Cruise Ports

Cruise port focus: Khasab, Oman

The Norway of Arabia, Khasab sits amidst the glittering fjords of the Musandum Peninsula, surrounded on all sides by the dramatic Hajar mountain range.

Key facts:

Cruise terminal: There is no cruise terminal in Khasab, passengers are taken ashore by tender.

Shore excursions: Shore excursions are limited, but make up for it in quality, there are dhow trips to see dolphins in the many bays, hiking in the mountains around the town and historical sites within Khasab itself.

Language: Arabic officially, but English widely spoken

Dress code: Khasab is a sleepy, conservative fishing village, tourists are given a lot of leeway in terms of dress, but shoulders and knees should be covered out of respect.

Currency: Khasab is part of Oman, so the local currency is the Omani rial.

khasab-fort

Khasab Fort is a fascinating look back in time to when this part of the coast was plagued by tribal conflict.

Oman’s coastal town of Khasab within the Musandam Peninsula is best explored by sea. Known locally as the Norway of Arabia, this area is dominated by rugged fjords, picturesque inlets and stark mountains set against bright blue water and palm trees.

As such, the 140 or so cruise itineraries calling here during 2019 feature dhow cruises and 4×4 mountain safaris as the main shore excursions. There isn’t much to see in the (very small) town itself, where the cruise ships anchor offshore. There is the Khasab Castle, built by the Portuguese in the 17th century, but that’s about it.

Dhow-Khasab

All cruise lines calling Khasab, including Costa, offer relaxing dhow adventures into the fjords that dominate this dramatic coastline.

Dhow cruises are a great highlight though, especially as these waters are frequented by pods of dolphins and when there are no dolphins about you can lounge back on pillows on a deck covered with a rick Persian carpet, snack on dates and watch the ever-changing coastline like a sultan.

MSCSplendida-Khassab

Khasab lies hidden within the folds of the Musandum Peninsula as MSC Splendida anchors offshore.

The cruise terminal in Khasab

There is no cruise terminal, or indeed a port large enough for any cruise ship. Your ship will anchor a mile or two off the coast and tender passengers ashore to the town, while those taking a dhow cruise will embark directly from the ship via the tender platform.

Is Khasab good for shopping?

No. There are a few cafes and souvenir shops in the ‘city centre’, but they pale in comparison to other cruise destinations on the Arabian Gulf cruise circuit.

Currency and language in Khasab

The local currency is the Omani rial and the local language is Arabic. There are a few banks and ATMS near the New Souq roundabout near the port where tenders drop passengers ashore.

How to behave in Khasab

Khasab is a sleepy, remote, fishing village, so there won’t be much opportunity to behave badly as it’s a dry town with no bars or nightclubs. Technically, women should dress modestly, covering shoulders and knees, but the residents are used to the cruise ships coming in during the November to March cruise season and turn a blind eye to the odd bit of skin.

Who cruises to Khasab?

There are 138 cruise itineraries featuring Khasab as a port of call during 2019, mainly because is a popular cruise port for its dhow cruises.

MSC Cruises, TUI Cruises, P&O and Pullmantur, cruising roundtrip from Dubai, will be calling at Khasab on their weekly and ten-night itineraries. Costa Cruises will also call at Khasab on several of its roundtrip Dubai cruises.

Fred Olsen’s Boudicca and Black Watch, Marella Cruises’ Marella Discovery, Silversea’s Silver Shadow and AIDA Cruises’ AIDAvita will also call in Khasab on their Dubai cruise departures to various corners of the world.

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