Magic Along the Nile

The ICAA is pleased to partner with Classical Excursions to present this exclusive tour highlighting the most incredible, historic and architectural landmarks of Egypt. Our guide is Egyptologist, Dr. Arto Belekdanian who has a doctorate from the University of Oxford and a Masters degree from the University of Chicago, making him uniquely capable of addressing both scholars and popular audiences. He has collaborated with broadcasters such as National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, and BBC Studios in addition to his work for the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and his on-site archaeological excavation work.

The tour is co-hosted by Cosmo Brockway, a travel and interiors journalist and award-winning author of Glorious Hotels of India (2019). He writes for leading publications on interiors, culture and design, including Architectural Digest, The World of Interiors and The Telegraph. Cosmo has led tours across the world, from India to Norway, and the Holy Land to the Greek island of Patmos. He is also well acquainted with many of the finest private country estates in England, Scotland and Ireland.

This tour is arranged by Classical Excursions. Please note, that you must contact Classical Excursions’ Director, Lani Summerville to formally register for this program. Upon completing a registration form, submitting a deposit to Classical Excursions, and receiving a confirmation from Classical Excursions you will be considered registered for this program. Payment of the $600 donation to the ICAA prior to registration does not guarantee placement on the trip. Again, to inquire about registration for this program, please contact Lani Summerville at [email protected] or 413-446-8728.

A fully tax-deductible donation of $600 per person is required to participate in this travel program. Please note that this donation is non-refundable except in the case that this travel program is cancelled by the organization. All travel program participants have the opportunity to receive a complimentary Individual level membership for one year to the ICAA.

Participants will have the option to attend a private tour of the Temple of Abu Simbel.

The group will enjoy an afternoon sailing on the Nile on a traditional Dahabiya including a stop at a Nubian village.

Our Nile cruise will be on the SS Misr. The Misr cruises on Nile River between Aswan and Luxor. The 1918-built steamship was constructed in Preston (Victoria, Australia) for the Royal Navy. In 1938, the vessel was bought and converted into a luxurious "floating palace" for King Farouk I (Egypt's last monarch/reign 1936-1952). The name Misr means "Kingdom of Egypt". The vessel is currently owned by Movenpick Group.

When in 1952 Egypt's monarchy was overthrown, steamship Misr became state property. The boat was allocated to the Ministry of Irrigation, where languished in a shipyard in Cairo. Bought it in 2003 and with special permission from state authorities, SS Misr was entirely rebuilt according to the original drawings. In 2006, the vessel was relaunched and since then is operated as a top-luxury hotel ship.

Today, the fully restored to a 5-star propeller steamship accommodates passengers in air-conditioned, spacious cabins and suites. Misr cruise ship is elegantly furnished throughout. Saraya Lounge, Dahabia Bar and Marasem Restaurant are on the higher decks and offer wonderful views of Nile River. The period-style restaurant is situated on the main deck and serves international cuisine. Breakfast and lunch are buffet-style while dinner is waiter-served. And there is Afternoon Tea service. Special dietary requests should be made (in writing) in advance.

There is a lower sun deck with wicker chairs and Upper Sun Deck with comfortable sunbeds for relaxation and a pool. The attentive staff are always at hand to offer a cool beverage.

The group sail on the Nile to visit the Temple Philae on the island of Philae and the unfinished obelisk.

Participants will visit the unique, double temple, Temple of Kom Ombo, constructed during the Ptolemaic dynasty, 180–47 BC.

The group will tour the Luxor Temples and Karnak, also known as the Karnak Temple Complex, which includes a mixture of temples, pylons, chapels and more.

The program features a visit to the Valley of the Kings and Queens in Luxor, which during Egypt's New Kingdom (1539-1075 BC) became a royal burial ground for pharaohs such as as Tutankhamun, Seti I, and Ramses II, as well as queens, high priests, and other elites of the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties.

Participants will tour the ancient architectural masterpiece, the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, the mortuary temple built during the reign of Pharaoh Hatshepsut. The temple's three massive terraces rise above the desert floor and into the cliff of Deir el-Bahari.

The tour will include a visit to the villa of the legendary British archeologist and Egyptologist Howard Carter. Carter discovered the intact tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun in 1922.

