Program photograph

Egypt & The Eternal Nile

October 5 – 21, 2013
Faculty: TBD

Price: $5,298 per person, double occupancy, including air from New York (Includes airline taxes & departure fees.)

Please note that there is no land only option available for this trip.
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Overview

Have you dreamed of standing at the foot of the mighty pyramids of Giza, exploring a tomb in the Valley of the Kings, or sailing down the mysterious Nile? Egypt's captivating heritage begins with the legacy of the pharaohs and includes its rich Greco-Roman, Coptic Christian, and Islamic periods. Recall the adventure of “discovering” Egypt in the fashion of the intrepid 19th-century traveler while enjoying all of today's modern comforts as we experience Giza, Luxor, illustrious Alexandria, Cairo, a cruise on the Nile and much more. Our itinerary is designed to enrich our understanding of Egyptian cultures, both past and present, and delight us with the sights that we will see.  (Note:  I would mention the lesser explored Lake Nasser cruise highlighting the Nubian history of the area, and also mention the illustrious city of Alexandria.)

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Program Highlights

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Accommodations

Fairmont Nile City Towers

2005 B, Corniche El Nil, Ramlet Beaulac
Cairo, Egypt 2466
Phone: 011-20-22-461-9494
Fax:     011-20-22-461-9595
www.fairmont.com/nilecity

Opened in 2009, the Fairmont Nile City Towers stands on the banks of the Nile River close to many historic sites, including Khan el-Khalili bazaar and the Egyptian Museum.  This contemporary-style hotel offers two restaurants, bar, and lounge; Internet access; laundry and dry cleaning services; spa with massage treatments; beauty salon, fitness center, and outdoor pool.  Fashioned with Art Deco furnishings, air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, tea- and coffee-making facilities, TV, and phone.

M/S Kasr Ibrim – Lake Nasser Cruise

Phone:  011-20-10-132-9824
www.kasribrim.com.eg

Launched in 1997, M/S Kasr Ibrim boasts an art deco style and ample open deck space to watch the passing scenery of Lake Nasser.  Amenities include a restaurant, lounge areas, two bars, an exercise room, swimming pool with Jacuzzi, sauna, and steam room.  Each of the 55 cabins is outside and offers air conditioning, private bath with hair dryer, and mini-bar.  Please note that the ship docks at regular docking facilities in Abu Simbel and Aswan; at other stops you will take small launches or motorboats from the ship to shore.

Please also note that M/S Kasr Ibrim will not have phone reception on weekends from approximately 11:00 a.m. on Saturday to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday.

H/S Osiris – Nile Cruise

This 37-cabin river ship offers such amenities as a main dining room, Sun Deck, Internet access, laundry service, gift shop, and outdoor pool.  Air-conditioned cabins have private bath with hair dryer, safe deposit box, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Sonesta St. George Hotel

Luxor, Egypt
Located on the east bank of the Nile River and minutes from Luxor, this 322-room luxury hotel offers several restaurants and bars; Internet access; laundry and dry cleaning services; beauty salon; health and fitness center with sauna, spa, and steam room; and outdoor heated pool.  Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Helnan Palestine Hotel

Alexandria - Egypt

Overlooking the Mediterranean shoreline and the gardens at Montazah Palace, the Helnan Palestine Hotel offers three restaurants, two bars, lounge, disco, beauty and barber salons, fitness center, Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, elevator, private gardens, water sports, outdoor pool, and private beach.  The 230 air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, balcony, safe deposit box, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Le Méridien Heliopolis

Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt
Situated in the residential section of Heliopolis close to the Cairo airport and just minutes from the Egyptian Museum and Cairo’s Old Town, Le Méridien Heliopolis combines contemporary amenities with classic European-style furnishings.  The 283-room hotel offers several restaurants, bar, lounge, and disco; Internet access; fitness center; whirlpool; solarium; dry cleaning and laundry services; shopping arcade; and outdoor pool.  Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

