We picked this cruise because of the itinerary. We added six new country visits to our list. Although there has been some concerns on the security of Middle East and Sinai Peninsula, we felt that tourism should be safe. We felt safe during the cruise and NCL did take measures to make sure we were safe.
The entertainment was great. We were impressed with Richard Matti, the cruise director's leadership. The shows, games and productions were done nicely. The guest speaker Jean was very knowledgeable and entertaining.
The complimentary food choices were better than those from Carnival and on part with other similar level cruiselines. We were happy with the complimentary dinning room service and did not feel the need to go a specialty restaurant. We only tried one specialty restaurant - Brazilian BBQ. The meat choices were good and tasty but stay away from seafood. Ginza serves Asian foods which were not really authentic. The Executive Chef is from India, the Indian food and vegetarian dishes were superb in the main dinning room and even in the buffet Market Place.
I was weary about the cabin being in the fwd section. The water was quite calm with only a few rough days. With 1/4 of a patch behind the ear took care of the ocean movement. The room is quite with excellent full balcony. Being a photographer, I was able to just roll out of bed 15 min before sunrise to capture the images, instead going outside to check.
We made a reservation pre-cruise to have lunch at Burj Al Arab. What a gorgeous building! We got a private tour of the building from a nice customer ambassador (? not sure her actual title). We tour the restaurants, library, spa, higher public areas. We went to the Mall and watched the water dance show at the fountain of Burj Khalifa. A surprise is a visit to Jumeirah Mosque. For a nominal charge, they served you tea and refreshments and explain the religion, custom and culture. Check their website. We also did a 4x4 desert safari via Viator. Excellent value.
We made a mistake of trying to cover by foot. We ended up hiring a taxi midway but paid only 1/2 of the cost offered by taxi cabs at the port. Do take a taxi but make sure you bargain and don't take the first offer. The Sultan's palace is amazing. You can walk to the Cornichi is your interest is only shopping. Stores are closed for lunch for several hours. The old old town is beautiful.
It is a 3 hour long drive from the port. Karnak Temple is magnificent. a must see.
The tour was on Palm Sunday. We combined the Bethlehem and Old City in one day. There were a lot of people due to the holiday. Try to avoid tourist trap restaurants. They cheat you on exchange rate and over charge regular meals.
We took the hop-on-hop-off bus (EURO 15 pp) at the port to go to Knossos Palace. If you go down town, you can hire a taxi for EURO 9 for up to 4 people to get there. The ticket line to the Knossos archaeological site is very long. If you have 6 people, hire a local guide at the entrance booth and pay additional Euro 10 per person for the tour, you don't have to wait in line. The guide will take you to the ticket office to buy tickets. With one additional euro you can visit other museums. It is worth it. A private guide to show you short cuts and explains the significance of each location is worth the 10 euro.
A magical city. You can take People Mover at the port to go to piazzale roma then take Vaporetto for 8 Euro to St. Marco or Rialto or just walk. If you get lost, just find the canal to ride the Vaporetto to get back.