Will I like the Middle East?

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#1
Arkansas
59 Posts
Joined Feb 2016
My wife and I have been several different cruises to several different destinations. We are taking a really hard look to doing Middle East from Dubai next year. Is this something we would enjoy? Can anyone tell me about the experience we should expect maybe compared to the Caribbean or Mediterranean?
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#2
East Yorkshire, UK
4,026 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
It depends what you like. We have visited Dubai, Egypt and Oman. All very different and none at all like anywhere we have been in the Mediterranean.

Dubai is huge, spread out and sprawling, but there is a very good Hop On Hop Off bus that gives you a good tour of the area. It’s great if you like seeing high buildings and love shopping ( biggest mall in the world).

We really like Oman - Muscat is a lovely city and some nice sights to see in and around. There’s a good souk there for shopping too.

Egypt has a variety of things. The Red Sea is wonderful for snorkelling and diving. You can also take a tour to Luxor and the Valley of the Kings.

We’re off on an Athens to Dubai Cruise in 3 weeks time and have included an overnight tour to Luxor from the dock at Safaga. It’s a private tour and is costing us $160pp which includes the 2-3 hour drive, a hotel for the night, 2 meals and a professional guide on both days. We’re also going on a ship’s tour from Aquaba to Petra. That’s two things off our “bucket list”.
One thing to remember are that women can’t walk around in shorts & strappy top in the Middle East like you can in the med. you need to cover your knees and shoulders as a minimum - and your arms, legs and head if you go to a mosque.
Also it can be very hot in the Middle East - best to go in winter. Still hot but not unbearable.
Hope this is helpful.


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#3
21,980 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Where would you be cruising in the Middle East, and what do you like/look for on a cruise?

Without that information, our answers are somewhat meaningless. The Middle East is not a monolithic whole. Turkey is very different from Israel, and both are different from Saudi Arabia.
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#4
Arkansas
59 Posts
Joined Feb 2016
Originally posted by cruisemom42
Where would you be cruising in the Middle East, and what do you like/look for on a cruise?

Without that information, our answers are somewhat meaningless. The Middle East is not a monolithic whole. Turkey is very different from Israel, and both are different from Saudi Arabia.
Thanks for the lecture. We are looking at leaving from Dubai. Heading towards Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Qatar, etc.
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#5
Delray Beach, Florida, USA
1,251 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
To: Host Grandma:

What company are you using for your Luxor overnight trip? We are planning a cruise in the spring of 2018. Thanks!


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#6
East Yorkshire, UK
4,026 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
The tour company is Your Egypt Tours. We haven’t done the booking, our Roll-Call organisers did all the booking, but they have kept us updated with the progress of the booking. The price depends on the size of the group. I think we have 29 people signed up and we will be in two groups. Ours will be 2 full days as we are being picked up at 8:00am one day and delivered back to the ship by 6:00pm the next day. The only extras to the $160 price are: the Light & Sound Show at Karnak ($40pp); a very early morning hot air balloon ride over the Nile ($75pp); a visit to King Tutenkanem’s tomb (100 egyptian pounds - about £4) and a visit to King Seti’s Tomb (1000 egyptian pounds - about £40).
Get back if you have any more questions.


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#7
Boynton Beach, FL USA
13,961 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
Originally posted by Host Grandma Cruising
The tour company is Your Egypt Tours. We haven’t done the booking, our Roll-Call organisers did all the booking, but they have kept us updated with the progress of the booking. The price depends on the size of the group. I think we have 29 people signed up and we will be in two groups. Ours will be 2 full days as we are being picked up at 8:00am one day and delivered back to the ship by 6:00pm the next day. The only extras to the $160 price are: the Light & Sound Show at Karnak ($40pp); a very early morning hot air balloon ride over the Nile ($75pp); a visit to King Tutenkanem’s tomb (100 egyptian pounds - about £4) and a visit to King Seti’s Tomb (1000 egyptian pounds - about £40).
Get back if you have any more questions.


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Egypt is amazing! We weren't that impressed with the Karnak light show; but the temple itself is a must see. I do hope you get to see Luxor illuminated at night. We thought that Luxor was the prettiest of the many temples we saw on our Egypt river cruise in 2008. Below are some pics from Luxor at night that are in the review of our river cruise.








