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View of the Mosque Sultan Hassan in Cairo and pyramids

Egypt, the Greek Isles, and the Suez Canal: Sailing Through Antiquity

Example 12 Day Cruise aboard National Geographic Explorer
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Embark on a 12-day Egypt, the Greek Isles, and the Suez Canal: Sailing Through Antiquity aboard the National Geographic Explorer. Journey across ancient lands unites two of the world’s greatest civilizations, Egypt and Greece. Encounter iconic monuments resurrected eons ago and witness modern-day life in fishing villages, souks, and museums. Walk in the footsteps of Egypt’s all-powerful pharaohs and gods who gave rise to the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx, the Karnak Temple complex, and the most famous tomb of all, where the boy King Tutankhamun rests. Hop among several Greek isles and cap it all off with views from Santorini that forever be seared in memory.
Entrance of Luxor Temple, EgyptEgypt Hieroglyphics in Valley of kings closeup detail. Luxor, Egypt.Famous Luxor temple complex at nightEnjoy the clear water of the Red SeaShip passing through Suez Canal, in the background - the Suez Canal Bridge, also known as Al Salam BridgeOrnate mosque in AlexandriaCitadel of AlexandriaAdmire the iconic whitewashed architecture of SantoriniSee the ancient world come alive in AthensView of the Mosque Sultan Hassan in Cairo and pyramids
  • Discover the beauty of four Greek islands, including stunning Santorini
  • Observe the exciting underwater realm of the Red Sea in Hurghada
  • Experience local culture as you explore fishing villages, souks, & wineries
  • Navigate the Suez Canal
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Cairo, Egypt

Arrive in Cairo, transfer to the hotel (Ritz-Carlton or similar), and enjoy an afternoon at leisure. This evening, gather for a welcome reception and meet your fellow travelers. 

Day 2: Cairo | Giza

  • Hotels
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Begin the day with a visit to the Grand Egyptian Museum to view astonishing masterpieces from ancient Egypt. See mummies of the pharaohs, beautifully adorned sarcophagi, regal statues, and many of the dazzling jewels found in King Tutankhamun’s tomb.

Following a lunch of Egyptian specialties, travel to Giza and encounter one of the most enduring symbols of the ancient world, the Pyramids. The complex is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and the only one that remains intact. Learn how and why the Pyramids were built, then view the Sphinx, carved from a rocky outcrop, displaying the head of Pharaoh Chefren and the body of a lion.

Day 3: Cairo | Luxor

  • Hotels
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Early this morning, transferred to the airport for the flight to Luxor. Upon arrival enjoy a relaxing lunch at the hotel (Hilton Luxor Hotel or similar) before setting out to tour the Karnak Temple complex. Many of the more powerful pharaohs added their individual touches to the buildings of this massive complex during their reigns. You’ll return to town to visit the magnificent Luxor Temple. As with Karnak, the Luxor Temple was created at the hands of the pharaohs, primarily Amenhotep III and Ramses II. This impressive site was built on the banks of the Nile River and the timing of the visit provides the opportunity to photograph the stones, which appear to glow in the afternoon sunlight. Enjoy dinner at the hotel.

Day 4: Luxor | Safaga | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Following breakfast, travel to the West Bank of the Nile River to the Valley of the Kings. A sacred site for burials for nearly 500 years, the valley contains at least 63 tombs of pharaohs and powerful nobles, each decorated with elaborate mosaics and paintings depicting Egyptian mythology. Visit one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world, the tomb of Tutankhamun. The tomb had remained largely hidden until its discovery in 1922—keeping the treasure trove of antiquities safe from looters. Enjoy a special lunch on the Nile before crossing the desert to Safaga on the Red Sea, where you'll embark on the National Geographic Explorer.

Day 5: Hurghada

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Enjoy Egypt’s stunning coastline, exploring the coral reefs, undersea beauty, and white sand beaches of the Red Sea. Hurghada offers spectacular opportunities to snorkel and dive in crystal waters. Alternatively, travel into the vast Sahara where you'll visit a traditional Bedouin village and learn how its inhabitants have made their lives in the desert for centuries. Enjoy lunch before heading back into the city center where you'll explore the bustling souk, Big Mosque, and the Corniche.

Day 6: Transit the Suez Canal

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
​Spend the day transiting the Suez Canal. Sail past small villages and massive expanses of desert sand as you learn the history of this amazing paradigm of human engineering. Opened in 1869 after more than a decade of construction, the canal connects the Red Sea to the Mediterranean and today it carries about 12 percent of the world’s trade. Spend time on the Bridge and observe the ship’s officers as they communicate with the vessels in the convoy to maneuver through the twists and turns of this extraordinary waterway.

Day 7-8: Alexandria | At Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Founded by Alexander the Great, Alexandria was considered the intellectual and cultural center of ancient Mediterranean society. Visit the Catacombs of Kom El Shougafa and climb the rocky hill to see Pompey’s Pillar, built in memory of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. Spend time in the Bibliotheca Alexandria—the cultural complex erected to commemorate the Great Library of Alexandria, one of the most significant libraries of the ancient world. Once back on board, be out on deck as you sail past the Citadel of Qaitbay. Marking the entrance to the harbor, on the site of the Alexandria Lighthouse, the fortress protected the city against the advancing Ottomans.

