'Bizarre travel plans are dancing lessons from God.'
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 DhabiJust 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.
|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.
|Store display at the Dubai Airport|
DubaiWhen 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.
|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.
|Sea days are one of our favorite parts of cruiseing|
We’ll have three of those carefree days as we cross the Arabian Sea heading to . .
|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.
|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
|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
Best of Weekend