This just about scrapes an average but is more like a 2.5 star out of 5 as there is a big difference between poor & average.
Boarding was very quick & straightforward which is not always the case when you start your holiday.
The ship is in my option looking a bit tired & jaded, the staff are very attentive & the food in the windjammer is very good as it always is on Royal Caribbean ships, staff are very friendly & attentive, but melamine plates past their sell by dates in the windjammer is a real no no in my book & all the cups for tea & coffee are in the main badly stained.
The dining room itself did have atmosphere & the food was ok but food was rarely hot but that is something you often get in a busy main dining room, the staff here were excellent & very attentive
The tables are constantly wiped but in the windjammer & solarium areas as well as poolside they are very tacky as in sticky & getting it re- wiped seems to make little difference, this also applies to many of the chairs round the tables & this was the view among many passengers that the whole ship needs a proper deep clean, something that will probably only happen when it gets a new owner.
The ship certainly looks better from the outside than the inside, first time I have gone on a ship where no toiletries are provided in the cabin.
The cabin itself was basic but clean & acceptable, people did enjoy themselves & many areas were still busy after midnight, problem is there is not too much of a choice of ship if you wish to do a Dubai cruise & they say you do get what you pay for.
The first part of the holiday was a three night stay in a top hotel & from all accounts everyone was highly impressed by this part of the holiday which in a way highlights the misgivings of the cruise, but it does seem people are accepting that the cruise is " average " but they have paid a price that goes with that valuation
I suspect the three nights in the five star Sheraton Grand would normally be the price I paid for the ten day holiday, if you don't expect a five star cruise then you probably wont walk away too disappointed.
The excursion in Abu Dhabi was the highlight of the cruise for me, went to the Emirates Palace hotel for High tea, this amazing hotel is jaw dropping in every way & nothing I could say about it would be enough to do it justice.
Be aware that the desert safari in Dubai literally has its ups & downs, your not exactly told how extreme the ride over the dunes is, if you like roller coasters you will love it if you don't then its definitely not for you, there is a lovely meal at the end of it in the desert if your stomach is still in a position to take it.
The room was always cleaned promptly by a friendly & attentive steward.