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Exploring the Arabian Sea: Dubai to Amman - 2023

Your 18-night journey includes: 13-night small ship cruise with Khasab, Sur, Salalah, Safaga (Luxor), Hurghada, Eilat & Aqaba; 2 nights at a Deluxe hotel in Dubai; 2 nights at a Deluxe hotel in Amman
  • Small Ship Ocean Cruise from Dubai to Amman | The Lost City of Petra, carved from Jordan's red sandstone cliffs
  • Spend an evening among Karnak's massive ruins and sacred lake, as the grand spectacle of Egypt’s history comes alive through music, narration, imagery, and light
  • Explore the legendary mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut and visit the Valley of the Kings and Queens
  • Architecture, design, cuisine, leisure, shopping — everything in Dubai is done on an eye-popping, grand scale!
  • Round out this remarkable journey with an extension to Abu Dhabi & Dubai
  • All FREE Single Supplements Are Sold Out
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FREE Solo Space
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Up to FREE Business Class.
Save up to $3,498 per couple with FREE international airfare
Third Woman Sails FREE on all departures

There’s no better way to discover the riches of the Arabian Peninsula than with Vantage and our 5-star Ocean Odyssey. From ancient and UNESCO-listed treasures in Luxor and Petra to dazzling Dubai, join us on this cultural and historical voyage across five nations — United Arab Emirates, Oman, Egypt, Israel, and Jordan.

You’ll explore biblical history, sublime desertscapes and city skylines, as well as enduring religious and cultural traditions. Cruise on a wooden dhow through the Straits of Hormuz to Oman’s Musandam Fjords. Disembark for an overnight inland excursion in Luxor, which brings you to the valleys of the Kings and Queens, Karnak, Luxor Temple, and a stay at the indulgent Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa. And discover Dubai, ultramodern playground of the powerful.

On this ocean cruise, you’ll set off aboard our 5-star Ocean Odyssey — built to navigate varied waters with ULSTEIN X-BOW® technology. Enjoy the service of a dedicated Concierge both before and after your trip who can help you make special reservations onshore, organize group activities, and more! Plus, enjoy enlightening lectures onboard and inform your natural and cultural discoveries onshore. Our intimately-sized Ocean Explorer is designed with a total of just 77 cabins — including a landmark 15 solo cabins — which allows us to dock onshore in most locations, cutting down on tenders and giving you more time to enjoy in your destination.

In addition to the services of our complimentary worldwide Concierge service, you’ll be able to tailor your voyage further with your choice of tours in Salalah and Eilat, including a chance to swim with dolphins on the shores of the Red Sea. With 30 included features and Cultural Discoveries, you’ll be thrilled by performances and the insights of a guest lecturer to enhance your understanding of this timeless region. Add on optional pre- and post-trip extensions to Abu Dhabi and Jordan’s Dead Sea Treasures for the most comprehensive — and unforgettable — exploration of the Arabian Peninsula.

Dubai to Aqaba

Pre-Trip Extension

Abu Dhabi & Dubai (Pre-Trip)

FROM: $1499 PER PERSON | 4 DAYS | $375 PER DAY
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DAY 1:

Fly to Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Your magic carpet ride begins today! You’ll fly overnight from the U.S. to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Or, depart earlier for your pre-trip extension to Abu Dhabi & Dubai.

DAY 2:

Arrive in Dubai

If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, upon arrival at the airport a Vantage representative will meet you and arrange transfer to your centrally-located hotel. Settle in, relax and take the rest of the day to enjoy a veritable treasure trove of luxurious pools, beaches, shops, spas and fine restaurants in and around your hotel. Dinner is on your own tonight.

DAY 3:

Welcome to Dubai with a tour of the city and a Burj Khalifa evening excursion

This morning you’ll meet your fellow travelers at a Welcome Briefing, then enjoy a Dubai Cultural tour. Get a feel for Dubai’s roots as you explore some of its historic icons. Visit the Dubai Museum, housed in the 18th-century Al Fahidi Fort; the Old Town with its gypsum and coral houses; and the wealthy mercantile Bastakia neighborhood. On Dubai Creek you’ll take a traditional abra water taxi to the gold souk, where you won't believe your eyes; and the spice souk, where you won’t believe your nose! You’ll have time to enjoy lunch here on your own, followed by an afternoon at leisure. 

An evening excursion later whisks you to the observation deck of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest structure in Dubai. Spiraling 2,717 feet into the air like a giant twisting needle, it is the tallest building in the world. Afterward, enjoy a Welcome Dinner at the Souk Al Bahar, an elegant waterfront marketplace with 22 restaurants, dozens of shops, and the Dubai Fountain, a larger replica of what you'd see at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Certainly an evening to remember!

