By Staff Writer
Viking Cruises will be expanding its Egypt program for the 2020 season, which will include a new Nile River ship and pre-cruise extensions to its Pharaohs & Pyramids itinerary.
Inspired by the design of the award-winning Viking Longships and built specifically for the Nile River, Viking Osiris is currently under construction and will double the company’s owned capacity in Egypt when it debuts in September 2020, while the two new pre-cruise extensions will further enhance guests’ base knowledge of Egypt prior to arriving in Cairo.
The upcoming, state-of-the-art ship will host 82 guests in its 41 staterooms. The Viking Osiris boasts an elegant, Scandinavian design and will join the company’s other ship on the Nile, Viking Ra, which launched in 2018. Viking is the first and only Western company to build, own and operate ships on the famous river.
“Egypt has inspired explorers for generations, and it remains a top destination for many of our guests,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “For more than two decades, we have led the river cruise industry with our fleet development and experiences that bring travellers closer to the cultures of the world. We remain committed to Egypt, and we look forward to introducing the historic treasures of the region to even more Viking guests.”
During the 12-day Pharaohs & Pyramids cruise, guests experience Egypt’s cultural treasures in seven destinations. The cruise tour begins with a three-night stay at a first-class hotel in Cairo, where guests can visit iconic sites such as the Great Pyramids of Giza, the necropolis of Sakkara and the Mosque of Muhammad Ali. Travellers will then fly to Luxor, where they will visit the Temples of Luxor and Karnak before boarding a Viking river ship for an eight-day roundtrip cruise on the Nile River, featuring access to the tomb of Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens and excursions to the Temple of Khnum in Esna, the Dendera Temple complex in Qena, the temples at Abu Simbel and the High Dam in Aswan. After a visit to a colourful Nubian village, where guests can witness a traditional elementary school, the journey concludes with a flight back to Cairo for a final night in the ancient city.
The new five-day extensions to Viking’s Pharaohs & Pyramids offer exclusive access to archives and exhibits in London and Oxford that are not normally open to the public. British Collections of Ancient Egypt, the first of the two extensions, will meet their Viking Tour Director, an expert Egyptologist, in London and explore the Egyptian Collection at the British Museum before it opens to the general public and the home and personal museum of world-renowned architect, Sir John Soane. The latter features a re-enactment of how Soane entertained guests and showcased his exquisite collection of Egyptian antiquities, including a 3,000-year-old Egyptian sarcophagus. The tour continues with a visit to London’s Petrie Museum, which houses more than 80,000 artefacts from ancient Egypt and Sudan; Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum, one of the oldest in the world, and home to a varied collection of Egyptian mummies and art; and behind-the-scenes access to Oxford University’s Griffith Institute, where guests will see Carter’s archives, which detail the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb. A visit to Highclere Castle, the country seat of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, gives travellers the chance to view the earl’s magnificent private collection of Egyptian artefacts and concludes the itinerary.
Guests travelling through April 2020 can opt for the new five-day King Tut & the UK’s Egyptian Collections extension, which also offers an opportunity to visit Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh, a special exhibition at London’s Saatchi Gallery that is presented by Viking.