Centenary World Cruise Day 33: Muscat

Today, we visited the capital of Oman, Muscat. In both Abu Dhabi and Dubai, we had the same tour guide who constantly told us about how everything in those two sultanates was “the best.” Our guide in Muscat had no such claims. He was every bit as proud of his country, but Muscat isn’t the artificial glitz and excess of the last two places.

Our tour guide instead directed our attention to the many schools, parks and hospitals. He extolled the wisdom of the Sultan that passed away in 2020 for his vision in investing in infrastructure. I am far more impressed with Oman’s hundreds of added schools than I am with the tallest building in the world.

We visited the Royal Muscat Opera House, which, although smaller than San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House, has some really impressive features.

Lobby of the Royal Muscat Opera House

First, the seats in Muscat are FAR more comfortable than San Francisco’s – a fact I ascribe to their being newer. Also, because the opera house is also used for concerts and theater, the layout is impressively flexible.

The elaborate teak proscenium can be moved back to make room for an enormous pipe organ that can be moved forward. The boxes nearest the stage can be rotated and moved back. The first four rows of seats are on a platform that can be moved down and covered over to become an orchestra pit. The ingenuity is amazing.

Centenary World Cruise Day 26: Salalah

We’re in Salalah, Oman. We didn’t book any port excursions because the only one that looked interesting was full by the time we got around to booking. Salalah, whose current claim to fame is that it’s the main container shipping port for this part of the world, doesn’t have a cruise port terminal, and there’s nothing interesting one might walk to. Most of the view from our ship is of the container loading dock. It’s like staying in Long Beach near the Queen Mary.

On one of my favorite podcasts, one of the hosts occasionally talks about “when I lived in Scotland.” They are referring to having spent 3 months in Scotland doing the Fringe Festival, which is hardly “living in Scotland.” Three months isn’t even the limit of a tourist visa. But if that person can claim residency for three months, it means that I will be able to say that, once upon a time, I lived on the last ocean liner in the world.