1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Royal Caribbean International
  4. Royal Caribbean International Cruise Reviews

191 Royal Caribbean Dubai Cruise Reviews

Just came home following a week's cruise of the Middle East with Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas. This is my 4th cruise with them but sadly it may be my last. The ship is lovely not as modern as some of the newer ships ... Read More
Just came home following a week's cruise of the Middle East with Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas. This is my 4th cruise with them but sadly it may be my last. The ship is lovely not as modern as some of the newer ships but this is to be expected. Our inside cabin was lovely no complaints, more room than some other cruise lines and we loved our large kingsize bed, very comfortable. Three ports of call were very interesting,Muscat, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. We did not do a trip on our first port of call Fujairah because I had read reviews before going on trip which advised there was not much to see, instead we took the free shuttle bus into the local town to visit an indoor shopping centre to but a scarf to cover my head for my visit to Muscat mosque - TIP * the scarf was not expensive but women bring something with you from home to do this then you do not have to get off the ship. The other 3 ports of call were great especially the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi it was fantastic, to visit this women are given a long black dress to go over their clothes and a larger black scarf to cover their heads - this is mandatory not matter how covered up you are - the over dress is very long so if you are short you could take a black belt to stop you tripping up. When we were in Dubai we visited the Burg Kalifa great fun and recommended. The only problem the 4 of us had with the ship is their drink prices I will list a few for you to compare and have used a currency converter to show them in GB pounds - bottle of budweiser $6.00 or £3.85, bottle of strongbow $6.50 or £4.17, a cocktail I enjoyed Lava Flow $8.00 or £5.13 and a small glass of sparkling wine cost $7.00 or £4.50. My friend bought a glass of house wine with her evening meal in the restaurant and it cost over £10 a glass! The only other gripe we had was the lack of atmosphere around the pool, background music was too quiet to hear unless you had a sunbed around the pool, very difficult to get - and not much fun and games happening which we usually enjoy. The evening entertainment was ok not brilliant, a man who impersonated Elton John was great and we enjoyed the magician and 2 acrobats, but the main show Tango In Buenos Aires was not our cup of tea and we did not go to the last show BUT this is a personal opinion other people raved about the Tango show. We all loved the holiday, the ship, the staff are brilliant, but spent a fortune on drinks and felt ripped off. One last thing I had my teeth whitened on board, happy with result but my bottom gums got burnt and hurt for most of the rest of the cruise. They say it is 100% safe but it is not, when I went back the Manager was lovely and gave me a 50% discount on my treatment, I could not buy any gum numbing gel on board and just had to put up with the discomfort, I also could not brush my bottom teeth because it made my gums bleed. I have enjoyed my 4 cruises with Royal Caribbean but will probable look for future cruises with ships who offer all inclusive or lower alcohol prices. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Well we departed from Dublin and flew with Etihad Airlines great flight standard seating with good amount of leg room standard airline food was edible. We landed in Abu Dhabi at 7.15am and were greeted at baggage reclaim by a rep who ... Read More
Well we departed from Dublin and flew with Etihad Airlines great flight standard seating with good amount of leg room standard airline food was edible. We landed in Abu Dhabi at 7.15am and were greeted at baggage reclaim by a rep who showed us to a bus where we would transfer to the Brilliance of the seas we arrived at the terminal at approx 10.30am checked in straight away no waiting around we then had light refreshments tea, coffee, lemonade or iced tea and pastries these were greatly appreciated after flying through the night. We were allowed to embark the ship at about 11am we did the usuall walk around and at midday the Windjammer cafe opened for lunch my god what an assortment of food very impressive. at 1pm we were able to go into our stateroom with balcony I showered and had a rest as did my wife at about 5pm we went up onto deck 12 and watched Cuddy and Gang do our sail away party they danced around whilst everybody watched Dubai sail away. we were set up for 6 O clock seating in the minstrel dining room our main waiter Mohit and his assistant Bogdan were top notch and really couldnt do enough for us we were never without a drink we had a soda package and by the end of the meal were full of bubbles from the coke the food really was outstanding not a single fault hot every time (I cant see what other people have complained about the must really live like royalty at home because thats how we were treated every step of the cruise by every member of staff onboard) The entertainment on board was good the ships own productions were outstanding the magician not so good. The Ports Fujeriah we did a sand dunes tour from here very good driving around the desert and the wadi great day and worth $99 per person Muscat Omen well here both days we went to the Mutrah Souk then back to the ship for the pool and afternoon activities great to relax after all the walking Day at sea I did the all access tour a great tour of the behind the scenes excursion of the ship slighlty over priced at $150 but a must do for any one who likes to see what goes on behind the scenes it showed you the engine room the bridge the galley the laundrey and loads loads more. Abu Dhabi We went to the marina mall here went up the little tower and had a great view of the city of Abu Dhabi Dubai well we got a little taxi tour to the Burj al arab, Atlantis on the palm, Bubai marina and then droped off at Dubai Mall We had pre booked tickets for at the top at the burj kalifha amust do great views and a lovely building. We then went shopping in Dubai Mall a great shopping Mall every shop you could want Disembarking Day went Very Smooth They take care of absolutly everything we were booked into the traders hotel and were transfered with no problems at all our last day we went to the Emmirates mall not as good so after a couple of hours we went back to the Dubai mall more shopping then watched the dubai fountains again fantastic amazing how they do it check them out on you tube Over all a fantastic cruise it was our honeymoon ignore all previous reviews the ship is amazing in good condition and spotless entertainment great white party 70's party great both fantastic nights paul lancaster the cruise director and cuddy the entertainment managers did a great job wish we were still there will definatley cruise with RCI again Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We booked this cruise rather on the spur of the moment - we live locally, know all the ports well, and looked on it as an opportunity primarily for an on-board getaway. The Brilliance of the Seas delivered a first-rate experience across ... Read More
We booked this cruise rather on the spur of the moment - we live locally, know all the ports well, and looked on it as an opportunity primarily for an on-board getaway. The Brilliance of the Seas delivered a first-rate experience across the board. Embarkation went smoothly (being in a Suite helped, as at our arrival time, about 3:00, there was a substantial line. Even so, it did seem to be moving fairly well for all passengers), and within 20 minutes of being dropped at the port, we were in our starboard Grand Suite. First impressions were extremely positive, and they remained so throughout our week. I'm a little mystified by reviewers who say that this ship isn't well-maintained - everything we saw sparkled, every corner was spotless, and the ongoing maintenance of little things that did crop up was around-the-clock (a call to fix a toilet problem was taken care of within five minutes, for example). Even the Windjammer, which must be a nightmare to keep clean given its heavy use, was immaculate, with tables quickly bussed and order generally maintained. We spent most of the days moving between late breakfasts in the Windjammer (although we enjoyed room service as well!), long mornings in the Solarium (adults only, a policy blessedly respected throughout the cruise), a theoretically lighter lunch back up in the WJ, and then afternoons enjoying the balcony in the Suite. I really can't say enough good things about the GS itself - well-laid out, spacious, and with an amazing amount of storage space. We are two large guys and we didn't travel light - but the closets and drawers available weren't half full. The bathroom storage, which includes large medicine cabinets as well as drawers, was especially welcome, and overall the amount of storage made it easy to keep the stateroom tidy and pleasant. The bed was firm and comfortable, and sofa and easy chairs equally so. The balcony had a lounger and table with two chairs, all in a nice faux-wicker. The curtain dividing the bed from the sitting area (and balcony access) beautifully accommodated an early riser and a late sleeper. The bathroom was the size of a standard hotel bath, with two basins, tub, and a fine shower. Our stateroom attendant, Nina, was great - prompt, thorough, and thoughtful. We really appreciated the various perks available to Suite passengers - the Concierge Lounge especially, but also the reserved sundeck up front (off of Deck 12), the reserved space in the WJ (especially nice on the more crowded day at sea), and the little extras like good Gilcrest and Soames toiletries, the Captain's reception in the Colony Club, pool towels in the room (no queueing or worrying about returning them), chocolates on the pillow, etc. I would say they definitely were worth the little splurge. The Concierge Lounge is small but comfortable, and current Concierge Edson Rosa is a thorough professional, as is his sidekick, bartender Norman. The contintental breakfast was always a quiet place for a first quick coffee, and the evening canapes and cocktails were a nice way to meet other passengers, with good quality hors d'oeuvres and good label liquor (Finlandia vodka, etc.). Dinners in the Minstrel Dining Room were on the whole excellent - this isn't top-flight gourmet dining, but careful choosing (with excellent advice from our waitstaff) made for few complaints. Especially good were the prime rib, mixed grill, and many of the starters, especially one night's creamed wild mushrooms. It's always fun to have traditional choices like escargot and shrimp cocktail; we steered away from some choices, such as the cold fruit soups. Desserts lacked sparkle some nights, but we were always happy with ice cream on the evenings when nothing from the menu appealed. We had a table for two on the MDR's upper level, but ended up chatting several evenings with our neighbors - we didn't miss being at one of the larger tables, where service didn't seem quite as personal (or quick - we rarely had to wait more than a few minutes between courses - really excellent pacing even on the busiest nights). We attended several of the shows and thought it a pity that they weren't more crowded - the two production shows (a Tango evening and a generic song-and-dance show) were great fun, and lead singer Charyn Cannon is simply wonderful, a real talent (a couple of her colleagues can more charitably be described as trying their best, but on the whole it was all pretty polished). The non-production nights featured tribute acts (Beatles and Elton John); we passed, but heard mostly satisfied comments from those who went. All of the other musicians were terrific, and it's fun to so many live-music choices scattered around the various venues, especially the Centrum (the soaring main lobby). The Champagne Bar was a major evening destination, and always had some fun people enjoying bartender Rusti's excellent cocktails. We wandered about a fair amount in the evenings as well, and while the disco and bar in the Viking Crown on 13 seemed rather lightly filled, there were always happy crowds in the Schooner Bar. We especially appreciated the two smoke-free evenings in the Casino, but never found smoking a big issue anywhere on board, even with a (considerate) smoker on the balcony next door. We appreciated the (free) spa facilities, with an excellent sauna and nice steam room. It was rarely crowded. We're not gym types, but the gym itself looked fine. We didn't use any of the paid spa services, but the range available looked excellent. Of the various packages available, we took a box of bottled water for the room, a soda package for my partner, and a five-bottle Diamond wine package. I'd recommend them all. It was nice to have the water in the room (tap water is fine, but can be chlorine-y; living in the region, we're just more used to bottled). The soda package was convenient at all times of the day and evening and meant less dealing with receipts, waiting, etc. I thought the Diamond wine choices fine, and was pleased that the billed Korbel sparkling wine has been replaced with the (better, in my opinion) Domaine Ste. Michelle brut. We liked having the unfinished wine at dinner sent up to the room for later enjoyment. The passenger mix for this cruise was diverse - lots of older couples (60s and 70s), but also plenty of 30-50s, and some younger people as well. Comparatively few children (which we liked), and most of those who were aboard were well behaved. At the welcome show, Cruise Director Paul Lancaster (a fine and very funny host, by the way) mentioned that there were travelers from over 40 countries on the trip - there were certainly lots of British and Spanish guests, but also many from other European countries, at least one Chinese group, and a lovely group of Nigerians as well. Everyone seemed to get along very well. The itinerary was definitely not a major concern for us, although we enjoyed the port days as the ship was so uncrowded. Most folks we talked to especially enjoyed Muscat and found Fujairah a little underwhelming. Port access at Muscat (our only stop) was via convenient complimentary shuttle to the port gates, where there were lots of taxis or a short walk to the souq/market area. Muscat, on this cruise, is the one place that travelers will really feel they're in a faraway place - the souq is vibrant and traditional, the people are friendly (if also traditional - I did rather wish that fellow-travelers dressed a little more conservatively in Oman!), and the geography - rocky hills rolling right down to the sea - stunning. The Grand Mosque is a great place to visit, as is the excellent private Bait Al Zubair Museum. Our day at sea was wonderful - even at its most crowded (and the main pool and Solarium both did get crowded - with a fair amount of the inevitable chair-hogging), there were always quiet corners in places like the library, the Colony Club, and the other little nooks and crannies indoors and out. I actually would have preferred another night and day at sea to the final overnight and day in Dubai (not least because in port, the Casino stays closed!). I've read posts complaining about the amount of heavy marketing and upselling on RC cruises, but we weren't really bothered by it - they do push photo packages and such, but I never felt like we were being sold on anything we didn't want. The only bad thing about disembarkation was that it marked the end of our trip. We had a light breakfast in Chops (for Suite guests) and were off the ship and in a taxi within 7 minutes of our scheduled time. So far it's all raves; any little irritations we had were pretty minor, but just so it's not all praise: we were suprised that the pools were so chilly (perhaps being too used to the bathwater-warm pools in the UAE). Pork selections weren't always carefully noted (the Dubai cruises aren't really marketed to local audiences, I know, but still it felt odd for the region). Food in the Windjammer can best be described as serviceable, although with careful choosing, you can do alright (we loved the corned-beef hash at breakfast, the Indonesian choices at lunch one day, and the seafood pie; less successful were most of the desserts and most of the other "ethnic" choices). In both the WJ and the MDR, soups tended toward the thin and tasteless, with the exception of a fine roast garlic soup one night at dinner. In short, I can't imagine a better introduction to cruising than we had on the Brilliance. We are demanding travelers, used to good hotels, excellent restaurants, and good service while traveling in Europe and the Middle East, and this ship measured up. We'll be back! Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Brilliance of the Seas Cruise from Dubai around Gulf Just returned from a Royal Caribbean cruise on board The Brilliance of the Seas. We joined the cruise in Dubai and had 7 nights aboard on a full board status but this did not ... Read More
