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15 Middle East Romantic Cruise Reviews

We choose this cruise for the itinerary and dates we are available to travel. The cruise sailed from Muscat, taking in a short visit to Salalah, Oman, then up to Jordan for 3 days/2 nights in Aqaba, for Petra, the Dead Sea, Wadi Rum, then ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the itinerary and dates we are available to travel. The cruise sailed from Muscat, taking in a short visit to Salalah, Oman, then up to Jordan for 3 days/2 nights in Aqaba, for Petra, the Dead Sea, Wadi Rum, then through the Suez Canal, around to Israel, Ashdod, for Jerusalem and Bethlehem, then over to Kefalonia and finally disembarking in Corfu. Unfortunately, after booking we discovered there would be no time to go ashore in Muscat, as we sailed early the following morning, and soon after booking we were advised that the Dead Sea trip from Aqaba was cancelled due to road conditions. We were disappointed but understand these things happen, so added an excursion to a 5 star hotel in Aqaba for a beach day instead. We had a great flight out in Premium on the Dreamliner, Muscat airport was easy and we were onboard quickly. The whole process smooth and efficient. We had an aft cabin, pre-booked and it was spacious, clean, comfortable, but I have to say on occasion noisy from the engine's, vibration was bad some nights, and yes, you do get a little soot on the balcony, there's nothing you can do about that, just don't wear white! The steward cleaned it daily. I'm not complaining, just pointing it out. The ship was full I think. Hard to get a sun bed. Or a seat in the atrium. Nowhere really for some peace and quiet, we were glad of our large balcony. Bar 11 was lovely for evening cocktails, we preffered the buffet for evening meals as we found the MDR very busy, squashed together and brightly lit, and actually didn't rate the meals there apart from breakfast and Beef Wellington. The surf and turf was excellent, you need to book as soon as you can! The excursions were a bit manic. They were long days in high temperatures which we were prepared for, but felt really rushed, the guides all knowledgeable and friendly, but a little inflexible. We were awed by some of the places we visited, but just didn't have time to appreciate them. Destination Services on board were rude and unhelpful, and you had the feeling they didn't care once they'd got your money! Many people complained about various issues on various trips, but I don't think there's been any resolution. If you can, book privately or go it alone. There was a mix of entertainment, both day and night, a great comedian, opera singer, guy with a guitar, we didn't do the shows but heard they were good, just not our thing. Most of the staff are fabulous, friendly, helpful, with one or two exceptions. The food was good and varied and mostly hot (except strangely chilled poached eggs in the MDR on the last morning for breakfast!!) As I said we preferred the buffet, snack shack was great for lunch, glass house for snacks in the evening. Plenty of choice of drinks on the standard AI, though we paid extra for a fancy cocktail or coffee occasionally. Overall though, we felt extremely lucky to be able to do this cruise, visit the places we went to (we will go back independently), enjoyed our sea days with a book and a view of the wake, dolphins, stars, and our adventures on shore. The ship was still having the occasional engine/electrical problems, so we lost some time in ports too. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
The ship is well maintained for its age. We were on every deck, as we love walking and noticed staff everywhere trying to maintain high standards. Excellent Staff, Delicious dining options, Fresh Fruits available in the Buffet. The ... Read More
The ship is well maintained for its age. We were on every deck, as we love walking and noticed staff everywhere trying to maintain high standards. Excellent Staff, Delicious dining options, Fresh Fruits available in the Buffet. The assigned seating at dinner was picture perfect. We had a table at the front of the Dining Room with excellent sunset view every evening. Massage experience was divine and the health bar was a plus. The gym is huge with all the newest equipment and you can track your workout progress with an app connected to the equipment. The ship excursion were a bit disorganized and we had some minor issues. The wifi was dependable, just make sure you get the unlimited package as you wont regret it. Our room attendant was unbelievable and the room itself was awesome. Although you will have to pay for all the extras, it was not that bad. We will return Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
My second time on Splendida. This time in the Middle East. The ship has been on dry dock to be better prepared for the Asian market. Some improvements and all the ship lettering and communication including Chinese characters. We ... Read More
