Your private shore excursion begins as you depart the pier for the drive to Alexandria's National Museum. The old Al-Saad Bassili Palace, which dates back to 1923, houses the museum. 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 once a Greco-Roman city of great splendor. A multitude of ancient artifacts have been discovered in recent years during underwater excavations in the area.
The last floor is devoted to Coptic and Islamic items, and displays a wide range 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.
After your visit to the museum, your cruise excursion will continue with a drive along the Mediterranean coast to the Montaza Gardens, which feature 115 acres of gardens surrounded by great walls on three sides and the sea. Within its walls, you will see the exterior of the Montaza Palace, built in 1932 by King Fouad and inherited by his son King Farouk, last of the Egyptian kings. As you drive through the gardens, photo stops will be made along the way. Following your visit, you will return to the pier and ship.