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


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. 


Day 1 — Dubai, United Arab Emirates (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 highrises at its center and traditional souks threaded amid its streets. Visit the exquisite exhibition at the Museum of Islamic Art, which was designed by IM Pei. Learn about Qatari history and cultural heritage at the new National Museum, designed by Jean Nouvel to resemble a desert rose. Then delve into the colorful bustle of Souk Waqif, built on the site of an ancient marketplace. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Abu Dhabi

Sail along the coast to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. In the afternoon, arrive in Abu Dhabi and visit the sumptuous Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a stunning sight with its 82 marble domes and more than a thousand columns inlaid with gemstones. Then meander through Masdar City, a planned city that showcases clean-tech solutions and sustainable urban design. (B,L,D) 

Day 6 — Abu Dhabi / At Sea

In the morning, visit 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. Also visit Qasr Al Watan, the Presidential Palade and cultural center.

Enjoy the afternoon and evening at sea and take advantage of the ship’s superb amenities as we cross the Persian Gulf toward the Strait of Hormuz. 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, United Arab Emirates

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. Enjoy a morning tour visiting Sultan Qaboos Mosque, National Museum of the Sultanate and the Royal Opera House, as well as lunch. End at a hotel where dayrooms will be provided for an afternoon at leisure until dinner and evening transfer to the airport for your flight home. (B,L,D)

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

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