Included Features:

  • Cultural Dubai city tour
  • Burj Khalifa observation deck visit

Cultural Discoveries:

  • Visit the Dubai Museum
  • Abra water taxi ride to the gold and spice souks

Included meals:

Breakfast & dinner

DAY 4:

Be dazzled by Dubai, and embark the Ocean Odyssey

After a leisurely breakfast you’ll check out of your hotel, and enjoy a panoramic modern Dubai city tour. Two of the most iconic landmarks will be the Palm Atlantis on its crescent-shaped man-made island, and the Burj al Arab, a sailboat-shaped hotel that stands more than 1,000 feet high, which you'll be able to see from a distance. You’ll also see the Frame, a giant, picture-frame shaped structure built to provide unique city views from each of its four sides. The marvels of Dubai are not limited skyward. You’ll also see some of the amazing, man-made luxury islands that have been created in the Persian Gulf, such as Palm Jumeirah, shaped like a palm tree. It’s studded with elegant villas, marinas, parks, and malls selling interesting jewelry, artwork, Islamic calligraphy, and more.

Lunch will be on your own in downtown Dubai. This afternoon you’ll transfer to the pier at Port Rashid, and come aboard the Ocean Odyssey where the luxury continues. During your 13-nights onboard this ocean cruise, you'll simultaneously enjoy an adventure of natural and cultural discovery and 5-star, luxury amenities such as top-deck hot tubs, a hot rock cooking restaurant, and more. While at some destinations we will be required to tender to and from the ship, today you’ll be able to stroll right onboard from the dock! Get settled into your cabin, then check out the ship's many amenities, including a multilevel lounge, spa, fitness center, and more. The captain looks forward to seeing you at tonight’s Welcome Dinner!

Included Feature:

  • Half-day panoramic modern Dubai city tour

Included meals:

Breakfast & dinner

DAY 5:

Dhow cruise to Oman’s Musandam Fjords and Telegraph Island

After breakfast you’ll disembark in Khasab, Oman, to see something you most likely have never imagined to find in this part of the world . . .

A wooden dhow awaits to take you along the Straits of Hormuz to a spectacular, fjord-fringed region that is known as the “Norway of Arabia.” The Musandam Peninsula is carved by a series of inlets called khors, lined by mountainous jebels and sheer cliffs that plummet into the turquoise waters below. You may have an escort of seabirds or dolphins as we sail into the awesome Khor Al Sham, heading towards Telegraph Island, so-called for the telegraph cables that the British laid here in 1864. Bring your bathing suit in case you want to go for a swim in the clear cool waters, or just sit back with an iced tea as you admire the backdrop of 2,000-foot Al-Hajar Mountains rising in the distance.

You'll return to the ship for lunch and an afternoon at leisure as the Ocean Odyssey sets sail — grab a book and head to the sun deck for the ultimate relaxation, or perhaps you'll get in a workout at the gym.

Later, head to the lounge for an illuminating talk from the onboard lecturer before dinner on board. 

Included Feature:

  • Dhow cruise to Musandam fjords and Telegraph Island

Cultural Discovery:

  • Onboard lecture

Scenic Sailing:

  • You may have an escort of seabirds or dolphins as we sail into the awesome Khor Al Sham, heading toward Telegraph Island

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 6:

Discover Oman’s maritime heritage in Sur

Enjoy a leisurely morning on board as you sail to Sur, on the Gulf of Oman, arriving in the early afternoon. Join the onboard lecturer for another scintillating talk highlighting the culture and history of your destinations. Your ship will be anchored offshore, and you will tender in by Zodiac craft. Please be aware that a certain level of agility is required to embark and disembark these smaller vessels.

After lunch, you will embark on a tour of ancient Sur, first stopping along the way to see hilltop Sunaysilah Fort, a square castle with round watchtowers that was constructed in 1648. It overlooks Sur below and the gulf to the east.

Chances are Sinbad the Sailor made most of his seven fantastical voyages aboard a wooden dhow made right here in Sur, which has been a premier shipbuilding center for nearly 2,000 years. An example of the city’s shipbuilding prowess is the Fatah al Khair, a restored, 70-year-old dhow that weighs 220 tons and now stands on dry land as a monument. It was made by hand without nails, using handmade ropes to shore up the joints. Many dhows are still made this way and you will see several under construction as you tour the shipyard. Before heading back to the ship you’ll also enjoy a walk around the old fishing village of Al Ayjah, with its lighthouse, fort, and old merchant houses with intricately carved doors.

