A glorious past
The Muttrah Souq
The Great Mosque of Sultan Qabus

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The thousand-year old city

Stepping ashore in Oman’s capital Muscat, when your MSC cruise takes you to Dubai, Abu Dhabi & Qatar, means stepping into one of the oldest cities of the Middle East. This is where incense was shipped to Greece and Rome as far back as the 2nd century.

Today it is still possible to find traces of its glorious past in the old centre where, until the latter part of the past century, the gates that separated the various quarters would be closed three hours after dawn. Muttrah, the historic centre of trade and activity of the capital that you will see during the cruise, is one of the most intriguing and well preserved parts of the town centre.
Its commercial vocation is due to its proximity to the large port, where your MSC ship, which is named after its sovereign Qabus, will be waiting for you. Dedicate part of your vacation to Muscat to visit the sites, like the fish market, the Portuguese fort and, above all Muttrah’s Souq, one of cruisers’ favourite destinations. 
You can continue along the sea road to the old town of Muscat where, about 200 years ago,  the predecessor of the current head of state, built the Al Alam (the Flag), the palace which was restored in the Seventies and has become the Sultan’s official residence. It is a beautiful example of contemporary Arab architecture situated at the centre of the part of Muscat which is still surrounded by its 17th century walls.
Nearby, in the quarter of Bawshar, you find the Great Mosque of Sultan Qabus. About 6500 devotees gather to pray in the main prayer hall which has a single, huge carpet of about 4200 sq.m., made of one billion and 700 million knots and weighs 21 tons. All the halls, which may be visited also by non-Muslims, are decorated with motifs that celebrate Arab culture.

Must see places in Muscat

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    Atmospheres of a thousand and one nights
    Atmospheres of a thousand and one nights

    Nestled between the sea, the desert and the imposing mountains, descendent of a thousand year old culture, the Sultanate of Oman will make your heart leap.

    The great expanse of sand, the Wahiba Sands, is the first tourist attraction, an unmissable stop on your cruise to Oman and the Emirates. 

    Along the road from Nizwa to Sur, we venture into the desert following the sandy tracks which weave their way through copper coloured sand dunes and unforgettable scenery. 

    Those looking for a real adventure during their trip to Oman can try a two wadi excursion, canyons which the periodic torrents carve out of this land and then leave the riverbeds dry. 

    We reach the Wadi Bani Awf on a 4x4 track which crosses the Hajar mountains, touching some of the highest peaks and vertiginous gorges along thrilling paths. Instead, those who love trekking will like Wadi Shab

    The vestiges of Oman's bellicose past can be seen in its many forts. One of the most unique is Nizwa's, with its enormous round tower in the centre. It has a diameter of 45 metres and was built in the 17th century by the Sultan Bin Saif Al Ya’rubi to protect the city. 

    Jabrin Fort on the other hand is one of Oman's most impressive and best preserved forts. The sand-like building dates back to the 16th century and rises up from the desert in the middle of a palm grove, just five kilometres from Bahla.