Planning a Middle East cruise – all the important details

The Middle East is a popular region among cruising lovers. The Arabian countries that one can visit during a Middle East cruise have a complex culture and an impressive history. Since 2010, the tourism in this area continues to grow at a rapid pace. More and more tourists choose Middle East itineraries for their holidays. Stable countries such as the United Arab Emirates are currently receiving numerous cruise ships. The Arabian Gulf, as well as the Suez Canal and the Nile River became central cruise routes for many people.

People who seek exotic experiences should definitely opt for a Middle East cruise at least once in a lifetime. Because of the guaranteed hot weather and the oriental feel, most tourists who choose this location are European, but not restricted to them. Most of the destinations in a Middle East cruise are enchanted by the Muslim culture, which is eye-opening and worth to remember. This article is meant to be a guide for any person who desires to build an itinerary for a Middle East cruise. Here are details related to the most popular routes, ports and stops in this region:

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The most popular routes are:

  • The Arabian Gulf.

The Arabian Gulf is probably the most selected cruise route among people who want to visit the Middle East. The location that tourists visit when they choose The Arabian Gulf as their main route include Dubai and Muscat. Of course, tourists can choose where they want to travel and they can use other means of transportation to reach their desired destination. An Arabian Gulf usually lasts around seven nights. Oman is another popular destination when choosing the Persian Gulf cruise line.  

  • The Suez Canal.

The second most popular cruise line in the Middle East is the Suez Canal. In many cases, the Suez Canal can be included as a subsegment of a bigger cruise, but this all depends on the preferences and possibilities of the tourist. For a longer cruise, choose a line that includes the Suez Canal as well. For a shorter one, choose a cruise that only passes through the Canal. Such cruises include the Red Sea, so the destination possibilities are more numerous. Tourists who select the Suez Canal line have as a main destination the Valley of the Kings or Jordan’s Petra.

Cruises on the Nile River line encompass the most popular tourist attractions in Egypt. Nile River cruises cover locations such as Luxor, Karnak, Edfu and Aswan. Depending on the preferences of the tourists, the cruise can reach Alexandria, in the northern part of Egypt. Nile cruises can last anywhere from three to seven nights, based on how many destinations are included in the itinerary.

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The biggest ports are:

  • Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi is probably the most famous port in the Middle East. Abu Dhabi is also the capital of the United Arab Emirates and the wealthiest part of this area. The port is located centrally and the area is full of luxurious resorts where people can spend several days. Abu Dhabi is also full of tourist attractions, cultural institutions and business centers. The number of activities that one can choose in Abu Dhabi is tremendous, ranging from playing golf to sunbathing or shopping at the most impressive malls in the world.

  • Aqaba.

The Jordanian city of Aqaba is often on the list of people who choose Middle East cruises. A cruise that has Aqaba as a main destination often includes attractions in Egypt and Israel. Aqaba is the top destination for people who are passionate about snorkeling or scuba diving because of the clear waters and coral reefs in the area. The beautiful sights also make it a great location for cruising. Ships stop to Aqaba in a large number because many tourists want to visit Petra, which is only two hours away from Aqaba. The lost city of Petra is probably the biggest tourist attraction in Jordan.

  • Luxor.

Luxor, also known as Safaga, is a location in the south region of Egypt. This Egyptian port is also crowded at most times of the year. Tourists visit Luxor mostly for the Valley of the Kings, which may represent the highlight of an Egyptian Cruise. The temples of Luxor and Karnak represent the main tourist attractions in this area. Even though the Valley of the Kings can only be reached by driving, a cruise stop in this port is mandatory for a perfect Middle East cruise.


A few location highlights for a Middle East cruise:

  • Madina.

Madina is the most suitable choice for people who seek spiritual growth. The area is known for its cultural history and it is a popular destination among people who want to discover the customs of the Muslim people. Of course, the luxury hotels in Madina are not disappointing either. Madina is a well-developed location that is definitely worth a stop.

  • Egypt.

Egypt is one of the countries that can boast an old history. Every year, the country is visited by over 12 million tourists, attracted by the mystery and legends surrounding the ancient pyramids, pharaohs and gods. The history of this civilization hides many secrets and curiosities that are still attracting more and more visitors.

  • Israel.

Israel is a peaceful, developed state nowadays, a place where all the Jewish people in the world are fond of. The community is a united one, characterized by the desire to preserve the common cultural heritage. Tel Aviv is a very beautiful city that will remain in tourists’ memory. With large and airy boulevards, the cities offer you an ecclesial vision of architecture. In addition to glass buildings houses that are true masterpieces of Oriental architecture can be noticed.

John Shallo
John Shallo
John Shallo is the founder and editor of Cruise Addicts. Since 1999 it has been a leading destination for cruise travelers and self professed Cruise Addicts looking for the latest news, ship reviews and travel tips.

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