We cruised with my parents (mum celebrated her 70th birthday on board) and 17year old daughter. Our journey started with an overnight flight from Birmingham with Emirates, we were able to choose our seats a couple of weeks before hand on outward and inbound journeys and checked in online 24hrs prior to departure, all went smoothly. Immigration at Dubai was very long, then a transfer to Hyatt Regency where there was more form filling for India, this was all a bit much after an overnight flight and everyone was getting a little fractious, but at least we were also checked in ready to board the ship. Breakfast was a nice hot and cold buffet. 11.30am we were transferred to the ship where we just walked on board
Windjammers was open for lunch and our staterooms were ready by 1pm and luggage arrived at about 5pm, which were prepared for as we had carried on a change of clothes and swimwear, so it was straight to the pool for an hour or two, then we took the shuttle bus to a Mall to get our first taste off Dubai, but we were so tired we didn't stay long. Back to the ship for a rest and get ready for dinner, we were 2nd seating which had been changed form 8.30 to 9pm, a little concerned this might be too late, but it worked well.
We ate in the dining room every evening, food was of a good standard , but not quite as high on previous RCI cruises. Ate in the dining room for breakfast most mornings, this is where we noticed the biggest difference, service was slow and it never used to be a DIY for cereals etc. but I still prefer it to windjammers, lunch we took in the dining room when it was open, delicious!! We ate in Windjammers on port days after our time off exploring
Quote: "I must admit it is the first time we have not managed to get hot food when you come back from a trip!! from 4 - 6 there is no hot food to be had if you were out all day!!!"
Windjammers closed between 5pm & 6.30pm, but hot and cold food was available from the Solarium or Seaview Cafe, don't understand above comment.
We enjoyed ports of call:
Muscat, Oman: We walked off the ship turned left and followed the promenade all the way round to the Residential Palace, about an hours walk.Unfortunately at the Grande Mosque we had missed the opening times, a taxi ride back for a spot of shopping before boarding.
Cochin: We had wanted to do the backwaters trip, but we had left it too late, our own fault. We took a couple of tuk-tuks, a memorable experience, to Fort Cochin, pulled up one of the chinese fishing nets, saw the Dutch Palace and got to see a Kathakali performance. We were out for 6hours and cost 20 dollars.
Mumbai: Again we walked out of the port turned left and keeping left we walked to the Gateway of India approx 30 mins, It was Sunday and everyone was out with their families, we took the ferry to Elephanta Island, 130 rupees each for an hour ride each way, then it was a walk up to the caves itself, then an entrance fee of 250 rupees each, bearing in mind to do the ships excursion it would have bee 79 dollars each, so a huge saving made.All in all it took 4-5 hrs. We returned to the Gateway of India and went into the Taj Mahal hotel for a refreshing cold coffee, highly recommended. Next we walked to the Railway station, by this time dusk was falling, the architecture was stunning and it was lit up beautifully. A taxi ride back to the port, exhausted.
We were docked overnight so headed out the following morning to shop on fashion street, but unfortunately the stalls don't open until 11am, it was 9.30 so we walked back towards the Taj Mahal again and found some shops nearby, then another coffee before walking back to the ship as we had to be back onboard at 1pm, but a lovely morning spent, the men found an inexpensive internet cafe whilst us girls shopped.
Unfortunately we didn't get to see Goa because of the fishermens blockade.
The ports were great, but i Enjoyed the sea days as well, there was lots to do, lectures, seminars, trivias, rock climbing- I was successful this time-mini golf we had a go most afternoons. Games room situated by the Colonial Club, where cards and scrabble etc were available. Two lovely pool tables which had gyro stabilizers so were level at all times, brilliant
Spent a lot of time by the pool never saved a bed but was always able to find an vacant one on deck twelve, yes they are a little cramped, but we would soon moan if there weren't enough. I also enjoyed the gym most mornings and joined in the free abs class, very good.
Evening entertainment was of a good standard and enjoyed each and everyone of them.
Must give a special mention to our waiters Alvaro and Jonche who were wonderful and our stateroom attendant Leon. Also thanks to our table guests Julie , John, Anthony, Ste and Johnnie, we enjoyed your company at dinner.
All in all a memorable cruise , would recommend.
Our holiday was completed with an overnight stay at the Hyatt Regency, what a beautiful hotel. As much as we wanted to sit and relax we only had the day to go and explore, we visited the Gold and Spice Souk, then crossed the creek in dhow and shopped in the Abra district, fairly cheap.Then a taxi ride to the Dubai mall(20 dirhams), what a lovely shopping experience just sit and watch it come alive at about 6pm.Wish we had booked for longer that is all we had time to do returned to hotel exhausted, Up early to enjoy pool, breakfast was to die for ,buffet style, but what a selection. Transfer to airport was at midday, holiday oover, we will have to go back to Dubai someday