Culture & History
A land of distinct deep history merged with a culture of wealth and prosperity
There are also several cruise lines that now operate out of ports such as Dubai or Abu Dhabi, Including Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines. 7 night itineraries, often with an overnight are perfect to add on a further 3 or 4 days to explore or relax.
A Middle Eastern cruise itinerary will not appeal to everyone, but it will offer lots for fans of history. Highlights include visiting some of the world’s most ancient sites, including Egypt’s pyramids and Jordan’s lost city of Petra, as well as such modern sites as Dubai’s over-the-top luxury hotels and beautiful beaches.
Middle Eastern itineraries will also often include a stop at the bustling port city of Aqaba, with its many outdoor cafes and quaint eateries.
Adventures that can be had on a Middle Eastern itinerary include shopping in the old souks (markets), especially those selling gold and rare spices in Dubai and the colourful pashmina scarves in Muscat. One can also visit a local fish market in Aden and even arrange for a desert safari, if time permits.
Ultimately, though, what is especially fascinating about a Middle East cruise is the chance to be immersed in the Muslim culture and lifestyle, which is so important in world affairs today and is a subject about which most of us have little understanding or awareness.
The best way to visit these far off lands would clearly be by cruise ship since it offers the opportunity to experience the local cultures of various ports while at the same time being pampered with the modern conveniences and indulgences available on a luxury cruise vessel.
A popular cruise port for starting a tour or a stop-over location, Abu Dhabi is situated on the Persian Gulf, Abu Dhabi is divided into the historic Al Ain region, which is centred on an oasis on an old camel caravan route, Al Gharbia, which is part of the world’s largest uninterrupted desert, and the city itself.
Its speedy rise from a poor, rural country to extreme wealth comes from the oil discovered in 1958. Putting its money into the development of modern infrastructure, health care, education, arts and culture, it has become a modern, rich country in just over a generation. It now has the highest per capita income in the world.
Dubai is also a working port city on the Arabian Gulf. A magnet for lovers of all year-round sunshine, incredible shopping, iconic, imaginative architecture and cultural history, Dubai is all this and more.
When cruising to Dubai, you need not worry about bad weather in this all-year round destination. The hottest month is August, with an average temperature of 36°C. The coldest month is January, with an average temperature of 19°C, and February is the wettest month, with an average of 40 mm of rain.
Many cruise liners start or stop off in Dubai, including Silver Star, Regent and Fred Olsen, enticed by its seven-star luxury hotels, shopping malls and the iconic man-made islands built in the shape of palm trees and continents. Its 21st-century architecture stands alongside its more traditional districts, with plenty to see and do however long your stay.
Muscat is an ancient port city in Oman, on the Gulf of Oman, which is an arm of the Arabian Sea. The capital city of Oman, Muscat, is the administrative centre and largest city. There are majestic mountains and soft sandy beaches surrounding the city, which is a place where you can experience a unique civilisation that reflects Arabian and Islamic influences.
Between December and February temperatures range from the mid to upper 70’s F during the day, falling to the mid 60’s F at night. The rest of the year is a little warmer, with average highs ranging from the upper 80’s F to over 100°F in the hottest months of May through July. The lows stay in the upper 60’s F or higher. Average rainfall is less than one inch per month throughout the year.
Salalah is located on the southern coast of Oman, on the Indian Ocean. It is the main town in the region and the mountains surrounding it turn emerald green in the summer. Salalah owes part of its fame to the Frankincense trees that grow here and in all of Oman; Haffa Souq is the best place to buy the aromatic resin.
The climate is very mild, with little change year round. Daytime highs rarely reach 90°F, averaging from the upper 70’s to the upper 80’s F. Nights are cool and comfortable, with temperatures ranging between the mid 60’s to the mid 70’s F. April through June are the warmest months and the average rainfall is less than one inch per month, all year round.