The deal: Six nights' accommodations, a two-night dhow cruise, the services of an English-speaking guide, ground transportation and some meals, for $1,749 per person — including all taxes and fees.
When: Oct. 4; Nov. 1, 15, 29; Dec. 13, 27; there are additional dates in 2010.
The fine print: The $1,749 per person rate includes all taxes and fees as well as a $200 local payment to be paid in cash upon arrival. Based on single or double occupancy; single travelers will be matched with someone of the same sex for accommodations. Maximum group size is 15. Use promo code AOAS. The tour operator suggests you have $130 for meals not included. Airfare is not included. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: No deadline; based on availability.
Contact: G.A.P Adventures, 800/708-7761, gapadventures.com.
Why it’s a deal: The package price breaks down to $292 per person per night, which covers the valuable services of both an English-speaking guide and local guides, some meals and transportation. You get the convenience and reassurance of working with an established tour operator that can arrange activities that might be challenging to book independently, such as the dhow cruise.
Details: Does not include taxes of 13 percent. Based on single or double occupancy.
Itinerary highlights: You'll meet up with your guide and the group at the 70-room Nihal Hotel in Dubai. You'll set out on a quick walking tour of Dubai's old quarter. The next day, you'll take a bus ride about two hours north to Khasab, which juts out into the Strait of Hormuz. You'll see the Emirate of Sharjah, a UNESCO World Heritage site, on the way.
In Khasab, you'll stay in the Esra Hotel. The next morning, you will depart on a dhow (a traditional Arab sailing vessel) for a two-night cruise. You'll enjoy traditional Omani meals cooked on board, and you'll sleep under the stars on provided sleeping mats (there is a small toilet on the boat). You'll see Jazirat al Maqlab island; Kumzar, a community only reachable by boat or helicopter; and Habliyan Beach, along with narrow inlets and beautiful bays. You'll return to Khasab for a night, and then have another night in Dubai. See the full itinerary here.
More: Add pre-trip nights in Dubai from $123 per night at the Nihal Hotel.
Before you go: Airfare and airport-hotel transfers aren't included. You can get a public taxi from the airport to the Nihal Hotel for less than $10. U.S. citizens will need a valid passport for travel; for stays of less than 30 days, you can get a no-fee tourist visa upon arrival at the Dubai airport. Read more about the United Arab Emirates on the U.S. State Department's travel fact sheet and see Dubai's official tourism site.