dubai-axxxxQ – Our friends in Boise will be joining us for a nice cruise next year celebrating my husband’s retirement as a school superintendent.  He has always wanted to go to Dubai and our agent has come up with a sailing on Azamara aboard the Journey on November 14th next year. But I doubt she’s ever been to “Middle” anywhere unless it’s the midwest so I’d love to have you look over the itinerary.  If someone is going to this part of the world, are there better itineraries? This seemed like both a good deal and the right amount of time but, I have to tell you, our only international travel has been to London and Scotland. Thanks so much.

A –  We thought we would show everyone your proposed itinerary so they can be in on the conversation:

Day 1 Dubai
Day 2 Dubai 10:00 PM
Day 3 Khasab 7:30 AM 2:00 PM
Day 4 Muscat 7:30 AM
Day 5 Muscat 6:00 PM
Day 6 At Sea
Day 7 Al Manamah 7:00 AM 9:00 PM
Day 8 Doha 7:00 AM 6:00 PM
Day 9 Abu Dhabi 7:30 AM
Day 10 Abu Dhabi 1:00 PM
Continued Dubai 8:00 PM
Day 11 Dubai

Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15 th July  2013 AZAMARA CLUB CRUISES BOOSTS BELFAST TOURISM WITH FIRST-EVER SHIP VISIT TO NORTHERN IRELAND CAPITAL Pictured at the ship is Azamara Club Cruises Philip Herbert. Belfast tourism will be boosted by Azamara Club Cruises - the destination-immersive cruise line for upmarket travellers - when the Azamara Quest ship calls into the capital on 15 July, 2013.  The intimate 694-guest Azamara Quest arrives into Belfast at 7.00am and as well as taking in the city’s many sights, the ship’s guests will be treated an exclusive and bespoke visit to the Titanic Belfast attraction as one of the company’s newly-introduced ‘Azamazing Evening’ event, which gives guests on the cruise a more in-depth experience of the unique entertainment offered at select destinations. The ship’s visit will be contributing to the £400 million that the Tourism Industry adds to the local economy annually*.  Belfast’s growing popularity as a port of call for cruises saw 45 cruise ships and approximately 75,000 passengers and crew visiting the city in 2012 generating an estimated £3.9million visitor spend**. The ship will arrive in Belfast after an overnight sailing from Dublin where the ship will take on guests for a ‘10-Night British Open Voyage’ featuring a visit to the golfing championship at Muirfield, Scotland.  Other ports of call include Glasgow (Greenock), Scotland; Invergordon, Scotland, Edinburgh (Leith), Scotland and Hamburg, Germany. Picture Brian Thompson/Presseye

We particularly like the double overnight at each end in Dubai. This will likely save you money on pre/post cruise hotel nights. The overnights in Muscat and Abu Dhabi are also quite unusual and they will enable to you to see these fascinating locations at night without any transportation or security fears. We won’t spoil what awaits you in Doha, but we expect it to be the highlight of your trip.

We think that the Journey is a good choice for your first Journey out of the comfort zone. You will be visiting countries with a significantly higher standard of living than our own country will much better roads, hotels, shopping, and infrastructure. Crime is pretty much a non-issue. We do suggest a reading of the Koran before the trip to gain an understanding of the underpinning religious belief in several of these Muslim nations. We suggest that you arrive two nights early and book the best hotel available – even if you feel it is too expensive. That is part of the Dubai experience and you need to both rest up after your long journey and then do some local exploring. Yes, there are more expensive, more inclusive five-star cruise options but we think, for this trip, your agent has placed you on a comfortable ship with a wonderful program that will enable you to arrive early and still be under two weeks. Try to fly up and back on Emirates with a connection to Boise. You will have several gateway options.

Best to avoid too many Jerry Seinfeld references while you are there.