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39 Royal Caribbean Dubai Cruise Reviews

We flew from Singapore to Dubai to join the ship for a long anticipated vacation on a WOW mega ship. Embarkation in Dubai cruise centre was chaotic from the start. There was not sufficient staff on the ground to guide passengers ... Read More
We flew from Singapore to Dubai to join the ship for a long anticipated vacation on a WOW mega ship. Embarkation in Dubai cruise centre was chaotic from the start. There was not sufficient staff on the ground to guide passengers through. We checked in online, printed all the required documents (sail passes, luggage tags, etc), yet we spent about 20-30mins trying to get registered at the cruise centre. There was a huge bottleneck of passengers trying to board at the same time. No designated queue for those booked in the higher categories and those who have mobility or disability issues. Once on board, things got better. The cabin was above expectation except that getting into the bathroom took some effort as the floor was raised rather high. I have a slight mobility limitation and use a walking aid. Booking online for dynamic dining, shore excursions proved to be rather easy. However, after a few meals on the ship, we realised that even though we booked at different restaurants each night, our meals appeared to be rather similar except for the venue and way they were presented. The menu for all meals at the Windjammer were very predictable. Same everyday. We were on a 14day vacation and cannot imagine how our fellow cruisers feel, some having been on the ship from Cape Liberty - eating the same food everyday. After day 4, we spent sometime planning out our dining schedules for the rest of the cruise, eating at different venues for each meal. Meals at Jamie Oliver were the only ones we looked forward to. Onboard entertainment was rather limited except for the headliner shows. Movies were shown on the open pool deck and repeated several times over the 14days we were on board. On some evenings, it was too warm to be on deck; some days when watching a movie, we had to move around the deck in order to avoid getting wet when it rained. Onshore excursions were badly planned and beyond expectation. Joined Penang food trail hoping to be able to taste some of Penang's favorite local food. The excursion departure timing was too early. We left the ship at 0730hrs. Guide brought group to a street coconut vendor. Having coconut so early in the morning? As it was too early for street hawkers to be opened, we were left at a shopping mall for nearly 2hrs!! Next stop, local fried noodles. Most of us gave up after realising that there was no seat and the wait for our order was 1hr. Group were next taken to try durians and a quick walk through a street in Little India. By this time, it was time to get back to the ship. Out at 0730hrs, no food on a food trail tour when we finally returned to the ship at 2pm. Been on Legend and Mariner previously. Although these were smaller ships, we had a truly good time but not this time on Quantum. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We had never travelled with Royal Caribbean before and were very excited as we were visiting places we had never thought we would ever visit and had heard great reviews about Royal Caribbean as we have family members that have been ... Read More
We had never travelled with Royal Caribbean before and were very excited as we were visiting places we had never thought we would ever visit and had heard great reviews about Royal Caribbean as we have family members that have been travelling with RCI for years and they always gave us great reviews. We are a couple, travelling with a family of three so a total of 5, one member was in a wheelchair. Check in was initially done online so we assumed it would be pretty simple as we were allocated a check in time of 11.00am. We arrived at the terminal in Dubai at 10.45 and can only describe it as chaos. We got out of the taxi and had to wait in 50 degree heat for roughly 40 minutes whilst the disorganised luggage checking in men finally decided to get to us. People were pushing and shoving to get the luggage men to take their luggage which was quite difficult for us when travelling with a disabled person and a 3 year old child. Once our luggage was checked in we headed towards the check in desks to be faced with queues that were moving exceedingly slowly, these also were very disorganised and people were let to the front and rushed through without any explanation, after queuing here for another 90 minutes other cruise members insisted our group went to the front of the queue as we had a disabled person with us. We then checked in again, had to give credit card details and passports even though we had previously done this online. Great we thought, we can finally get on the ship and relax, how wrong we were! We checked in and then faced huge queues and a mob of people all waiting to board the ship. No one advised of what was happening and everyone was complaining to staff, it was about 40 minutes before someone explained that we were not allowed on the ship as not everyone had got off. We then waited a further 40 minutes before the doors opened and the stampede of people ran for the doors. We pointed out to one of the stewards that we were travelling with a disabled person and they should board separately, this seemed to work and we were allowed to board the ship. We went to our room and it was clean and ready, we then decided to go and find the buffet restaurant as we were quite hungry from hanging around all day. The food wasn't great and certainly wasn't hot but we put it down to being the first day and it must be difficult as people were boarding all day. After contacting the customer service desk we were told our luggage would possibly be at our room by 8pm. We had no change of clothes and no swimwear to get changed into. We spent the whole day in our travelling clothes which was very frustrating. The second night on the ship, we decided to eat in the Grande Restaurant and my husband wore a shirt, tie and trousers, he was almost turned away as he wasn't wearing a jacket, luckily the receptionist realised that a shirt and tie is smart and got my husband a spare jacket to wear. The table we were seated at was right next to the kitchen which was very noisy and waiters were constantly walking past. We were not asked if we wanted a drink and when my husband asked for a Jack Daniels and it took 45 minutes to arrive. Well after the main course had been eaten. The starters weren't great, the prawns I had still had the black vein in them and my husbands starter was cold. Both our main courses were cold and lacked taste. The main buffet, windjammer wasn't great, most of the time the food was luke warm and lacked taste. We also noticed the floor in here was never mopped, the edges of all the carpets and close to the serving