PETRA, JORDAN 2013- OPTIONAL POST-TOUR EXTENSION

Kempinski Hotel Amman

Amman, Jordan

Opened in 2005, this 256-room contemporary hotel with an avant-garde design sits in the heart of Amman, close to shopping and restaurants.  Hotel amenities include two restaurants and a lounge; Internet access; fitness center; wellness center with heated outdoor pool, sauna, steam room, and spa treatments; hair salon; laundry and dry cleaning services; entertainment center complete with bowling alley; and shopping mall.  Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

Movenpick Resort Petra

Wadi Mousa, Petra, Jordan

Located at the entrance to Petra, the 183-room Movenpick Resort Petra features a mixture of Western, contemporary, and traditional architecture and artwork.  On-site amenities include two restaurants, bar, and lounge; indoor and outdoor pools; tennis courts; fitness center; spa with steam bath; gift shop; laundry and dry cleaning services; and Internet access.  Each air-conditioned guest room has a private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, tea- and coffee- making facilities, TV, and phone.

Le Méridien Heliopolis

Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt
Situated in the residential section of Heliopolis close to the Cairo airport and just minutes from the Egyptian Museum and Cairo’s Old Town, Le Méridien Heliopolis combines contemporary amenities with classic European-style furnishings.  The 283-room hotel offers several restaurants, bar, lounge, and disco; Internet access; fitness center; whirlpool; solarium; dry cleaning and laundry services; shopping arcade; and outdoor pool.  Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

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Meals

 

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Faculty

Name - bio

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Itinerary

Day 1 -- Saturday, October 5
Depart New York for Cairo, Egypt
Tonight you'll depart New York's JFK Airport on EgyptAir bound for Cairo.

Day 2 -- Sunday, October 6
Arrive Cairo
You’ll arrive in Cairo this afternoon and transfer directly to your hotel, where there’s time to rest before meeting your fellow travelers and Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director at tonight’s briefing and welcome dinner.
Fairmont Nile City Towers, (D)

Day 3 -- Monday, October 7
Cairo
Our full-day tour begins at the world-renowned Egyptian Museum, which holds more than 120,000 relics and antiquities from almost every period in Egyptian history. We continue on to the Citadel of Saladin, a spectacular medieval fortress set high on a hill with extraordinary views of the city below.  Built in 1176 to guard against the Crusaders, the Citadel was the home of Egyptian rulers for nearly 700 years, including famed leader Mohammed Ali, whose gilt tomb is inside.  Late this afternoon we navigate the exotic Khan el-Khalili bazaar, Cairo’s most popular.  Lunch today is at a local restaurant; dinner tonight is on your own.
(B, L).

Day 4 -- Tuesday, October 8
Cairo/Giza Plateau
Today we visit some of the finest sites in Egyptian antiquity, beginning this morning at the open-air museum at Memphis, Egypt’s first capital dating to the early 4th century BCE.  Once a magnificent city ruled by legendary King Menes who united Upper and Lower Egypt (ca. 3100 BCE), Memphis is now a pleasant remnant of long-ago times, with sculptures, a Sphinx, and a limestone colossus of Ramses II.  Our next stop is at nearby Sakkara, a necropolis used for more than 3,000 years to bury Old Kingdom royalty – and still largely unexcavated today.  Much of Sakkara’s splendor remains, and can be seen in the Step Pyramid, which was once the largest stone structure ever built.  The Step Pyramid forms the center of a remarkable funerary complex, which includes a broad “hypostyle” hall (a structure whose roof is supported by columns), a great court, and stone altars representing Upper and Lower Egypt. 

