What to Expect
- This trip is moderately paced
- Your 31-day expedition cruise includes 24 nights aboard the Ocean Explorer; plus two nights in Dubai at the Hotel Al Bandar Rotana Dubai Creek (or similar), two nights in Athens at the Divani Caravel Hotel (or similar), and one night in Luxor at the Deluxe Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa (or similar) for an overnight Luxor excursion
- In addition to your arrival and departure cities, you'll visit 17 ports of call in eight nations
- There are nine days at sea where you have ample time to relax and enjoy the amenities on board your luxury expedition vessel
- We often cruise overnight but some scenic sailing will be conducted during daylight hours
You should be in relatively good health to fully enjoy this tour.
TERRAIN & TRANSPORTATION:
- Most city sightseeing takes place on air-conditioned coaches with guides
- There are several walking tours through historic centers and villages where uneven steps and cobblestones should be expected
- You will be exploring archaeological sites on foot, walking along paved paths but also on sandy or dirt paths that have pebbles and are uneven and occasionally, slightly inclined
- Some of the ruins in Petra feature uneven stone steps and long walks. Several also require climbing stairs up a hillside for up-close viewing, but this is optional and you can also see the building’s facades from ground level
- You will have the opportunity to swim, snorkel, and ride camels or bikes
- This cruise tour is not suitable for those who have difficulty walking or require wheelchairs or other mobility aids. Please refer to Vantage's wheelchair and handicapped traveler policy
- Your ship is your main means of transportation between destinations
- All land transportation is conducted on board deluxe, air-conditioned motorcoaches, with longer drives in Luxor and in Petra
- Along our sea route the waters of the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea, and Red Sea are usually calm. We follow IRTC (International Recommended Transit Corridors) routes that are patrolled by naval vessels
- There is one included excursion cruise on a traditional wooden dhow sailboat; plus a ride aboard a local abra water taxi in Dubai.
- In Egypt you will disembark your ship for an overland journey across the desert to Luxor. This takes about three to four hours in a deluxe, air-conditioned motorcoach. Overnight accommodations are provided in Luxor
The Emirates, Oman and Qatar boast outstanding accommodations, well-managed tourist facilities, and enviable high-tech infrastructure. Plus, we will be staying at hotels where you will enjoy world-class luxury and service, so you can expect very high standards of comfort for every step of your journey. However, in spite of the modern sophistication (and downright conspicuous consumption), these are still very conservative, religious societies whose cultural norms are different than ours, and they are ruled by absolute monarchies that strictly enforce the laws. Your Adventure Leader will advise you of the proper protocol wherever you go, but here are some things to consider in advance:
Modest dress is expected of all women and men, and even though you may see foreigners wearing shorts or revealing clothing (especially in the cities), local people may consider this disrespectful and will appreciate your discretion. Bare arms or shoulders are not advised in public places, and ladies should bring a head scarf to wear inside mosques. Long skirts, slacks, or capris that cover your knees are advised for women; men should avoid shorts or tank tops, too. Public displays of affection are frowned upon. Non-Muslims are not permitted to enter certain mosques, and there may be some sites that restrict access by gender.
Because these are Islamic nations, there are strong prohibitions against the use of alcohol. It is absolutely forbidden for locals, and only permitted for foreigners in certain locations. You can purchase alcoholic beverages at restaurants, bars, and nightclubs that are affiliated with international hotels, but not at most smaller local establishments. Bars may require you to show identification at the door, so keep your passport handy when frequenting them. Most of our included dinners will be at venues that do serve wine, beer, and spirits. As a visitor, you may not bring alcohol into the country (it will be confiscated at the airport). If you respect these social norms during your stay, you will be treated as an honored guest by people who are enormously generous, polite, and proud to share their heritage.
- You will be visiting desert locales where the weather is hot and dry, with little or no rainfall
- Depending on the time of year you can expect daytime average high temperatures to run between 70°–100°F; evenings are always cooler and often quite pleasant, as there is low humidity
- The sun is very strong in this part of the world so sunscreen, sunglasses, and sun hats are musts
- Stay cool by wearing lightweight fabrics (such as cotton or linen)
- For protection from the sun, do as the locals do and cover up by wearing longer pants or skirts, and shirts with sleeves
- The desert (and the sea) can occasionally be windy. A windbreaker, sweater, or light jacket is recommended
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.
Important: 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.