Brilliance of the Seas Cruise from Dubai around Gulf Just returned from a Royal Caribbean cruise on board The Brilliance of the Seas. We joined the cruise in Dubai and had 7 nights aboard on a full board status but this did not include drinks. Our ports of calls were Fujairah, Muscat, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. This was our 1st cruise and was unsure what to expect however our expectations were completely surpassed and we will now find it hard to go back to package holidays. On arrival at the Terminal 1st day we were greeted by a very organised and friendly staff that made check-in very easy and quick. They explained the different ways to pay on board as cash is not an option while on board. We chose to add it to a debit / credit card which we were able to keep track of at all times and pay at the end of the cruise before leaving ship. This was the system used by nearly all travellers. You could pay each day if you wanted but knowing your balance all the time was very convenient. Our bags were left at the quayside and transported to our cabins for us on arrival. The ship was amazing, very clean, spacious, and well equipped for all occasions. There was absolutely masses to do, theatre which was huge, casino, lots of bars throughout ship both inside and out. Restaurants and café bars were placed all over. The main dining area during the day was the Windjammer which was open from early morning to late on at night and had everything you could possibly want to eat and at a very good standard. Just help yourself until you were full amazing. There was a main dinning restaurant for evening meals with a further two specialist restaurants but a supplement was chargeable in these two. Depending on what you selected. The menu in main dining area was very good and had selections for all tastes I can thoroughly recommend the Sirloin and sea food dishes or if you were hungry why not both have, the waiters was very helpful and friendly. There was also catering for vegetarians. Entertainment on board in the theatre was very good and the casino was also very good. There were parties / events in the bars and pool side at night and if you fancied a dance there were dance lessons most nights. Dress was very casual except for main restaurant which was casual / smart and on two nights it was formal attire, bow ties etc but not compulsory. On board ship was a few duty free shops which had sales on most nights and there were some very good bargains to be had. The shops were open during sailing times. At one end of the boat there was a miniature golf course and golf simulator, rock wall, football/basketball/ volleyball courts. Children's play area and pool although there was not many children on board. There is also a very well equipped gym and spa centre, the staff were very knowledgeable and ran classes in all sorts of things from nutrition to fitness and well being. When leaving ship at various stops the organisation was very good and easy. The ship had approx 12 lifts supplying the 13 floors and access for the disabled was well catered for and easy to navigate. Cabins were very clean and twice a day they were checked and cleaned by the staff. They consisted of plenty storage areas, bathroom and the most comfortable beds you could ever get. I would definitely do this again it was, as the ships name suggests, brilliant. Summary Good points - Excellent ship and standards were very high. - Food very good and plenty at all times of day - Entertainment very good with plenty to do - Ships staff and crew very good and helpful - Totally relaxed atmosphere no rowdies or charvers on ship - Abu Dhabi and Dubai were fabulous, - Trips available at each port if required (would recommend trip at Dubai to see tower) - Too many good points to mention you will not be disappointed Bad points - Drinks can be expensive on board, check for fully inclusive and drink packages, our travel agent said there was none but plenty of passengers had them. - Itinerary could have been better, places we stopped at (Fujairah, Muscat) basic but very interesting anyway, mainly markets and shops. - No more apart from leaving you wanting to do it all again and again. Check before booking as the prices between passengers for the same trip varied a lot. We paid just over £800 which included flights on emirates airlines and a 1 night hotel stay at Dubai before joining ship. Some passengers paid nearly double for same trip and package. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Departure: We were a group of 8 going on the trip for Thanksgiving. Our trip startied a little rough, once we boarded the plane to go from Miami International Airport to London Heathrow, it appeared that the plane had engineering problems ... Read More
Departure: We were a group of 8 going on the trip for Thanksgiving. Our trip startied a little rough, once we boarded the plane to go from Miami International Airport to London Heathrow, it appeared that the plane had engineering problems and takeoff was delayed 4 hours. But nonetheless we kept our spirits high. Once we got to London we decided to stay around the Winsdor area before catching our flight to Dubai. After a very long day of traveling, we arrived to Dubai! We were welcomed with open arms and took a shuttle to our hotel. Grand Hyatt Dubai: One of the most beautiful hotels I've ever stayed at and the service was phenomenal. The bag boy even insisted on carrying our purses and didn't let us tip him! The rooms were extremely spacious and luxurious and everyone in our group had a view of the Burj Khalifa from their room window. We spent our day at Dubai and walked to the Mall of Emirates. All 8 of us decided to go to Ski Dubai, since none of us knew how to ski we chose to buy the package that let us do other snow activities instead. I highly recommended it and was tons of fun. Embarkation: That morning we were picked up by private cars and driven to the port. Embarkation was extremely smooth and we were on the ship in no time. The Ship: Even though this is one of Royal's oldest ships it is among the nicest ships. It was very modern and up to date and there so many areas to go to that the ship never seemed crowded. Entertainment: Our Cruise Director's name was Paul Lancaster and was by far the best cruise director we've ever had. Him and his staff had us entertained 24/7. Fabio, an activities staff member was amazing to us all week long. I think it's because we were always willing to dance with him and participate in all his activities. Anyways there was a party on the ship every single night and they never disappointed. As for the shows they were all equally amazing. We saw a violinist and a tango duo. The show "Tango: Buenos Aires" was one of the best shows I've seen on the high seas. Dining: Our waiters Eduardo and Felix were amazing! They always assisted to our needs and always brought out extra plates for us to try. They made us feel so comfortable, we became like family by the end of the trip. One down side was that on Thanksgiving, there was nothing traditional to eat. No complains though, there were only 10 Americans on the ship and we were a group of 8. We never did meet the other 2 Americans... The Wind Jammer was great along with the Sea Side View Cafe, we all went to sea side every night at around 2 a.m. after the parties were over, the waiter always had a table ready for all eight of us with our favorite cookies and coffee. Fujairah: This was our first port of call but my least favorite. We decided to take a short tour of the city and we visited historical forts and mosques. We were also able to walk through a fruit market and got to see a petroleum plant. Once we were done with tour we went back to the ship. Oman: We were in Muscat, Oman for two days and they were phenomenal! Both days we took city tours that highlighted all the must-sees of the city. On our first day we went to see the Sultan's palace and Sultan Qaboos' Grand Mosque. We also visited an Omani museum which was amazing. After the tour was over we went back to the ship to get ready for our night tour. We boarded a shuttle and we went to a local restaurant were we ate traditional Omani cuisine. We were entertained by a band and dancers. The next day we visited old forts and visited a souk. We also had lunch in a beautiful 5-star hotel and visited a natural spring were the locals go to relax on the weekends. Before we knew it, it was time to say goodby to beautiful Oman! Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhab-amazing! Once we arrived in the morning, we too the transport to Sheikh Zayed's Grand Mosque. It's the third largest mosque in the world and definitely a bucket list item. I have never been so amazed by something as I was by the mosque. We were able to see the largest carpet in the world along with the three largest chandeliers in the world. After our mosque tour we took a taxi to the mall were we spent the rest of the day. Dubai: Our last day of the cruise was probably the most memorable. We visited the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, seriously beautiful. We then drive to Palm Jumeirah to visit Atlantis Dubai. After, we did a desert safari and had a moonlight dinner in the desert. There was a henna artist, Bedouin musicians, and belly dancers. Our night was topped off with a camel ride through the desert. Overall this was the best trip I have ever taken. Two thumbs up to Royal Caribbean for creating such an exotic itinerary. The staff was amazing and the ship was beautiful. I recommend this itinerary to everyone! Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
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
We cruised with my parents (mum celebrated her 70th birthday on board) and 17year old daughter. Our journey started with an overnight flight from Birmingham with Emirates, we were able to choose our seats a couple of weeks before hand on ... Read More
We cruised with my parents (mum celebrated her 70th birthday on board) and 17year old daughter. Our journey started with an overnight flight from Birmingham with Emirates, we were able to choose our seats a couple of weeks before hand on outward and inbound journeys and checked in online 24hrs prior to departure, all went smoothly. Immigration at Dubai was very long, then a transfer to Hyatt Regency where there was more form filling for India, this was all a bit much after an overnight flight and everyone was getting a little fractious, but at least we were also checked in ready to board the ship. Breakfast was a nice hot and cold buffet. 11.30am we were transferred to the ship where we just walked on board Windjammers was open for lunch and our staterooms were ready by 1pm and luggage arrived at about 5pm, which were prepared for as we had carried on a change of clothes and swimwear, so it was straight to the pool for an hour or two, then we took the shuttle bus to a Mall to get our first taste off Dubai, but we were so tired we didn't stay long. Back to the ship for a rest and get ready for dinner, we were 2nd seating which had been changed form 8.30 to 9pm, a little concerned this might be too late, but it worked well. We ate in the dining room every evening, food was of a good standard , but not quite as high on previous RCI cruises. Ate in the dining room for breakfast most mornings, this is where we noticed the biggest difference, service was slow and it never used to be a DIY for cereals etc. but I still prefer it to windjammers, lunch we took in the dining room when it was open, delicious!! We ate in Windjammers on port days after our time off exploring Quote: "I must admit it is the first time we have not managed to get hot food when you come back from a trip!! from 4 - 6 there is no hot food to be had if you were out all day!!!" Windjammers closed between 5pm & 6.30pm, but hot and cold food was available from the Solarium or Seaview Cafe, don't understand above comment. We enjoyed ports of call: Muscat, Oman: We walked off the ship turned left and followed the promenade all the way round to the Residential Palace, about an hours walk.Unfortunately at the Grande Mosque we had missed the opening times, a taxi ride back for a spot of shopping before boarding. Cochin: We had wanted to do the backwaters trip, but we had left it too late, our own fault. We took a couple of tuk-tuks, a memorable experience, to Fort Cochin, pulled up one of the chinese fishing nets, saw the Dutch Palace and got to see a Kathakali performance. We were out for 6hours and cost 20 dollars. Mumbai: Again we walked out of the port turned left and keeping left we walked to the Gateway of India approx 30 mins, It was Sunday and everyone was out with their families, we took the ferry to Elephanta Island, 130 rupees each for an hour ride each way, then it was a walk up to the caves itself, then an entrance fee of 250 rupees each, bearing in mind to do the ships excursion it would have bee 79 dollars each, so a huge saving made.All in all it took 4-5 hrs. We returned to the Gateway of India and went into the Taj Mahal hotel for a refreshing cold coffee, highly recommended. Next we walked to the Railway station, by this time dusk was falling, the architecture was stunning and it was lit up beautifully. A taxi ride back to the port, exhausted. We were docked overnight so headed out the following morning to shop on fashion street, but unfortunately the stalls don't open until 11am, it was 9.30 so we walked back towards the Taj Mahal again and found some shops nearby, then another coffee before walking back to the ship as we had to be back onboard at 1pm, but a lovely morning spent, the men found an inexpensive internet cafe whilst us girls shopped. Unfortunately we didn't get to see Goa because of the fishermens blockade. The ports were great, but i Enjoyed the sea days as well, there was lots to do, lectures, seminars, trivias, rock climbing- I was successful this time-mini golf we had a go most afternoons. Games room situated by the Colonial Club, where cards and scrabble etc were available. Two lovely pool tables which had gyro stabilizers so were level at all times, brilliant Spent a lot of time by the pool never saved a bed but was always able to find an vacant one on deck twelve, yes they are a little cramped, but we would soon moan if there weren't enough. I also enjoyed the gym most mornings and joined in the free abs class, very good. Evening entertainment was of a good standard and enjoyed each and everyone of them. Must give a special mention to our waiters Alvaro and Jonche who were wonderful and our stateroom attendant Leon. Also thanks to our table guests Julie , John, Anthony, Ste and Johnnie, we enjoyed your company at dinner. All in all a memorable cruise , would recommend. Our holiday was completed with an overnight stay at the Hyatt Regency, what a beautiful hotel. As much as we wanted to sit and relax we only had the day to go and explore, we visited the Gold and Spice Souk, then crossed the creek in dhow and shopped in the Abra district, fairly cheap.Then a taxi ride to the Dubai mall(20 dirhams), what a lovely shopping experience just sit and watch it come alive at about 6pm.Wish we had booked for longer that is all we had time to do returned to hotel exhausted, Up early to enjoy pool, breakfast was to die for ,buffet style, but what a selection. Transfer to airport was at midday, holiday oover, we will have to go back to Dubai someday Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
