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We were on the 8th Feb cruise out of Dubai, and having read the previous reviews thought we'd offer our view and maybe a few tips. We booked our cruise and flights independently as I think you get a better deal overall. Anyway we arrived in Dubai with Virgin at a little after 8.00 am and after getting off the plane made our way through immigration and customs to meet our driver. Tip 1 - We booked a city tour through Prime Limousine which picked us up from the airport and dropped us at the seaport. 3 hours was 600Dhs which I think works out at less that £120. Compare that to the coach offering from RCI, well you do the maths. Either way we were driven around in an Escalade, shown all of the key sights and thoroughly enjoyed our introduction to Dubai. We arrived at the ship at a little after 12.00 and were checked in and on board in about 15 minutes. They keep your passports for the duration of the cruise and give them back on the last night. The whole process is pretty painless but please keep hold of the receipt they give you. Ports of call. Dubai - To be honest overall we felt Dubai was a bit of a disappointment. You could have been anywhere in the States, there are a lot of building sites around the city, the traffic was appalling, the prices for everything were at least a third more than the UK and therefore twice as expensive as the States, the taxi drivers are mad (we had an accident on our way back to the ship on our first night) and the port was miles from anywhere. There were free shuttle buses to the Dubai Mall but we never used them. We did go to Deira and the Dubai Creek on our last day and really enjoyed that, especially when we used the boats to get across to the Gold Souk. Tip 2 - If you get a taxi from the port they start pricing off at 20Dhs, not 3Dhs. Muscat - Oman - We spent the morning walking around the Souq which was good fun. There wasn't much else here so if you want to see more go into the main city. You have to use a free shuttle to get to the port gates unless you are on a paid tour. Fujairah - We did the desert drive here and while expensive was thoroughly worth the money, our driver was superb and gave us a fantastic trip. We chose this day to do the trip as we were told that there wasn't much else to do here and we're glad we did. Abu Dhabi - You arrive here on Friday which is the muslim holy day and this means most things are closed. We went to the Marina Mall and this was a bit of a waste of time. You have to use a free shuttle to get to the port gates unless you are on a paid tour. Tip 3 - Marina Mall is some distance from the city so unless you want to get stuck here don't bother, the nearby Heritage Village was closed too so don't bother walking there either. After 3 hours we got bored and went back to the ship. Tip 4 - The palace hotel will not let you in if you are wearing shorts or open toed shoes. Bahrain - This was a bit of a disappointment as there isn't a lot going on here either. We ended up walking around the souk, eating lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe and then going back to the ship. We heard that the trip to BIC was good but that was it. You have to use a free shuttle to get to the port gates unless you are on a paid tour. Tip 5 - Beware, taxi drivers will rip you off - They don't like using the meters but are required to do so by law. If they don't turn it on get out and use another one. Tip 6 - RCI trips were expensive but to be honest there isn't much you can do on your own of any real interest at any of the ports we went to without using taxis or getting on a bus tour. Food - Never used main dining as we think this is a bit of a waste of time and we both hate dressing up, you get the same food in Windjammer and can have what you want when you want. Food here was generally pretty good and always plenty of it. Tip 7 - If you're a Brit look for the "British Section" at breakfast where they serve proper back bacon, not the greasy streaky American version. Entertainment - Didn't see any shows as we were always busy doing other things. The Gym was good and the solarium pool was a great place to relax at the end of the day. The Blue Note jazz band were very good. Tip 8 - On the last day we took our own bags of the ship as we had to leave at 6.45am, the earliest tags were 6.40am. The WJ wasn't due to open until 6.30 but the opened it at 6.00 because of the number of people trying to get in. Overall Impressions Dubai was a place we wanted to go to and we're glad we did but now we've been I can't see us going back. The other places we went to were less impressive than Dubai. RCI hasn't really done it's home work on this cruise. There were a lot of unpolished edges in terms of local knowledge and the trips on offer which if you've been with them to the Caribbean will be a bit of a surprise. In the end if you want a bit of sun and the option of visiting several middle east location in one trip then it's not a bad option. I would imagine that at the number of cruises increases they'll get better at what they're doing. Just don't set your expectations too high.

