The Middle East is a fascinating part of the world, the heart of ancient cultures and religions and offers stunning scenery as well as more historical attractions than you could ever hope to visit on one cruise!
From the Great Pyramids of Giza to the rock-hewn city of Petra and the modern King Fahad's Causeway linking Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, there will be plenty of opportunities to give your camera a workout - and many of the ships also run enrichment courses teaching you better photography skills to complement this!
Look out for routes that include the historic Suez Canal as well - this waterway connects the Mediterranean and ports in Israel with the Red Sea coast and onwards to the United Arab Emirates, Oman and more. Most world cruises that include the Middle East and the Mediterranean will pass through this important stretch of water, although a few will also take the long way round past the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.
Where to start? Egypt has long been one of the world's most recognised tourist destinations, and the reefs of the Red Sea, Port Said for Cairo and the Great Pyramids of Giza and Safaga for Luxor with its temples and the Valley of the Kings are simply must-sees.
Petra in Jordan is fast becoming as popular too - here you will find buildings hewn out of the pink rock, a spectacular sight to behold. Whilst in the United Arab Emirates you'll find out what the wealthier side of this region looks like, particularly in Dubai.
Oman is another fascinating destination, as its capital, Muscat, is one big melting pot for culture from Europe, Asia and Africa, so it's a great place to spend the day wandering and looking for souvenirs. And head to Bahrain for a chance to see the modern wonder that is King Fahad's Causeway, which runs over the sea for 16 miles!
Israeli destinations shouldn't be overlooked either with Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem all very popular thanks to a mix of wonderful beaches, modern culture and history.
It's possible to find some great deals on cruises to the Middle East - especially if you're prepared to join for one sector of a world cruise. These can often be limited in the number of ports though - they have to keep moving! If you would rather stop at more ports of call, then use our cruise deal finder to seek out the best offer for you, or sign up to our weekly newsletter.
There's a certain amount of instability in some Middle Eastern countries at the moment. Cruise ships will only ever dock where it is safe to do so, but you should still follow advice from crew and the Foreign Office if you're planning some independent excursions.
A lot of the countries you'll visit in the Middle East are 'dry' so if you want to drink plenty of cocktails they are going to have to be purchased onboard your cruise ship. Look out for advanced-purchase drinks packages as these are the best value way of enjoying your holiday without having to keep an eye on the final drinks bill.
Updated 15th February 2017
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