Cruising Mates Forum: Cruise reviews, chat, answers and information. cruisingmates.co.uk • View topic - Muscat

Muscat

Muscat

Postby tomvet » 24 Mar 2015 03:30

Our first port of call on this cruise was Muscat the Capital of the Sultanate of Oman. I read elsewhere about 'One Way to do Muscat..........' and I thought there must be a better way so I set about doing some research and decided that considering the distances between sights and what was to be seen that hiring a private vehicle and driver was the way to go! We hired a Toyota Landcruiser and driver for 6 hours for €130 from Canary Travel in Muscat. Payment made once services were received.

On disembarking we were issued with a tourist card - credit card sized that we had to relinquish when we returned. Funny thing is that we were not required to have one when entering Oman at Khasab! :? Irish passengers need a visa to enter Oman but the ship had organised a group visa. There was no charge for this. I understand when RCI used to call to Oman, they charged each passenger USD15 each for the visa! I don't think cruise lines should profit on visa charges. I think a reasonable administrative charge would be appropriate but charging 3000 passengers USD45,000 for a GROUP visa is bordering exploitation /extortion in my opinion. Well done Costa!!!

Muscat is an industrial port and it is strictly forbidden to walk across out. THe port provides minibus shuttles but are not wheelchair / buggy accessible which necessitates having to carry babies, fold the buggy, load up the buggy, and do it all in reverse - hassle but could be overcome. We boarded the shuttle at the gangway and then the bus took off at the terminal and no joke it stopped 30 metres away and we all got off very amused. We then went through the terminal and the X Ray machines to emerge on the other side only to remount the shuttles for the 200m drive to the port gates! :roll: :roll:

At the port gates we met our driver Ahmed. It was now 8.45am and we had a curfew as the Royal Opera House in Muscat is only open from 0830 to 1030. THis was to be our first stop! Note on the One way to do Muscat review the author just took a photo from the roadside .......... this Better Way to do Muscat review includes an exterior and interior visit! :D

The tour of the ROHM costs 2OR (5€) per person. It was built by Sultan Qaboos in 2011 and it really is a work of art using Italian Carrara Marble and Burmese teak. The gardens outside were spectacular and quite unexpected how the lawns and flowers could be so green in such a dry climate - clearly irrigation is big in Muscat but at what cost?

The interior visit encompasses the foyer / atrium and the auditorium. It was very grand!

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

The outside was equally impressive!

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

There is Shopping at the Opera House but we were still on a curfew. We could have got tickets for a Uruguayan Tango Performance that night but we had no babysitters! :( :( That would have been icing on the cake!

We could only afford 40mins at ROHM as our next stop the Sultan Qaboos Mosque only remains open until 11am. This where we were headed. Entrance is free but conservative dress is essential and women must wear head dress! Kids under 10 are not allowed into the prayer hall so OH and I took it in turns! Not to be out done Mai used the nappy changing mat for her head gear!!! :roll: :roll:

Image

Though not as impressive as its counterpart in Abu Dhabi - SQM interior is stunning and includes the largest woven single carpet piece in the world imported form Iran.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

The exterior

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

At 11am we were promptly kicked out with some people at the door being turned away. We spent about an hour at SQM.
October 19 - A-ROSA Luna - Lyon- Viviers - Arles - Avignon - Vienne - Lyon
tomvet
Admiral
Admiral
 
Posts: 13695
Joined: 01 May 2011 14:15
National Flag:
Ireland

Re: Muscat

Postby tomvet » 24 Mar 2015 03:32

Our next stop was the Al Bustan Palace Hote 5* which is managed by the RitzCarlton Group where we stopped for refreshments - mint tea for Dad and Milkshakes for OH and Mai! Regular bottles for the girls! It was also a good opportunity to use the nappy changing facilities. Service was impeccable and the price not too bad - 3 drinks was 11OR - €23!

We had to take the drinks in the Foyer and as we were not guests or resort pass holders we were not allowed to visit the gardens, terrace or the beach! :(

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Note the ABPH does not feature in the 'One Way to do' series as I said this is a 'Better way to do......... ;)

Old Muscat is where the legislature is located along side Sultan Qaboos' very impressive Al Alam Palace. It looks out on the harbour that's flanked by two Portuguese Forts that are off limits to tourists.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

The Portuguese Forts

Image

Image

After spending 45 mins in this area our time with Ahmed was up so he dropped us back to the Muttrah souk which was within walking distance of the ship!

Lonely Planet describes Muttrah Souk as the finest one in Arabia! I thought it just a Souk but it did have some notable architectural / design features.

Image

Image

Image

Image

The usual things you find in a souk were there!

