Welcome to the land of the Queen of Sheba and a Thousand and One Nights. The newly-united Yemens are a marvelous concoction of desert sheikdoms, mud daubed skyscrapers, crenellated fortress towers, fierce-eyed tribesmen and black-shrouded women.
Like a magic carpet spread before the sea, Oman's coastal plain is one of the most fertile areas of Arabia. Famous since antiquity as the source of Frankincense, Salalah was already a prosperous town when Marco Polo visited in the 13th century! Inland are the forbidding Al-Quara Mountains, and the desolate 'Empty Quarter' of central Saudi Arabia.
The dynamic Mediterranean port of Port Said is also a Red Sea port, thanks to the marvelous man-made waterway of the Suez Canal, which begins at Port Said. One of the busiest waterways in the world, the Suez Canal runs 100miles between the harsh sand dunes of the Sinai Peninsula to the east, and the comparatively green Nile River delta westwards.
A small settlement called Hurhada, on the Red Sea coast, 230 miles south of the Suez Canal, is heaven for water sports. There is great snorkeling and scuba diving over gorgeous coral reefs, excellent windsurfing in the steady sea breezes, and fabulous water-skiing. Landlubbers will be treated to the impressive sandy horizons of Egypt's coastal desert.
And lastly, Jordan's only port, Aqaba hugs the steep tan hills of the Gulf of Aqaba, waterway to the Red Sea. Offshore are dazzling coral reefs and aquatic life, including the Yamanieh Reef, one of the world's premier dive spots. Not far inland lies the mysterious lost city of Petra, hewn by the Romans from the living red rock of a canyon. It's an adventure that surpasses any fairy tale.
Typical Ports of Call: Haifa, Israel; Muscat and Salalah, Oman; Dubai, U. A. E; Aden and Hodeidah, Yemen; Port Said, Safaga, Sharm-el-Sheikh and Suez, Egypt; Aqaba, Jordan.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line