Day 9: Heraklion

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Begin the day with a visit to the Heraklion Archaeological Museum to view an astonishing collection of artifacts spanning 5500 years of Greek history. The museum houses the stunning frescos from Knossos including those depicting the historically popular sport of bull leaping. Afterward, choose from two options: Visit the Palace of Knossos, one of Crete’s most popular Minoan sites. Built on the grounds of an earlier palace dating to as early as 2000 BC, the present structure is a reconstruction of what the vast palace would have looked like in 1450 BC. Or explore the Greek site of Phaestos, among the greatest of the Cretan Minoan cities. Its wealth is evident in the extent and quality of its ruins, and the city offers a superb hilltop setting with fine views of the countryside. Enjoy a traditional Greek lunch before returning to the ship.

Day 10: Karpathos | Kasos, Greece

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Leaving North Africa behind, sail into the Dodecanese Islands, stunning gems of unique beauty tucked away in the turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea. Step back in time to explore traditional fishing villages and the unique natural beauty of the islands of Karpathos and Kasos.

Day 11: Santorini, Greece

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Be on deck early this morning to enjoy the sunrise as you sail into the caldera of Santorini. Watch as the early light paints the surrounding hillsides and whitewashed dwellings in beautiful pink and orange hues. Take the cable car up the steep cliffs to visit the picturesque villages Thera and Oia, and walk along the edge of the caldera to take in the spectacular view. Then head inland away from the hustle to experience the culinary delicacies of the traditional villages and wineries tucked into the hillsides.

Day 12: Athens | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
You sail into Athens this morning. Enjoy breakfast aboard before transferring to the airport for flights home.


National Geographic Explorer

National Geographic Explorer's dining room.
Relax in the luxurious sauna aboard the National Geographic Explorer.
Relax in the National Geographic Explorer's lounge.

Cairo - Hotels

Luxor - Hotels

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
National Geographic Explorer's Category 1 Cabin.
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Cat 1
Main Deck with one or two portholes. #301-308
National Geographic Explorer's Category 2 Cabin.
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Cat 2
Main Deck with window. #317-320, 335-336.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 3 Cabin.
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Cat 3
Main Deck with Window #313-316, 321-328, 337-340,342, 344, 346, 348, 350.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 4 Cabin.
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Cat 4
Upper and Veranda Decks with Window. # 103-104, 107-108, 201-202, 204-207, 210, 212, 217, 226, 228.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 5 Upper Deck Cabin.
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Cat 5
Upper Deck with Balcony. #209, 211, 214, 216, 218, 220-222, 224.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 6 Cabin.
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Cat 6
Veranda Deck Suite #101-102; Upper Deck Suite with Balcony #213.
Luxurious Catagory 8 Suite
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Cat 7
Upper Deck Suite with Balcony. #215, 219, 230.
National Geographic Explorer's Category SA and SB.
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Cat SA
C Deck Solo - Cabins 309-312, 329-334. Single cabins with window.
National Geographic Explorer's Category SA and SB.
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Cat SB
Upper and Veranda Decks with Window. #105-106, 203, 208.


Travelers under the age of 18 save $500 per person.
  • 11 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 11 Dinners
  • 11 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Assistance by the onboard National Geographic Photography Expert
  • Beer, wine, cocktails, and spirits aboard the ship. We are also pleased to offer a selection of super premium wines and liquors that are available for purchase.
  • Crew gratuities
  • Complimentary Starlink-enabled Wi-Fi internet is available to all guests aboard Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic fleet, enabling email, messaging, and social media.
  • Park and site entrance fees, special access permits, and port taxes
  • Excursions, hotels, and airport transfers, as indicated in the itinerary 
  • Selection of exploration tools curated to your destination, such as Zodiacs and glass-bottom boats, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, snorkeling equipment (including wetsuits, masks, and fins), and other state-of-the-art gear
  • Guidance and company of leading expedition staff
  • All meals as indicated in the itinerary, both aboard and onshore. Meals are inspired by regional cuisine and locally sourced where possible
  • Hors d’oeuvres inspired by regional cuisine and locally sourced where possible
  • 24-hour access to snacks, premium coffees and teas, non-alcoholic beverages, and filtered water
  • Presentations on your destination by expedition staff and expert guest speakers
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle to fill at onboard water refill stations
  • The services of a physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, or paramedic  where available
  • Morning stretch classes and 24-hour access to exercise equipment where available
  • 24-hour access to lounges, observation decks, library stocked with regionally relevant literature, and other shared spaces 
  • Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic certified photo instructor
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Laundry, spa treatments, scuba diving, Wi-Fi and phone services (except when indicated as included)
  • We strongly recommend our guests to take Travel Protection Plan. A Plan with comprehensive coverage to protect you from cancellation fees, costs incurred due to trip delays/interruption, damaged or lost baggage, medical assistance, and evacuation during your travels
  • Airfare (except flights when indicated as included), pre- and post-expedition extensions, additional hotel nights, and private transfers (except when indicated as included)
  • Travel protection plans and passport, visa, and immigration fees 
  • Enhanced and premium Wi-Fi plans, which may enable video chat, web browsing, and streaming (connectivity permitting)


When to Go

Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.


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