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 and ancient cultures, desert islands and dramatic fjords from Dubai and Abu Dhabi to Doha and Oman.

Starting at: $7,290 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Dubai skyline  Al Bidyah Fort in Fujairah  Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque  Louvre Abu Dhabi  Sir Bani Yas  View of Dubai  Souq Waqif in Doha  Doha skyline  Sultan Qaboos Mosque in Muscat

Cruising the Arabian Coast

From Dubai to Muscat Aboard the 184-guest Le Bougainville

9 days from $7,290

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 and ancient cultures, desert islands and dramatic fjords from Dubai and Abu Dhabi to Doha and Oman.

or Call 855-330-1542

Activity Level

Activity Level 3:  Moderate / Active

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. 

2023 Pre-Cruise Extension

2023 Pre-Cruise Program – 2 Days, 1 Night

In 1998 UNESCO recognized Sharjah as "the Cultural Capital of the Arab World." This two-day program introduces you to the rich collections of art, architecture, and cultural heritage that this Emirate has made its mission to preserve and promote.

Day 1 – Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Arrive at Dubai's International Airport, where you will be met and transferred to the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai. A local representative will be present at the hospitality desk to welcome you and to offer suggestions for dining and independent exploration. Join fellow travelers this evening for a welcome cocktail reception at the hotel. Dinner is on your own. 

JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai

Day 2 – Dubai / Sharjah / Embarkation

After breakfast at the hotel, join a full day excursion to Sharjah, the most important port in the Persian Gulf during the first half of the 19th century and now a vibrant and colorful city. Depart the hotel for a drive along Sharjah's Corniche and a brief stop at the massive King Faisal Mosque before visiting the Maraya Art Center. A hub of artistic activity, the Maraya Art Center is an important part of the UAE's efforts to support and sustain the work of emerging artists, both local and international. Enjoy a curator-led tour of this fascinating collection of galleries before pausing for lunch at a local restaurant. 

Your afternoon begins with a guided tour of the "Heart of Sharjah," a restoration project in the oldest part of the city, focused on recovering and celebrating Sharjah's heritage. You will also visit the Museum of Islamic Civilization, exhibiting over 5,000 artifacts collected from around the Islamic world and representing the development of Islam from the time of the Prophet to the 20th century. Transfer to the pier in Dubai to embark your ship.

Your hotel:

The JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai is centrally located along the Dubai Creek. It is very near the Dubai Mall, one of the largest shopping complexes in the world, and within easy reach of Burj Khalifa. There are a dozen restaurants on the property, representing cuisines from around the world. The hotel also features a spa and fitness center and an outdoor swimming pool.

Your program includes:

  • 1-night at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai (or similar) including breakfast
  • Transfer and luggage handling from the airport to the hotel on the program arrival day
  • Welcome cocktail reception on Day 1
  • Breakfast and lunch on Day 2
  • Sightseeing and programming as noted in the itinerary
  • Local English-speaking guide
  • Gratuities for the drivers and local guides

Your program does not include:

  • Transfer from the airport to the hotel on any day other than the scheduled program arrival day
  • Personal expenses and other services and meals not mentioned as included in the program

Please note:

  • It is imperative that your flight arrival details are communicated at least 30 days prior to the beginning of your cruise in order to secure your transfer from the airport to the hotel.
  • Early check-in and/or late check-out are available depending on availability and at a supplement. An additional night is possible, upon request and depending on hotel availability. Please contact reservations or your travel advisor for further details.
  • The official currency is the UAE Dirham. Credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, shops, and restaurants.
  • For excursions, guests are advised to wear appropriately discreet clothing, covering the upper body and legs below the knee.
  • Only large hotels and large restaurants are licensed to allow their customers to consume wines, beers, or spirits.
  • This pre-cruise program is offered as a package. There will be no refunds for unused accommodations, meals, or excursions.
  • Program is offered on a space available basis and is subject to change without notice. 
2023 Post-Cruise Extension

2023 Post-Cruise Program – 3 Days, 2 Nights

Enjoy three unforgettable days surrounded by breathtaking scenery, from the Nizwa mountains to the magical desert of Wahiba Sands. Through exploration of oases, fortresses, canyons, and dunes, this program puts you in touch with the nature, culture, and traditions of Oman. 

Day 1 – Muscat / Jebel Akhdar

After breakfast aboard, disembark for a tour of Muscat. Your first visit is to the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, a magnificent piece of modern architecture that dominates the city's skyline. The ornately decorated mosque is large enough to accommodate as many as 20,000 worshipers and boasts the world's largest chandelier as well as the world's largest carpet. You will also discover the National Museum of Oman, dedicated to the history of the Sultanate, and the Royal Opera House. After lunch at a local restaurant, begin your drive to Jebel Akhdar ("Green Mountain") about 60 miles inland, where you will check in to the Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort for the night. The mountain and its surrounding area are known for their pleasant climate year-round and for their stunning natural beauty. Dinner is at the hotel.

Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort

Day 2 – Jebel Akhdar / Nizwa / Wahiba Sands

After breakfast, your excursion into the desert begins with a drive to Nizwa, once the capital of Oman and today one of the country's most popular tourist attractions because of its historical architecture, especially its imposing fort. Built in the 17th century to defend the route to the interior, the fort and its enormous round tower dominate the entire area. From the fort, continue to the Nizwa Souq, renowned for its intricately hand-carved Khanjar (ceremonial daggers) and exquisitely designed silver jewelry. Driving through the desert, stop for a brief respite at Wadi Bani Khalid, an oasis of clear green natural spring water pools. You are free to walk around the wadi, and if you wish, take a dip in one of the pools, before continuing your journey to the Wahiba Sands Desert Nights Camp.

After check-in and lunch, set off in late afternoon to explore Wahiba's "sand sea" of undulating orange dunes, some as high as 400 feet, and find the perfect perch from which to watch the sun set over the desert, before returning to camp for dinner and overnight.

Desert Nights Camp

Day 3 – Wahiba Sands / Muscat / Homeward

Depart camp early this morning for the journey back to Muscat. Stop along the way at the fascinating Binmah Sink Hole, before pausing for lunch at a local restaurant. Arriving in Muscat in mid-afternoon, you will have time at leisure to wander through the Muttrah Souq, Oman's oldest market, where you will marvel at the vast variety of goods for sale in the stalls that line its narrow lanes. After your visit here, transfer to the Hormuz Grand Hotel (or similar) for dayrooms and dinner before your time in Oman comes to an end with transportation to Muscat airport for flights homeward.

Your hotels:

Overlooking the beautiful landscape of Jebel Akdhar's green mountains, Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort is one of the world's most luxurious. Nestled in a breathtaking natural environment, the resort combines sophisticated design with local authenticity. Its spacious rooms offer amazing views and all the comfort of Anantara service. The canyon view platform, the infinity pool, the refinement of the restaurants, and the exceptional spa make it an unforgettable place to stay.

Desert Nights Camp is the perfect spot for an immersive desert experience and the only luxury desert camp in Oman. You will enjoy Bedouin hospitality while immersing yourself in the endless dunes of the Wahiba Sands. Relax in a Deluxe tent fully equipped with a large living room, a bedroom, a bathroom with shower, and a terrace with views. The restaurant will introduce you to the flavors of Omani cuisine.

Your program includes:

  • 1-night accommodation in a Canyon View room at Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort (or similar) including breakfast
  • 1-night accommodation in a Deluxe tent at Desert Nights Camp (or similar) including breakfast
  • Dayroom at Hormuz Grand Hotel (or similar) at the end of the post-cruise program
  • Transfer and luggage handling from the pier to the hotel on Day 1
  • Transfer and luggage handling from the hotel to the airport on Day 3
  • Breakfast on Days 2 and 3
  • Lunch on Days 1, 2, and 3
  • Dinner on Days 1, 2, and 3
  • Sightseeing and programming as noted in the itinerary
  • Local English-speaking guides
  • Gratuities for the drivers and local guides

Your program does not include:

  • Transfer from the hotel to the airport on any day other than the scheduled program departure day
  • Personal expenses and other services and meals not mentioned as included in the program

Please note:

  • It is imperative that your flight departure details are communicated at least 30 days prior to the beginning of your cruise in order to secure your transfer from the hotel to the airport.
  • Late check-out is available depending on availability and at a supplement. An additional night is possible, upon request and depending on hotel availability. Please contact reservations or your travel agent for further details.
  • The official currency is the Omani rial. Credit cards are largely accepted in hotels, shops, and restaurants.
  • For excursions, guests are advised to wear appropriately discreet clothing, covering the upper body and legs below the knee. For the visit to the Grand Mosque, women must cover their hair and neck.
  • Only large hotels and large restaurants are licensed to allow their customers to consume wines, beers or spirits.
  • This post-cruise program is offered as a package. There will be no refunds for unused accommodations, meals, or excursions. 
  • Program is offered on a space available basis. 
  • Program is subject to change without notice. 
Ship

Le Bougainville

Launched in 2019, Le Bougainville is among a new fleet of luxury expedition ships launched by PONANT, along with sister ship Le Dumont d'Urville. These ships combine revolutionary design and a new standard of luxury.

