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Arabia Through the Looking Glass – Dubai, Oman & Qatar

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Departure Dates

  • Mar 13, 2018 - Mar 27, 2018


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Arabia Through the Looking Glass – Dubai, Oman & Qatar


Begin in Dubai, the jewel of the United Arab Emirates. Originally a small ! shing village, Dubai is now a modern metropolis. Our visit will start with a ride across Dubai Creek in a traditional wooden abra to the Dubai Museum. Continue on to the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding to enjoy a unique presentation “Open Hearts, Open Minds”. Travel to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, to see the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque which has room for 40,000 worshippers. Ascend to the top of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Al Khalifa before visiting Sharjah, named by UNESCO as the Capital of Arab culture.

Depart Dubai for Hatta visiting the Hili archaeological site en route. Cross the desert to Oman. Our first stop is Muscat, the country’s capital, where we will learn about the traditions of this ancient nation. Wander through the Mutrah Souk and Grand Mosque which is an excellent example of contemporary Islamic architecture. Travel inland exploring majestic landscapes and 17th century fortresses. In Nizwa witness the weekly market at the animal souk and admire the unique clothing worn by the locals.

Fly to Qatar and its capital, Doha. Visit Education City where U.S. universities are teaching a new generation of Gulf students. Enjoy a special opportunity to attend a brie! ng at the Al Jazeera headquarters and view one of the world’s greatest Islamic art collections at the I.M. Pei designed Museum of Islamic Art. End with a very special dining experience under the desert stars.

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For more information or with any questions call 888-484-8785 or email

Ship Information

Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek

Hatta Fort Hotel

Shangri-la Hotel Muscat Al Waha

Oman – Golden Tulip Hotel

DOHA – W Hotel


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DEPART: Tuesday, March 13
Depart the US on an overnight flight to Dubai.

ARRIVE DUBAI: Wednesday, March 14
Upon arrival in Dubai transfer to the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek.

DUBAI: Thursday, March 15
After an orientation meeting step outside the hotel to admire the skyscrapers and traditional wooden abras that still ply Dubai Creek. Begin with a visit to the spice and gold souks before crossing the creek in an abra. Attend a unique presentation on Islam by a representative of the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding at the Jumeirah Grand Mosque and a private lunch. Visit the Dubai Museum located in the Al Fahidi Fort. Drive to the Emirate of Sharjah to explore the former homes of the pearl traders with elegant wind towers, now converted into small museums, each depicting a particular aspect of Arab and Islamic heritage. This evening enjoy a private dinner cruise aboard a renovated dhow (traditional wooden ship) for amazing city views. (B/L/D)

DUBAI: Friday, March 16
Tour some of the emirate’s cutting-edge building projects and enjoy a spectacular view from the observation deck of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. After, enjoy a light lunch at the iconic sail-shaped Burj al Arab hotel jutting out of the Persian Gulf. In the afternoon visit the Mall of the Emirates which contains a ski slope. End the day with a visit to Art Dubai. (B/L)

DUBAI: Saturday, March 17
Travel to Abu Dhabi, the largest of the seven emirates and the country’s capital. Drive through Yas Island, home to entertainment attractions, hotels and shopping. Continue on to Saadiyat Island, one of the grandest residential and cultural projects in the world located off the coast of Abu Dhabi that will include branches of the Louvre (expected to open in late 2017) and Guggenheim museums. After lunch visit the Qasr al Hosn Exhibition which shares the history of the emirate through oral testimonies. Observe the majestic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the largest in the UAE with room for 40,000 worshippers. (B/L/D)

HATTA: Sunday, March 18
Drive to the oasis city of Al-Ain and visit the most ancient settlement in the UAE, Hili Archaeological Park. Observe the remains of an advanced Bronze Age civilization. Drive to the 16th-century village of Hatta that provides a fi ne example of traditional-style village architecture. Transfer to our hotel, once a former guesthouse of Sheikh Mohammed’s late father. Hatta Fort Hotel. (B/L/D)

MUSCAT: Monday, March 19
Cross the border at Wajajah and enter the Sultanate of Oman. Stop at Sohar, reputed to be the home of Sinbad the Sailor. Although little remains of its storied past, Sohar’s great fort still looms large above the town. Drive past volcanic hills to the village of Nakhl, where the fi rst Arabs settled and later built many of the country’s most impressive fortresses. Arrive in the capital city, Muscat. Shangri-la Hotel Muscat Al Waha. (B/L/D)

