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191 Royal Caribbean Dubai Cruise Reviews

We boarded the ship in Dubai, to Barcelona, having originally booked to stay on her to Miami, until a change of dry dock was made. Prior to boarding, we stayed a few days in Dubai, & had such a lovely experience in our hotel, that ... Read More
We boarded the ship in Dubai, to Barcelona, having originally booked to stay on her to Miami, until a change of dry dock was made. Prior to boarding, we stayed a few days in Dubai, & had such a lovely experience in our hotel, that at we wondered if the ship would be a disappointment. How wrong could we be ! The ship was in good condition, especially when she was going in for a massive refurb at the end of the cruise. Of course there was some rust, but anyone who sailed on the final cruise of the Legend of the seas, will know what a bad condition looks like.... The crew were absolutely wonderful, always smiling, helpful, interactive & generally a pleasure to be with. We had a balcony room on deck 8, which was well maintained by Richard. The SRA in the section beside ours, Tito, was also a lovely chap, and we chatted with him at least twice daily. All crew we encountered were super, but at this juncture, we shall name a few who stood out... Himanju & Ying Ying, dining servers on deck 3. Carina, Next Cruise staff, who we hope to meet again soon on the Indie. Achmad & his Chinese colleague, housekeeping staff, who checked sea passes on entry to the evening event on deck 14. Both Concierges, Grecia & Tao. Rikardo, the lead barman & his colleagues, in the Diamond Lounge. Darmie M, supervisor, and all her crew on the pool deck. She was very good at checking the reserved chair area at the pool, to ensure only Gold card holders were present. We wish her well with the birth of her baby. The breakfast crew in Chop's Grille, the greeter, Jonn, Valeriano & Joenel, servers, were a joy to meet in the mornings. After the first morning, they knew exactly what we would like & when it was quiet, our food was served quickly. Fresh OJ, berries & yoghurt were served almost immediately & the cooked food my husband ordered was hot and cooked to perfection. Jing Jiang, wait staff in the WJ, was a lovely girl, a friend of Ying Ying, who interacted with us daily at lunchtime & we sometimes saw her in the evening if she was on duty in the MTD restaurant. Aaron, GSM, with whom we had a very good conversation. HD & CD were both very attentive & visible on a regular basis. Douglas R, Beverage Manager was very attentive & we appreciated his kind gestures ! If we have omitted anyone, apologies, but be assured that all crew we met were exceptional. The only ones who could have been a bit more upbeat...the Loyalty Ambassadors, but reckon they were tired, & fed up with trivial complaints from scores of passengers. As Pinnacle members, we enjoyed some additional perks, but the fact that there were no robes available when we embarked was a bit annoying. We eventually got one robe towards the end of the cruise after speaking with YinTao, Suite Concierge...many bows to him !! The executive chef Andy Bouchard was a joy to speak with, & he runs a good team. We found the food, on the whole, to be good, with an odd exception, but that can happen anywhere. There was nothing about which we could complain on a regular basis. When I asked for meat to be medium rare, that's exactly how I got it. There was only one occasion when the steak I ordered was too gristley, but I declined an alternative as I was too full. When you consider the number of people the chefs have to cater for, order their ingredients prior to sailing, not have the opportunity to nip out to a supplier if some ingredients are not up to scratch when preparing the menu, then they deserve full kudos for their efforts. When we heard some people complaining about the food, we did wonder what they prepared and ate at home. Judging by some of the plates we saw, not exactly nutritious choices. We even heard one couple complain that there was nothing except deep fried food on offer.....The only deep fried food my husband ever ate, was the occasional French fry, the rest was well balanced & healthy. The one consistent gripe we have, which is fleet wide....smoking, especially in the casino, which permeated through the bars close by. The smoking area on deck was also objectionable. Smoke travels & doesn't remain in one spot. Some ships have small areas on deck assigned to smokers, not the entire length of the deck. Really wish the ships had a small enclosed area where smokers could congregate, inhale each others smoke & leave the rest off us to enjoy fresh air, without obvious pollution. Passive smoking is as injurious to health as active smoking. The crew in the casino are subjected to smoke on a daily basis,& that is not good for them. The transit through the Suez Canal went very smoothly. Captain Arild was good at