Cruises to Salalah

22 Reviews
Salalah (Photo:Patrik Dietrich/Shutterstock)

About Cruising to 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. Find cruises to Salalah on our upcoming Oman cruise itineraries.

  • More about Salalah

  • Why Cruise to Salalah?

  • Salalah Cruise Port Facilities?

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MSC Euribia
MSC Euribia hull art (Photo; Adam Coulter)

27 Night
Middle East Cruise

51 Reviews
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Crown Princess
Crown Princess (Photo: Princess Cruises)

113 Night
113 Night World Cruise

2,242 Reviews
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Costa Smeralda
Costa Smeralda  (Image: Costa Cruises)

20 Night
Positioning Emirates Cruise

38 Reviews
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MSC Euribia
MSC Euribia hull art (Photo; Adam Coulter)

25 Night
Middle East Cruise

51 Reviews
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Nachi Cocom Beach Club

16 Night
Middle East Cruise

51 Reviews
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60 Night
World Cruise

2,242 Reviews
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116 Night
116 Night World Cruise

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20 Night
Passage To India

70 Reviews
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18 Night
Middle East Cruise

51 Reviews
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Cruise Critic Favorite

35 Night
India, Arabia, Egypt & Holy Land

139 Reviews
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17 Night
Africa Cruise

354 Reviews
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156 Night
156 Night Europe - Northern Cruise

76 Reviews
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113 Night
113 Night World Cruise

2,242 Reviews
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Cruise Critic Favorite

49 Night
Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, India, Arabia & Egypt

139 Reviews
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19 Night
Positioning Emirates Cruise

38 Reviews
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More about Salalah

Why Cruise 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. 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
Many people didn't like this port, but I did. The countryside is lovely and we saw two beautiful beaches.Read More
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JC Norton
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

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