benches were always grubby with dirt all around them. It was difficult to eat in the dynamic dining no matter what time you tried to eat there. The soft drinks package did not include all soft drinks, it was only drinks from the machine that ran out of anything orange flavoured within the first 6 days of the cruise and this wasn't filled up till around day 18 of the cruise which meant we had to make do with something we didn't really want. If you wanted more than one bottle of water because of the temperature outside, you weren't allowed, you had to go and come back at least 15 minutes later. So hardly unlimited! Cruising around Malaysia was a nightmare, the children from China were left to run riot around the pool. They were throwing the sun loungers in the pool, balls were being thrown everywhere, there was running around the pool and diving, water bombing and the Chinese were even drinking from glasses rather than the safety plastic ones normally supplied. The trips were a joke for someone in a wheelchair yet we were advised by the booking staff that they were suitable, we weren't able to do most of the activities due to difficulty with stairs and were treated with total disrespect in Hong Kong by staff at the highest point in Hong Kong. Throughout the whole cruise we had problems with our wrist bands and the bar staff had to get us to sign a chit rather than scan our bands as they weren't working properly. Internet was quite expensive and was very intermittent, we complained time and time again after having to queue at guest services each time for 45 plus minutes. I couldn't use the bionic bar as my wrist band had the incorrect date of birth so I paid for the full drinks package for 3 nights and had to continually use my husbands band even after queuing up at guest services for 40 minutes, several times. We were told to vacate our room as some work had to be done in there for 4 hours, the chaos was ensuing around the pool so we left there to head to the 270 bar but that was closed due to a private function and the other areas to relax were very cramped. There was constant drilling and construction work being done around the pool which made it very difficult to relax as you could hardly hear the music. When the ship arrives in a port and its a changeover day, there aren't many places to eat after breakfast. The pool bar doesn't open until around 11.30 and the services are greatly reduced. The pool wasn't open till 10.30 either. First two weeks, our room girl was great, she never disturbed us and would always keep an eye out so she could service our room. Unfortunately once the maid was changed to a male after two weeks, the service went very much downhill. Our sheets were hardly changed and I spilt coffee on the quilt cover and this wasn't changed for over a week. The pillow cases had stains on and the room was never serviced before 1pm. We were delayed into shanghai due to fog by 5 hours so when we arrived we were told we could stay in our room till we disembarked yet we had a rude staff member from room service ring our room and tell us we needed to vacate. Guest services advised this was incorrect, we were then called half an hour later and told to get out of the room by 3pm. We headed to the 270 bar as this was where we were told to go where there were hardly any seats. The bar was shut and there was no where to get food. We left the ship after queuing for 2 hours at 8pm. We then had to queue for another 2 hours for a taxi with thousands of other people all waiting. Whilst on board I got an ear infection from the swimming pool and our whole party got a chest infection as there were so many people on board with chest infections, it was inevitable. Most of the staff with the exception of about 3 were poorly trained, had terrible customer service skills and spoke little English. Speaking to them was a difficult chore we tried to avoid. Once we reported all our concerns once again to customer services we were offered 500 us dollars room credit when we book another cruise!!! Be careful booking this trip as they cannot deliver what they promise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Myself,recently retired and my wife nearing retirement,we finally embarked on our first cruise holiday. The first mistake was not checking out on visa requirements, regulations an costs which our travel agent nor the cruise company ... Read More
Myself,recently retired and my wife nearing retirement,we finally embarked on our first cruise holiday. The first mistake was not checking out on visa requirements, regulations an costs which our travel agent nor the cruise company informed us about apart from saying it is our responsibility. Despite our far and wide air travel experience,we discovered the hard way,India is very different,true to her much vaunted advertising slogan,"Incredible India". It cost us two £187 not least having to complete on line a lengthy form,travel twice to Hayes in Middlesex,UK,once to hand in the documents and again for collection after waiting in queues each time! If that was bad enough,Indian Immigration Officials (just two) had to conduct a ludicrous visa to face check on board before arrival in Goa for around 3000 passengers and repeat the same ordeal before her next port of call,Cochin in India. First time,we queued for nearly 3 hours and felt sorry for elderly and frail passengers. Our hotel accommodation in Dubai after flying out on Emirates A380 from Heathrow was great and prepaid transfer was great. Transfer from hotel to Port Rushid in Dubai was bungled and we had to pay for a taxi ourselves. Hotel accommodation in Singapore was very mediocre.Our stateroom on Deck 9 with private balcony was superb and spacious. Room attendant was friendly and polite deserving the handsome tip. Ship information service was very good and accepted our instruction not to preload gratuities as wanted to reward those who made our vacation special.Hand sanitisation requirement was excellent and food was good albeit tasting pretty much the same. Orange juice was free only at breakfast and iced water was preferred to iced tea and lemonade. Electric violinist Jane Cho brought tears of joy to my eyes and we had the privilege of meeting her by chance at breakfast the following morning. Disappointment that she had only a three minute slot on the final day before reaching Penang where she left the ship while other artistes had bigger slots,some of whom bored me to tears! We found ship's shore excursions restrictive and not value for money and therefore,venturing out on our own with a couple of fellow passengers to share expenses giving more freedom.Not allowing passengers to bring their own choice of alcoholic drinks was a big disappointment as we enjoy a few drinks on holiday and relax in the privacy of our room or cabin.In summary,it was an experience to 'enjoy' but,cruises calling at different ports of call in the same country giving some 7 or 8 hours to go sightseeing instead fewer ports of call and spread of different countries giving more time for sightseeing and definitely,NOWHERE IN INCREDIBLE INDIA after our own experience. Sadly,it is not the country nor the people but sheer BUREAUCRACY that we do not want a repeat of. It is a shame that such itineraries did not include neighbouring Sri Lanka,a tourist friendly paradise with simple on line visa requirement which costs much less. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Firstly, for those who have read my previous reviews I hope I've demonstrated that my comments are as objective as possible and where possible as positive as I can be. This review is based on my expectation for the price we paid. Had ... Read More
