We have just recently returned from our second Cruise,a 7 night Emirates itinerary taking in Oman and the two jewels of the U.A.E Dubai and it's bigger sister Abu Dhabi.
I would like to say that contra to the impressions i have made from similar reviews we found the ship both clean and well maintained.Indeed the ship was gleaming,with a happy crew who seemed to take time to enjoy themselves as they worked and spread the happy vibe around the guests who consisted of a bunch of nationalities and age-groups.
We were pleased to enjoy an Emirates night-flight from Birmingham to Dubai and albeit a delayed arrival we were soon on a coach,heading for a holding hotel for a quick breakfast stop and check-in.This worked very well and we were able to board Brilliance soon after without any delays.The night flight was tiring however.
The cabin was lovely,much better than i feared and was very well decorated with a good size bed(2 singles together),nice balcony with a great view so a result for us here
'My- Time Dining' again for us proved a success and we dined in the main dining room most nights.We took the Grand Romance package,with robes,slippers and a Bon Voyage chocolate cake-all superb.We had flowers delivered late on day 3 but we were spoilt with a free plate of chocolate covered strawberries in recompense after i complained,a nice gesture and very nice to nibble too.We enjoyed a galley tour one afternoon by the head of Catering a charming Swiss chap,now living in Australia.We met many charming couples and found most people friendly.
Our Room service by Aris,a Philipino was superb and we were blessed in the week by three towel animals along the way,to make our cabin memorable.This was our first balcony upgrade and we wern't dissapointed it really made a difference to our perception of the ship.On our last cruise we saw very little of the sea at all!
The first destination was rather unattractive-Fujairah a container port and we chose to stay onboard and swim.Two nights in Muscat,Oman were next and i went on an organised official coach tour whilst my wife stayed on board topping up her tan.I enjoyed the Grand Mosque immensly whilst in the souk i managed to buy an Indian dazzling outfit which my wife wore later on the 2nd formal night.Muscat was lovely and Oman is beautiful.
Next came our feared crossing of the Straight's of Hormuz in the Iran dominated shipping lanes that criss-cross the Arabian Gulf.Despite being buzzed at low altitude by an Iraninan war plane we soon bypassed some oilrigs and were through and off to Abu Dhabi for our next adventure.However our night at Sea was hampered by winds and high waves,enough to make us take sea-sick tablets offered free of charge after i went to the medical deck suffering from the crossing and a little over-indulgence at dinner time,rich food hampering a good night's sleep.
The next morning i woke with a terrible headache and without my usual supply of medication which i had left at home fearing airport horror stories pre-cruise about U.A.E drug enforcement policies and jail sentencing for prescription drugs.A trip to a pharmacy soon bagged some tablets as I embarked on the 'Big Bus' tour,wife in tow but suffering and trying to put a brave face on it.Even a trip up the fabled Skytower at Marina mall was endured
in silence as i took photos and tried to enjoy the location,somewhat different to how i had imagined it,months before in anticipation.That afternoon i managed to grab some Iboprufen on-board and soon was sleeping it off whilst my understanding wife went to lunch alone,poor thing.That evening we chose to eat casually and recovery was spent walking the decks and recording on camera the ships many sights.We didn't spend much time in the evening's on-board as we were tired out during the day.Dubai the next morning and all was well again as we headed off for the city on our second organised coach trip to the Wonders of Dubai.This excellent tour was conducted by an Eastern European lady who lived in the Marina Area and who took us all over to see Palm Island,Mall of the Emirates and finally a trip up the fabled Burj Khalifa-not to be missed this is superb!a short tour is conducted by electronic media,interactive display and finally the world's fattest lift(i kid you not!)where you emerge onto the world's highest viewing platform.
Soon we returned to the ship and enjoyed our final night on-board,Sales time in the shops and show time finale we were sad to be departing and we shall miss Brilliance and her jolly crew.The region is most interesting,weather mainly sunny all year round and i would recommend this Cruise for the ship and the cultural highlights that we enjoyed immensly.She may not be the biggest ship in the fleet but she holds her own when it comes to service and cleanliness.Well done Brilliance!