A Middle East cruise is a voyage through living layers of history under a sun that casts a warm, golden glow on ancient sands and azure seas. Often referred to as the cradle of civilization, this region weaves together a rich narrative of cultures, age-old wonders, and picturesque beauty. As your cruise ship glides along tranquil waters, each port of call beckons with a blend of the old and new. Pristine beaches, with their golden sands and gentle waves, offer a soothing retreat for sun-seekers. Yet, a mere stone's throw away, bustling bazaars, majestic mosques, and ancient ruins await to transport you to bygone eras. Here, the charm of the desert seamlessly melds with the cool sea breeze, crafting a journey that captivates both the heart and mind. It's a realm where relaxation and discovery sail hand in hand, promising an enriching adventure that awaits the moment you cast anchor. With cruise line volume buys plus our low everyday prices you can save up to 80% versus the brochure price! Book your Middle East cruise today with AffordableTours.com, your discounted cruise headquarters.Middle East Travel Guide
|Jun 01, 2024
|Alanya | Athens (piraeus) | Ephesus (kusadasi) | Jerusalem (haifa) | Marmaris | Mykonos | Paphos | Patmos | Thessaloniki | Volos
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|Jun 27, 2024
|Alexandria | Athens (piraeus) | Bari | Cairo (port Said) | Ephesus (kusadasi) | Heraklion (crete) | Istanbul | Izmir | Jerusalem (haifa) | Kavala/philippi | Kotor | Santorini | Split | Venice
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|Aug 31, 2024
|Seven Seas Voyager
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|Oct 15, 2024
|Ashdod, Israel | Athens (Piraeus), Greece | Civitavecchia, Italy | Dubrovnik, Croatia | Iraklion, Greece | Istanbul, Turkey | Koper, Slovenia | Kusadasi, Turkey | Limassol, Cyprus | Mykonos, Greece | Naples, Italy | Nazareth, Israel | Santorini, Greece | Split, Croatia | Trieste, Italy
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|May 01, 2025
|Ashdod, Israel | Athens (Piraeus), Greece | Civitavecchia, Italy | Corfu, Greece | Dubrovnik, Croatia | Iraklion, Greece | Istanbul, Turkey | Kusadasi, Turkey | Limassol, Cyprus | Mykonos, Greece | Naples, Italy | Nazareth, Israel | Santorini, Greece | Trieste, Italy
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|Sep 21, 2025
|Alexandria, Egypt | Ashdod, Israel | Athens (Piraeus), Greece | Haifa, Israel | Istanbul, Turkey | Korcula Island, Croatia | Kusadasi, Turkey | Limassol, Cyprus | Mykonos, Greece | Rhodes, Greece | Rijeka, Croatia | Santorini, Greece | Trieste, Italy
Up To $500 Onboard Credit
Middle East Travel Guide
Middle East Cruises Highlights
- Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Dubai is a dazzling blend of modernity and tradition. The port is ultra-modern, with top-notch facilities to welcome the seafaring guests. Nearby, the iconic Burj Khalifa towers over the city, while traditional souks offer a taste of the local culture. The juxtaposition of the futuristic skyline with the old-world charm is a sight to behold.
- Muscat, Oman: Muscat's port is a serene gateway to Oman's rich heritage. A short drive from the port, the grandiose Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, and the Royal Opera House await, offering a glimpse into the country's architectural finesse and cultural richness.
- Aqaba, Jordan: Aqaba is Jordan's window to the sea, with a welcoming port leading to a land steeped in history. Nearby, the ancient city of Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage site, beckons with its archaeological wonders.
- Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: The port of Abu Dhabi opens up a world of luxury and tradition. The awe-inspiring Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the bustling Corniche are just a short drive away, offering a blend of spiritual and modern allure.
- Petra, Jordan: An archaeological gem, Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its rock-cut architecture. The iconic Treasury and the Monastery are glimpses into the Nabatean kingdom's grandeur.
- Pyramids of Giza, Egypt: The last of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World; these pyramids are a testament to Egypt's architectural prowess and historical richness.
- Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE: Soaring above Dubai's skyline, Burj Khalifa is the world's tallest structure, offering breathtaking views of the city from its observation decks.
- Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat, Oman: An epitome of Islamic architecture with a captivating blend of Islamic, Middle Eastern, and Omani styles. Its grand prayer hall houses one of the world's largest chandeliers and hand-woven carpets.
- Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, UAE: This architectural marvel is a symbol of modern Islamic architecture with its stunning white domes, minarets, and reflective pools.
- The Dead Sea: Bordering Jordan to the east and Israel to the west, the Dead Sea is famous for its hyper-saline waters and mineral-rich mud, offering a unique floating experience.
- Luxor Temple and Karnak Temple, Egypt: These ancient temples in Luxor are splendid remnants of Egypt's Pharaonic era, displaying the grandiosity of ancient Egyptian civilization.
Middle East Cruises Travel Tips
- Most of the countries covered in the cruise of the Middle East accept payments in either US Dollars or Euros. Visa and Master Cards are also accepted widely at local stores and for using public transport as well.
- Arabic is the major language in many Middle Eastern countries but there is general acceptability of English as well due to the huge number of expat settlements in these countries.
- Weather in the Middle East is generally very hot and humid but if your time of traveling is during winters, you will not face many problems. For travelers who are taking the cruise to the Middle East during the summers it is better to load up on those summer shorts and extra sunscreen as the temperatures can go as high as 50 degrees Celsius.
- Cities in the Middle Eastern countries are very well connected with highways and you can easily travel between cities, though there are some old cities and towns which lack this facility of modern infrastructure.
- There are many Muslim countries in the Middle East, in these areas public display of affection or wearing too revealing clothes could hurt the sentiments of the general population.
Middle East Cruises Things To Do
- Doha, Qatar
Qatar is one of the most developed countries in the Middle East. Doha, which is the capital of Qatar, is slowly and gradually becoming one of the top destinations for business and leisure tours in the Middle East. This city has a very diverse culture and gives you a lot of opportunities to explore the same as well. You can go for a walk on its showpiece seafront promenade or take a tour of its neighboring city that is being specially constructed for FIFA 2022.
Best Time To VisitThe sun in Doha can get really hot in the summers. Visit Doha somewhere between October and April when the weather is a bit on the cooler side.
You Should KnowDoha has its own small cruises, which the locals call "Dhow", taking an hour-long trip on this traditional Arabic boat while enjoying the sunset is well worth it. If you want to experience the true flavor of Middle Eastern shopping then you should surely visit Souq, where you will witness small vendors selling perfumes, spices, and handicrafts on the alleyways. The bus system in Doha can get a little crowded sometimes so a more convenient option is to use Uber which is available around the city and is also cheaper than the traditional Taxi service called "Karwa".
- Dubai, UAE
UAE comprises of seven states, which they call "Emirates", and Dubai is one of those Emirates. There is so much to see and do in Dubai that one trip might just not be enough. Just one visit to Dubai will make you fall in love with the place. Go for a Desert Safari if you like to do off-roading but if you are accompanied by kids then Wild Wadi waterpark should be your top priority.
Best Time To VisitJanuary and February are marked as the months of Dubai's shopping festival, and the weather is also favorable during those months, so it is better to plan your trip to Dubai around that timeline.
You Should KnowIf you are tired of traveling by sea you can take a helicopter ride and fly high to see the beauty of Dubai's palm-shaped islands. UAE is a Muslim country so restaurants and malls in Dubai are usually closed during the day in the month of Ramadan. Although restaurants will include a small tip in your bill, tipping is a common practice, so giving a small tip to a supermarket bagger or your hotel luggage carrier is considered a good gesture.
- Abu Dhabi, UAE
Another one of UAE's Emirate, Abu Dhabi is also the capital of the country. As compare to Dubai, you will witness a more prevalent Arabic culture in Abu Dhabi, because a greater proportion of expats live in Dubai. If you ever get a chance to visit Abu Dhabi don't forget to visit the exquisite Sheikh Zayed Mosque.
