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Viking is expanding its Egypt fleet with Viking Aton. Inspired by the design of the Viking Longships and built specifically for the Nile River, Viking Aton is currently under construction and is scheduled to debut in September 2022. Sailing on Viking’s “Pharaohs & Pyramids” itinerary, the new vessel will join Viking’s existing Egypt river fleet, which includes its identical sister ship Viking Osiris and Viking’s first owned and operated ship on the Nile, Viking Ra.
Viking Aton will accommodate 82 guests in 41 staterooms—all of which will be outside staterooms with river views (including spacious suites with two full-size rooms and verandas). There will also be a pool and sun deck with 360-degree views, a Viking Lounge with floor-to-ceiling glass doors, and Viking’s Aquavit Terrace for al fresco dining and indoor/outdoor viewing along the Nile River. Viking Aton will join the company’s other ships on the Nile, Viking Osiris, which is set to launch this year, and Viking Ra, which debuted in 2018.
During the 12-day, “Pharaohs & Pyramids” cruisetour itinerary, guests begin with a three-night stay at hotel in Cairo, where guests can visit sites such as the Great Pyramids of Giza, the necropolis of Sakkara and the Mosque of Muhammad Ali. Guests then fly to Luxor, where they can visit the Temples of Luxor and Karnak before boarding a Viking river ship for an eight-day roundtrip cruise on the Nile River. Highlights include “Privileged Access” to the tomb of Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens and the tomb of Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings 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, and a visit to a Nubian village, where guests can visit an elementary school. Finally, the journey concludes with a flight back to Cairo for a final night in the city.
For guests looking to extend their journey, Viking also offers pre- and post-cruise options that provide “Privileged Access” to archives and exhibits. Building on the success of the “Oxford & Highclere Castle” program—one of Viking’s highest-rated extensions that visits the filming location of “Downton Abbey”—the company has applied the same degree of “Privileged Access” to a new curated pre-cruise extension that allows guests to retrace the steps of the famous Egyptologist Howard Carter and his benefactor, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon.
Guests on the five-day “British Collections of Ancient Egypt” extension will begin the journey in London, where they will meet their Viking tour director, an expert Egyptologist, and visit two museums: First a private, early morning visit to the Egyptian Collection at the British Museum before it opens to the general public, and then a visit to the home and personal museum of architect Sir John Soane, where the tour will be illuminated by candlelight—a re-enactment of how Soane entertained guests and showcased his collection of Egyptian antiquities, including a 3,000-year-old Egyptian sarcophagus. Guests will also visit London’s Petrie Museum, which houses more than 80,000 artifacts from ancient Egypt and Sudan. In Oxford, guests will visit the Ashmolean Museum, one of the oldest in the world and home to a varied collection of Egyptian mummies and art, then go behind the scenes at Oxford University’s Griffith Institute, where they will enjoy a “Privileged Access” visit to see Carter’s archives, which detail the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb. Lastly, guests will have an exclusive visit to Highclere Castle—the country seat of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon—to view the Earl’s private collection of Egyptian artifacts, as well as archives and exhibits not normally accessible to the public.
Additional offerings include a pre-cruise extension in Jerusalem, where guests will explore the history and culture of Israel’s capital and a to “Jordan – Petra, Dead Sea & Amman” post-cruise extension to view Roman antiquities at Jerash, Crusader-era castles at Kerak or Shobak and experience the lost city of Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.