A new cruise offering from Smithsonian Journeys and PONANT 

Trace the northern coast of the Arabian Peninsula on an eight-day cruise, discovering world-class cities, ancient cultures, and dramatic fjords from Dubai and Abu Dhabi to Doha and Oman.

Starting at: $6,620 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Cityscape of Dubai (with Burj Khalifa in center), U.A.E.
 Dubai city and camels, U.A.E.
 View of the city skyline, Dubai, U.A.E.
 Smithsonian Journeys travelers enjoy a traditional lunch. Credit: Andrew Dawson
 Gold market window in Dubai, U.A.E.
 Scene from Dubai's Spice Market
 The Dubai marina, U.A.E.
 Old and new in Dubai, U.A.E.
 Traditional dhow in Dubai, U.A.E.
 Dhow Harbor, Doha, Qatar
 The Pearl, Doha, Qatar
 City landscape of Doha, Qatar
 View of Doha, Qatar
 Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.
 Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (detail), Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.
 Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.
 Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi. Credit: Andrew Dawson
 Panorama of Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.
 Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.
 The Louvre, Abu Dhabi
 The Louvre in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.
 Sir Bani Yas wildlife refuge, U.A.E.
 The Fujairah Fort, U.A.E.
 Coastal scene near Muscat, Oman
 Coastal landscape, Musandam Peninsula, Oman
 Smithsonian Journeys Travelers cruising the coast. Credit: Andrew Dawson
 Sultan Qaboos Mosque in Muscat
 Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat, Oman

Cruising the Arabian Coast

From Dubai to Muscat Aboard the 184-guest Le Bougainville or Le Dumont-d’Urville

8-10 days from $6,620

A new cruise offering from Smithsonian Journeys and PONANT 

Trace the northern coast of the Arabian Peninsula on an eight-day cruise, discovering world-class cities, ancient cultures, and dramatic fjords from Dubai and Abu Dhabi to Doha and Oman.

or Call 855-330-1542

Overview

Expectations: Ocean-going cruise that will involve embarkation and disembarkation at piers for shore excursions as well as boarding tenders and other landing craft for some activities. Days can be full, with activities starting as early as 8:00 am and lasting four or more hours. Many activities, such as walking tours, museum visits, and site visits, necessitate standing and walking for extended periods of time (two or more hours). Participants should be prepared to walk up to two miles per day, sometimes on uneven terrain, such as cobblestones in towns, historic sites, and unpaved trails; and to climb or descend stairs with or without handrails, as elevators will not always be available. 

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit, lead active lives, are comfortable participating in long days of activities, and expect some physical exertion. 

2024 Itinerary

Day 1 — Dubai, U.A.E.

Arrive in Dubai and settle into your ship. The remainder of the day is at leisure. (D)

Day 2 — Dubai

Set out on a guided tour of this exciting, boundary-pushing city. Discover its more traditional heart as you meander amid aromatic sacks of cardamom, incense, and saffron at the spice souk. Then immerse yourself in the gold souk, where every stall glitters with gold jewelry and precious stones. Zip forward into the future at the iconic Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, reaching more than a half-mile into the air. Then delve deeper into Emirati culture at the Sheikh Mohammed Center of Cultural Understanding, and sit down to a Bedouin-style lunch. (B,L,D)

Day 3 — Doha, Qatar

Dynamic Doha, the capital of Qatar, is a burgeoning center of culture and style, with striking high-rises at its center and traditional souks threaded throughout its streets. Follow the Corniche to some of the city’s main sites, including the Pearl and its marina, and the mecca of architecture and culture known as Katara village. Then sail a traditional dhow at sunset, taking in mesmerizing views of mosques and skyscrapers.  Or visit the exquisite exhibition at the Museum of Islamic Art, which was designed by IM Pei. Continue to Education City, a center of academia and innovation, filled with green spaces and stunning buildings. End at Souk Waqif, build on the site of an ancient marketplace, to soak up the local ambiance and visit souks that feature falcons, gold, spices, and handicrafts. (B,L,D)

Day 4 – Doha, Qatar / At Sea

Enjoy a second morning in Doha. Visit the National Museum of Qatar, established to "give voice to Qatar's rich heritage and culture," from the earliest times to the present day or, embarkperhaps embark on a thrilling “dune-bashing” adventure into the desert south of Doha, riding in a luxurious 4-wheel-drive vehicle. Follow the sands as they rise and fall and take in views of the turquoise Inland Sea, one of the only salt-water bodies in the world with desert sand dunes directly at its edge. Stop at a traditional tent for refreshments before returning to Doha. During a relaxing afternoon sailing the Persian Gulf toward Abu Dhabi, take advantage of the ship’s superb amenities. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.

Sail along the coast to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the U.A.E. Set out to discover the city, stopping at the Emirates Palace for high tea and a private tour of the bedrooms and ballrooms. See other city landmarks such as Ferrari World, the Grand Mosque, and the Corniche.

 Explore Masdar City, Abu Dhabi's version of a "city of the future," designed to integrate the newest developments in urban design for sustainability with traditional Arabic architectural motifs. Continue to the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a joint effort between France and the U.A.E opened in 2017. Browse a riveting exhibition of art from all over the world, grouped so that the viewer can see what Arabian or Chinese artists were creating at the time of Michelangelo or Picasso. The building itself is a work of art, designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize-winner Jean Nouvel on an island in a lagoon. Visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and take in stunning views of this architectural marvel, admiring its 82 marble domes and hundreds of gem-encrusted columns. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Khasab, Oman

Oman’s remote Musandam Peninsula is a place of deep fjords, craggy peaks, with fishing villages perched on the shore. Arrive in the lively town of Khasab, and set out to explore the peninsula in a traditional sailing dhow. Glide into narrow fjords, on the lookout for dolphins, and take in views of the spectacularly rugged coast. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Fujairah, U.A.E.

