We decided to book everything with Costa through our TA and through Costa website.
This was good and bad. Good because of the flight/transfers because this way we had nothing to worry and because we got a deal that offered us the X1 drinks package (excellent for those who don't drink alchool like us). Bad because due to the Bahrein cancelation due to the unrest overthere the tour package we had booked suffered so many changes that we ended at tour desk more times than intended when booking tours online.
Flights were with Lufthansa but because we had to go from Portugal to Dubai this was the schedule: 6AM OPO-FRA (2.5h) - 2PM FRA-DXB (5.5h). Getting to Dubai around 11.30PM we had another 60' to pass through passport control and then 45' of transfer (getting to bus and travel) to Port Rashid. With the checkin to Deliziosa going smoothly we ended up on cabin around 2AM but still waiting for our suitcases. Fortunately Costa had some snacks on the Cruise terminal while we were checking-in and the Pizza restaurant was open on-board. Got to a deserved bed rest around 4AM. After this we definitely deserved our vacations. The retirn flight was a little easier since DXB-FRA was around 2AM so we ended up sleep the entire return trip :).
Deliziosa being just 1 year-old is a beautiful ship with excellent staff. Food was always available somewhere on-board and with good quality and variety. I think noone can say there are not enough eating options. The only really bad thing are the ice-creams (in an Italian ship we should expect Italian quality ice-creams and that doesn't happen). Entertainment activities are there for all tastes but as we would expect it's light entertainment. Quality light-entertainment. If you like that you will be very satisfied. If you don't you will be disappointed. We liked it but believe that some wouldn't.
Others have called attention to drinking on-board. If you drink alchool you're doomed to a heavy bill. If not, and have the luck of getting offered like us the X1 package you're safe. Just buy Boys n Girls for those off main meal drink and you won't get a problem with drinking.
On Deliziosa, Costa has some interesting, but priced, things. The F1 simulator, the Golf simulator with a tiny putting green on deck, the 4D cinema, the PS3 corner and the Samsara Spa. Though we didn't use any of them we think the Spa might be a good option and they were constantly publicizing sales for their products.
The staff is really good. With 1 or 2 exceptions, besides being very gentle they're excellent workers that provide us and high-standard service. 5 star for all of them.
Now, one last word for 2 things we didn't like on our cruise.
1st: due to the unrest in Bahrain, the stop there was cancelled 2 or 3 days before departure. Perfectly understandable. Less understandable is the way Costa re-arranged things. We were supposed to do: Dubai-Dubai-Muscat-Fujairah-Abu Dhabi-Bahrain-Dubai-Dubai. We would think they would either replace Bahrain with another port like Doha or do an overnight stay on the previous port (Abu Dhabi in this case). Well, they took an illogical potion of overnight in Muscat and thus postponing Fujairah and Abu Dhabi 1 day. The only reason I see is the eventually cheaper port stay in Muscat instead of on eof the other more logical options.
2nd: we booked a Dubai visit with Costa. We understand that usually, in these organised tours, the "guides" like to take us to some "friend-shops" for some percentual gain over sales. But when the shop we're taken is a Costa-Club member that Costa takes us without advertising it on their tour sale I think that's a new low-level for tour organisation. Luckily this only happened once and on the last day so we didn't even tried to bother with it. Oh... the general level of the tour guides was well below medium (at least the ones of got - 2 tours in Spanish and 1 in Italian).
Everythong considered we ended loving our cruise and had great fun. Definitely recommended Deliziosa and this Middles East itinerary.
A must in every aspect.
The contrast between new and old Dubai is breathtaking.
Architectural highlights are everywhere. Burj Khalifa is just beatiful.
Shopping heaven for those who search for it.
Easily visited with cheap taxi (with taximeter always on)
The Great Mosque is a must visit.
Ferrari World and YAS Marina Circuit are also there not to miss for the fans.
And when the project 2030 is ready (first museums - Louvre - will open next year I think) it will be a top world destination for anyone with a little cultural interest
Still can't understand why we stopped there.
A very strict interpretation of Islam marks this country but it's capital is definetily worth visiting. The mountains from where this city grows are beautiful.