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: $5,950 * 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.
 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 days from $5,950

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

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. 

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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