Ancient Sites of Egypt, Jordan & Israel
This cruise has now set sail.
Muscat, OmanFeb 25 | Depart - late night
Muscat, Oman’s port capital, offers plenty of history, an air of tradition, and a distinctly exotic location, all crammed between the mountains, the sea – laden with fauna-rich lagoons – and the desert.
With history dating back to ancient times, Muscat mixes modern architecture and fashionable shopping malls with souks, Royal Palaces and landmarks like its 16th century Portuguese forts, Al Jalali and Mirani that keep watch over the harbour.
The ornate marble-clad Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, with its 50m dome, can accommodate 20,000 people. This most modern of Islamic buildings is also home to the world’s second largest hand-woven carpet, which took four years to thread and is made from various vibrant vegetable dyes.
The opening of the Royal Opera House in 2011, and the splendid National Museum which opened six years later, offer additional culture highlights that give the city a personality all of its own.
Safaga, EgyptMar 04 | Arrive - late night | Depart - late evening
The Egyptian town of Safaga on the Red Sea offers crystal-clear waters and black-sand beaches that are popular with divers, windsurfers and sun worshippers. For a glimpse into Egypt’s ancient past, the majestic temples of Luxor and Karnak, and the historic Valley of the Kings, are in easy reach.
Safaga’s clear serene waters hypnotise with its multitude of tuna, sharks and manta rays often seen around the towering reefs of Abu Qifan. The sea here is very saline, rich in minerals and is said to have curative properties.
Safaga is the popular gateway for exploration of the Eastern Desert and the granite quarries of Mons Claudianus. The network of tombs at the captivating Valley of the Kings, and all the mystique of the Pharaohs, await on tours from this sultry port.
Aqaba, JordanMar 05 | Arrive - late morning | Depart - late night
Inhabited since 4000BC, Aqaba is the Jordanian port city on the Red Sea's Gulf of Aqaba, and gateway to the world-famous stone-city of Petra. The Lost City of Petra is the impressive archaeological site carved from the sandstone hills more than 2,000 years ago, and is one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Its breath-taking tombs and ruins remained hidden to the world until their rediscovery in 1812 by a Swiss explorer.
The seaport of Aqaba has been strategically important for traders for centuries. The Crusaders built a fortress here, which was rebuilt by the Mamlukes in the 16th century, and it remains one of the town’s most important landmarks. The Aqaba Archaeological Museum houses Rashidun, Umayyad, Abbasid and Fatimid artefacts, an unearthed treasures from the ancient city of Aila, are also within its walls.
The small town of Aqaba itself has a relaxed vibe, and is a regular stopover for visitors heading to the diving and snorkelling clubs of the Yamanieh coral reef.
Cruising the Suez Canal, EgyptMar 07 | Arrive - late night | Depart - late evening
The Canal crosses the Isthmus of Suez dividing the Mediterranean from the Red Sea, and is one of the world’s most impressive man made waterways, 101 miles in length. Opened in 1869 it remains one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
Alexandria, EgyptMar 08 | Arrive - early morning | Depart - late evening
The magnificent Egyptian city of Alexandria is home to the site of the great Pharos Lighthouse – one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Alexandria’s Roman amphitheatre, ancient storied library and catacombs recall distant glories of this great Hellenic city, while the 19th century Montazah Palace Gardens and seafront boulevards reflect a more recent era.
Founded by Alexander the Great, Alexandria is a sparkling gem on the Mediterranean coastline. The birthplace of Cleopatra VII, the city is the cultural hub of the region, and gateway to the Giza pyramids and the River Nile. A short venture along the coast will uncover the fortress Citadel of Qaitbay teetering on the coast.
This sultry, bustling city has both ancient and modern history intertwined in every street. French-style parks and the occasional French street sign have survived as part of Napoleon’s legacy, and, as one of Alexandria's many conquerors, Greek restaurants and cafés still dominate the cultural scene.
Ashdod, IsraelMar 09 | Arrive - late afternoon | Depart - late night
When taking a cruise holiday that visits Ashdod, the first and best, place to begin exploring is at Givat Yonah; the traditional site of the tomb of sea-faring Jonah the Prophet, who was said to be swallowed by a whale.
With white-washed Mediterranean style buildings and its many beaches, it is easy to see why it is such a popular city for visitors. Take time to sample some of the local food here, which includes traditional falafel, hummus, pitta breads; washed down with a good strong coffee, whilst people watching.
The new glass-roofed ‘winged’ Ashdod Art Museum and the Corinne Maman Museum are both worth visiting, the latter has a unique interior design which echoes the city’s ancient history.
Haifa, IsraelMar 10 | Arrive - early morning | Depart - late evening
The city of Haifa is said to be one of the prettiest in Israel, and is surrounded by nature sites, churches and mosques, mountains and sea.
The Bahai Gardens here are not to be missed when on your cruise holiday. The site is where members of the Bahai faith have established their shrine – this building is stunning, with a golden dome, marbled walls and nine sides representing the nine major religions in the world. It is surrounded by several other unique buildings, and set amongst some of the most spectacular gardens in the world, which are designed in nine concentric circles and look like waves extending out from the shrine at the centre.
Other interesting places to visit in Haifa include the National Maritime Museum, the Railway Museum and the Khai-Bar Wildlife Preserve.
Limassol, CyprusMar 11 | Arrive - early morning
A holiday resort with an excellent family reputation, Limassol has some great beaches and lots of tavernas, cafés and restaurants. But there’s plenty else to see and do here. Limassol Castle was built in 1228 by Frederick II of Germany, but largely rebuilt by the Ottoman rulers during the 19th century. It now houses the Cyprus Medieval Museum. The Limassol Archaeological Museum has many fascinating objects from the island’s history, especially from the Ottoman period.
Further afield, the Amathus site, about 11km east of the city, has the ruins of a Temple of Aphrodite and tombs from the early Iron Age era. In the other direction is the village of Kolossi; the splendid castle overlooks vineyards where the Cypriot Commandaria wine is produced.
Unfortunately, this cruise will not be going ahead as planned.
We are aware that if you are sailing with us, you will have many questions about what these cancellations mean for you and we will be in touch as soon as we can.
We are likely to be very busy in our call centre over the next few days. Please bear with us, there is no rush for you to make a decision. We are working very hard for you and promise that we will deal with each and every one of your questions as soon as we possibly can.