The port is located 10 minutes from the Gateway of India & Taj Mahal hotel making it an easy destination to explore the major pints of interest - we had visited mumbai before so arrived the night before boarding the ship and did not take a tour. Boarding was very smooth - a shuttle bus took us from the port gates to the main processing hall and all boarding procedures wee competed within 15 minutes of arrival.
The port of Muscat was cancelled just after we booked this cruise and the port of Fujairah was substituted. Fujairah is a major re-fuelling port and like the majority of UAE countries - hot, dry, desert and rugged mountains. As we arrived on a Friday (Muslim holy day) we opted to take a short tour to visit the local mosques, fort, and Friday market. We would not put Fujairah on our "Must see" list of places to visit!
Only 10 passengers had booked this excursion (the majority had opted for the 14hour trip to Luxor!)We drove along the coast one hour to the resort town of Hurgharda - a mixture of high rise and half completed abandoned buildings (not very impressive.
We boarded one of about fifty charter vessels in mediocre condition and headed out to an offlying island. on the way dolphins were sighted uch to the excitement of the charter boat skippers who endeavoured to round up the poor creatures for better viewing - this immediately scared then away!
We anchored off the island and enjoyed some excellent snorkelling - lovely coral and colourful fish. Thwere were a large number of charter boats rafted up in te one spot and some quite perilous manouvers by boats near the snorkellers! We then went ashore on the island to Paradise Eco resort where we enjoyed lunch and a rather uncomfortable afternoon siesta on straw mats in little straw shade houses (no artificual materials allowed) We boarded the boat and were taken to another dive spot for more snorkelling before arriving back at Hurgharda marina for the trip back to Safaga.
The trip to Petra was a full day tour - a 2 hour drive from Aqaba to the town of Petra and then a 90minute guided walk through the canyon to the Treasury and other wonders of Petra. Not a trip to be undertaken by the faint hearted - especially in hot weather! We were exhausted by the time we had walked back (another 90 minutes) to the hotel for a late lunch (delicious before boarding the coach for the drive back to Aqaba where we were welcomed back with a glass of champagne by the Captain Karlsson, Ryszard our Hotel Director, and Russ our Cruise Director mounted on camels!
Wadi Rum Walking Tour Rating:
The tour to Wadi Rum was everything we expected. Magnificent desert and mountain scenery, a hot, dusty & bumpy ride in an open 4 WD. We visited the oasis made famous by Lawrence of Arabia, drank tea with the Bedouins in their
tents, and declined the opportunity to ride a camel!