AIA Tours: cruise

Treasures of the Arabian Gulf

Tour Dates: January 27 - February 6, 2022 (11 days)

Tour Leader(s): Trevor Marchand ,

Travel with anthropologist/architectural historian Trevor Marchand on a splendid, small-ship adventure in the Arabian Gulf. Trevor has been leading study tours through the Middle East and North Africa to acclaim for many years. He will be joined by a distinguished diplomat, Elizabeth McKune, and an expert in Arabic and modern Arabic cultural traditions, Margaret Nydell, who are intimately familiar with this region.
Highlights include:

  • A luxurious, eight-day cruise between the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, embarking at Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and disembarking at Muscat, Oman.
  • After one hotel night in Dubai, travel aboard the luxurious and ultra-modern Le Jacques-Cartier that has just 92 staterooms but extensive amenities and public spaces, including a unique underwater lounge!
  • Our voyage is timed to include a full day at the Dubai World Expo.
  • From fascinating and futuristic Dubai, cruise to Abu Dhabi, the booming capital of the UAE, where we visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the heritage site/museum of Qasr Al Hosn, and Masdar City, an emerging eco-center.
  • Stop off at the nature reserve on the island of Sir Bani Yas, a unique wildlife sanctuary.
  • Doha, Qatar, blends tradition and modernity. Discover two fabulous museums, one with the largest collection of Islamic arts in the world, plus the Souq Waqif (marketplace) with traditional garments, spices, handicrafts, and souvenirs.
  • Le Jacques-Cartier will drop anchor in Khasab, gateway to the sublime “fjords of Arabia” that you will be able to explore aboard a traditional boat (dhow), before arriving in the Gulf of Oman.
  • Enjoy an excursion into the surrounding mountains of Fujairah and visit many architectural sites including Fujairah Fort, built in 1670, and Al Bidya Mosque, the oldest mosque in the UAE.
  • An optional, two-night extension in Oman explores Muscat, Nizwa, the oasis of Wadi Bani Khalid, and the spectacular dunes of the Wahiba Sands.

I hope you will join Trevor Marchand for this intriguing exploration of the old and new in the Arabian Gulf. We encourage you to make your reservation soon as space is limited on this popular cruise.

Program Rates per person (9 nights)

Staterooms starting at:
$6,790 Double occupancy
$8,290 Single occupancy
(Availability is limited, contact us for details – 800-748-6262 or email aia@studytours.org)
Download the detailed brochure for complete pricing and information

For reservations or questions, please email us at aia@studytours.org (and include your full name) or call us toll-free at (800) 748-6262 (toll: 603-756-2884). To reserve your space using the online form, click here.

Itinerary


Breakfast=(B), Lunch=(L), Reception=(R), Dinner=(D)

Thursday, January 27, 2022: Depart home
Friday, January 28: Arrive Dubai, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (UAE) | Welcome Reception
Saturday, January 29: Dubai city tour | Embarkation
Sunday, January 30: Dubai: World Expo
Monday, January 31: Abu Dhabi: City tour
Tuesday, February 1: Sir Bani Yas
Wednesday, February 2: Doha, QATAR: Museum visits, Souq Waqif
Thursday, February 3: At Sea
Friday, February 4: Khasab, OMAN | Musandam Peninsula dhow cruise
Saturday, February 5: Fujairah, UAE
Sunday, February 6: Muscat, OMAN | Disembarkation | Fly home or Optional post-tour extension

 

Treasures of the Oman Desert
February 6-8, 2022

Optional Post-Tour Extension
Enjoy two unforgettable days surrounded by breathtaking scenery from the Nizwa mountain region to the magic desert of Wahiba Sands. Between oases, fortresses, canyons, and dunes, you will experience nature, culture, and art of desert living.