informing us what was happening & he too seemed very personable, although we didn't see him as visible as some Captains. We didn't bother attending many of the shows, but the Ice show was good, especially with Ricky giving an after show performance !!! The only other show we attended... Beatles Celebration. They were very good, & much appreciated by all the audience. We have seen/ heard them several times, & they are consistently good, so we hope we have the opportunity of seeing them again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Only we can respond very positively Very much enjoyed the cabins very clean taking care of the cabin very frendli Once again we are very thankful Restaurants very attentive waiters just great And again very very clean and well ... Read More
Only we can respond very positively Very much enjoyed the cabins very clean taking care of the cabin very frendli Once again we are very thankful Restaurants very attentive waiters just great And again very very clean and well cared for every consumer The whole crew just great Thank you very much, the company should be proud of such responsible employees Ship well maintained, cleaned all the time. Crew very takes care of the passengers. The pasengers have two pools ,solarium designated walking trail sunbathing areas,then the gymnasium is well equipped for everyone,We with a wife think that in such an equipped ship everyone will take care of themselves.We also need to talk about places like shops, with all passengers needing and excellent service in these stores.It is also hard not to mention the Japanese restaurant, the Italian, the center where most of the events took plac.Thank you very much for organizing tours Stay on a ship filled to the max with various entertainment Thanks Thanks !! Halina i Janusz Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
What a wonderful adventure!! From the arrival terminal to final destination in Venice, this was a fantastic cruise. The Vision was in great ship. Have read a lot of negative comments before we left and was pleasantly surprised on how ... Read More
What a wonderful adventure!! From the arrival terminal to final destination in Venice, this was a fantastic cruise. The Vision was in great ship. Have read a lot of negative comments before we left and was pleasantly surprised on how good a shape she was in. The departure terminal in Dubai is one of the best departure experiences we've ever had. From arrival to on-board was maybe 30 minutes. Beautiful facility and lots of agents to speed the process. Our JS cabin was wonderful. Never had a JS before. Well appointed, spacious, well decorated. For 16 days, it was very nice having the extra room. Had an aft corner balcony which on this class ship is absolutely huge. Wraps around the side of the cabin. The service, from cabin steward to dining room, was excellent. Food in the Wind Jammer was disappointing but we seldom eat there. Dining room meals were ok but nothing to write home about. Chops Grill was fantastic. Well worth the extra charge. Giovanni's was pretty good. Did not try the Asian restaurant. Wine list was very disappointing. We had the beverage package and few of the wines by the glass offered on the wine list were available and those that were available were very poor quality. We won't get the beverage package again. Entertainment was outstanding, some of the best we've had on RC. We only took one shore excursion from the ship (Muscat, Oman) and it was ok. We are starting to stear away from ship shore excursions. We booked our own in Jordan, Israel and Greece and they all worked out very well. All in all, a wonderful trip. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Ship is old, but kept up. many sea days with not enough activities going on around the ship, could have had more hands on activities for everyone. Meals were very good service was outstanding both at the buffet and the main dinning room. ... Read More
Ship is old, but kept up. many sea days with not enough activities going on around the ship, could have had more hands on activities for everyone. Meals were very good service was outstanding both at the buffet and the main dinning room. Cabin was very good, well maintained with very good housekeeping. The ports and shore excursions were outstanding, well organized, got everyone off and on in a very timely fashion, The excursions were very good, used very good and informative guides on all of the excursions that we took. The entertainment was good, we enjoyed it. We would do this one again, but would probably look for a newer ship. Both embarkation and disembarkation went very fast and very smoothly, it was well planed and carried out well. Spent extra time at our departure city, when we left the ship. this was probably one of our best cruises that we have taken, mostly because of places that we visited. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
