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31 Royal Caribbean Dubai Cruise Reviews

Apologies this is a rather lengthy review but I feel it is needed! We have just returned from a 17 night holiday dubai to singapore - 2 nights in dubai 11 nights on the mariner and 2 nights singapore . good flight to dubai and a wonderful ... Read More
Apologies this is a rather lengthy review but I feel it is needed! We have just returned from a 17 night holiday dubai to singapore - 2 nights in dubai 11 nights on the mariner and 2 nights singapore . good flight to dubai and a wonderful stay including high tea in the skyview bar Burj Al Arab amazing! then to the ship ! having cruised 9 times before but never with RCI I guess our expectations were high ! we were informed about a month prior to the cruise that they would be doing remodelling on the ship ready for the chinese market and given $100 OBC per cabin - such short notice meant we had no choice but to accept this as we would have lost our money by transferring to another cruise ! We were informed that we could not board the ship unless we had an Indian visa even if we did not want to get off the ship in India - not true ! there were many passengers without a visa ! We queued for 2 hours just to embark - they were even handing out free water it was so hot ! Eventually we boarded and found our cabin - no complaints about the cabin - lovely size with a great view over the royal promenade - it was kept spotlessly clean by our steward Roy and we had the added bonus of a kettle and mugs halfway through the cruise!Our cases didnt arrive until mid-evening - our friend was celebrating his birthday that evening and we just managed to get changed and eat in the restaurant ! The service in the dining room ( my time dining ) was slow until we found a more efficient waiter Melvin who we then requested whenever we ate in the dining room and the food was on the whole lukewarm ! We tried breakfast in the dining room twice - both times it was very slow and the staff were very miserable and surly so we then ate at the windjammer for the rest of the cruise - disappointing as we do like to eat in the dining room especially as we had 6 sea days! Entertainment - disappointing - tried most of the shows/acts but did not actually stay for the whole performance except for the ice show which was amazing and the shows run by the hosts that were very good .Quizzes - we really enjoy our quizzes on the ships and love meeting all the different people who also enjoy them . Cassy ( I think I have spelt it right) one of the hosts was excellent and we really enjoyed her progressive trivia and our team of 6 enjoyed each others company . the rest of the trivias were disappointing as all the hosts did was read from a quiz book ( I actually have this book at home but unfortunately hadn't read it ! ) Not much imagination used and their personalitites were a little flat. I must admit I have never been to quizzes before that were as competitive and bitchy as these ones - I actually thought we would have fisticuffs one session ! And yes the men were as bad if not worse than the ladies !They were traing staff for the china run and it was very obvious from the level of service that there were many new staff on borad ! By the end of the cruise if I had heard " we are preparing for the chinese market " one more time I would have screamed - it felt like our money ( rather a lot of it ) was being taken for granted and that we were expected to just accept everything !I felt very sorry for the people with cabins near the sites that were being re-modelled it must have been so noisy !The next nightmare was the immigration process for India - we queued for 2 hours both days to get our paspports stamped by very rude Indian officials - I can honestly say I will NEVER set foot in India again - extremely disappointing and it cost us £400 in total with trips and visas that could have been spent elsewhere . There were many other disappointments but I feel I have waffled too long now - one aspect of the cruise that was excellent was the choice of food at the windjammer - we have rarely eaten at the buffet restaurants on other ships but here it was so good that we ate there more than the main dining rooms.All in all we experienced nothing that would encourage us to cruise with RCI again and many people said the same although people who had cruised with them before said this was the worst cruise they had been on but they would still recommend RCI so watch this space we may be tempted back we will see ! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Having always wanted to pass through the Suez Canal, and with my wife wanting to visit Petra this cruise to Civitaveccia seemed ideal, tagging on the next part back to Dover meant the added bonus of no flying home - great. Our holiday ... Read More
