Muscat is the capital city of the Sultanate of Oman and a popular winter cruise destination for Middle East itineraries and repositioning cruises. It has a completely different feel and none of the showiness of its close neighbours Abu Dhabi and Dubai with their massive high rise buildings and glitz. Abu Dhabi is elegant and restrained in comparison, partly because all new buildings are required to be built with traditional features such as a dome. This is largely due to the influence Sultan Qaboos, the countries hereditary absolute monarch since 1970 when he began the “Renaissance for Oman” project. Huge investment on health, education and welfare has transformed the country into a prosperous world economy without losing any of its charm or heritage.