The experience of a holiday in Musandam is not just about the destination but the travel as well. That is why many prefer the National Ferries Company’s (NFC) service from Muscat to Musandam, the northern-most governorate of the Sultanate.
There is never a dull moment on the six-hour trip that begins from Muttrah’s Sultan Qaboos Port at noon and reaches Musandam by 6pm. NFC has two fast boats, Hormuz and Shinas, for the Musandam trip. The boats do over 55 knots (103km) and leave Muscat on Thursdays. On the return leg the service starts at noon from Khasab, the main port of Musandam, on Saturdays.
Holidaymakers who wish to take their rides with them to Musandam can drive them onto the lower deck of the boats at the port. Having an SUV is a convenience that many would love in Musandam as the rugged mountains beckon passionate off-roaders.
The route that the ferry takes, cutting a straight trail through deep sea to avoid the coastal territory belonging to the neighbouring nation, adds to the allure of the journey to Musandam. The route hugging the arc of the coast takes much longer, apart from passing through foreign territory.
The Sea of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz are busy with ship traffic, with nearly half of the world’s oil shipments passing through them. Therefore, the ferry trip gives close up views of the huge vessels that rumble away into the distance.
The ferry provides lunch and snacks as well as beverages, hot or cold. The ambience inside the cabin mirthful and children would particularly love to run around in abandon. The aft deck provides an absorbing experience with the fine salty spray whippped in by an occasional crosswind and the frothy trail of foam racing into the horizon in the wake of the boat. Time flies fast as the vessel skims over the placid waters shrinking the hours one spends aboard.