Having always wanted to pass through the Suez Canal, and with my wife wanting to visit Petra this cruise to Civitaveccia seemed ideal, tagging on the next part back to Dover meant the added bonus of no flying home - great. Our holiday started with a couple of nights in Dubai at the Ibis, Deira City Centre which is well situated for both Airport and Cruise Port being between the two. Also has a shopping mall opposite the hotel, a direct bus service (No 27) to the Gold Souk Bus Station from the nearby Metro Station (the Metro entrance across the road from the main Mall entrance); the Metro has a closer entrance to the hotel just on the corner of the main road junction 300 metres away, and is handy for reaching the Dubai and Emirates malls. As a bonus we had saved enough by booking our air fare direct with Emirates, rather than the cruise line, to pay for our complete stay in Dubai. On embarkation day we arrived at the port at around 1230, platinum check in was a breeze and inside 20 minutes later we were eating our first cakes of the trip! Cabin wise, as usual the requested separate beds had not been done, but was fixed later. A request for an egg crate topper for the pretty firm mattress could not be done, but our steward arranged an extra duvet under the sheet which worked pretty well instead. The cabin was clean enough, roomy enough and with the exception of the air con which struggled until the ship reached cooler climes was perfectly adequate. Our steward maybe could have had a better eye for detail, with us having to always ask for things like laundry bags, breakfast order forms etc. but we forgave him as he was always a cheerful happy soul! MDR dining was where the ship as a whole gave such a varied experience, that on the one hand it could be 4 star and at other times struggled to be 2 star. We try and avoid buffets, preferring instead to be served our meals at cloth covered tables in a civilised way. The dinner service we received in my time on deck 5 of the MDR was spot on, the food mostly very good for mass catering except the duck, which as usual was tough. Open seating Breakfast and Lunch fell down considerably with some very long waits and mixed up orders, to the point where one of the head waiters ended up apologising to us twice in the same day for the same problems. Following that we started to receive what I can only describe as preferential treatment - very nice if you can get it, but not the norm - with one of the head waiters taking a personal interest in our meals wherever and whenever we ate in the MDR. The buffet was used for just drinks and cakes; many times we saw serving utensils that were in clear need of changing left out and becoming clogged with different cake, often there were no plates to put the servers on so they got dumped back amongst the remaining cakes, and rarely if ever was there a member of staff at the cake/dessert servery. Coffee was hit and miss between weak and strong, cold and hot. Hot milk from the flasks was often curdled with unpleasant bits floating in the cup. The cloudy lemonade was nice, but is full of additives and having got to read the container it comes in, not the old fashioned lemonade it seems to be. Room service was a bit hit and miss; our breakfast coffee showed up at all sorts of times and one day not at all. The nightime snacks on offer came only with fries - no wedges despite being on the menu, and the one time I ordered a well done steak sandwich it turned up an hour later cooked on one side only. The Seaview cafe up on deck 12 was a real gem though. The best pizzas and paninis on ship, all freshly made to your order. So we gave up on room service and trekked up there most nights after the shows. Fortunately, not many others seemed to be either aware of it or able to find it, so we often shared the room with only another 8-10 people. Entertainment varied from guest artistes who sang/told jokes/juggled/acrobatics to production shows. The production shows were the really weak part with some of the cast obviously much better than others, and like many of these efforts at sea, a musical director who seemed to think that drowning out vocalists with a wall of noise was what everyone wanted. Most ships we have been on, we go to all the main theatre shows, even repeats - not this cruise. Ports of call - MUSCAT, we called on a Friday so very little doing until late pm with most of the Souk closed. AQABA - everyone including us went to Petra, which although expensive with the ship was a really good excursion, probably the best ships tour we have ever done. Ignore the walking distances in the ships tour brochure they are at least 100% more, and you need to be fit enough to walk as the alternative horse carts could leave you with serious back problems on the bumpy ground. SAFAGA is an industrial port some way from the small town, again we were there on a Friday so not much doing. SHARM on a Saturday was also quiet, but within 15 minutes walk of the ship, and had private beach areas where you could rent a lounger etc. ALEXANDRIA is filthy, dirty and the people very poor. If you are not going to Cairo, the Corniche area is probably the best to visit and is walkable for the independent traveller but you will get hassled by taxi and horse carriage drivers. CIVITAVECCIA to Rome by train is both easy and cheap; the bus shuttle drops you at the fort like building at the port entrance, on getting off turn right and up onto the parade and the first kiosk will sell you train tickets and for 1 Euro extra a very useful Rome map with train times and all the main tourist spots clearly marked. GIBRALTAR another day of rest, Sunday this time as we were in the UK! Most shops were open and in walkable distance, loads of taxi vans offering Rock tours and the like at the port. LA CORUNA is a gem, free of the normal tourist tat with loads of Tapas bars etc.; tourism here is mostly fellow Spaniards on holiday. Having said that some English is spoken. The castle and lighthouse, churches, shops and squares are all walkable from the ship, or there are cheap and efficent bus services around the city. LE HAVRE was our last call before jumping ship, of course many people will do a long organised trip to Paris. If not, be warned that the walk from ship to city centre is long and pedestrians not very well provided for until you reach the Fish Market area. Although there is a city walking tour, most of the sites are post war and made from concrete, so not much history. We disembarked one day early at Dover (ship went on to Amsterdam) along with several other passengers. We had to attend a special immigration desk set up in one of the meeting rooms at 0730, duly got our exit passes from the ship and after that it was our last MDR breakfast, collect cases and out to a taxi for the train station and our journey back to Scotland. In summary we enjoyed the cruise as it enabled us to tick off two of the things on our "wants" lists,took us to three more ports we hadn't been in before, Muscat/Sharm and La Coruna, and was a welcome change from the awful UK spring weather. Had Brilliance been able to deliver consistently on all fronts it would have been a 3 star cruise, but the mixed performance in the catering and entertainment functions sadly lowered it to 2 stars for us. Would we sail on her again - yes, but only if the itinerary was the deal breaker. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We spent 4 days in Dubai at the Traders Hotel before embarking on RCI Brilliance of the Seas. Hotel was OK for the airport and cruise port, but a bit too far away from the tourist attractions of Dubai. Embarkation was the easiest that I ... Read More
We spent 4 days in Dubai at the Traders Hotel before embarking on RCI Brilliance of the Seas. Hotel was OK for the airport and cruise port, but a bit too far away from the tourist attractions of Dubai. Embarkation was the easiest that I have experienced. No wait at all at the terminal and luggage delivered in about an hour.The ship was only half full, having had the itinerary much modified to account for problems in Egypt. From Oman to Rome was 9 days at sea. The longest stint at sea I and the crew had experienced. However, the first few days of the holiday on land and sea was hectic and the rest was welcome.My first experience of RCI and will probably be the last. Apart from some brilliant musicians on board who entertained several times a day, I am unable to give a 10 out of 10 for almost any other feature of the cruise.Most notable feature of on board life was the over the top cost of extras, particularly drinks. Even the discounted wine packages were over the top. $4.50 for a bottle of water was perhaps the biggest excess. I am not a heavy drinker, just one or two alcoholic drinks per day, but my bar bill ended in being twice what I have expected ti pay compared to recent cruises with other lines.Food in the buffet was better than the dining room. The dining room food did not have the good, strong taste that is the hallmark of American cuisine. Very bland. Entertainment was quite varied, but about as good as you will get in a local club or pub back home. Quite a few acts were cruise regulars, with acts that have hardly changed in two or three years.I wanted to see Dubai and the Middle East, and I have and have memories that will stay with me, especially the central mosque in Abu Dhabi, but the cruising part of the holiday did not inspire me much at all. Disappointing really, when conversations with other RCI regulars painted a much brighter picture.One other first too. We had the SAS on board for a few days whilst sailing the Gulf of Aden and into the Red Sea just in case Somalian pirates fancied their chances. Black clad individuals casually carrying heavy shoulder bags. They were taken off by tender whist still at sea. Ship sailed blacked out at night, and a 'safe haven' drill was carried out. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Day one: Overnight flight from Heathrow on A380 Airbus, absolutely great plane and service from Emirates.Arrived in Dubai at 06:30 and transferred to Hyatt hotel for breakfast and ship check-in.Hotel and breakfast were great. Check-in was ... Read More