After reading all the awful reviews of this ship before we left on our cruise, we were worried, but we had a great time. It almost seemed like all those other people were on a completely different ship. Embarkation We did get off ... Read More
After reading all the awful reviews of this ship before we left on our cruise, we were worried, but we had a great time. It almost seemed like all those other people were on a completely different ship. Embarkation We did get off to a little bit of a rocky start. We had signed up for an embarkation city tour of Dubai. We had been to Dubai before but our flight landed first thing in the morning and we wanted something to do before we could board the ship. Just before we left home, I received a bunch of emails suggesting that some change had been made to the tour, but none of the emails was very clear. I think they were just trying to remind us that the tour would only work if our flight arrived before a certain time in the morning, but they already had our flight info, so it wasn’t clear why they sent me so many confusing emails. Anyway, they greeted us and took us to the bus, where we sat for 45 minutes without any explanation. I think they were waiting for more people from other flights, but no one told us that. There were already a bunch of people on the bus, and we could see the hotel they were taking us to from the bus, so it seemed like they could have taken us to the hotel and come back for the rest of the people. Eventually, we got to the hotel, where we were told we could have a nice, relaxing hot breakfast before our tour, but relaxing it wasn’t. We had less than half an hour to wait in line and check in for the cruise, go to another desk to check in for the tour, and have breakfast (it was a nice buffet). We were still trying to gobble down some food when they announced that we needed to get on the bus for the city tour. In the future, they should get people to the hotel faster or adjust the departure time of the tour so it isn’t so hectic. The tour itself was great, with a couple photo stops, a short visit in the bastakiya quarter, and a longer stop near the souks. We thought it was a nice overview for anyone who hasn’t been to Dubai before. We got to the pier around 2:00 and the only thing we had to do was have our pictures taken. Then we were able to get on and the cabin was ready. The bags went straight from the bus to the cabin, arriving around 4:00. Cabin I think cabin selection can be a little tricky on this ship. We had a mini-suite on deck 8. We chose deck 8 because we had heard that cabins on deck 7 got a lot of noise from the theater and bars on deck 6. We knew we would have some noise from the pool deck above us, but it turned out to be more noise than we expected, with lots of heavy footfalls overhead, people dragging chairs around, kids running, etc. It never kept us awake at night, but it did go on intermittently all day and very late into the night. That said, the cabin was otherwise pretty perfect, and there was no noise at all from neighboring cabins. There were two chairs with footstools and a full size couch and coffee table along with the usual desk, bed, and nightstands. By ship standards, the balcony was unusually large – sadly, the chairs on the balcony did not recline. The cabin probably had the most storage space of any cabin we’ve had, and a big bathroom with a tub. Our steward was maybe the best one we’ve ever had. He anticipated our needs and always kept everything just right. It was also nice to have a functioning fridge that wasn’t full of stuff they were trying to sell us. If we stood near our door, we could hear the music from the atrium, but it was never a problem. The crew did not seem to make sure that the atrium doors were closed in the evenings, but the passengers caught on and did it themselves, which helped a lot, but you might want to avoid cabins right on the atrium, because they do put the volume pretty high on the activities in the atrium. We did have to keep the A/C turned up almost as far as it would go to keep the cabin cool enough. There also seems to have been a big cutback in the room service breakfast options – no omelets, no oatmeal – the only hot option was scrambled eggs. One thing that seemed odd was that there didn’t seem to be a TV channel where you could hear the announcements, like on other ships we have been on. It was also really annoying not to have beach towels in the cabin, but RCL still treats its passengers like thieves, requiring them to check out towels and return them at specific times and places or face being charged $25 – ridiculous. Dining We ate most of our meals in the buffet – the selections were good and the food was generally very good and it was hot. The only small problem was with beverages. Sometimes the beverage and ice machines worked and sometimes they didn’t. The crew tried to discourage you from getting your own drinks, steering