Spacious, Ocean-view Suites and Staterooms
Each of the 92 elegant suites and staterooms features a private balcony, while Grand Deluxe Suites have a bay window and spacious private terrace. The deluxe, air-conditioned staterooms and suites (up to 484 square feet) have two twin beds that convert to one queen-size bed. Each cabin has a private bathroom with shower (bathtub in a limited number of staterooms) and the luxurious amenities of a fine hotel, including individual climate control, satellite flat-screen television, wireless Internet access, safe, minibar, full-length closet, writing desk/dressing table, and plush robes.

Chic and Casual Dining
International and regional cuisine is served in the stylish, spacious indoor-outdoor restaurant in a single, unassigned seating; at the casual pool deck grill; or from 24-hour room service. Continental and buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, afternoon tea, and a four-course dinner are served daily. Wine is served at your table during lunch and dinner and complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are included throughout the cruise.

Spacious Public Areas, Intimate Atmosphere, and World-Class Service
The warm and inviting public areas accommodate all passengers comfortably. Enjoy sweeping views from the Observation Lounge and Main Lounge, both of which open to the outdoors, and lectures, cultural performances, or film screenings in the state-of-the-art theater. For your convenience, Wi-Fi is available throughout the ship.

The ship also features the first luxury underwater observatory, the Blue Eye, a multisensory underwater observation lounge that incorporates decor and technology to immerse you in the beauty of the ocean's ecosystem. Here, you can observe fascinating marine life through the large subaquatic windows while digital screens and the specially designed global listening system relay the sights and sounds beneath the ocean surface. 

Other amenities aboard ship are a Sun Deck, swimming pool, beauty salon, spa and sauna, fitness room, and two elevators. In addition, there is a three-level marina platform with complimentary kayaking and snorkeling equipment, as well as 10 easily accessible Zodiacs. 

The highly trained, English-speaking international crew are personable and attentive, and the ship has an infirmary staffed with a doctor and nurse.

Respect for the Environment
The newest additions to a fleet that has been awarded the prestigious "Clean Ship" designation, a rarity among ocean-cruising vessels, these expedition ships are designed with energy efficient, advanced eco-friendly features that protect fragile marine ecosystems while providing a safe and comfortable voyage. 

Le Bougainville

Launched in 2019, Le Bougainville is among a new fleet of luxury expedition ships launched by PONANT, along with sister ship Le Dumont d'Urville. These ships combine revolutionary design and a new standard of luxury.

Spacious, Ocean-view Suites and Staterooms
Each of the 92 elegant suites and staterooms features a private balcony, while Grand Deluxe Suites have a bay window and spacious private terrace. The deluxe, air-conditioned staterooms and suites (up to 484 square feet) have two twin beds that convert to one queen-size bed. Each cabin has a private bathroom with shower (bathtub in a limited number of staterooms) and the luxurious amenities of a fine hotel, including individual climate control, satellite flat-screen television, wireless Internet access, safe, minibar, full-length closet, writing desk/dressing table, and plush robes.

Chic and Casual Dining
International and regional cuisine is served in the stylish, spacious indoor-outdoor restaurant in a single, unassigned seating; at the casual pool deck grill; or from 24-hour room service. Continental and buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, afternoon tea, and a four-course dinner are served daily. Wine is served at your table during lunch and dinner and complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are included throughout the cruise.

Spacious Public Areas, Intimate Atmosphere, and World-Class Service
The warm and inviting public areas accommodate all passengers comfortably. Enjoy sweeping views from the Observation Lounge and Main Lounge, both of which open to the outdoors, and lectures, cultural performances, or film screenings in the state-of-the-art theater. For your convenience, Wi-Fi is available throughout the ship.

The ship also features the first luxury underwater observatory, the Blue Eye, a multisensory underwater observation lounge that incorporates decor and technology to immerse you in the beauty of the ocean's ecosystem. Here, you can observe fascinating marine life through the large subaquatic windows while digital screens and the specially designed global listening system relay the sights and sounds beneath the ocean surface. 

Other amenities aboard ship are a Sun Deck, swimming pool, beauty salon, spa and sauna, fitness room, and two elevators. In addition, there is a three-level marina platform with complimentary kayaking and snorkeling equipment, as well as 10 easily accessible Zodiacs. 

The highly trained, English-speaking international crew are personable and attentive, and the ship has an infirmary staffed with a doctor and nurse.

Respect for the Environment
The newest additions to a fleet that has been awarded the prestigious "Clean Ship" designation, a rarity among ocean-cruising vessels, these expedition ships are designed with energy efficient, advanced eco-friendly features that protect fragile marine ecosystems while providing a safe and comfortable voyage.