The commercial hub of Fujairah is home to a trove of important historic sites. Visit Fujairah Fort, the oldest and largest castle in all of the Emirates, and learn about its colorful history. Examine archaeological finds in the museum, and head to the oasis of Al Bithna to see its mud and stone mosque. Gather for a festive farewell reception and dinner on board this evening. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Depart from Muscat, Oman

After breakfast, disembark in Muscat and transfer to Nizwa. Visit the imposing Nizwa Fort, a combination of fort and castle known for its circular tower. Explore Nizwa Souq, one of the oldest in the country. After lunch, return to Muscat and check into day rooms for an evening at leisure and dinner before transferring to the airport for your evening flight home. (B, L, D)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

2025 Itinerary

Day 1 — Dubai, U.A.E.

Arrive in Dubai and settle into your ship. The remainder of the day is at leisure. (D)

Day 2 — Dubai

Set out on a guided tour of this exciting, boundary-pushing city. Discover its more traditional heart as you meander amid aromatic sacks of cardamom, incense, and saffron at the spice souk. Then immerse yourself in the gold souk, where every stall glitters with gold jewelry and precious stones. Zip forward into the future at the iconic Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, reaching more than a half-mile into the air.  Then delve deeper into Emirati culture at the Sheikh Mohammed Center of Cultural Understanding, and sit down to a Bedouin-style lunch. (B,L,D)

Day 3 — Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.

Sail along the coast to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the U.A.E. Set out to discover the city, stopping at the Emirates Palace for high tea and a private tour of the bedrooms and ballrooms. See other city landmarks such as Ferrari World, the Grand Mosque, and the Corniche.

Explore Masdar City, Abu Dhabi's version of a "city of the future," designed to integrate the newest developments in urban design for sustainability with traditional Arabic architectural motifs. Continue to the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a joint effort between France and the U.A.E opened in 2017. Browse a riveting exhibition of art from all over the world, grouped so that the viewer can see what Arabian or Chinese artists were creating at the time of Michelangelo or Picasso. The building itself is a work of art, designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize-winner Jean Nouvel on an island in a lagoon. Visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and take in stunning views of this architectural marvel, admiring its 82 marble domes and hundreds of gem-encrusted columns. (B,L,D)

Day 4 - Sir Bani Yas

Step ashore on Sir Bani Yas, a desert island that is home to one of the region’s largest wildlife reserves. Set off in 4x4s on safari with local naturalists to observe some of the 17,000 creatures that inhabit the island’s Arabian Wildlife Park. You may see oryx, giraffes, hyenas, cheetahs, and more. This evening, follow the coast to the tiny country of Qatar, poised on a peninsula that juts into the Persian Gulf. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Doha, Qatar

Dynamic Doha, the capital of Qatar, is a burgeoning center of culture and style, with striking high-rises at its center and traditional souks threaded throughout its streets. Follow the Corniche to some of the city’s main sites, including the Pearl and its marina, and the mecca of architecture and culture known as Katara village. Then sail a traditional dhow at sunset, taking in mesmerizing views of mosques and skyscrapers.  Or visit the exquisite exhibition at the Museum of Islamic Art, which was designed by IM Pei. Continue to Education City, a center of academia and innovation, filled with green spaces and stunning buildings. End at Souk Waqif, build on the site of an ancient marketplace, to soak up the local ambiance and visit souks that feature falcons, gold, spices, and handicrafts. (B,L,D)

Day 6 – Doha, Qatar / At Sea

Enjoy a second morning in Doha. Visit the National Museum of Qatar, established to "give voice to Qatar's rich heritage and culture," from the earliest times to the present day or, perhaps embark on a thrilling “dune-bashing” adventure into the desert south of Doha, riding in a luxurious 4-wheel-drive vehicle. Follow the sands as they rise and fall and take in views of the turquoise Inland Sea, one of the only salt-water bodies in the world with desert sand dunes directly at its edge. Stop at a traditional tent for refreshments before returning to Doha. During a relaxing afternoon sailing the Persian Gulf toward Abu Dhabi, take advantage of the ship’s superb amenities. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Khasab, Oman

Oman’s remote Musandam Peninsula is a place of deep fjords, craggy peaks, with fishing villages perched on the shore. Arrive in the lively town of Khasab, and set out to explore the peninsula in a traditional sailing dhow. Glide into narrow fjords, on the lookout for dolphins, and take in views of the spectacularly rugged coast. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Fujairah, U.A.E.

The commercial hub of Fujairah is home to a trove of important historic sites. Visit Fujairah Fort, the oldest and largest castle in all of the Emirates, and learn about its colorful history. Examine archaeological finds in the museum, and head to the oasis of Al Bithna to see its mud and stone mosque. Gather for a festive farewell reception and dinner on board this evening. (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Depart from Muscat, Oman

After breakfast, disembark in Muscat and transfer to Nizwa. Visit the imposing Nizwa Fort, a combination of fort and castle known for its circular tower. Explore Nizwa Souq, one of the oldest in the country. After lunch, return to Muscat and check into day rooms for an evening at leisure and dinner before transferring to the airport for your evening flight home. (B, L, D)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

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