Whether you are a history buff, are interested in a religious pilgrimage, or desire bragging rights on some truly exotic beaches, there is something for you in the Middle East.
Best Time to Go:
- Anytime – regional weather conditions vary considerably
- While religious holidays can be a great time to experience a local culture, it can also mean the closing of local shops, restaurants or museums. Work with your travel professional to plan your visit accordingly.
- Port calls to select cities in the Middle East may be few and far between, so plan well in advance to ensure you are able to select your preferred cruise ship, stateroom and itinerary.
Who Should Go:
- Families with children old enough to appreciate in-depth tours, etc.
- Religious travelers or groups
- History or architecture aficionados
What to Bring:
- Binoculars for sight-seeing excursions
- Water from the cruise or tour operator to stay hydrated
- Sun cap for longer excursions
If You Go:
- Be aware that customs in many parts of the Middle East can be vastly different from mainstream North America.
- In Muslim countries, dress conservatively when going ashore: long-sleeved shirts and long pants (not shorts or capris) made of light cotton or linen are appropriate.
- Women need a head covering (a scarf will do) to visit a mosque.
- Take care when you use your camera: in many places, it’s considered offensive to photograph Muslim women.
- Allow plenty of time for processing of visas before you go, and make sure you know the requirements for carrying ID with you when off the cruise ship.
- Stay with your tour guide – if you wander on your own, it may be difficult to find someone who speaks English to assist you, depending on the country.
- Bring bottled water offered by the cruise line on shore excursions to help avoid any cases of “travelers’ tummy.”
On the Red Sea, Cairo has a bustling population of 16 million people. It is home to the world-class Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, beautiful mosques and the imposing fortress of the Citadel. Many cruise passengers take an excursion from Cairo to the ancient pyramids, or choose a day cruise of the Nile River.
The Mediterranean port of Haifa, Israel, has a lovely waterfront, terrific restaurants and the gorgeous Baha’i Gardens, which tumble down a hillside to a cluster of restored 19th century mansions serving as shops, bars and bistros. While there are lots of diversions in this multicultural city, it’s also a launching point for tours of lively Tel Aviv or the sacred cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Arrive in Jordan via its seaport, Aqaba. The city is known for beaches and a lively town center. The world-famous red rocks of Petra are only 60 miles (100 km) away.
United Arab Emirates
Cruises that include ports in the United Arab Emirates provide an exotic and memorable experience.
Dubai, one of the seven United Arab Emirates, is a sleek and quickly developing city on the Persian Gulf. Its spectacular skyscrapers provide a backdrop for sparkling beaches.
The impressive skyline of Abu Dhabi, another Emirate, earned it the nickname "Manhattan of the Middle East.”
To learn more about the possibilities for a cruise through the Middle East, please contact Shari Marsh.