After lunch at a local restaurant, we reach the Giza Plateau and the Pyramids of Egypt, including the Great Pyramid (or Pyramid of Cheops), which ranks among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.  For years, scientists have debated about how these massive tombs were built; and to a great degree, the mystery remains unsolved today.  The largest structure is the great Pyramid of Cheops, built around 2600 BCE.  In front of the Pyramids stands the serene Sphinx, carved almost entirely of one piece of limestone and submerged by desert sands for thousands of years.   After a long day of outdoor exploration we return to our hotel late afternoon.  Dinner tonight is on your own.
(B, L)

Day 5 -- Wednesday, October 9
Cairo
This morning we encounter Old Cairo – ancient Babylon – the city’s oldest section that is a maze of medieval streets, Islamic mosques, minarets, and domes.  We begin at 5th-century St. Sergius, the oldest church in the area.  Inside, 12 columns representing the 12 Apostles separate the nave from the aisles.  We also visit the restored Ben Ezra Synagogue, Egypt’s oldest, which harkens to the 4th-century Coptic church it once was.  Sadly, Egypt’s Jewish community is fast disappearing and there are seldom enough worshippers here to hold a service.  Another stop today is el-Mauallaqa, the “hanging church” built over the bastions of a Roman gate.  Believed to date from the 7th century, the church features a ceiling that resembles an ark, and a carved marble pulpit considered the finest in Egypt. 

This afternoon is free to explore Cairo independently. You may wish to visit the Museum of Islamic Art or return to the Egyptian Museum to see the incredible exhibition of artifacts excavated from the tomb of the young King Tutankhamun (“Tut”) in 1922 by an English archeologist.  The King ruled for just nine years, but during that time he amassed great wealth, much of which was buried with him in the form of gold amulets and jewelry, a coffin of solid gold, and an exquisite mask of gold and lapis.  Or you may wish to return to the Khan al-Khalil bazaar, believed to be the largest in the Middle East, if not the world.  Here you can visit artisans who have passed down their skill from generation to generation, perfecting all types of crafts including wood, perfume, leather goods, and glassware.  There are bargains to be had on almost every corner, but you are expected to barter hard for them.  Lunch and dinner today are on your own.
(B)

Day 6 -- Thursday, October 10
Fly to Aswan/Abu Simbel/Embark Ship
It’s a very early morning as we set off for a flight to Aswan where we board a motorcoach for the 2½-hour ride across a corner of the Sahara to Abu Simbel, the Pharonic site with an inspiring history.  When the Aswan High Dam was built in the 1960s to control the mighty Nile, it was expected to double the country’s hydroelectric supply.  But in the course of creating one of the world’s largest manmade lakes (Lake Nasser), the resultant flooding would destroy most of the native Nubian villages found here, as well as a number of irreplaceable monuments in the lowlands, among them Abu Simbel.  So the Egyptian Department of Antiquities, in conjunction with UNESCO, embarked on a rescue project beyond the scope of anything that had ever before been attempted: they dismantled several ancient sites, stone by heavy stone, and rebuilt them on higher ground.  We see the results of these efforts at Abu Simbel, a massive complex of temples guarded by four colossal statues of Ramses II, each more than 60 feet high.  Inside, the walls are covered with incredibly well preserved murals depicting scenes of Queen Nefertari and her court, and of King Ramses in battle.  This is truly an astonishing place; one you’ll be glad was preserved for posterity.  After visiting Abu Simbel, we board the 55-cabin deluxe river ship M/S Kasr Ibrim for lunch together and an afternoon at leisure.  As the desert sun goes down, we return to Abu Simbel and experience one of the highlights of our trip: a dramatic sound-and-light show amid the massive statuary of Abu Simbel. We spend the evening on board our deluxe river ship.
M/S Kasr Ibrim (B, L, D)

Day 7 -- Friday, October 11
Lake Nasser Cruise – Kasr Ibrim/Amada/Wadi el-Seboua
This morning you may want to rise early to experience the sunrise over the temples at Abu Simbel.  Then during breakfast we sail to the settlement of Kasr Ibrim, the last vestige of Nubian culture still in its original location.  After a brief visit during which we learn about this ancient settlement from onboard ship (it’s prohibited to go ashore here), we’ll continue on to Amada, where we tour the 8th-dynasty Temple of Amada, built during the reign of Tutmosis III and the oldest surviving Lake Nasser temple.  During lunch we cruise to Wadi el Seboua for an afternoon of leisure and where we spend the night. 