Firstly, for those who have read my previous reviews I hope I've demonstrated that my comments are as objective as possible and where possible as positive as I can be. This review is based on my expectation for the price we paid. Had I paid less I may have thought our experience was acceptable. This is quite long, but bear with me! As a result of lots of positive comments from friends and the fact that I love anything to do with water we decided to give Cruising a go. I chose Royal Caribbean because it sounded like an American company and therefore I expected a really high standard of customer service. Furthermore, as it was a first time experience I decided to go for a high-end option. To make the booking I initially rang straight through to RCI, but they couldn't organise the itinerary I wanted (odd), but they sold the cruise well so I contacted my own agent and they were able to book the complete deal without any fuss (dial a flight -- Michelle). Paying the amount we did we expected priority for various procedures such as boarding, lounges, bathing, dining, the usual and from the tone of the call to RCI I wasn't expecting anything less -- you get what you pay for. We set off, really looking forward to the trip! We arrived at the port in Dubai to embark on the 'Serenade of the Seas' (1) We were surprised to note that there was no one at the entrance to identify what type of customer we were and to guide us from there. In fact this set the tone for the trip and much of what we discovered over the next 7 days was as a result of default rather than good customer care. We made our way to the check in and were advised that we could access our stateroom at 1pm. (2) we were told to wait in the general waiting area. First impression was not very good. (3) Deck 11 is a bit tired looking and reminiscent of a 2-3 star holiday camp. By the way, I was 15 years old the last time I was at a holiday camp and I think I'm well past that type of experience! We made our way to what was an Owners Suite. It's a 2 bed-roomed suite with a living area, a bathroom, en-suite and balcony. Couldn't swing a cat on the balcony as 2 sun-beds, a table and 2 chairs took up all the room. (4) As the week progressed the balcony became a real source of irritation. We were in very high temperatures and as the barrier was fully with no ventilation it became like an oven so unusable! By day 2 when I realised that getting a location on the general sun deck that didn't involve getting intimately close up and personal with all the other guests was nigh on impossible, the fact I couldn't our balcony was really frustrating. Later that afternoon we went in search of lunch. 'The Windjammer' was the only option. This is a buffet style canteen. First impression -- Staff really very miserable and unfriendly -- oh dear, and worst of all, plastic plates - Yuk! Unfortunately, having 24 years in the customer services sector means I'm more aware of what good service is and if you've read my previous reviews I'm really good at complimenting those organisation who deliver well. However, rather than throw myself overboard I decided that the best course of action is to eat (the plastic food) and have a glass of wine. (5) We had bought the premium drinks package $55 per day per person, which included all types of drinks. Total cost to us, as 4 adults in the family, was £995 for the week. We aren't heavy drinkers, but we didn't want the hassle of having pay for each item so consolidating it seemed a good idea. I asked the rather fed up waitress if I could have a glass of wine. Waitress - "Do you want red or white?" Me- "White wine pleases. What have you got?" Waitress- "Chardonnay" Me- "Don't you have Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Grigio" After all these are probably 2 of the most popular grapes!! Waitress- "No, just Chardonnay!" Brilliant, I thought, this is going from bad to worse, which way to throw myself over board? So far rubbish greeting, shabby boat, horrendous canteen, miserable staff and now I can't get something reasonable to drink! Needless to say we dispensed with the premier drinks package -- at the end of the week we spent less than the cost of the package anyway, so would not have been worth it! (6) When we got to the cabin we were advised that our luggage would be delivered to our cabin by 8pm. Joy -- this meant we wouldn't have had the option to lie in the sun as we didn't have any swim wear! We booked 'my time dining' for 6.30pm so couldn't get changed for dinner either! (7) Our cabin attendant arrived to show us round the cabin. He was a nice chap but not very informative. He showed us the manual and left. At 6.30 we made our way to 'my time dining' located in the Reflections restaurant. It was very cramped, but looked really pleasant and professional. Nice tableware, neatly laid out and thankfully smiley waiting staff. Thank God for Yasar and Harry. Yasar is from the Philippines and was genuinely keen to ensure that we had a good dining experience. Our family just loved him. He was so sweet and polite, and so we generally took his menu recommendation. To be fair, he was normally absolutely right. 'Miss Alice' and 'Sir Alan' was how he addressed my daughter and husband, I think I was 'Madam Janet' and he really made up for the poor impression we'd had up to that point. What was even more endearing was that even though we'd eaten at the speciality restaurants for the following 3 nights and given that there were 2000 guests on board, he remembered our names when we ate there again. So impressed were we with this team we ate there for the rest of the week. Harry was also really sweet and as the week progressed he opened up a little more. They made a very good team. Top tip -- Take the 'wine package' for dinnertime, as you get better choices and overall probably works out as being more cost effective. General comments - (8) Entertainers on this ship were awful. Singing is not there best feature! Whoever auditioned them needs to have their ears tested. The karaoke singers in the pub were better. - Casino -- Staff don't smile. We didn't actually use the casino, as we wouldn't know what to do except lose money, but it was interesting to