Cruises to Muscat

161 Reviews
Muscat (Photo:lkpro/Shutterstock)

About Cruising to Muscat

The problem with a lot of the ports featured on a typical Arabian Gulf cruise is that they're pretty similar. Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, for example, are all shining skyscrapers and shopping malls, glittering temples to excess. But Muscat, the capital of Oman, stands for completely different values: tradition, history, restraint. Although the country is far from lagging economically, it is deeply conservative and has always placed an emphasis on careful, controlled development. So Muttrah, the old waterfront part of Muscat and the first view to greet cruise passengers, has been carefully preserved, presenting a blend of traditional architecture and rugged natural beauty that many visitors find enchanting.

Muscat couldn't be in a more beautiful setting. The old part of the town, hemmed in by terracotta-colored mountains, spans a graceful waterfront. Its corniche is flanked by a 16th-century hilltop fort at either end, remnants of the time the Portuguese occupied Oman, protecting their trade routes to the east. As well as the cruise ships, container ships and private yachts that moor there, old-fashioned wooden dhows (sailing ships) potter around the busy harbor. If your ship overnights, the sight of the mountains turning pink while the early-morning call to prayer echoes across the old rooftops is unforgettable.

Modern Muscat sprawls out behind the mountains, away from the sea, but for independent exploration, the old part of the city is easily walkable and safe; it's there that you'll find the winding alleys of the souk, or market. Beyond the city, there are tours into the mountains and wadis (dried-up riverbeds) for 4x4 rides along the coast to visit fishing villages or inland to explore some of the medieval forts. Explore Muscat on an upcoming cruise to Oman.

  • More about Muscat

  • Why Cruise to Muscat?

  • Muscat Cruise Port Facilities?

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Azamara Onward
Azamara Onward (Photo: Azamara)

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76 Reviews
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Anthem of the Seas
Anthem of the Seas

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140 Reviews
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Cunard Queen Anne
Cunard's Queen Ann is floated out (Photo: Cunard Line)

81 Night
World Cruise

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Nachi Cocom Beach Club

14 Night
Asia - Middle East

2,159 Reviews
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118 Night
118 Night World Cruise

392 Reviews
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109 Night
109 Night World Cruise

1,330 Reviews
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93 Night
World Cruise

1,330 Reviews
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98 Night
World Cruise

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16 Night
Repositioning Cruise

95 Reviews
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20 Night
Africa Cruise

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14 Night
Africa-south Africa

3,035 Reviews
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90 Night
World Cruise

1,330 Reviews
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120 Night
120 Night World Cruise

95 Reviews
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33 Night
World Cruise

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More about Muscat

Why Cruise to Muscat?

Pros:

The port is an easy walk from the town center, souk and the waterfront's Qasr Al Alam Palace

Cons:

Taxis are expensive and so organized tours are the economical choice for exploring outside the city

Bottom Line:

An architecturally impressive city within a picturesque cove, alongside great desert excursions

Muscat Cruise Port Facilities?

There's nothing to do at the actual cruise terminal, which is pretty rudimentary. From the shuttle drop-off at the port gates, it's an easy walk to the souks and the corniche.

Good to Know?

Oman is safe, and the people are gentle and polite. Be aware, however, that there has been some unrest in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings, and you should stay away from demonstrations. Alcohol should not be consumed in public (you can get it in hotel bars and some restaurants but not in regular shops), and the penalties for drugs are severe. Oman is a conservative Muslim country, and women should dress modestly; if you want to visit the Grand Mosque, you need to cover ankles, wrists, neck, head and most of your face; there is an inspection at the entrance.

Getting Around?

As previously mentioned, the old part of the city by the waterfront is quite walkable.



Taxis line up at the gates of the port, but before you take one, agree on the price and make sure the driver understands where you're going. A one-way transfer can easily morph into an expensive "city tour."



If you want to explore farther afield, a cruise line tour or a private driver and guide are your best bets. Renting a car is not practical for a day, as you're likely to get lost either in the city or the mountains. Many people on our cruise booked private guides and drivers, some of them in groups they'd formed on the Cruise Critic message boards. Everybody agreed that these tours were extremely worthwhile. The mountain and desert safaris are expensive compared to coach tours, regardless of how you book, as you're paying for a jeep with only five or six seats, each vehicle with its own driver and guide. A privately booked jeep for two would be costly, but if you can assemble a group of six, an independent tour would undercut what the cruise lines charge.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The local currency is the Omani rial. There are ATM's in a few of the banks and shops along the corniche and in most petrol stations (which double up as loo stops on coach tours, so there will be a chance to get money). In the souk, traders will accept U.S. dollars and euros, but you'll get change in rial and are likely to lose on the exchange rate.

Language?

Arabic is the official language, but tour guides speak good English. Do not expect shopkeepers to understand you; sign language works perfectly well when haggling in the souk. Many people living and working in Oman are not native Omanis, so you will encounter Indians, Pakistanis and Emiratis in your travels there.

Where You're Docked?

The pier faces the old town, with wonderful views of the mountains and their ancient forts. You're not allowed to walk through the port, as it's an industrial area, so free shuttles are provided to the gates.


Muscat Cruise Reviews
Muscat was mystical and just so interesting Read More
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VeteranRACT
We chose the hop on, hop off bus and were glad we did. Muscat is beautiful, safe and clean and we walked throughout the main port area and enjoyed a pleasant day shopping and sightseeing.Read More
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kirkandmimi
Beautiful city with welcoming people. The Mosque is astounding.Read More
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JC Norton
This port was excellent not full of high rise buildings clean and friendly lovely residents,good shoppingRead More
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Ldodog

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