Arabian peninsula cruise: newbie questions

Old Dec 2nd, 2011, 02:52 AM
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Arabian peninsula cruise: newbie questions

My partner and I will be leaving mid-December on an Arabian peninsula cruise (Costa cruises) from Dubai to Muscat, Abu Dhabi, Fujairah and Khasab. This will be our first cruise.

I have looked at the cruise company's excursions schedule and the prices are insane! EUR 70-90 (USD 95 - 125) per person per excursion to load you on a bus, go to a local mosque and market, some lunch and drop you at the cruise port again.

We are used to travelling independently, so we don't have a problem to arrange our own day trips, however as this will be our first cruise (and our first time in that part of the world), I have some questions:

1) are taxis normally available in the ports mentioned above? Do people have experience taking these taxis, and how much should I expect to pay if I want to hire a taxi for 4 or 5 hours? Or better just take a one-way into town, and take a taxi back at the end of the day?

2) Or would it be better to reserve a taxi/tour with a local company before we leave for Dubai? Any recommendations for reliable companies in the places mentioned above?

Thanks in advance for any replies.
Sjoerd is offline  
Old Dec 2nd, 2011, 11:05 AM
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Generally, if you are just going to a specific destination in a city (in the Arabian peninsula or anywhere else), it's better to take a taxi one-way and get another for the drive back. You can get a taxi at any hotel or mall, so I don't think that's going to be a big deal in this part of the world.

You might also want to drive yourself. Although car rentals aren't cheap, gas usually is, and this is a more cost-effective way to go further on your days ashore.

But there are also a lot of tour companies, and if you want to go into the desert or do some other kind of specialized activity, you can almost always make those arrangements with a tour company (even upon arrival in the cruise terminal) and pay less. You can also reserve tours in advance, but it doesn't make sense to reserve a taxi in advance anywhere. You may be able to bargain to get a good hourly rate if you want to hire a driver for more than a single trip.

The one thing a lot of people are surprised about in this part of the world is how expensive everything is. Well it is. Most travelers to Dubai and Abu Dhabi are luxury travelers, and most tours are priced for them. They also provide a pretty comfortable and luxurious service, so you do get something for your money. But if you are seeing really expensive trips, it may be because things are just expensive.

You'd be wise to do your homework about the region and find out what the going rates are. But without any idea of your specific interests, it's hard to make specific recommendations.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2011, 11:09 AM
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I should have mentioned as well that there aren't so many "sights" (especially in Dubai and Abu Dhabi); there are a lot of attractions like the Burj Khalifa, the indoor ski slope or the famous water park in Dubai, and there are a handful of museums). Muscat has more actual history, and Oman in general is less touristy and overbuilt (though every bit as expensive) as the UAE. But a lot of the appeal of these destinations is the opportunity to experience Arabian bedouin culture, and you really have to book a tour to do that.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2011, 04:17 AM
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Have done 1 with traveldynamics.com in that area in the past

always do best hiring driver guides cheaply from the port

with like minded couples.

cruisecritic.com recent ship reviews some dodgy areas

so caveat emptor review consular advisories insuremytrip.com
qwovadis is offline  
Old Dec 3rd, 2011, 07:14 AM
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Usually private operators are less expensive than ship tours. I suggest going to the port boards on www.cruisecritic.com. Registration is free and you can ask for recommendations there for guides or there already may be some w/i the existing threads. Good luck. Larry
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Old Nov 22nd, 2013, 11:22 AM
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Did you take that cruise? My husband and I are thinking of taking this cruise next year. I'd like to know what you thought of it.
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