The 18-night voyage departs Dubai February 13th, 2023 and features 11 ports of call, as well as overnight stays in port in Egypt and Israel, giving passengers more time to explore ashore.
“From Abu Dhabi, journey into the Al Khatim Desert in an off-road vehicle and traverse the world’s tallest sand dunes on an exhilarating excursion,” says Norwegian Cruise Line. “Outside Safaga, you can uncover the mysteries of the Valley of the Kings where ancient temples and pharaohs’ tombs await your arrival, or get lost in the natural beauty of Haifa’s cascading terraces at the splendid Baha’i Gardens.”
Norwegian Jade will depart Dubai late in the evening, just before midnight, giving passengers time to seek out jet-set haunts or stroll through the heart of the old city, Dubai Creek, which is home to the Dubai museum as well as the labyrinth alleyways of gold, spice and textile souks.
The ship will cruise overnight to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, and home to a wealth of culture, history and adventure, from the emirate’s old souks, where you can sip a fragrant Arabic coffee, to the rush of the world’s fastest rollercoaster at Ferrari World on the playground of Yas Island.
The following day will find Norwegian Jade in the UAE’s Indian Ocean port of Fujairah. With beautiful beaches backed by the Hagar mountain range, archeological sites dating back thousands of years, and a beautifully restored fort overlooking the old village and date palm oasis, this sleepy city is a popular local tourist haunt and growing cruise destination.
Norwegian Jade will spend two nights cruising for Salalah, Oman’s remote, southern city of coconut and banana plantations, mountains and seascapes. Here passengers can relax on Al Mughsail beach, featuring blowholes and caves, or find the tomb of Job (Nabi Ayoub).
After Salalah its a five night run up the Red Sea for Aqaba in Jordan, the gateway to the iconic ancient city of Petra.
“Aqaba’s history dates back to 4,000 BC and was once a key Roman port,” says Norwegian. “With year-round sun, you can enjoy watersports and explore the coral reefs of the Red Sea that teem with brightly coloured fish.”
Magnificent Petra will be the main draw though, this ancient city carved out of stone, and one of the World’s Seven Wonders, is an hours-long bus ride inland.
“Back in Aqaba, visit the 13th-century castle fortress, archaeological museum and mosque and enjoy a traditional lamb dish with yogurt and rice accompanied by mint tea or sweet Turkish coffee,” the cruise line suggests.
After cruising overnight, the ship arrives in Safaga, Egypt, another gateway port with several attractions of its own.
Set on the Red Sea, Safaga is a watersports playground of kite surfing and windsurfing, as well as diving on nearby reefs and wrecks.
The port also offers passengers a chance to experience the splendor of ancient Egypt on an excursion to Luxor, the Karnak Temple Complex and the 3,400-year-old Colossi of Memnon statues, which is why the ship stays overnight.
Suez Canal Transit
A special experience on these east-west cruise itineraries from Dubai is a Suez Canal transit. Connecting Europe and Asia through the Mediterranean, Red Sea and Indian Ocean, this canal through the desert challenged engineers for nearly 4,000 years.
Egypt’s pharaohs attempted to connect the Nile River and Red Sea but gave up, as did Napoleon Bonaparte thousands of years later. In 1858, French engineers began another attempt to dig the 120-mile (193 km) canal.
The Suez Canal took 11 years to build and unlike many other canals in the world, it has no locks because the terrain is so flat. The passage from one sea to the other takes only 11 to 16 hours.
After transiting the Suez Canal, Norwegian Jade will arrive in Ashdod (for Jerusalem) in Israel the following day.
Dating back to 17th-century BC, Jerusalem (Ashdod) is one of the most ancient cities in the world and its ancient sites sit among today’s modern port with its wide boulevards and meticulous planning. Don’t miss the Ashdod Art Museum, Corinne Maman Museum, Beit Guvrin National Park and the pastoral setting of Tel Lachish.
The second Israeli port of call on the itinerary is Tel-Aviv (Haifa), home to holy sites such as Galilee, Nazareth or Jerusalem, as well as Bahai Gardens on Mount Carmel, the largest hanging gardens in the world. Passengers can also explore the boutiques on Massada Street or go to the artists’ village of Ein Hod for hand-blown glass and crafts.
Departing Haifa, Norwegian Jade will call in Limassol, replete with archaeological sites thanks to its use as a strategic garrison for Richard the Lionhearted during the Third Crusade, as well as the island of Rhodes, home to ancient ruins and remnants of its occupation by the Knights of St. John during the Crusades.
The city of Rhodes has an Old Town featuring the medieval Street of the Knights and the castlelike Palace of the Grand Masters. Captured by the Ottomans and then held by the Italians, the palace is now a history museum.
The following day, Friday March 3rd, 2023, Norwegian Jade arrives in Athens, Greece, where the cruise ends. Here in the oldest city in Europe, passengers can explore the Acropolis and some of the most important architectural structures and archaeological finds in the Western world, as well as the modern city’s art, culture, cuisine and shopping.
Prices for the cruise start at $3,699 per person sharing for an inside cabin, $4,099 for an outside and $6,299 for a balcony.