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from just £999 per person.

About Muscat

The Sultanate of Oman's capital, Muscat, has a magical feel. It is a combination of stunning deserts, mountains and beaches with all the comforts of a bustling, modern metropolis. It's also the meeting point of Asian, African and Arabic civilizations and this unique blend of cultures makes Oman a special place to visit and explore.

The old port area, which is enclosed by gated walls, is where you will find the Sultan's Main Palace, a fascinating place to wander around. Two well-preserved 16th-century Portuguese forts, Al Jalali and Mirani, guard the entrance to Muscat, and the city walls contain the original beautifully carved gates.

Muscat has many points of interest, so whether you want to explore natural freshwater pools, parks and nature reserves, shop in one of the many excellent souks, or relax on unspoilt, soft sandy beaches, this city has something for everyone.

 

Shore excursions in Muscat

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.

Afternoon Tea at Al Bustan Palace

Activity lowRefreshments included

Duration: 3¾ hours

Enjoy afternoon tea in the opulent surroundings of the luxurious Al Bustan Palace Hotel, known as ‘the jewel of the Sultanate’.

Your tour begins with a brief photo stop at Al Alam Palace in the heart of Old Muscat, the ceremonial palace of Sultan Qaboos. With its distinctive blue and gold pillars and flat roof, the 1970s-built residence is a colourful example of modern Islamic architectural design.

Next it’s on to the luxurious five-star Al Bustan Palace Hotel. Set in acres of lush gardens with its own private beach and panoramic ocean and mountain views, it’s the perfect setting for a sophisticated afternoon tea. Inside, the hotel’s opulent décor beautifully blends old and new, with Arabian and Art Deco influences. As you relax and enjoy a delicious afternoon tea in the Atrium Tea Lounge, with its 38m-high domed ceiling, intricately hand-carved wooden panels and crystal fountain and chandelier, it’s easy to see why the hotel has earned its reputation as the ‘jewel of the Sultanate’.

On the journey back to the ship, further brief photo stops will give you the opportunity to experience two of Muscat’s most famous modern architectural gems, the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and the Royal Opera House.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot and requires minimal walking. The afternoon tea usually consists of finger sandwiches, French pastries and scones, or similar. Guests are not permitted to visit other areas of the Al Bustan Palace Hotel. There is limited availability on this tour, so early booking is recommended. The dress code is smart casual and men must wear long trousers.

Dolphin Watching

Activity lowRefreshments included

Duration: 2½ hours

Enjoy the thrill of a speedboat ride and the chance to spot some of nature’s most engaging and playful animals in the wild.

The clear blue waters off the coast of Muscat are home to a wide variety of marine life, and seeing dolphins in the wild is an unmissable experience. You’ll board your speedboat at a local marina and head out into the Gulf of Oman in search of these lively, intelligent and fascinating creatures in their natural habitat.

While sightings cannot be guaranteed, your experienced crew will be in contact with other boats in the area, to improve the chance of sightings. Experience the excitement of the sea air rushing past and the anticipation of seeing these beautiful animals just as nature intended.

Many species of dolphin are often spotted in the area, including common dolphins, spinner dolphins and bottlenose dolphins. And if you’re lucky you may also see sperm whales and humpback whales. Mineral water and soft drinks will be available on board during your boat ride.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by minibus and speedboat. There are several steps and a walk of approximately 300m through the floating marina to board the boats. This tour is not suitable for those with injuries or conditions that may be affected by the bumpy ride. Pregnant women and children may not take part. The boats have awnings for shade. Sightings of dolphins or whales cannot be guaranteed. Space is limited, so early booking is recommended.

Glories of Muscat

Activity highMeal included

Duration: 7¼ hours

Discover the modern architectural wonders and fascinating heritage of the Omani capital on this comprehensive full-day tour.

Prepare to be dazzled by the stunning Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, which features among its treasures a huge handmade Persian rug that took 600 weavers four years to complete. You’ll also visit the smaller Mohammed Al Ameen Mosque, opened in 2014, which has quickly become famous for its distinctive gold mosaic domes and minarets.

Next on the itinerary is the contemporary National Museum that showcases Omani heritage from the earliest human settlements some two million years ago to the present day. Afterwards, you’ll take a short walk from the museum to view the Al Alam Palace, the official royal residence of Sultan Qaboos and a modern architectural marvel.

A short drive to a local restaurant will follow where you’ll enjoy a delicious traditional buffet lunch accompanied by water and a soft drink. To round off your tour a visit will be made to the Royal Opera House. Admire the grand architecture and beautifully ornate interior on a short guided tour of Oman’s premier arts venue.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The order of itinerary may vary. This tour involves around 2½ hours of leisurely walking over varying terrain, including steps. Flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. While visiting the mosques, women must wear modest clothing that covers the body to the wrists and ankles, and avoid bright colours. A scarf must cover the head, including all hair. Men must wear full-length trousers and modest clothing. Shoes must be removed. Tattoos must be covered. Guests are asked not to take photos of local people without permission.

Hotel Resort Getaway

Activity lowRefreshments included

Duration: 5 hours

Relax and unwind at the Intercontinental Hotel Muscat resort.

Sun, sea and sand are the order of the day at the Intercontinental Hotel Muscat, where you can Upon arrival, you’ll be offered a welcome drink before enjoying around four hours at your leisure.

Relax on a sun lounger by the side of one of the two large swimming pools, enjoy an alfresco snack at the poolside restaurant, take a stroll through the hotel gardens, or head to the adjacent public beach to make the most of the warm sand and clear blue waters. At the end of your time, you’ll meet at the designated time and place for the return drive to the port.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot.Walking is at guests’ discretion. There are 10 steps at the entrance to the hotel, and guests must be able to negotiate steps on and off the coach and in and around the resort. The tour is unguided, but will be accompanied by a local representative. Please remember to take swimwear, towels and sunscreen. Guests are asked not to take photos of local people without permission. There may be independent suppliers on the beach offering watersports, but these are provided by parties unconnected to P&O Cruises. Sun beds are not included on the beach. Please remember local currency for purchases.

Jabreen Fort and Nizwa Souk

Activity highMeal includedShopping

Duration: 8 hours

Discover the beautifully restored 17th-century Jabreen Fort before exploring the bustling souk in Oman’s old capital of Nizwa.

Sit back and take in the mountain scenery as you head for the Ad Dakhiliyah region, home to one of Oman’s largest cities, Nizw, and the historic Jabreen Fort. Built in the late 17th century, Jabreen Fort is hailed as one of the finest of its kind, with its ornate plasterwork, beautiful carvings and decorative frescoes. Gain a fascinating insight into the castle’s history and the lives of its occupants, and climb to the top for panoramic views of the surrounding plains and beyond.

Then it’s time to immerse yourself in the noise, colour and bustle of the Nizwa Souk. The site of one of the oldest marketplaces in Oman, it’s packed with local traders offering everything from fresh fruit and vegetables, herbs and spices, to traditional crafts and Bedouin jewellery.

A buffet lunch with water and a soft drink will be served at a local hotel. If time permits, there will be a brief photo stop at the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque on the return journey to Muscat.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The journey to the Ad Dakhiliyah region is approximately 2-2½ hours each way. There is around 1¾ hours of walking on this tour, some of which is over uneven surfaces. There are also some steps and inclines to negotiate. In accordance with local customs, please wear clothing that covers the shoulders and knees. Guests are asked not to take photographs of local people without permission.

 

A selection of cruises to Muscat

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