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We awake a little earlier today. Just before 8 am local and we have just docked in the Port Sultan Qaboos. This is located in the old district of Muscat called Mutrah. I step onto the balcony and the air temperature is already very warm. It’s going to be hot today.
We don’t have any excursion booked and plan to just go ashore and stroll around to see what we can see. We breakfast and then head back to the cabin to apply plenty of sunscreen. Cameras in hand we head ashore.
Shuttle buses ferry us to the port entrance where we are immediately set upon by a large group of taxis drivers. They are very persistent, and our polite but firm ‘no thank you’ seems to have little effect as one follows us for some distance before he gives up.
Once away from the port entrance we are not bothered further. We stroll along the Corniche which is a pedestrian walkway that hugs the port for quite a few miles. All the while we are taking pictures of the boats, the domes and minarets of the mosques and even the impressive castle which sits above the port.
We stop at a small cafe for some soft drinks before venturing into the Mutrah Souk. Its small narrow passageways are filled with vendors selling a myriad of wares. The air is perfumed with the scent of burning incense. The vendors are not in your face like some places and although we don’t buy anything it was a fascinating place to visit.
We have been walking for close to 2 hours and the temperature is starting to build as we approach noon. We decide to head back to the ship and brace ourselves to get through the throng of taxi drivers again. They completely ignore us this time. Seems they are only interested in guests leaving the port which makes sense.
A short shuttle ride back and we enter the cool underbelly of Fantasia and take the lift up to deck 12 for our cabin. Lunch beckons and although the desserts in the buffet are nice you can’t beat the cakes from the Piazza and so once we have eaten our burger and fries we head down to deck 6 and order the Sour Cherry Cake. It’s so nice. They serve very good coffee here too.
I spend the afternoon catching some sun on the balcony but the heat is a little too intense and so I beat a retreat to the coolness of the cabin. Fantasia leaves Port around 5.30, our first daylight departure of this cruise so we head up to the top deck to take some pictures and enjoy the sunset.
We learn we have a very early start tomorrow for our Dhow Cruise to the Fjords and are glad we are eating in the speciality Tex-Mex tonight as we are eating earlier than we have been at 20:30.
Cocktails in Il’Transatlantico. Pre-dinner wine in Toscana. The tapas we get with the wine is excellent and the waitress is very friendly. She remembered which wine we like which is very impressive considering the number of passengers on this cruise.
We are seated in the TexMex and are given Nachos with dips to start. Some of the dips are really spicy which I love. We have Quesadillas to start and the New York Strip steak for main. It’s not as good as a fillet but as black card members, it’s complimentary so we are not complaining. The dessert is mango cream which is lovely. We have a different wine than usual but it’s better so might be ordering that in future.
For the first time this cruise we decide to have a flutter in the casino. Lady luck is not on our side but we don’t lose too much and we retreat to the bar for a cocktail before retiring early. Well earlier than we have done since we arrived.