We will be visiting Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Muscat, Petra and going through the Suez Canal in April. We can't wait. It should be an awesome experience. I love cruising to places that are so much different from other places we have visited.
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#8
Port Saint Lucie - FL
2,716 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Originally posted by CruisenReview91
Thanks for the lecture. We are looking at leaving from Dubai. Heading towards Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Qatar, etc.
I smell a hijacking of this thread. To get back to the OP's question.


Dubai and Abu Dhabi -- there is plenty to do and quite interesting. Bahrain and Qatar less so. Qatar may be an issue as the other GCC countries are boycotting it and likely cruises will stop going there until resolved.


Oman -- been to Salalah and Muscat. Tourism their is just ramping up -- they are spending lots of money on infrastructure. Both were not highlights of our cruise (guides very inexperienced)
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#9
102,059 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
What is your specific itinerary.

Just like many places the Middle East is the same and the experience varies.

For us we have learned so much by visiting the Middle East on three different cruises including one cruise where we spent close to 30 days there.

The key is to open up your eyes and if you are interested in "discovery" it is fascinating.

Keith
#10
Florida
2,789 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
The Middle East is very different than the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. If you have an open mind, respect other’s culture and are interested in new experiences you will like it. If you prefer to stay in your comfort zone and want something similar to the Caribbean or Mediterranean you won’t like it.


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#11
Paradise, USA
830 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
One of our favorite experiences in the ME was a journey to the Qatari Sabkha by 4x4 SUV. Just an amazing environment of salt flats and huge dunes.
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#12
Florida
4,692 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
We came back from a cruise starting in Dubai 2 days ago. It went to Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. There is no comparison to the Caribbean and to the Mediterranean. The culture and sights are completely different. Dubai rises out of the desert like a science fiction city in a movie. Muscat is an ancient trading port. Abu Dhabi is the capital of one of the richest countries in the world. They are all in desert locations at the edge of the sea.

If you want to hang out at beaches and like warm water, go to the Caribbean. If you like ancient cities, go to the countries around the Mediterranean. If you like to widen your horizon, go to the United Arab Emirates and their neighbors. The UAE is only 46 years old. By the way, it's a winter destination.
#13
3,055 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Originally posted by MVPinBoynton
Egypt is amazing! We weren't that impressed with the Karnak light show; but the temple itself is a must see. I do hope you get to see Luxor illuminated at night. We thought that Luxor was the prettiest of the many temples we saw on our Egypt river cruise in 2008. Below are some pics from Luxor at night that are in the review of our river cruise.








We will be visiting Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Muscat, Petra and going through the Suez Canal in April. We can't wait. It should be an awesome experience. I love cruising to places that are so much different from other places we have visited.
Great review - thanks for sharing.
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#14
3,055 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Originally posted by Wayfairers
The Middle East is very different than the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. If you have an open mind, respect other’s culture and are interested in new experiences you will like it. If you prefer to stay in your comfort zone and want something similar to the Caribbean or Mediterranean you won’t like it.


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Well said. Although the Mediterranean is my favorite destination, I love Turkey and found both Israel and Jordan simply spectacular. As was said before, the Middle East is not monolithic - different areas vary greatly from one another.
We spent 3 weeks in Israel last year and loved it. Also just returned from a 12 day river cruise of Egypt and were fascinated with the itinerary and sights.
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12/1/2017 Viking Mayfair - 12 days - Egypt, Pathways of the Pharaohs
8/9/2017 Norwegian Jade - 10 day Norwegian Fjords from London
6/13/2017 Oceania Nautica - Scandanavian Glory from Southhampton
4/14/2017 Viking Emerald - Imperial Jewels of China - 14 day - Beijing to Shanghai
11/2/2016 Celebrity Constellation - Israel and the Mediterannean
6/3/2015 - Oceania Marina -14 night Nordic Exploration
8/31/2014 - Diamond Princess -18 night r/t from Tokyo
10/27/2013 - RCCL Liberty of the Seas -Barcelona/Ft. Lauderdale
10/14/2013 - NCL Norwegian Spirit - Venice to Barcelona
May 2013 - Celebrity Constellation - Amsterdam/Amsterdam
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August 2011 - NCL Sun - Copenhagen/Copenhagen

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