Included Feature:

  • Half-day Sur city tour

Cultural Discoveries:

  • Lecture on Oman
  • Tour of a dhow-making shipyard in Sur

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 7:

Cruising the Arabian Sea

Take a full day to relax on board. Perhaps you’ll enjoy a workout in the gym, followed by a soak in the hot tub. Relax with a cocktail in the multilevel lounge, or take in the expansive sea views from your very own balcony. Feel like browsing? There are dozens of books you may borrow from our library, or get a massage or facial treatment at the spa. Hear another eye-opening discussion with our guest lecturer and, later, enjoy a live performance by our onboard musicians.

Cultural Discoveries:

  • Onboard lecture
  • Onboard entertainment

Onboard Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional onboard experience. Enhance your time on board with one of our Vantage-exclusive activities, including wine and whiskey tastings, a multicourse Chef’s Table Dinner, or an exclusive wine-pairing dinner. Learn more

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 8:

In the Land of Frankincense: Khor Rori or the Frankincense Trail, your choice of included tours

Spend the morning sailing towards Salalah, enjoying breakfast on board. Another informative talk with the lecturer will contextualize your discoveries today. 

Salalah is the capital of Dhofar province and has been long associated with the production and trade of frankincense. This aromatic resin of the native boswellia sacra tree has been prized for centuries for its medicinal and fragrant properties. Several sites around Salalah were important to the incense trade that began flourishing between the Middle East, Mediterranean, India, and China around the 4th century BC. For that reason, they are collectively designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site called The Land of Frankincense. After lunch on board you’ll have a choice of two included sightseeing tours showcasing different aspects of it. Since your ship with Berth in Salalah, you’ll be able to disembark with ease—no waiting, and no tendering. Both tours conclude at the Haffa souk, but begin as follows:

Khor Rori in East Salalah begins with a visit to the pretty white fishing village of Taqah, famous for the dried sardines produced here. Visit Taqah Castle, the former governor’s residence that is filled with art and household artifacts reflecting the traditional Omani way of life. From here you’ll visit the ancient ruins of Sumhuram, also known as Khor Rori, the name of the freshwater lagoon that was Sumhuram’s vital link to the sea. The ruins here include smooth limestone blocks that once lined the city’s gate, fort, well, and storage rooms.

The Frankincense Trail Tour begins with a visit to Nabi Ayoub. It is reputed to be the tomb of the biblical Job, who is considered a prophet in Islam and is also revered for his patience and devotion to God. It is set in the lush green mountains of the Salalah plains, a land of plantations. You’ll stop to taste a fresh coconut water drink at one of the fruit stalls lining the road. Also included is a visit to the Museum of the Frankincense Land at Al Baleed Archaeological Park. 

If you’re wondering what frankincense smells like, you’ll find out when both tours conclude with a visit to the old Haffa souk, the best and largest in town. The scent of frankincense fills the air as you wander among the many colorful shops selling different grades of the resin, essential oils, decorative burners, jewelry, handicrafts, and more. Riding back to the ship you’ll have a photo stop at Salalah Sultan Qaboos Mosque as well.

You'll return from your half-day tour in time to embark the ship for dinner on board as the ship departs Salalah.

Included Feature:

  • Excursion to East Salalah or The Frankincense Trail

Cultural Discoveries:

  • East Salalah tour: Taqah Castle, visit to local souk (market)
  • or
    Frankincense Trail: Taste of fresh coconut water during a visit to the city's plantations, visit to Frankincense Museum
  • Onboard lecture

Scenic Sailing:

  • Prepare to be amazed as Oman’s dramatic, rocky coastline opens up to Salalah’s white sand beaches

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAYS 9-12:

Cruising the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea

Enjoy the next few days relaxing on board your floating resort at sea. This is the perfect opportunity to indulge in some spa treatments or meet friends for drinks in the lounge. But that’s just the start.

During your time on board there will be an ongoing schedule of enrichment programs featuring expert lectures on a variety of topics relevant to your exploration, classes, games, and more. Your days ahead will be filled with plenty of discoveries, so think of these sea days as necessary downtime before the excitement to come. 

Vantage Onboard Enrichment:

  • Expert lectures on various topics
  • Cooking demonstrations by the onboard chef
  • Onboard musician

Onboard Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional onboard experience. Enhance your time on board with one of our Vantage-exclusive activities, including wine and whiskey tastings, a multicourse Chef’s Table Dinner, or an exclusive wine-pairing dinner. Learn more

Included Meals:

4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners

DAY 13:

Arrive in the Land of Pharaohs

Today you will continue cruising through the Red Sea, arriving around dinner at Safaga. The small size of your ship allows us to berth here, meaning you’ll be able to walk right onshore from the Odyssey.

