Flew Emirates COACH! They have rows in the back that are just two seats which was nice so we had two windows and two isles which worked for my family. Not bad leg room and not bad food for coach.
Pre-cruise Atlantis Hotel, loved it, ate in three restaurants in hotel that we loved. Had buffet dinner at Al Iwan in Burg Al Arab and we loved it. Had breakfast out of hotel one morning at Lime Tree Café and loved it.
Dubai – took the water taxi and went to the souks, lots of fun and really the only shopping we did the entire trip. Did the night safari, private company Orient Tours, and we really had a good time. Paid $66 per person and RCCL passengers were there with us and I believe they paid $145.
Boarding the ship took us about an hour. Balcony cabins on 9 were fine and connected which actually was nice for shouting back and forth instead of pounding on a door. Food was generally mediocre as was service. Never really felt like staff cared if I was happy or not, just that they were doing their jobs. Common areas (pool, bars, Windjammer) always felt very crowded. Always had to walk around a bit to find a table or a lounge. Guest relations people seemed to be lacking a lot of knowledge about the ship and ports. i.e. I was in line behind someone asking where the library was and the guy behind the desk took out a map of the ship! I told the lady it was on 9 and they both asked me if I was sure.
Oman – took a private tour with Arabesque and it was great. Great tour guide and never had to stand in any lines. At the mosque, women must be completely covered except for hands and face. Our guide made sure we had the right stuff before we left the port but there were many people with other groups being turned away. Ladies, a scarf around the shoulders is not enough. We improvised by putting on hooded sweatshirts and wrapping scarves around our necks. Men just needed long pants.
Fujariah – took the cruise excursion for beach and snorkeling. We really were glad because it was nice to sit and swim in a big pool without 2400 other people.
Abu Dhabi – took the hop on hop off bus which was right outside the ship terminal. No need to buy any shuttle tickets from the ship. We did the full circle and got off where we wanted to see the sights. Men – if you want to see the Emirates Palace Hotel, you need long pants. They won’t even let you in the front gate with shorts. FYI if you get off at Marina Mall and then want to go back to the ship instead of completing the circle, the bus has an express back to the port. FYI the bus is also available right outside the cruise terminal in Dubai.
Bahrain – did the “all day relax” cruise excursion. Got a general city tour on the way to the resort. Had a wonderful day at the pool and a fabulous buffet lunch at the resort. My family all thought the food was better than anything they had eaten on the ship.
Currency – we used Dirhams and American dollars. As far as I could tell, everyone took whatever you had. My one piece of advice would be to have small bills for taxis cause they always claimed to not have change.
Taxis - in Dubai were cheap and plentiful. Warned about taking them in the other ports so we didn’t.
Weather – was perfect as far as I was concerned. We dressed as we would at home in hot weather with the exception of the mosque.