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

OH bartering over some fabrics - the outcome was immaterial! :lol: :lol:

Image

Image
October 19 - A-ROSA Luna - Lyon- Viviers - Arles - Avignon - Vienne - Lyon
tomvet
Admiral
Admiral
 
Posts: 13695
Joined: 01 May 2011 14:15
National Flag:
Ireland

Re: Muscat

Postby tomvet » 24 Mar 2015 03:34

The Incense Burner (officially known as the Riyam Monument) that is ubiquitously perched on a hill top between Old Muscat and Muttrah gets only a brief mention in the 'One way to do Muscat' article, it gets an in depth visit in this 'Better Way to do Muscat' version. The hill that it is perched on is located right next to a park with a playground where the kids played while OH and I took it in turns to climb to the base of the monument. It takes about 20 mins to walk along the Corniche to the park and a further 10 mins to get to the top of the hill. There is a lift inside the monument but it was shut as was the gate at the base of the hill - everybody climbed over the gate in order to proceed upwards.

Mai made loads of friends at the playground and the babies were a novelty with the locals and great fun was had on the pineapple slide :roll:

Image

Image

Image

The walk to the incense burner!

From the Corniche with the kids playground between us and it and the 6 lane motorway!!!

Image

Image

Image

At the top

Image

and the views

Costa Serena in port

Image

Image

Image

Image

Continuing the Better Way to do Muscat theme we visited the Fish Market in Muscat which is located about 50 metres from the port gates. Not mention of it in the 'One Way to do' series!

I know Gillzajoker has a fetish for dead fish so she is warned!

Dave may not be so impressed either!

This to me was total immersion in culture and I loved it for that but I can see sadly that Fish Welfare is grossly neglected. Mai's comment summed it up 'I didn't like the one that was slapping his tail'. Enough said!

Let the pictures do the talking!

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

How do they keep their clothes so white? :?

Image

We even had our own little fan club! :roll:

Image

The Muscat Corniche is worth a gander and wander for the view of Sultan Qaboos Yacht docked in the harbour :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Image

Image

The Corniche is great walkway with many gazebos to rest and several sculptures of a fishy / dolphin theme.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Many roundabouts in Oman have designs using coffee pots, other vessels etc

Image

On the other side of the road one is the Muttrah Mosque and traditional Omani houses.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

That's all folks when it comes to Muscat and I do hope you consider that it was a 'Better Way to do Muscat'.

The sailaway from Muscat was stunning!

Image

Image

Image
October 19 - A-ROSA Luna - Lyon- Viviers - Arles - Avignon - Vienne - Lyon
tomvet
Admiral
Admiral
 
Posts: 13695
Joined: 01 May 2011 14:15
National Flag:
Ireland

.Muscat

Postby JollyJill » 24 Mar 2015 12:33

Wow! What a fabulous review of a great day in Muscat.

What a pity that the Opera House is only open for two hours so early in the morning. I guess that they want to keep the number of tourists to a minimum.

The photos are great as always. It makes realise that Muscat is nothing like I imagined.

Thanks for all the time and effort you put into such reviews Tom; it puts the rest of us to shame. :oops:
Image

36 cruises on 26 ships.







Image
User avatar
JollyJill
Deck Hand
Deck Hand
 
Posts: 17494
Joined: 26 Feb 2011 14:26
Location: Hampshire
National Flag:
United Kingdom

Muscat

Postby CGBOWLER » 24 Mar 2015 14:08

Great review Tom with beautiful photos. Really interesting.
I feel as though I have been there now which is good as it is most unlikely that we will ever actually be there.
Thank you. :)
Irene
User avatar
CGBOWLER
Rear Admiral
Rear Admiral
 
Posts: 3531
Joined: 01 Mar 2011 00:08
Location: CLECKHEATON, WEST YORKSHIRE
National Flag:
England

Muscat

Postby tobysgranny » 24 Mar 2015 15:03

Thanks again Tom. I can't believe I'll be able to see it for myself soon.

Joan
Queen Victoria Nov. 2018.
tobysgranny
Rear Admiral
Rear Admiral
 
Posts: 4337
Joined: 27 Aug 2012 18:39
Location: Newport, South Wales
National Flag:
Scotland

Muscat

Postby Wansbrough » 24 Mar 2015 15:15

We took the HoHo bus in Muscat and you have just reminded me that I have never reviewed it. It was a really hot day when we were there and we just did a circuit and then retreated back to the ship to cool off.
I must get round to posting them. Remembering what they are taken of could be a bit of a task. I might need your help. :?
User avatar
Wansbrough
Bar Steward
Bar Steward
 
Posts: 4957
Joined: 13 Mar 2011 08:55
Location: North Somerset
National Flag:
United Kingdom


Return to Middle East



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests