TUI Cruises is offering a 15-night Dubai to Greece cruise aboard Mein Schiff 5 in May, 2024, at the tail-end of the 2023/24 cruise season.
Mein Schiff 5 will join Mein Schiff 2 in cruising from the region during the season, but while Mein Schiff 2 will homeport in Dubai throughout the season, Mein Schiff 5’s cruise to Greece will be a repositioning voyage between her cruise seasons in Asia and Europe.
Mein Schiff 5 will depart Dubai May 24th, 2024, but passengers will be able to board from May 23rd, as the first night of the cruise is spent in port in Dubai, providing guests with more time to explore the city.
“Travel with us from the Orient to the Mediterranean and look forward to destinations that you cannot visit on any other ship in the Mein Schiff fleet,” says TUI Cruises.
“Our cruise takes you via Dubai, Muscat in Oman, Aqaba in Jordan, Safaga and Alexandria in Egypt and the Suez Canal,” it adds. “In addition to the diverse destinations, you can really relax, switch off and enjoy several days at sea.”
The longest stretch of days at sea will be between Muscat and Aqaba, with a full week spent transiting the Strait of Hormuz and sailing around the coasts of Oman and Yemen into the Red Sea, at the top of which lies Aqaba, the only seaport in the kingdom of Jordan.
Aqaba is the gateway to ancient 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.
The following day the ship calls in Safaga, the gateway to nearby Luxor, home to the Valley of the Kings on the east bank of the Nile River, while 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.
Mein Schiff 5 then transits the Suez Canal, 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.
Alexandria in Egypt is the penultimate port call before Iraklion, Greece. This city, dating back to the Hellenistic period (which begins with the death of the Macedonian king Alexander the Great in 323 BC), was home to a lighthouse ranking among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World as well as a storied library.
Today the library is reincarnated in the disc-shaped, ultramodern Bibliotheca Alexandrina, while a plethora of Greco-Roman landmarks remain, amid old-world cafes and sandy beaches. Its 15th-century seafront Qaitbay Citadel is now a museum and well worth a visit.
After a day at sea, the ship arrives in Iraklion, the capital of the Greek island of Crete. Iraklion is known for the Palace of Knossos, just outside the city. This huge Bronze Age archaeological site dates back thousands of years to the Minoan civilization, and includes frescoes and baths.
Guarding the city’s Venetian port is the 16th-century Koules fortress, which makes the early morning approach by sea particularly dramatic. For art buffs, the Heraklion Archaeological Museum has a large collection of Minoan art as well.