you to prefilled glasses, but the ice melted and watered them down while they sat there. The staff in the buffet was terrific – they were very quick about clearing dishes and offering to get drink refills, etc. On a couple of mornings, the buffet was mobbed due to the number of early tours. Some people were complaining but I thought they handled it just right. They had everyone queue at the entrance while staff with walkie talkies located a table for you so you didn’t have to fill your plate and then wander around trying to find a place to sit while your food gets cold. The system worked well and the line moved quickly. The Purell ladies at the entrance to the buffet (I didn’t catch their names, but they were from Romania and Trinidad) had the perfect personalities for the job – they were funny and welcoming and didn’t give too much hand cleaner. One thing that was both unusual and disappointing was that when the buffet was closed, there actually closed the doors and there was no access to the tables or the drink machines. There was coffee and water available out by the pool, but I think on all other ships we have been on you could still use the tables to play cards or hang out and you could still access the other beverages. We did not eat in the dining room. The food in the specialty restaurants was fine, but I don’t think they were worth the extra money. The food in Izumi was good, but if you’re not a sushi lover you probably don’t need to go more than once. The service got off to a rocky start when the hostess was on the phone for some time, making us wait even though we had a reservation. She then took us to the table but walked off without giving us the menus. When we finally got the menus from our server, one of them was in Chinese and we couldn’t read it. Overall, good food and it was fun to do once, but I don’t need to do it again. Also, there were small children running around. If they want people to pay extra for food, they should probably make the specialty restaurants adults only. In Chop’s Grille, the service was excellent, although the waiter forgot to ask us if we wanted any drinks. The warm bread starter and the toasted goat cheese salad were excellent, as was the crab and shrimp cake. The steaks were terrific – even the petit filet mignon was plenty big, and very tender. The sauces were good, too. I wasn’t impressed with the side dishes, though. The corn seemed to be frozen – it was tough. What the menu described as tater tots turned out to be just cheese (no potatoes). The asparagus was fine, but ordinary. The molten chocolate cake with banana and coconut ice cream was excellent. Dinner in Giovanni’s started with excellent bread and olive oil. We got the antipasti and scallop appetizers and liked both. I wasn’t impressed with any of the pasta dishes, but the entrees and desserts were excellent. If you go to only one specialty restaurant, I would recommend this one, but get a salad or soup and skip the pasta. Shipboard Life There was a good variety of entertainment, including several acts that were quite unique and unlike anything we’ve ever seen before on land or at sea. There were only two production shows, but they were good. We also enjoyed the three lecturers. Roy Short showed movie clips and read from his notes on various movie themes. Sehdev Kumar (a professor from Canada) gave excellent talks on a variety of subjects. Dean Papavassilliou spoke on some of the ports. He could be a little bit difficult to understand, but he was basically reading from his slides so you could follow along. Any slides shown on the main screen in the theater were very difficult to see, but the ship was supposed to get a new projector the day we disembarked, so hopefully the AV issues have since been resolved. They showed some good movies, but they were always too late at night. Even on nights when there didn’t seem to be anything else going on in the theater, they didn’t start the movies until 10:30, which was a shame. Some nights we had a hard time finding anything to do in the evening. If you went to early show, there might be one entertainer playing music somewhere before 10:00 or so, but it was always the same entertainer in the same lounge. We couldn’t figure out why night after night there was a block of 1.5 or 2 hours with no music at all or just the instrumental piano player. Several nights we ended up just going back to our cabin because we couldn’t find anything to do. They’ve done away with the library on this ship, but there are a couple shelves next to the coffee bar that have a few books (many of them were not in English) and some games and the daily puzzle (no newspapers on this ship). I suggest you bring all the reading materials you think you’ll need. The shore excursion and front desk crew that we dealt with were great. This was one of those cruises where they have to repeatedly collect passports and then give them back to you, but they put