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Variety Voyager Cruises to the Arabian Gulf

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, October 13 10:52 AM

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Our boating tastes run more to super-yachts than supersize cruise ships, so an exotic new excursion from a luxury line is reason enough to break out the Champagne. Variety Cruises, whose small upscale fleet mostly plies the Mediterranean, is branching out into the Middle East with a brand new vessel, Variety Voyager.

Starting in 2012, the 36-cabin vessel will introduce cruise passengers to the Arabian Gulf and Omani coast. Highlights of the eight-day itinerary include sailing the fjordlike Musandam Peninsula aboard a traditional Omani dhow, cavorting with dolphins near Telegraph and Seebi islands, and exploring the third-century, pre-Islamic fortress of Nakhal in Sohar, Oman. The ship's decor is a mix of muted creams and sand with glam marble and mirrored touches. Because variety is the spice of life.

Variety Voyager's Arabian Gulf cruises, from $2,790. Sailings from Abu Dhabi: November 29, 2012 to April 4, 2013; sailings from Muscat: November 22, 2012 to March 28, 2013.

Photo: Courtesy of Variety Cruises

One and Only The Palm, Dubai

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, February 10 04:12 PM

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Poor Dubai. For a while there, it had the whole world in its hands. Then the world, or at least the man-made island version of it off Dubai's coast, reportedly started to sink into the sea. But now there's reason to turn that frown upside down. Megaluxe hotel chain One and Only has just opened a resort on a neighboring palm tree-shaped peninsula.

Four private beach villas and 90 rooms sit on nearly 1,500 feet of white-sand beaches with the Dubai skyline glittering across the Gulf. In true Dubai fashion, the luxury here is larger than life, with 46-inch plasma TVs, a 26,000-square-foot spa, and a 9,000-square-foot pool. Surprisingly, for a multibillion-dollar tree-shaped island, the Moorish interiors' muted palette shows a bit of restraint.

Prices and other information were accurate at press time, but are subject to change. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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