First let me make one assumption about this company. From my experience I must assume that there is a terrible disconnect between Royal Caribbean the company and Royal Caribbean the Ship, Crew and Staff. Therefore I will say up front ... Read More
First let me make one assumption about this company. From my experience I must assume that there is a terrible disconnect between Royal Caribbean the company and Royal Caribbean the Ship, Crew and Staff. Therefore I will say up front that I trust and respect the Ships Crew and Staff immensely. I cannot say the same about the Company folks.PLEASE READ THE LAST FEW PARAGRAPHS, even if you skim through the rest.I left for my 16 day voyage with eager anticipation and hopefulness of a wonderful trip, sadly the first day was marked with Aircraft troubles between The States and Dubai. I had to rebook to fly into Abu Dhabi, missing Dubai altogether. I immediately contacted Royal Caribbean and they advised that this would pose no trouble what-so-ever and that the Ship and Crew would be expecting me the following day in Abu Dhabi. This was NOT the case. Once I arrived at the port in Abu Dhabi no one there was the wiser. It took quite a bit of explaining and pleading with the port security to give me approval for me to gain entrance to the port. Bear in mind its 98f degrees and I'm not the only one trying to board. Once at the ship, again no one seemed to be expecting us. After lots of confusion and answering the same questions over and over again we were finally aboard. Again there was total confusion by the staff. The ship itself is dated in decor. The overall appearance is tired and looks worn. Lots of fake effects with notes of brass, glass and lots and lots of mirrors.The food was hardly edible and after 5 days at sea starting to look as tired and worn as the ship herself. If you wish to order room service from the 3 or 4 items offered, get the cold salad, because when it does finally arrive it'll be cold, what ever it was. Oh and there is a "late-night" surcharge, so be prepared. Of course there are NO other dining options for late night, so why not try to make a few extra bucks! The specialty dining rooms do offer some refuge from the boring and uninspired food in the two "free" dining rooms, but not by much. If they aren't closed for a private function (as on my cruise the majority of the nights they were), it might be worth the extra money just for an escape.Bear in mind that EVERYTHING has a dollar attached to it. At dinner when ordering a bottle of wine, FIRST you MUST present your "Sea-Pass" card before they will even consider serving you. This is cheap. I over heard many of my fellow passengers complaining and moaning about the pricing on aboard. One man claimed to be charged for an envelope at the front desk, and the over all attitude was sorrowful that things had to be this way.I went to play BINGO one day and was asked for 36 dollars for four cards. The prize if I was so lucky? A "Will & Kate" Union Jack Flag from the decorations on the ship for the previous days Royal Wedding tribute. Thats right 36 bucks for their garbage!I went to yoga, one of the few activities offered that I actually had interest. 12 dollar fee please. Keep in mind this is a 16 day cruise.You can quickly figure out that Royal Caribbean figured out early that anything of slight interest (which there are few and far between) they'll charge for. If you would rather spend your days listening to dull lectures or stringing beads for "jewelry" class thats fine, though I see no reason to leave the "old-folks home" to do that.The majority of people just hung out and waited for it to be over.The entertainment was on par with the cheapest of Atlantic City lounge performances, and although the shows are included, again this was a 16 day cruise. Lots of the same shows repeating. Gross.No lets get juicy!The ship left me stranded in Italy. I was to meet the ship in the port of Livorno, one of its last ports of call. I had rented a car in Rome and drove up through Tuscany. On board NO ONE on the crew even hinted or suggested that I should do otherwise. It was reasonable to believe that the ship would meet me in Livorno. This did NOT happen. They left me STRANDED with out my life sustaining medications. They left me STRANDED, with out clothing or personal items. They left me STRANDED with out advise or consul as to what I should do. When I called Royal Caribbean to ask where the ship was after running around the port for 3 hours looking, they offered NO explanation. I was totally ON MY OWN at this point. To Date they have still offered NO explanation.I had to find arrangements to get to Rome in the middle of the night on a standing room only train that was pitch black dark and stank of Calcutta in the summer. I had to cough up 300 bucks to change my ticket home, I had to cough up money on top of money on top of money to see that I got home safely and TO DATE, Royal Caribbean had offered NO assistance in returning my personal items left on board, leaving it completely up to me to arrange getting these items home. They are now stuck in US Customs for how long? I cant get an answer. Royal Caribbean has NOT even so much as offered me an apology. PLEASE consider these last few paragraphs before EVER giving them your money. It is imperative while traveling that you have trust that your interests are being looked after. My experience shows that this is NOT the case with Royal Caribbean. They are more than happy to play their game, and more than happy to ignore things that disrupt their game. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Brilliance was lacking some sparkle This time last year I wrote a very positive review of Celebrity Equinox. This time, regretfully, it is not possible to be as positive although the cruise was far from a disaster. Firstly, ... Read More
Brilliance was lacking some sparkle This time last year I wrote a very positive review of Celebrity Equinox. This time, regretfully, it is not possible to be as positive although the cruise was far from a disaster. Firstly, the positives. As always staff and service were excellent. RCI's efforts in sorting out the visa problems with India were first class. Be warned - get a multi entry visa if you are going to India !!!. The music was good also - The Brilliance band, the classical trio ( piano and strings) and the guest performers. Our fellow passengers from 49 countries were interesting and fun. The solarium is also a nice place to read a book with an occasional dip. Now the negatives. RCI should have warned everyone ( they did warn some people) about the India visa problems. Windjammer Cafe food is barely acceptable and the Main Dining Room a long way short of the standard we enjoyed last year on Celebrity. The hot weather and many sea days meant pool areas were very crowded. The fitness centre is a bit small, old fashioned and lacking in views compared to other ships ( 6) I have been on. The stateroom was a bit cramped and the very old fashioned TV and program selection would not have been out of place in 1970. The main dining room was closed for breakfast and lunch on shore days. This left just the sub standard Windjammer Cafe and the tiny but excellent Seaview cafe on deck 13. The itinerary was good but unlucky. We were not able to go on the Dhow in Muscat due to wind and there was blockade of the Indian port of Goa by fishermen that prevented us visiting. This was probably more devastating for our cabin and dining room staff who missed out on seeing their families than it was for us. One of the earlier reviews has called Brilliance a 3 star experience for a 5 star price. That is probably a bit harsh. However, it is true of the Windjammer cafe and partly true of the main dining room. RCI has cut costs to the extent that the experience is now compromised. We spent 4 days in Jordan after the cruise and stayed in much better accommodation - even at Petra - for less than half as much with much better food. For the first time in 6 years I find myself asking if land based resorts may not be a better way to go. But land based resorts don't offer endless variety of people to have your meals with. Land based resorts don't move with you from port to port or provide the beauty of the sea. Land based resorts don't offer the personalized service and opportunity to get to know staff from all over the world or the continual music and entertainment. The solution is simple. RCI should raise the catering standards to those of their own subsidiary company - Celebrity - and for the older ships improve the programs if not the actual TVs. WIFI in the cabins would help also. The long queues at check in caused by lack of staff didn't help either. In the meantime, we will cruise with someone else next time 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
My partner and I have visited the Emirates before and stayed in hotels. I was eager to try a cruise and he took some convincing. However this seemed an ideal compromise. We flew with BA (world traveller plus) and stayed in Sofitel in ... Read More
My partner and I have visited the Emirates before and stayed in hotels. I was eager to try a cruise and he took some convincing. However this seemed an ideal compromise. We flew with BA (world traveller plus) and stayed in Sofitel in Dubai for 3 nights before embarking. Hotel was nice and in good location. We arranged our own transfer to the ship which was without problem and it was quick and easy embarking the ship.Things went downhill from then on. Although we had never cruised before, there appeared to be too many people for the ship to accommodate comfortably. The 'windjammer' was always busy and proved difficult at peak times to get a seat anywhere. The sunbeds were an absolute joke. They were so tightly packed that it was difficult to actually get on and off them. That is is you could manage to obtain one in the first place. The ship has a policy that beds cannot be left unattended for more than half an hour but this is not enforced.Accommodation was very small but kept clean. Entertainment was poor and very 'butlins', as was the quality of the food in our opinion. We only went to the dining room once and had to wait an age. Don't bother with 'my time dining' as you will soon find that it is not your time choice at all (unless you reserve a table at least 24 hours in advance). Despite only using the dining room (minstrel) once, all gratuities were automatically deducted from our credit card. SHAMEFUL! We went to Choppes Grille - good steak but nothing to write home about and Portofino was awful -food was cold and mediocre and service was poor.We didnt get off the ship at first port of call as we knew there was not much to do. We did not book any tours with RC as they were already squeezing too much money out of us. We got off at Oman and paid a taxi driver to give us a tour of Sultans Palace and some of the nice hotels and then went to a private beach which was lovely and well worth a visit. In Abu Dhabi we caught the tour bus to Marina Mall and got a cab to Emirates Palace and then spent the day at the Hilton (you can buy a day pass to use private beach and pool and restaurant facilities). In Dubai we visited some malls and then found a little public beach and park. We then went to the Marina (Festival city mall) and ate at the Intercontinental Hotel which was fantastic.RC purports to offer a 5 star service. No RC, you offer a 3 star service and charge 5 star prices 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
We have just returned from our cruise on the Brilliance. We had flown overnight from London and had booked in for the morning at the Premiere Inn Dubai Airport (excellent and very good staff), We made our own arrangements to get to the ... Read More
