Middle East Cruise News

P&O to repeat Dubai to Southampton cruise via Med aboard Arcadia in 2024

P&O Cruises will sail its annual Dubai to Southampton grand voyage in March, 2024 with Arcadia cruising from the Middle East through the Suez Canal and Mediterranean.

Arcadia will follow an itinerary largely similar to her 2023 voyage from Dubai to Southampton, but instead of 18 nights, the 2024 cruise will be 19 nights, with the addition of Aqaba in Jordan as a port call.

Prices for the March 27th, 2024 departure start at £2,179 per person sharing for an inside cabin, while a balcony cabin goes for £2,499, and a suite for £3,029 at the time of writing.

P&O’s cruise ship Arcadia

The 2094-passenger ship will call in Muscat, Aqaba, Malta, and Cadiz en-route to Southampton, with the first night of the cruise spent overnight in port in Dubai.

After departing Dubai, Arcadia will sail overnight to Muscat, the capital of the Sultanate of Oman. The morning approach to the city is worth the early wake up, as it sits amid the Hajar mountains, with a plethora of Indian Ocean beaches and a history that includes influences from Asian, African and Arabic civilizations.

The old port area, enclosed by gated walls, is where visitors will find the Sultan’s Main Palace, while two well-preserved 16th-century Portuguese forts, Al Jalali and Mirani, guard the entrance to Muscat. The city walls contain the original beautifully carved gates.

Muscat, Oman

Beyond the city natural freshwater pools in the mountains, parks, and nature reserves on the edge of the desert, and unspoilt, soft sandy beaches.

Arcadia then spends 5 days at sea cruising the coast of Oman, Yemen and through the dramatic Bab-el-Mandeb Strait (translated as Gateway of Tears) into the Red Sea bound for Aqaba.

Aqaba is Jordan’s only seaport and is a busy commercial city, but it dates back to the Roman period, with a 13th century castle and other landmarks and museums that evoke its history, as well as beach resorts and excellent snorkelling and diving opportunities.

Aqaba in Jordan is the gateway to Petra.

The main draw of the port is the 300 BCE city of Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located 4 hours by bus inland across the Wadi Rum desert, which was the proving ground of the famed explorer Lawrence of Arabia.

Petra itself is accessed through a narrow canyon called Al Siq, it contains tombs and temples carved into pink sandstone cliffs, earning its nickname, the “Rose City.” It was formerly the capital of the Nabatean Kingdom and a major commercial and trading hub in the region.

Wadi Rum

After another night at sea, Arcadia transits the Suez Canal, a 120-mile canal dug through the desert to connect the Mediterranean with the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. It’s an engineering feat teeming with geopolitical intrigue.

Napoleon Bonaparte began the project in 1798, but it wasn’t until the French engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps got involved in 1858 that progress was seen. Eleven years later the canal was opened, and 13 years after that, in 1882, the British captured it from Egypt.

Egypt then regained control during its revolution of 1952. In 1956, the British, allied with the French and Israelis, tried to take the canal back. The Arab-Israeli Six Day War of 1967 closed the canal until 1973, when another war and intense international negotiations led to its return to Egyptian control.

That incident, known as the Suez Crisis, is generally regarded as the moment at which the British Empire and Britain’s global supremacy truly ended.

Valletta, the capital of Malta.

Arcadia then spends another two nights at sea bound for the historic fortified port of Valetta in Malta, a city that endured so much punishment during the Second World War that it was awarded the George Cross.

After another two days at sea Arcadia arrives in Cadiz, Spain, where the ship cruises right into the heart of the historic city, as immediately across the busy Avenida del Puerto from the Spanish port is the main square and shopping area.

Three days later, Arcadia arrives in Southampton, the primary cruise port in the UK, and the historic arrival and departure port for the iconic trans-Atlantic ocean liners of old.

During the voyage, guests will find plenty of ways to keep themselves amused aboard Arcadia, one of the cruise line’s adults-only ships, with 4 restaurants, 11 cafes and bars, a three-level theatre, casino, spa, gym, two lounges, and even an art gallery and small retail area.

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