There is something undeniably exotic about the Middle East. The destination conjures up images of spice markets, beautiful deserts and – ever increasingly – sprawling metropolises like Dubai. And, while cruises to the region aren’t that common, a number of lines do sail there.
But which ones?
From snorkelling in Aqaba to the ancient cities of Oman, the region offers huge variety, if you just know where to look.
Check out our favourite itineraries below and as usual let us know if we’ve missed any!
Aegean & Holy Land
Thomson Cruises offers a seven-night Aegean & Holy Land voyage onboard Thomson Celebration from just £677 per person. The cruise calls at Marmaris, Turkey; Rhodes Town, Greece; Ashod, Israel; and Alanya, Turkey.
Based on two adults sharing a deck 3 or 4 outside cabin on a full board basis, this cruise departs on 5 May 2014 from Bristol, Cardiff or Exeter airports. The price includes return flights, transfers, port taxes, tips and service charges.
Luxury line Silversea’s itinerary departs for a 16-day voyage along the Middle East on 5 April 2015. The cruise begins in Muscat, Oman and sails to Jordan, sailing through the Suez Canal, Israel and Greece for Istanbul, Turkey.
The voyage also includes snorkeling in the Red Sea in Aqaba, a sunset safari in the desert and opportunities to explore cities like Muscat, Nazareth, Jerusalem and Istanbul.
Prices for the cruise start from £3,950 for a Vista Suite.
Starting off in Singapore on the company’s flagship vessel the Queen Mary 2, Cunard offers an 11-night cruise from Singapore with calls at Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Dubai.
While in Dubai the company has excursions including visits to the newly opened Sharjah Aquarium, the Burj Khalifa and traditional Arabian souks.
A great cruise for those who wish to spend a little bit of time sampling the Middle East’s most famous destination.
Prices from £1,099 per person.
Holland America Line
Holland America has outdone itself this year, with some daring and innovative itineraries. The 29-night Africa Explorer is certainly one of them.
Starting off in Rotterdam – or a day later in Southampton – the vessel sails round Portugal, Gibraltar, Malta, Greece, Israel and Egypt before entering the Suez Canal. After finishing this leg of the voyage the cruise will call at Sharm el Sheikh, Jordan, Oman and Dubai.
A great opportunity to see a huge amount of what the Middle East has to offer!
The United Arab Emirates
This seven-night round-trip cruise from Dubai has calls at Abu Dhabi, Khor al Fakkan, Muscat and Khasab as part of MSC’s focus on Middle East cruises.
Shore excursions include desert dune adventures, high tea at the Emirates Palace and visits to the Ferrari World Theme Park.
Particularly interesting because MSC is one of only ‘big’ cruise lines to really target a Middle East programme.
Did we miss any Middle East itineraries? Let us know…