The cruise from Dubai aboard Artania departs April 21st, 2024 and includes a tour around the Arabian Gulf to all the region’s principle cruise destinations before heading across the the Red Sea and Mediterranean.
There are 13 ports of call on the itinerary, 11 of them in the Middle East, while the remaining two are Giardini-Naxos in Sicily, and of course Savona, Italy.
“This 23-day cruise aboard Artania is all about Arabic pleasures and smells, stories from 1,001 nights and impressive buildings of modern times and antiquity,” says the cruise line.
“Three ports in the United Arab Emirates are at the start of the itinerary,” Phoenix Reisen adds. “Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sir Bani Yas are followed by Qatar and Bahrain before Artania reaches the incense lands of Oman, and the land of the Pharaohs.”
Artania spends the first night of the cruise in port in Dubai, giving passengers two full days to explore the city, before leaving port at 11pm. Shore excursions offered include a full day tour of Dubai, a half-day ‘Dubai of the Future’ excursions to the Museum of the Future, Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa, and a Desert Safari with Barbecue Dinner.
Artania sails overnight to Abu Dhabi, where passengers can venture inland to the Al Ain Oasis, take an Off-Road Safari, or visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque and Falcon Clinic. This is another late-night departure at 11pm, so some excursions can be combined.
Then it’s another overnight sailing to Sir Bani Yas Island off the coast of the UAE, home to a massive game safari reserve, archaeological sites dating back thousands of years, and of course the Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach. There are also water sports, kayaking through the mangroves, and a pool day at a luxury resort on offer.
In Doha, the capital of Qatar, passengers can take a desert safari, explore the city, especially its expansive waterfront corniche, or dhow cruises in the bay with spectacular views of the city skyline.
From Doha, Artania sails overnight again to Bahrain, docking in Mina Salman in Manama, the capital of the tiny island Kingdom of Bahrain. There are walking tours of the city, bus tours and desert safaris on offer here. A highlight will be the Great Mosque, the largest in the country.
Departing Bahrain, Artania spends a day at sea cruising the Strait of Hormuz, which separates the Arabian Peninsula from Iran and is the gateway between the Arabian Gulf and Indian Ocean. Artania makes an early morning approach to Muscat, the capital of Oman, where passengers can tour the city’s highlights, go on dolphin watching dhow cruises, or explore the surrounding Hajar Mountains on an organised safari.
Salalah is the other port of call in Oman, breaking up the long journey between Muscat and Egypt. The green city is famous for its plantations, frankincense trade and verdant mountain wadis.
Artania then spends three days at sea cruising for Hurghada, a beach resort town stretching some 40km along Egypt’s Red Sea coast, renowned for scuba diving. The following day Artania arrives in Aqaba, the gateway to Petra, a lost city hewn into the mountains of the desert, and the Dead Sea.
Artania then cruises for Eilat in Israel, which actually sits directly next to Aqaba. The city is known for its beaches and calm waters, like Dolphin Reef, where various marine mammals are often spotted. Known for snorkelling and diving, Coral Beach Nature Reserve has buoy-marked underwater trails among fish-filled reefs.
The ship then crosses back over to Egypt, calling in Sharm-el-Sheikh, from which passengers can either go to one of the many beach resorts, or take a tour to Cairo to see the Pyramids of Giza.
After Sharm-el-Sheikh, Artania transits the 120-mile Suez Canal and spends two days at sea cruising for Giardini Naxos on the Italian island of Sicily. Shore exclusions include a visit to the Etna volcano, as well as Taormina, a spectacular coastal town in the shadow of the volcano.
After another two days at sea, Artania arrives in Savona, home to the 16th century Priamar Fortress, which houses the Sandro Pertini Museum, with works by Guttuso and Miró. A 17th-century statue of Mary adorns the medieval tower Torre Leon Pancaldo, and there is also the Colle di Cadibona pass, which marks the start of a stretch on the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri trekking route, with sea and mountain views.