising through the canal at approximately 3:30 this morning, and will conclude around lunchtime. As you cruise, your Program Director will provide commentary about the canal’s construction and operation. All meals will be onboard today.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Disembark in the port of Ain Sokhna today and begin your three-hour transfer to Giza to witness Egypt’s signature attraction: the Great Pyramid, last surviving among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Great Pyramid is flanked by two other colossal pyramids—Khafre and Menkaure—all three of which date back as far as 2589 BC. The vast pyramid complex is also home to satellite “queens” pyramids, workers’ cemeteries, and funerary temples. The expert Egyptologists that guide your tour here will reveal the secrets of this ancient site, which continues to inspire awe among historians, archaeologists, and visitors alike.

    While here, you’ll also see the enigmatic Sphinx that has stood guard over this complex for almost 5,000 years. Known in Arabic as Abu al-Hol, the “Father of Terror,” this mysterious statue was carved almost entirely from one piece of limestone. Scholars suggest that the Sphinx may have the face of King Cheophren, its builder, and that he appears to be in ritual costume honoring the Sun God. It is a tradition nearly as old as the monument itself to speculate what lies beneath its mighty paws—Atlantis in one theory, and passageways to the Pyramids in another.

    Lunch will be served at the legendary Mena House Hotel. Set in the shadow of the Pyramids, it has played hosts to guests like Winston Churchill, Charlton Heston, and Agatha Christie. Then, you’ll return to the Clio in Ain Sokhna, where you’ll hear a nightly Port Talk before savoring dinner onboard. 

    Please note: There is some distance between the Pyramids, so your tour will include a considerable amount of walking. If you choose to go inside, you will have to pass through narrow shafts and walk on rocks, which may be slippery. Handrails are limited. 

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    This morning, cruise the azure waters of the Red Sea towards Hurghada, enjoying breakfast and lunch onboard. After docking, you’ll begin your four-and-a-half hour transfer to Luxor through the sprawling Egyptian desert.

    Often called the “world’s greatest open air museum,” Luxor was the center of Egyptian power and religion for more than 2,000 years, and boasts a vast collection of ancient treasures from its heyday. Upon arrival, check in to your hotel for your single-night stay, which will afford you additional time to explore this archaeological jewel box (be sure to bring a day pack to carry your essentials and a change of clothes).

    Late this afternoon, you’ll be invited to high tea on the terrace of the Old Winter Palace Hotel. Built by the Brits at the end of the 19th century, the hotel has played host to countless high-profile guests—including archaeologist Howard Carter, the famed Egyptologist who discovered King Tut’s tomb, and Agatha Christie, who penned Death on the Nile during her stay. As you sip tea here, you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the Nile—the longest river on Earth and the lifeblood of Egyptian civilization.

    As the sun sets, you’ll discover the majesty of Luxor’s monuments illuminated at night during an exclusive Discovery Series visit to Karnak Temple. Here, you’ll witness an extravagant Sound & Light Show recounting the history of the temple and revealing what life was like in ancient Egypt. Late this evening, you’ll return to your hotel for dinner. 

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Early this morning, set off for one of the most intriguing odes to Egypt’s past: the Valley of the Kings. This elaborate pharaonic burial site has been the focus of tourism since Roman times, and a haven for archeologists for more than two hundred years. Today, some 60 tombs have been discovered chiseled deep in the limestone cliff sides. And the tombs aren’t only for human mummies. Pets in ancient Egypt were often considered a part of the family, and archaeologists have found perfectly preserved animals among the remains.

    This afternoon, you’ll board a traditional felucca (wooden sailboat) for an exclusive Discovery Series event: crossing the verdant Nile River, where you'll have lunch. Later today, you'll make the four-and-a-half hour return trip to your ship in Hurghada and begin your Red Sea crossing toward Aqaba.

