Middle East Cruise News

Seabourn doubles up cruises from Dubai to Athens in 2020 with Ovation and Encore

The luxury cruise line Seabourn will cruise from Dubai twice in 2020, aboard Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation, with both cruises going from the UAE to Athens via the Red Sea and Suez Canal.

It appears that Athens is a popular destination port on the Dubai to Mediterranean run, with five other cruise itineraries featuring the same destination, all of them operating in the premium and luxury sectors.


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Azamara will cruise from Dubai to Athens twice the same year, while Silversea will be sending its newly refitted Silver Spirit to cruise from Dubai to Athens as well.

Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation’s Dubai to Athens cruises will be very similar in terms of length and itineraries, but there are a few key differences in terms of scheduled port calls.


Seabourn Ovation will cruise from Dubai first, on April 5th, 2020. The 20-night cruise will visit Sir Bani Yas Island, Doha in Qatar, Muscat and Salalah in Oman, and Aqaba in Jordan, before spending a day transiting the Suez Canal. Between Salalah and Aqaba Ovation will also spend almost a week at sea.

After entering the Mediterranean, Seabourn Ovation will then visit Ashdod and Haifa in Israel and the Greek island of Santorini before arriving in Piraeus, the gateway port to Athens.


Seabourn Encore will mirror this journey a month later when she departs Dubai on May 5th, 2020 on her own 18-night Dubai to Athens cruise. This voyage is two days shorter because Encore will call at fewer ports.

Between Muscat and Aqaba, for instance, the ship will spend a full 7 days straight at sea, rather than calling in Salalah to break up the stretch of sea days.

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Another difference from Ovation’s itinerary is the port call in Santorini, which has been swapped with a port call in Agios Nikolaos in Crete instead.

Choosing between these two itineraries then will largely come down to how many sea days you can take at a time, and whether you prefer to see Santorini, Crete or Salalah.

Salalah and Santorini are only available on Ovation’s cruise, while Agios Nikolaos in Crete is only available on the Encore voyage.

To find out what you’d be missing out on in Salalah, see our report on the cruise destination here. The Beach Inspector has a nice round-up of the key sights and attractions in Crete, while Santorini Dave has (of course) provided a guide on this famous island.

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