The Middle East Like You Have Never Seen It Before
Royal Caribbean is positioning the Jewel of the Sea to do 7 night Arabian Gulf cruises starting in December of 2019 and ending late in March of 2020. While an unknown and maybe dubious destination for many Americans this has been an internationally well known hot spot for several years now.
This September on our way to the IT&CMA Show in Bangkok we decide to do a stopover in Dubai. Thanks to our friends at Pacific World we were shown Dubai in a spectacular way. First of all getting to Dubai is easy today thanks to Emirates Airline. It seems most flights are about 14 hours nonstop from many US gateway cities. Think about it! How long does it take you to get to Europe including airport and plane change waiting times? 14 hours or more I bet! Having flown Emirates now several times they are a great airline with very, very reasonable fares. About the same as flying to London or Paris in the summer season.
The 7 night cruise stops in Muscat, Abu Dhabi (another up and coming destination) as well Khasab, Oman and Sir Bani Yas, UAE. You get a full day and overnight in Dubai. On our trip we wanted to focus on things we thought our groups would like. The Sky Line of Dubai is incredible as are the shopping malls but we have all seen shopping malls to death so we wanted other options. The old town of Dubai along the river is really interesting to explore with a lot of history. Did you know that before oil Dubai’s big export product was pearls? I guess that is why their gold market of 277 jewelry shops in 2 sq. blocks is so popular along with the spice market.
We saw numerous venues for nice private or group lunches and dinners and the prices were reasonable. There are numerous interesting group activities and sites as well as their history museum. A private boat ride down the river is very interesting and unique.
The highlight of our trip was going to the dessert and Dune Bashing. The dessert is about 45 minutes from the pier. With 4 people to a vehicle you go off road and climb the dunes, go sideways, up and down and all around them. When the driver says “get out and take a picture” and starts letting the air out of the tires, you had better buckle up and hold on to the roll bar! Wow what an experience! Note these are specially trained and licensed drivers driving specially equipped 4 wheel drive luxury vehicles.
After your drive you have several options: having champagne and strawberries and watching the sunset which we did and it was magnificent, or you can opt for watching the sunset with a dinner and show. No doubt about this, it is a really magnificent experience and would be sure to wow your clients!
If you haven’t done this part of the world you need to try it. It is not what you think it is at all and you and your guests will be very pleasantly surprised.