    Please note: These sites are unpaved, and the terrain is hilly, sandy, and rocky. To access the tombs, you must be able to walk up and down narrow, steep flights of stairs.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    This morning, the Clio arrives in the Gulf of Aqaba, believed to be the sea that Moses parted while leading the Israelites out of Egypt. Following breakfast and disembarkation this morning, set off for a tour of Aqaba, Jordan’s only coastal city, made famous during World War I when British military officer T.E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia") crossed the Negev Desert to capture the then-sleepy town by uniting Arabian Bedouins against the Turks. During a drive here, you will enjoy views of Aqaba Castle, which was built as a khan (inn) for travelers to use en route to Mecca. 

    Then, set off on a jeep excursion through Wadi Rum, a 450-square-mile desert whose landscape Lawrence once described as “vast, echoing, and Godlike.” Here, dramatic yellow, brown, white, and red sandstone mountains tower over rust-hued sand; and wind-carved bridges, arches, and mushroom-shaped rock formations dot the landscape. This sunbaked valley has been inhabited by humans since prehistoric times, who left petroglyphs and temples behind. Today, Bedouin tribes can be found living among the mountains in their goat-hair tents.

    After an included lunch near Wadi Rum, you’ll travel overland to Petra and check in to your hotel, where you’ll enjoy dinner with your fellow travelers this evening.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Visit the “Lost City” of Petra today, a rose-hued city carved into sandstone cliffs, and Jordan's greatest archaeological treasure. Here the Nabataeans, an Arabic people who dominated the area prior to the Romans, carved elaborate temples and tombs out of the sandstone. There are only a few freestanding buildings here, with over 800 monuments carved into the stone.

    Approach the hidden city by way of the siq, a narrow passage between 600-foot-high overhanging sandstone cliffs, and enter on foot. Exiting the darkness of the siq, you’ll first witness the towering brightness of El Kazneh (“The Treasury”), a 140-foot-high edifice carved into a mountain. Then gaze at the hundreds of soaring temples, tombs, and houses, as well as a Roman theater, in the cliffs that surround you. You’ll enjoy lunch inside the site to allow plenty of time for independent exploration and discovery well into the afternoon. Please note: You must be able to walk three miles unassisted over unpaved, rocky terrain, and up and down hill to enter and exit the site. You may be able to ride a horse or camel in and out of the area, but good agility and balance are required.

    This evening, you’ll travel to Little Petra to meet Bedouins, who have been tending their herds of goats in this area for centuries. As you enjoy an exclusive Discovery Series dinner with members of this nomadic tribe, you’ll learn more about their long-held traditions and evolving way of life.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Check out of your hotel in Petra this morning and set a course for Madaba via the Desert Highway. The city is best known for its vast collection of Byzantine-era mosaics, depicting everything from plants and animals to scenes from mythology and everyday life. You’ll see the most notable example at St. George’s Church, whose map floor is among the most famous mosaics in the area.

    Following lunch in a local restaurant, continue on toward the Dead Sea, stopping en route to ascend to the summit of Mount Nebo. It was here that God is said to have revealed to Moses the Promised Land that he was not destined to reach. From this vantage point, you’ll enjoy the same sweeping views described in the Old Testament.

    After checking into your hotel, the afternoon is yours to do as you please. If you've brought your bathing suit, you may choose to test your buoyancy in the Dead Sea—one of the world’s saltiest lakes located at the lowest elevation on land. Dinner will be at your hotel tonight.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    After breakfast this morning, you’ll depart to Bethany Beyond the Jordan. Located just off the banks of the Jordan River, this recently-discovered archaeological site is home to an array of ancient churches and prayer halls. But its most famous highlight is a small pool believed to be site where John the Baptist baptized Jesus of Nazareth. Please note: This tour includes a half-mile walk each way over unpaved terrain.

    After lunch in a local restaurant, return to your hotel and enjoy the balance of the day to do as you please—perhaps returning to the Dead Sea for another float. Or, join our optional tour to Amman, Jordan’s modern capital, which boasts a fine historical heritage.

    Dinner will be at your hotel tonight.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Rise early this morning to begin your transfer back to Israel via the Allenby Bridge. This famed border crossing is supremely well protected; for security reasons, it may take anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours to complete your transit, so flexibility and patience are key. You'll bid farewell to your Jordanian Program Director before beginning your crossing, and you'll be met on the other side by your Israeli Program Director when your crossing is complete.