Prepare for your overnight journey tomorrow into Egypt’s pharaonic past as our expert lecturer delivers a fascinating talk on ancient Egyptian culture.

Cultural Discovery:

  • Lecture on ancient Egyptian culture

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 14:

Overnight stay in Luxor, the site of ancient Thebes

You’ll get an early start as we ride across the desert to Luxor, the modern city that straddles the Nile and was once the ancient Egyptian capital of Thebes. Inhabited since about 3200 BC, it is still defined by its antique treasures, which include the temples of Karnak and Luxor, and the vast Necropolis of Thebes. Together, they comprise a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you will see them all today, with an expert Egyptologist to guide you.

As you approach Luxor you will enter the Necropolis and explore its most famous section, the Valley of the Kings. Here, for some 500 years, more than 60 pharaohs' temples and burial chambers were cut deep into imposing rock cliffs, decorated with elaborate hieroglyphics, and filled with treasures and royal household implements. You’ll enter some of these magnificent tombs, including those of the powerful King Ramses and the famous boy-king Tutankhamun. You’ll also visit the Valley of the Queens, where archaeologists have unearthed more than 90 tombs of pharaohs’ wives and children.

Perhaps the most beautiful monument of all is the elegant Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir al-Bahri. Carved directly into a rock cliff, it is flanked by symmetrical, colonnaded wings and entered via a long, terraced processional walkway. Hatshepsut was Egypt’s longest-reigning female pharaoh, whose mostly peaceful rule was characterized by prosperity, prolific building, and the establishment of new trade routes. She is considered one of Egypt’s most successful rulers. Leaving the Necropolis you’ll stop at the famous Colossi of Memnon, two gigantic sandstone statues that served as sentries before the (now destroyed) tomb of Amenhotep III. Legend has ascribed oracular powers to them and they have been known to emit a curious whistling or moaning sound under certain conditions. From here you’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, after which we'll check into our hotel and enjoy a respite before the tour continues this evening. 

Achieve another travel milestone this evening when you explore the Temple of Karnak, the world’s second-largest religious structure. Built over 2,000 years, it is still being excavated and of its four known sections, only one is open to the public and that alone encompasses some 61 acres of temples, avenues, obelisks, pylons, sanctuaries, lakes and more. Among its highlights is the Great Hypostyle Hall, supported by a forest of 134 79-foot-high columns set in 16 rows. 

We'll have dinner before learning about the history of Karnak, and the fascinating legends of the kings, queens, gods, and goddesses it was dedicated to, at tonight's spectacular sound and light show. You’ll wander among the beautifully illuminated temple grounds and then sit beside the Sacred lake as the past comes alive through light, music, story, and imagery.

After, you'll enjoy an evening off the ship as you check into your hotel and enjoy dinner there.

Included Features:

  • Guided tour of the Valley of Kings and Temple of Queen Hatshepsut
  • Visit the Temple of Karnak

Cultural Discovery:

  • Karnak sound and light show

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 15:

Luxor Temple, travel overland to meet the Ocean Odyssey

Check out of the hotel after breakfast this morning, and then head to the fascinating Luxor Temple.

More compact than Karnak, Luxor was mainly built by Amenhotep III and the great Ramses II, but also boasts shrines built by Tutankhamun and Greece’s Alexander the Great. Later it served as a Roman legionnaire fortress. Luxor was once connected to Karnak by a long, ceremonial avenue lined with sphinxes, many of which still stand.

After exploring the temple you’ll enjoy lunch en route while traveling overland back to our ship, which awaits in the seaside resort of Hurghada. This evening you will be our dinner guest at the Alf Leila wa Leila, and enjoy its popular Fantasia 1001 extravaganza. Set in a grand theater, this celebration of Egyptian culture covers thousands of years of history through elaborate costumes, music, dance, lights, water works, acrobatics and more. There’s even a display of whirling dervishes and Bedouin horsemanship!

After the evening’s festivities, you’ll embark the Ocean Odyssey once again. Please note that in Hurghada, we must anchor offshore, which means you will have to tender back to the ship.

Included Feature:

  • Tour of Luxor Temple

Cultural Discovery:

  • Dinner at Alf Leila wa Leila with Fantasia 1001 Egyptian cultural show

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 16:

Eilat Israel Kibbutz experience or Dolphin Reef

Enjoy breakfast this morning as you sail through the Red Sea. Another interesting lecture preludes lunch on board today. 

