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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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Viking Sky
Viking Sky

137 Night
Cruise To SalalahDetails

1,020 Reviews
Leaving:Fort Lauderdale
Cruise Line:Viking Ocean Cruises
Dec 20, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Seven Seas Mariner
Seven Seas Mariner (Photo: Regent)

143 Night
Cruise To SalalahDetails

Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Jan 7, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Zuiderdam
Zuiderdam

128 Night
Cruise To SalalahDetails

1,002 Reviews
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Jan 3, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Queen Mary 2 (QM2)
Queen Mary 2 (QM2)

117 Night
Cruise To SalalahDetails

Leaving:New York
Cruise Line:Cunard Line
Jan 3, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Virgin Voyages

21 Night
Cruise To SalalahDetails

Leaving:Cape Town
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Apr 5, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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20 Night
Cruise To SalalahDetails

Leaving:Dubai
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
May 30, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

120 Night
Cruise To SalalahDetails

Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Viking Ocean Cruises
Jan 6, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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18 Night
Cruise To SalalahDetails

Leaving:Dubai
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Feb 13, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

74 Night
Cruise To SalalahDetails

Cruise Line:Cunard Line
Feb 7, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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15 Night
Cruise To SalalahDetails

Leaving:Dubai
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
May 14, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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137 Night
Cruise To SalalahDetails

Cruise Line:Viking Ocean Cruises
Dec 22, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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132 Night
Cruise To SalalahDetails

Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Jan 6, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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120 Night
Cruise To SalalahDetails

Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Viking Ocean Cruises
Jan 8, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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18 Night
Cruise To SalalahDetails

Leaving:Dubai
Cruise Line:Seabourn Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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23 Night
Cruise To SalalahDetails

334 Reviews
Leaving:Singapore
Cruise Line:MSC Cruises
Apr 8, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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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
We just walked off the ship and spent time in the markets.Read More
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allison1952
Would have preferred Muscat as there isn't much to see thereRead More
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donnabob
Been here before so, went to nearby Oasis Club and beach.Read More
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Crag rat
Hired a driver with others to look aroundRead More
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Pamdavis

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