Oceania Cruises will sail a pair of novel cruises from Dubai in 2024, with two of its ships scheduled to depart the city on consecutive days, both bound for Barcelona, but sailing different itineraries.
Insignia will sail from Dubai to Barcelona on May 13, 2024, while Riviera will also sail from Dubai to Barcelona, but on May 14th. While Insignia’s itinerary will be a 24-night voyage, Riviera will offer a slightly more leisurely cruise of 27 nights.
Riviera’s longer cruise is a result of the ship calling in four more ports, a total of 18 destinations, compared to Insignia’s 14. The additional ports of call include a two-night stopover in Ashdod, Israel, and port calls in Limassol, Rhodes, Sicily, Livorno, and St Tropez.
During this leg of the cruise, Insignia will instead call in Monaco, while both ships will call in Muscat and Salalah in Oman, Aqaba in Jordan, Safaga in Egypt, Haifa in Israel, Santorini in Greece, and Civitavecchia (Rome).
“For nearly a month, step back in time to witness mankind’s earliest achievements, an awe-inspiring kaleidoscope of monumental temples, soaring minarets and classical masterpieces in marble, with extra time to explore Luxor and Jerusalem,” says Oceania Cruises.
While every cruise destination on the itinerary is fascinating in its own right, highlights will include Aqaba, Safaga, Haifa, Civitavecchia (the gateway to Rome, the birthplace of western civilization), and of course a transit of the iconic Suez Canal.
Aqaba is Jordan’s only seaport and the gateway to ancient Petra. The city of Aqaba itself benefits from the warm, clear waters of the Red Sea, revealing brilliantly coloured tropical fish and coral, with several world-class beach resorts.
Inland, passengers will find the ancient “Rose City” of Petra, an archaeological wonder where magnificent temples and tombs are carved into red sandstone cliffs, from which the Nabatean Kingdom dominated the region in 300 BC.
Safaga in Egypt is the gateway to nearby Luxor, the “world’s greatest open-air museum” home to the Valley of the Kings on the east bank of the Nile River. On the west bank sits the site of ancient Thebes, the pharaohs’ capital at the height of their power, during the 16th–11th centuries BC. There are two huge, surviving ancient monuments: the graceful Luxor Temple and the Karnak Temple, a mile north.
The Suez Canal is a 120-mile modern-day engineering marvel that connects the Red Sea with the Mediterranean, creating a short-cut between Europe and Asia that was dream of since the days of the Pharaohs, but wasn’t realised until the 19th century.
Haifa provides another opportunity to discover more archaeological and biblical sites of wonder, including Nazareth, Galilee, the Jordan River, and Elijah’s Cave, considered by some to be a place for miracle and a pilgrimage destination for Jewish, Christians, Muslims and the Druze for centuries.
In Haifa, passengers can also try the city’s famous shawarma, made with turkey thighs layered with lamb fat and stuffed into a pita with tahini sauce, pickles, and French fries, or explore iconic sites like the immaculately landscaped terraces of the Bahá’í Gardens and the gold-domed Shrine of the Báb. The nearby German Colony also offers shops, galleries and restaurants amid 19th-century architecture.
Civitavecchia offers guests the opportunity to travel to Rome and revel in the magnificent monuments, from the ancient Roman Forum and Coliseum to the splendour of St. Peter’s Basilica with Michelangelo’s Pietà and his breath-taking frescoes in the Sistine Chapel.
Unique shore excursions include a drive through the lush farmlands of the Roman countryside to lovely medieval Castelgandolfo, one of the most scenic towns in all of Italy, with a history dating back beyond the 12th century.
Categories: Middle East Cruise News, News
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