This was our first cruise ever, so we went with no preconceived ideas and no expectations. We chose the cruises mainly on price, it was cheap and it went to interesting places in the Middle East that I wanted to go to. We knew we would be off the boat most days and to us it was just a floating hotel.
Embarkation was good and quick and we arrived on board straight away after arriving at the cruise terminal. However our suitcases took more than 4 hours to arrive at our cabins. We could have gone into Dubai or relaxed by the pool except we had our UK winter clothes on and couldn't change. Now we know to bring a change of clothes or swimsuit in your hand luggage.
In general the ship was great, no complaints. We had a cabin without windows which was adequate in size, very comfortable and cheap.We bought an Allegrissimo drinks package before we came, which was cheaper and very good, as you never had to think about the costs of drinks. We found all the staff to be very professional and very helpful. There was a service charge daily but I think the staff deserved this.
The main sit down and be served restaurant served excellent food, though portion size was small. The buffets, breakfast, lunch and dinner were excellent in the choices and ranges of food available. They were very busy and sometimes you had to share tables, but this was good for meeting people of other nationalities. I can't comment on entertainment as we never attended any.
Excursions were expensive but well organised, though the guides let them down by not being able to offer up information, history or stories. It did say they give basic information only but our guide on the Desert Safari didn't even do that. He only spoke when questioned, didn't say where we were or how long we had at that spot. I booked the Big Bus on line before coming and got a combined ticket for Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Muscat. This was a lot cheaper than individual tickets bought on the ship.
Finding free sunbeds or places to sit in the sun outside was also a problem. You could reserve you place with a towel, which people did and then disappeared for the rest of the day. Staff were supposed to remove them after 30 mins but they never did. Lastly and most importantly, my husband contracted some kind of food poisoning on the first evening, maybe after eating mussels. He was sick all night with diarrhea too. This then lasted the whole week and on into the week we got home. He visited the medical centre who examined him, gave him advice and medicines and even 2 drips but nothing worked. Also it cost us 526 euros! even though we are in the process off claiming some of it back through our insurance. It spoilt the cruise for us, especially for me as I was alone for a lot of the time.
This year we are celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary and had planned a variety of holidays to celebrate, but this turned out to be a disappointment due to the illness and the ships inability to cure it. Despite this the cruise itself was very good and I would recommend this company.
The cabin was spacious enough with plenty of wardrobe space. The bed was extra large and very comfortable. There were a lot of mirrors. The flat screen TV was ok but the only English channels were CNN and BBC World Service. Though you could rent movies. The bathroom was a good size with space for personal items. It was in a quiet part of the ship, at the back. Our attendant was very good, friendly and chatty and nothing was too much trouble for him. We hadn't planned to be in it much so no windows weren't a problem.
Expensive excursion. Organised well by the ship but the guide hardly spoke at all. No information was forthcoming unless asked. Didn't know why we had stopped at a place or for how long. Took a long time to drive there and back with not that much time in the actual sand dunes.View All 20 Desert Safari Reviews
Cheaper to book a multi city ticket in advance on line. Excellent tour, saw so much of the city as its spread out. Able to hop on and off where you want to. Commentary all the way round, free bottles of water and a free Dhow cruise included. Value for money.View All 12 Big Bus Sightseeing Tour Reviews