observe. - Theatre Shows - My husband and daughter attended the Beatle's night (big hype for this show!), and had it not been for the fact they were at the front, they would have left very early on. I was given the impression that the shows were fabulous on a cruise -- not evident on this one! - Pool area and sun deck -- one word Horrible. Beds were plastic and uncomfortable and far too close (some very intimate moments could be had if you were that way inclined) and the pool looked decidedly dodgy. (9) I love the sun and it was one of the key features of why we chose this cruise. However, I managed 6 very unbearable hours in cramped and thoroughly unpleasant bathing conditions. My family did not even entertain the idea of going out onto the deck and as our balcony was like an oven we couldn't lie out in our own space. As a result we came home the same colour as we left! - Restaurants - Chops Grill -- Really, really great steaks and pudding. A definite must. Giovanni's -- Good Italian food. Azumi -- very bland and lacked character - Concierge Club -- Opening hours not brilliant as these were 8-10.30am and 5-8.30pm. Wasn't opened on day 1 from 1pm, which would have been really useful as could have given us a lot of information. We were booked on an early sitting so didn't get round to going there until day 3. Provided complimentary drinks and food, which were okay, but no Gordon's or Bombay Gin! Dawson and Lee were lovely and ensured that we were never without a drink. Francois was really helpful. - Trips -- Seriously overpriced and so we didn't use the service - Stop over's --Throughout the trip we docked at industrial ports so nothing attractive to look at. Nothing to be done about that, but again as we were first timers it was disappointing. Suggestions -- as per numbers 1. There should be someone to meet priority clients and to guide them through the process of checking in and then advise what to do 2. The concierge lounge should be open for the whole day on day 1, as it would allow guests to meet each other, break the ice so to speak. It would also provide an opportunity to learn more about what to expect or what is provided during the trip rather than guests having to figure it out as they go along 3. I understand that the ship has had recent refurbishments and this is evident in most parts of the ship, but the areas on deck 11 look really worn, so first impression not good. Other areas did look good. 4. The balcony should have slatted barrier to allow air to get through. Useless in extremely high temperatures 5. Premier drinks package should have a variety of wines. Lets face it a reasonable bottle of Sauvignon Blanc can be bought at cost for a few pounds, in bulk even less, so don't be mean. It appears a bit money grabbing!! 6. For priority client's luggage should be taken to rooms at earliest time, otherwise what's the point in paying extra? 7. Cabin attendants for Gold card clients should be given time to actually instruct their guests on options and what to do rather than directing them to a manual to read 8. Get better singers. 9. Section off an area for Gold card clients to sunbath What we loved 1. 70's night was hilarious 2. The guests who sang on the Karaoke night 3. Yasar, Harry, Dawson, Lee and Francois 4. Chops Grill 5. Coming home! Would we cruise again -- Yes, but on a smaller and more customer focused ship. We would never travel to this part of the world again and will try Europe or somewhere that has a more attractive and interesting landscape. Also one where you pay for the whole package rather than feeling as though everywhere you turn someone is after more money. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We started off on a bad start after flying to Dubai from Manchester & 1 of our suitcases went missing with all our clothes in. The case we received had all toiletries etc in. To cut a long story short, it turned up at our hotel in ... Read More
We started off on a bad start after flying to Dubai from Manchester & 1 of our suitcases went missing with all our clothes in. The case we received had all toiletries etc in. To cut a long story short, it turned up at our hotel in Dubai the morning after before setting off on our cruise so what a relief that was. After arriving at the port, it was manic, we were queuing for 2& 1/2 hours before eventually boarding the ship. We got talking to people who had cruised before & they were saying they'd never had anything like that before. After boarding the ship, we went to our room which was nice then went for our safety talk in case of emergency etc. A reggae band started playing on deck 11 which were brilliant & was playing while we set sail. We were celebrating our silver wedding which they knew about. We sailed on the 14th May 2012 & our anniversary was on the 23rd may 2012. On the 1st night we went to the Magic Flute dining room & they sat us on a table with 4 other people & we could not wish for better people to sit with. One of the couples, we ended up spending the whole duration with & they didn't live far from us. We we're Huddersfield & they were leeds. That same night we got talking to a lovely couple from Hull who we also spent the rest of our holiday with (all similar age & sense of humour). We were quite disappointed with the entertainment. We got told entertainment on Royal Caribbean was excellent. I'm sorry but we have better entertainment in our local bowling club on a sunday afternoon & to say there were over 3000 passengers on board, the bars were empty. There were smoking allowed in The Vault nightclub which spoiled it because there didn't seem to be any ventilationThere were also smoking allowed on the right hand side walking into the Windjamer restaurant so you had to walk through all the smoke if you wanted to eat there. We visited Goa, Cochin, penang, Kuarla Lumpar & Singapore. All those places were fantastic & we did our own thing rather than book trips off the ship. We shared taxi's with the people we met so was much cheaper. We only saw our room attendant twice & for four days she left our soap dispenser empty in the shower. Fortunately we took our own. The most disappointing thing for me was on our silver wedding, i thought they might have at least given us a bottle of cheap bubbly or put a small bouquet of flowers in our room, but no there was nothing at all yet when we went to Cuba & mexico for our Anniversary they gave us champagne, sprinkled the room with rose petals & alsorts,they proper spoiled us & it weren't a special anniversary. It was the people we met who spoiled us. One couple bought us a superb picture that we had taken on the ship in a beautiful frame & the others were fantastic, they made sure we had a good celebration. In the restaurant if our friends hadn't have told the waitress we wouldn't have got anything, even then it was a piece of cake about 2" square with 1 candle on & they sang happy anniversary to you (not happy birthday). I think if there were just my hubby & i, we wouldn't have enjoyed it nowhere near has much so thanks to all the lovely people we met for making it so enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
