6 DAYS FROM $1,599
5 DAYS FROM $2,199
Fly to Dubai, UAE
Your journey begins today as you depart your gateway city and fly overnight to Dubai. Or, depart earlier for your pre-trip extension to Petra & Amman, Jordan.
Welcome to Dubai!
If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, upon arrival at the airport in Dubai a Vantage representative will meet you and arrange transfer to your centrally located hotel. You may arrive in the evening, so settle in, enjoy dinner on your own, and get a good night’s sleep.
Embark on a cultural tour of Dubai and visit the Burj Khalifa
After breakfast and a Welcome Briefing this morning, get to know Dubai. Until the 1970s, Dubai was a small fishing and trading port. Today, Dubai is the business capital of the UAE, a juggernaut of commerce and a city of superlatives where things are made to be the biggest, fastest, and best. You’ll get a feel for it during today’s cultural tour.
The discoveries will come in waves, as you visit the Dubai Museum and the surrounding historic district of Al Bastakiya before crossing Dubai Creek on an abra, or traditional wooden boat used as a water taxi, to visit the Gold and Spice Souks.
After a fun and active afternoon, an evening excursion whisks you to the observation deck of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest structure in Dubai. Spiraling 2,717 feet into the air like a giant twisting needle, it is the tallest building in the world.
After, we’ll enjoy a Welcome Dinner at the Souk Al Bahar, an elegant waterfront marketplace with 22 restaurants, dozens of shops, and the Dubai Fountain, a replica of what you'd see at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Certainly an evening to remember!
See Dubai’s highlights and embark the Ocean Odyssey
Amazing architecture, blazing white beaches and clear turquoise lagoons and creeks make Dubai a delight for the eyes. On today’s panoramic tour, you’ll see downtown, the city's marina, and you'll also view the Frame, a giant, picture-frame shaped structure, and some of the man-made luxury islands that float in the Persian Gulf, such as Palm Jumeirah, shaped like a palm tree. It’s studded with elegant villas, marinas, parks, and malls where you may stop to browse for interesting jewelry, artwork, Islamic calligraphy, and more.
You’ll have time at leisure to enjoy lunch on your own and last-minute shopping before you transfer to the port where we’ll embark the Ocean Odyssey!
Discover Qatar, the richest nation on Earth
One look at the skyline of Doha, Qatar’s capital, and you may wonder if you’ve arrived on another planet. There are buildings shaped like spires, ones that lean apart precariously, ones that look like fluttering lace or rising horseshoes, and the famous QIPCO Tower, which resembles a steel tornado. You’ll see the highlights of this striking city on this morning’s tour.
Start at the Pearl Qatar & Marina, a stunning man-made island of luxury homes, parks, and marinas. It resembles a string of pearls and has two perfectly circular bays that embrace two pearl-like islets. The Oyster & Pearl Fountain commemorates the traditional Qatari pearling industry that sustained the nation before the discovery of oil. At the Katara Cultural Village you’ll adore the sparkling facilities where many artistic and creative institutions have made new homes. There is an open-air theater, opera house, multipurpose cinema, conference halls, beaches and more. You’ll have time to take a few photos when we stop along the corniche near the Museum of Islamic Art. Designed by I. M. Pei, it is a stunning modern take on the ancient Islamic fortress based on striking geometric designs, and is set on its own man-made island.
Visit the popular Souq Waqif, a 100-year-old marketplace where you can buy anything from spices to scimitars, baubles to bridal gowns. You’ll also take a short guided walk through a section of the souk that is devoted entirely to falcons. Here, enthusiasts come to buy birds and accessories for them.
Enjoy lunch back on board, with the afternoon free for further exploration on your own. You’ll return to the ship this evening for dinner as we set off for Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s cultural mecca
When you awake this morning, you'll be docked in Abu Dhabi! Witness the beauty of expedition cruising at its finest as the city unfolds along the coast.
Opening its own branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim were just the capstones to the already solid foundation of art and culture that the Emirate nation of Abu Dhabi has built, and you'll discover this capital city more on a half-day city tour. First on today’s agenda is the majestic Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Mosque, or the Grand Mosque, featuring its trademark bulbous domes. The mosque is said to “unite the world” because it purposefully incorporates materials and design motifs from scores of countries. The prayer hall boasts 96 marble columns inlaid with mother of pearl. There is a qibla wall where the 99 names of God are written in elegant Kufic calligraphy, whose swirls and arabesques are highlighted by fiber optic lighting. As you behold these jaw-dropping wonders, it’s easy to see why the mosque is considered one of the most important modern architectural treasures in the Arabic world.
Next you’ll learn about another foundation of Emirati life, and that is falconry. These royal birds are still revered for their grace and hunting prowess. You’ll visit the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, a unique avian veterinary center that treats about 6,000 of these prized raptors every year. You’ll learn about the falcon’s importance in Emirate culture, as well as the other veterinary programs offered here, including a shelter for the rare Saluki breed of dogs.
