Muscat is the capital of Oman, a sovereign country. Muscat has been important since the 6th century BC, when Persians controlled the port. It was under Portuguese domination from 1508 to 1650, and subsequently the Iranians gained control of the city. Muscat became the capital of independent Muscat and Oman in 1741- the country’s name was changed to just Oman in 1970. Muscat offers a number of exciting excursions including dolphin watching and off-road desert adventures.
The following Shore Excursions are available for this port on this cruise, and may be reserved beginning 240 days before the cruise begins for guests receiving Concierge amenities, and 180 days before the cruise begins for all other guests. Guests receiving Concierge amenities will receive a 5% discount off of the prices shown below for Regent Choice tours.
Most Active or Strenuous
Minimal Activity Required
Discover the historic and religious sites of Muscat, Oman's political, economic and commercial hub, during a half-day tour of this historic city.
Depart the pier for a scenic drive through the exclusive Omani residential district of Shati Al Qurum. You will then continue on for a visit to the Grand Mosque, the largest and most exclusive mosque in Oman, before stopping at the colorful Muttrah Souq, where the scent of exotic Arabian perfumes and spices fills the air. Here, a multitude of shops offer Omani daggers, or khanjars, as well as handmade Omani costumes, antiques, traditional silver jewelry and handicrafts made from copper, camel bone, wood and leather.
Next, you will proceed to Bait Al Zubair, a private museum housing collections of traditional Omani items that include weaponry, jewelry, clothing, household items, books, photographs, paintings, and maps. Afterward, you will take a drive along Muscat's scenic coastal road, through the charming fishing village of Sidab and on to Muscat's Old Town for a photo stop at the splendid Al Alam Palace, the official residence of Sultan Qaboos. Built on the site of the old palace in 1970, Al Alam Palace offers picturesque vistas overlooking Muscat Bay. It is adorned with Oriental-styled architecture, and strategically positioned between Jalali and Mirani, two Medieval fortresses built by the Portuguese near the end of the 16th century.
Please note: Due to Muslim tradition, conservative dress is required for men and women. Women must cover their body, shoulders, arms and legs to the wrists and ankles, and a scarf must cover the head and hair. Men must also wear modest clothing befitting the sanctity of the mosque. Shorts, short skirts, beachwear, sleeveless t-shirts or blouses, and revealing outfits are inappropriate, and not permitted inside the mosque. Food, drinks and smoking are strictly prohibited in the mosque. Slip-on shoes are recommended, as guests must remove their shoes before entering the mosque. Photography is prohibited at Bait Al Zubair Museum. The Grand Mosque is closed on Fridays and every day after 11:00 a.m. Therefore, calls that may occur during these closed times will only have an outside visit of the Mosque. The panoramic drive through Shati Al Qurum residential district depends on traffic conditions of the day and may be excluded.
Get face-to-face with Oman's abundant marine life during this dolphin watching and snorkeling expedition in Muscat.
Depart for the brief morning drive to the marina, and your awaiting boat. Upon arrival, you will embark your boat, and set out in search of dolphins and whales about a mile off the rugged Muscat coast. Although sightings are not guaranteed, it is not unusual to spot three or four different varieties of dolphin or toothed whales during this relaxing trip out to sea. If you are lucky, you might even encounter some of the larger species of filter-feeding, or baleen whales.
Spinners are the most common and acrobatic of the dolphin species found in Omani waters, and travel in pods that can number more than a thousand fish. They appear to breed year-round, as evidenced by the number of tiny pink newborn calves swimming close to their mothers; at times, no bigger than a human infant. No one knows why this dolphin species spins high through the air the way they do, but this action is thought to be a display of fitness or vigor.
Next, you will proceed to Bander Khiran. Upon arrival, you will have an opportunity to snorkel in the crystal-clear waters, and explore the coral beds that abound with a variety of exotic fish.
Please note: You will spend approximately 3 hours aboard the boat. Guests wishing to snorkel should wear their swimsuit under a cover-up, as there are no changing facilities. In addition, wear sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses, and bring a towel from the ship. Although dolphin sightings are common, they are not guaranteed. Snorkeling equipment will be provided. Participants will snorkel directly from the boat in water 15 to 20 feet deep. Guests must be able to swim, and get in and out of the boat without assistance in order to participate. This tour is not recommended for guests with neck or back injuries, guests with limited mobility or guests who utilize a wheelchair.
Explore the splendid souqs, palaces, mosques, museums, and resorts of Muscat during this scenic half-day tour of the city.