Day one: Overnight flight from Heathrow on A380 Airbus, absolutely great plane and service from Emirates.Arrived in Dubai at 06:30 and transferred to Hyatt hotel for breakfast and ship check-in.Hotel and breakfast were great. Check-in was a very long wait with huge queues. Opted for the pre-cruise city tour of Dubai, which was supposed to be for 3 hours. Sat on the bus for about an hour as we had to wait for a replacement as the microphone wasn't working for the courier! Eventually we statted the tour but because of the earlier delay we had 3 hours crammed into 2. At the end of the tour we were taken to the ship where embarkation was no problem.On arrival at our stateroom we discovered a huge stain on the bed sheet and dirt on the cabinet drawer handles you could set peas in! Brought this to the attention of the steward who apologised and made sure all was done by the time we had finished dinner. Noticed later that evening that the TV was thick with dust so wrote the words 'clean me' in the dust - it was cleaned the next day!!I have cruised 3 times before on Royal Caribbean and believe me, standards and service have dropped considerably.No lotions etc in the bathroom. Just a bar of soap.No chocolates on the pillows.No trays in the 'Windjammer' self-service restaurant. Many people were struggling with trying to balance plates and drinks etc. Even more difficult for the elderly on board who frequently kept dropping things. You finish your first course and while your up collecting your desert your table has been cleared and someone else sitting there!! - A really bad move RC, shame on you.Breakfast in the main dining room used to be full table service, now its help yourself to cereals, yogurts and pastries etc., and service for cooked breakfasts only.Dinner in the main dining room has been reduced from 5 courses to 4. OK, it's not the end of the world and we didn't starve but it's just another little cut-back which you don't expect.The food and menu choice lacked creativity and innovation to the point of being quite boring and repetitive. When I first heard the dulcet tones of the Cruise Director over the ships PA system I thought "Oh my God - here we go Hi-De-Hi". Beware, he's moving to the Independence of the Seas!!The entertainment was poor, no big shows like you usually get and the few that they did put on had little or no back-drops at all. I, like many other passengers made a discreet exit most nights after about 15 minutes.I could go on and list many things that have been dropped or cut-back but for fear of boring you to tears lets just ask - Would I cruise with RC again? Probably not. It's back to Celebrity, Cunard or Princess for me. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
The overnight flight arranged by RC to Dubai was unnecessary, as there are ample day flights to get you into Dubai a a sensible hour, we were taken to a hotel, given a good breakfast and carried out the ship check-in there ( albeit a huge ... Read More
The overnight flight arranged by RC to Dubai was unnecessary, as there are ample day flights to get you into Dubai a a sensible hour, we were taken to a hotel, given a good breakfast and carried out the ship check-in there ( albeit a huge queue!)When we eventually boarded the ship, the cabins were not ready until early afternoon anyway.When on board our cabin had a 50% reduced balcony ( not shown on the deck plan)and the 'guest relations' were very unhelpful in eventually changing cabins to one that we had actually paid for with a normal balcony- even though I offered to pay extra on board.The ship is tired and badly in need of an overhaul - rusting paintwork - worn carpets and a general 'dismal' look.The food was some of the worst ever, bland and lacking inspiration ( the $20+ a head speciality restaurants however, were very good)and more often that not fish options suggested were unavailable.The last days of the cruise the ship ran out of British bacon, mushrooms, corn flakes, some fish and fresh vegetables - a total nightmare.The deck space was very, very, very cramped especially the days at sea where there was a struggle to find shade and a place to sit.The good points were:Excellent entertainmentGreat restaurant waiting staff 'Joey'( despite appalling food and lack of dishes offered, they did their best)Great cabin steward 'Jun'The 'cutbacks' are now so serious that we will never use RC again - we prefer CelebrityIf you want a better option that Weight Watchers go on this boat- you are guaranteed to lose weight! Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas. 2010 Middle East Cruise calling at Dubai, Oman, Fujairah, Abu Dhabi, and Bahrain The holiday began with a tiring overnight Emirates economy flight on a Boeing 777-200 from Gatwick to Dubai. ... Read More
Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas. 2010 Middle East Cruise calling at Dubai, Oman, Fujairah, Abu Dhabi, and Bahrain The holiday began with a tiring overnight Emirates economy flight on a Boeing 777-200 from Gatwick to Dubai. Emirates made every effort to make the flight comfortable but our party of six all arrived tired and ready for a rest in our Ship's cabin. The flight included a personal screen with a very wide choice of streamed films and TV shows. This allowed individual passengers to watch what they wanted when they wanted to. The local arrival time was 07.45 hrs and the ship was unable to accept guests until the afternoon. We were taken to a Heritage Centre which laid on a breakfast of sweet cakes which appeared to be largely outside the tastes of the new passengers. Eventually at approximately 13.30hrs a coach took us to the ship. We arrived ready to book in at 14.00hrs but had to wait in line for more than one and half hours. We were unable to take advantage of the limited seating otherwise we would have lost our place in the queue. After one hour RCL put additional staff