My boyfriend and I booked the 14 night holiday. The first two nights in a 4* hotel in Dubai and then the 12 night cruise from Dubai to India and Oman.
We embarked the ship around 1.00 pm from the port in Dubai without any problems. There were a few forms to fill in but there were staff on hand to help with these and it only took about 30 mins for us to go through and get on the ship.
We then explored the ship to acquaint ourselves with the facilities. The ship was really lovely. Compared to the Oasis, where the ambiance seemed noisier and busier, in comparison, the atmosphere on this ship seemed calmer and indeed the passengers seemed more subdued and introverted. This was also apparent on the first evening when we did the emergency drill and lined up at our stations on the decks, everyone was quiet and did as they were told.
The food was excellent, though we preferred eating in the Windjammer, even in the evenings, as the choice was great and we enjoyed sampling the various international cuisines (buffet style). On a few occasions, breakfast time and some lunchtimes, the Windjammer got very crowded but after a few days you get to known when to avoid the rush (ie late breakfast or after passengers have left the ship to go on tours).
Our stateroom, 3542, was lovely and very clean.
All of the staff on the ship we found to be superb, all very good at their respective roles, very discreet, very polite and made us feel special. This was better than our experience on the Oasis of the Seas where some of the staff had been brusque and less helpful.
We were at sea for 3 days which was great for relaxing and using the facilities. We regularly used the gym, sauna and steam rooms. We played golf and had a go at basketball. We went into the casino a couple of time but found the cheaper slot machines did not pay out much so we lost our money and decided not to go anymore. (Those on the Oasis of the Seas were much better in terms of types of machines and they seemed to pay out more frequently.)
We went to several shows in the Pacifica Theatre and enjoyed them. A couple were a bit amateurish but had a charm of their own and proved to be great entertainment.
I participated in the Bollywood dance classes over several days (half hour lessons) and then we performed the dance we had learnt one evening the Centrum which was great fun.
The Bollywood party that was held on Deck 6 was a bit of a disappointment though as it was so crowded that a lot of guests couldn't get in and turned around and left to do something else.
Our ports of call were, Cochin, India. We walked to the port gate and hired a tuk-tuk. We had a great tour of Cochin with our local driver who took us to the church, some Hindu temples, the laundry and several shops (which are designed for tourists). It was great fun overall.
The second port, New Mangalore, was mostly an industrial type port so we didn't bother getting of the ship and we enjoyed using the gym and facilities with less people around.
We are not anti-social but at times found other passengers to be quite rude when pushing their way into lifts, at the buffet, and grabbing sun loungers but you have to try and ignore them. There were polite and friendly people around too of course.
The third port of call was Goa. We hired a local taxi for a tour. The driver took us to a nearby beach. We didn't really like the look of Goa, it was not as we had expected, lots of litter around and unkempt buildings, so we were glad to return to the ship. We think the better sights were further away than we ventured.
The fourth post of call was Mumbai. We walked from the ship into Mumbai and looked as some of the colonial style buildings. After about 1 hour we had seen enough for our liking so returned to the ship.
We enjoyed our glimpse of India and our favourite place was Cochin as we saw more - goats and cows wandering all over the place freely, saw how people lived and the locals we met were very relaxed and friendly.
Our next port was Muscat, Oman. On arrival the scenery was very different to India and quite spectacular. It was great to be able to walk of the ship and along the corniche and look at the lovely sights. It felt very safe.
Back on the ship, we continued to enjoy the holiday. It always amazed us how much people eat on board and everyone is ready to start again at each mealtime (is everyone really that hungry)? In the Windjammer the food is so well presented and the variety so good that it is so tempting.
After Oman we sailed back to Dubai and enjoyed a relaxing last night on board. We had to have breakfast at 5.00 am the next morning as we had a taxi coming for us at 6.30 am for our flight to the UK at 9.30 am. Disembarkation and the transfer to the airport went like clockwork, no problems whatsoever.
Overall we had a fantastic holiday, superb cruise, a trip to remember and lots of lovely photos to look back on. Just hope we can afford another cruise to the Caribbean later on.......