Muscat

A glorious past
The Muttrah Souq
The Great Mosque of Sultan Qabus

Find Dubai, Abu Dhabi & Sir Bani Yas Cruises

Muscat

The thousand-year old city

Stepping ashore in Oman’s capital Muscat, when your MSC cruise takes you to Dubai, Abu Dhabi  & Sir Bani Yas, means stepping into one of the oldest cities of the Middle East. This is where incense was shipped to Greece and Rome as far back as the 2nd century.


Today it is still possible to find traces of its glorious past in the old centre where, until the latter part of the past century, the gates that separated the various quarters would be closed three hours after dawn. Muttrah, the historic centre of trade and activity of the capital that you will see during the cruise, is one of the most intriguing and well preserved parts of the town centre.
 
Its commercial vocation is due to its proximity to the large port, where your MSC ship, which is named after its sovereign Qabus, will be waiting for you. Dedicate part of your vacation to Muscat to visit the sites, like the fish market, the Portuguese fort and, above all Muttrah’s Souq, one of cruisers’ favourite destinations. 
 
You can continue along the sea road to the old town of Muscat where, about 200 years ago,  the predecessor of the current head of state, built the Al Alam (the Flag), the palace which was restored in the Seventies and has become the Sultan’s official residence. It is a beautiful example of contemporary Arab architecture situated at the centre of the part of Muscat which is still surrounded by its 17th century walls.
 
Nearby, in the quarter of Bawshar, you find the Great Mosque of Sultan Qabus. About 6500 devotees gather to pray in the main prayer hall which has a single, huge carpet of about 4200 sq.m., made of one billion and 700 million knots and weighs 21 tons. All the halls, which may be visited also by non-Muslims, are decorated with motifs that celebrate Arab culture.

Must see places in Muscat

Discover our excursions

12 results found

  • JEEP ADVENTURE TO WADI ARBAYEEN

    ACTIVE & ADVENTURE

    MCT11

    Join us on a tour of many contrasts that will allow you to experience the different landscapes of Muscat area. Board a jeep and leave the port to reach the fishing villlage of Quriyat through the stark mountain terrain. After a short photo stop, continue along the picturesque waterfront on an adventurous route cutting through the mountains. At the end of the drive, Wadi Arbayeen awaits you with its deep pools of water set among the date palms. Enjoy a swim with picnic lunch here. Drive back via Wadi Dayqah for photo stop of dam before returning back to your ship. Please note: please wear comfortable walking shoes. Guests must be in good physical health. This tour is unsuitable for guests with mobility problems, with back/neck problems and for pregnant women. This tour involves a bumpy, five-hour ride in a jeep. The driver will provide some basic information in English. This activity possibly involves wearing a swimming suit or bathing trunks. Children must be at least 4 years old to participate. If you wish to swim in Wadi Arbayeen, keeping in view of local culture, guests are advised not to wear exposed swimwear. Ladies must wear one-piece swim suit with boxer shorts on it and men must wear boxer short while swimming.
    • Long route by bus

    • Lunch or dinner included

    • No guide available

    • Possibility of swimming

    • Limited seats

    • Active excursions recommended only for guests in good physical health

      Difficulty Level
      Strenuous

    • Duration
      9 h

    • AdultsR1422Price per person

    • ChildrenR842Price per person

  • Fascinating Forts: Nizwa & Jabrin Castles

    CULTURE AND HISTORY

    MCT03

    This fascinating tour will take you on a 2-hour drive through the beautiful interior of Oman to the town of Nizwa, which once was the Omani capital during medieval times. The first stop is Nizwa Fort, one of Oman's most impressive round-tower forts that was built in the 17th century. Constructed on a solid base of rock, the huge tower was designed to withstand the vibrations of 24 cannons. From the top, visitors can enjoy a superb panoramic view of Nizwa and the surrounding plains - a sure delight for all avid photographers. From here, the tour proceeds to Jabrin Castle (45 km from Nizwa), the finest of Oman's fortifications and built in the late 17th century. The castle later became a seat of Omani education and learning. The castle features beautifully painted ceilings and intricate wood carvings. On the way back to Nizwa, the tour also includes a photo stop at Bahla Fort, the oldest and first Omani fort to be built in the Islamic style. After lunch at Falaj Daris Hotel in Nizwa, you will be taken back to the ship. Please note: guides for languages other than English are limited. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be provided in English only. This tour is not suitable for guests with mobility problems or using a wheelchair: there are steps inside Nizwa Fort and Jabrin Castle. Light comfortable clothing and flat shoes are recommended. Due to the marked differences between outside temperatures and those found in the places visited as well as the air-conditioned tour vehicles, it is recommended that you take a light cotton jumper or cardigan for your comfort.
    • Lunch or dinner included