Best Time To VisitUsually, the best time to travel to Abu Dhabi is during the winter months of December and January but if you don't mind the heat and want to save a few bucks on hotel reservations, April and May are a more suitable choice.
You Should KnowIf you are passionate about cars, especially Ferrari then Yas Island is the place for you. It has a theme park called Ferrari World and it is all about Ferrari and Formula 1. There are designated smoking rooms in public areas for the convenience of smokers because smoking in public areas is banned by Abu Dhabi's Health Ministry. Abu Dhabi is considered one of the safest cities in the world due to its low crime rate so if you want to take a stroll at night, you are totally good to go.
- Salalah, Oman
Located on the southern side of Oman, Salalah is a city embraced by nature's bounties. The city famous for its Banana plantations is otherwise a desert land but during the monsoon, the desert terrain is transformed into a green landscape with occasional waterfalls as well. Safari in the mountains can be a perfect escape for you after a long day in the sea.
Best Time To VisitSalalah is well known in the Middle East because of its monsoon season which is why you should visit Salalah around June to August.
You Should KnowMuseum-lovers must ensure that they make a stop at Salalah because you wouldn't want to miss the opportunity to visit the Museum of Frankincense Land. A visit to the Museum is a great way to learn about the land. There are luxurious Omani hotels on the coastline of Salalah and you can enjoy your stay right by the beach. If you want to travel to farther areas of Salalah, lack of public transport can be an issue and you have to go for a taxi to travel within the city.
- Petra, Jordan
The ancient city of Petra dates back to the 4th Century B.C. It used to be a kingdom and now it is an important archeological and tourist site. A visit to a city like Petra takes you a thousand years in the historical times when the empires like these used to rule the world. A walk in the streets of this city will make you feel like you have traveled into the past and you start to feel the essence of how cities like these used to be.
Best Time To VisitThis place is usually crowded with people so it is better to visit Petra during autumn or spring. If you plan on visiting the ancient city, the timing for winter is 6 a.m to 4 p.m and for summers is 6 a.m to 6 p.m.
You Should KnowPetra is a UNESCO world heritage site. A trip around the ancient city of Petra is usually a few kilometers hike, but there are donkeys available if you don't feel like hiking, you can mount on top of a donkey to take the trail. Be cautious that these donkey rides are not regulated and may not be safe. In order to socialize more with the locals, it is always better to hire a Bedouin tour guide rather than a tour operator. It also costs less.
- Haifa (Tel Aviv), Israel
Haifa is a city full of culture, traditions, and history. This place is unmatchable due to its long preserved historical traditions. Israel has always been a country well-liked by tourists due to its diverse traditions and thousand years old history, which is preserved and practiced by the people of Israel to date. The mix of Palestinian and Israeli cuisine in Haifa will fulfill all your cravings for food.
Best Time To VisitTourism in Haifa is in its full swing during the months of March to April and September to November as spring and fall are the two most enjoyable seasons in Haifa.
You Should KnowThe beaches along the coast are really beautiful and you might even be tempted to take a dip, so don't forget to bring your swimwear when you are visiting Tel Aviv. Hebrew and Arabic both are spoken in this region so if you are familiar with any one of them you will make a lot of local friends in this city. You might have to walk a lot in this city so make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes and not carrying any extra weight.
Malta is a well-known honeymoon destination, due to its sandy beaches with a blue coastline and colorful buildings; it is considered a paradise for couples. In Malta, you can enjoy the Mediterranean cuisine while exploring the beautiful island which is very different from the rest of the Middle East.
Best Time To VisitSpring and early summers are considered the best times to visit Malta because the days are not so hot and the nights are cool. Also, annual festivals also tend to happen during those times.
You Should KnowCredit Cards are widely accepted in Malta and you wouldn't have to worry about paying cash in the local stores. The scenes from your cruise along the coast of Malta are not to be missed. Don't forget to visit the temples of Malta which will provide you an opportunity to learn the ancient history of this island nation.
- Rome, Italy
Rome, which was the capital of one of the greatest empires of the world, is now the capital city of Italy and a very popular tourist attraction. Let yourself go lost wandering the streets of Rome which still has the signs of the power it once had over the entire world. This Italian city will mesmerize you with its astounding architecture and monuments that tell the tale of its history.
