We were cruising as a family with young kids. We were expecting sun, good food, relaxing time at the pool and of course some new cities to see. This time we almost got all that we wanted -that isn't so great as NCL, with as old ship, managed to provide us earlier everything expected, and even more!
Main feeling we got, was that for some reason, organization lacks communication; there was lot's of hassle with beverage packages, stateroom and dining arrangements – too often the answer was that ask somewhere else. There were still few bright stars who made our day several times, thanks to them!
Food was pretty average, based on earlier experience we were expecting more. Meat dishes weren't so amazing, bread selection was narrow and fruit offering was always pretty much the same. Windjammer as an environment was rather stressful: it was too full or closing or partly closed with fences. We would have also appreciated more flexibility with dining hours; now it was impossible for example to have a proper early dinner with the kids. Select beverage package was also causing lot's of questions; for example one day sparkling wine wasn't included and next day it was, one day it was also charged as prosecco without notice.
Shows and entertainment were mediocre. Some of the dancers were good, some weren't. We felt that content was bit too much targeted to older and British audience; Beatles, quizzes about kings of the UK, old movies etc. Kids activities however were awesome and basically that was the most important one for us!
We booked one shore excursion which was arranged by Arabian adventures and that one was great! Otherwise we went to see ports on our own and had really nice days.
During the last night there was one final letdown; we went bed early to get a good sleep before the flight. Around 3AM they however started to roll big and heavy metallic luggage containers out from the ship with huge bangs. The noise was insane and it lasted for rather long time.
Our cruise wasn't too bad. If it would have been the first one, we maybe could have been even happier. But as NCL set the record so high earlier, we were expecting more.
Our stateroom with a window was pretty basic, as we expected. We however, expected to get a safe bed for our kids; now there was only a Pullmans without proper bed-rails -even Baltic ferries provide good portable rails! For example royalcaribbeanpresscenter.com still announces that every stateroom has iPad, but no, there wasn't any, only TV with rather bad signal and old fashion telephone. Shower was bit bad, I think the head was broken somehow, but I think this is pretty normal as ship has already been sold. Beds and pillows were good and we slept well.
Abu Dhabi was our favourite! We went to mosque, mall and the beach -we could have easily spent more time in this charming city. Taxis were easy to catch, air conditioned and metered.
Muscat was nice as there is lot's of things to see within walking distance. We however prefer bit bigger cities.