Showing posts with label Arabian Sea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arabian Sea. Show all posts

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.

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


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.

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
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 . .


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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


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

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Arabian Sea: Hot, Humid, Healthy and Happy!

We are at mid-point between Cochin and Mumbai, both cities on India's western coast. We are sailing on the Arabian Sea. We were lucky to be no where near the Nepal earthquake or surrounding areas that were impacted (thanks to those of you who were concerned about us). After this lazy day - a sea day, as they are called, we will be off exploring Mumbai.

Sunset over Indian Ocean - (c)
Our cruise is providing us a sampler plate of exotic and tropical destinations -- just as we hoped we would have on this 35-night Far East Adventure that began in Bangkok, Thailand  and will end in Istanbul,Turkey. We knew it would be hot and we suspected humid - but what we've experienced as defied our imaginations. I dubbed Myanmar, "The Land of the Melting Makeup". 

It seemed cool on our deck while sipping morning coffee before 7 a.m. the other morning and that was because the temperatures had 'dipped' into the mid 80's and humidity to the low 90's. Yesterday  the temperature in Cochin was 94 and the humidity 97%.  Far more intense than Arizona in the summer or Puerto Vallarta in September. 

Exploring Cochin, India  by tuk-tuk - the only way to travel!

For those of you not on Facebook, I've been posting regular updates there - many of which show me wearing the same top in almost every photo taken (see above). It is the coolest one I brought with me - a tee shirt that soaks up the sweat (to put it bluntly) and that can be hand-washed between shore excursions. There's a lot of wearing and washing going on this trip by all of us - it is a nice feature of the ship to offer washing machines, dryers, and irons for guest use.

Indian Ocean - a sea day
Another plus for the cruise line is that while a great variety of ship's tours are offered there are options for do-it-yourself travel. Many of our fellow cruisers have organized their own land tours (primarily via Cruise and others of us have set out on our own to explore places. We're currently sailing with 140 of our fellow passengers still on land in India as they opted to travel from Cochin to the Taj Mahal and will rejoin the cruise just before we depart Mumbai on Friday.

Many of us opted to explore Cochin on our own and others chose the comfort of the air-conditioned ship-organized bus tours.
Oceania tour bus - Cochin, India
In Mumbai we will spend one day on a ship's tour - 'big bus' - to get oriented to the city and the second day plan to find ourselves another tuk tuk and set out on our own.

Heat and humidity aside, this is an amazing part of the world to visit. When back in the blogosphere world again I will show you more photos of the wonderful places we've been -- and yes, places that call our for return visits.

Thanks for keeping us in your thoughts as you read the world headlines.  We remain hot, humid, healthy and most definitely happy we chose this routing!  Safe travels to you and yours~ and to my fellow bloggers, I will get caught up with  your blogs once we are again on land and I've got some time for reading.

Linking up (we hope):
Travel Photo Thursday
Weekend Travel Inspirations


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