We have just returned from our cruise on the Brilliance. We had flown overnight from London and had booked in for the morning at the Premiere Inn Dubai Airport (excellent and very good staff), We made our own arrangements to get to the port by taxi.Embarkation in our opinion was very smooth and fast and we had a wander round the ship to get our bearings whilst waiting for our luggage. We didnt have much of a wait and our room attendant Franky was a nice young man. After our luggage arrived we had a shower and went to the Minstrel for dinner (we were 'My Time Dining') it was a bit chaotic with people queueing.This was the only night that we experienced this and we found the food wonderful, great steaks and our Waitress and Assistant Waitress deserve a big thank you, Alejandra and Asa who we built up quite a rapport with. Lovely girls and so attentive and good sense of humour. Only downside I would say are the price of the drinks, RC need to look at this and the 15% on top simply isnt on. We went to the 'Windjammer' for breakfast and although it was very busy we never failed to find a seat. The food was excellent and yes there was a smell of food cooking, but they cooked the omelettes while you waited and where there is food there is an aroma, but no unpleasant smells. The staff were again excellent, nothing too much trouble and asking if you wanted more drinks. We appreciated the 24hr drinks being available for free, water, juice, teas and coffee. Waiters also walked around with iced tea and lemonade also free. We didnt use Chops Grille or Portofino as we were more than happy with the Minstrel. We always booked our time for the next day when leaving dinner the night before. Not a problem to do this we think. The shows were good and we enjoyed them, didnt go to the magician but heard from others it was good. Our cabin was compact and we had a balcony, disappointing when we discovered we were in container ports but didnt spoil our holiday or us using the balcony. Franky kept the room in excellent condition and the shower room/toilet was cleaned twice daily. Toiletries would have been a nice touch of course. We didnt disembark at Fujairah as we had read on here that there wasnt much there. On our first day in Muscat there was a strike with the workers on the port so we didnt dock until after lunch instead of 9am. However we had planned a trip on our own --- Marks Tours which we booked online. Would certainly recommend them, Hamhed our tour guide was excellent. We went to the mosque and fort, museum, fish market and drove us along the conriche, did offer to drop us at the shops but we declined as I have a knee problem and couldnt walk any further!! Mosque in Oman was wonderful and I preferred this one to the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi Im afraid.In Abu Dhabi we went independently to the Grand Mosque (by taxi)really enjoyed seeing it and also went to the Emirates Palace which was a lovely experience. Didnt go to the Marine Mall again just due to immobility!As we have stayed in Dubai a couple of times before we stayed on board for the day in Dubai and enjoyed relaxing around the ship. Disembarking from the ship went very smooth and quick and we found a taxi to take us to our hotel in Dubai. We received a daily bulletin every night from our room attendant telling us what was happening every day also there was a daily schedule on the television by James the Cruise Entertainment Director who along with Cuddy told everyone what was happening with times and places to be. Also James and Henrik the ships Captain gave a good view of Abu Dhabi and their experiences of days out, very helpful and informative.We would certainly use RC again and yes maybe there was some paintwork needed touching up but everything else more than made up for it I can assure you. Many thanks to Henrik and his crew and again a special mention to Alejandra and Asa our waitresses and to Franky our room attendant. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We had already been on the Serenade of the Seas for a week up to Alaska in 2009 and knew that the Brilliance of the Seas is a sister ship. We had liked the Serenade and so were looking forward to a similar experience on the Brilliance. ... Read More
We had already been on the Serenade of the Seas for a week up to Alaska in 2009 and knew that the Brilliance of the Seas is a sister ship. We had liked the Serenade and so were looking forward to a similar experience on the Brilliance. We have family living in Dubai so it was a perfect opportunity to stay with them for a few days before joining the ship. Se we arranged our own flights to and from the UK and booked a cruise only. We booked a cabin on Deck 7 and were a bit apprehensive about the "obstructed view" aspect but in fact when we got to the cabin this was no problem whatsoever. Check in at the pier was a dream - 25 minutes from start to finish and when staff saw that we were returning guests we seemed to be given an extra friendly welcome. Whilst at the pier we signed up for a 7 bottle wine package. We found our cabin very easily. It was quite small - OK for a week but you would not want to be there for more. However, there was plenty of storage shelves and drawers. Comfy bed with 2 huge pillows each. Small shower room serviced twice daily. Our room attendant was Romeo and he serviced the cabin well enough. There was a kettle in the room but all you could have was tea - no coffee is supplied (we enquired at reception). How bizarre and mean is this??? They even supply cream (for the coffee which you can't have!!!). The hot water supply varied and twice when I got up in the middle of the night there was no hot water at all. Whilst waiting for our cases, we went on a tour of the ship. Of course, we soon remembered the layout from having been on the Serenade. However, they had dispensed with the large lounge/bar at the front of the ship and this is now a gym/fitness centre. Overall we thought the decor a bit tired - the whole place needed brightening up. Cases arrived in due course and we unpacked in plenty of time to get showered for dinner. I was really impressed with the compulsory lifeboat drill as you had to give your cabin number to the crew member so they could check that everyone was complying with the drill requirement. This does not happen on a lot of ships we have been on. We had chosen My Time Dining. This worked perfectly and we only had to wait once for a table. We don't like having dinner at 6pm and certainly not second sitting where you are not getting anything to eat until at least 9pm. We found the food in the main restaurant OK with plenty of choice. Service was good and they keep your bottle of wine in store for another night it you have not finished it. We had breakfast in the Windjammer. This place could do with some attention. Firstly there were flies buzzing around in some parts of the restaurant and there always seemed to be a stale smell of food/cooking. Second there are no trays so people have to keep walking backwards and forwards between their table and the service counters. In my opinion this created a clutter of bodies!! The fresh fruit was very good but overall we did not think that the food was as good in this restaurant as in the equivalent restaurant on the P&O Azura. This was especially true in the middle of the afternoon. The afternoon tea spread on the Azura was great - on the Brilliance it was poor - especially the cakes which tasted like cardboard and had plastic - type cream. We never ate here for dinner. Full marks though for the coffees. In fact we liked the fact that you could get coffee, tea and water on tap 24 hours a day for no extra charge. This is good. We ate once in the Portofino and once in Chops Grille. Both meals were excellent - lovely food, excellent service and a nice ambience. OK you pay something extra but we thought this was worth the money. Being Crown and Anchor members we were invited to a function where the Captain addressed us all. This was a big occasion and included canapes and free drinks. We were very impressed with this. The ports of call were Fujairah, Muscat and Abu Dhabi before arriving back at Dubai for a full day in port. Our family had queried why we were going to Fujairah as it is just a commercial port. Well it soon became obvious - we went there to take on fuel for the ship. The place was a dump. Muscat in Oman on the other hand was lovely and we had 2 full days there although one would have been enough. We did an interesting half day walking tour arranged by the ship. Abu Dhabi is a commercial city and really the only thing worth seeing is the Grand Mosque - and this really is worth a visit. We did not get off the ship on its full day in Dubai as we have been there several time and decided to "chill out" on the ship instead. The weather throughout the cruise was variable with lots of haze (not unusual in this part of the world at this time of the year) and it was also quite cool in Abu Dhabi. I would not choose to do this cruise earlier in the year than our date as this weather can be very cool. And now for the things we did not like: 1. The price of drinks on this ship are OUTRAGEOUS. £5 for a pint of beer and £65 for 2 bottles of average wine which we bought in one of the bars and took to our cabin. Of course, all drinks prices have 15% added for service. This is well over the top. For example the service we had for the 2 bottles of wine was the waiter fetching them from the store and handing them to us. We weren't the only people commenting unfavourably on the price of drinks. As a result a lot of the bars were almost empty. This was never the situation on P&O Azura as the price of the drinks was reasonable and no 15% added. On that ship, the bars were very busy. RCI should understand that on this cruise they are catering for the British and Europeans, not Americans and we will not pay over the odds for stuff. If RCI lowered the prices, they would actually sell more drinks! 2. RCI offered a taxi service from the ship to the airport on disembarkation day. Cost?? US$35 PER PERSON!!!! We did the trip by taxi for 65 Dirhams (about £11.50) for the 2 of us and our luggage. This was roughly a quarter of the price RCI were charging. What a rip off by RCI. 3. We had a dispute about 2 items on our bill. Fortunately we check our account on a regular basis and these 2 items occured on the first day of the trip. It then took us 4 DAYS to resolve the problem and to have them removed from our account. This involved us going down to guest relations on each day. No one was interested in helping us and the guest relations staff were next to useless until the last day when we really kicked off and one of their staff actually got the dispute resolved. As he said, we were on vacation and don't need the aggravation. How true but basically it was down to us to run around to bars and speak to managers. What sort of customer service is that? 4. A minor irritation - RCI have withdrawn the daily news bulletin available to guests. So, from the above you will gather that some aspects of the cruise were very good, some appalling and some inbetween. Would we go on RCI again? Very doubtful and not on this ship unless it has had a make-over and freshened up. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
From the beginning, I had a feeling that our February 14 sailing on Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas was going to be different from any of our previous cruises. It was, and all-in-all it really was a brilliant week. ... Read More
From the beginning, I had a feeling that our February 14 sailing on Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas was going to be different from any of our previous cruises. It was, and all-in-all it really was a brilliant week. VISAS: A diplomatic row caused the Emirates to require Canadian tourists to obtain expensive visas (which initially at least the UAE embassy was ill-equipped to issue. That resulted in dozens of broken plans and cancellations. Even for non-Canadians, getting a UAE visa isn't easy: As an American, I didn't need one, but my Ukrainian wife had to wait weeks and pay $160 to get a double-entry visa from the UAE's Moscow embassy through a travel agent. Then, while I sailed through passport control at DXB, she was queued up for more than an hour to get her e-visa stamped and her retinas scanned. The Sultanate of Oman handle visas more reasonably: The cruise line hands over the passengers' passports, which are duly stamped in return for a $13 per person fee added to your shipboard charge account. RIOTS: As our departure date loomed, a wave of civil unrest swept across the Middle East from Tunisia to Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen. During the weeks following our visit, violent demonstrations reached Muscat, Oman - one of the ports we visited. Though our trip was not materially impacted, it was an interesting time to be in the region! WEATHER: We need to break up Ukraine's long, cold, icy winters with a little warmth, and the seven-night cruise on Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas seemed to fill the bill perfectly. Dubai is a relatively inexpensive five-hour flight from our home in Kyiv, and though we have spent time in Egypt and Jordan in the past, we'd not yet ventured into the Gulf. The weather in February was between 22 degrees and 27 degrees Celsius, with cool, shirtsleeve evening. Not a spot of bad weather to complain about until we returned to Kyiv. Stepping off the plane into -12 degree air and descending icy airstairs to an unheated bus brought us back to frigid, slushy reality the hard way! DUBAI: The Emirates are thoroughly unlike Egypt and Jordan. The city is new, clean, and modern. The souks are civilized, without the obnoxious, pushy vendors found elsewhere. And though the hotels can be expensive, it really is an otherwise affordable city. A good 4-star hotel costs around EUR 125 per night. We window-shopped a mall or two - there are dozens - and didn't see any real bargains. The souks would have been great places to have suits, dresses or shirts hand-tailored, or to buy beautiful fabric, had we the time or inclination. My wife did buy a comfortable three-piece Indian 'punjabi' outfit that looked wonderful for about $10 from a shop advertising "Throw-Away Prices!" It's interesting to note that you won't see many natives in Dubai. They are greatly outnumbered by East Indians and other immigrants. That posed an opportunity for my wife and I, as we love Indian food. We had some incredible curries with water and bread for less than $10. Heaven, if you love spicy food! OTHER PORTS: We called at Abu Dhabi and Fujairah in the UAE and remained overnight in Muscat, Oman and Dubai. From my perspective, there isn't a lot to see in the region other than mosques and malls, so I stay aboard, read, and relax. My wife, properly attired, ventured ashore and had a good time exploring. In Fujairah and Muscat, the ship docks in a working port, and free shuttles take you to the gate or a mall. Abu Dhabi's cruise port is nicer, but still isn't walking distance to anywhere. Plan to use shuttle busses and taxis. EMBARKATION: We took a taxi to the pier at noon and were aboard the ship in no time. All the lines were short, but the line for Crown & Anchor members was non-existent - we just stepped up, presented our paperwork and we were on our way. We carried our own luggage aboard because we don't want to wait for delivery, and hanging on to it until rooms opened at 1:30 p.m. was not a problem. We headed to the Windjammer for lemonade. BRILLIANCE: We had been aboard Brilliance in 2009 for an 11-night Eastern Med cruise. We like this ship almost as much as we like the Voyager-class vessels. It's roomy, beautiful, and has plenty of options. I especially like the Seaview Cafe, a pizza, pasta and Panini place just above the Windjammer buffet on the starboard side. It's not open often or long enough, and offer really nice quality food, prepared to order. If you dislike the crowds, noise and confusion of buffets, don't overlook the Seaview Cafe. That said, the Brilliance is scheduled for overhaul in two years. It's ready now: The wear and tear is evident, and although she's kept sparkling clean and painted, the furniture needs reupholstering and the dents and scrapes need to be massaged. Even so, the damage done by the incident last November wasn't readily evident. DINING: As mentioned earlier, I shy from buffets. I prefer a leisurely sit-down, menu-ordered meal in the formal dining room - or even room service - to a buffet line. The dining room and service on Brilliance was fine, but we were disappointed in the menu. We've travelled Royal Caribbean often enough to have become Diamond members of the Crown & Anchor Society loyalty program, and have noticed that ships change, crews change, ports and passengers change - everything seems to change except the menu. The choices have become boring and the quality has slipped. Frankly, the Windjammer had more interesting choices, and seems to try to vary offerings based on the itinerary and the ethnic composition of the passenger list. Why can't the main dining room do the same? It's time for a menu makeover, RCI! CROWN & ANCHOR: We felt that Royal Caribbean's loyalty program had become less interesting since they began to scale back, having dropped events like the free wine tasting and the gifts. We are pleased to see the improvements that have been made to C&A, and were really happy to take part in the complimentary wine and champagne for Diamond members daily from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. We also received complimentary chocolate-dipped strawberries, juices, and nuts delivered to our room during the week, and a couple of events. We enjoyed it all. In fact, the changes to Crown & Anchor may have restored our loyalty to Royal Caribbean. About the same time that we attained C&A Diamond status, we sampled RCI's sister line, Celebrity, and loved the elegant atmosphere we felt aboard the Celebrity Constellation. We were delighted to find that C&A members were afforded reciprocal recognition by Celebrity's Captain's Club program, which meant we had top-tier Elite status on our first cruise. Now, we'll probably divide our cruises between the two lines, depending on itinerary, price and season. DISEMBARKATION: Because we had arrived in Dubai the day prior to disembarkation, we took a chance that we could get off the ship at 5 a.m. rather than the usual 7:30 to 9 a.m. because all customs and immigration issues had been pre-cleared. We walked off the ship without a problem, and were on a 7:30 flight home while most of our fellow cruisers were having that last cup of coffee and waiting for their turn to leave. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
