Salalah, has a tropical climate, with a Summer monsoon, whereas Muscat is dry and arid, which gives each location a completely different feel.
The town of Salalah is 10 miles from the port, which, being commercial, doesn't offer much for the tourist, so we took the easiest option here and booked one of the ship's tours. The taxi drivers operate a cartel and the price from the port to town was fixed at around $28US each way, but our own experience told us the return journey could be priced at whatever they chose to charge, as they would then have us 'captive', as there was no public transport. I later heard reports of $100US being asked for the return journey, so it appears my suspicion was right. We encountered this type of price fixing by taxi drivers at Bali in 2012, where there was also no public transport to and from the port. Action by taxi drivers on that occasion also affected P&O Cruises ability to offer free port shuttle buses.
Muscat is also some distance from the port, but the interesting village of Mutrah, a district of Muscat, with it's large souk is within walking distance of the ship. This is what we did, as we have been here before and we knew the lie of the land. All sorts of interesting goods can be bought here, from traditional Arab head coverings to the dish-dash and pashmina, at very reasonable prices and bargaining the name of the game.
Dubai followed the day after, and the ship docked with an overnight stay here, allowing us to meet family from Abu Dhabi for a day out. The ship docked at the Port Rashid cruise terminal, near to the creek which is the location of the spice and gold souks. There are also many other attractions in this fabulous city which can't be matched anywhere else in the world. Yet again we had a fantastic time in this area. It is far better looking around a foreign city with someone who has lived there for years, and we consider ourselves lucky to have several relatives spread around the world who are always kind enough to accommodate us when we are near their location.
During the last week we have been entertained by Jimmy James, the soul star from the 1970's, but without his 'Vagabonds'. On the 22nd we had our loyalty tier cocktail party, (free drinks), before a wonderful dining experience in the Sorrento restaurant, albeit with a small cover charge.
At £5 each, we thought worth the extra, although I then went on to choose a hot stone fillet steak from the specials menu at an additional £6.95.