A new cruise offering from Smithsonian Journeys and PONANT 

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

Starting at: $5,950 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.
 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, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.
 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
 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

8-9 days from $5,950

A new cruise offering from Smithsonian Journeys and PONANT 

Trace the northern coast of the Arabian Peninsula on a nine-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

Experience some of the most architecturally exciting cities in the world as you trace the coast of the Arabian Peninsula from Dubai and Abu Dhabi to Doha and Oman. Venture back in time in bustling souks and sand-swept fortresses, get acquainted with vibrant cultures, and encounter creativity and innovation amid stunning desert landscapes.

The Smithsonian Journeys / PONANTExperience: Each cruise will be accompanied by two Smithsonian Journeys Experts. An excursion or activity is included in each port of call. You may have a choice of excursions in many ports, so that you can delve more deeply into subjects that interest you.

Highlights Include

  • Architecture and Design: Delve into an enthralling concoction of futuristic design and Arabian tradition. Ascend Dubai’s iconic Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, and admire the craftsmanship of the Qasr al Watan in Abu Dhabi. In Doha, Qatar, see museums and other buildings built by some of the world’s foremost architects.
  • Dubai: Meander through the aromatic spice souk and the glittering gold souk, and visit the Dubai Museum, housed within a historic fort. Then explore Emirati culture at the Sheikh Mohammed Center of Cultural Understanding, and sit down to a Bedouin-style lunch.
  • Qatar: Experience the culture hub known as Katara Village and see the renowned Pearl-Qatar. Visit exquisite National Museum, designed by Jean Nouvel, and delve into the colorful bustle of Souk Waqif. Alternatively, set out on a “dune-bashing” adventure, riding a 4x4 through the deserts surrounding the Inland Sea.
  • United Arab Emirates: In cosmopolitan Abu Dhabi, enjoy high tea at the presidential palace, trace the evolution of world art the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and stroll beneath archways and marble domes on an evening visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Explore the wildlife reserve of Sir Bani Yas island by 4x4. Later, visit the 16th-century fort and museum of Fujairah, and see a mud-and-stone mosque in the Al Bithna oasis.
  • Oman: In Khasab, Oman, sail a traditional dhow into the fjords of the Musandam Peninsula, then end your voyage in the enchanting capital of Muscat.

2023 Itinerary

Map - Cruising the Arabian Coast

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 the iconic Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, reaching more than a half-mile into the air. At the Dubai Museum, housed within a historic fort that is one of the oldest buildings in the city, trace the evolution of Dubai from a center of the pearl trade to a thriving international city. 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 — 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 4 — 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. Stop for lunch in the bustling Souk Waqif, built on the site of an ancient marketplace, and continue to Education City, a center of academia and innovation, filled with green spaces and stunning buildings. If you wish, venture back into the Souk Waqif this evening to soak up the local ambiance and visit souks that feature falcons, gold, spices, and handicrafts. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.

Sail along the coast to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the U.A.E. Arrive in the afternoon and 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. Tonight, visit the sumptuous Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque with a local guide. Take in stunning views of this architectural marvel lit up at night, admiring its 82 marble domes and hundreds of gem-encrusted columns. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Abu Dhabi / At Sea

Learn about the history and governance of the U.A.E. on a visit to the presidential palace of Qasr Al Watan, a newly constructed building that showcases traditional Emirati craftsmanship. 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.

As we cross the Persian Gulf toward the Strait of Hormuz, take advantage of the ship’s superb amenities. Opt for a treatment in the spa, read a book on the sundeck, or visit the upper deck to take in the views. Our Smithsonian Journeys Experts will present lectures on the region. (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 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. With a local guide, stroll through the immense Sultan Qaboos Mosque and discover the technical ingenuity of the magnificent Royal Opera House.  Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, then check in to dayrooms and enjoy an afternoon at leisure.  After dinner, transfer 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)

2024 Itinerary

Map - Cruising the Arabian Coast

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 the iconic Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, reaching more than a half-mile into the air. At the Dubai Museum, housed within a historic fort that is one of the oldest buildings in the city, trace the evolution of Dubai from a center of the pearl trade to a thriving international city. 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. Stop for lunch in the bustling Souk Waqif, built on the site of an ancient marketplace, and continue to Education City, a center of academia and innovation, filled with green spaces and stunning buildings. If you wish, venture back into the Souk Waqif this evening 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

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. Visit the mecca of architecture and culture known as Katara village and see the glamorous residences of the Pearl-Qatar, built on an artificial island. Then delve into the colorful bustle of Souk Waqif, set on the site of an ancient marketplace, and learn about Qatari history and cultural heritage at the new National Museum, designed by Jean Nouvel to resemble a desert rose.

Alternatively, 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.

Or learn about the history and governance of the U.A.E. on a visit to the presidential palace of Qasr Al Watan, a newly constructed building that showcases traditional Emirati craftsmanship. 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. With a local guide, stroll through the immense Sultan Qaboos Mosque and discover the technical ingenuity of the magnificent Royal Opera House.  Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, then check in to dayrooms and enjoy an afternoon at leisure.  After dinner, transfer 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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