Begin your private Alexandria cruise excursion as you depart the pier for the drive to Alexandria's National Museum. The museum is housed in the old Al-Saad Bassili Pasha Palace, which dates back to 1923. It is the first museum in Egypt that narrates the history of the people of Alexandria through antiquity, as opposed to being a building storing antiquities. Many of the artifacts within the museum's collection have not been exhibited before. Each of the museum's three floors depicts a different period of Egyptian history.
The Pharaonic collection spans each critical period, and includes items from the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms. One of the highlights is a replica of a tomb, similar to those in the Valley of the Kings on the West Bank at Luxor (ancient Thebes), that includes a mummy along with genuine funerary items. Alexandria was a Greco-Roman city of great splendor, and there is no scarcity of objects from this period, including artifacts raised during underwater excavations around Alexandria in recent years.
The last floor is devoted to Coptic and Islamic items and includes a variety of objects from Egypt's two most prominent religious traditions. Coptic Christian items include icons of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, and the Last Supper. Among the Islamic objects are a collection of gold and silver coins, decorated pottery, doors and mashrabiya windows inset with geometrical ivory ornamentation. There is also a section devoted to the former royal family of Egypt that includes magnificent jewelry, bejeweled gold and silver awards, and other items from their residence.
Next, your drive will continue on for a visit to the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina, built on or near the site of the ancient Library of Alexandria. Built at the beginning of the 3rd century B.C., the ancient library was not only a repository of books; it was also a museum, school, and the world's foremost center for learning and scholarly research. In the 4th century A.D., a fire destroyed both the library and museum.
Your cruise excursion will include a visit to the new library, and a walking tour of the grounds, which feature a museum, galleries and a planetarium. Your guide will explain the architecture and UNESCO's part in the creation. Following your tour, you will return to the pier.