A little different to our previous cruises

Brilliance of the Seas Cruise Review by miopyk

Trip Details
We were on the 8th Feb cruise out of Dubai, and having read the previous reviews thought we'd offer our view and maybe a few tips.
We booked our cruise and flights independently as I think you get a better deal overall. Anyway we arrived in Dubai with Virgin at a little after 8.00 am and after getting off the plane made our way through immigration and customs to meet our driver.
Tip 1 - We booked a city tour through Prime Limousine which picked us up from the airport and dropped us at the seaport. 3 hours was 600Dhs which I think works out at less that £120. Compare that to the coach offering from RCI, well you do the maths. Either way we were driven around in an Escalade, shown all of the key sights and thoroughly enjoyed our introduction to Dubai.
We arrived at the ship at a little after 12.00 and were checked in and on board in about 15 minutes. They keep your passports for the duration of the cruise and give them back on the last night. The whole process is pretty painless but please keep hold of the receipt they give you.
Ports of call.
Dubai - To be honest overall we felt Dubai was a bit of a disappointment. You could have been anywhere in the States, there are a lot of building sites around the city, the traffic was appalling, the prices for everything were at least a third more than the UK and therefore twice as expensive as the States, the taxi drivers are mad (we had an accident on our way back to the ship on our first night) and the port was miles from anywhere. There were free shuttle buses to the Dubai Mall but we never used them.
We did go to Deira and the Dubai Creek on our last day and really enjoyed that, especially when we used the boats to get across to the Gold Souk.
Tip 2 - If you get a taxi from the port they start pricing off at 20Dhs, not 3Dhs.
Muscat - Oman - We spent the morning walking around the Souq which was good fun. There wasn't much else here so if you want to see more go into the main city. You have to use a free shuttle to get to the port gates unless you are on a paid tour.
Fujairah - We did the desert drive here and while expensive was thoroughly worth the money, our driver was superb and gave us a fantastic trip. We chose this day to do the trip as we were told that there wasn't much else to do here and we're glad we did.
Abu Dhabi - You arrive here on Friday which is the muslim holy day and this means most things are closed. We went to the Marina Mall and this was a bit of a waste of time. You have to use a free shuttle to get to the port gates unless you are on a paid tour.
Tip 3 - Marina Mall is some distance from the city so unless you want to get stuck here don't bother, the nearby Heritage Village was closed too so don't bother walking there either. After 3 hours we got bored and went back to the ship.
Tip 4 - The palace hotel will not let you in if you are wearing shorts or open toed shoes.
Bahrain - This was a bit of a disappointment as there isn't a lot going on here either. We ended up walking around the souk, eating lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe and then going back to the ship. We heard that the trip to BIC was good but that was it. You have to use a free shuttle to get to the port gates unless you are on a paid tour.
Tip 5 - Beware, taxi drivers will rip you off - They don't like using the meters but are required to do so by law. If they don't turn it on get out and use another one.
Tip 6 - RCI trips were expensive but to be honest there isn't much you can do on your own of any real interest at any of the ports we went to without using taxis or getting on a bus tour.
Food - Never used main dining as we think this is a bit of a waste of time and we both hate dressing up, you get the same food in Windjammer and can have what you want when you want. Food here was generally pretty good and always plenty of it.
Tip 7 - If you're a Brit look for the "British Section" at breakfast where they serve proper back bacon, not the greasy streaky American version.
Entertainment - Didn't see any shows as we were always busy doing other things. The Gym was good and the solarium pool was a great place to relax at the end of the day. The Blue Note jazz band were very good.
Tip 8 - On the last day we took our own bags of the ship as we had to leave at 6.45am, the earliest tags were 6.40am. The WJ wasn't due to open until 6.30 but the opened it at 6.00 because of the number of people trying to get in.
Overall Impressions
Dubai was a place we wanted to go to and we're glad we did but now we've been I can't see us going back. The other places we went to were less impressive than Dubai.
RCI hasn't really done it's home work on this cruise. There were a lot of unpolished edges in terms of local knowledge and the trips on offer which if you've been with them to the Caribbean will be a bit of a surprise. In the end if you want a bit of sun and the option of visiting several middle east location in one trip then it's not a bad option. I would imagine that at the number of cruises increases they'll get better at what they're doing. Just don't set your expectations too high.
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