Depart the pier for a visit to the colorful Muttrah Souq, where the scent of exotic Arabian perfumes and spices fills the air. Here, a multitude of shops offer Omani daggers, or khanjars, as well as hand-made Omani costumes, antiques, traditional silver jewelry and handicrafts made from copper, camel bone, wood and leather.
Next, your drive will continue on to Muscat's Old Town for a photo stop at the splendid Al Alam Palace (photo-stop only), the official residence of Sultan Qaboos. Built upon the site of the old palace in 1970, the Al Alam Palace offers picturesque vistas overlooking Muscat Bay. It is adorned with Oriental-styled architecture, and strategically positioned between Jalali and Mirani, two Medieval fortresses built by the Portuguese near the end of the 16th century.
Your drive will then proceed for a photo stop at the Zawawi Mosque. Built by Sheik Zawawi, it is one of Oman's finest mosques. Afterward, you will drive on to Bait Adam Museum, located on the ground-floor of a private home, to view a unique collection of currency, paintings, photographs, guns, and more. Upon arrival, you will be warmly greeted by your host, and offered Arabic coffee and dates.
Please note: Do not wear shorts, beachwear or sleeveless outfits on this tour. U.S. dollars are accepted at the souq.
Learn about life in Omani past and present during this brief, yet informative visit to Muscat's Bait Adam Museum, and the local home in which it is located.
Depart the pier for the drive to Bait Adam Museum, located on the ground floor of a private home, to view a unique collection of currency, paintings, photographs, guns, and more.
Upon arrival, you will be warmly greeted by your hosts, and offered Arabic coffee and dates. The head of the family will talk about Omani life from ancient times to present, as well as marriage ceremonies, festivals, like Eid, and the holy month of Ramadan.
Discover Muscat's history, culture and traditions during this scenic tour of the Bait Adan Museum, and a lunch visit at the private home in which the museum is located.
Depart the pier for the drive to Bait Adam Museum, which is located on the ground floor of a private home. Here, you will view a unique collection of currency, paintings, photographs, guns, and more.
Next, you will have an opportunity to visit the attached private home. After a warm greeting, you will be invited inside to share in some Arabic coffee and dates. The head of the family will then impart some unique insights into Omani life from ancient times to present. You will learn about such festivals as Eid, and the holy month of Ramadan. A typical Omani lunch will also be served during your visit.
Please note: During lunch, guests will be seated on cushions on the floor.
Join us for a wonderful sightseeing experience during this exclusive dhow boat cruise in the waters along Muscat.
Dhow boats are built in the town of Sur, and crafted with traditional Omani techniques that have been passed on for centuries from generation to generation; modern features and safety aspects are then added in Muscat.
Depart from the pier for the transfer to Marina Bander Al Rowdha, where you will board your dhow boat and embark on a private, 1.5-hour dhow cruise. The route you will be taking has been carefully mapped out along the waters of Muscat's Old Town. You will be served soft drinks and water along the way, and take in scenic vistas reflecting Oman's history, from Portuguese architecture at the Corniche to the modern wonders of the Al Alam Palace.
Please note: The dhow cruise is subject to weather conditions. There are no restroom stops on this tour. Participants will have to walk a few minutes from the Marina entrance to the dhow boat, and negotiate six steps in order to board it.
Unveil the mystique of Oman during this scenic tour to some of its most popular historic, cultural and entertainment sites.
Depart the port for a drive on Oman's expressway, past the airport and along the Batinah Coast. Upon arrival at Fort Nakhl, which is perched on a 200-foot high hilltop, you will take in commanding and spectacular views of the surrounding oasis. This famous pre-Islamic fortress used to be the stronghold of the well-known Bani Kharous tribe during Medieval times, and offers a unique look into Oman's past.
Following a visit to the ladies' sitting room, walis, barzas, majlis, prison, and split-level terraces and courtyards, a stop will be made at the tranquil and picturesque Nakhl Springs. Majestic mountains, or jebels, and a dense green oasis frame the lovely surroundings around the warm springs. Your drive will continue on through the village of Nakhl for a photo stop at the Grand Mosque, Oman's largest and most exclusive mosque.
Your tour will conclude with a buffet luncheon served at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
Please note: This tour involves negotiating many steps at Fort Nakhl.
"Hop on Hop Off! Your open-top Double Decker is a sightseeing experience designed to captivate you with a unique perspective of a city rich in old Arabian charm.
Dominated by dramatic mountains, enjoy the fascinating history of Oman’s capital city as the recorded commentary is available in 6 different languages including English, Arabic, French, German, Italian and Spanish. With 10 stops to choose from, you will be able to explore at your leisure as you are free to hop on and off the bus for the entire day. Frequency of the buses is every 30 minutes with the last bus departing from stop #1 at 5:00 pm. The loop begins and ends at the cruise ship pier.