    • Shopping

    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      8 h

    • AdultsR1362Price per person

    • ChildrenR1022Price per person

  • MUSCAT CULTURAL TOUR

    CULTURE AND HISTORY

    MCT16

    Located in Shati Al-Qurm district of Muscat, the Royal Opera House Muscat is the leading venue for musical arts and culture and will be the first destination of this pleasant half-day excursion. The aim of the venue is to inspire audiences and nurture creativity with innovative programs; it showcases riche and diverse artistic creations from Oman, the region and the world. Built on the royal orders of Sultan Qaboos of Oman, the Royal Opera House reflects contemporary Omani architecture, and has a capacity to accommodate maximum of 1,100 people. Next on the list is a visit to Amouage factory, founded over a quarter of a century ago, a luxury fragrance house that draws inspiration from its birthplace of the Sultanate of Oman, infusing reference points from a rich and colorful heritage that fires the imagination of all who come into contact with its wonderful products. Then, a visit to Bait Adam Museum awaits you. Located on the ground-floor of a private home, you will admire a unique collection of currency, paintings, photographs, guns and have the opportunity to chat with the owner at the same time. You will be warmly greeted with Arabic coffee and dates as the head of the family will introduce you to Omani life from ancient times to present, including festivals like Eid and the holy month of Ramadhan. Before returning to the port, you will drive to the old part of the city to visit Muttrah souk, a traditional Omani market, offering a wide range of goods. Don’t forget your camera for some short photo stops outside the Sultan’s Palace, surrounded by the 2 Forts of Mirani and Jalali, and at Al Alam Palace. Please note: guests are requested to wear conservative attire for visiting places of religious importance: loose-fitting clothes and long trousers. the number of guides for languages other than English is limited. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in English only. All visits are external only. Due to the marked differences between outside temperatures and those found in the places visited as well as the air-conditioned tour vehicles, we recommend taking a light cotton jumper or cardigan for your comfort. Guests using a wheelchair are advised that they must be accompanied by a paying helper to provide assistance with getting on and off the coach and that wheelchairs must be collapsible/foldable since the coach has neither a ramp nor a lift. Guests using a wheelchair who would like to participate in this tour are requested to contact the Shore Excursions’ Desk promptly once they are on board so that arrangements can be made.
    • Shooting videos and/or taking pictures is not allowed or subject to fee

    • Shopping

    • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

    • Limited seats

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      5 h

    • AdultsR1345Price per person

    • ChildrenR1005Price per person

  • MYSTICAL MUSCAT

    CULTURE AND HISTORY

    MCT05

    This tour of Oman’s capital city, Muscat, begins with a visit to the Grand Mosque, which was built over a period of 6 years from 1995 to 2001. The Mosque is surrounded by 5 minarets, each of which symbolizes the five holy vows taken by every devout Muslim to reinforce his faith in the Almighty. From the Mosque, the tour continues to the old part of Muscat city, the Muttrah Souk. As a traditional Omani market, the souk offers a wide range of goods, especially typical Omani souvenirs. Next on the itinerary is a stop at the Bait Al Zubair Museum, a small townhouse that has been converted to display archaeological remains found at the site as well as Omani traditions such as national dress and jewellery. The tour will also include a chance to see from outside Al Alam Palace, the Sultan’s Palace, which is flanked by Forts Mirani and Jalali, two keeps that were built by the Portuguese in the 16th century. Please note: guides for languages other than English are limited. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in English only. Visitors are requested not to touch the Holy Quran (Holy Book) or any other architectural features inside the mosque. Children under the age of 10 not allowed entering the Grand Mosque. Due to the marked differences between outside temperatures and those found in the places visited as well as the air-conditioned tour vehicles, we recommend taking a light cotton jumper or cardigan for your comfort. Conservative attire recommended for visiting the mosque. Guests using a wheelchair are advised that they must be accompanied by a paying helper to provide assistance with getting on and off the coach and that wheelchairs must be collapsible/foldable since the coach has neither a ramp nor a lift. Guests using a wheelchair who would like to participate in this tour are requested to contact the Shore Excursions’ Desk promptly once they are on board so that arrangements can be made.
    • Shopping

    • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      4 h

    • AdultsR932Price per person

    • ChildrenR739Price per person

  • MUSCAT SIGHTSEEING

    SCENIC ROUTE

    MCT15

    Treat yourself to half a day of exploring Muscat, the capital of Oman, on a tour that includes numerous photo opportunities and begins with a coach ride to Muscat’s old quarter for an external look at Al Alam Palace, the ceremonial residence of Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Busaidi. The palace is flanked by two Portuguese-built forts, of which you’ll also have a chance to take photos. The tour then moves on to the Muttrah district and its appealing souk, one of the oldest in Oman with a history dating back around 200 years. A huge array of products can be found at the souk – from household goods, apparel and shoes to frankincense, perfumed oils, fresh jasmine, various spices and much more. Next up is a drive through Muscat’s newer areas for a photo stop at the very lovely Royal Opera House, a sign of the importance attached to culture by the Sultan. The final stop on the tour will then be at the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, the country’s largest and most beautiful. The tour draws to a close with your return to the ship. Please note: the number of guides for languages other than English is limited. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in English only. All visits are external only. Due to the marked differences between outside temperatures and those found in the places visited as well as the air-conditioned tour vehicles, we recommend taking a light cotton jumper or cardigan for your comfort. Guests using a wheelchair are advised that they must be accompanied by a paying helper to provide assistance with getting on and off the coach and that wheelchairs must be collapsible/foldable since the coach has neither a ramp nor a lift. Guests using a wheelchair who would like to participate in this tour are requested to contact the Shore Excursions’ Desk promptly once they are on board so that arrangements can be made. You can book this tour only during your cruise.
    • Drink included

    • Possibility of swimming

    • Limited seats

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      4 h

    • AdultsR545Price per person

    • ChildrenR495Price per person

  • PANORAMIC TOUR OF MUSCAT & NAKHL

    SCENIC ROUTE

    MCT01

    This panoramic tour begins with a visit to the Grand Mosque, which was built over a period of 6 years from 1995 to 2001. The Mosque is surrounded by 5 minarets, each of which symbolizes the five holy vows taken by every devout Muslim to reinforce his faith in the Almighty. From the Mosque, the tour continues on to the Fort at Nakhl, which stands proudly on the top of a hillock as one of the highest forts in Oman. You then continue on to the Al Thowara Oasis, the source of the natural springs. After lunch return to Muscat by afternoon time and you will have a chance to see from outside Al Alam Palace, the Sultan’s Palace, which is flanked by Forts Mirani and Jalali, two keeps that were built by the Portuguese in the 16th century. Before going back to the ship, you will take a walk along the Corniche before returning to the port. Please note: guides for languages other than English are limited. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in English only. Visitors are requested not to touch the Holy Quran (Holy Book) or any other architectural features inside the mosque. Children under the age of 10 not allowed entering the Grand Mosque. Due to the marked differences between outside temperatures and those found in the places visited as well as the air-conditioned tour vehicles, we recommend taking a light cotton jumper or cardigan for your comfort. This tour is unsuitable for guests with mobility problems or using a wheelchair; there are steps inside Nakhl Fort.
    • Lunch or dinner included

    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      8 h

    • AdultsR1319Price per person

    • ChildrenR965Price per person

  • BEACH FUN AT GRAND HYATT HOTEL

    SEA & SUN

    MCT13

    If sun, sea and sand in a luxury 5-star setting sound like a plan, join this tour and first enjoy a 30-minute coach ride to reach Muscat’s Grand Hyatt Hotel. You’ll be met with a welcoming drink, after which the rest of your half-day outing is yours to savour whichever way you prefer. Sun loungers are simply made for soaking up the rays, the pool an open invitation to jump in and the nearby public beach just the place to get your fill of sand and sea. At the appointed time, the coach will be waiting to return you to the port and your ship. Please note: 1 sunbed/pax & sun umbrella on sharing basis included. This tour is not suitable for guests using a wheelchair. English assistant only. If you wish to swim on the public beach, keeping in view of local culture, guests are advised not to wear exposed swimwear. Ladies must wear one-piece swim suit with boxer shorts on it and men must wear boxer short while swimming.
    • Drink included

    • Possibility of swimming

    • Limited seats

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      4 h

    • AdultsR1049Price per person

    • ChildrenR735Price per person

  • BEACH RELAXATION AT GRAND HYATT HOTEL

    SEA & SUN

    MCT12

    Prepare to spend the day soaking up the sun and enjoying the warm waters of the Gulf of Oman at Muscat’s 5-star Grand Hyatt Hotel, only a 30-minute coach ride from the port. On arrival at the luxury resort, you’ll be served a welcoming drink, after which you can choose where and how to spend your time. Sun loungers are available poolside, the perfect spot to get comfortable and relax. But there’s also a nearby public beach where you can swim, stroll or explore the surroundings should the desire take you. Your time at the luxury resort also includes a delicious buffet lunch, served at the hotel’s elegant Mokha Café restaurant. The return drive to your ship finally brings the excursion to a close. Please note: 1 sunbed/pax & sun umbrella on sharing basis included. This tour is not suitable for guests using a wheelchair. English assistant only. Drinks are not included; no beachwear during lunch. If you wish to swim on the public beach, keeping in view of local culture, guests are advised not to wear exposed swimwear. Ladies must wear one-piece swim suit with boxer shorts on it and men must wear boxer short while swimming.
    • Lunch or dinner included

