I traveled on the Costa Favolosa from Dubai in April. I had planned to book through a travel agency but I booked shortly after the sink sank off of Italy and the two agencies I would have used was no longer booking Costa. I found that the Costa agent didn't have a good idea of the embarkation process in Dubai which was frustrating. My flight didnt arrived in Dubai at 9 pm and she told me I would not be able to board that late in the evening , I would have to book a hotel and go to the port first thing in the morning. I found out, via a cruise critic member, that was not the case and I could board at anytime as the ship did not leave until 2 pm the next day. The info saved me a couple hundred dollars as I cancelled my hotel reservation. The embarkation process was smooth as there were very few people boarding at 11pm. The ship itself is relatively new and well maintained although I did find the layout a bit confusing. I traveled alone and opted for the cruise excursions.
Muscat - I took the city and mosque tour. I enjoyed the tour but we spent entirely too much time at the souk. Reminded me of the American flea markets, just a bunch of junk made in China. We went to a historical museum as well. We only had 15 minutes which was disappointing as it seems to give a lot of info about the Omani people, their cultural & history, could have skipped the souk and spent the remainder of the time at the museum. We also visited the mosque. Be sure to bring a headscarf, I paid 10 euros for a crummy piece of fabric that I would up donating to Goodwill. I was hoping to buy a really nice scarf but no such luck.
Fujairuh - I opted for the 4x4 tour here. This was an absolute blast!!! We drove quite a distance to the mountains and drove around for a bit, stopped for a photo op and then headed to the sand dunes. Along the way we stopped at a camel farm. I am a huge animal lover but I thought they looked a little rough. They offered camel rides but I do not recall for how much. From there we headed to the red dunes, one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen! I would recommend not wearing flip flops as the sand is smoking hot! We went up and down through the dunes, stopped for another photo op and then headed to a park for lunch. They provided a fabulous box lunch and we relaxed in these huts. From there back to the ship. This was probably my favorite excursion from the trip!
Abu Dhabi - Here I took the city and Grand Mosque tour with lunch at the Emirates Hotel. Our first stop was Heritage Village, it gave a great history of the UAE and was located right on the water. I dipped my toes in but it was freezing cold! The Emirates hotel was beautiful! We had a lovely lunch on the terrace overlooking the gardens. There was a great museum in the hotel but again we practically ran through it as there was limited time. From there we headed to the Grand Mosque, one of the most beautiful man made places I have ever seen. Just unbelievable! We spent just the right amount of time here. Our last stop was to another museum, unfortunately when we got there it was closed. Seemed odd that the guide didn't know what time it closed. At that point there was chaos on the bus! People were mad raising their voices it was actually quite uncomfortable. Some of the other guests wanted them to drop them off at Ferrari World since we had a couple of hours left but the guide refused and said that was it tour was over and we were going back to the ship. If we wanted to do something else we would have to take a taxi from the port. In was kind of surprised she didn't call a supervisor or something. I will say I was disappointed. Someone much have complained as the next day I had a note in my room with an apology with how the situation was handled and they discounted the tour by 25%. Which I thought was nice since I never mentioned my disappointed to anyone, very proactive.
Khasab, Oman - This port I took the Dhow cruise to the fjords. It was breathtaking! The guide was fantastic and gave us a history of the area and talked about current customs etc. We also had a pod of at least 7 dolphins follow along side of the boat. I would recommend bringing a pair of water shoes. I would liked to have climbed onto Telegraph Island but it was quite rocky and I didn't want to tear up my feet.
Dubai - I loved Dubai but there was a terrible sand storm that day and many of the activites I had booked I could no do. Ie: helicopter tour(too windy), Burj Khalifa (can't really see much in a sand storm. But this gives me good reason to go back!
The ship itself it filled with Italians and Germans. I was supposed to be seated with other English speaking single travelers at dinner but I was seated with a Russian family. One member barely spoke English so it was a bit difficult but he was excited to have someone to practice his English with. The food is mediocre, like most cruises in my opinion. I am not sure how I feel about the mandatory tipping. I always buy the tips in advance but I think that the service in the dining room left a lot to be desired. Turns out our the was our waiters last cruise before going home for 2 months, which probably had a lot to do with it. The room attendant was fabulous! I actually left him some additional cash, by far best I ever had on an cruise ship. I would not recommend playing bingo if you speak English, they call the numbers in I cannot tell you how many different languages and sometimes they would skip English and you have to watch the board carefully. Not fun at all. There were also a lot of smokers and a lot of speedos, neither of which I like!
Rooms were fantastic! Spacious clean, I spend a lot of time sitting in the large picture window just looking out on the water. I agree with some that the pull tabs on the cabinets were difficult but someone had actually placed tape over the magnets in my cabin so it wasn't as difficult. Would have liked it if they carried more than 1 English tv station.
I disembarked a day early and there was a bit of confusion. I informed the front desk but I guess they were supposed to inform Natalie, the English hostess, and never did. The last day there were about 12 of us trying to figure out where were supposed to go. Once Natalie got it figured out it I didn't have any issues.
I did enjoy this cruise and would probably go with Costa again.
I enjoyed this cruise.
I enjoyed this itinerary as there was a port of call every day. The fun days at sea not so much fun for me, I like to be seeing and doing.