Muscat, Oman cruises
Your guide to Muscat.
Perched on the Gulf of Oman, Muscat has long enjoyed a history as a continental crossroads - its ancient capital enticing visitors from all corners of the world. Where other cities have altered with time, Muscat honors its ancestral roots. Traditional sugar-white houses and yellowed forts stretch from the Arabian Sea to the foothills of Western Hajar. Bulbous domes and minarets erupt from rooftops, and the masts of dhows sway in the city's harbors. Even Muscat’s newer buildings exude special character. Add in sumptuous food, decadent markets and sweeping gardens, and you’re certain to fall in love with this exuberant city of charm and splendor.
Omanis are proud of their culture and Muscat is the perfect city in which to immerse yourself in it. From the historic north to the cosmopolitan south, every inch of Muscat harbors its own sweet surprises awaiting discovery. At the Royal Opera House, you’ll find a contemporary art and music center surrounded by landscaped gardens. Mutrah Corniche, the city’s oldest district, offers sublime harbor views and is home to Muscat’s ancient Mutrah Souk. The National Museum holds exhibits honoring the Sultanate's long and fascinating history, and a cruise on a traditional wooden dhow offers the chance to appreciate Muscat’s glorious scenery.
Eating and drinking.
Like the city itself, Muscat’s cuisine is a melting pot of Arabic, Indian, Persian and Mediterranean influences. You’ll find everything from casual food outlets and fusion dining to haute cuisine and hamburgers. Start your day in one of the city’s many traditional coffee houses or its newer European-style cafés. The city is also home to a surprising number of well-heeled pubs and bars. Enjoy tropical cocktails and homely food in a warm, inviting atmosphere. Omani dishes make great use of aromatic spices but heat levels are generally palatable for most tastes. Chicken, lamb and fish are used liberally and rice is another staple ingredient.
Muscat has been a commercial hub for centuries and its legacy of quality shopping continues to this day. The city has numerous large shopping centers, several of which are centrally located and easily accessible from port. Oman Avenues Mall, one of Oman's largest, boasts an array of designer boutiques and fine dining options while the sprawling Mutrah Souq is brimming with traditional textile, silver and leather stores. Less than a mile from port, the souq is one of Muscat’s greatest attractions and one of the best within the Gulf. Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells as you wander through the maze of pathways.
An excursion from Muscat offers the chance to see the beautifully restored Jabreen Castle or explore the bustling souk in Oman’s old capital Nizwa. Built in 1675, Jabreen Castle is a maze of rooms sprung from courtyards, many featuring elaborately painted ceilings. It’s one of the highlights of a visit to Oman, and its position between mountain and desert reveals itself on a wonderful scenic journey. Nizwa, in Oman’s Ad Dakhiliyah region, is another fascinating day trip from Muscat. With a 17th-century castle and bustling souk, like Muscat, this ancient city is full of countless treasures to admire.