Viking Builds Egypt Riverboat
By Anne Kalosh.
As tourism to Egypt rebounds, Viking Cruises is expanding with a newly built Nile riverboat and a pair of pre-cruise tours in the U.K., both focused on Egyptology. These sound fascinating, with Viking’s signature “Privileged Access” to archives and exhibits in London and Oxford not normally open to the public.
Viking Osiris, under construction, will more than double the company’s owned capacity in Egypt when it debuts in September 2020. Viking claims to be the only Western company to build, own and operate boats on the Nile. Its fully rebuilt 48-passenger, all-suite Viking Ra began sailing in 2018.
Carrying 82 passengers in 41 staterooms, Viking Osiris will sport the clean, elegant Scandinavian design of Viking’s European vessels. Public spaces include a shaded sun deck, a shaded pool deck with Aquavit Terrace for indoor/outdoor dining and lounging, a restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows and lounge/bar with floor-to-ceiling glass doors.
Accommodations range from a dozen 232-square-foot standard staterooms to a pair of 525-square-foot explorer suites. The most common accommodations are the 21 veranda staterooms of 239 square feet.
U.K. Pre-cruise Extensions
Building on the success of the “Oxford & Highclere Castle” program — Viking’s highest-rated extension that visits “The Real Downton Abbey” — the company created two new tours that retrace the steps of famed Egyptologist Howard Carter and his benefactor, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon.
Participants in the five-day “British Collections of Ancient Egypt” extension will meet their Viking tour director, an expert Egyptologist, in London for “Privileged Access” to two museums. They’ll get to see the Egyptian Collection at the British Museum before it opens to the general public, then the home and museum of world-renowned late 18th-century architect Sir John Soane. There, the tour will be illuminated by candlelight, reenacting how Soane showed his Egyptian antiquities, including a 3,000-year-old sarcophagus.
Travelers will also visit London’s Petrie Museum, which houses more than 80,000 artifacts from ancient Egypt and Sudan. In Oxford, the itinerary features the Ashmolean Museum, one of the oldest in the world, and home to a varied collection of Egyptian mummies and art. A behind-the-scenes visit to Oxford University’s Griffith Institute will reveal Carter’s archives detailing the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb.
Participants also have the chance to visit Highclere Castle, home to the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, to view the earl’s collection of Egyptian artifacts.
Through April 2020, travelers can opt for the new five-day “King Tut & the U.K.’s Egyptian Collections” extension, which includes everything on the other extension plus “Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh,” a special exhibition at London’s Saatchi Gallery that is presented by Viking.
Prices for the pre-cruise extensions start at $3,599 USD for “British Collections of Ancient Egypt” and at $3,699 USD for “King Tut & the U.K.’s Egyptian Collections.” Both include airfare from London to Cairo.
Pharaohs & Pyramids
The 12-day “Pharaohs & Pyramids” cruise-tour begins with a three-night stay at a first-class hotel in Cairo for guided tours to the Great Pyramids of Giza, the necropolis of Sakkara and the Mosque of Muhammad Ali.
Travelers then fly to Luxor to visit the Temples of Luxor and Karnak before embarking a Viking vessel for an eight-day round-trip Nile cruise.
Highlights include “Privileged Access” to Nefertari’s tomb 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. A Nubian village visit includes a stop at an elementary school. The journey ends with a flight back to Cairo for a final night in the city.
Prices for the cruise-tour vary by date and currently start at $4,899 USD, according to Viking’s U.S. website.
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