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Voyage through the Red Sea
Sorry. There are no scheduled departures for this expedition.
Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.
PLEASE NOTE: The map below is for the 2012 departure. Click here to access the map for the 2011 departure.
An itinerary from a previous expedition is displayed below.
Day 1 Depart USAIndependent overnight flight to Jordan.
Day 2 Amman, Jordan
Arrive in Amman this evening and transfer to our hotel for the first of a two-night stay.
Day 3 Amman
After a morning at leisure we set out to explore one of the oldest cities in the world. Spread across 19 hills, Amman’s light-colored stone houses lend it the sobriquet, “the white city.” In the busy downtown, modern towers and boutique shops meld with the legacies of ancient civilizations, a hilltop citadel, and Greco-Roman ruins. We visit an 8th-century palace built by the Omayyad Arabs and a restored Roman theater. The National Archaeological Museum provides an overview of Jordan’s fascinating heritage. Return to the hotel for a briefing and our welcome dinner.
Day 4 Amman / Petra
In the morning we drive south along the King’s Highway through the picturesque Jordanian countryside, passing traditonal villages and the spectacular canyon of Wadi al-Mujib en route to the Castle of Kerak. Dating from 1132, this stunning edifice lies within a walled crusader city situated along an ancient caravan route between Egypt and Syria. We continue our drive to our hotel in Petra in time for dinner and overnight.
Day 5 Petra
We rise early this morning to visit the astonishing ruins of Petra, capital of the Nabataean civilization, which flourished between 200 B.C. and 200 A.D. In a dramatic approach we enter the Siq, a narrow chasm flanked by 600-foot-high rock walls, which opens into the ancient city. Unfolding before us are spectacular rock-cut tombs, temples, and a theater, each carved from vividly hued, iron-rich sandstone, hence the nickname “the rose-red city.” The grand façade of the Treasury, remarkably well preserved, bears testimony to Petra’s prominence as a wealthy center monopolizing the lucrative trading routes north of the Red Sea. After lunch at the ruins, those who wish may climb to the Monastery or choose to visit the excellent museum before returning to our hotel.
Day 6 Petra / Wadi Rum / Aqaba / Embark Clipper Odyssey
We continue southward this morning and arrive in Wadi Rum, the majestic valley made famous by T.E. Lawrence, “Lawrence of Arabia.” We transfer to 4x4 vehicles for a drive through the dramatic sandstone formations that tower over the desert floor strewn with immense boulders. Continue to Aqaba where we embark the Clipper Odyssey and set sail in the evening.
Day 7 Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt / Monastery Of St. Catherine
Two tour options are available today. Those who wish to visit the ancient Greek Orthodox Monastery of St. Catherine, a World Heritage Site, disembark early this morning for a 3-hour drive through the rugged and beautiful terrain of the Sinai Desert. Enjoy a private visit to this remarkable holy site, which preserves the world’s second largest collection of manuscripts and view the exquisite 6th-century icons, the ornate chapel, and what is believed by many to be the Burning Bush—the reason for building the monastery on this remote site. Alternatively, enjoy an excursion to Ras Mohammed, a beautiful national park at the southernmost tip of the Sinai Peninsula. Snorkel or dive in crystal clear waters, which harbor more than 200 species of coral and nearly 1,000 species of fish. After lunch return to Sharm el Sheikh to explore the town on your own.
Day 8-9 Safaga / LuxorThe Clipper Odyssey arrives at the port of Safaga today and after an early breakfast we depart overland for an overnight tour of Luxor’s magnificent ancient splendors. The enormous complex at Karnak, built nearly 2,000 years ago on the east bank of the Nile, was the seat of Amun, “King of the Gods.” Ptolemy III built the impressive gate, still in near-perfect condition, and we explore the temple’s many sanctuaries, walk among obelisks of staggering height, and along the Avenue of the 1,000 Sphinxes—a “forest” of 134 massive columns, which originally extended from the temple all the way to the banks of the Nile. After check-in and lunch at our hotel, we visit the Luxor Temple, discovered less than a century ago in the heart of the city. Red granite obelisks, the huge Sitting Ramesses II colossus, Amenhotep’s colonnade, and a mosque built atop the pharaonic temple are supremely photogenic highlights. Dinner and overnight at our hotel. The following day, we cross the Nile to explore ancient Thebes, a World Heritage Site, and its Valley of the Kings. Cut deep into the rocky mountainsides and surrounded by the high Gurna Hills are the magnificent tombs of Egypt’s principal pharaohs, including Tutankhamen. We visit the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut—the only woman who actually ruled as a pharaoh—constructed at the top of three massive terraces. Its walls are decorated in elaborate hieroglyphs depicting her divine birth. We continue to the two “singing” statues of King Amenhotep III, 60-foot-high seated kings, which once guarded his namesake temple and the largest temple of Thebes. For lunch we board feluccas, traditional Nile sail boats and cross the Nile back to the west bank, then return to our ship in Safaga.
Day 10 At Sea
As we cruise toward Saudi Arabia our lecturers prepare us for our cultural experiences to come in Saudi Arabia and Eritrea.
Day 11 Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
The Gateway to Mecca and Medina, and largest port in the Red Sea, welcomes us this morning as we set out for a walking tour of Jeddah’s well-preserved old city. Many of the traditional houses in this protected area were built from Red Sea coral and are embellished with intricate wooden carvings. The large souq is a feast for the senses, with vendors extolling the virtues of their spices, carpets, incense, and jewelry. After lunch at a festive local restaurant, we explore the Abdulraouf Khalil Art Museum where more than 200 rooms reveal the history of Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Peninsula. We return to the ship for dinner and set sail for Sudan.
Day 12 Suakin, Sudan
Situated just south of the modern harbor of Port Sudan is the old city of Suakin, which served as a major trading stop on the route to Mecca. We go ashore for a tour this morning and step back in time as we walk pathways between old buildings constructed of coral blocks, while camels, donkeys, and local people remind us that traditional life continues off the beaten path. After a folkloric performance, we return to the ship for lunch and enjoy an afternoon of snorkeling and diving in the warm, marine-life-rich waters of the Red Sea.
Day 13 Massawa, EritreaWe arrive in Massawa today and disembark after lunch for an exploratory tour of the former village that the Ottomans turned into a major port in the 16th century. The old architecture still reflects the traditional dry coral and wood beam construction, with haphazard balconies leaning over the narrow streets. We view the 15th-century mosque, the sprawling dhow docks, and the colorful bazaar housed in one of the surviving Ottoman buildings.
Day 14 Dahlak Archipelago
The Dahlak Archipelago is a bejeweled smattering of nearly 200 islands, of which only four are inhabited by a population that continues its traditional lifestyle of pearl fishing and goat- and camel-herding. Seabirds nest here in great profusion and submerged coral reefs are home to hundreds of marine species, including dolphins, sharks, dugongs, and several turtle species. Today we explore the region, and enjoy a day of exceptional snorkeling and diving.