This was our first Regent cruise, our preferred cruise lines being Silversea (for luxury cruising) and Swan Hellenic (for 'discovery' cruising). I am very lucky and have been cruising regularly since the 1970s and so know the industry pretty well.
We made our own flight arrangements and flew to Dubai by daytime flight with British Airways and stayed at the very good (and very inexpensive) Meridien Hotel close to the airport. Passengers who took the inclusive flight arrangements from the UK flew, in the main, overnight with Virgin (and were not impressed!).
Embarkation the following afternoon at the cruise terminal could not have been easier. It was extremely efficient.