Many thanks to all the info on this site. We returned on Monday from a great cruise on the Brilliance of the Sea out of Dubai. We loved the cruise. The food was better than expected- especially liked the large shrimp cocktail, lobster bisque and goat cheese tarts at dinner. We followed a tip and went to the helipad for each sail away- great views and not many people there.Our ship steward, waiters and everyone on the ship were very friendly and did a great job.
We never felt unsafe in the ports or during passage in the Straits of Hormuz.We did not see any military action in the Straits- the only unusual site was seeing small speed boats flying flags from Iran cruising up to the ship and waving. The spa had told another passenger to expect the boats- she said they often race each other and like to go close to the ship. We saw live goats in one boat- they were headed over to Oman to sell their goods.
Here is a summary of what we did in each port:
Dubai- we arrived 3 nights early- had a great apt hotel at Oasis Beach towers. Went to Burj Khalifa at 5:30 one evening to see day and night views from the Burj.Had dinner at Mango Tree at the base of the Burj and were able to see 5 fountain shows from our outdoor table (The shows are every 1/2 hour). We hired a car and driver and went to watch camel race practice, hired an abra boat for an hour to cruise the Dubai creek, went to Gold, Spice and Textile Souks, marina area, did a desert Safari with Arabian Adventures, skied at the Mall of the Emirates, shopped Madinat Jumeriah & spent time at Jumeriah Beach Park.
Fujairah: this port was a pleasant surprise.We took ship shuttle to Lulu market where there were dozens of taxis. We hired 2 taxis and first went to the Fujairah fish market (very fun to see) and shopped in the souk portion of the market- bought abayas (burquas). We then stopped at Fujairah fort for photos and then climbed the Bitnah Fort.We stopped at the Friday market but found the shop owners very aggressive. We had hoped to go to Dibba but ran out of time.
Muscat, Oman: (first day) did a private day tour with Mark tours. Started at Grand Mosque then went to Wadi Shab (About a 1.5 hour drive)- The Wadi was very pretty but a long 45 min hike along rocks and cliffs to get there. Stopped at Fins beach then the Sink hole. We had hoped to stop at Quiryat but ran out of time again... When we got back to the ship we went to the Marina hotel and had drinks at the roof lounge which gave a great view of the ship and the city. We shopped at the Souk at night- it was very lively with lots of locals shopping
Muscat, Oman- Day 2: we walked to the Fish market then along the Cornish and climbed several forts. We then hopped in a taxi to go past the royal palace in Muscat and then back to the souk for more shopping.
Abu Dhabi: we had a private tour in a 12 passenger van with a tax driver that we had met in Dubai. Went to the mosque then a city tour and a stop at Emirates Palace for gold specked camelcinno (capuccino with camel's milk and real gold parcels). Reservations are needed even for a coffee stop & there is a 100 diriham minimum per person. We then went to the Heritage village (great prices on crafts at the souk) then drove over to Yas Island. Stopped at the Yas hotel and watched a motor cycle race. Ended the tour with a quick stop at the Iranian souk which is near the ship terminal. Abu Dhabi is a very pretty city and we wish we had more time there.