Explore Dubai, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Oman while cruising the thriving Arabian Gulf region in comfort aboard Crystal Esprit. The area is a fascinating crossroads of modernity and tradition in the Islamic world. Begin among the dazzling skyscrapers and museums of the United Arab Emirates, a business and cultural hub of the Middle East. Continue to Qatar, an absolute and hereditary emirate since the mid-19th century that has taken a prominent geo-political role in the region. Conclude with Oman’s compelling cultural and natural attractions.
- Pricing from
- Trip Type
- Group Travel Tour, International Ocean & Sea Voyages
- Departure Dates
- Jan 2, 2020 - Jan 12, 2020
Optional Pre-Cruise Extension Dubai
January 1–3, 2020
Explore “Old Dubai” on this pre-cruise extension.
Depart home on January 1 and fly overnight to Dubai, arriving January 2. On January 3, board an abra (water taxi) to cross Dubai Creek and explore the historic Bastakia district. Learn about Dubai’s history at Al-Fahidi Fort and
Dubai Museum, and enjoy lunch and a special presentation on Islam at the Sheikh Mohamed Centre for Cultural Understanding. Embark the Crystal Esprit in the late afternoon to begin the main tour.
Radisson Blu Deira Creek (1B/1L).
Rates: $790 per person, double occupancy
$990 per person, single occupancy.
Optional Post-Cruise Extension
January 12–15, 2020
Explore the Bedouin culture of the desert on this three-night post-cruise extension. Depart Muscat for Oman’s interior to explore forts, date
plantations, orchards, and mountain villages from the luxurious Alila Jabal Akhdar Hotel in the awe-inspiring Al Hajar Mountains. Continue to the Desert Nights Camp and meet a Bedouin family at the Wahiba Sands, a vast, undulating red-and-white sea of sand dunes that rise to more than 650 feet high.
Alila Ja bal Akhdar Hotel and Desert Nights Camp (4B/3L/3D).
Rates: $2,990 per person, double occupancy
$4,180 per person, single occupancy.
John Meffert, consultant on Heritage Conservation Services, has a long tradition with the National Trust. He has served as the Director for our Southern Office from and was the director of the Preservation Society of Charleston, the oldest nonprofit organization in the United States, responsible for preserving the historic resources of Charleston, S.C. John has delighted many study tour groups with his lectures and insights on preservation, and receives rave reviews as study leader.
- day 1 & 2
Thursday & Friday, January 2 & 3
Home / Dubai, UAE
Depart home on an overnight flight to Dubai.
Upon arrival on January 3, transfer to the Crystal Esprit for embarkation.
- day 3
Saturday, January 4
After a welcome orientation and lecture, explore modern Dubai, including the Burjal Arab Hotel, which soars to 1,053 feet above the ground and is located on an artificial island connected to Jumeirah Beach; Ski Dubai, an indoor ski resort complete with ski slopes, toboggan and sled runs, giant snowballs, ice caves, and resident penguins; and Burj Khalifa, at 2,722 feet the tallest artificial structure in the world. From an observation deck on the 124th floor, marvel at the panoramic views over the surrounding city. This evening enjoy a welcome reception and dinner onboard.
- day 4
Sunday, January 5
Doha is the fast-growing capital of Qatar, and an important Middle Eastern financial center. Explore the Museum of Islamic Art, designed by I.M. Pei and located on the city’s Corniche. This architectural gem houses collections of metalwork, ceramics, jewelry, woodwork, textiles, and glass dating from the 1600s to the 1900s. Stroll through Souq Waqif, founded a century ago and noted for offering traditional garments, spices, and handicrafts. Continue to Education City, which covers more than five square miles and houses facilities for pre-school through graduate-level research and education, as well as branches of six U.S. universities and several European educational institutions. Conclude the day at the Doha Racing and Equestrian Club, where horse racing is serious business and horses, which have played an important role in the history of the Arab world for centuries, live like royalty.
- day 5
Monday, January 6
This morning travel over towering sand dunes in four-wheel-drive vehicles to Qatar’s magnificent Inland Sea, a shallow tidal lake with a narrow outlet to the sea and shores in both Qatar and Saudi Arabia. After lunch in the desert, return to the ship and depart Qatar.
- day 6
Tuesday, January 7
Abu Dhabi, UAE
This morning we arrive in Abu Dhabi, capital of the UAE and largest of the seven emirates. Visit the majestic Sheikh Zayed Mosque, a dazzling construction of white marble, gold leaf, semi-precious stones, crystals, and ceramic tiles. Also visit Masdar City, a $20 billion enterprise showcasing Abu Dhabi’s investments in renewable energy and green technology.
- day 7
Wednesday, January 8
Spend the morning at the breathtaking cultural highlights of the newly opened Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum on Saadiyat Island. There are 12 galleries curated masterfully in partnership with the Louvre, Paris. The stunning floating dome of light designed by renowned architect Jean Nouvel is a photographer’s delight. Continue to Qasr Al Hosn, the oldest stone building in Abu Dhabi, and experience the history of Abu Dhabi through a series of exhibitions.
- day 8
Thursday, January 9
Musandam Peninsula, Oman
The Musandam Peninsula, a region of fjordlike landscapes and traditional small villages, is one of the Gulf States’ last wilderness areas. Board a traditional wooden dhow to access scenic inlets, and snorkel near a coral reef to view butterfly fish, groupers, and even dolphins.
- day 9
Friday, January 10
Disembark the Crystal Esprit this morning and visit the Bait Adam Museum, whose interactive exhibits on Muscat’s history and culture will be explained by the head of the museum. Continue to Muttrah Souk, the oldest market in Oman and an exotic, fragrant treasure chest filled with gold and silver, antiques, frankincense, clothing, toys, and spices. Check into the Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz Carlton hotel overlooking the Gulf of Oman.
- day 10
Saturday, January 11
Begin the day at the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. The primary place of worship in Oman, it is the only mosque in the country that allows non-Muslims to enter. The main hall, which can accommodate more than 6,000 worshippers, is crowned by an enormous chandelier of Swarovski crystal and delicate gold-plated metalwork. Continue to the Omani Heritage Gallery, a nonprofit that supports Omani artisans working in traditional crafts. The Gallery is a wonderful place to view a wide range of authentic, high-quality products including jewelry, tribal weavings, camel trappings, woven baskets, textiles, and copper and leather articles. End the day’s activities at the Bait Al Zubair Museum. Built by Sheikh Al Zubair as a residence in 1914, it was converted into a museum by his son in 1998 to display a comprehensive collection of Omani art and artifacts. Celebrate your journey this evening with a farewell reception and dinner at the hotel.
- day 11
Sunday, January 12
Muscat / Home
Transfer to the airport for flights home.
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