We are now in the heart of ancient Nubia, the country that bordered southern Egypt during antiquity and was Egypt’s gateway to Africa. Though heavily influenced and often ruled by Egypt, Nubia had a culture and history distinct from that of its more powerful neighbor.  It had its own kingdoms, some of which were cooperative with Egypt’s, while others were competitive. While Nubia has long been incorporated as a part of Egypt, some Nubians have struggled to maintain their culture and traditions, much of which is now dying out because of assimilation and changing times.
(B, L, D)

Day 8 -- Saturday, October 12
Lake Nasser Cruise – Wadi el Seboua/Valley of the Lions/Aswan
We spend this morning in Wadi el Seboua touring the Valley of the Lions with its striking avenue of sphinxes.  This afternoon we cruise to Aswan, the city where Agatha Christie famously wrote Death on the Nile, and enjoy dinner together on board.  Late this evening we arrive in Aswan and spend the night aboard our deluxe river ship.
(B, L, D)

Day 9 -- Sunday, October 13
Disembark/Aswan/Embark Ship
We disembark M/S Kasr Ibrim this morning in the desert lands of Aswan and set out to visit “new” Kalabsha, site of the largest freestanding Nubian temple of them all, which was moved and reconstructed here from “old” Kalabsha.  This sandstone temple dedicated to Mandulis, the Nubian god of religion, preserves Egyptian and Greek history, both languages are carved into the temple walls.  After exploring “new” Kalabsha, we enjoy lunch together and then travel by coach to the Aswan High Dam, considered a miracle of engineering when completed in 1965 after some 18 years of work.  Numbers tell part of the story:  it stands 11,811 feet long, 364 feet tall, and at its base is 3,215 feet thick.  Material used in the dam’s construction is 18 times the amount of material used to construct the Great Pyramid at Giza.  But in addition to doubling Egypt’s electrical supply, the dam’s construction – and subsequent creation of Lake Nasser – also caused the relocation of up to 90,000 Nubians from their homeland. 

Next we visit the Temple of Isis on the island of Philae.  Before the Aswan Dam was built, the temples here were submerged by Nile flooding for six months each year.  But in much the same manner as Abu Simbel, the Philae ruins were dismantled and reconstructed on a nearby island, which was landscaped to resemble antiquity’s Sacred Island of Isis.  The oldest part of the temple dates from the 4th century BCE, though construction continued until the 3rd century CE.  Later we embark our Nile ship H/S Osiris before we board small feluccas, replicas of ancient Nile sailboats, for a relaxing afternoon sail.  We’ll admire the river scenery as we make our way slowly down the Nile, passing close by the Botanical Gardens on Kitchener’s Island, home of the British hero who helped tame the Sudan; Elephantine Island, with its huge granite rocks; and the tomb of the Aga Khan.  Tonight we overnight on board in Aswan.
H/S Osiris (B, L, D)

Day 10 -- Monday, October 14
Nile Cruise – Edfu/Luxor
This morning we sail to the site of the ancient trading town at Kom Ombo, which sat on the great caravan route from Nubia.  Here we see outstanding Nile views from an unusual double temple, dedicated both to the crocodile god Sobek and to the falcon god Haroeris (Horus the Elder).  Then we return to the ship for lunch and later afternoon tea as we sail to Edfu.  Upon arrival we explore Edfu’s Temple of Horus, considered Egypt’s best-preserved ancient temple (having spent centuries buried beneath desert sands).  Construction of the complex began under Ptolemy III in 237 BCE and was completed nearly 200 years later; the temple’s remains were not discovered until 1900.  We’ll see the 12 enormous columns that stand in front of the Great Halls, and stop to admire the wall inscriptions in the Hall of Consecrations.  We return to our ship for this afternoon’s cruise to Luxor (our final sail) as we enjoy afternoon tea along the way.  On board tonight you’re invited to join in a party wearing traditional Egyptian galabeya as we overnight dockside in Luxor.
(B, L, D)

