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About Aqaba

The Jordanian town of Aqaba nestles at the top of the Gulf of Aqaba which leads off the Red Sea. Boasting some excellent sandy beaches and one of the worlds best-preserved coral reefs, this is a popular resort with divers. But the main attraction of this area is the magnificent fortress city of Petra, buried by sand for more than 2,000 years until it was discovered in the desert near Aqaba in the 19th century and excavated in the 1950s.

Originally built by Bedouin, the ‘rose red’ city of Petra is a genuine wonder of the world. Make a dramatic entrance by walking through the Siq (gorge) up to the imposing Treasury with its exquisite facade. Further on are temples, tombs and a huge theatre. Elsewhere, visit Wadi Rum, a vast silent landscape of sandstone mountains, desert and ancient bedrocks.

 

Shore excursions in Aqaba

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Aqaba City and Wadi Rum

Activity lowMeal included

Duration: 5 hours

Get to know the historic city of Aqaba, and travel out to the stunning desert landscape of Wadi Rum for a Bedouin style lunch.

Visit the Aqaba Museum and Fort, built in the Mamluk era, the permanent collection here includes ceramics showing both Egyptian and Chinese influences. In the heart of the city you will find the ruins of the old city of Ayla, as well as mosques, churches and the city walls.

A little over an hour’s drive from Aqaba lies a vast, timeless and hauntingly beautiful valley, called Wadi Rum, the largest and most magnificent of Jordan’s desert landscapes. In this sublime place, the uniquely shaped massive mountains raise out of the rose-red desert sand. Geologists think that this protected nature reserve resulted from a great crack on the surface of the earth caused by an enormous upheaval. Some of the ridges are a thousand feet high and are topped with domes worn smooth by the desert winds, the Wadi Rum area has been inhabited since prehistoric periods. It was here that T E Lawrence lived and helped the Arabs. Wadi Rum was the backdrop for the film ‘Lawrence of Arabia’.

Admire the surrounding red landscape with its soaring peaks and low valleys, en-route to the Captain’s Desert Camp. You’ll receive a traditional Bedouin welcome of Arabian tea and local delicacies, before making your way into a Bedouin tent for lunch.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. There is minimal walking on this tour. The tour may operate in reverse order with lunch served before the city tour, a shopping stop may be included if time permits. Please note this tour does not include a visit to the Visitor Centre or Wadi Rum central desert, as this is inaccessible by coach.

Relax on the Beach

Activity low

Duration: 5¾ hours

Relax on a private beach at the luxurious Movenpick Resort, perfect for those who have visited Petra before.

Hop onboard your coach for a short transfer to the beautiful Movenpick Resort, majestically situated overlooking the Red Sea.

Take full advantage of the 5 star facilities, including 4 swimming pools, a beach restaurant and the private Red Sea Beach. You’ll find a souvenir shop and a foreign exchange service at the hotel. There is no need to bring a towel with you as you will be given one upon arrival.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach. The operation of the tour is subject to weather conditions. Lunch has not been included on this tour to allow for maximum flexibility as you can purchase beverages and food at the resort. There are independent suppliers on the beach resort that may offer watersports. These are provided by parties unconnected to P&O Cruises. Towels, changing room and pool facilities are included and sun beds and umbrellas are subject to availability. Please remember to take swimwear, a hat and sun block. Before you book this excursion, you must refer to the ‘Beach / Water Related’ paragraph under the Guide to Symbols in this brochure.

The Lost City of Petra

Activity highMeal included

Duration: 10 hours

Famously described as ‘the Rose-Red City half as old as time’, this UNESCO world heritage site is a ‘must see’.

The mysterious city of the Nabateans, Petra, is so securely concealed by the craggy encircling mountains that it was once ‘lost’ for 1,000 years and is one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World. From this natural fortress, the Nabateans commanded the trade routes from Arabia and the East, until the Romans conquered them in 106 AD. On arrival, you’ll walk to the entrance of the Siq - a very narrow, twisting pathway between towering sandstone and rainbow-coloured cliffs. The narrow passage is an adventure in itself, for the towering walls create an artificial gloom until you suddenly emerge into the blinding light, and there before you is the Treasury, your first glimpse of the ‘Rose-Red City’.

The Treasury is the most famous and outstanding of all the monuments; its Pediment, Rotunda and Corinthian pillars are all carved from the solid rock, and it is in a marvellous state of preservation. Your guide will lead you down the Outer Siq, passing the Street of the Façades before the fine Nabatean Theatre comes in to view. There are tombs everywhere because they were cut into the rock, whereas the temples and public buildings were free standing and destroyed by earthquakes.

The site is surrounded by stunning mountains and as you approach the main Colonnade Street, you’ll pass a series of fascinating tombs; The Urn, the Corinthian and the Palace Tomb are known collectively as the Royal Tombs. The Palace Tomb is one of the largest, a 3-storey imitation of a Roman Palace. The partly restored Qasr al-Bint is the only freestanding structure in Petra and is thought to have been the main place of worship in the city.

Enjoy a buffet lunch in a local hotel and reflect on the sights of this unforgettable day of your life.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The journey to Petra will take approximately 2 hours each way. This tour involves extensive walking with a total walking distance of approximately 5 to 6 miles over undulating terrain. Whilst the ground is mainly sandy, in places it can be rough, stony and uneven. You should stay in the company of your guide for the inbound walk to the site, which means it is not feasible to do the tour at your ‘own pace’. Inside the site passengers will be given free time to explore and will return to the lunch venue independently. Horses are available at the entrance of Petra at Elji to ride to the entrance of the Siq, however due to our concerns for your safety, even experienced riders are strongly recommended not to use this form of transport and the horses are not permitted to pass through the Siq. There are carriages available to ride both on the way in and out at an extra cost, which you can independently arrange. Again, carriages are not advisable due to concerns for your safety and you will not be able to follow the group, thus missing out on the guide’s briefing, to do so would be at your own risk. It is advisable to wear comfortable, flat walking shoes, a hat and a light, long-sleeved top to protect your arms and shoulders. It is recommended that you take a bottle of water with you. Wearing sun block is highly recommended as you will be in the sun for most of the day. It can also become cold and windy, so please bring a jacket. There are only bathroom facilities outside the site itself and some small shops just outside the Visitors’ Centre and inside the site. Coaches will be equipped with toilets and there are facilities available upon arrival at Petra. Please note that credit cards are not accepted inside. Due to its popularity Petra can often become crowded, particularly when high numbers of people are walking through the Siq.

 

A selection of cruises to Aqaba

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