Best Time To VisitRome is filled with tourists during the summers, which is considered the peak time for tourists. Although, it might get crowded and cost a little more the long sunny days of summer will give you a lot of time to explore the city.
You Should KnowThis is usually one of the endpoints in the Middle Eastern cruise ships due to its affiliation with the Mediterranean. Do visit the historical sites of Colosseum and Pisa Tower which are very well acclaimed for being in almost the same condition even after so long.
Middle East Cruise Packages
The Middle East has the most pleasant temperatures during the cooler months, however, the only place that experiences actual winter are the mountainous regions. In the more touristic cities, the averages are in the 50s. The temperatures in the summer reach the high 100s so it can be a bit uncomfortable to tour the area during this time. Your Middle Eastern cruise adventure melds the thrill of the new with the charm of the ancient, crafting a narrative of experiences that are as diverse and enchanting as the destinations you'll explore.
- Why Book a Cruise to the Middle East
Booking a Middle Eastern cruise is a ticket to a world where ancient history and modern luxury sail together. One of the prime advantages of experiencing this enchanting region via a cruise is the value for money it offers. With accommodation, transportation, and meals taken care of, it's a hassle-free way to explore the diverse array of cultures, landscapes, and historical sites the Middle East has to offer. The unique coastal views from the deck as you glide through the tranquil waters are sights to behold, offering a perspective you'd miss from the land.
The convenience of waking up in a new destination every day, with no need to pack or unpack, is a luxury in itself. Additionally, cruising often provides exclusive access to certain areas or activities. For instance, some cruises offer exclusive shore excursions or private tours to significant landmarks, ensuring an intimate experience away from the crowds. Moreover, the onboard amenities and entertainment add a layer of comfort and enjoyment to your journey, making a Middle Eastern cruise not just a voyage through geographic locations but a smooth sail across a spectrum of unforgettable experiences.
- Getting There
The Middle East, a captivating region nestled between Europe, Africa, and Asia, is a treasure trove accessible by the glistening waters of the Arabian Sea, Red Sea, and the Mediterranean. Cruise ships chart their course to this ancient realm via well-established maritime routes, docking at several welcoming ports dotted along its extensive coastline.
The journey unfolds as cruise ships gently sail into modern, well-equipped ports such as Dubai, Muscat, or Aqaba, which are gateways to this land of wonders. These ports are not just docking stations but vibrant harbors that introduce travelers to the rich array of experiences awaiting inland. As you disembark, the adventure begins, escorting you from the contemporary harbors to the heart of age-old stories, cultures, and sceneries that have been the backdrop of human civilization for millennia. Each port is a threshold to a different chapter of the Middle East, making your cruise a journey through time and tales.
- The Perfect Time for a Middle East Cruise
Cruising the Middle East offers an opportunity to immerse in a region known for its rich cultural heritage and diverse weather patterns. Understanding the best time to cruise is key to ensuring a comfortable and enriching experience. The region is characterized by scorching summers, where temperatures can soar well above 100°F, making it a challenging time for cruising. However, winters in the Middle East are mild and pleasant, with temperatures typically hovering around 70°F to 80°F, providing ideal conditions for a cruise.
The most suitable time for a Middle East cruise is during the cooler months, from November to March. This period provides a comfortable climate for cruisers to enjoy onshore explorations without the intense heat of summer. Cruising during these months also coincides with the peak tourist season, so cruisers should expect bustling ports and a vibrant atmosphere, filled with lively local events and cultural activities.
For those seeking a quieter cruising experience, the shoulder months of April and October are excellent choices. Cruising in these slightly warmer months offers fewer crowds, allowing for a more intimate and serene exploration of the Middle East's many wonders.
Cruising in the Middle East during the off-season in summer, while hot, comes with advantages such as lower prices and fewer tourists. However, it requires cruisers to be prepared for high temperatures. Ultimately, your decision on when to cruise in the Middle East depends on your preferences for climate, crowd sizes, and cost. Each season presents a different aspect of the Middle East's allure, making cruising in this region a unique and captivating experience no matter the time of year.
