Wednesday, February 11, 2009

2010 Goldring Travel Food & Wine Cruise on the Seabourn Legend

Even though it is still months from the 2009 Goldring Travel Food & Wine Cruise (http://goldringtravel.blogspot.com/2008/10/2009-golding-travel-food-wine-cruise-on.html with limited space still available), I am already working on the 2010 Food & Wine Cruise. (Hint: You won't believe the price!)

With Seabourn expanding into the Middle East, I have chosen a seven day roundtrip Dubai, U.A.E. cruise departing on November 28, 2010. It will visit Dubai, Bahrain, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas, and Oman.

Late November is a great time to visit this area as the daytime temperatures are comfortable and the evenings can even be a bit cool. I am planning on arranging for a pre-cruise Desert Safari outside of Dubai, including an exotic dinner under the stars (extra cost). As always there will be the complimentary Goldring Travel Food & Wine Tasting and a suprise or two along the way.

While there are some restrictions on the consumption of wine in some of the ports, the fact is that the Middle East is not exactly a hot bed of wine production. However, the paring of wines with a rather diverse and very interesting palate of Middle Eastern cuisines will be a lot of fun. And if you are a vegetarian (or would like to focus on vegetarian dishes) this is actually the ideal cruise experience.

I am sure many of you are saying, "OK. I have heard of most of these places, but where the heck is Sir Bani Yas?!" It is an island off the coast of Abu Dhabi which has many unique features. This is a new venture on a very old island. Opened only recently to tourists, it holds itself out as a "nature tourism" spot; not an eco-tourism one. What does this mean? It means that this island is largely "reclaimed" from the sea and has been involved in creating a lush environment with mangroves, trees and grasses where only sand once existed. It is said that one mangrove tree will be planted for every visitor (but they started by planting over 3,000,000 of them!) Virtually everything has/is being brought to the island, including 40 giraffe, 400 Arabian oryx (extinct in the wild), stripped hyena, various deer and blackbucks (and, possibly soon, cheetah) among other wildlife. All of the irrigation is run by the largest wind turbine in the Middle East. So whether you want to trek, bicycle, drive or kayak the focus here is on nature and wildlife in a man-made ecology.

So with so many wanting to experience the "Glitz and Glamour" of Dubai, wondering what Oman, Bahrain and Qatar are really like (I will write more on this later!), and now pondering "What's up with Sir Bani Yas?) now is a great opportunity to book this cruise at an incredible starting price of less than $3,500 per person.