With chances to dig deeper and immerse yourself in centuries of extraordinary history, there’s much more to this exciting cruise than the ports listed on the itinerary. In fact, at each destination, you’ll be within reach of some of the oldest, most famous and best-preserved ‘lost cities’ and holy sites, so every stop will be as rewarding and as fascinating as the next.
The ultra-modern Emirati city of Dubai – home of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa – is the starting point for this unforgettable voyage.Boudicca will be ready and waiting to whisk you off to Oman, where visits to three cities will showcase the diversity of one of Arabia’s most captivating countries. A call at Khasab offers you the chance to take in the spectacular scenery of the ‘Omani Fjordland’ on a trip into the Musandam Fjords aboard a traditional Dhow boat. A day in Muscat allows time to marvel at the many treasures of the capital, including fine examples of Arabian architecture such as the glorious Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and striking Qasr Al Alam Palace. The famous Mutrah Souk is a ‘must-visit’ too. On Oman’s stunning south coast, Salalah will serve as your gateway to the remarkable Lost City of Ubar. Although this historic frankincense shipping settlement was only discovered in the early nineties, it’s believed that the large fort and imposing towers here may pre-date the writing of Islam’s holy book, the Qur’an.
- Return flights from Edinburgh airport*
- 14 nights’ on board MS Boudicca sailing from Sri Lanka to Dubai
- Comfortable rooms and suites with TV, hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities and individually controlled air conditioning
- Tempting cuisine every day throughout your cruise – with five-course à la carte dinners, casual breakfast and lunch buffets and late-night snacks
- Unlimited, self-service tea and coffee at selected venues, afternoon tea* with sandwiches and cakes, and in-room sandwiches and snacks
- All evening entertainment, including cabaret shows, dancing and live music
- Captain’s Drinks Party and Gala Buffet (on cruises of 5 nights or more)
- On board leisure facilities, including swimming pools, Jacuzzis and gym
- A wide choice of on board activities and lectures throughout the day
- All UK port taxes (where collectable in advance)
- Luggage porterage between your room and the drop-off/pick-up point
Terms and conditions apply. Subject to availability. Single supplements apply.
To speak to an adviser regarding more information for this cruise or to book this cruise, please call 0800 1707 233 and quote *DC THOMSON TRAVEL*
Thursday 20 February: Fly to Dubai from your chosen airport & embark on MS Boudicca
To the south of the Arabian Peninsula, Dubai uniquely blends traditional Arabia with the lure of an ultramodern city. The emirate is a relatively new tourist destination that has gained popularity through its luxury shopping and stunning architecture. It is a world of sharp contrasts: from the contemporary malls, hotels and theme parks to the historic culture of Dubai’s Shindagha and Bastakiya districts.
Experience the soaring Burj Khalifa Tower, the world’s tallest building, visit the man-made Atlantis Palm Island or take a drive through the Arabian Desert, where the sand dunes display a spectacular sight at sunrise. The beaches stretch as far as the eye can see – the water sports on Kite Beach are a particular attraction – and limitless culinary delights await in award-winning Michelin star restaurants. The city is alive 24/7, and the nightlife is famously upbeat. Some tranquillity, however, can be found at the Al-Mamzar Park.
Dynamic Dubai is constantly developing and evolving, including what can be picked up in the traditional Souks. From the usual spices and delicious local treats to more extravagant items including gold, silver, precious stones and perfumes, the atmospheric lanes of old Dubai are piled high with aromatic and glittering surprises.
Friday 21 February: Khasab, Oman
The small, yet energetic Omani city of Khasab is a melting pot of sights, from charming old souks and historic castles, to bustling modern markets and a lively harbour. It’s also the gateway to the stunning waterways and islands of the Musandam fjords – The Norway of Arabia. From Khasab Harbour, traditional Dhow boats enter these stunning fjords that form part of the Strait of Hormuz, and offer rugged coastal views and dolphin sightings. Past mountain villages lies Jabal Hareem Peak – Musandam’s highest point – which is known for its marine fossils.
There are plenty of highlights to discover in the capital of the Musandam peninsula. The Portuguese-built, stone-turreted Khasab Fort was the former home of the Wali of Khasab and is now a museum with model boats, handicrafts and archaeological finds. Within the heart of the city, two very distinct areas – the Old and New Souk Areas – demand discovery.