Day 11 -- Tuesday, October 15
Nile Cruise – Luxor
You may wish to rise early this morning and view the West Bank from above in an optional hot air balloon ride.  (At the time of printing, the cost of the 45-minute balloon ride is approximately $150 USD per person).  Later this morning we embark on an exploration of Luxor, the ancient city that surpasses even Cairo in the number and importance of its ancient sites.  Beginning on the West Bank at the haunting Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens, this isolated valley holds the tombs of more than 50 kings, queens, and nobles, each in a tomb constructed underground in an attempt to mirror the underworld.  For many years Egyptians inhabited this vast City of the Dead in an attempt to protect the tombs from grave robbers – though sadly, some of the tombs were indeed looted over the centuries.  What remains, however, are some of the most magnificent paintings you’ll see anywhere in Egypt.  The tombs were filled with sand, which not only protected everything inside, but also served as a sort of embalming element for the paintings, preserving them from the wind and sun.  Today some of the paintings have been covered by glass for further protection, and photography is strictly forbidden inside the tombs.  To visit all the tombs would be impossible; your tour director will select some of the most interesting for you to see.  Before returning to the ship, we tour the dramatic Temple of Hatshepsut, dedicated to one of the few female pharaohs; and the enormous Colossi of Memnon, two 64-foot-high statues that once guarded the gates of a mortuary temple.  We spend the evening on board our deluxe river ship.
(B, L, D)

Day 12 -- Wednesday, October 16
Nile Cruise – Disembark
After breakfast, we disembark our ship then move on to splendid Karnak Temple, which was under construction for some 1,500 years.  It comprises the three main temples of Amun, Mut, and Montu, as well as smaller enclosed temples and several outer temples located a short distance north of Luxor.  We also see the temple’s enormous pylons, the Temple of Ramses II, the Great Hypostyle Hall, and the two Obelisks of Hatshepsut.  Tonight you can choose to attend an optional Sound & Light show at Karnak Temple at additional cost (approximately US $25 per person).
Sonesta St. George Hotel (B, L)

Day 13 -- Thursday, October 17
Luxor
We return to Luxor today to explore more of this fascinating site.  Here we tour Luxor Temple, where Amun-Ra, the Sun God and God of Creation, would travel for festivals held during annual flood season.  Over the years, more rulers built onto the temple, including Tutankhamun, Ramses II, and even Alexander the Great.  We see the Great Court of Ramses II, the Temple of the Theban Triad, and the obelisk, whose twin stands in the Place de la Concorde in Paris.  Next we explore Luxor Museum where we see the many preserved statues and artifacts collected from Luxor Temple.  This afternoon is free to explore the city and the popular riverfront market near our hotel on your own.
(B, D)

Day 14 -- Friday, October 18
Luxor/Cairo/Alexandria
This morning we fly to Cairo from Luxor.  Here we board a motorcoach for the 3½-hour drive northwest to Alexandria, one of the ancient world’s greatest cities and today Egypt’s main port and second largest city sitting at the crossroads of the main trading routes between Asia, Africa and Europe.  As we arrive in this city founded by Alexander the Great, we drive by the Fort of Quaitbay where once stood the Pharos of Alexandria, the lighthouse that ranked as one of the Seven Ancient Wonders.  Adjacent to our hotel, we also see Montazah Palace, a beloved 115-acre complex whose gardens overlook the sea.  Dinner tonight is on your own.
Helnan Palestine Hotel (B)

Day 15 -- Saturday, October 19
Alexandria
Today we encounter Alexandria’s Greco-Roman heritage at the Library of Alexandria and the tri-level catacombs in Kom el-Shoukafa.  After lunch in a local restaurant, we tour the well-preserved ruins of the ancient Roman theater.  We return to our hotel mid-afternoon; the remainder of the day and evening is at leisure for independent exploration (your tour director can offer suggestions).  Dinner tonight is on your own.
(B, L)