Sunday, February 6, 2022: Muscat, OMAN | Muscat city tour | Jebel Akhdar
Monday, February 7:  Nizwa | Wahiba Sands
Tuesday, February 8: Return to Muscat | Fly home

View Detailed Itinerary

Breakfast=(B), Lunch=(L), Reception=(R), Dinner=(D)

Thursday, January 27, 2022:  Depart home
Depart home on independent flights to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Friday, January 28: Arrive Dubai, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (UAE) | Welcome Reception
Arrive in Dubai and check-in to the 5-star JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai (or similar). Join fellow travelers for a cocktail reception this evening. (R)

Saturday, January 29: Dubai city tour | Embarkation
A small coastal hamlet less than 100 years ago, Dubai has transformed itself into an irresistible modern metropolis. After breakfast at the hotel, ascend to the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa (2,722 ft. tall, just over half a mile high) for sweeping views of the city below. Proceed to the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding and, after lunch, enjoy a photo stop at the Burj al Arab, one of the tallest hotels in the world and shaped to resemble the sail of a ship. Drive through Palm Jumeirah, Dubai’s artificial, palm tree-shaped island, before visiting the Dubai Museum for an introduction to the history of Dubai and the Emirates. Travel to The Creek for a boat ride that showcases Dubai’s mixture of old and strikingly new architecture. Explore the covered Deira Old Souq (marketplace), also known as the Spice Souq, and spend time in the famed Gold Souq before embarking Le Jacques-Cartier, our home base for eight nights. (B,L,D)

Sunday, January 30: Dubai: World Expo
Spend a day exploring Expo 2020 Dubai, the first World Exposition to be held in the Middle East since the Expo was created in the mid-19th century. You will have an entire day to stroll through the alleys of the Expo featuring pavilions from more than 190 participating countries and with more than 200 restaurants. (B,D)

Monday, January 31: Abu Dhabi: City tour
Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, rivals the opulence of Dubai and is a true showcase of Arab and Islamic pride. Visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the few mosques in the region that is open to non-Muslims (except during prayer times), which is an architectural marvel comprising more than 80 marble domes and 1,000 pillars, plus a quartet of 350-foot-tall minarets. Next visit Qasr Al Hosn, dating back to the late 18th century. It is the region’s oldest heritage site, once a defensive structure, later a palace which served as a residence to the ruling Nahyan family, then the seat of government and most recently converted into a museum. Discover the Inner Fort (built in 1795) and the Outer Palace (built in the 1940s), while admiring its art and artifacts (weapons, images, maps, etc.), some dating to as early as 6000 B.C. Next visit Bait Al Gahwa to learn about Arabic coffee, its significance in the Emirati culture, and its meticulous preparation. End with a tour of Masdar City, an emerging eco-center that strives to be one of the world’s most sustainable urban developments. (B,L,D)

Tuesday, February 1: Sir Bani Yas
The largest natural island in the UAE, Sir Bani Yas was a barren desert island only 50 years ago. It was transformed by the vision of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founder of the UAE, into a wildlife reserve for animals indigenous to the Gulf region, as well as from East Africa. Board four-wheel-drive vehicles accompanied by an expert guide who will help you to look for Arabian oryx, gazelles, giraffes, hyenas, and cheetahs, and will explain the fragile ecosystem. (B,L,D)

Wednesday, February 2: Doha, QATAR: Museum visits, Souq Waqif
The stunningly modern and luxurious city of Doha shows no sign of reining in its ambition to be the most exciting city on the planet. Visit the I.M. Pei-designed Museum of Islamic Arts, constructed on its own island and home to the largest collection of Islamic arts in the world, including metal work, ceramics, jewelry, wood work, textiles, and glass, dating from the 7th to the 19th centuries. Next explore the shopping oasis of Souq Waqif—the ancient heart of the city with an extraordinary diversity of products for sale. We will enjoy an included lunch here and then visit the Jean Nouvel-designed National Museum of Qatar, whose architecture is extraordinary and whose vast collection focuses on natural history, Bedouin culture, and oil. (B,L,D)

