Highlights of Africa North and Middle East
The ports of North Africa and the Middle East have ancient charms that blend modern convenience to varying degrees. Wherever you find yourself exploring, each encounter beyond the ship will show you something about yourself and the destination.
A few of the highlights of cruising North Africa and the Middle East:
- A stop in Dubai gives you the chance to see the tallest building on Earth, the Burj Khalifa. It made headlines when it opened in 2010, soars 828 metres skywards and there's a vertiginous observation deck at level 124. At a cost of US$1.5 billion, no expense was spared here. The similarly opulent 7-star hotel, Burj Al Arab, cuts a famous architectural slice of the skyline and a ship's deck is a good vantage point from which to admire it.
- Casablanca is Morocco's largest port, and fans of the 1942 classic movie of the same name may appreciate setting foot in this famed location. (However, we won't mention the film was shot in California!) The minaret of Casablanca's Hassan II Mosque is the tallest in the world, at 210 metres and is large enough for an incredible 25,000 worshippers in the interior and another 80,000 in the courtyard. In contrast, the Casablanca Cathedral is no longer used for religious purposes but is open to the public.
- Founded in 331BC by Alexander the Great, Alexandria is riddled with antiquities but whips up a modern onslaught on the senses you'll not quickly forget. With luminaries in the arts from across the ages, and home to what was once the largest library in the world, Alexandria is also the gateway to many of Egypt's noteable treasures.
Throughout the area, days are commonly warm or hot, and nights are cool. There are really only two seasons: a mild winter from November to April and a hot summer from May to October. The only differences between the seasons are variations in daytime temperatures and changes in prevailing winds. In the coastal regions, temperatures range between an average minimum of 14° C in winter and an average maximum of 30° C in summer on the coast, inland temperatures can get much hotter (over 40c) in summer.