The group will visit the Tomb of the Nobles, the burial places of the powerful courtiers and persons of the ancient city of Thebes.

The group will enjoy a full day touring the sites of Cairo, including the Mosque of Ibn Tulum, Manial Palace, and Gayer Anderson, and time for curated shopping with Cosmo Brockway.

On the final full day of the tour, the group will visit the Great Pyramids at Giza, followed by a visit to the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM).

What’s included

  • A two-night stay at the Old Cataract Hotel Aswan, where the group will meet their co-host and expert Cosmo Brockway.
  • A three-night stay on the historic Nile River streamer SS Misr, which was originally built by the British Royal Navy in 1918 and later converted into a luxury Nile steamer for King Farouk. The group will tour the incredible locales along the Nile on-board this storied ship.
  • A two-night stay at the Al Moudira Hotel, located on the west bank of the Nile, in Luxor, near the UNESCO World Heritage site of ancient Thebes and the Valley of the Kings.
  • A three-night stay in the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at the First Residence.
  • An optional private tour of the Temple of Abu Simbel.
  • An afternoon sailing on the Nile on a traditional Dahabiya with a stop at a Nubian village.
  • A visit to the Temple of Philae and the unfinished Obelisk, followed by a cocktail reception and welcome dinner on board the SS Misr.
  • A morning visit to the Temple of Kom Ombo.
  • A tour of the Temple at Edfu.
  • Following a morning sailing to Luxor, visits to Karnak and the Luxor Temples.
  • A visit to the Nile West Bank and Valley of the Kings and Queens, The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, and more.
  • An afternoon of textile shopping in Luxor.
  • A special visit to the villa of Howard Carter.
  • A visit to the Temple of Nobles, with special private access to tombs.
  • An afternoon visit to the Egyptian Museum once arriving in Cairo.
  • A three full days touring Cairo, with sites including the Mosque of Ibn Tulum, Manial Palace, and Gayer Anderson, and more.
  • Curated shopping with Cosmo Brockway, followed by an exclusive private dinner.
  • A morning tour of the Great Pyramids at Giza.
  • A visit to the Grand Egyptian Museum.

Temple of Abu Simbel (Image: Wikimedia Commons/Warren LeMay)

Temple of Kom Ombo (Image: Wikimedia Commons/ Silar)

Temple at Edfu (Image: Wikimedia Commons/ Marc Ryckaert)

Karnak (Image: Wikimedia Commons/Vyacheslav Argenberg)

The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut (Image: Wikimedia Commons/Warren LeMay)


How do I register for an ICAA travel program?

If you would like to register, you may contact the travel operator organizing the program. Please note that a $600 donation per person to the ICAA is required in order to participate in each travel program.

What does the required $600 donation fund?

Your $600 donation helps to further the ICAA’s goal of advancing the practice and appreciation of the classical tradition in architecture and the allied arts by supporting its varied educational programs, including continuing education courses, college workshops, the Summer Studio in Classical Architecture, New Heights, and many more.

Am I required to pay a $600 donation for each travel program I register for?

Yes, a donation of $600 to the ICAA is required for each travel program you register for. The donation is required for each person attending a tour.

How do I make my $600 donation to the ICAA?

You can make your $600 donation to the ICAA online, or you can download, complete, and mail this form to the ICAA. You can alternatively fax a copy to 212-730-9649. You may also call 212-730-9646 x111 or email [email protected] to make a donation. Donations must be made separately from the registration fee.

Do I have to be a member of the ICAA to participate in an ICAA travel program?

No, membership is not required to attend an ICAA travel program. However, complimentary Individual membership to the ICAA is included with your $600 required donation.

I don’t see the full itinerary for the tour I am interested in. When will it be released?

For full itinerary and more information, contact [email protected], 413-446-8728. Due to the exclusive nature of our tours, some private locations or visits may be omitted from the ICAA's website.

What kinds of trips does the ICAA offer?

Over the past several years, the ICAA has travelled to destinations including Paris; Andalusia; Atlanta; Barbados; South Africa; Chicago; the Netherlands and Belgium; Scotland; the French Riviera; Morocco; the Italian Lake Region; Charlottesville; Naples; and New Delhi, among many other locations. The ICAA is always looking to diversify its travel offerings. If you have a suggestion or location you would like to see added, please email [email protected].