    This afternoon, you’ll arrive in Jerusalem, a treasure trove of hallowed monuments and sacred legends, where the air is thick with the sounds of prayers and the calls of merchants, and the streets are alive with Jewish, Muslim, and Christian pilgrims eagerly following in the footsteps of early prophets.

    Following lunch in a local restaurant, you’ll check into your hotel and enjoy an orientation walk with your Program Director before dining on your own tonight. 

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Your full day of discovery in Jerusalem begins with an extensive walking tour through the Old City. Though it occupies an area of less than one square mile, this ancient enclave's history and spiritual significance to Christians, Jews, and Muslims is immense. Your tour begins in the area around the Western Wall, the Jewish Quarter, which is adjacent to the site of Solomon's First Temple and the Second Temple.

    Your tour also includes a visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built around what is believed to be the site of Christ's burial and resurrection, and along the Via Dolorosa—the ancient “Way of the Sorrows,” where it is traditionally held that Christ walked to his crucifixion.

    After strolling the winding streets of Jerusalem's Arab and Christian quarters, stop for lunch at a restaurant in the Old City before continuing on to Mount Zion, the traditional Christian site of the Last Supper, and the Mount of Olives, site of Christ's betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane.

    Following an afternoon at leisure, join your fellow travelers for a Farewell Dinner this evening.

    • Meals included:

    Transfer to the airport in Tel Aviv for your flight home. Or begin your post-trip extension to Jerusalem & Masada, Israel.

  • POST-TRIP EXTENSION:
    Jerusalem & Masada, Israel

    4 nights from only $895

    Though it occupies an area of less than one square mile, the history and spiritual significance of Jerusalem is immeasurable. From the ancient desert fortification of Masada—built by Herod the Great—to the archaeological splendor of the City of David, journey to this holy capital to discover the sacred sites that inspire historians and the religious faithful alike.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • 5 nights from only $995

    Journey beyond the headlines to discover the great natural beauty, timeless sites, and proud and resilient spirit of the Palestinian Territories. From the terraced city of Battir to the holy city of Bethlehem, this region encompasses some of the most revered religious sites and archaeological treasures in the world.

    View Extension Itinerary
Jordan Israel Cruise Expand All
  • Depart today on your flight to Tel Aviv, Israel. Please refer to your individual air itinerary for exact departure and arrival times. Or begin your discoveries early with our pre-trip extension.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Arrive in Tel Aviv, Israel, where you will be met at the airport and assisted with your transfer to your hotel. This evening, you’ll meet your Israeli Program Director and your fellow travelers during a Welcome Drink and Welcome Dinner together.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    After breakfast at your hotel, your discoveries begin with a walking tour of Jaffa. This 4,000-year-old city is believed to be one of the world’s oldest ports, and is mentioned in the Bible alongside such famous names as Jonah, Solomon, and Saint Peter. Today, it is a warren of winding streets flanked by weathered stone homes and artists' workshops and galleries that thrive on the multicultural influences of Jaffa’s mixed Arab and Israeli population.

    After savoring an included lunch in a local restaurant, you’ll venture to the colorful Jaffa Flea Market, and have a chance to browse the vendors’ extensive collection of antiques during free time.

    This afternoon, you’ll join members of the Jewish-Arab Association for an illuminating exclusive Discovery Series discussion on the ongoing conflicts in this area and how local people are working to overcome their differences to live together in harmony.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Begin your transfer to Jordan this morning via the Allenby Bridge. This famed border crossing is supremely well protected; for security reasons, it may take anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours to complete your transit, so flexibility and patience are key. You'll bid farewell to your Israeli Program Director before beginning your crossing, and you'll be met on the other side by your Jordanian Program Director when your crossing is complete. You will meet your Israeli Program Director again on Day 13.

    After checking into your hotel late this morning, you'll enjoy lunch in a local restaurant before spending the rest of the day at leisure. Perhaps you'll walk to the shore of the Dead Sea. Located at the lowest elevation on land, this is one of the world’s saltiest lakes, and an exciting place to test your buoyancy.