on to assist with the registration but instead of diverting people from the front of the queue for some inexplicable reason they gave priority to people who had only just joined the queue at the back. After registration, we, together with several other passengers made an official complaint to RCL but were told that this was the first time in the Port of Dubai and many of the staff had no experience of registration although they had received the necessary training according to RCL. There appeared to be a lack of management presence in the registration area or maybe they sensed the passengers' anger and just laid low. We arrived in our cabin at just after 16.00hrs, 8 hours after landing at Dubai airport. During the cruise we pursued an answer to our complaint through the reception desk but were informed that the ship did not have the necessary authority so head office would be dealing with this complaint. However during the cruise we learnt of other passengers, probably more persevering than I to obtain a resolution, were given on-board credits as compensation. I decided not to continually expedite a response from the ship as this would have spoilt our holiday. It does seem extremely strange that the ship, made no effort to recompense the majority of customers. A free drink with the dinner on the first evening offered as an apology would probably have satisfied the majority of passengers and gone some way to protecting RCL's brand name. I am not sure what the Marine statutory requirements are in the Middle East regarding Health and Safety; however RCL did surprise me by having the ship's evacuation drill when we were on a ship's tour. They made no effort to hold a further drill for those passengers who were with us in the tour. There was plenty of time for his necessary exercise as the ship spent the first night in the Dubai port. The cabin service only operated when you displayed the relevant notice on the cabin door. For the first two nights our beds were not turned down or the bathroom cleaned due to our oversight caused by our lack of knowledge regarding this policy. The Balcony cabin was of normal industry standard but a lack of proper toiletries in the bathroom (equal to a 2 star hotel) suggests that RCL is run by accountant's whose cost cutting campaign ignores the effects to the brand name. There was no water fountain in the gym and you were expected to purchase the necessary bottled water. This is the first Gym I have visited that does not encourage their customers to drink water during exercise. These small issues indicate a further dumbing down to make the headline price profitable. The Dining room food was generally reasonably presented and cooked but delays in service suggested a reduced level of waiters. The vegetarian options were the predictable pasta suggesting that the Chef's imagination only covered the carnivore diet. The weather was good but a shortage of sun-chairs plus the widespread practice of reserving of empty sun chairs seats with towels made it difficult to find a seat to lay comfortably in the sun. However the decks were crowded with chairs indicating these public areas are not sufficient for the passenger numbers. Deck towels were provided against a cabin number and a twenty dollar charge was made in the event of non-return of each towel to the desk. The tours generally reflected the lack of interesting places to visit at all the ports apart from perhaps Oman. This reflects my personal taste of interest in historical places rather than new buildings and shopping. This is a new cruising area for larger ships and some of the local taxis particularly in Bahrain increased the normal cost up to a factor of ten according to several passengers' horror stories. The ship again repeated the excuse that this was the first time in the area and they were taking steps to make sure it was not repeated in the future. This is good for future passengers but did absolutely nothing from those who suffered on this particular cruise. None of our party experienced either the Spa offerings or the Gym classes due to the very high cost when compared to land based charges. The Emirates day-time flight experience back to Gatwick was comfortable although the booking-in process was nearly one hour. The plane was a Boeing 777-300, which has an economy seat pitch similar to BA's world Traveller plus but without the additional cost. The vegetarian food was far better than anything received on the ship. Would I book another RCL Cruise? - Definitely not Would I fly again with Emirates? - Definitely. Would I cruise the Middle East again - Probably not although a different cruise line such as Holland and America may tempt me as an alternative to the Caribbean Winter sun. Finally despite our on-board complaints and our subsequent letter to RCL we have not received any response. To be fair the letter did request a reply only if RCL cared about their customers cruise experience. However RCL were quick enough to acknowledge the validity of the complaints in the press but qualified this by announcing all the problems had been overcome for future passengers - lucky them! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
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