Cruising into the Gulf of Aqaba, you’ll disembark at Eilat, the Israeli seaside resort known worldwide for its desert beauty, clear waters, and excellent diving and snorkeling. Since your ship will berth here, you’ll be able to stroll right onshore. Choose between two afternoon sightseeing tours:

Your Kibbutz Yotvata & Hai Bar Safari option takes you into the Negev Desert and the Arava Valley’s Yotvata Hai-Bar animal reserve. Here, endangered and regionally extinct species are being bred and reintroduced into their native habitat. You might see Arabian oryxes, Nubian ibexes, red-necked ostriches, wild asses, Arabian leopards, griffon vultures and more. Next, ride to Kibbutz Yotvata and experience a slice of life one of the communal settlements that was vital to the formation of modern Israel. Its main industry is a dairy that is famous around Israel for its high-quality yogurt, milk, and ice cream, which you'll get to sample.

If swimming with dolphins is on your bucket list, choose our Dolphin Reef option. You’ll ride to a secluded, horseshoe-shaped lagoon where bottlenose dolphins maintain their daily routine of hunting, playing, courting, and socializing. They are friendly and curious about humans, and you can swim and snorkel with them or watch their antics from various observation piers and platforms. Other denizens of this turquoise lagoon include angelfish, cuttlefish, butterflyfish, and blue- or black-spotted stingrays.

You’ll be back on board in time for the Captain's Farewell Dinner and a relaxing evening.

Included Feature:

  • Israel Kibbutz experience or swimming and snorkeling at Dolphin Reef

Cultural Discovery:

  • Onboard lecture

Scenic Sailing:

  • Morning sailing into the Gulf of Aqaba

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 17:

Discover the “Rose Red City” of Petra

After breakfast this morning, your ship will berth in Aqaba and you’ll disembark with ease — we hope you enjoyed your time on Vantage's 5-star small ship ocean cruising vessel!

Then it's time to accomplish yet another travel milestone. It begins as you step foot in historic Aqaba, where T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) led local Bedouin tribesmen in a historic revolt against their Turkish occupiers. Then, crossing the beautiful desert wadis, you will come to the town of Wadi Musa, home of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Petra that was built by the Nabataen civilization around 300 BC.

Imagine walking along the Siq, a winding, sandy pathway flanked by red rock walls so high and curvy, they nearly block the sky. Suddenly, you approach a large, keyhole-shaped opening that reveals a broad plaza and Al Khazneh, the elaborately carved, tiered Treasury building hewn into a cliff wall. Like the other ruins you will see here in Petra its color shifts from fiery red to soft coral to amber gold depending on the light. In addition to a guided tour of the ruins, you will enjoy an included lunch.

From Petra, you will transfer to Amman via the King’s Highway, which traces the ancient route followed by Moses, the Israelites, Crusaders, and more. Then, check into your hotel and enjoy the rest of the evening at leisure.

Included Feature:

  • Guided tour of Petra

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 18:

See the best of Amman, capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Enjoy breakfast, then set out on a morning city tour. Though it is one of the most modern capitals in the Middle East, Amman is also one of the oldest, with a human history that dates as far back as 7250 BC. Amman was once conquered by King David, and ruled by Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Egyptians and Romans. Its multicultural heritage is on display at the hilltop Citadel, with its blend of ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic ruins. You’ll also see the 2nd-century Roman Theater and lovely Abu Darwish Mosque. Your tour concludes with a stroll through the Gold Souk, named for its concentration of jewelry shops selling unique local items.

After lunch at a local restaurant, the afternoon is yours to rest or explore on your own. This afternoon, hear about Jordanian culture from a local. Then, toast the conclusion of a marvelous journey at our Farewell Dinner. Depending on your home city, you may be departing for home this evening on a late flight, or some time tomorrow.

Included Feature:

  • Half-day Amman city tour

Cultural Discovery:

  • Lecture on Jordanian culture and history by a local anthropological expert

Please note: Depending on air routing, some travelers may fly home late tonight. 

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 19:

Return home

After breakfast you’ll transfer to the airport for your return flight home. Or, if you’re joining our Jordan’s Dead Sea Treasures post-trip extension, you’ll stay in Jordan for three more nights!

Included meals:


Post-Trip Extension

Jordan’s Dead Sea Treasures (Post-Trip)

FROM: $1399 PER PERSON | 4 DAYS | $350 PER DAY

Please Note: Ocean cruising is not the same experience as river cruising; as such, you may experience fluctuating tides and weather patterns that may involve some rocking of your vessel. Itineraries will include all activities as planned except in extreme cases that can’t be controlled by your shipboard crew. Day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Cruise Director or regional expert.

Contact Vantage

CALL 8-888-888-6677

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