After an overnight flight from Heathrow, immigration at Dubai was swift and organised. Lots of cruise staff to guide you through the airport and onto awaiting coaches. Travelled short journey to the Hyatt near the port for breakfast ... Read More
After an overnight flight from Heathrow, immigration at Dubai was swift and organised. Lots of cruise staff to guide you through the airport and onto awaiting coaches. Travelled short journey to the Hyatt near the port for breakfast refreshments, arriving shortly before 9. 30. Hotel very organised and check in staff available to issue cruise documents. Red carpet treatment for us Emeralds. Departed hotel just prior to 11 with priority passes and walked straight through pier terminal and onto ship. Cabins are not available till 1pm so passed out time in the Centrum. After checking out room we confirmed our dining table and then had lunch in Windjammer , followed by a quick nap to recover from flight. Muster drill at 4.45, although this did not start until 5 due to late-comers, but was brief . Sail-away at 6pm. Main seating at 6pm and 2nd at 8.45pm. One showtime at 7.45pm till 8.30pm. Port side berth. Day 2 at Fujairah. This is an industrial dock and to enjoy this as a port of call then you would have to take a trip. There is an Ali Baba flying carpet stall on the dock but no-one seemed to be buying much. Next to us was an oil tanker with 25 tanker lorries on standby waiting to fill up, quite a sight. It is also a navy port. We stayed on the ship and the view was of one of the most unattractive ports we have been to. Formal night. Tango Buenos Aires showtime for each sitting, Karaoke very popular in Colony Club. Starboard berth. Day 3 at Muscat. This is a very attractive port and very reminiscent of one in the Med or Caribbean. Free shuttle buses take you from the berth to the pier gates, ¼ mile, 5 mins. From there it is an easy stroll along the waterfront past the fountains and gold domed seating areas. The Soukh is right on the front and is pleasant, without too much hassle from the merchants. Overwhelming smell of frankincense. The soukh is used by the locals but most stores are stocked with tacky souvenirs for the cruise ships. Pashminas are an excellent buy, and were being offered at 2 euros each, with many deals to be made. The soukh accepts euros, us dollars, dirhams and rials. One show time at 7.45pm, Now & Forever which was billed as Cole Porter, The Full Monty and Mamma Mia, but had more emphasis on the former. White Pool Party and Buffet on pool deck at 11.15pm. Port side berth. Day 4 again Muscat. Show was performed by West Coast, a Beach Boys tribute, we had seen them before on the Jewel and made appoint of going as they are very professional. Motown hour in the disco very popular as was ABBA quiz pre dinner. Quest night. As the ship is catering mainly to the British and German market it would benefit from having more entertainment geared towards this. The nights that did feature either the 70s or Motown or ABBA and such like were the most popular with those bars filled to capacity, you would think that the ship would build on this rather than have entertainment decided upon by HQ in Miami ! Day 5 at sea. 2nd formal night, whilst there were many men in dinner suits or lounge suits there were just as many without, wearing either wearing a long sleeve shirt with or without a tie or something else. The ladies all made an effort though and every night were dressed up. We Brits do like to dress up on holiday though ! Windjammer does struggle on sea days to accommodate everyone, although the staff did do an excellent job of clearing tables, more so than on the Jewel last summer where tables were piled high at times with dishes. There are less opportunities now to dine in the main dining room at breakfast or lunchtime than there used to be. The food is nowhere near as good these days as a few years ago and sometimes it is hard to put together an inspiring lunch. We have been on HAL ships where they made sandwiches to order or RCCL ships that had pasta or burger stations. Eating habits at lunchtime are changing and some more healthy options would be good. C&A Champagne Breakfast today with C&A Welcome Back (all 536 of us) at 7.45pm. Afternoon sunbathing was difficult as it becomes very windy when travelling through the Straights of Hormuz between Iran and the Oman peninsular. 50 mph gusts. Centre Stage show for each sitting. Day 6 in Abu Dhabi. Shuttle is available free of charge from pier to Marina Mall, this is provided by the Hop on Hop off Big Bus Company. Mall passengers travel free and anyone wishing to continue on the Big Bus Tour can buy tickets at this point. Journey takes about 20 mins along the Corniche and beachfront. Abu Dhabi is a very attractive city and very clean. There is not the amount of ongoing development at the waterfront that Dubai has, therefore is it a much more attractive tourist stop. The shops at the Mall are very good, with a mix of high end and chain store. Lots of food options and there is a Carrefour in the basement. All visitors ashore are advised to dress respectfully, ladies to cover up shoulder and dress modestly, not that some of the passenger of this ship bothered and there were a few sights for sore eyes, however the majority did respect that they should dress with decorum. Locals use this mall as well as lots of cruise passengers. I would do most of my shopping here if I came back as it is compact and easier to shop in than the ones in Dubai which are more than enormous. Sand haze all day, with temperature feeling chilly in afternoon. Magician and Illusionist show for each sitting. 70s night in Centrum at 10.30pm. 70s night very popular and well presented and continued on until 11.30pm when it transferred up to the disco. Starboard berth. Day 7 - Dubai overnight. Sand haze again today with a high of 72. Big Bus hop on Hop off at pier where you can buy tickets. Takes you to first stop of tour where you choose red or blue route. Sitting up on the top deck of the bus was unpleasant at times due to the wind with the sand in the atmosphere. It was chilly and a hazard to hairstyles. We did blue route and stopped off at Soukh at Jumeriah. It is a well presented shopping venue with cafes and part of Jumeriah resorts. Excellent place to photograph the Burj. Then the route continues onto the Palm, transiting the whole of the core of the palm to the Atlantis resort. We spent time next at the Dubai Mall. The worlds largest shopping mall with 1200 shops and next to the worlds tallest building. Very high end shopping with all the usual uk stores thrown in too, including an ice rink and aquarium. We did the aquarium, an extra 50 dirham onto the 220 dirham tour, personally I would give it a miss. You can see as much of the aquarium as you need to from within the mall. The tour only adds the walk through the glass tunnel with the fish above, a bit of a let down. Quiet evening aboard the ship as everyone doing Dubai at some point or other with many early flights back to Europe departing early next morning, some passenger even disembarked that evening. Berthed next to the sorry looking QE2. Overall it was a very good cruise and well worth doing to experience the Middle East, even if it was not the best time to travel to the region with the political unrest. We saw no evidence of any troubles and the captain assured us the situation was being monitored very closely. The ship is in good overall condition and has worn better over time than the Jewel. It was clean and well maintained. Some of the soft furnishing need freshened up. The 2nd sitting in the main dining room could be slow in some areas. We had a table for 2 and were served promptly, having the customary two American style starters and a main, often skipping dessert however in favour of pots of tea. I had one or two, ok maybe more ..., fillet steaks in the main dining room. All well cooked and well worth the extra in my opinion, they should be free of charge of course but that a separate discussion. The menus are stale to us frequent cruises, with no dishes available that relate to the region you are travelling in. You don't look at the menu and feel excited about trying new dishes and flavours. They used to give Conche Fritters for example in the Caribbean. Fish is served without a fish knife and butter is in foil packets. Our asst waiter took an unused wine glass from our table and took it immediately to another table with a bottle of wine, that to me is a bit out of order, and wouldn't happen in a top restaurant. The main dining room is becoming more like a banqueting hall, with cutlery proved to match your course , rather than a full set laid out. I wouldn't set a table like that at home for a special occasion so why would it be acceptable on a cruise ship. Personal preferences of course. The drinks are becoming very expensive, especially wines. Spirits seem to be watered down, my G &T and Campari Soda certainly were compared to last summer. The cans of Diet Coke served were flat and also out of date. Crown and Anchor changes I noticed are no invite to a Welcome Back Party for the upper tier levels. We were the old Platinum level last summer and they held a separate party as well as the general one for all C &As. As an Emerald we did get our Welcome Aboard gift of dried nuts, dried fruit and cookies with soft drinks. No gifts anymore such as baseball huts or beach bags. The only real benefit is the dedicated separate check in and internet vouchers, also the BOGOF coffee and wine ones. Gold card passengers have access to a private sun deck and the front of the ship, one deck down from the gym. Also a small area in the windjammer to dine in. All costs nothing of course. Those of us who started cruising over ten years ago comment on the slipping standards. It's the small things we miss : the daily newspaper, the afternoon tea, lobster, tournedos. We do like My Time Dining though and missed not being able to use it this time having booked late. The onboard shops are becoming tacky. It is the same products trotted out year after year. The $10 sale. No high end brands that other cruise lines offer. At least Oasis seems to be getting it right with a Coach outlet amongst other. Princess used to have Ralph Lauren and Longchamp products. Disembarkation was very straightforward and smooth. Our 6.45 am colour was called on time, luggage was easily found and the coaches were waiting for the short transfer to the airport. Perhaps it's time for a break from RCCL, will be interesting to compare how Celebrity is these days having not travelled with them for 5 years. It is no longer a 5 star experience, more like a 4 in Tenerife or somewhere, if it was your first cruise though you would have different opinions. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
We had cruised on the Brilliance before so we more or less knew what to expect onboard. We have also sailed on the Navigator and Freedom class ships before, but feel that the Radiance class ships are the most elegant of all. We ... Read More
We had cruised on the Brilliance before so we more or less knew what to expect onboard. We have also sailed on the Navigator and Freedom class ships before, but feel that the Radiance class ships are the most elegant of all. We chose this particular cruise because we wanted to see this part of the world but, on the other hand, we did not want Dubai to be our only destination, and this cruise offered a bird's eye look of several destinations. We did not leave the ship in Fujairah, as we had read that this particular port had nothing interesting to offer. In Muscat we found a local travel agent, www.mark-oman.com, and booked a half day tour through them. We highly recommend them, as they offer a half day tour in a private car for small groups of four people, at a price almost half than the price offered for the same tour onboard. The ship spends two days in Muscat, one has the opportunity to see a lot in this beautiful city of Oman. Abu Dabi looks like a very modern European city located in the middle east, only much cleaner and quite beautiful. If one is interested in shopping, the Marina Mall is the best place to go. The last two days spent in Dubai were he highlight of the cruise. We booked a half day city tour onboard and then spent the rest of time sightseeing and shopping. If one is interested in spending more days in Dubai, we recommend the Al Manzil hotel, a 4 star hotel with 5 star specifications, very conveniently located next to the Dubai Mall (one of the largest worldwide) as well as the Fountains, where one can watch a spectacular water show every evening starting at 6 p.m. The ship: Boarding was swift and we were onboard within 15 minutes. Leaving the ship was just as well organised. We had an outside cabin with balcony on the 9th floor. As usual, the cabin was always immaculately clean, our cabin attendant was very helpful and there was ample storing space. Entairtainment: We were rather disappointed from the shows in the theatre. They were very poor and unimaginative, compared to previous cruises with Royal Caribbean. The cruise director was a disappointment too, we saw little of him and he could have done a much better job in making the ship look more lively. Food: Royal Caribbean seems to have downgraded the food quality. Gone are the days when lobsters were served in the restaurant. Other than that, the various dishes were tasty and there was a reasonable variety of choices. Compared to my previous cruises we would rate this particular cruise with an 8 on a scale of 10. We have sailed with NCL and Celebrity in the past, but we find that Royal Caribbean will be our first choice in our next cruise. In this very competitive business of cruising, they offer a fair exchange on money paid to services offered and they know how to deal with problems onboard. For example, one of our suitcases was lost while leaving the ship (what a big problem this may be for a traveler), but it was found and sent to us to the airport, by a private car, withing half an hour, in time before we boarded the plane. Will we sail with Royal Caribbean again ? Of course we will, it will always be our first choice. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