    • No guide available

    • Possibility of swimming

    • Limited seats

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      6 h

    • AdultsR1589Price per person

    • ChildrenR1112Price per person

  • CAR WITH GUIDE

    SOMETHING SPECIAL

    MCT33PV

    Disembark in the port and have a vehicle with a professional guide and driver waiting for you, your family and friends. Create your own tour and enjoy your day with a vehicle at your disposal. Please note: Vehicle, driver, guide and gasoline included. The price does not include any entrance fees or meals and is per vehicle and not per passenger. If you want to set a customized itinerary and add entrance tickets to any of the tourist attractions, please contact your shorex excursion staff on the ship.
    • No guide available

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      4 h

    • AdultsR7295Price per person

    • ChildrenR7295Price per person

  • CAR WITH GUIDE

    SOMETHING SPECIAL

    MCT39PV

    Disembark in the port and have a vehicle with a professional guide and driver waiting for you, your family and friends. Create your own tour and enjoy your day with a vehicle at your disposal. Please note: Vehicle, driver, guide and gasoline included. The price does not include any entrance fees or meals and is per vehicle and not per passenger. If you want to set a customized itinerary and add entrance tickets to any of the tourist attractions, please contact your shorex excursion staff on the ship.
    • No guide available

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      8 h

    • AdultsR10185Price per person

    • ChildrenR10185Price per person

  • MINIVAN WITH GUIDE 3 - 6 PAX

    SOMETHING SPECIAL

    MCT40PV

    Disembark in the port and have a vehicle with a professional guide and driver waiting for you, your family and friends. Create your own tour and enjoy your day with a vehicle at your disposal. Please note: Vehicle, driver, guide and gasoline included. The price does not include any entrance fees or meals. The price is per vehicle and not per passenger. If you want to set a customized itinerary and add entrance tickets to any of the tourist attractions, please contact your shorex excursion staff on the ship. Larger vans can be arranged upon request.
    • No guide available

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      8 h

    • AdultsR11885Price per person

    • ChildrenR11885Price per person

  • MINIVAN WITH GUIDE 3 - 6 PAX

    SOMETHING SPECIAL

    MCT34PV

    Disembark in the port and have a vehicle with a professional guide and driver waiting for you, your family and friends. Create your own tour and enjoy your day with a vehicle at your disposal. Please note: Vehicle, driver, guide and gasoline included. The price does not include any entrance fees or meals. The price is per vehicle and not per passenger. If you want to set a customized itinerary and add entrance tickets to any of the tourist attractions, please contact your shorex excursion staff on the ship. Larger vans can be arranged upon request.
    • No guide available

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      4 h

    • AdultsR8995Price per person

    • ChildrenR8995Price per person

The excursions in the programme above are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that can be arranged in each port of call; this programme is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise. 
Shore excursions programs and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.
 
Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.

Oman

Atmospheres of a thousand and one nights
Atmospheres of a thousand and one nights

Nestled between the sea, the desert and the imposing mountains, descendent of a thousand year old culture, the Sultanate of Oman will make your heart leap.

The great expanse of sand, the Wahiba Sands, is the first tourist attraction, an unmissable stop on your cruise to Oman and the Emirates. 

Along the road from Nizwa to Sur, we venture into the desert following the sandy tracks which weave their way through copper coloured sand dunes and unforgettable scenery. 


Those looking for a real adventure during their trip to Oman can try a two wadi excursion, canyons which the periodic torrents carve out of this land and then leave the riverbeds dry. 

We reach the Wadi Bani Awf on a 4x4 track which crosses the Hajar mountains, touching some of the highest peaks and vertiginous gorges along thrilling paths. Instead, those who love trekking will like Wadi Shab


The vestiges of Oman's bellicose past can be seen in its many forts. One of the most unique is Nizwa's, with its enormous round tower in the centre. It has a diameter of 45 metres and was built in the 17th century by the Sultan Bin Saif Al Ya’rubi to protect the city. 

Jabrin Fort on the other hand is one of Oman's most impressive and best preserved forts. The sand-like building dates back to the 16th century and rises up from the desert in the middle of a palm grove, just five kilometres from Bahla.