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Cruise Diva Goes Ashore:
The Mediterranean
Sights to see & things to do

Passengers Collect Passport Stamps in... Beirut

Like other frequent travelers, Cruise Diva enjoys visiting far-flung spots worldwide and gathering distinctive passport stamps. But... Beirut?!?

Lebanon, like most of the Middle East, has an unsavory reputation and I admit to being skeptical about going there. However, Silversea Cruises' first-ever visit to Beirut in June 2004 went a long way to dispel that impression. With a full day to explore Beirut, passengers deemed the port a huge success. Bound for Istanbul, the voyage sailed at almost 80% occupancy with a passenger complement of North and Latin Americans, Britons, French, and Germans. Nearly half were United States citizens.

Rating Beirut 'extremely high' as a port, many passengers described it as the highlight of the cruise, providing an exotic glimpse of Lebanon's diverse geography, history, culture, and welcoming people.

It was an ideal itinerary addition for well-traveled Silversea guests looking for "bragging rights" to a unique port of call—exotic enough to appeal to travelers looking for a new, seldom-visited port option, yet safe and secure enough to attract mainstream travelers. 

During the full day in Beirut, passengers took advantage of excursions to rarely visited archaeological sites and made use of the cruise line's complimentary shuttle bus to the city's newly-built pedestrian mall. Day trips offered ranged from tours of the capital's newly restored Ottoman-era architecture to the Roman temples at Baalbeck in the Bekaa Valley. 

The call to Beirut was deemed "the Med's best kept secret" by many guests, who believe the country has gotten a bad rep and deserves the opportunity to shed its storied past. Lebanon has developed into an interesting place to visit and tourism to the country is bound to grow in years to come. 

Now's the perfect time to plan a visit before it becomes mainstream.


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