We flew to Dubai just as the coldest weekend of the year was starting in the UK - great timing!The BA flights were fine and we embarked smoothly at about 1.30am - yes 1.30am but remember the 4 hour forwards time difference.We sailed at 1.00pm the following afternoon, plenty of time to settle in, unpack and have a lifeboat drill!!
The ship is lovely and new and the service we experienced throughout was excellent. The ports of call were really interesting, different to anything we have experienced before, and as experienced cruisers we largely did our own thing apart from a great dhow dolphin chasing trip from Khasab.
The weather was fantastic and in consequence passengers spread throughout the ship and we have never had so little trouble getting tables for breakfast and lunch. The formal restaurant was very good, not perhaps the best food we have had on a cruise ship but perfectly acceptable and the food in the casual dining was great. We are Costa Pearl members so we got various perks which were more worthwhile than some other cruise line loyalty schemes, including complementary dinner in the Club restaurant which was superb, The Chateaubriand memorable!
We finished off with a long weekend in Dubai which we organised,avoiding a 2.30am return flight which would not have been a good way to finish the cruise. If you are travelling that far it is well worth extending either at the beginning or end of the cruise as it easy to get from the cruise terminal to the hotels in Dubai and the taxis are amazingly cheap and safe. The whole area despite being so close to potential trouble spots feels very safe to visit and we would go again at this time of the year.
We are English but quite enjoy the eclectic mix of a Costa cruise, if you don't like 'foreigners' pick another cruise line!we chose Costa rather Royal Caribbean (who we cruised with in the summer) because it was over Â£1000 cheaper and frankly it was just as good an experience as our summer Baltic cruise. We would definitely cruise Costa again, and if you cruise with the line go with an open mind and enjoy!!