My second time on Splendida. This time in the Middle East. The ship has been on dry dock to be better prepared for the Asian market. Some improvements and all the ship lettering and communication including Chinese characters. We chose this cruise for its itinerary and the MSC “fly and cruise” package option. It was a good choice. It was our 4th time cruising with MSC and we knew what to expect, but we consider the food on MDR worse than our last visit… This was our main issue. As it was Carnival week we found the ship with plenty of Brazilian and Portuguese (due to school break?). I’m Portuguese and I found the translations in the communication forms a bit weak and lacking, for a better understanding we always asked for the original English ones… We were lucky with our assigned dinner companions. Easy talk and always lots of daily adventures. We opted to book all our shore excursions with MSC. Normally we are very DIY regarding all the ports we visit in Europe, very easy to do on our own; but we wanted to see a lot in a day and not stress because of traffic, delays, and stuff like that. As we went without the kid, and we booked an interior cabin, we wanted to experience it all and went a little nuts with our excursions … We planned very well our excursion in Dubai, so we left Burj Khalifa out of the excursion on Friday because we wanted to spend some more time in there than what we are allowed by excursion, so, on Saturday, embarkation day we arrived around noon, checked in and went to Burj Khalifa by taxi. We bought our tickets via the app “tiqets” and we climbed around 5:30, so we were able to go up and see during the day and beginning of the night. It was awesome! We were there till 7:30 pm. On Abu Dhabi we did a day tour visiting the Mosque and some other highlights in the morning and then we did the Ferrari World. On Bharain we also went on a day tour visiting the old fort, the museum, the Mosque, and the F1 circuit, also included on the tour was a lovely lunch in a local restaurant (the food was amazing!). In Sir Bani Yas we just went to the beach. On Doha we did a half-day desert jeep safari: I absolutely loved this experience! Our most expensive tour was Dubai on Friday, we went on a full day tour, including lunch at Burj Al Arab. We also opted to go to the Atlantis in The Palm, as we went to the Burj Khalifa on Saturday. What a day! This was a very nice cruise holiday and we enjoyed the ship facilities, and the cities we visited. MSC is a good European cruise company, but attention to details is always needed. Would like to go again to this part of the world. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Overall good cruise. Fantastic service from stateroom staff, along with the service from concierge lounge. The service in the reception and shore excursion was at an all-time low - but overall good service other places. We were ... Read More
Overall good cruise. Fantastic service from stateroom staff, along with the service from concierge lounge. The service in the reception and shore excursion was at an all-time low - but overall good service other places. We were surprised at how good the food was in the aquarius restaurant with good service. A bit noisy, and with "forced seating" with strangers at our table (made good friends though!) but overall a nice experience. Dining in the windjammer, not so good. Ports of call was an interesting mix. Khasab was not at all interesting. We made an excursion by bus through RCCL - but the most horrendous guide ever. Also made an excursion in Muscat (much better location), but again guide subpar quality. Another guide in Abu Dhabu - better this time, but still not worth money nor while. My tip for this itinerary; stay onboard or book excursions yourselves, especially if you are under 40 years of age. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This was our second MSC cruise having been on the MSC Opera in 2015. The transfer from Abu Dhabi airport to the port was extremely disorganised. We couldn't believe how many people were crowding together outside the airport after ... Read More
This was our second MSC cruise having been on the MSC Opera in 2015. The transfer from Abu Dhabi airport to the port was extremely disorganised. We couldn't believe how many people were crowding together outside the airport after landing at 6.00am. Nobody seemed to know what was happening. However we did make it to the ship and by 9.00 am were eating breakfast in Zanzibar. No problem in validating our cruise cards after eating but not allowed into the cabin until 12.30. Once on board we were told of the itinerary changes. Would have been nice to have been advised of this earlier - disappointing when plans had been made. We had a large cabin with a balcony and it was cleaned very well. We had requested a late dinner on a table for two. On the first night we were shown to a table of 6 that was staged around a large post. We complained that we were not happy with this table as it must have been one of the worst placed tables in the Red Velvet restaurant. We asked to sit elsewhere on a table for two and was given a table for five. We stayed here but no-one joined us ( it was noticed that the original table never had any diners on it for the whole weeks cruise). We were told that all would be sorted by the next night. In fact a note was delivered to our cabin giving us a new table number but it was for four. On arriving at this table it was for six and there was one other couple there. The four of us stayed on this table for the rest of the cruise and they were extremely good company. The food was ok but not worth any photos as on other cruises. However we were never without an empty wine glass at dinner, great service! We didn't really like the way a buffet was being introduced in Red Velvet at breakfast and lunch times. Some waiters tended to push you to that option as if they