Day 16 -- Sunday, October 20
Alexandria/Cairo
This morning we depart Alexandria for Cairo, the ancient city standing on both sides of the Nile River.  Today numerous contemporary and ancient districts comprise Cairo, Egypt’s capital and most populated city.  We reach Cairo with time to relax before tonight’s farewell dinner at our hotel.
Le Méridien Heliopolis (B, D)

Day 17 -- Monday, October 21
Cairo/Return to U.S.
After breakfast, we depart for the airport for your morning EgyptAir flight to New York’s Kennedy airport, arriving mid-afternoon.
(B)

Please Note

This trip involves considerable walking on uneven terrain and at sites of ancient ruins.  You should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour to the fullest.

We will do our best to adhere to our printed itinerary. Occasionally, though, unexpected obstacles, and opportunities, may arise that will force us to deviate from the itinerary as written.  We would ask you to be open-minded and flexible should we vary the itinerary slightly.  In addition, please note that airline schedules are subject to change.  We will provide you with updated flight information closer to your departure.

Important Notes about Travel to and within Egypt

Domestic Flights

This comprehensive tour features many attractions in Egypt that are geographically spread across the country.  One of the most convenient modes of transportation is to fly between sites, requiring the services of national carrier EgyptAir, for all domestic flights within Egypt.  Typically flights within Egypt can depart at odd times during the day, including some very early morning flight schedules.

The most inconvenient service usually occurs on Day 6 when we fly from Cairo to Aswan.  This flight departs Cairo very early in the morning (typically at 4:00 or 5:00 a.m.).  Our guests have generally found the schedules to be a minor inconvenience when put in the context of our ability to travel to some of the most remarkable sites on earth. 

Traffic

While heavily-populated Cairo has a metro system (the only one on the African continent), there are only two lines, which makes coverage quite limited – and road traffic especially heavy.  You should expect significant traffic congestion in both Cairo and Alexandria, but you’ll be comfortable on tour traveling in modern coaches.  We will make regular stops on our way to and from Alexandria.

River Cruising

Only five ships are allowed to sail along Lake Nasser, allowing for easy access and a relaxing experience.
Conversely, the Nile River is one of the world’s busiest and most popular waterways, and it features many river ships competing for limited dock space as they sail similar itineraries to visit the same sights and monuments.  Because of the large number of ships as well as local regulations, Nile River vessels typically line up adjacent to one another, several abreast.  Please note that you may have to cross over other ships when embarking or disembarking from our river ship. 

For Business Class Guests

A reminder that your Business Class seating applies only to your international flights between the U.S. and Egypt; it does not apply to any flights in the U.S. or to internal flights included on the tour.

For All Guests

EgyptAir does not serve alcoholic beverages aboard any flights, including Trans-Atlantic.

For Guests Taking Odysseys Unlimited’s
OPTIONAL POST-TOUR EXTENSION:
JORDAN:  PETRA & AMMAN

Day 17 -- Monday, October 21
Cairo/Amman, Jordan
This morning we board the 1½-hour flight to Amman, the once and current capital of one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities.  Known for its harmonious blend of ancient and contemporary architecture, Amman boasts countless relics of its Roman, Byzantine, and Arab past.  Upon arrival we embark on a brief tour of the city including the impressive City Center building.  One of the most prestigious buildings in all of Amman, the 13-story City Center represents the contemporary western design that continues to gain influence amidst more traditional Middle Eastern architecture. From here we visit traditional souks; the Citadel, a religious landmark dating to the Bronze Age; and several museums, including the Archaeological Museums, the Museum of Popular Tradition, and the Folklore Museum.  Dinner tonight is on your own.
Kempinski Hotel Amman (B)