This was our first cruise. I booked this cruise as a Christmas present for my wife via a local travel agent. I originally booked a Junior Suite, but the we got upgraded to an Owner Suite. We flew Palanga Lithuania to Copenhagen, ... Read More
This was our first cruise. I booked this cruise as a Christmas present for my wife via a local travel agent. I originally booked a Junior Suite, but the we got upgraded to an Owner Suite. We flew Palanga Lithuania to Copenhagen, wondered around in the cold and had a good meal before catching the SAS overnight to Dubai. SAS, even in economy provide much more leg room than Airbaltic, the only other option from here. Add to that the free meal, drinks and entertainment, well worth the little extra it costs for SAS. We arrived 06.30 hours in Dubai, fairly quick immigration although my wife's Lithuanian passport (despite Visa) meant an eye scan and a lot of tutting. We had booked a car through Alma to take us to Metropolitan Deira hotel for breakfast and a quick sleep. That hotel was not the best, breakfast very simple, hotel room smelt of cigarette smoke and it was noisey. Having said that we ere so tired we slept well. At 14.00 caught a taxi to the Cruise Terminal. As it was our first cruise we did not know the format and got in the wrong queue, probably as a result of still being a little tired and not seeing signs. They were there for Owner suites, we just did not see them until too late. The Andromeda suite was just fantastic..much larger than we thought it would be, extremely comfortable and tastefully decorated. We couldnt stop smiling.The Went to the Wind Jammer for late lunch..buffet style but of surprisingly good quality for mass feeding. First dinner was a mess..a lot of confusion on tables, ours had other people sitting at it and it took the head waiter half an hour to sort it out, depsite his assurances that it would take only a couple of minutes. One man was getting really angry with the mess and was escorted away by security, but frankly he deserved it, he was pushing staff around.Once we sat, our waiter Ivan and his assistant gave us wonderful service and again a surprisingly good quality meal with lots of choice. I really was surprised, feeding 1000+ people in a sitting is a tough job to do well. Second day in Fujeirah, as with many we did not get off, not a lot to see there according to all reports. Spent the day sunning ourselves, relaxing and finding our way around this wonderful piece of engineering. Brilliance really is a phenominal ship. This evening we found out that our gold cards entitled us to free drinks in the concierge club..given the price of wine in the bars, that was a real bonus! And everyone in the club so friendly and relaxed..in fact same applied to whole ship. 3rd/4th Day in Muscat Oman..a wonderful town with friendly people. We took shuttle bus to Port gates and had decided to walk into town as lots of taxi drivers being quite pushy for their services..however once we got past that a very pleasant and friendly, not pushy at all young man approached us and in very reasonable terms offered us the two hour drive around to all the sites. We agreed USD60 for this service. His name is Hamed zizo105h@live.com and would recommend him thoroughly. He took us everywhere in town and out, to the palaces, Mosques, out to the magnificent 5 star hotel along the beach and then out to the hotels where beaches were. He stopped everywhere for photo opportunities and worked hard to tell us all details..but he applied no pressure to do anything, just what ever we wantd to do..we were impressed. Once Hamed took us back we walked down the Corniche near the port. That was not so impressive, but the souk was interesting. The cafes were a little grubby but staff and the fresh juices were pleasant enough. 5th Day Abu Dhabi--a mini Dubai, with lots of impressive things to be seen and obviously it will become bigger as lots of construction going on. We went to the USD3bn hotel where all the Sultans/Sheiks of UAE stay, very impressive, the Marina mall, and a few other places in downtown area...really enjoyed it and would go back for closer exploration. 6/7th Days..Back to Dubai..a city we love. Lots has been written here on Dubai and I dont need to add a lot. After the cruise we had an extra 2 nights at Atlantis the Palm, and what a real treat that was too! Highly recommend it, so much to see and do there that you wont want to go into town. SLightly spolied by a sand storm but not so bad that we could venture onto the beach. As for Brilliance of the Seas..following summary Accomodation-Fantastic Service-very good, from the lads who did the room (and amused us greatly with their towel sculptures) to our waiters in the restaurant, to The Concierge club staff, to the bar staff and entertainment staff. All very service orientated, except for the head waiter (of entire restaurant) who ran around a lot making lots of noise but didnt seem to achieve much. Thankfully Ivan and his assistant more than made up for that. Route-very interesting, but maybe another day in Abu Dhabi rather than Fujeirah would be more interesting. Entertainment-Generally very good, we enjoyed it.We did try a murder mystery dinner in Portofino restaurant one night..that cost more and was not very good, the only disappointing meal. Food- excellent considering the numbers they have to cook for Overall experience..fantastic Drawback-the only thing that really irritated me was the tipping system. Not only is 15% added to every bar bill for service (including the mini-bar) but then you are expected to tip the waiters, room staff and all others at the end of the week..double tipping and at not small percentages! I had no qualms about tipping the staff who looked after us well at the end of the week, but 15% on each bar bill is way over the top and unecessary. And beware, prices shown on the menu are before the service charge, so a USD40 bottle of wine actually costs USD46. If Royal Carribean could get that right, they would have a real winner, but for us, it was excellent and much better than we had dreamed. We will definitely go again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Brilliance of the Seas Middle East Cruise Feb. 2011 Dubai to Dubai As it has been six years since I cruised with Royal Caribbean International I was kind of anxious if I would be disappointed after so many cruises with Celebrity. ... Read More
Brilliance of the Seas Middle East Cruise Feb. 2011 Dubai to Dubai As it has been six years since I cruised with Royal Caribbean International I was kind of anxious if I would be disappointed after so many cruises with Celebrity. Since I started cruising on board big ships with RCI and loved every single cruise I took with them, they have still lot´s of "bonus points ". What I love most about the RCI fleet ( well at least up to their Radiance Class of ships) is the big amount of glass they use for building their ships . So with every turn you take , one is kind of connected with the sea- the ocean, which in my opinion is what cruising is all about. Considering the great success they have with their newest offspring, the Oasis Class I suppose the majority of cruisers don´t care about seeing or feeling the sea. That exactly is one of the reasons I never would set a foot on a deck of one of those behemoths. We were looking for a short early " spring break" , so when we found RCI ´s Brilliance of the Seas doing the middle east - the itinerary just appealed to us. I knew Brilliance already from a Transatlantic back in 2002, so I did not expect any surprises there. We took the night flight into Dubai, with a three hour lay over in Istanbul. The flights were perfect- enough room for our legs, food okay. ( Turkish Airlines) It was just tiring us up- so we would prefer a Nonstop - Flight from Germany to Dubai! First of all we had to kill almost 5 hours until we could board the ship, which we did early anyway at about 11 am. We were among the very first to be on board. The embarkation - Lunch buffet was not open yet- the cabins not yet done- which was expected. It was nice to come back to a ship, which I knew so well. I found the Brilliance to be in excellent condition. Very well maintained and spotless clean- for which Royal is known for. In fact I found her to be in better condition as the Millenium- Class of ships and they are equal in the time they entered service- well that goes just for the signs of wear and tear. X- ships are also spotless clean. We found the food to be good in either the Windjammer ( casual dinning spot) or in the Main Dinning room, even so the service in both locations. What we found a little annoying was the new " towel custom" they must have installed since my last RCI - cruise. One has to show the cruise card to get a towel for the Pool Deck ( as many as wanted or needed though) - no problem at all and it saves Energy and is therefore environment friendly. So this new installment quite suited us! BUT- it is just an absolutely " NO GO " that they run of towels in the afternoon. What is more intolerable is the fact the service person behind the " towel- desk" was extremely unfriendly to say the least- I even would go so fare to call her downright rude. ( We were just told that towels are not be expected until the next day) Nothing to say when they run out for half an hour or something like this. Not nice to feel as if one has to get down to ones knees in order to get a towel! Besides that little weak point the service in either the dinning room both Main and Casual, in the bars or in the stateroom were outstanding. Comparable to Celebrity. The Ports of Calls were interesting and not one to be missed. We always organize our own shore excursions so we can not rate those are provided by Royal. The highlight for us was Abu Dhabi. In Abu Dhabi we recommend a nice stroll along the Croniche ( promenade) , shopping or window- shopping in the Marina Mall and a visit in this seven Star Hotel Emirates Palace- if there is enough time- High Tea there is a really great experience, which we enjoyed immensely. Fujairah, not much to be seen but interesting anyway, we just had a little walk there and did some shopping in the market. Muskat/ Sultanat Oman was a great stop- we stayed there overnight- which I do not really get- because one day would have been enough there- I rather would opt for an additional sea- day instead. Great Souks and old streets to explore. The people in the Souks were in opposition to those in Egypt last year not pushy or rude. So we could enjoy their little shops and the stuff the offered. Here we also enjoyed the walk back to ship along the Croniche with it´s great view out to Gulf! Dubai itself- well one day is just to short there so a pre or past cruise stay there is absolutely the thing to do. Since we booked four additional nights in Dubai we stayed on board the Brilliance during the last day of our cruise, when we were docked in Dubai- as kind of a extra sea day without being out at sea. Royal compared with X: Food- here wins Celebrity hands down Entertainment- much more lively with Royal- if one cares- we could do very well with the more " calm, relaxed" evenings on board X- ships. Service: a close call- but we´d prefer X over Royal Maintenance and Appearing of the ships interior: Compared with the Millenium Class of ships which are about the same time in service ( 2000 until 2003) the Radiance Class shps of RCI are the winners here. ( Except the Connstellation, of course, since she got a refit last year! Cabins/ Balconies about the same, smoke sensible non-smokers should be aware of the fact that Royal still allows smoking on the balcony, while X banned smoking there completely. All in all we would sail with both lines again. Hard to say which we would prefer. One can not go wrong with either Celerity or Royal! Michael Bayer, March 2011 Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
On reading various other reports on this cruise and ship I do not know why people were complaining - What are they used to at home.The ship was very clean, the staff very helpful, and the food very good. Where else can you get lunch until ... Read More
On reading various other reports on this cruise and ship I do not know why people were complaining - What are they used to at home.The ship was very clean, the staff very helpful, and the food very good. Where else can you get lunch until 1600 hours on embarkation day. And breakfast (everything cooked from 0500).All the shore excursions were value for money - definately a good way to see an entirely diferent culture. Even getting free bottled water on all the trips - this was a much appreciated first.The only down side was the entertainment which was not as good as previous cruises. The cruise director Cuddy did not know his facts and seemed to produce an excess of hot air.The dining was very good. The dining room staff were all helpful and informative. The speciality restaurants were also value for money. Evne got free champagne on the last night at the Portifino along with a fireworks display thrown in as well- definately worth the extra. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
We've tried to review this cruise while noting comments that reflect general information and separate those conditions that were solely due to the ship being at 40 percent capacity due to flights grounded by the volcanic ash cloud. We ... Read More
