April 2012 we went on an epic journey around the Middle East. And I must say it was fantastic.The transfers werefantastic all the way through. The Hotel we stayed in, The Sofitel on "The Walk" in Dubai, was absolutely wonderful. With a good helping of pampering for the guests, included. The hotel staff really looked after you; from when we arrived very early in the morning, the check-in was meant to be after 3 pm, but the room was ready within an hour of us sitting down with a drink in the hotel lobby, to receiving lovely chocolates on your pillow, the bed was turned back and slippers left by your bed every evening.Wow pampering at its best. We stayed there for 3 days and had a good look round Dubaifor the second time. The weather hot and of course the sun is nearly always shining.
Day four we boarded a very tired looking ship, Brilliance of the Seas. Check-in was very efficient and our cabin and Steward great. The only down side was the horrific smell from the toilet area was worse than rotten eggs. Plus a toilet that wouldn't flush!!! As it turned out there was a major problem with the pipework on Deck 8 Fwd. that has to be repaired when the ship gets its timely refurb. soon I hope!! However, the cabin steward worked his little heart out to resolve and clean up the odour which he did in a matter of a few days. It didn't spoil our holiday we just had a good laugh about it.
Entertainment was good. Special guests were great. But still had the same Broadway type shows as last time. Food good. Service good also. The trips round the middle east were long and tiring but worth doing especially the Rose Red City of Petra, Jordan. A 10 hour trip but Wow a fantastic place well worth the very long trek down through the narrow Siq (opening) to where the Treasury facade appeared like a giant standing right in front of you. And so many people walking up and down the Siq plus the pony and traps that didn't stop for anyone were busy taking people who didn't or couldn't walk down to the entrance!!! It was very rough surfaceto wlak over. However, Petra really is a special place and so glad we went to see it.
Muscat was nice but not that much to see. Sharm El Sheik, was lovely mainly a hotel resort for sunseekers. Again not that much to see unless you want to do a back breaking sand dunes ride in a Jeep or a ride under water in a semi submersible. Fun nontheless.
Safaga was more of an industrial port, a place to go if you want to visit King Tutankhamen's tomb and artefacts etc. Again a very long day trip but worth it.
The Port of Alexandria, was next, (for 2 days) and is a must if you want to see the Pyramids but is a very very long day with the trips being well over 14 hours with lunch at a nice hotel, then a visit to the catacombs down many crooked steps and which are very claustrophobic. A trip to the Pyramids is one to do in your own time and with your own guide/driver and car. However, Alexandria isn't the cleanest and nicest of places. We were confronted with road works at the entrance of the Dock area with big holes in the middle of the road and scaffolding outside. The taxi drivers are rude and the vehicles they called taxis we would call old pick up trucks, that have seen better days. Air Con meant you had to wind down the window if the window winder still worked. Grest Fun!! Unleavened bread stacked at the road side next to bins full of rotting rubbish. Not good, but an experience all the same.
The weather was good not too hot at this time of year. The transit through the Suez Canal was absolutely fabulous, another definite must see, especially during the daytime you saw so much more along the embankments. Finally disembarking in Rome. All in all a good Repo cruise and well worth doing.