    Dinner will be at your hotel tonight.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    After breakfast this morning, you’ll depart to Bethany Beyond the Jordan. Located just off the banks of the Jordan River, this recently-discovered archeological site is home to an array of ancient churches and prayer halls. But its most famous highlight is a small pool believed to be site where John the Baptist baptized Jesus of Nazareth. (Please note: This tour includes a half-mile walk each way over unpaved terrain.)

    After lunch, the balance of the day is yours. You may choose to return to the Dead Sea for a swim. Or, join our optional tour to Amman, Jordan’s modern capital, which boasts a fine historical heritage.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Check out of you hotel this morning and set a course for Mount Nebo. It was here that God is said to have revealed to Moses the Promised Land that he was not destined to reach. From this vantage point, you’ll enjoy the same sweeping views described in the Old Testament.

    Then, depart for Madaba, best known for its vast collection of Byzantine-era mosaics, depicting everything from plants and animals to scenes from mythology and everyday life. You’ll see the most notable example at St. George’s Church, whose map floor is among the most famous mosaics in the area.

    Arrive in Petra late this afternoon, where you'll enjoy an included dinner in your hotel.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Visit the “Lost City” of Petra today, a rose-hued city carved into sandstone cliffs, and Jordan's greatest archaeological treasure. Here the Nabataeans, an Arabic people who dominated the area prior to the Romans, carved elaborate temples and tombs out of the sandstone. There are only a few freestanding buildings here, with over 800 monuments carved into the stone.

    Approach the hidden city by way of the siq, a narrow passage between 600-foot-high overhanging sandstone cliffs, and enter on foot. Exiting the darkness of the siq, you’ll first witness the towering brightness of El Kazneh (“The Treasury”), a 140-foot-high edifice carved into a mountain. Then gaze at the hundreds of soaring temples, tombs, and houses, as well as a Roman theater, in the cliffs that surround you. You’ll enjoy lunch inside the site to allow plenty of time for independent exploration and discovery well into the afternoon. Please note: You must be able to walk three miles unassisted over unpaved, rocky terrain, and up and down hill to enter and exit the site. You may be able to ride a horse or camel in and out of the area, but good agility and balance are required.

    This evening, you’ll travel to Little Petra to meet Bedouins, who have been tending their herds of goats in this area for centuries. As you enjoy an exclusive Discovery Series dinner with members of this nomadic tribe, you’ll learn more about their long-held traditions and evolving way of life.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Check out of your hotel in Petra this morning and set off on an jeep excursion through Wadi Rum, a 450-square-mile desert whose landscape Lawrence once described as “vast, echoing, and Godlike.” Here, dramatic yellow, brown, white, and red sandstone mountains tower over rust-hued sand; and wind-carved bridges, arches, and mushroom-shaped rock formations dot the landscape. This sunbaked valley has been inhabited by humans since prehistoric times, leaving petroglyphs and temples behind. Today, Bedouin tribes can be found living among the mountains in their goat-hair tents.

    After an included lunch near Wadi Rum, travel to Aqaba, Jordan's only coastal city. During a drive here, you will enjoy views of Aqaba Castle, which was built as a khan (inn) for travelers to use en route to Mecca.

    Late this afternoon, you’ll embark the Clio and set off along the Gulf of Aqaba—believed to be the sea that Moses parted in the Book of Exodus.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Continue sailing toward Hurghada this morning, enjoying breakfast and lunch onboard. After docking, you’ll begin your four-and-a-half hour transfer to Luxor through the sprawling Egyptian desert.

    Often called the “world’s greatest open air museum,” Luxor was the center of Egyptian power and religion for more than 2,000 years, and boasts a vast collection of ancient treasures from its heyday. Upon arrival, check in to your hotel for your single-night stay, which will afford you additional time to explore this archaeological jewel box (be sure to bring a day pack to carry your essentials and a change of clothes).