If you remain on the ship for dinner, you’ll enjoy a relaxing evening with onboard entertainment.
Explore traditional Emirates life
The modern glitter of Abu Dhabi notwithstanding, there is a concerted effort being made here to preserve traditional culture, as you’ll see on this morning’s tour.
Driving along the Corniche past the theme parks of Yas Island, you’ll come to the Emirates Heritage Village, a re-creation of an oasis town where locals demonstrate traditional crafts like tannery, pottery, glass-blowing and swordsmithing. You’ll see a barasti house, which captures the breeze via strategically placed palm fronds; goat hair tents; and a section where camels are traded. There is also a campfire area and workshops where traditional craftsmen demonstrate their skills.
Before leaving Abu Dhabi you’ll get a last, terrific look at it from the 74th-floor Observation Deck of the Etihad Towers. These five sleek, curved skyscrapers preside over Abu Dhabi with sweeping views of the islands and Arabian Gulf. Enjoy scenic sailing as you depart Abu Dhabi around noon. Then, attend an informative onboard lecture before dinner.
You’ll return for dinner on board and a good night's sleep as you look forward to tomorrow's explorations of Fujairah.
Discover the tiny Emirate nation of Fujairah
Add another notch to your travel belt when you step ashore to explore a destination that most travelers have never even heard of. Fujairah is one of the seven United Arab Emirates, and the only one whose pretty coastline, called the Shamaliyah, does not lie on the Persian Gulf. Within its bounds lies the town of Kalba, an exclave of another emirate, Sharjah. You’ll explore both on this morning’s included Fujairah Past and Present tour.
Disembarking in Fujairah, you’ll travel beyond the city to serene Kalba, and see Beit Al Sheikh Sayeed, a beautifully restored, 19th-century heritage house that is filled with traditional Islamic collectibles. The building nestles on a beach and features barjeel wind towers and a lovely central courtyard. Continuing south you’ll reach Khor Kalba. Set in a beautiful tidal estuary, it is Arabia’s oldest and largest mangrove swamp and home to a variety of rare and migratory birds.
Returning to the city, you’ll step back in time at Fujairah Heritage Village. Surrounded by a wall and watchtowers, the site carefully recreates 16th-century Arabian village life and features models of traditional homes, antique household items, and tools. Next is the Fujairah Museum, home to a magnificent collection of period weapons, traditional costumes and artifacts excavated from sites around the eastern coast. You’ll make a photo stop at the renovated Old Fort of Fujairah, which boasts lovely views of the village below and surrounding date plantations.
Enjoy another onboard lecture this evening.
Marvel at the Grand Mosque and more landmarks on a mystical Muscat tour
Today, you're welcomed to the nation of Oman, and its capital, Muscat, which has been an important port since the 1st century AD. Its history melds the influences of the indigenous Omani tribes as well as the Abassids, Portuguese, Ottomans, and Persians who once ruled Oman. Unlike the UAE capitals, which are all about glamour on a grand scale, Muscat is a gracious, whitewashed city wedged between the mountains and the sea, with few high rises. But that doesn’t mean Muscat lacks for impact, as you’ll see during our explorations.
We also visit the eye-popping Muttrah Souk, a sprawling labyrinth of shops and arcades beneath a timber roof. You’ll have time to ogle the dazzling gold jewelry, J-shaped khanjar daggers, white dishdasha robes, handmade slippers, silverware, Bedu jewelry, and precious oils, perfumes and ointments like frankincense and myrrh. More treasures await at the private Beit al Zubair Museum, whose collections include ethnographic artifacts, an exhibit of traditional Omani female attire, furniture, maps, and more.
Before departing you’ll enjoy a nice walk around the Old Town area to get some photos of Fort Mirani, Fort Jalali, and the stately Al Alam Palace, a royal residence of Sultan Haitham bin Tariq.
After dinner, special guests come on board to engulf you in the culture of Oman. If you're wondering what it’s like to live here, you’ll hear about it firsthand from an Omani woman who will share her perspective on family life, native customs, and the changing role of women in contemporary Oman. Then, enjoy local Omani musicians and dancers who will come on board to provide some captivating folkloric entertainment.
Uncover traditional Omani culture in Barkha and Nakhal
Another delicious breakfast awaits this morning, a perfect prelude to a truly magical day we have curated for you.
We’ll ride west of Muscat to investigate some of Oman’s rural traditions, beginning in the fishermen’s village of Barkha. Set on the Arabian Sea along a broad, park-lined corniche, Barkha is a traditional fishing village where Omanis come to enjoy the wide beach promenade, and some of the freshest fish in the Arab world.
You’ll see where Omanis get their seafood at the Barkha Fish Market, set right on the ocean so fishermen can unload the daily catch right on the ground. Locals come to purchase red mullet crabs, squid, skate, swordfish, and more, often foregoing bags and just grabbing their fish by the tail and carting it off in their hands!