couldn't be bothered to take your order. The photographers became a bit of a nuisance. Especially when trying to eat at dinner time. We would have eaten upstairs in the buffet if we had felt the need but it looked like hell!! People not sanitising their hands but still attacking the food with their hands. We only ate once in the Africana buffet and had an excellent curry. Another concern was the lack of use of hand sanitizers. As on other cruise lines we have been on there was no encouragement to use them. Moreover, pretty frequently the dispensers were empty. Quite a concern on a ship with well over 4000 passengers onboard, not counting the crew. Especially when you saw how many passengers insisted on pawing and returning things at the buffet. The ship didn't visit Sir Banis Yas Island. We were disappointed but not surprised as it seems a common occurrence. We wondered why it was even on the itinerary. Instead of staying anchored just off the island to look at the views we soon moved on - at about 10 knots an hour!! We booked two excursions with MSC. The bus tour in Bahrain was spoilt by not sitting anywhere near to my partner. We expected to be seated next to each other when booked together. The trip in Dubai to the Burj Al Khalifa was excellent. Our flight boarding cards were left on the bed the evening before our departure - a welcome touch. However at 11.00pm on the eve of our departure we were advised that due to "high winds" the ship was not going to Abu Dhabi. Instead we were coached to Abu Dhabi airport at 4.30am. Although very inconvenient it was very well organised, especially on arriving at the airport. All stops were pulled out to check us through without any delays. This must have involved about 2,000 passengers. Overall an enjoyable cruise. We have previously cruised with MSC and will most probably do it again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Customer Service: Very Bad Customer Service, if you book Cruise ticket third party, MSC doesn't responding correctly/. Customer service people don't have knowledge regarding third party sellers (ex: Seascanner). They ... Read More
Customer Service: Very Bad Customer Service, if you book Cruise ticket third party, MSC doesn't responding correctly/. Customer service people don't have knowledge regarding third party sellers (ex: Seascanner). They don't accept Third party sellers mail proofs, they say only MSC emails, and don't know third party sellers. but they received the ticket money! Dining: Buffet is very good, the 6-floor setting is not good, very few menu items. Ship: extremely very good, Service: Room Service is Excellent, Room cleaning and change of towels are very timely. Food service: food service is too good, Buffet is many items and service people is very polite, I never feel bad, they provided very good food and hot. Fruits and sweets are excellent. Complimentary food is very good. Entertainment: I never bored, always something special, shows and entertainment programs Port and Shore excursions: parking places at the port are very handy, easily can go to the city. excursions are very expensive, I never used them. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We were looking for something not too expensive and an alternative to our usual winter week in the sun in the Canaries. This met the bill and the itinerary looked interesting as neither of us had been to that part of the world at all. ... Read More
We were looking for something not too expensive and an alternative to our usual winter week in the sun in the Canaries. This met the bill and the itinerary looked interesting as neither of us had been to that part of the world at all. Thoroughly enjoyed our week and we thought everything on board was very good. Yes, of course, one can always find fault but we were pleased with our week and would recommend Royal Caribbean and the ship. Not sure about the ports of call and Dubai didn't do it for me at all but I'm glad to have been there at least. Some people we met on board thought the ship looked as bit "tired" - well she's certainly not brand new but many areas have been modernised and the ship was clean so I do not agree with the "tired" comment at all. Staff were very good and one or two were exceptional. The Captain was keen on keeping everyone up to date and he and his senior officers were visible throughout the week. We used MyTime dining which we preferred and we ate twice in the restaurant and four times in the Windjammer (and one night ashore). We didn't try any of the speciality restaurants. Since both of us are trying to watch our calorie intake there was plenty of healthy food on offer and we drank hardly any alcohol at all during the week. What alcohol we did drink we thought to be a bit expensive. The Classic Soda package was fine for us and we reckon it worked out just worth it and no more. One gripe - 18% added to everything on top of everything purchased I thought as bit steep as there is already a daily charge per person for gratuities (which we asked to be removed from our bill and this was done without a problem and without question). As I said - we'd use Royal Caribbean again and recommend it but we won't be going back to the Arabian Gulf even though the weather was wonderful and the sea flat calm throughout. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