We travelled to Dubai on 13/05/12 and spent 2 nights in the Hyatt Regency (separate review on Trip Advisor). Set sail from Dubai on 15/05/12, going to Goa, Cochin, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Spent 3 nights in Singapore in the ... Read More
We travelled to Dubai on 13/05/12 and spent 2 nights in the Hyatt Regency (separate review on Trip Advisor). Set sail from Dubai on 15/05/12, going to Goa, Cochin, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Spent 3 nights in Singapore in the Marina Mandarin (again separate review on Trip Advisor). Boarding - was a nightmare, seemed very disorganised and a few people passed out due to the heat. As we were travelling with my 2 year old son, staff noticed he was struggling in the heat and rushed us to the front of the queue (very considerate). Ship - is lovely. All the common areas are well looked after but I have to say I was slightly surprised that the state rooms are a little dated. They do have everything needed and suit most needs, but I expected a little more. We had x2 D1 balcony cabins, my Mothers was next to ours (room 7364). Food - no real complaints. Some of the food was average but the majority was delicious. Johnny Rockets is not worth the money, food was very average but the experience of the staff dancing and singing is enjoyable even if you only do it once. Drinks - were very expensive (around $10 for a cocktail), some drinks were weak and not as nice as back home. Wish we'd bought the wine package as we had a couple of bottles during the cruise but they weren't worth the money really. We obviously did not drink much as had our son with us. We opted for the soda package for me and my partner, and the water package for us all (used this is mix with sugar free cordial I took in our suitcases for our son). This is definitely worth buying before the cruise as an add on. Excursions - hit and miss really. Cochin and Kuala Lumpur weren't good but Penang was an amazing excursion and well worth the money. Many people we talked to had made their own arrangements off ship for a lot less money (something to bear in mind if you prefer independent travel). Facilities - mostly great but have to complain about lack of things for a child my sons age. The children's deck area and pool were closed until the 2nd day before the cruise ended so we had to take him into the adults pool most of the time. The children's clubs did not have a club running for his age (which oddly they advertise they do)? We would have only used them for a couple of hours when it was really hot or if we wanted to try a speciality restaurant (children under 13 are not allowed in these) - but we could not as the club said they would only take over 3's? When I queried why, they couldn't give a straight answer but it obviously had something to do with the fact that there were only 35 children on board (my son being the youngest). This was really disappointing as my son would have loved to have spent more time with other children, playing out of the sun... I did complain but have heard nothing back from Royal Caribbean (no surprises, as everyone I spoke to who had travelled with them before said their Customer Services are rubbish). Staff - almost all of them are truly fantastic and work so hard. Our Waiter Amnat (from Thailand) was amazing. He couldn't do enough for us and paid particular attention to our son. He'd even bring us snacks to take away if our son hadn't eaten much. Would I cruise again with RC, yes I would but I would want assurances that there would be clubs and activities for our son. He didn't travel for free and it was his holiday too. They could have been more accommodating for his age group. Plus we lost his beloved blankie in the Cafe Promenade, it was never found :-( So if you happen to find a yellow plush blanket with a little elephant on the corner, during your travels, I'll email you my address for its safe return!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Our last cruise with RC was about 11 years ago on the Splendour of the Seas- then a new ship. We enjoyed the cruise, but felt a bit disappointed overall. Mainly, I suppose, because standards were lower than the last time. We had no ... Read More
Our last cruise with RC was about 11 years ago on the Splendour of the Seas- then a new ship. We enjoyed the cruise, but felt a bit disappointed overall. Mainly, I suppose, because standards were lower than the last time. We had no real interest in the ports other than getting to see Petra. Our main reason for the cruise was the two day stop in Alexandria, where we have a relative staying at the moment. So, good points:- Nice cabin with a small but adequate balcony. (Knowing we were in hot countries made a balcony seem a good idea.)Very good cabin attendant. Lots of free tea/coffee/squash available. Public areas good and not too crowded considering the ship was full; mind you, it was good weather, so lots of people spent time outside. All staff seemed helpful and efficient. Excellent transfers to and from the ship- "seamless" would be an appropriate term. Windjammer food fine; cafeteria type basis but works well. Pretty good selection though both wife and I felt many sweets were a bit insipid. Cruise Director's camp humour was charming. Entertainment good. Modern engineering means a very quiet ship, with only very mild vibration- more towards the stern. Not so good points:- Cabin Air Con- seemed barely able to keep up with daytime temperatures of 30 degrees. Restaurant food, to be honest, pretty poor. Never really more than warm, and not exciting presentation. Nowhere near as good as last time. Restaurant service haphazard at times and our waiters seemed a bit rushed: odd as 8 guests on our table never once appeared for a meal- must have used the Windjammer all the time. I don't blame them!Our assistant waiter seemed unable to tell the difference between requests for red and white wine! Daytime activities a bit limited; plenty of things to do, it seemed at first sight, but when one looked closely, not quite as much as one might think. In my view, the bar/wine prices are extortionate; maybe this is how RC really make their money? i.e. Offering a good base-price then shoving on lots of extras. Remember all bar prices have a 15% gratuity added too. So, about US$ 7 for less than a pint of beer, and remember they buy liquor in bulk and, I believe, at duty free prices! Usual expensive excursions. (But we only did one, so that is voluntary.) Expecting you to pay $125 for a tour of the bridge, the galley and engine room!!!! Why the need for salt-water pools? The Chief Engineer said that they can make 1,700 TONS of fresh water a day! (Though they don't need to.) I really don't like the way RC make their passengers responsible for their staff's salaries: we paid our waiters' gratuities in full, despite having given up on dining in the main dining room. The risible "art" on sale. Sad that staff members ask, to your face, for an "excellent" rating when one sends in feedback. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