The Old Souk is where you’ll find traditional markets resounding to a mix of languages such as Kumzari. The New Souk has a more modern feel. LuLu Market is the largest supermarket in Musandam and enjoys all the hustle and bustle of Arabian life. Given piracy has been a tradition in these parts for well over 200 years, a visit to the harbour to see Iranian traders come and go with semi-illicit goods in their jet boats is well worth a look.
Saturday 22 February: Muscat, Oman
Muscat, Oman’s port capital, offers plenty of history, an air of tradition, and a distinctly exotic location, all crammed between the mountains, the sea – laden with fauna-rich lagoons – and the desert.
With history dating back to ancient times, Muscat mixes modern architecture and fashionable shopping malls with souks, Royal Palaces and landmarks like its 16th century Portuguese forts, Al Jalali and Mirani that keep watch over the harbour.
The ornate marble-clad Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, with its 50m dome, can accommodate 20,000 people. This most modern of Islamic buildings is also home to the world’s second largest hand-woven carpet, which took four years to thread and is made from various vibrant vegetable dyes.
The opening of the Royal Opera House in 2011, and the splendid National Museum which opened six years later, offer additional culture highlights that give the city a personality all of its own.
Sunday 23 February: At Sea
Monday 24 February: Salalah, Oman
Capital of Oman’s southern region, Salalah, known as the ‘perfume city of Arabia’, is famous for its trade in frankincense, banana plantations, Arabian Sea beaches and waters teeming with sea life. An annual monsoon, The Khareef, transforms the desert terrain into a lush, green landscape and the seasonal waterfalls it creates is a magical sight.
The city’s must-see sights include the eye-catching Sultan Qaboos Palace and the Al-Husn Souk, which is a large outdoor market with dozens of shops and stalls selling gold and silver products, incense, perfumes and frankincense resin. The Frankincense Land Museum, part of the Al Balid Archaeological Site, recounts the city’s maritime history and its role in the spice trade.
There is another market – the Haffa Souk, in the old city. This is the place to buy local hand-made wood and leather products as well as more frankincense resin.
Tuesday 25 – Friday 28 February: At Sea
Saturday 29 February – 01 March: Aquba, Jordan
Inhabited since 4000BC, Aqaba is the Jordanian port city on the Red Sea’s Gulf of Aqaba, and gateway to the world-famous stone-city of Petra. The Lost City of Petra is the impressive archaeological site carved from the sandstone hills more than 2,000 years ago, and is one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Its breath-taking tombs and ruins remained hidden to the world until their rediscovery in 1812 by a Swiss explorer.
The seaport of Aqaba has been strategically important for traders for centuries. The Crusaders built a fortress here, which was rebuilt by the Mamlukes in the 16th century, and it remains one of the town’s most important landmarks. The Aqaba Archaeological Museum houses Rashidun, Umayyad, Abbasid and Fatimid artefacts, an unearthed treasures from the ancient city of Aila, are also within its walls.
The small town of Aqaba itself has a relaxed vibe, and is a regular stopover for visitors heading to the diving and snorkelling clubs of the Yamanieh coral reef
Monday 02 – Tuesday 03 March: Cruising the Suez Canal, Egypt
The Canal crosses the Isthmus of Suez dividing the Mediterranean from the Red Sea, and is one of the world’s most impressive man made waterways, 101 miles in length. Opened in 1869 it remains one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
Wednesday 04 March: Ashdod, Israel
When taking a cruise holiday that visits Ashdod, the first and best, place to begin exploring is at Givat Yonah; the traditional site of the tomb of sea-faring Jonah the Prophet, who was said to be swallowed by a whale.
With white-washed Mediterranean style buildings and its many beaches, it is easy to see why it is such a popular city for visitors. Take time to sample some of the local food here, which includes traditional falafel, hummus, pitta breads; washed down with a good strong coffee, whilst people watching.
The new glass-roofed ‘winged’ Ashdod Art Museum and the Corinne Maman Museum are both worth visiting, the latter has a unique interior design which echoes the city’s ancient history.
Thursday 05 March: Limassol, Cyprus – Disembark for your return flight home