It’s such a shame that this ship is getting so many negative reviews, were we on the same ship!? IMO a lot of it is down to lack of research - this is not a big ship like oasis of the seas! We were on it last year and it was impressive ... Read More
It’s such a shame that this ship is getting so many negative reviews, were we on the same ship!? IMO a lot of it is down to lack of research - this is not a big ship like oasis of the seas! We were on it last year and it was impressive but we knew this would be nothing like it, we chose this for the price and the itinerary as it was different from anything we’d done before. The ship is older yes but it is clean and well maintained, the staff were also fantastic on this ship so friendly. Breakfast in the main dining room was excellent, as long as you’re not in a rush as the service was pretty slow. We had lunch in the windjammer just about every day and no complaints whatsoever, food fresh, hot and plenty of choice. I was a bit disappointed that the main dining room only opened for lunch once but not a huge deal when the windjammer was so good. The staff were great in the windjammer and we always managed to get a glass of wine near enough as soon as we sat down. Dinner in the main dining room was very good but service was hit and miss, very slow on formal nights. If we had realised this we would have done our speciality restaurants on those nights, chops was good but not great, we ordered scallops and they were not good at all, it was the quality of the scallops though and not the cooking of them so a bit disappointing, Giovanis was excellent, we also did chefs table for a special treat and it was very good but it didn’t match up to giovanis. We felt it was very long and drawn out, it lasted around 4 hours. Entertainment was a bit hit and miss, the beatles celebration was fantastic and the other headliner show was too but other than that not our cup of tea. However plenty of different bars/areas to choose if you didn’t like something. The centrum usually had something going on in it or the karaoke was a good laugh. I would agree with many others who have said that there weren’t enough sun loungers but we always manged to find somewhere eventually. As many others have said the captain was great on this ship, really friendly and even entertained us a few times with his singing! The ports were great, not much in khasab so do a tour – we did the dhow dolphin cruise for half a day was totally amazing. Muscat was really interesting did mystical muscat though cruising excurions, Abu dhabi we did our own thing and got taxis everywhere, they were so cheap and for us it was the best way to see exactly what we wanted. In dubai we went to see the old town , very interesting and totally different from glitzy/glamourous Dubai. Some great bargains so be had at the souk at the river. Overall we had a great week and would recommend the ship! Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This was our second RC cruise and although Vision of the Seas is a much smaller ship than we cruised on before it had many features that we preferred. The pool area was less busy and there was no bum fights for sun beds as before. With ... Read More
This was our second RC cruise and although Vision of the Seas is a much smaller ship than we cruised on before it had many features that we preferred. The pool area was less busy and there was no bum fights for sun beds as before. With fewer passengers the bar areas and restaurants were less busy. It is not really a cruise liner for teenagers (luckily we didn't take ours this time) and the clientele was much older. At 44 I think we were amongst the youngest of passengers. Staff were all very attentive in the restaurants and bars and our cabin maid kept our room immaculate, changing the bedding daily. I would have liked to have had tea making facilities in the room but it really isn't a hardship to trot upstairs to one of the drink stations. The drinks packages are expensive but the wine was of a very good standard and I think we got our monies worth over the period of the week. We didn't book any excursions as these are quite pricey. We simply took the free shuttle bus rides into the towns and then explored independently on foot, using a taxi to return to the ship from Dubai (only $15). Check in/out is a very organised proceedure and we didn't have to queue at any time. Our luggage was delivered straight to our room for when we arrived and delivered to the collection point on disembarking. Overall an excellent cruise. We hope to cruise again with RC In the near future. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We did this cruise simply to get out of the UK weather and enjoy the quality of Celebrity's accommodation and food. The intinary is not very good if you are looking to simply get off the ship and tour the local promonard etc. Due to ... Read More
We did this cruise simply to get out of the UK weather and enjoy the quality of Celebrity's accommodation and food. The intinary is not very good if you are looking to simply get off the ship and tour the local promonard etc. Due to the flight times and arriving in Dubai then transferring to Abbi Dhabi we were simply to tired to see anything of Abbi Dhabi and that was one of the better stops. Dubai is simply a great place to explore if you are prepared to use either the taxis or red bus. It's a city break really with some odd stops thrown in. The ship (Constallation) was one of the smaller ones in the fleet and did need updating and we did not find the staff as friendly as others we have been on although it's difficult to put your finger on what was wrong. The food and wine was very good but the dinning areas seemed a little cramped during the evening which resulted more noise than usual. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
