Silver Spirit will sail a 12-night cruise from Dubai to Singapore in 2022, with an itinerary that focuses heavily on the Arabian Gulf.
This will be Silversea’s only cruise of the year from Dubai, but the cruise line is making up for it with six port calls, five of which are on the Arabian Peninsula.
Silver Spirit will depart Dubai on December 8th, 2022, and although she wont stay overnight in Dubai, she will spend two days in Abu Dhabi, home to the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and Qasr Al Watan, the immense presidential palace.
The first port of call after Dubai, however, is Doha, the capital of Qatar and host city of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“Whether you call it soccer or football, the 2022 world cup features fantastically on the first three days of this cruise,” says Silversea. “As fans head to the stadium to see who is number 1 of the game, you can enjoy the pearl of Qatar without the crowds.”
“Continue your tour of the Middle East with calls in Oman, Bahrain as well as an overnight in opulent Abu Dhabi. Two days at sea and you are rested for an overnight in India’s big, bold, brash city of Mumbai,” the cruise line adds.
In order to give passengers the opportunity to explore Doha as tourists as well as football fans, Silver Spirit will spend two nights in port in the city. During these three days, there are 17, 18 and 8 shore excursions available, which includes dozens of opportunities to attend a match or two.
There is some uncertainty over whether cruise lines are being allowed to visit Qatar during the FIFA World Cup, however, and Cruise Arabia & Africa has reached out to Silversea for clarification.
After three days in Doha, Silver Spirit will sail overnight to Bahrain, where guests can discover vestiges of the 16th-century trade route port amid modern skyscrapers and landmarks, such as the 240-metre, 50-floor World Trade Center twin tower complex housing a five-star hotel and a luxury shopping mall.
Al Manama, the capital of Bahrain, was first mentioned in Islamic chronicles in 1345 and this sense of history and timelessness is apparent in the enormous Bab el-Bahrain Souq, where everything from jewellery to homemade carpets can be haggled over. The Bahrain National Museum also houses an impressive collection of culture, customs and history.
The following day will find Silver Spirit back in the UAE, in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the Emirates. The Sheikh Zayed Mosque, which is the UAE’s largest and most revered religious space, is one of the most famous landmarks here, along with the opulent Emirates Palace on the Corniche and the uber-modern Louvre Abu Dhabi, where artefacts thousands of years old from across the world are on display.
Saadiyat Public Beach offers calm clear blue waters with bath-like temperatures of 30 degrees and sugar-white while the Corniche stretches eight kilometres along the top of the main island of city with rich views of the coral-blue ocean back-dropped by glittering skyscrapers.
Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the UAE’s two largest and most modern cities, so when Silver Spirit arrives in Ras Al-Khaimah the following day it will offer a welcome juxtaposition. This city is named after the emirate in which it located and is one of the smaller, sleepier and more relaxing destinations in the UAE.
Ras Al-Khaimah is rapidly establishing itself as a niche tourist destination, focusing on the history and culture of the emirates, which has been inhabited continually for the last 7,000 years due in part to its strategic location on the Musandam Peninsula. The area has the most fertile soil of all the emirates, backed up by reliable water sources in the Hajar Mountains, which provide a striking backdrop to the city.
The National Museum houses a comprehensive collection of local and regional artefacts within the “Late Fort” which was built in the early 18th century using blocks of fossilised coral. Al Jazirah Al Hamra, an intact traditional pearling village abandoned since the mid-20th century, is also worth a visit, or passengers can explore desert dunes by 4×4 vehicle, visit camel and date farms and cruise the gulf on a traditional dhow.
Silver Spirit will conclude her time in the Arabian Gulf by cruising overnight through the hugely geopolitically significant Strait of Hormuz to Muscat, the capital of Oman, which lies on the Arabian Sea, tucked away among the Hajar Mountain range.
“Explore an elegant array of domes, minarets and marbled Arabic archways, as you’re immersed in a city where a traditional conservative outlook mingles with a pragmatic modern approach. Despite a relative boom in recent years, Muscat has clung to its old-world Arabian charm,” says Silversea.
The main landmark in Muscat is Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, which is large enough to fit 20,000 worshippers beneath its towering minaret that lights up like a mirage floating above the city’s rooftops at night.
The Mutrah area of the city is rich with local culture, from the lively fish market and busy Mutrah souk to Mutrah Fort, constructed during the Portuguese occupation of the 16th century. It offers views back down over the harbour where you can spot the Sultan’s superyacht. Nearby, there are beaches where guests can swim with fish and turtles or relax below the palm trees. Or take a cruise to spot spinner dolphins playing in the waters offshore.
In the evening of the second day in Muscat, Silver Spirit will put to sea once more for a two day crossing of the Arabian Sea to Mumbai in India, where she will also spend a night in port, dedicating the last two days of the voyage to sight-seeing for passengers.
“The city formally known as Bombay is a deafening collision of contrasts and culture. Known as the City of Dreams, Mumbai is at once an economic centre, fashion hub and home for Bollywood’s world of glamour,” says Silversea.
“A place of dazzling, overwhelming cultural experience – littered with UNESCO World Heritage sites – your only option is to dive in headfirst and immerse yourself in India’s extraordinary and enriching embrace,” it adds.
Guests can start at The Gateway of India, which was completed in 1924 and formed the symbolic entrance to British India. The last of the British troops passed through the landmark in 1948, when Mumbai and the rest of India became independent.
Remnants of the colonial past can be found in the architecture and art deco buildings of the Colaba district – like the incredible High Victorian Gothic styled Chhatrapati Shivaji railway terminus building. A World Heritage Site can be found at the remarkable carved 7th-century Elephanta caves, which wait a short ferry ride from Mumbai Harbour.
Passengers can also explore Dharavi, the largest slum in Asia and the setting of the movie Slumdog Millionaire. Products like handmade pottery and textiles can be bought in this city-within-a-city. Last, but certainly not least, is a visit to the house where Gandhi lived – now transformed into a museum honouring his life and work.