MUSCAT: Tuesday, March 20
For centuries Oman dominated the maritime trade in the Indian Ocean. Observe how Muscat has retained much of its traditional architecture and beauty while making great strides toward modernization. Meet the director of the Bait Al Baranda Museum, which traces the history of Muscat. Visit the recently opened Oman National Museum housing artefacts dating to the pre-historic era. Explore the Muttrah Souq, a traditional Arab market, whose shops specialize in antiques, khanjars (daggers), gold, and frankincense. (B/L)

MUSCAT: Wednesday, March 21
Begin the day at the Sultan Quaboos Grand Mosque, a superb example of contemporary Arab architecture, whose main prayer hall features a Persian carpet covering over 14,000 square feet. Explore the Royal Opera House Muscat, designed by the same architect as the Grand Mosque. Visit the US Embassy for an intriguing briefi ng with senior staff. Visit the private Bait Al Zubair Museum, dedicated to showcasing ethnographic artifacts that are most representative of Oman’s cultural heritage. (B/L)

NIZWA: Thursday, March 22
Drive to the lovely village of Birkat Al Mawz, for an excellent example of the falaj (traditional irrigation) system. Continue on to Falaj al Daris, a UNESCO Site known for its large falaj. Walk through the mud-brick village of Al Hamra whose well-preserved, Yemeni-style houses are some of the oldest in Oman. Enjoy a traditional Omani lunch before exploring the Al Hoota Cave, richly embellished with stalactites and stalagmites and home to a fragile, underground ecosystem that includes fascinating blind, transparent fi sh that dwell in a subterranean lake. Continue on to the oasis town of Nizwa, once the medieval capital of Oman. Golden Tulip Hotel. (B/L/D)

NIZWA: Friday, March 23
Today attend Nizwa’s lively Friday cattle and goat market. Wander among men wearing the traditional dishdasha (robe) and kumma (embroidered cap) or mussar (turban) and Bedouin women in leather masks with henna-decorated hands bidding on livestock or simply gossiping. Stroll through the souq (market) and visit Nizwa Fort. Explore the UNESCO site of Bhala, recently-restored ruins of the immense fort with walls and towers of unbaked brick and stone. Continue to the 17th-century Jabrin Fort which was originally built as a palace. (B/L/D)

DOHA: Friday, March 24
Return to Muscat to catch our flight to Qatar. Ruled by the Al Thani family since the mid-19th century, Qatar is one of the smallest—and richest—countries in the world. Upon arrival in the capital city of Doha, drive to the recently opened Msheireb Museums consisting of four heritage houses focusing on different eras of Qatari history. W Hotel. (B/L/D)

DOHA: Saturday, March 25
Begin the morning at the Al Fanar Cultural Center presenting a vision of Qatari culture to the world through mixed mediums. Visit the impressive I.M. Pei-designed Museum of Islamic Art, with one of the world’s greatest collections of Islamic art, textiles and rugs. Enjoy lunch in the museum before attending a private briefi ng at Al-Jazeera headquarters (subject to confi rmation) with a senior staff member at the multimedia giant. Wander through the alleys of Souq Waqif, a reconstructed market built in traditional style, and visit a local shop to observe leather-hooded falcons and to learn more about the popular local sport of falconry. (B/L/D)

DOHA: Sunday, March 26
Expore the Qatar Foundation, a 2,500-acre campus which is home to branches of several prominent U.S. universities that enroll approximately 1,000 students from Qatar and other Gulf countries. Enjoy a private visit to the Qatari National Heritage Library (subject to completion of their renovation) whose extraordinary collection includes some 120,000 antique volumes about the Islamic world. Meet with staff from the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development whose mission is to “support Qatar on its journey from a carbon economy to a knowledge economy.” Continue to the Racing and Equestrian Club where horses are dear to the heart of most Qataris. During a tour through the club see the luxurious quarters of the Arabian purebred horses. Bedouin farewell dinner this evening in Qatar’s hidden jewel, the desert. (B/L/D)

DEPART: Tuesday, March 27
Depart Doha on flights back to the U.S. (B)

Included meals indicated each day as B/L/D = Breakfast/Lunch/ Dinner.