Thursday, December 11, 2008

Crystal Cruises Announces 2010 Port Calls to Iran and Other Unique Middle East Ports

A few weeks ago I posted about how being uninformed can lead to misperceptions and result in comments like, "I am not going to THAT part of the world.  It just isn't safe."...lumping the entire Middle East into a truly undeserved "No Go" area.  Frankly, many Americans have difficulty in understanding the geography, no less politics, of the Middle East, so it is no wonder.

When a place like Dubai is actually very safe (and thanks to huge marketing efforts many Americans believe that) it is, by some, lumped into areas like Yemen as the "Middle East - No Go" area.  Mention Kuwait and probably nothing other than Iraq's invasion quickly comes to mind...so it is unsafe.  Again, not a true or fair statement. 
Sorry, I am not trying to insult, but rather present what is - on the world stage - a perceived undeniable fact. And, to be honest, until I was invited to speak at a superyacht conference in Dubai, U.A.E. (United Arab Emirates), I had a pitiful lacking understanding of not only the geography of the area, but even the basic differences in cultures generally between Dubai, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, etc.  The broad differences then break down into many interesting facets that both fascinate and help explain the basis for many of the political and religious issues in the area.  (Just the differences between U.A.E. emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi are as interesting as the existence of a "secret" island where Kuwaitis go to party.

And while there are, respectfully, many with deep convictions on political, religious and moral grounds not to support the economies of certain countries or rulers, I am one of those that thinks it just might be worth dipping my toe into those foreign (and possibly "scary") waters so that I can better understand what things are really like rather than just what is marketed to me by the media or politically motivated sources.

Crystal Cruises has decided to shake things up a bit and provide an incredible opportunity for those interested in dipping their toes into, and learning a bit more about, this area of the world.  Crystal's 2010  108 day "Exploration of Ancient Empires" World Cruise includes maiden calls in:

      - Manama, Bahrain;
      - Bandar Abbas, Iran;
      - Kuwait City, Kuwait;
      - Fujairah, UAE;
      - Khasab, Oman; and,
      -  Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

If you are not inclined to take the entire Wold Cruise, you can book World Voyage IV: Middle East Mystique (#0305) which starts in Mumbai and ends in Dubai and/or World Voyage V: Modern & Ancient Marvels (#0306) which starts in Dubai and ends in Athens (visiting Egypt, Israel and Jordan as well as some of the above ports). 

With some of the great pricing now available reserving your chance to experience this part of the world in the comfort and security of Crystal Cruises could just be the great opportunity you are looking for.