    Late this afternoon, you’ll be invited to high tea on the terrace of the Old Winter Palace Hotel. Built by the Brits at the end of the 19th century, the hotel has played host to countless high-profile guests—including archaeologist Howard Carter, the famed Egyptologist who discovered King Tut’s tomb, and Agatha Christie, who penned Death on the Nile during her stay. As you sip tea here, you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the Nile—the longest river on Earth and the lifeblood of Egyptian civilization.

    As the sun sets, you’ll discover the majesty of Luxor’s monuments illuminated at night during an exclusive Discovery Series visit to Karnak Temple. Here, you’ll witness an extravagant Sound & Light Show recounting the history of the temple and revealing what life was like in ancient Egypt. Late this evening, you’ll return to your hotel for dinner.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Early this morning, set off for one of the most intriguing odes to Egypt’s past: the Valley of the Kings. This elaborate pharaonic burial site has been the focus of tourism since Roman times, and a haven for archaeologists for more than two hundred years. Today, some 60 tombs have been discovered chiseled deep in the limestone cliff sides. And the tombs aren’t only for human mummies. Pets in ancient Egypt were often considered a part of the family, and archaeologists have found perfectly preserved animals among the remains.

    This afternoon, you’ll board a traditional felucca (wooden sailboat) for an exclusive Discovery Series event: crossing the verdant Nile River, where you'll enjoy lunch.

    Later today, you'll make the four-and-a-half hour return trip to your ship in Hurghada and begin cruising up the Gulf of Suez toward Ain Sokhna.

    Please note: These sites are unpaved, and the terrain is hilly, sandy, and rocky. To access the tombs, you must be able to walk up and down narrow, steep flights of stairs.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Disembark in the port of Ain Sokhna today and begin your three-hour transfer to Giza to witness Egypt’s signature attraction: the Great pyramid complex, last surviving among the surviving Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Great Pyramid is flanked by two other colossal pyramids—Khafre and Menkaure—the oldest of which dates back as far as 2589 BC. The vast pyramid complex is also home to satellite “queens” pyramids, workers’ cemeteries, and funerary temples. The expert Egyptologists that guide your tour here will reveal the secrets of this ancient and enigmatic site, which continues to inspire awe among historians, archaeologists, and visitors alike.

    While here, you’ll also see the enigmatic Sphinx that has stood guard over the Pyramids for almost 5,000 years. Known in Arabic as Abu al-Hol, the “Father of Terror,” this mysterious statue was carved almost entirely from one piece of limestone. Scholars suggest that the Sphinx may have the face of King Cheophren, its builder, and that he appears to be in ritual costume honoring the Sun God. It is a tradition nearly as old as the monument itself to speculate what lies beneath its mighty paws—Atlantis in one theory, and passageways to the Pyramids in another.

    Lunch will be served at the legendary Mena House Hotel. Set in the shadow of the Pyramids, it has played hosts to guests like Winston Churchill, Charlton Heston, and Agatha Christie. Then, you’ll return to the Clio in Ain Sokhna, where you’ll hear a nightly Port Talk before savoring dinner onboard. 

    Please note: There is some distance between the pyramids, so your tour will include a considerable amount of walking. If you choose to go inside, you will have to pass through narrow shafts and walk on rocks, which may be slippery. Handrails are limited. 

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    For centuries, Egyptians had dreamed of building a waterway connecting the Mediterranean and Red Seas: Evidence of ancient canals date back as far as 1850 BC. In 1869, that dream was realized when the French-owned Suez Canal Company completed construction on the Suez Canal. Today, the 120-mile-long marvel is 100% Egyptian-owned and operated, and serves as a vital trade route, supporting around eight percent of the world’s trade annually. Due to its flat terrain, the Suez does not contain any locks, allowing cargo ships and military vessels to pass between the African and Asian continents freely.

    The convoy will begin cruising through the canal at approximately 4:00 in the morning, and your transit will last until lunchtime. As you cruise, your Program Director will provide commentary about the canal’s construction and operation.

    This afternoon, your ship stops in Port Said, where you’ll bid farewell to your Jordanian Program Director before sailing on toward Haifa.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Spend the morning at leisure onboard in the company of your fellow travelers and crew. You may choose to relax with a book in the lounge, or admire the Mediterranean Sea from your set on the Sun Deck.

