Alongside Muscat – 08:00 to 17:00
Arrival in Old Muscat this morning provided an extreme contrast to the previous couple of days in Dubai, specifically the mountainous terrain, lack of high rise buildings and clear skies. Our first impressions were further re-enforced during our tour this morning.
Temperature: High 33C/91F, Low 29C/84F
Wind/Weather: Light Airs, partly cloudy
Clox: Z+4 (No change)
Throughout the early morning Sea Princess maintained SSE’ly courses towards the Muscat Pilot Station. The pilot boarded about 07:00 and the ship berthed port side alongside, shortly before 08:00. After an excellent port stay, all pax and crew were aboard at 16:30. The Captain commenced singling-up shortly thereafter, with departure shortly prior to 17:00. Sea Princess pushed off the dock, backing out to the main channel, where the stern was turned down harbour. Once clear of the harbour entrance, Sea Princess dropped the pilot and set SE’ly and then S’ly courses through the Arabian Sea, following the coast of Oman.
The city of Muscat is the capital and largest city in the Sultanate of Oman, with a population of just over 1,000,000 or about 25% of the entire country. Strategically located on the Gulf of Oman, close to the approaches to the Persian Gulf, the region has extensive trading both East and West dating back many years.
Muscat has been ruled by numerous foreign powers throughout the centuries, including The Ottoman Empire, Persians and Portuguese. Trade, especially oil, gas, dates, mother of pearl and fish, drives the economy, which facilitates rapid development of numerous ongoing infrastructure projects.
Based on today’s schedule, we planned to attend the following:
- 08:00 Ship’s tour – please see separate post for tour report
- 14:00 Lunch
- 18:30 Princess Showtime
- 19:45 Dinner
Although not alongside until 08:00, our tour report time was 07:50, so with insufficient time to dine in the dinning room we headed to the buffet. Reporting for the tour we quickly noted this one was rather popular, as the entire Princess Theatre was filled. Must be almost 500 pax and crew on this tour, which is an organisational nightmare. The crew did an excellent job, as with everyone seated in the theatre, they only called about 3 buses at a time to minimise waits at the gangway.
We returned from the tour about 14:00 and headed up to the buffet, which was the only lunch venue other than the burger bar. For the number of pax, it was grossly understaffed and the selections were rather poor. I just had fruit and Judi headed to the burger bar, which had a huge queue and only 1 cook. Surely with about 500 returning from tours in a short period of time, this rush should have been anticipated. I also met Christine from our dinner table and she was also disappointed at the buffet offerings, which I must admit is an exception to the norm.
Unfortunately, after a hot day ashore we lay down for a short nap and slept for 3 hours in the late afternoon, which meant we missed the 18:30 show. Our table mates attended the show and raved about the performance, so we will be on the lookout for a repeat. Dinner was again one of the standard menus, and yet again the food and company was excellent. Here is a small sample for the sweet tooths.
Chocolate brandy cake, which was one of the better desserts.
After dinner, Judi and I headed to the Vista Lounge for the 70’s show. Finding a seat wasn’t a problem as the lounge was virtually empty and those already in the lounge were leaving in a constant stream. Probably something to do with the average age on this cruise. Even the resident band Fusion didn’t have their usual energy. Being about the last ones seated, we also gave up and headed towards the door and enroute bumped into the new Cruise Director – Peter. We know him from previous cruises, so stopped to have a chat. Nice chap and we look forward to an improvement in the entertainment scheduling.
As another day closes, we bid you farewell, till tomorrow and hope for fair skies and following seas.