Day 18 -- Tuesday, October 22
Amman/Petra
Early today we travel to the Roman ruins of Jerash, dubbed the “Pompeii of the East” for its splendid state of preservation.  Jerash flourished during the reign of Alexander the Great because of its popular trade routes when it became part of the Holy Roman Empire’s Decapolis (the 10 major Roman cities of the East).  After the Persian invasion in 614 and a series of consequential earthquakes, Jerash survived as nothing more than a small rural village until its rediscovery in 1925.  We explore the colonnaded streets, theaters, churches, and temples that comprise the largest Roman site outside Italy.  After time for lunch on your own, we leave by motorcoach for Petra.  The “rose-red city, half as old as time” was established around the 6th century BCE and eventually drew fame for its success in the spice trade and its ingenious hydraulic engineering systems.  We arrive late this afternoon and dine together tonight at the Petra Kitchen where the furnishings, décor, and tableware are handcrafted by Jordanians artisans.
Movenpick Resort (B, D)

Day 19 -- Wednesday, October 23
Petra

We spend the whole day exploring Petra on foot, entering by the mile-long canyon leading to the site.  Forgotten for more than a thousand years, Petra was rediscovered only in the 18th century, and the central part of the city wasn’t excavated until 1958.  In fact, even today only a small percentage of the site has been uncovered.  But what we will see here today is enough to astonish and astound even the most experienced traveler:  monuments and buildings – temples, tombs, palaces, and dwellings – carved directly into the cliffs of a solid mass of rock.  Built as a fortress by the wealthy Nabateans, the city that once stood here housed nearly 10,000 people.  The architecture represents some of the most sophisticated of its time, and the variegated rock changes colors with the sun, transforming from a rosy pink to a golden yellow.  It is, quite simply, a glorious sight.  The ruins here are remarkably well preserved, giving us a true glimpse into the lives of those who lived and worked here.  Buildings and sites that we’ll visit include the marvelous 8,000-seat amphitheater, the colonnaded street, the Temple of the Winged Lions, and the Royal Tombs set high up into the cliffs.  One magnificent building is the enormous monastery, reached by climbing a staircase of stone at the far end of Petra.  If you like, you can walk up to the monastery and admire the wonderful views.  Or relax and have a drink in one of the beverage tents scattered throughout the site.  After a full, and fulfilling, day of sightseeing we return to our hotel late this afternoon.  Tonight we enjoy dinner together at the hotel.
(B, L, D)

Day 20 -- Thursday, October 24
Petra/Amman/Cairo
We leave Petra for Amman this morning, traveling the historic King’s Highway which was the region’s original north/south road dating to Biblical times.  We stop along the way at the Castle of Shobak, the early 12th-century crusader castle perched on top of a rocky mountain overlooking vast lands and fruit trees.  Next: Madaba, “City of Mosaics,” whose chief attraction is a mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land dating to the Byzantine era.  It took more than two million colored stones to create this work of art, and each one remains in place today.  After visiting this ancient masterpiece we have an early lunch then continue on to the important pilgrimage site of Mt. Nebo, where Moses was buried overlooking the Jordan Valley.  We see the site’s 4th- and 6th-century Byzantine churches, the first of which was built to commemorate Moses’ death.  The churches are closed for renovations, but we should be able to view the Jordan Valley and catch glimpses of Jerusalem’s rooftops in the distance. We reach Amman late afternoon and board an evening flight back to Cairo.
Le Méridien Heliopolis (B, L)

Day 21 -- Friday, October 25
Cairo/Return to the U.S.
After breakfast, we depart for the airport for your morning EgyptAir flight to New York’s Kennedy airport, arriving mid-afternoon.
  (B)

Please Note

The itinerary now includes a visit to the dramatic Roman ruins at Jerash, an excursion that was not originally advertised.  We now arrive in Amman earlier than originally planned due to EgyptAir’s adjusted flight schedule.  Should the flight schedule change again, the itinerary may need to revert to the schedule that was originally promoted and does not include Jerash. 

