Your first thought may be that you want to stay away from that troubled part of the world. But surprisingly, the Arabic countries that border the Arabian and Red Seas as well as the south eastern Mediterranean are becoming more popular as cruise destinations. More adventurous travellers who are tired of the typical cruise trips are discovering the excitement Middle East cruises.

If this is something you’d like to try, keep in mind that only a handful of cruise lines go to this part of the world and they are usually the smaller companies that offer luxury cruises. Some of the lines that do make voyages to this part of the world are Silversea, Seabourn, Oceania, Crystal, Cunard, and Regent Seven Seas. There are also not that many of these cruises, so if you are really interested, you would do well to plan ahead.

Holy Land cruises

The itineraries for most of these cruises to the Middle East, often referred to as Holy Land cruises, are two weeks long. They tend to attract the older more experience travellers over the younger crowd who normally look for beaches and parties and fun shore excursions. Be prepared for plenty of days at sea since many of the ports in these areas are off limits to commercial vessels.

The itinerary for Middle East sailings cover some of the oldest sites in the world, including the pyramids of Egypt and the lost city of Petra in Jordon. You can also see the ultra-modern city of Dubai with its beautiful beaches. Some of the excursions on Middle East holidays will take you to shop in the old markets called souks that sell gold and rare spices in Dubai or pashmina scarves in Muscat in Oman.

You can go to a fish market in Aden, Turkey and even take a short desert safari as part of your shore excursion.

Middle East Cruises for Culture and History

While these cruises are a bit unusual, the places they take you are full of culture and history. You can visit ancient temples, mosques and churches in Israel. One port of call for some cruises is the port of Haifa, 80 miles from Jerusalem where you can see the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Mount of Olives, and the Western Wall.

If you have had a fascination with this part of the world, the best way to see it is with Middle East cruises. You can experience the rough existence of these somewhat primitive areas but still return to your ship and be pampered aboard a luxury cruise vessel. Undoubtedly, this style cruise is not for everybody, but for those who don’t want the normal cruise, this experience will stay with you forever.

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