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
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
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
We have just returned from our Brilliance of the seas cruise around Dubai. We have cruised a few times before and whilst we are not "experts" we know what we like and what we expect from a cruise, so here we go! Flights: We flew ... Read More
We have just returned from our Brilliance of the seas cruise around Dubai. We have cruised a few times before and whilst we are not "experts" we know what we like and what we expect from a cruise, so here we go! Flights: We flew emirates from Gatwick overnight arriving at Dubai 07.30 Monday morning. The flight was fine. It had a good entertainment system on board offering more films / programmes than any other carrier we have used. The screens are larger than many and worked well. Food was typical airline standard, the cabin crew attentive and the seats comfortable (no foot rest which could be a problem for some) the flight was 40 mins late leaving but the time was made up during the journey. All in all not a bad experience. ARRIVAL IN DUBAI Having read some earlier reports we were a little worried about the arrangements when landing. Yes you are taken to a "holding area". This is not as bad as it sounds, coffee and light food is laid on whilst they process you and sort out your sea pass account. Some people did register and then made their own way to Dubai for sightseeing; others went on an optional coach trip around Dubai. We opted to stay at the holding area as we were tired and the thought of a few hours on a coach travelling around Dubai did not appeal. We transferred to the pier about 11am and were on board within 15 mins, No problem at all with check in. PORTS OF CALL Having not been to the area before we were unsure what to expect. We had read all the previous reports so decided that on this rare occasion we would book ships excursions. Muscat: we did our own thing, got the free shuttle to the dock gate and walked in to the small town. Had a look around the souk, grabbed a coffee and sandwich in a local cafe and then strolled back to the ship. Not a lot else we can say really, most people done the same thing. Fujairah: Most people took a tour here, we did to. If you take one don't bother with the one we had "east coast tour" Everyone (including us) moaned about it. You basically get driven up in to the mountains to be shown some have been "removed" and sold to Dubai as hardcore for building projects. To quote the guide, "on the left is a mountain, further down the road you can see a clearing, this is where a mountain used to be before it was removed and sold to Dubai" --- riveting! Abu Dhabi: What a fantastic place, we wish they had missed out Fujairah altogether and gone strait here. We done the city tour, great fun and informative. Most people we spoke to enjoyed the visit here. Bahrain: We took the tour "relax day" basically they take you to a hotel with private pool / beach for the day. On the way they give you a quick tour of the city. We enjoyed it as we fancied a day lounging around a decent pool / beach. The hotel was great, the tour includes lunch which was first class and the staff were just fantastic. They could certainly teach some skills to the crew on the Brilliance but we will come on to this! Our only gripe about the day was that the "beach" was about 500 yards long and believe it or not the sea was freezing! Many people stayed on board this day, some took tours and a few used taxis. They appear to have sorted out the problems with taxi drivers trying to rip people off but beware! We did talk to a couple of American woman who had to call the police when the driver demanded $175 for a journey that should have been around $70. The Ship: The Brilliance is starting to look a little "tired". Having said that she was spotlessly clean, many of the carpets are new and the furnishings are in a good state of repair. It's not until you look closely that you realise paint is flaking in quite a few places. We believe it's because they just keep slapping another coat on any area that looks bad. Rust is also showing on many balcony areas. None of this posed a problem for us because as we stated all areas were very clean. FOOD / DINING: When we cruise we expect good quality well presented food from attentive waiting staff. This for us is where it all went wrong. The food at best was mediocre, the presentation of the food was appalling and the waiting staff had so many people to serve it was impossible for them to give the service we would expect. Royal Caribbean appear to have cut back on staff numbers to the extent that customers loose that "pampered feeling". No longer chocolate on your pillow, no turndown service at night, no feeling of "let me spoil you ". Drinks: We were shocked to find that rcl had suspended the normal wine packs that they sell when cruising. First we were told that this was because wine was in short supply. However it was apparent this was not the case they had just decided to try to squeeze a little more money from the guests. Prices in the bars for beers and spirits was also a little on the high side. (That was if you didn't give up waiting to be served by the bar staff who again where greatly understaffed.) It was not unusual to wait for 10 to 15 mins for a drink because the poor barman was on his own! So in conclusion, Did we enjoy the area, yes to a point Could rcl have made the experience better, you bet! Would we cruise again with rcl, Not a chance, How many more loyal customers will rcl alienate before they read the writing on the wall! Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Our pre-cruise stay at the Hilton Beach Resort and Spa in Ras al Khaimah was the perfect location to unwind from the flight from the UK and may have spoilt us for what what was our first (and last) cruise experience. On arrival at ... Read More