- Experience the Flavors of a Middle East Cruise
A Middle Eastern cruise is a voyage of culinary discovery, where every port is a gateway to the region's rich and flavorful food heritage. Middle Eastern cuisine is a palette of tastes known for its aromatic spices, tender grilled meats, and delectable sweets. Signature dishes like hummus, falafel, kebabs, and baklava are just the tip of the flavorful iceberg. Your taste buds will dance to the tune of fresh and hearty ingredients blended with age-old recipes passed down through generations.
Make sure to indulge in a traditional mezze, a spread of small dishes, in a local eatery, or venture into a bustling souk to savor street food delights. In Dubai, a dining experience at Pierchic offers over-water dining with stunning views of the coastline. In Muscat, the Bait Al Luban restaurant is a haven for Omani cuisine enthusiasts.
A visit to a traditional coffee house for a cup of aromatic Arabic coffee is a must to complete your culinary adventure. Your Middle Eastern cruise isn't just a feast for the eyes and soul but a journey that tantalizes the taste buds with every port of call, enriching your voyage with flavors that linger long after the journey ends.
- Immerse Yourself in Middle Eastern Culture
The Middle East is a rich blend of cultures, each with its unique traditions, customs, and celebrations that reflect the ancient heritage of this diverse region. Immerse yourself in a realm where the past and present coalesce, offering a vibrant cultural sojourn. The customs here are steeped in hospitality, family values, and reverence for history.
Festivals are a window into the soul of Middle Eastern culture. Experience the fervor of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, culminating in the joyful celebrations of Eid al-Fitr. Dive into the colors of Nowruz, the Persian New Year marking the arrival of spring.
Music and dance are integral to Middle Eastern culture, providing a rhythmic expression of its people's history and emotions. The traditional dabke dance and the soulful strains of oud music are not to be missed. As you wander through ancient bazaars, attend traditional festivals, or engage with the welcoming locals, you become part of a narrative that's as ancient as the sands and as modern as the towering skyscrapers that kiss the sky. Your Middle Eastern cruise is not just a travel experience but a cultural odyssey that enriches the soul.
- Ready to Book Your Middle East Cruise?
The allure of a Middle Eastern cruise is an invitation to a voyage unlike any other. It's a promise of adventure that spans the azure waters of the Arabian Sea to the ancient sands that tell tales of bygone civilizations. The Middle East is a treasure trove of historical wonders, architectural marvels, vibrant cultures, and culinary delights waiting to be discovered. Every port of call is a gateway to new experiences, from the modern opulence of Dubai to the timeless mystique of Petra.
This isn't just a cruise; it's a journey through the annals of history, a feast for the senses, and a celebration of a region that has cradled civilizations for millennia. So, are you ready to unanchor from the familiar and set sail towards a horizon brimming with discoveries? Your Middle Eastern odyssey is just a booking away. Embrace the adventure, soak in the ancient wonders, and let the warm, golden sunsets of the Middle East beckon you to a world waiting to be explored.
Middle East Cruises Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a Middle East Ocean Cruise?
Middle East Ocean cruises are famous because of their unique choice of destinations. Middle East Ocean cruise can be of any duration, usually ranging from 5 to 25 days. You will normally cruise along the Mediterranean towards the Gulf and through the Suez Canal.
- What’s included on a Middle East Ocean Cruise?
Middle East ocean cruises usually include all meals, all alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, stateroom, and onboard entertainment options in almost all of the basic packages. The number of facilities provided on the cruise depends on what kind of package you have selected.
- What’s the Best Cruise for a Middle East Ocean Cruise?
A lot of cruise lines take trips to the Middle East and the most famous ones are, MSC, Costa, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Silversea, Seabourn, and Oceania.
- How Much Does a Middle East Ocean Cruise Cost?
Most of the packages for Middle East cruises cost $1,000 to $5,000 per person for a 4 to 15-day cruise. There are also some more luxurious cruises for the Middle East which can cost you over $7,000 per person.
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