Friday, November 30, 2018

Setting Sail on the Arabian Sea

'Bizarre travel plans are dancing lessons from God.'
                                   --Kurt Vonnegut

If that is the case, then it is time to put on the dancing shoes!

We are going on a cruise next week. Admittedly, that in itself isn’t anything too out-of-the-ordinary but the routing may strike some of you as a bit bizarre: we are cruising in the Middle East.

We had booked a similar cruise back in 2016 but got lazy and switched to cruise closer to our Greek home. We flew to Rome and sailed to Athens. But this year it is time to stretch our comfort zones.  We'll fly from our gateway airport, Athens, on Etihad Airlines, (national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ) to. . .

Abu Dhabi

Just let that roll off your tongue: Ahh-Boo Daah-BEE. Reminiscent of the mid-century cartoon character Fred Flintstone’s call of Yabba-Dabba-Doo, just saying Abu Dhabi makes me smile!
Abu Dhabi, with a population of 1.8 million in 2016, is the capital and the second most populous city of the United Arab Emirates. It is capital of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the largest of the UAE seven emirates. This modern city can trace its history back to around 3000 B.C.

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Celebrity Constellation will be our home at sea

In doing our pre-trip research we read that Abu Dhabi has a 'more distinct Arabian ambiance' than nearby Dubai.  We’ve given ourselves an extra day prior to the cruise to do some exploring on our own. I’ll let you know if we agree with the claims of more Arabian ambiance or not after we’ve had a chance to experience both.

We’ll board an old favorite ship while in Abu Dhabi, Celebrity's Constellation (or ‘Connie’ as many former cruisers like to call her.) She’s been refurbished since we last sailed on her in 2016, so in many ways it will be like being on a ship that is new to us.

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Store display at the Dubai Airport

Dubai

When we set sail on the Persian Gulf  we’ll be heading for Dubai, the modern city that travelers who've been there tell us we’ll likely hate or love. There seems to be no in between for this ultra sleek neighbor only 93 land miles away from Abu Dhabi.
Dubai, with 3.14 million population this year,  is the largest and most populous city in the United Arab Emirates.  It is the capital of the Emirate of Dubai.

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We have booked a balcony room again as we don't want to miss any sights 

Up until a few weeks ago I have to admit the only thing that came to mind when I thought of ‘Persian Gulf’, was Operation Desert Shield, the war of the early 1990’s. Back then this part of the world was in such conflict that I didn't think we would ever -- in this lifetime -- travel here. So the idea of actually sailing on the Persian Gulf has me dancing a happy dance.

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Sea days are one of our favorite parts of cruiseing
One of our favorite parts of cruising are those lazy days at sea. With the call of the sun, sea, and a good book we easily laze away our afternoons at poolside. Mornings will be spent in the ship’s gym as we are both missing our workout routines we had back in the States so it is high on our list of sea-day activities!

We’ll have three of those carefree days as we cross the Arabian Sea heading to . .

India

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Fishing nets at Cochin, India

Our introduction to India was aboard a cruise ship four years ago. We are delighted to be revisiting two of the ports we visited then, Cochin and Mumbai, as well as adding Goa and Mangalore to the list on this cruise.  It will be a rapid-fire tour of the four as we have only one day in each port, but we’ve always considered cruising to be the appetizer of travel: we get a taste and if we like it we go back for a larger serving at a later date.

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Holy man at a temple - Mumbai, India

We’ll have a couple more sea days to rest up from our travels in India then make a stop in

Oman

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Covered from top to bottom and with bare feet I could enter the mosque

This time we’ll be heading to Muscat instead of Salalah as we did on an earlier cruise.  I have to tell you that when I talk of stretching one’s comfort zone, this is a place where we did just that!  It was hot – an intensity of heat that finally gave reality to the phrase white heat. It hurt it was so hot. And it was definitely a different culture and way of life. So much so, that we are eager to have another look at another city and see if we have the same reaction as last time.

Then we’ll sail back to Abu Dhabi and after a night on board the ship there, fly back to Greece just in the nick of time to celebrate Christmas here.

We are eager to expand our explorations of the world and this itinerary is an intoxicating blend of Arabian Nights, Lawrence of Arabia and Jewel in the Crown, don’t you think?

Again thanks for the time you spent with us today and we hope you’ll come back for more tales of travel. We’ll be back next week – hope you will as well! Until then, safe and happy travels to you and yours ~

Linking up this week with:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Communal Global
Best of Weekend

22 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. We can hardly wait to see new places and visit a couple old favorites!

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  2. Jackie this is awesome. Plus in 1 week we will be in Oman! Doing a 2 month house sit in Nizwa so we will be in the region. Enjoy it.

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    1. Wow! A house sit in Oman will be incredible. Hope you plan to write about it!!

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  3. How fantastic. Hope you have a wonderful time. We cruised to Dubai and Muscat on a world cruise. Pretty much on the hate side of Dubai, but Muscat, now that was such a contrast - we did a desert safari and it was fabulous. Have fun!

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    1. We are looking at desert safari options in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Muscat. . .they seem incredibly expensive so will continue our search and find something that gets us into the shifting sands!

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  4. Seems adventurous, thank you for the interesting post!

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    1. And thank you for the comment. Hope you will follow along on our adventures. . .and comment!

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  5. Thanks for giving us a glimpse inside of a cruise on the Arabian Sea. being from the other side of the planet, we never realized this was a thing.

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    1. A very big thing indeed over hear. Cruising the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea, Suez Canal, Indian Ocean are all spectacular options as cruises offered as part of ship repositioning around the world.

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  6. I've never considered cruising in the Middle East but it looks very intriguing. Always fun to board a favorite ship after it's been refurbished.

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  7. Fabulous - I love that part of the world! Both Abu Dhabi and Dubai have got "Arabic bits" but you might have to search for them...

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    1. I suspect tucked away amid the sleek high rises of the big city there will be many treasures to unearth -- hope so. Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. That's a huge boat. Not sure I'd like that but you saw some interesting parts of the world!

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    1. Actually in this day and age it is considered a mid-sized ship - many are much, much larger (and not of appeal to us). We are eager to set sail this week!!

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  9. Hello, sounds like an interesting cruise. The ship does look huge. Have a fun and safe trip! Happy Tuesday, enjoy your day!

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    1. Hi Eileen and happy holidays to you and your family. Thanks so much for stopping by. I'll head over to your blog soon for a catch up on what you've been up to!

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  10. Very interesting - you had a nice visit!
    Thanks for linking up at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2018/12/gangly-and-gorgeous-blue-heron.html

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    1. Actually we hope to have a nice visit - we haven't left yet! These were file photos from previous travels. Thanks for the link up!

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  11. This sounds like an interesting itinerary, definitely more than a little off the beaten track (or sea lane). We may be in Dubai next October on our way to Australia. The only time we were there, we never left the airport. This time, we'll make it a point to do so.

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  12. Our only experience has been about three hours in the Dubai airport as well. I am eager to see the rest of this so talked-about place!!

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