From here you’ll loop back southward to visit Nakhal village with its pre-Islamic Nakhal Fort, chiseled into a sheer rock. Nakhal Fort boasts imposing watchtowers and battlements, as well as the living quarters of the ruling wali, including many antique furnishings. Then, ride through date palm plantations watered by the Al Thowarah springs and an aflaj irrigation system. This ancient method uses gravity to channel water from underground — a system so ingenious, and so important to desert civilizations, that UNESCO has declared Oman’s aflaj a World Heritage Site.
Before returning to your ship you’ll enjoy a lunch at an award-winning spa resort.
Cruising the Arabian Sea
Another relaxing day at sea gives you plenty of time to enjoy the ship’s luxurious amenities and onboard enrichment activities. Or indulge yourself with a soothing facial at the spa. Maybe you’ll meet friends for a poolside barbecue lunch, or relax in your room and watch a movie.
Tour coastal Porbandar, birthplace of Gandhi
Just after lunch, your ship arrives in the coastal town of Porbandar in Gujarat state.
On a half-day city tour, you'll travel as the locals do aboard a small, three-wheeled tuk-tuk taxi. You’ll ride from the pier gate into town, passing local residences and perhaps spotting some of the endemic and migratory birds that are prolific here.
Visit the birthplace of Mohandas K. “Mahatma” Gandhi, and gain insights into the simple lifestyle of this coastal heritage town, once a thriving Mughal port. You will stop to see the only temple in India dedicated to Sudama, the childhood friend of Lord Krishna. Pilgrims walk the temple’s giant maze to be absolved of sins. Next, your tuk tuk proceeds to Kirti Mandir, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. It stands 79 feet high, one foot for each year of Gandhi’s life, and its design includes homages to six religions. Next door you’ll tour the home where Gandhi was born in 1869, and later lived with his wife. The adjoining building houses a prayer hall, a Gandhian library and an excellent museum. After a visit to the lively local market, where you can pick up the brightly colored textiles the region is famous for, continue to Bharat Mandir Hall. Admire the lovely gardens, huge marble map of India and colorful pillars decorated with bas reliefs of Hindu heroes.
Enjoy a full day to relax on board. Perhaps you’ll join a morning yoga class, read on the sun deck, or swim in the infinity pool. Later you can join friends for cocktails in the multilevel observation deck, or take a snooze while lounging by the pool. There are dozens of books you may borrow from our library, gifts to be purchased in our boutique, and fine art to admire in the gallery. Later in the day you will enjoy a port talk and a delectable dinner on board — our curated culinary program is sure to be yet another highlight of your Vantage journey.
Discover Mumbai on a day of sightseeing
Today you'll disembark the Ocean Odyssey as your journey winds down in Mumbai. Then, get ready to head out on a city tour of Mumbai. Once known as Bombay, it is the financial, commercial, and entertainment capital of India, not to mention its wealthiest city. You’ll see the best of it today as we ride along the famous Marine Drive. Arcing along the Arabian Sea, this highway (nicknamed “the Queen’s Necklace”) is dotted with historic architecture and its Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll get a sense of everyday Mumbai life as you pass Girgaum Chowpatty beach and the Dhobi Ghats, a 140-year-old, open-air facility where tons of laundry are washed in stone basins. Things get greener as you approach the exclusive Malabar Hill neighborhood, where you will see the terraced Hanging Gardens.
You’ll also visit the Gandhi Museum, where you’ll learn about the life and death of the man Indians call “Mahatma,” meaning great soul. It will be a wonderful prelude to your visit on Day 6 to Gandhi’s hometown, Porbandar. Lunch will be at a local restaurant, and afterward you’ll have the rest of the evening at leisure with dinner on your own.
Hooray for Bollywood! Go inside Mumbai's thriving film industry
After breakfast, get ready to go behind the scenes at a Bollywood film studio! The world’s largest film industry is right here in Mumbai, where dozens of studios collectively known as “Bollywood” churn out about 2,000 Hindi films a year! These are often elaborate musical affairs, replete with colorful costumes, large dance numbers, and of course, high-powered box office stars! You’ll visit one the studios and see the various sets and behind-the-scenes activities that result in entertainment for the world.
After your tour you’ll enjoy lunch in a local restaurant, then enjoy an afternoon at leisure. Tonight, convene with your travelers for a bittersweet Farewell Dinner.
After breakfast you’ll transfer to the airport for your return flight home. Or, if you’re joining our post-trip extension, you’ll stay on for two more nights!
Please note: Ocean-cruising is not the same experience as river cruising; as such, you may experience fluctuating tides and weather patterns that may involve some rocking of your vessel. Itineraries will include all activities as planned except in extreme cases that can’t be controlled by your shipboard crew. Day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Cruise Director or regional expert.