Leave your central Muscat hotel in a private, air-conditioned car and drive to the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.
As you travel, hear interesting facts about Oman’s history and the mosque from your expert driver-guide. Opened in 2001, the stunning marble-built edifice accommodates 20,000 worshippers.
Admire the exterior and enter the opulent main prayer hall. Here, marvel at the magnificent chandelier and vast, richly decorated carpet — the world’s second largest — as your guide recounts how it took 400 Iranian weavers four years to create.
Next, pass the contemporary Royal Opera House on route to the cruise marina. When you arrive, board a fiberglass boat with other guests and drink in Oman’s craggy coastline as you sail to a prime dolphin spotting location.
While you cruise, look for the spinner, common and bottlenose dolphins that frequent the waters. Sightings aren’t guaranteed, but there’s a good chance you’ll see these wonderful mammals. Watch their acrobatics and look, too, for the whales that visit here at certain times of year (specifically January, February, March and November).
After your 2-hour cruise, return to your hotel for lunch (own expense) and then meet your guide again to explore walled Old Muscat, the original city south of the modern quarter.
Enter the traditional streets and visit the Bait Al Zubair Museum. Gain insight into bygone Oman through the costume, weaponry and jewelry displays and then take a driving tour of the old city.
Stop for photos at the ceremonial Al Alam Palace and do the same at the 16th-century Al-Jalali and Al-Mirali forts, the Portuguese-built forts that guard the old harbor.
Continue to Muttrah Souk, Oman's best-known market and one of Arabia's oldest. Absorb the traditional atmosphere and browse for souvenirs at its gold, jewelry and handicraft shops. Afterward, end your tour with a hotel drop-off.