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Setting sail from Abu Dhabi
The UAE's gleaming capital gives Dubai a run for its money in terms of extravagant excess, an ever-multiplying forest of skyscrapers looming over the golden sand and brilliant blue waters of the Gulf. Don't miss the shining white Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the world's biggest.
Qatar's capital is a city on the up, with vast sums of money being poured into construction projects for the 2022 World Cup and cultural venues such as the spectacular Museum of Islamic Art. There are also plenty of more traditional attractions, such as the atmospheric souks and the lovely waterfront Corniche promenade.
Manama is the capital of Bahrain, a nation spread across an archipelago of 33 islands in the Persian Gulf. The city was an important centre for the pearl trade in the early 20th century, though in recent years it’s the oil industry that has powered the economy, embodied by the shimmering array of skyscrapers and shopping malls.
Oman’s capital is low-rise and laid back, a far cry from the towering bling of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Take a stroll along the waterfront Corniche promenade, soak up the sun on one of the excellent beaches, or explore the mosques and forts of the atmospheric old quarter.
Arriving in Dubai
For some Dubai, the most famous of the United Arab Emirates, is the ultimate glamorous holiday destination. Amazing high rise buildings, extensive air-conditioned shopping malls, and extraordinary man-made tourist attractions (such as indoor ski-slopes) abound. Some of the most glitzy and expensive hotels in the world can be found here, so for shopping, sunshine and fun for all the family, this is a great choice. For others, this is a cultural desert as barren as the sands which surround it. But if you search hard you will find the old souk-like centre around Dubai Creek - take a traditional dhow and you will begin to understand the magic of Arabia.
The historic Persian trading centre, the Bastakia Quarter, was a marketplace for pearls and textiles. Even then, this was the home of ‘tax-free', and the area is characterised by Arabian architecture, wind towers, and narrow lanes.
Cruise Line Offer
MS Europa 2
Widely acclaimed as the best ship in the world, Europa 2’s stylish Nordic décor, fantastic accommodation and great dining options make her a great choice
What we love
Europa 2 really is a ship with a difference, and you feel it from the moment you step on board. Her beautiful light-flooded interiors are fresh and inviting, and the feeling of space created by innovative design is vastly refreshing. This dedication to design is not, incidentally, confined to public areas: the elegant suites themselves are a wonderful place to stay.
|Style||For the young and young at heart, the laid-back ambience is elegant but totally informal. English is spoken fluently by the crew, but you should be aware that your fellow guests may not be equally bilingual; German may well be the lingua franca of the ship (as it were).|
Tailor-make your trip
Our favourite hotel in Dubai
So many to choose from! Our current Mundy preference is Al Qasr at the Madinat Jumeirah.
Private tours from Dubai
Head out into the desert for the lush valley of Wadi Hatta and Hatta Village, then travel by four wheel drive across the dunes.