Middle East Cruise News

Seabourn announce Dubai to Athens cruise for 2024 aboard Encore

Seabourn are joining Silversea and Norwegian Cruise Line in sailing a popular Dubai to Athens itinerary, with Seabourn Encore departing Dubai on April 3rd, 2024.

The 18-night itinerary can also be booked as a 25-night cruise ending in Venice, with additional port calls in the Greek Isles, Croatia and Italy.

The Dubai to Athens cruise features 9 port calls and a transit of the iconic Suez Canal, one of the busiest waterways in the world and the source of much geopolitical intrigue.

Seabourn Encore

From Dubai, Seabourn Encore sails overnight to Khor Fakkan, one of the UAE’s east coast cities on the Gulf of Oman. The up-and-coming cruise destination is home to the curved Khor Fakkan Beach and promenade against the backdrop of the dramatic Hajar Mountains.

Archaeological sites include ancient graves and a ruined Portuguese fort, as well as Wadi Wurayah, a biodiverse mountain area with waterfalls and natural pools, and picturesque Al Rafisah Dam.

Khor Fakkan Heritage Village

Seabourn Encore then spends two days and three nights at sea sailing for Salalah, Oman’s green oasis city on the Indian Ocean. Salalah is popular for its tropical wadis in the mountains, and its collection of Caribbean-like beaches backed by palm trees and filled with power white sand.

Al Mughsail Beach, for instance, is a quiet and remote stretch of sand, full of caves and blowholes, while in the city itself the Museum of the Frankinscence Land provides a taste of Salalah’s history.

The museum is set within the ancient ruins of the trading port of Zafar, from which frankinscence was shipped to India, in return for spices. The on-site museum documents the history of the port as well as the area’s settlement since 2000 BC.

After Salalah the ship spends five nights at sea bound for the evocatively named Bab-el-Mandeb Strait (translated as Gateway of Tears), which separates the Indian Ocean from the Red Sea, after transiting the strait, Seabourn Encore heads for Safaga, Egypt.

Safaga, Egypt

Safaga is the gateway port for Luxor, but is worthy of a day in its own right as it features beautiful beaches that make it a water sports playground with kite surfing and windsurfing, as well as diving on nearby reefs and wrecks.

Inland, Luxor is home to the ancient ruins of Thebes, the former capital of the Egyptian Kingdom. The Karnak Temple Complex and the 3,400-year-old Colossi of Memnon statues, await, which is why the ship stays overnight here so that you have two days to experience both.

Safaga is the gateway to the ancient Luxor

From Safaga, its an overnight hop to Egypt’s tourism hub of Sharm El Sheikh, a town located between the desert of the Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea with sheltered sandy beaches, clear waters and coral reefs.

Naama Bay is filled with bars and restaurants, while Ras Muhammad National Park is a major diving destination, with marine life around the Shark and Yolanda reefs and the Thistlegorm wreck.

Aqaba is the final port call before Suez, and it’s a grand finale for the region as the port is the gateway to the iconic Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to 300 BCE when it was the capital of the Nabatean Kingdom and a major commercial and trading hub in the region.

The facade of the iconic Treasury in the ancient city of Petra

Petra is 4 hours by bus inland from Aqaba and is accessed through the narrow Al Siq canyon, it contains tombs and temples carved into pink sandstone cliffs, earning its nickname, the “Rose City.”

From Aqaba, Seabourn Encore transits the 120-mile Suez Canal and heads for Ashdod in Israel, another gateway port. Ashdod is where passengers can experience Jerusalem, one of the holiest cities on earth for all three of the Abrahamic religions (Islamic, Jewish and Christian).

Jerusalem has been settled since the 4th millennium BCE and the City of David section is the oldest, although all the landmarks and holy sites, from the Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the walled Old City of Jerusalem to the al-Aqsa Mosque date back centuries.

Jerusalem has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, captured and recaptured 44 times, and attacked 52 times and remains highly controversial to this day.

This marks the end of Seabourn Encore’s Middle Eastern port calls, with the ship then sailing for Agios Nikolaos in Crete, the penultimate call before her arrival in Piraeus (Athens) on April 21st.

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