Our pre-cruise stay at the Hilton Beach Resort and Spa in Ras al Khaimah was the perfect location to unwind from the flight from the UK and may have spoilt us for what what was our first (and last) cruise experience. On arrival at dockside in Dubai we could not board The Brilliance of the Seas because all the check-in computers were down and we had to wait almost 2 hours before being processed and allowed on board. The stateroom we had booked was their largest but when we saw what space we had we were gobsmacked, at its widest you had about 3 feet of space between the end of the bed and wall, about 10 feet in all, if I opened the toilet/shower room door when my wife was getting dressed, she ended up being knocked into the wardrobe. Having said that, the queen size bed was comfortable and with a small sofa in front of the television, it was just about adequate. Our troubles started at our 9.00am breakfast the following morning. We decided to eat in the Windjammer Cafe as breakfast served in the dining room ceased at 9.30am. The place was heaving with people when we arrived and it took five minutes to find vacant seats. The choice of buffet breakfast was very good, but the layout of the serveries meant you walked around for ages before you found all the components for your meal, then you went for your toast. Seeing that over half of the passengers were British, and the average Brit has 2 slices of toast for breakfast, they had one toasting machine catering for everyone, including those who wanted bagles, rolls, etc. The queue was sometime 20-plus and with the air conditioning working very efficiently, by the time you sat down with your breakfast it was stone cold. At lunchtime, this same apparent lack of of equipment meant that the queue for the one servery for chips stretched an equally long distance. We had no complaints about the evening meal in the dining room, this was first class with a varied menu and excellent service. We had opted for a table for six but when we arrived we had a table for 12 with just one other couple to keep us company. Luckily we got on very well, but it could well have been a disaster. We had ordered a wine package online but because this was a Muslim country, they had not received the delivery so we had to pay the onboard price - around £30 a bottle There are two sittings for dinner, we chose the early 6pm sitting which usually finished between 7.30pm and 8.00pm. Again the problem of space arose when we tried to find seats in the main Schooner Bar for after-dinner drinks. This was always full and meant you either had to sit in the Colony Club and put up with bingo and quizes or go to the sports bar which had very basic seating and plenty of smokers. On our first night we enjoyed a bottle of Moet in the small Champagne Bar but on subsequent nights we found all the seats in here taken by people drinking beer and spirits. The lack of facilities were by now taking its toll. Our days consisted mainly of sunbathing on deck, as the ports of call were all container ports, meaning you had to get a shuttle from the ship to the town, where you were left to your own devices unless you had booked an excursion. The opinion of most people we spoke to were once you had seen one Royal Palace, one Mosque and one Gold Soukh all the rest were very much the same, so our only trip out was in Dubai itself. There were no excursions on our second to last day as we were sailing back to Dubai so the ship was full. Knowing exactly what would happen, I had an early breakfast and grabbed a sunbed at 9.15am and then sat and watched as people began wandering aimlessly around with towels trying to find somewhere in the sun to sit. No chance . . . all the available space was taken and a lot of frustrated sunbathers had to sit in the shade. As this holiday was an experiment to see if cruises would suit us, we decided on 7 nights with Royal Caribbean, as their reputation for quality is well documented. What a disappointment. They have got too greedy by cramming as many staterooms as possible onto the Brilliance of the Seas but have neglected to provide adequate facilities to cope with numbers at peak times. It felt a lot of the time like being at an up-market Butlins holiday camp, but with the rip-off drinks prices of a 5-star hotel - and nowhere to escape to. We had no complaints with the standards of dEcor on board or the service outside of peak times, the casino was very spacious where we spent many hours playing the slots and blackjack. The entertainment was first class with a different show every night - and Gordon, the 'camp entertainer', was a good all-rounder. To summarise, the Brilliance of the Sea has been built to a high standard spec with enough variety of eateries, bars, lounges to satisfy most people but we found it just too congested, with everybody going to the same venues at the same time meaning no seats and slow service. The UAE destination was also a mistake with lack of variety in the ports of call. We have decided to give cruising a miss in future, but for those people prepared to give it a try we would recommend paying a little more for a smaller ship cruising the Med or Caribbean, or for those who love to mingle with the crowds to go for the Ocean Village or Oasis of the Sea experience and pay less money. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
I cruised for a week with my parents on the Brilliance in early Feb. It does not reflect the cruiseline, but our flight from Heathrow on Emitares new A380s were fine. They hold a lot of people, and it takes a long time to get on and off ... Read More
I cruised for a week with my parents on the Brilliance in early Feb. It does not reflect the cruiseline, but our flight from Heathrow on Emitares new A380s were fine. They hold a lot of people, and it takes a long time to get on and off the plane, but it went smoothly. The in-seat TVs are great, the choices are amazing. If you don't find something to watch, theres a problem. There are also some games and a music library. Embarkation didn't take too long. It all depends on when people are flying in. If a bunch of buses show up at once, you have to queue. If not, the process is quick. I never had a problem, and if you do have to wait, there are seats and free wi-fi in the terminal. The ship itself is nice. I haven't been on a Royal Caribbean ship before, and it was nice and clean. The pool area was often crowded though, it was almost impossible to find a chair after 9am, because people would go and throw their towels on them. The buffet area is nice and some good choices. There is a fair amount of seating, and if you go out back and sit outside, there are always tables. The main dining room was nice. The waiters were excellent, and the food was fine. Generally, cruiseline food quality has declined in recent years, so it wasn't fabulous but it was fine. We ate one night in Chops steakhouse, and the food and service was excellent. It was worth the extra charge for a special night out. We went to the Murder Mystery and dinner in the Italian restaurant was included in the price. The food was good, and the entertainment was great. The shows cast does the mystery, and they are a lot of fun. You'll really enjoy this, but be careful, it sells out quickly. It's worth the price. The shows in the theatre were all good. The cast is great, great singers and dancers. We saw all three shows and enjoyed them all. The tango show is especially good, as it features tango dancers from Argentina. It is the most 'different' cruise production. But the cast is all really nice and great performers. The cruise