First the good points. Staff throughout the ship were brilliant, helpful, happy and delightful especially our main dining room server Daisy. Food was generally very good in the main dining room and buffet both in quality and choice. ... Read More
First the good points. Staff throughout the ship were brilliant, helpful, happy and delightful especially our main dining room server Daisy. Food was generally very good in the main dining room and buffet both in quality and choice. State room was very good although the bedding had seen better days, but was clean and changed regularly, again the steward was brilliant. Excursions were great in India, not booked through the ship but by friends made on cruise critic roll call. Met lovely people from all over the world, most were happy with their cruise although as always you get the perpetual moaners. The Classic drinks package included in the cruise price was more that adequate, and included speciality coffee and soft drinks. The ship although a bit on the old side was great, public rooms were really good and just the right size not too big or too small. Now the not so good points. Celebrity obviously keep the upfront costs of the cruise reasonable, but try to make up their money by on board sales. If you don't play their game and buy extra it is fine, remember you are boarding a shopping mall! We were approached six times on boarding to upgrade our drinks package which we found was totally unnecessary unless you enjoy Matinies, (only $10 + 18% per person per day!) Speciality dining was pushed time and time again throughout the cruise and was relatively expensive $40 to $50, as I said food in the main dining rooms were very good. Entertainment was very poor. The cruise director was the worst I have ever encountered, never saw him around the ship only on stage in the evening or the usual TV program, his catch phrase of " Love You" was really cringe worthy. God knows what he did! Again a lot of the entertainment was to make money, usual art auctions, casino competitions, tastings etc.etc. Stage shows were predictable and visiting artists generally poor. All said had a great time as we did not commit to extras and accepted the entertainment as it was and enjoyed the company of other guests. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Second time we have used Celebrity and again booked a Sky suite as larger suites were all taken. The cruise was from Abu Dhabi to Dubai (overnight) to New Mangalore, Goa and Mumbai all India. The cruise was supposed to go into Oman but ... Read More
Second time we have used Celebrity and again booked a Sky suite as larger suites were all taken. The cruise was from Abu Dhabi to Dubai (overnight) to New Mangalore, Goa and Mumbai all India. The cruise was supposed to go into Oman but due to bad weather we returned a day early (4pm) to Abu Dhabi but remained onboard overnight. The led to the farcical situation of a standoff between Celebrity and UAE immigration which led to EVERY man, woman and child being called off the ship in queues to the cruise centre at 10pm to surrender their passport!! This could have been avoided by Celebrity but they did not wish to disrupt dinner service and obviously tried to use their influence to leave it till morning! Funnily they then used that excuse to say immigration was being called at 10pm and it was better now instead of queues in morning...unfortunately this meant children, babies and the infirm being called from their sleep ( this was the last night and everyone had to be out of their cabins by 7am so many including us had retired early). This is definitely a bad mark to Celebrity and some extent UAE immigration. We as usual picked up our own taxis for tours so as not to be stuck waiting for others on a bus or the repetitive queuing to get on /off same bus and at a fraction of tour costs! Mumbai was particularly excellent for us as the taxi driver we used was very informative and took us to places we had not asked to see but were pleased he had added...of course there was the obligatory jewelry and carpet shop stops but that was an easy distraction at the end. Once again the Luminae restaurant was very good both in food and service. Our suite was tired and had torn bedding and had to constantly mention to Butler or attendant things that required attention such as shower hose leaks and lamps that were out. The Michael's Club (for suite passengers only) was again excellent but poorly utilized other that afternoon tea and early evening before dinner. Part of this was because it was supposed to close at midnight but staff started cleaning up sometimes as early as 10.45. with the vacuum out at 11pm putting clients off coming. Will still use Celebrity again as we like the private dining of Luminae and drinks at Michael's club at times to suit our taste. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
My boyfriend and I booked this cruise to the Middle East in January (very good deal, including great Etihad flights from London). Departing from Abu Dhabi, 7 nights cruise in a statement inside room, on board MSC Lirica. This cruise ... Read More
