We booked a cruise from Dubai to Cape Town on the Norwegian Spirit because it had an interesting itinerary but, after just 3 stops, we ended up with 16 consecutive days at sea.
During embarkation we were disappointed to learn that the stop at Nosy Be, Madagascar, had been cancelled but an alternative call at La Digue, Seychelles was scheduled. A few days later, stops at the Seychelles, Mauritius and Reunion were also cancelled and passengers were then informed that excursions to Richards Bay and Port Elizabeth, in South Africa, had also been cancelled. NCL clearly knew that we would not be stopping but did not have the decency to admit it.
Throughout the cruise, the Captain and Cruise Director, Alvin, remained in hiding and Alvin was only ever seen after show time in the theatre. Alvin’s announcements were clear, unlike the Captain, but contained no relevant information until we eventually started to dock at Cape Town.
Cabin 10067 was a standard inside cabin on deck 10. It can sleep 2, 3 or 4 people but even with 2 it is very cramped. Both folding beds were constantly in the way and cabin was the smallest we have ever had. Refurbished bathroom was small but good with a decent sized shower. AC worked well but cabin was very noisy at night due to adjacent service area and age of the ship.
Worth spending a few days here before or after a cruise. It is easy to get around by metro and reasonably priced taxis. The Dubai Mall, by the Burj Khalifa, has a good aquarium, fountains and an ice rink. The gold and spice souks and historic area are interesting as is the Frame. The Dubai Marina Mall is a good place to eat in the evening. Ski Dubai, an indoor ski slope, is inside the Mall of Emirates. Metro stops are some distance from the attractions. Too early for us to visit Expo 2020 or the Bluewaters Island project with its huge new Ain Dubai wheel.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is spectacular and well worth a visit. Unusually, it is open to visitors, entry is free and it can be reached using the number 44 bus. Allow plenty of time and dress appropriately.
Muscat, Oman - Was Port 4
A pleasant port with an interesting fish market and several souks. The Grand Mosque is the third largest mosque in the world and the complex is mostly open to non-Muslim visitors. The Swarovski crystal chandelier, the largest hand-made Persian carpet in the world and the marble panelling are “must see” items. It is open to the public from 9 until 11 am (not noon), Mondays through Thursdays. Taxi accepted USD and waited for our return at the mosque.
Ship not allowed to dock.