Your tour ticket also includes complimentary headphones, map and walking tour of the Old Quarter.
Highlights of the tour include Muttrah Souk, Royal Opera House, Al Shati, Natural Mangroves, Qurum Beach, Qurum Park, Mountain Pass, Parliament, Marina Views, Sultan Palace, The Old Quarter, Museums, Kalbu Corniche, Dolphin Fountain and Al Muttrah Corniche.
Please note: Walking on this tour is primarily at the guests’ discretion at any chosen stops. Guests must be able to negotiate a step to enter and exit the bus and there are approximately 6-8 steep, narrow steps to negotiate to reach the upper deck seating. The upper deck is open and is not air-conditioned. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the bus and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Light-weight clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Suitable attire is required for entering the Mosque. Shorts, culottes, tight trousers and leggings are not permitted. Trousers and skirts must cover the ankle, and women must have their head covered with a scarf and wear long-sleeved shirts. No tight or see-through blouses are permitted. Duration noted is the total time of the sightseeing loop, not including any optional time guests may spend at the stops. When you have completed your day at your leisure in Muscat, all buses end at stop number 1 where you will have a shuttle available to return you to the ship every 30 minutes."
Explore a massive limestone cave that was formed millions of years ago and then learn about its formation and the creatures that live inside at a geological exhibition.
After departing from the pier, you will settle in for a two and one-half hour circuitous drive inland through some of the most hauntingly beautiful scenery in Oman. As you near your destination, craggy Jebel Shams, the country’s tallest mountain, will come into sight. At its foothills, you will find Al Hoota Cave, the only such underground wonderland in the Arabian Peninsula that is open to the public.
Although estimated to be two million years old, the cave wasn’t discovered until the 1960s when a shepherd found that one of his goats had fallen through an opening in the ground. Like other caves in Oman, Al Hoota was created by slightly acidic water that slowly dissolved the limestone underground. What it left behind is absolutely spectacular, especially when eerily illuminated.
While walking through Al Hoota Cave, you will see unusually shaped stalagmites and stalactites, including one that resembles a lion and others that look like curtains. The cave also contains four lakes full of small fish that are blind and lack pigmentation because they live in total darkness.
After a brief stop at the gift shop, you will visit the geological exhibition located next to the cave. Here, you will have the opportunity to see some of the cave’s fish up close. You might also browse displays with other indigenous creatures such as scorpions, Arabian toads and Wadi racing snakes. Afterwards, you will enjoy an International buffet lunch at the Falaj Daris Hotel before making the return journey to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 90 minutes of moderate to strenuous walking that includes rough and uneven surfaces and over 200 steps to climb. The pathways in the cave can become slippery. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests or those with any mobility concerns. Guests should be in good physical condition. Comfortable clothing to include a light sweater or jacket as temperatures can be cool within the cave, and flat walking shoes with a non-slip sole are recommended.
Terms & Conditions:
Free Unlimited Shore Excursions are for full fare guests only, capacity controlled and subject to availability. Requested excursions may not be available at time of booking. Supplement will apply on Regent Choice excursions (indicated by the above) and excludes Private Arrangements and all Adventures Ashore programs. Concierge benefits do not apply to Executive Collection private cars or other private arrangements. In order to ensure quality guides and sufficient transportation, we must provide the tour operator with passenger counts at least 36 hours in advance. Therefore no refunds will be given within 36 hours of tour departure for cancellations or no-shows. Please pay special attention to scheduling and tour lengths when booking your shore excursions. In many cases, it is not possible to participate in more than one tour per day in a given port. Tour Departure times are subject to change so please reference your actual tour ticket for the correct departure time. Tours operate rain or shine. Minor children 17 years and under must be accompanied by a an adult 18 years or older on all shore excursions. Tours require minimum participation levels to operate so please sign up as early as possible. Tours may be cancelled if minimum participation levels are not met. Prices, Itineraries and General Information shore excursion prices are subject to change to meet unexpected cost increases or currency fluctuations. Please consult the Destination Services Desk onboard for information. During local or national holidays, access to certain facilities (such as museums or archaeological sites) may be limited or denied. In such instances, adjustments will be made to minimize inconvenience to guests. Some tours have limited availability. Tours are generally available for reserving 180 days prior to the beginning of a cruise. Please sign up early to avoid disappointment. Regent Seven Seas Cruises reserves the right to require guests to complete a liability waiver for select shore excursions. For more information, please visit the Destination Services Desk onboard.