    Arrive in Haifa early this afternoon, where you’ll reconvene with your Israeli Program Director. Set against the slopes of Mount Carmel, Haifa is invested with both the historical weight of Jerusalem and the modern ambiance and tempo of Tel Aviv. It is in some senses Israel's model city, rich with history, replete with a stew of cultures and religions working side by side, and evolving rapidly into the modern world.

    After savoring lunch in a local restaurant, you’ll explore the city—Israel’s third largest—during a walking tour. Your discoveries begin in the Arab Wadi Nisnas neighborhood, where you’ll learn about the peaceful Jewish-Arab coexistence in Haifa. Then head to Mount Carmel for a panoramic view of the terraced Baha’i Gardens. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is an exquisitely detailed, multi-terraced landscape built in honor of Prophet-Herald of the Baha’i faith.

    Late this afternoon, you’ll return to the Clio, which remains docked overnight.

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    This morning, you’ll travel overland to discover holy sites along the Sea of Galilee, including the fishing village of Capernaum, home to two ancient synagogues, as well as a church that is believed to have been constructed on the site of Saint Peter’s former home. You’ll also visit the Mount of Beatitudes, the hill where Jesus is believed to have delivered his oft-quoted Sermon on the Mount.

    Then, continue on to Golan Heights, a mountainous region in northern Israel. This picturesque setting—replete with basalt cliffs, and volcanic mountains—belies the area’s tumultuous past. Formerly administered entirely by Syria, Golan Heights was occupied by the Israelis during the Six-Day War of 1967, and was the site of intense fighting during the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Eventually, the territory was split between the two warring countries, with two-thirds going to Israel, and one third remaining under Syrian jurisdiction.

    During your tour here today, you’ll visit Mount Bental, renowned for its role in the Yom Kippur War. It was here that after four days of intense fighting, the Israeli army managed to fend off the Syrians and maintain control of the Golan. From your vantage point on Mount Bental, you’ll see the Valley of Tears below, named in honor of the many casualties sustained during this battle. Lunch is included in your visit today.

    This evening, you'll return to the Clio for dinner and your final night onboard. 

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    Today you'll disembark your ship and transfer to Jerusalem, arriving in the early afternoon. This holy city is a treasure trove of hallowed monuments and sacred legends, where the air is thick with the sound of prayers and church bells the call of merchants and the streets are alive with Jewish, Muslim, and Christian pilgrims eagerly following in the footsteps of early prophets.

    After checking in to your hotel, your Program Director will lead an orientation walk to help familiarize you with the area. Dinner is on your own this evening.

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    Your full day of discovery in Jerusalem begins with an extensive walking tour through the Old City. Though it occupies an area of less than one square mile, this ancient enclave's history and spiritual significance to Christians, Jews, and Muslims is immense. Your tour begins in the area around the Western Wall, the Jewish Quarter, which is adjacent to the site of Solomon's First Temple and the Second Temple. 

    Your tour also includes a visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built around what is believed to be the site of Christ's burial and resurrection, and along the Via Dolorosa—the ancient “Way of the Sorrows,” where it is traditionally held that Christ walked to his crucifixion.

    After strolling the winding streets of Jerusalem's Arab and Christian quarters, stop for lunch at a restaurant in the Old City before continuing on to Mount Zion, the traditional Christian site of the Last Supper, and the Mount of Olives, site of Christ's betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane.

    Following an afternoon at leisure, join your fellow travelers for a Farewell Dinner this evening.

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    Transfer to the airport in Tel Aviv for your flight home. Or begin your post-trip extension to Jerusalem & Masada, Israel.

  • POST-TRIP EXTENSION:
    Jerusalem & Masada, Israel

    4 nights from only $895

    Though it occupies an area of less than one square mile, the history and spiritual significance of Jerusalem is immeasurable. From the ancient desert fortification of Masada—built by Herod the Great—to the archaeological splendor of the City of David, journey to this holy capital to discover the sacred sites that inspire historians and the religious faithful alike.

    View Extension Itinerary

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