director Gordon is great. He's really funny and charming. Try and have a chat with him if you can. He's a great guy. The TV channel options are horrible. They play the same stuff on a loop over and over again. There are only a couple live news channels, but everything else is BAD BAD BAD. If you are traveling with children, or just like to watch stuff, bring a DVD player or a laptop with some DVDs, because you won't be getting much from the TV at all. Unfortunately there was NO enrichment that I could find. I would have loved to have an archeologist or lecturer speak about the area of the world we were in. This is where civilization began. There is so much history and culture, and it would have been nice to learn more about it. If you are interested in history, do your reading ahead of time! The photographers were not as pushy as I see on other ships. That was nice. People I talked to at guest relations were rude. They seem to not care at all about helping the guests or making things go smoothly. A lot of staff enjoys being on the ship, but guest relations seem to just see it as a job they need to get through. Something should really be done. I find if you go with a reasonable request, they will do all they can to help you, but on this ship, they didn't. I didn't even have a complaint, just a question, and I was treated as though I was a bother to them. Not at all impressed. Explorations (the tours) was tricky because the ship is new to the area. So I understood that the staff was still learning about the destinations and tours. But the lines were rediculously long. Even at the end of the cruise, they had long lines. They really need more excursion staff on the ship. I went to the desk one time, and a girl from the casino was working there, and didn't know much. It wasn't her fault, it wasn't her job. But they need a bigger desk and more staff. The hours were also very short, so every guest had to go see them all at once. The ports were mixed. Dubai is great, and Abu Dhabi is great. Taxis are cheap, there is plenty to see and do. Please make sure you go out and see these cities! Muscat Oman is ok. The port has shuttles that run back and forth into the little town. These shuttles aren't run by the cruiseline, so don't blame Royal Caribbean if there is a problem, cause it isn't them. The town they bring you to is NOT downtown Muscat. There are some restaurants and a market to walk around in, but if you want to go into the city, you take a cab. Negotiate. Don't pay their rate. Also, get familiar with the money. Negotiate a rate in UAE Dirhams. They will accept them. The palace in the city is pretty cool, probably the highlight. Fujairah didn't seem to offer anything. We walked to a few duty free shops, but there is nothing else in walking distance. There are apparent beaches to go to, but we never left the port area. This seems to be a bad port, and I got the feeling they only decided to go here because they had to fill a day. I would have prefered an overnight stay in Abu Dhabi or a visit to Qatar instead. Bahrain is interesting. The port is really REALLY far from everything. There is nothing to walk to. You need to take a tour. That being said, take a tour. It is an interesting country and there ARE things of interest to see and do. The first cruise caused a lot of problems, because taxis were charging naive guests hundreds of dollars for taxi rides, and so the cruiseline is weary of recommending taxis here. That is responsible of them, they recognized a problem and are warning guests about it. Disembarkation was not pleasant. It was easy to get off the ship, but they kick you off by 9am, and most flights aren't until the evening or the next morning. So a lot of people had to bring their luggage around Dubai or sit in the airport. The cruiseline should set up a program where you disembark but they store your luggage for the day. That way people can pick up their bags later and go to the airport, maximizing time in Dubai. It wouldn't be a big deal, because the ship is in Dubai until the next day anyways. This would make a huge difference and wouldn't leave such a bad taste in your mouth at the end of the vacation. Overall we did enjoy the cruise. The staff was mostly wonderful and the shows and entertainment were good. The guest relations staff and disembarkation were negatives. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
Boarde the ship in Dubai, total fiasco some passengers were waiting hours in a holding pen many elderly were sitting on the floor, total chaos. On boarding our junior suite i looked at the bedding and found stains all over the duvet cover, ... Read More
Boarde the ship in Dubai, total fiasco some passengers were waiting hours in a holding pen many elderly were sitting on the floor, total chaos. On boarding our junior suite i looked at the bedding and found stains all over the duvet cover, pillows were filthy and had no protectors on. I think they only put top sheet over the duvet to save changing it every turnround which is disgusting. It was changed immediately. Drawers had dark hairs in them very off putting. Ship generally was very nice but not a lot of space to move around when full. Entertainment was the worst ever I have experienced on the 25 other cruises I have been on. Lots of Brits on board (I am one) but it was like a camp site with Karaoke type singers. Mainly in the bars the artists completely out of tune and very old music, many people complaining. The cruise staff and director were a joke hardly ever seen around the ship and looked scruffy in their uniforms. We arrived in 'Bahrain and were literally dumped outside the port to where the taxis were waiting. We wanted to go to Yacht club which should have been 6 dollars they wanted to charge 100 dollars each way for a 15 minute journey. 2 Bus loads of passengers decided enough was enough and went back to ship as usual no Ships personnel around so we went to Pursers desk, attitude was terrible we demanded to see an officer about 50 of us and said if they did not do anything we would all meet the dignitaries that were coming on board for a VIP lunch, amazing how things change. They then decided to put a shuttle bus on for the guests to the town but of course you had to pay. Their Brand is generally cheap, tacky drinks lists, half the European wines were out of stock, staff had poor knowledge of wines, no nuts served with aperitifs you had to ask for them, no bin liners in any of the bins, cheap toilet paper. Our suite had lots of flies as is was situated at the back, you could smell rotting fruit. The Windjammer restaurant was filthy food on floor worktops not cleaned and lots of flies. Mentioned it to staff but not really interested. All in all staff need a wake up call we the passengers have choices and I am going back to Princess Cruises. Hope this helps. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
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