We've tried to review this cruise while noting comments that reflect general information and separate those conditions that were solely due to the ship being at 40 percent capacity due to flights grounded by the volcanic ash cloud. We are a married couple, ages 64 and 69, who are reasonably fit, not gourmet dinners, not sun worshipers, who enjoy a variety of activities and who choose a cruise for its destinations. This is only our third cruise, so we have limited previous experience to draw on. Our major goal on this trip was to see Dubai and the Pyramids, and that was accomplished. We enjoyed the cruise, found the ship met our needs, and the staff for the most part to be helpful, and all were friendly and cheerful. We feel they took adequate precautions as we traversed the "sensitive area" where the Somalia pirates are active, and were kept well-informed by the Captain. Plus he has a delightful sense of humor, giving daily briefings, and was often seen about the ship, even eating in the Windjammer! Ship info: Not new or state of the art, but nicely designed and decorated. Layout was convenient, except the elevators in the Centrum. There were 5 elevators in the area but it was difficult to see them all at once. If you were waiting by one, another could arrive to pick you up at the other end, and could depart before you got aboard. Not bad as we were less than half full, but it could be a problem when the ship was full. WiFi Services: Only a few of the Wifi "hot spots" were actually functioning, and capacity there was limited to use by less than 20 cruisers. Also no staff member monitored those areas, so problems meant joining the line at Guest Services. Fitness Center: Nicely designed, with lots of equipment, but I'm not sure that would hold true when the ship is full. Nice and cool for workouts, and they do have a water fountain. Excellent view from the treadmills! Jogging Track: Fairly narrow, with deck chairs encroaching on the path at several points. Lots of guests use this - they should have more space! Deck Chairs: They're everywhere yet those in prime locations are "reserved" in spite of RC policy. And so close together you needed to back into them. Could be a problem with a ship full of sun-worshipers....... Shuffleboard court: Same problem as jogging trail. Cinema: Adequate capacity, quiet setting, but railings blocked some of the screen in the upper seats. Nice selection of recent, general interest movies. Miniature golf, rock climbing wall both were enjoyable, well located. Shopping Area: Like on any other cruise ship - with mix of inexpensive promotional items and high end goods. I wish they had carried some souvenirs of the various ports for those of us so busy seeing the sites there was no time to shop in port. Pacifica Theater: Nicely designed and comfortable, not too crowded with our reduced load, but who knows when the ship is full. Casino, Bars: We didn't spend much time in either but the Casino was large, and there were lots of bars, but sadly a lot of lonely bar-tenders on this trip. Other activities: We took advantage of dance lessons, enrichment lectures, trivia games, demonstrations, and the like. They had numerous activities with a good mix to appeal to many interests, but it could easily get crowded if the ship was full! Entertainment: We saw most of the shows, and enjoyed each one. There was an effort to vary the entertainers but maintain broad appeal. Some were sensational, but you can't hit a home run every night! Embarkation / Disembarkation: Smooth on both ends for us. Stateroom: We initially had one of those stinky bathrooms - smelled like urine although it was clean. We complained, they cleaned it again, but once the bleach smell wore off, the odor was back. We complained again. They sent the maintenance worker who acknowledged he smelled it too, but couldn't find the source. He replaced the shower curtain, which of course didn't help, then suggested shampooing the carpets.... Since the ship wasn't full, we were permitted to move down the hall. One thing we did notice in the new room was a working vent fan which we don't remember from the first room. Could it be that simple? This is a complaint that has been noted before on this ship, and could ruin an entire trip if you couldn't relocate. This needs to be addressed by RC, pronto. The good news it that the room had a real KING size bed, or 2 full size twins. The cabin was small but adequate. The bathroom however is the smallest of the 3 ships we've used, with a flimsy shower curtain "enclosing" a 2 foot circle. And forget amenities - there's only a bar of soap and a shampoo dispenser. Excursions: We booked one with RC online months before sailing, and one while onboard. Both met our expectations, and staff was helpful. They are pricier than most so we did book a couple of successful tours with a private operator. This is one place were you need to be careful - these are not locations were you would want to be stranded - especially in Egypt. Dining: We found the Minstrel Dining Room nicely appointed and the staff very helpful and accommodating. The menu however seemed to cater to vegetarians and featured at lot of Asian and curried selections. Not appealing to us, but the food we did order was very good. The Windjammer menu didn't vary much but was adequate though basic. Toast was hard, some hot foods weren't, but when you cook for a crowd, these things happen. I loved the made to order omelets! We gained enough weight to attest to the available quantity / quality of the food. We did not try either of the 2 "specialty" restaurants. Oman: This port was a surprise! We took a private tour of old forts but had not realized it involved a drive to the interior (Nizwi) of more than 2 hours. The forts weren't worth the long trip, but our guide filled the trip with interesting info about this country. Like prior to 1970 there were no paved roads and they all rode camels. Muscat is now a new, modern city with a liberal Moslem population where I wish we had been able to spend more time. Those that did seemed to enjoy the stop. Safaga: It's the gate-way to any trip to Luxor. The city itself is a dump, there's nothing to see there I wouldn't recommend getting off the ship without an organized tour!!! It's a 3.5 hour trip to Luxor but worth the long drive to see the Valley of the Kings, etc. It was HOT - bring a umbrella for shade - but fascinating for its historical significance. Guards armed with machine guns are everywhere - barricades, check-points abound, there's even a guard on the coach. We did feel safe but the poverty in Egypt was difficult to witness. Sharm el Sheikh: A very nice resort, not typical of Egypt. We enjoyed a Jeep Safari and a camel ride of about 20 minutes to a Bedouin camp arranged by RC. Pricey but fun. Other guests had good experiences on other tours. Worth getting off the ship for any reason. Alexandria: Another very long day on the guarded bus, but worth it to see the pyramids!!!! Distance wasn't as long, but they put speed bumps every 5 to 10 miles which makes the traffic all but stop - and a top speed of about 60 km/hr on this main thoroughfare from Alexandria to Cairo! The vendors are like mosquitoes - they're everywhere, and they are insistent! Sometimes no isn't enough but when you see where and how they live, you understand their desperation to make a sale! We encountered a friend on a different coach who was robbed at the pyramids that day. Be very careful there but go - it's worth all the aggravation! Barcelona: It rained all day so our sightseeing was greatly curtailed. We'll have to come back to have a better look. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Flew Emirates COACH! They have rows in the back that are just two seats which was nice so we had two windows and two isles which worked for my family. Not bad leg room and not bad food for coach. Pre-cruise Atlantis Hotel, loved it, ate ... Read More
Flew Emirates COACH! They have rows in the back that are just two seats which was nice so we had two windows and two isles which worked for my family. Not bad leg room and not bad food for coach. Pre-cruise Atlantis Hotel, loved it, ate in three restaurants in hotel that we loved. Had buffet dinner at Al Iwan in Burg Al Arab and we loved it. Had breakfast out of hotel one morning at Lime Tree Cafe and loved it. Dubai - took the water taxi and went to the souks, lots of fun and really the only shopping we did the entire trip. Did the night safari, private company Orient Tours, and we really had a good time. Paid $66 per person and RCCL passengers were there with us and I believe they paid $145. Boarding the ship took us about an hour. Balcony cabins on 9 were fine and connected which actually was nice for shouting back and forth instead of pounding on a door. Food was generally mediocre as was service. Never really felt like staff cared if I was happy or not, just that they were doing their jobs. Common areas (pool, bars, Windjammer) always felt very crowded. Always had to walk around a bit to find a table or a lounge. Guest relations people seemed to be lacking a lot of knowledge about the ship and ports. i.e. I was in line behind someone asking where the library was and the guy behind the desk took out a map of the ship! I told the lady it was on 9 and they both asked me if I was sure. Oman - took a private tour with Arabesque and it was great. Great tour guide and never had to stand in any lines. At the mosque, women must be completely covered except for hands and face. Our guide made sure we had the right stuff before we left the port but there were many people with other groups being turned away. Ladies, a scarf around the shoulders is not enough. We improvised by putting on hooded sweatshirts and wrapping scarves around our necks. Men just needed long pants. Fujariah - took the cruise excursion for beach and snorkeling. We really were glad because it was nice to sit and swim in a big pool without 2400 other people. Abu Dhabi - took the hop on hop off bus which was right outside the ship terminal. No need to buy any shuttle tickets from the ship. We did the full circle and got off where we wanted to see the sights. Men - if you want to see the Emirates Palace Hotel, you need long pants. They won't even let you in the front gate with shorts. FYI if you get off at Marina Mall and then want to go back to the ship instead of completing the circle, the bus has an express back to the port. FYI the bus is also available right outside the cruise terminal in Dubai. Bahrain - did the "all day relax" cruise excursion. Got a general city tour on the way to the resort. Had a wonderful day at the pool and a fabulous buffet lunch at the resort. My family all thought the food was better than anything they had eaten on the ship. Currency - we used Dirhams and American dollars. As far as I could tell, everyone took whatever you had. My one piece of advice would be to have small bills for taxis cause they always claimed to not have change. Taxis - in Dubai were cheap and plentiful. Warned about taking them in the other ports so we didn't. Weather - was perfect as far as I was concerned. We dressed as we would at home in hot weather with the exception of the mosque. Enjoy, Judy Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
CRUISE, DUBAI, OMAN, FUJAIRAH, ABU DHABI AND BAHRAIN We left Birmingham airport 20 minutes late on an Emirates flight to Dubai. Landed just after midnight and transferred to the Arabian Courtyard Hotel near Port Rashid ready to join the ... Read More
CRUISE, DUBAI, OMAN, FUJAIRAH, ABU DHABI AND BAHRAIN We left Birmingham airport 20 minutes late on an Emirates flight to Dubai. Landed just after midnight and transferred to the Arabian Courtyard Hotel near Port Rashid ready to join the cruise. Arabian Courtyard was classed as 4 star but in my opinion it was closer to 3 star. Regardless it was OK for one night, but I would not have wanted longer there. Joined the Brilliance of the Seas and check in took around 10 minutes. Very organized. Grabbed something to eat in an overcrowded Windjammer Cafe and caught a taxi to the Gold Souk for that special treat ring. Got back to the ship and luggage had arrived so unpacked. Asked about upgrade to a balcony cabin and were told there had none, but various conversations throughout the week made me doubt this. Supplies of toiletries were non existent in the bathroom cabins and I never failed to wonder how they had managed to obtain toilet paper so thin that it could not even have been classed as one ply. Counter productive on cost saving as you had to use 3 times as much. First port of call was Oman. When we landed at 9am the temperature registered 41C. It was very hot. Went to the Souk which was well worth a visit. Currency is Rials but they accepted AED Dirhams. By the time we got back to the ship the temperature was approaching 45C. Never have I felt heat like it. This was my favourite port of call. Second port was Fujairah. I had read the trip reports previously and didn't expect too much which was just as well because it was disappointing. We did the shuttle bus to the port gate and then paid extra for the shuttle to take us to the Lulu Hypermarket. Waste of time. Third port was Abu Dhabi. What I saw I liked. Clean and modern. Again we paid for the shuttle bus that continued past the port gates into the centre. We got off the bus at the town centre mall. Unfortunately there was nothing much else around the same area to wander around other than the marina which had the bluest sea I had ever seen. Fourth port was Bahrain. Again opt for the shuttle bus to part gates and paid extra for the transfer to the Mall hoping there would be souks in the vicinity. There were not so we ended up at the mall for 4 hours. We assumed that there would be an hourly collection from the mall as there was on the 2 previous ports, but there wasn't. We and other passengers felt as though we were just dumped at the mall. The items were so expensive I don't think anyone purchase anything. Then we called at the museum which was as boring as hell on earth. Not my cup of tea at all. A complete waste of a day and at $21 each, far too expensive for what was offered. Got 3/4 of the way back when the coach broke down. Groan!! All the passengers had to get off the bus and wait at the roadside in the heat for a replacement. Thankfully another coach occupied by BoS passengers stopped allowing us all to jump on for a lift back to the ship. Arrived harassed and disappointed. There were only 2 ports of call (with the exception of Dubai) that were worth a visit and to be honest I had already gathered this from previous posts. The cost of alcohol was extortionate. $12 for a glass that was not even full for a Chardonnay. Outrageous. During the week the Iceland volcano erupted (damn the thing). I guessed straight away that our return flight home would be delayed. It turned out to be a nightmare situation. RCL were absolutely useless. All they were interested in was making money. There were stupid pointless photo shoots. Photo with a cuddly toy, one with a member of staff dressed in arab outfit, one in front of the ship, one at dinner, one by the pool, one............... People were getting sick and tired of being asked to have their photo taken. I enquired on Saturday morning (whole companies were still open in the UK) at the Guest Relations desk what their intention was regarding hotels and flights when it became apparent we would not be flying. I was informed that if it was a RCL package (which mine was) then RCL would locate us a hotel and alternative flight. As if!! So based on this information RCL were going to re-locate between 1,000 and 2,000 passengers in hotels, pay for them and re-arrange their flight home. I bet they will I thought! While guests were at the evening meal and continued to the entertainment section of the ship RCL left in each cabin a note saying all passengers where to disembark at Port Rashid in Dubai and arrange their own accommodation and return flights. I was right!! Furthermore at the same time as leaving the distressing note