Thursday, February 3: At Sea
Enjoy a full day at sea to relax and enjoy lectures and the amenities of our luxurious ship. (B,L,D)

Friday, February 4: Khasab, OMAN | Musandam Peninsula dhow cruise
Arrive in Khasab, a sleepy fishing village nestled among the fjords of the Musandam Peninsula, south of the Strait of Hormuz between the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Sail through Musandam’s longest fjord aboard local dhows, looking for the pods of dolphins that frequent these waters while admiring the majestic Hajar Mountains, the highest mountain range in the eastern Arabian Peninsula. (B,L,D)

Saturday, February 5: Fujairah, UAE
Located along the eastern coast of the UAE, on the Gulf of Oman, begin your visit of Fujairah with a visit to the 16th-century Fujairah Fort, the largest and oldest castle in the country. At the Fujairah Museum, discover more than 5,000 years of archaeological and ethnographic history. Enjoy photo stops at the Al Bithnah Oasis and the ancient mud-and-stone built Al-Bidiya Mosque. (B,L,D)

Sunday, February 6: Muscat, OMAN | Disembarkation | Fly home
We arrive in Muscat this morning and disembark in time for transfers to the airport for flights homeward. Or, join the three-day (two-night) extension in Oman. (B)


Treasures of the Oman Desert – February 6-8, 2022

Optional Post-Tour Extension
Enjoy two unforgettable days surrounded by breathtaking scenery from the Nizwa mountain region to the magic desert of Wahiba Sands. Between oases, fortresses, canyons, and dunes, you will experience nature, culture, and art of desert living.

Sunday, February 6, 2022: Muscat, OMAN | Muscat city tour | Jebel Akhdar
After breakfast aboard ship and disembarkation procedures are completed, we will explore Muscat, Oman’s capital. Begin with a visit to Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, a masterpiece of modern architecture with stunning carpets, chandeliers, and gardens. Then visit the Muttrah Souq, probably the oldest in Oman, where you will have some time to stroll the narrow lanes and admire the diversity of goods. Drive through the old city to Al Alam Palace to view this architectural marvel between the twin forts of Jalali and Mirani. After lunch at a local restaurant, we visit the Oman National Museum whose permanent collection comprises about 12,500 artifacts from Oman dating back to the prehistoric era. Finally, we drive an hour to the Jebel Akhdar mountain range and check-in to the 5-star Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort. Gather for dinner at the resort. (B,L,D)

Monday, February 7:  Nizwa | Wahiba Sands
Drive to Nizwa, Oman’s capital in the 6th and 7th centuries A.D., where we explore historical buildings and the imposing Nizwa Fort, with its enormous round tower. Built in the 17th century to defend the route to the interior, the fort dominates the entire area, with the town having grown around the edifice. Access to the top is only given by means of a narrow, twisting staircase barred by heavy wooden doors, studded with metal. From the top of the tower, one can get a bird’s eye view of the city of Nizwa. Next walk through Nizwa Souq, which is renowned for its intricately hand-carved khanjar (curved daggers) and ornately-designed silver jewelry. Drive onward to the Desert Nights Camp, Oman’s only luxury desert camp, where we check-in and enjoy lunch and Bedouin hospitality. This afternoon we board four-wheel-drive vehicles and drive over dunes toward Wadi Bani Khalid, an oasis in the desert with natural clear green spring water pools. Continue driving to Wahiba Sands, a perfect example of a “Sand Sea,” with some dunes attaining a height of over 300 feet. Return to our camp, admire the sunset from the top of the dunes, and enjoy dinner. (B,L,D)

Tuesday, February 8: Return to Muscat | Fly home
Depart camp in the early morning to drive (2.5 hours) to the airport in Muscat to catch flights homeward. (B)

 


For reservations or questions, please email us at aia@studytours.org (and include your full name) or call us toll-free at (800) 748-6262 (toll: 603-756-2884). To reserve your space using the online form, click here.

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