Ancient treasures strike a fascinating contrast with the opulence and extravagance of the ultramodern metropolises of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, proving that an Arabian Gulf and Red Sea cruise has something to offer everyone.
Over the past decade, the Arabian Gulf has seen an extraordinary growth in tourism, with the Emirates - particularly Abu Dhabi and Dubai - witnessing an amazing transformation. Ever growing, there's more and more luxury hotels and staggeringly vast shopping malls, all with an international feeling. Dubai's landmarks include the famous Burj al Arab, one of the tallest buildings in the world, and other ultra luxury hotels on the man-made island of the Palms, while Abu Dhabi has pursued major investment in the arts and sports, including its annual Formula 1 Grand Prix, not to be outdone by its neighbour. These two destinations seemingly compete to be bigger and better than the other, ensuring there are plenty attractions for visitors.
Oman, further along the coast from its glitzy UAE neighbours, may be slower in pace and more traditional, but its capital Muscat, and second city, Salalah, have maintained more of the history and culture than other countries in the region.
Israel and Jordan offer history stretching back millennia - Red Sea cruises visiting these countries will usually call at Aqaba in Jordan for the ancient city of Petra, nicknamed the 'Rose City', as well as the Israeli port of Eilat (for Jerusalem, Tel Aviv or Haifa on Israel's Mediterranean coast, itineraries will usually either focus solely on the Mediterranean, perhaps from west to east, or simply the eastern regions, or combine with the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf). Eilat, the southernmost city of Israel, offers exciting insights into Bedouin hospitality, camel tours, and excellent diving opportunities, exploring stunning and vibrant coral reefs. Both countries share the Dead Sea, a popular attraction renowned for its rejuvenating healing properties, and rich minerals and salt content.
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