My boyfriend and I booked this cruise to the Middle East in January (very good deal, including great Etihad flights from London). Departing from Abu Dhabi, 7 nights cruise in a statement inside room, on board MSC Lirica. This cruise gave us the chance to visit 5 Destinations in one week (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Khasab, Al Fujairah, Muscat), reaching every port in the morning (approximately at 7 am)and having the entire day to visit (plus 2 overnight stays as well). Destinations are very different and we were very happy to enjoy luxury in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Muscat as an emerging destination and Lovely Landscapes in Al Fujairah and Khasab. MSC Lirica was very clean & well looked after. Cabins, Restaurants, Lounges, Swimming Pool, everything immaculate. Food at the A la Carte restaurants was the best and especially at dinner we enjoyed a very pleasant atmosphere there. Meals at the Buffet were ok, nothing exceptional and not a big variety. The staterooms were clean and well looked after as well, our cabin steward was excellent, efficient, professional, kind, always smiley and helpful (cabin 8154) Entertainment on Board was very similar to the tourist village one. I can't really rate it because we didn't spend much time on the ship during the day, but night shows in the theatrw were lovely! What made the difference for us was the staff! Always smiley, always kind and helpful! A very positive note for our restaurant waiters (Kapriana was our waiter), our cabin steward, guest relations managers and onsite operations coordinators. My boyfriend lost his wallet in Dubai and they were really amazing: they found it and managed to send it in a few hours to Abu Dhabi (our next port) where we could easily collect it. Something that could be improved is the reception staff, which should be more prepared on the destinations we were going to reach. I would definitely recommend this cruise / company to easygoing people, looking for sunshine and happy atmosphere, great locations and great service :) Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
The procedure for boarding the ship was amazingly fast and efficient. From arrival at the dock to being on-board took no more than 10 minutes. However, once on board, travelers were on their own, with no assistance available to orient ... Read More
The procedure for boarding the ship was amazingly fast and efficient. From arrival at the dock to being on-board took no more than 10 minutes. However, once on board, travelers were on their own, with no assistance available to orient themselves or even find their cabin. Fortunately, the ship is laid out logically and signage was good. Luggage arrived very quickly and was undamaged.The QE is a really beautiful ship. The interior is very elegant and the ship sails amazingly smoothly and quietly. Docking was so smooth that the only way to tell it had occurred was to look outside. The theater is the most beautiful I have seen among the 10 ships on which I have sailed and had charming box seats available for a few lucky patrons. Shows were limited, but of high quality. Other entertainment included a harpist and string quartets which were very good and added to the subdued, elegant mood. Food in the main "Britannia" restaurant was consistently very good. The specialty restaurant (The Verandah) was exquisite. The food there was truly extraordinary, service outstanding and atmosphere elegant yet inviting. The onboard service elsewhere was usually very good with well-trained staff. The exception was a few dour-faced eastern Europeans among the crew whose attitude was not up to what one expects of a 5-star cruise line. The informal dining buffet experience was a disappointment especially when compared to the parent company (Carnival) and Royal Caribbean. This was offset by the Britannia being open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. As a result, we typically ate there and were pleased. Afternoon tea was an unusual and wonderful treat. White-gloved service, excellent tea and snacks, and live music made this a "must" for all days at sea.One feature that stood out, especially in comparison with other ships, was the library. Not only was it architecturally beautiful, it was extremely well-organized and had a nice supply and variety of books. I spent much more time there than envisioned at the start.Unfortunately, shore support was truly dreadful. In spite of several requests for assistance as far as 6 months in advance, Cunard was completely useless in assisting with visa requirements. It was truly amazing that they could provide no information at all (except for India which requires visas from everyone) for most ports of call. Oddly enough, Cunard magically acquired this knowledge once we were on board, leading to a huge fiasco with last minute requests for 50 passengers trying to get to Dubai. Although ultimately resolved at the 11th hour thanks to persistence by the purser, the stress of not knowing where we would ultimately leave the ship detracted from our enjoyment of this otherwise enjoyable cruise.Summarizing, I would say that while we enjoyed the trip and really admired the ship itself, the atmosphere was a bit too quiet for our tastes. We would be unlikely to rebook on this ship or the very similar Queen Victoria, but might explore the larger Queen Mary 2 at some time in the future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011

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