envelopes were left for you to tip the staff. A mutiny occurred. A meeting was held on deck 9 whereby 3 passengers were elected to speak to the captain. The outcome was that no hotels would be paid for, no flights organised (although different carriers were more helpful than others eg. Virgin), so chaos erupted. The captain eventually agreed free access to the internet and cabin phones in order that the passengers could book accommodation, but you try getting the use of a PC on board that ship... you can't. RCL gave all passengers an Emirates contact number and told each passenger to keep ringing if for flight updates. You were left on hold for ages and still obtained no information. For me my 2 sisters proved saints. I text them and they managed to book me and hubby 2 nights in a hotel. I asked them for 2 nights assuming that this amount of time would be close to the delayed time it would take to fly back to the UK. We had to pay for the hotel and the taxi to it. I then found out that if you sought the assistance of RCL they would offer a FOC shuttle bus to a named hotel but they only started offering this facility the day before we were due to disembark and by this time we had already reserved our hotel. RCL was sailing on a repositioning cruise from Dubai to Barcelona. Hardly any new passengers were joining the ship yet they still dumped all the existing passengers. They preferred to leave us all with no flight and no accommodation and sail to Barcelona best part empty. Words fail me especially bearing in mind that today on the news we hear that a new cruise ship sailed from England to Spain with the sole intention of collecting stranded passengers. We had already paid for our cruise and RCL couldn't have cared less. I sailed to the Baltics 3 years ago with RCL and was satisfied with them, the service and the food. How things change. As I previously said everything came down to money, the service was OK but the food poor. The Windjammer food was cooked at least a couple of hours in advance and by the time we ate it, it was fit for the bin. Seating in here was also insufficient. The Minstrels dining room menu was poor. For the last 3 days I hardly ate anything. The choice was dreadful. On the last night I walked out in disgust. What with the dumping of us planned for the following day and then rubbish food it was too much. The entertainment in the theatre was satisfactory but dated. Nothing has changed from all the previous cruises we had done over the years. I must give the Beatles Tribute Band an award as they were absolutely outstanding. Went to see them at the first show and returned for the second show. Got off the ship on the day of disembarkation and transferred to the hotel to accumulate my maxed out credit card. Thankfully I did have a credit card though as people both old and young were put off the ship with no card and no money. Overall I was very disappointed with the attitude and service offered by RCL. When to see Emirates in the Town Centre Mall who gave us a return flight date of 6 May. It's dire. How on earth could we afford to stay in the hotel for this amount of time, buy food, arrange clean laundry and survive? While it is easy for people to say we should think ourselves lucky to have been stuck in Dubai, they are really missing the point. The whole holiday was spoilt and not just by the volcanic activity, by the attitude of Royal Caribbean not assisting us. We both needed to get back to the UK as soon as possible. We had not catered for 2 weeks and had commitments back in the UK and I also had a sick mother. On Tuesday we went to the Mall of the Emirates (my favourite mall) and visited DNATA. They were helpful and through them we started to agree our route home. The following day we moved out of the hotel because of the cost and went to the airport to start our way home. We slept fitfully at the airport during the night and at 5.55am left Dubai airport for Doha. Then caught the connecting flight to Tunis with Qatar Airways. A very satisfactory service and I would say an improvement on Emirates. Arrived in Tunis and dashed to any of the ticket desks that would provide us with a flight over the sea to Europe. Nothing available at most of them. Went to check at Tunisair who were flying to Paris at 14.55 and were put on standby. Was asked to return in one hour to see if seats were available. Returned in 40 minutes and were told the flight was full. Felt like crying after the length of journey we had already made and the thought that we may be stuck here for another 3 days for the next flight to Madrid. Went to enquire at the business class desk and inbetween the language barrier problems we found out that they had 2 seats left in economy. Hubby checked in the bags while I ran over to the ticket desk to pay for them at which point the system went down. Explained the urgency of the matter (only 20 minutes now until anticipated flying time) and the person at the next desk assisted. Dashed round to pay the cashier (it's not all done at the same desk), grabbed hubby and ran from one end of the airport to the boarding gate. Caught the plane with minutes to spare. Although hubby and I were not sitting together at least we were on the flight and as hubby said to me when we got off 'that plane wouldn't pass an MOT'. I had to agree. Arrived in Paris and paid the extortionate rate of 245 euros each for Eurostar to London arriving at St Pancreas Station. Again was tight on time and almost missed it. Arrived in London, caught a taxi to Victoria Coach Station to transfer back to Birmingham and the bus had left 10 minutes early. How ironic that we had got from Dubai to London just managing to catch all connections only to find National Express had left early. Waited an hour for the next one and arrived at Digbeth Coach Station at 3.30am absolutely shattered. Arranged for a taxi to home and arrived here safely at 4.10am. We consider that we didn't go on holiday. We had 2 weeks of stress and a cruise ship that was sub-standard. Now we are in the process of going through all invoices and receipts with a view to trying to reimburse ourselves an estimated £3k that we did not allow for. The outcome of all this is...............I'm never going on holiday again!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
We have just returned (last night) from a cruise to Dubai,Oman,Fujariah,Abu Dhabi and Bahrain on the Brilliance of the Seas. This is our first cruise with RCCL and the first time we have visit the Middle East other than has a transit ... Read More
We have just returned (last night) from a cruise to Dubai,Oman,Fujariah,Abu Dhabi and Bahrain on the Brilliance of the Seas. This is our first cruise with RCCL and the first time we have visit the Middle East other than has a transit passenger. After reading the other reviews on this cruise we were a bit sceptical. We had relatively good flight from Manchester with Emirates and arrived in Dubai around 8am after a delay of 1 hour. The trip to the holding centre was fairly short, but being extremely tired, having been up 24hours this was the last thing we wanted. They don't tell you when you book that you don't go straight to the ship you get a letter a few weeks before departure with the option to book a city tour instead, but don't be fooled we were under the impression that you went on the city tour instead of going to the holding centre, but you don't you go to the holding centre until about 10.30 and then go on the tour.Drinks and a light continental breakfast were provided however we had to sit around a table on dinning room chairs for about 3 hrs, we really could have done without this. You are given a coloured card and when your colour is called you then have to board another coach which takes you to the ship. The cabins are not available until after 1pm so another couple of hours in the red hot sunshine in the clothes you left home in. We were quite lucky has when we went to our cabin our suitcases had already arrived but some passengers did not receive theirs until 6pm. We quickly got washed and changed and took a trip from the port on the big bus(the same open top buses you see in London and other cities)cost approx £45 each. The bus takes you around the city and beach area. You can buy a dual ticket for Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It is well worth the money as you get to see all the main sites and you can hop on and off at any of the stops along the way. We booked a balcony cabin just for the 2 of us, the cabin was nice and the bed was very spacious which is more than can be said for the balcony, we were a little disappointed with the balcony, just enough room for 2 chairs and a little round table. The bathroom was fine but when you got in the shower you had your own little pool in the bathroom, the shower curtains are not long enough and do not sit in the tray and water goes everywhere. You cannot look in the wardrobe if someone wants to go in the bathroom because the doors have to be opened alternatively. The ship was very nice and extremely child friendly (shame that we had packed the kids off to Cyprus with their Grandma). There was a bit of trouble trying to find a bar inside that opened during the day as most remained closed ( not that you can afford to drink onboard - pint of lager £6 small glass of house wine £6.50, cheapest bottle of wine cost around £25.00 with gratuities ,same bottles that Asda sell 3 for £10! If you ordered a short you did get a good measure though! A 750ml bottle of water cost £3.10, piece of advice whilst in Dubai go to the cafe in the cruise terminal you can buy 2 x 500ml of water and can of pop for less than £3. The drinks, even soft drinks are expensive onboard they say its because they have to have it imported from Jordan and the government charges 16% tax, but how can they justify water and soft drinks being so expensive when they are readily available. The excursions are also very expensive we only did the wild adventure in Bahrain because we wanted to go to the Formula One circuit, it was a 4 1/2hr trip and cost $125/£85 each, most trips were around the same price.The wildlife park was a waste of time but the Circuit was excellent. Dubai,Abu Dhabi and Bahrain are very much alike tall buildings,lots of building work going on but well worth the visit, Fujairah and Oman, not much to see other than forts and mosques. At all of the ports you cannot get off the ship and wander around the port (like you can in the Caribbean) has they are all ports for cargo you have to get a shuttle to the port gates and then taxi's or book excursions through explorations onboard. We only ate once in the main Restaurant as we booked for the late sitting and it was too late most nights (8.30pm) and when you get someone on your table that takes 2 hours to eat a meal your night is almost over and done with by the time you have finished, but it was our choice to eat in the Windjammer self service, the food was very nice I can honestly say that I didn't put anything on my plate that I didn't like, however it could have done to be a bit warmer and I do wish that they could make an alternative warm dessert to Bread pudding it was the only warm dessert for 6 out of the 7 days although it is one of my favourite desserts and it was excellent there is only so much you can take. We didn't manage to make any of the shows but I heard they were quite good. They told us that the average age onboard was 43 it's a pity that the rest of the entertainment wasn't aimed at this age. If you like piano and Violin music and a guy that can't sing then your made up. We really did enjoy the holiday, but after all the hype we got over Royal Caribbean I still think P&O offer the better service and the little extras like information about the ship in your cabin instead of having to queue at Guest relations for an hour, being able to make your own tea and coffee at meal times, having coffee in your cabin instead of just tea and the little bathroom accessories.P & O also offer self service washing machines and tumble dryers all you pay for is the washing powder this is not an option on RCCL but they had an 'offer' on a small bag of small items such as underwear which would come back washed and folded for just $25/£17. The mix of nationalities onboard was nice there were people from all over the world both as guests and staff. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Due to this being our first cruise and one of us having additional needs - using a manual wheelchair. We had checked out as much information as was possible. We were visiting Dubai anyway so we booked this cruise. We were also aware that ... Read More
Due to this being our first cruise and one of us having additional needs - using a manual wheelchair. We had checked out as much information as was possible. We were visiting Dubai anyway so we booked this cruise. We were also aware that we would be unable to load on an electric wheelchair. Apparently, after much research we discovered that there are no ground agents in Dubai to supply such equipment. All the accessible cabin's had gone(booked October.So we opted for a standard cabin as the wheelchair wasn't needed to get around the cabin. We landed cleared the airport by 8.30am and ushered to a coach. We would recommended insisting on private transfer to the hospitality venue as the coach steps are very high. There was another family with an electric wheelchair who had separate transport. Once at the hospitality venue(described by others as a holding area)which was at the Tourist Village. We were processed and offer light refreshments fruit and cakes. You are given coloured cards which translate into what time you will be transfer to the ship. We were allocated 11.00am due to the wheelchair and went on board with the Crown and Anchor passengers. A lot of passengers had been there since 6.30am and were boarding at 13.00 and were very unhappy! Once on board we took a look around the ship and located our cabin. We entered our cabin at 13.00. To out dismay we found that the cabin bathroom was raised. This had not been explained to us on booking. Unfortunately, this was most unsuitable as my husband should not walk up/down steps continually due to his disability several times a day over a week (we live in a bungalow). We explained this to guest services and it took five hours an email to Thomas Cook. Including, us saying we would talk to the ship's doctor who would explain the situation. Finally, we were moved to deck 10 cabin 1528 which was an accessible cabin(result). This cabin was perfect with electric doors, huge balcony. We didn't visit any port of call as we just wanted to try out the cruise. The food was more than adequate and fairly good standard. The service from all the staff too us was outstanding. We would only recommended this cruise to additional needs guest's using an electric chair. Obviously, there are long corridor's - lots of lifts. It is quite tiring though to push a wheelchair on carpets every day up/down - in/out lift's. We think RC should look at ground agents in Dubai for electric chair hire. There were a few other manual wheelchair guests and one in an electic chair. I think has I been informed much lower than on other cruise destination. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click