In addition, we will do our best to adhere to our printed itinerary. Occasionally, though, unexpected obstacles, and opportunities, may arise that will force us to deviate from the itinerary as written.  We would ask you to be open-minded and flexible should we vary the itinerary slightly.  In addition, please note that airline schedules are subject to change.  We will provide you with updated flight information closer to your departure.

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Program Fees

$5,298 per person, double occupancy with economy-class roundtrip airfare from New York.
A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $xxx to the per person, double occupancy rates.

Price includes:

Does not include:

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How To Register

Ready to register? The best way to do this is by phone so that we can ensure we are meeting all of your needs. Please call us at 866-765-2646. Or, e-mail cavaliertravels@virginia.edu with your contact information and the best time to reach you.

A deposit of $500 per person is required to reserve your spot. Final invoicing will be done approximately 3 months prior to departure. Final payment is due 95 days prior to departure.
Deposits can be made via MasterCard, Visa, or American Express, or by check made out to “Odysseys Unlimited, Inc.”

Early registration is encouraged as space is limited.

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General Terms & Conditions

Please read this information carefully, as a payment of a $500 deposit per person represents your acceptance of the following Terms and Conditions.

Payment Schedule: A deposit of $500 per person confirms your reservation. The balance of your invoice is due 95 days (July 2, 2013) before departure.

Not Included in Tour Price: costs of passports and visas; airport, port, and departure taxes, which will be listed as separate items on your invoice and are subject to change; personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, room service, and meals not specified; excess baggage fees; communication charges; gratuities to your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director and shipboard personnel, which are at your discretion (suggested gratuity for your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director: $10-$15 per day per traveler); optional sightseeing; and travel protection insurance. Additional baggage fees may apply and are subject to change at any time. You should confirm directly with your airline prior to departure.

Cancellation and Refunds: If you must cancel your trip, the effective date of cancellation will be upon our receipt of your written notification. Refunds for cancellations are subject to the following per person charges: Cancel 95 days or more before departure: $200 charge; Cancel 94-65 days before departure: 50% of tour price; Cancel 64-30 days before departure: 75% of tour price; Cancel 29-0 days before departure: No refund. If a guest makes any changes within 94 and 30 days prior to departure to either their departure city and/or the optional post-tour extension, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. will apply a $100 per person administrative fee, in addition to any fees or penalties imposed by third parties. No changes are allowed within 30 days of departure.

Upon reservation you must provide your full legal name as it appears on your passport, your date of birth and gender. In the event an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

Responsibility: The liability of the University of Virginia, as sponsor, and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc., as tour operator, is strictly limited. The University of Virginia and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. purchase transportation, hotel accommodations, restaurant and other services from independent suppliers not under our control. We serve only as agents for these suppliers in securing tour arrangements, and therefore will not accept responsibility for wrongful, negligent, or arbitrary acts or omissions of these independent contractors, their employees, agents, servants or representatives. The University of Virginia and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. are not liable for injury, damage, loss, accident, or delay that may be caused by events not within our control, including without limitation, acts of terrorism, war, strikes, the defect of any vehicle, or the negligence or default of any third party. All coupons, receipts, and tickets issued are subject to the terms and conditions specified by the air carriers, cruise line, and other independent suppliers. We will make every effort to operate our tours as planned, but we reserve the right to make itinerary changes as necessary. If unforeseen circumstances require us to change a hotel, we will select alternative accommodations of the same or better quality. If you choose to make your own air arrangements, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. shall not have any liability for any loss resulting from cancellation of this tour or changes in this tour.

Health and Medical Issues: We request that you be in good health to participate in an Odysseys Unlimited tour. There is a considerable amount of walking, and you must be able to get on and off motorcoaches and boats on your own. If you require the use of a wheelchair or have other personal needs, you must be accompanied by a companion who will assist you. We reserve the right to remove anyone whose physical or mental condition, in our opinion, compromises the operation of the tour or detracts from the enjoyment or safety of the other passengers. In that event, Odysseys Unlimited and the University of Virginia assume no financial responsibility for any unused portion of the tour.

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