Journey to Arabia 1
St Lawrence Minor Basilica, Karkala, Mangalore, India
Gateway of India, Mumbai Harbour, Mumbai, India.
Sir Bani Yas (Abu Dhabi), Dubai and Emirates
Grand Mosque of Muscat, Oman
Banish those winter blues with a trip to the sunshine on Marella Cruises’ Journey to Arabia 1. Asia Cruises mean sea, sand and shopping in exotic destinations, and in a region with a fascinating culture and year-round sunshine.
* The order of the itinerary may differ depending on your chosen departure date and airport.
Day 1 - 2: Cochin Kerala
Arrive in Port 23:59 (Day 1)
Depart from Port 18:00 (Day 2)
Your Journey to Arabia 1 itinerary starts in Cochin (or Kochi as it's also known), India. It’s around a 45-minute journey from Cochin Airport to the port (transfers are included with Marella Cruises). Once you’ve slept off your day of travrling, head out and explore the fusion of Portuguese, Chinese and Indian influences in this vibrant city.
Cochin is spread across several small islands, so board a ferry and start your tour at the Mattancherry Palace. This fusion of Portuguese and Kerala temple architecture is now an art gallery housing Hindu murals and some of India’s finest paintings. Then, it’s on to the Chinese Fishing Nets, where local fishermen will demonstrate how to use them - for a small fee!
The Paradesi Synagogue, with its impressive hand-painted willow-patterned Chinese floor tiles and gold pulpit should be on your list, along with Fort Cochin, the first European settlement in India.
Day 3 - Mangalore, India
Time in Port 08:00 - 17:00
Mangalore is your destination for day 3 of your Journey to Arabia 1 cruise. It’s jam-packed with churches, temples and mosques and is a popular destination for pilgrims. Visit Ullal Juma Masjid Mosque, host to the Uroos festival once every five years. The Gokarnanatheshwara Temple is a golden Hindu temple decorated with statues of idols and murals of gods and goddesses.
Once you’ve had your culture fix, Panambur Beach awaits. Feast on fresh seafood at one of the beachside food stalls, then go dolphin watching before relaxing on the sand.
Day 4 - Mormugao, Goa
Time in Port 08:00 - 18:00
Romantic Goa is the perfect place for couples to stroll hand in hand on the beach (try Utorda Beach with its shimmering sands, swaying palm trees and warm water), before seeing the sights of Old Goa. Don’t miss the intricate mosaics of The Sé Cathedral, or the majesty of the Convent of Santa Monica and the Chapel of the Weeping Cross attached to it.
Day 5 - Mumbai, India
Time in Port 09:00 - 19:00
East meets west in Mumbai, with its Parisian influenced boutiques, English designed Rajabai Clock Tower and the glorious Indo-Islamic Gateway to India monument, which sits in the shadow of the grand Taj Mahal Hotel.
Nearby is the Colaba Causeway where you can look for bargains from the stalls that line the footpaths or stare at the buildings left over from the British Raj. There are plenty of places to satisfy your rumbling tummy too, with street food stalls, cafes and restaurants galore.
Day 6 - 7: At Sea
After the hustle and bustle of the last few days, the Journey to Arabia 1 itinerary gives you time to relax on Marella Discovery, as you spend two days at sea. There are indoor and outdoor pools to swim in, with the sociable Deck Bar conveniently close for a cold drink and a chat with your fellow cruisers.
Take your pick from testing your limits on the climbing wall, having a round of mini-golf or letting your competitive side come out in the Gamer Zone.
Head for Ocean’s Spa for a couple’s massage and facial if you want some real down time. Dine in Gallery 47, which offers the best in Italian cuisine before taking in a show at the Broadway Show Lounge.
Day 8 - 10: Port Rashid (For Dubai), Dubai and Emirates
Arrive in Port 06:00 (Day 8)
Depart from Port 18:00 (Day 10)
You’ll need three days to take in the sights, sound and smells of one of the world’s most unique cities. It’s rich in gold (visit Gold Souk and haggle with the multiple jewellers touting their wares) and skyscrapers (think Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building at almost 830 metres high).
You’ll find 18th-century forts like Al Fahidi, the oldest building in Dubai mingling with modern feats of engineering such as the Burj Al Arab Hotel, which resides on a man-made island. Explore the surrounding desert on a jeep ‘Dune Drive’ excursion and bounce over glorious red sand dunes.
Day 11 - Port Zayed (For Abu Dhabi), Dubai and Emirates
Time in Port 06:00 - 18:00
Spend the day in one of the world’s wealthiest cities. Home to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which can hold a whopping 40,000 people, and the Emirates Palace, one of the most opulent hotels in the world. The discovery of oil in the 1950's transformed a small fishing village into the ultra-modern metropolis you see today.
Stroll down the Corniche, the coastline boulevard lined by cafes, play areas and modern buildings overlooking the sea. If you’re a Formula One fan, take a trip to Ferarri World, the world’s biggest indoor theme park. Get your adrenaline running like Usain Bolt with a ride on the Formula Rossa roller coaster, which hits speeds of 150 mph. For something more sedate, go to the Heritage Village and learn about ‘life before oil’ in the UAE.
Day 12 - Sir Bani Yas (Abu Dhabi), Dubai and Emirates
Time in Port 09:00 - 19:00
Your Journey to Arabia 1 cruise treats you to life on a desert island with a stop in Sir Bani Yas. In complete contrast to Abu Dhabi, spend your time communing with nature at the Arabian Wildlife Park. Go on a game drive and see safari animals or navigate your way through mangroves in a kayak to catch glimpses of flamingos.
Day 13 - Manama, Bahrain
Time in Port 08:00 - 16:00
Wealth meets history in Manama where mirrored skyscrapers live side by side with mosques and bazaars. Head to Adliya to see trendy art-house cinemas and pop-up galleries. Visit Manama Souq, a bazaar where you can buy anything from nuts and spices to electronic goods. It’s just behind Bab Al Bahrain, an imposing building which was once the home of the government’s administrative offices.
Get your camera ready for a visit to the Al Fateh Grand Mosque. It’s worth a trip to see its fibreglass dome roof alone, but catch a glimpse of the elaborate chandeliers inside too.
Day 14 - Khasab, Oman
Time in Port 08:00 - 17:00
Asia Cruises promise the unexpected, and you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve been transported to Norway when you sail past the craggy coastline into Khasab. Steep mountains resembling fjords line the peninsula. They’re best seen from a dhow boat, so pick one up in the port and admire the dramatic scenery and look out for a dolphin pod along the way.
Day 15 - Port Sultan Qaboos (For Muscat), Oman
Make the most of your last day (time permitting) with a trip to Muscat, 20 minutes from Port Sultan Qaboos. A taste of mystical Asia awaits inside this ancient walled city with its ancient ruins and mosques. The one place you must see is the Al Fateh Grand Mosque, an elegant landmark with a ’magic’ Persian carpet in the prayer hall. The perfect end to an extraordinary holiday.