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Cruises to Salalah

Salalah (Photo:Patrik Dietrich/Shutterstock)

About Salalah

As the hordes who now sail from Dubai will attest, cruising the Middle East may be fascinating, but it's not very picturesque, given that vast tracts of scrub desert are not especially easy on the eyes.

Salalah, Oman's second-largest city, is an exception. While not as beautiful as the country's capital, Muscat, Salalah has considerable charm as a cruise port of call. Its annual Khareef (monsoon) gives the city and the nearby al Qara Mountains a temperate climate, creating an emerald oasis amid the sand dunes.

If you want pretty Arabia, you'll find it here -- complete with leafy boulevards, lit by black and gold filigree lamps and lined with elegant, low buildings that have been created in traditional Islamic style, with elaborate latticework balconies and lovely, curved windows.

It also has some very pretty beaches, is a haven for SCUBA divers and birdwatchers, and is steeped in Biblical tradition, with some notable ancient sites -- including a ruined palace believed to have belonged to the legendary Queen of Sheba and the tomb of the prophet Job.

And then, of course, there are the fragrant groves of frankincense trees, which have earned Salalah the title of "Arabia's Perfume Capital" -- and which supply the wares for the pungent stalls at the city's atmospheric spice souk.

Salalah lies on Oman's southern coast, about 1,000 kilometres from Muscat. It is a popular call on winter cruises, often appearing on world cruise schedules and on Middle East and Arabian Gulf cruises, operated between November and May by Costa Cruises and smaller, destination-oriented lines like Spirit of Adventure and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Most cruise visitors take ship-sponsored or independent tours there, as local taxi rates can be high.

  • Why go to Salalah?

  • Salalah Cruise Port Facilities?

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Norwegian Jade
Norwegian Jade
Norwegian Jade

18 Night
Cruise to SalalahDetails

2,011 Reviews
Leaving:Athens
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
$1,854*pp
$103/night • inside Cabin

Norwegian Cruise Line

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Norwegian Jade
Norwegian Jade
Norwegian Jade

19 Night
Cruise to SalalahDetails

Leaving:Athens
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line

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Island Princess
Island Princess (Photo: Princess Cruises)
Island Princess

111 Night
Cruise to SalalahDetails

1,190 Reviews
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises

Princess

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Virgin Voyages

Seven Seas Explorer

42 Night
Cruise to SalalahDetails

Leaving:Istanbul
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises

RegentCruises.com

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Island Princess

111 Night
Cruise to SalalahDetails

Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises

Princess

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Norwegian Jade

18 Night
Cruise to SalalahDetails

Leaving:Dubai
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line

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Island Princess

59 Night
Cruise to SalalahDetails

Leaving:Dubai
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises

Princess

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Island Princess

97 Night
Cruise to SalalahDetails

Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
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MSC Opera

20 Night
Cruise to SalalahDetails

Leaving:Venice
Cruise Line:MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises

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Seabourn Ovation

18 Night
Cruise to SalalahDetails

Leaving:Dubai
Cruise Line:Seabourn Cruise Line
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MSC Poesia

22 Night
Cruise to SalalahDetails

Leaving:Singapore
Cruise Line:MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises

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Cruise Critic Favorite
Queen Victoria

74 Night
Cruise to SalalahDetails

Cruise Line:Cunard Line
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Queen Mary 2 (QM2)

72 Night
Cruise to SalalahDetails

Leaving:Hong Kong
Cruise Line:Cunard Line
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Cruise Critic Favorite
Queen Victoria

20 Night
Cruise to SalalahDetails

Leaving:Dubai
Cruise Line:Cunard Line
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Queen Mary 2 (QM2)

20 Night
Cruise to SalalahDetails

Leaving:Dubai
Cruise Line:Cunard Line
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Crystal Symphony

9 Night
Cruise to SalalahDetails

Leaving:Dubai
Cruise Line:Crystal Cruises
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Queen Mary 2 (QM2)

118 Night
Cruise to SalalahDetails

Leaving:New York
Cruise Line:Cunard Line
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Island Princess

88 Night
Cruise to SalalahDetails

Cruise Line:Princess Cruises

Princess

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Seven Seas Voyager

20 Night
Cruise to SalalahDetails

Leaving:Rome
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises

RegentCruises.com

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Costa Deliziosa

117 Night
Cruise to SalalahDetails

177 Reviews
Leaving:Rome
Cruise Line:Costa Cruises

American Discount Cruises

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Seabourn Ovation

36 Night
Cruise to SalalahDetails

Leaving:Singapore
Cruise Line:Seabourn Cruise Line

Luxury Cruise Connections

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MSC Virtuosa

18 Night
Cruise to SalalahDetails

Leaving:Rome
Cruise Line:MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises

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Seven Seas Explorer

10 Night
Cruise to SalalahDetails

Leaving:Venice
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

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Queen Mary 2 (QM2)

104 Night
Cruise to SalalahDetails

Leaving:Southampton
Cruise Line:Cunard Line
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Why go to Salalah?

Pros:

Ancient tombs and artefacts can be explored, together with an atmospheric souk

Cons:

Cruises dock in the commercial area and transport is required in order to access the city

Bottom Line:

It combines a fascinating history and good beaches with a pleasant sightseeing climate

Salalah Cruise Port Facilities?

There are no facilities at the port, and there's nothing to do nearby, but you'll find a Crowne Plaza and a Hilton en route to town (about five minutes' drive from the port); both have Internet access and ATM machines.

Good to Know?

Salalah is prosperous and well-cared-for, with broad streets that are lined with verdant, grassy verges. (Money is clearly no object where maintenance is concerned.) When walking about, though, you may (literally) stumble across some uneven paving stones, so take care, and wear flat shoes for exploring.

Also, keep a lookout for stalls selling milk bananas and lady finger bananas. Locally grown, they are about half the size of typical bananas; they're sweet and definitely worth tasting.

Getting Around?

Downtown shuttles are not allowed into the port area by the protectionist local taxi drivers association, which offers its services at the port gates. Many cruise lines offer a tour that's essentially roundtrip transportation to the souk.

A taxi ride downtown costs about five Rials by taxi. It's hard to get a firm idea of rates from the port gate drivers, but do negotiate; our booked-in-advance driver quoted five Rials (about $12), but the port agent quoted $20! A roundtrip ride to Job's Tomb (including time for you to look around) should cost about 20 Rials.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The local currency is the Omani Rial; see www.oanda.com or www.xe.com for the latest conversion rates. Although you won't be able to withdraw or exchange local currency at the port, ATM's can be found at the Hilton and Crowne Plaza Hotels (about five minutes by taxi from the dock).

Language?

Arabic is the main language, but a local variation called Shehri is widely spoken. Most of the locals will speak at least a smattering of English.

Where You're Docked?

Salalah Port itself is just scrubland and is very dusty, with containers stacked high. It's a long, hot, grubby walk to the dock gate, but most ships will shuttle you there. The port is a 15-minute drive from downtown.


Salalah Cruise Reviews
Been here before.... Read More
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highseasally
The town has grown out of being a small fishing and beach location to now a large regional town that has lost its character.... Read More
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geoffstravels
We just walked off the ship and spent time in the markets.... Read More
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allison1952
Been here before so, went to nearby Oasis Club and beach.... Read More
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Crag rat

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