oceania dubai to capetown

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Anyone had experience sight-seeing on your own in Male, Maldives, Seychelles, Dubai, muscat, Fujaira and can give any pointers or recommendations? Chuck

Recently in the Maldives, Seychelles, Muscat and Dubai - Dubai you can do on your own and they have a good hop-on hop off bus that includes a Dubai Creek river trip and apparently their metro is now working. Life in Dubai goes on in their huge, lavish A/C shopping malls, be sure to see at least one of them particularly the one with the ski slope. The port while close to town will take a taxi to get into the downtown area. Prepare for heat so it is not easy to go out on your own.

Seychelles is often a choice of several different island stops so it depends what you want to do and where you go - if you want to snorkel, you may need an excursion. On La Digue, we were able to walk and swim on our own but again very, very hot to walk around. Their main town is also walkable to a botanic garden and downtown - Pirates Arms for a club sandwich! This is near the equator so it is always hot -- and often rainy.

Maldives is best is you go on a snorkel excursion or to an outer island for a resort day. The main town where the ship docks (tenders) has no charm but worth a few hour stroll around - but there is nothing of the dazzling scenery to enjoy. Whatever you do, do NOT sign up for the pricey Maldivian Airlines over-flight excursion - a total rip off - seven minutes up and seven minutes back covering the same route which went over the garbage collection island, the electricity production island, the school building island and only a minute or so to see one of the lovely resort island groups, but only out one side of the plane because the sun was coming in so strongly on the other side you could not look out your "view" windows.

Muscat - there is the historic port to walk around, shop in the souk for tourists and dine in one of the water front hotels and maybe walk along the seaside (114 degrees when we were there). The "real" Muscat (modern affluent Muscat) is beyond the hills and takes a taxi to get to and around - bargain to get the best rate as they can go from $20 to $70 to take you to this part of town.

We were there some years ago ('98) but the sites haven't changed. South Africa was one of the best vacations we've had -- spent a month there. Allow time to perferably rent a car and drive to the wine area of Stellenbosch and beyond. We rented a car for 10 days and drove as far north to Port Elizabeth going thru the Kleine Karoo and came back thru the Garden Route, staying at B&Bs the whole way, no reservations at all, just took our chances.

Would love to hear about your cruise as we're thinking of doing it in maybe 2013 -- doing Oceania Viking Expedition (includes Iceland/Greenland) next July.

Today I would be very wary of going out too much on your own in South Africa. The Stellenbosch area recently visited was fine with relatives taking us around - quite wonderful. But I was robbed two blocks from our deluxe hotel in downtown Capetown in the middle of the afternoon on a busy street in front of the Tax Collection office. So your experiences in South Africa can fit somewhere in between -- and yes, one can get robbed anywhere at any time but even the locals exercise extreme caution and know when and where to go places. As a visitor you might not have that built in knowledge. I did a lot of independent travel across South Africa in the late 1970's so it was fascinating for me to see the changes, good bad and indifferent in the past 40 years. So my advice would be to rely only on very current information when choosing to visit this fascinating land -- and it definitely deserves visiting and investing in the best for everyone who loves this country.