a desk on every deck and there was never much of a line. In addition to the normal boat drill, there was another passenger drill to explain what the special procedures would be for going through pirate territory (basically, they wanted to keep the ship dark at night, so for three nights the outside decks were closed and balcony drapes needed to be kept closed) and what we should do in case of trouble. There were also extra security on board, just in case, but we had no issues. Muscat, Oman We took the ship’s tour to Nouvelle Nakhl Fort and Resort. We enjoyed the tour. The lunch was very good, with very good service. The fort was interesting and had very nice views of the countryside. It was very hot at the fort, and there are a lot of steps, so you probably don’t want this tour if you have mobility issues. Then we went to the hot springs, where the fish will nibble on your feet. This wasn’t much – basically a stream next to a parking lot. I had expected something more rural, but it was basically in the middle of a town. We were supposed to go to a fishing village next, but the tour description was not accurate and they brought us back to Muscat to the souk instead. At first I wasn’t very happy about that, but it turned out to be a nice experience. We got to the souk right around sundown, when the covered women and the children come out, so it was very good people watching. The souk was also much different from the one in Dubai, with a lot of antiques and architectural pieces (doors, window shutters, etc.), so it was interesting. Aqaba, Jordan The crew favored the ship’s shore excursions over everyone else, so there was a very long line for everyone on private tours and it took a long time to get off the ship. We had an independent tour to Petra and Wadi Rum, which was excellent. We used Jordan Horizons and would use them again, but they were unwilling to group people from the ship, which was sort of a pain. We had to post the tour on CC and come up with a van full of people on our own. That said, it was a very good tour, and we covered a lot more ground than the ship’s tour at a much cheaper price. Suez Canal Excellent. Very interesting day. If you’re going through the canal north-bound, book a balcony cabin on port side – there is a lot more to see on that side of the ship. Ashdod, Israel We booked an independent tour to Jerusalem and the Dead Sea through Guided Tours Israel. We covered a lot of ground with an excellent guide and would not hesitate to use them again. Haifa, Israel We had another independent tour with Guided Tours Israel, which was again excellent. About half the people in our group had trouble getting off the ship because the Israeli authorities in Ashdod had put the wrong dates on their landing cards -- not the ship’s fault. Athens, Greece It was Easter Sunday and almost everything was closed, so we took a ship’s tour called Keep Greek Tradition Alive. They drove us around the city with a couple photo stops and then we went to Zafiro, where we had demonstrations on how they used to make olive oil, grind flour, etc. and cooking demonstrations. The place has amazing views of the city. We had an excellent (and huge!) meal with music, dancers in costumes, plate throwing, etc. The meal was excellent and it was a very nice time. Disembarkation in Venice was easy. We took the ship’s disembarkation tour to Padua on the way to the airport. We got to Padua a little late because the traffic was bad, but it’s a nice place and we had a short walking tour (including the basilica)and then some time on our own. It was a nice way to see a little more before going to the airport. All in all, we had a great time! Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We did a weeks cruise from Dubai getting on the ship was easy and we were on for lunch time The cabin was ready B3019 plenty of hanging space and a good size all I would say was the shower was small but not a problem.We found the food ... Read More
We did a weeks cruise from Dubai getting on the ship was easy and we were on for lunch time The cabin was ready B3019 plenty of hanging space and a good size all I would say was the shower was small but not a problem.We found the food very good with plenty of choice and hot the service in the dinning room was also good.The food up on deck 9 was good with plenty of choice. All the staff were very friendly and polite.Khasab was our first port and we got the free bus to town but not a lot to see. Second was Muscat with an over night stay and we walked into the souk.Abu Dhabi we had a free bus to a mall.And as we were staying in Dubai we stayed on board We had no trouble with sun beds and on the sea day the staff did take things of beds that had been on for a long time.We really enjoyed the cruise and wouls use them again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We booked this cruise on the itinerary alone, being a part of the world we had never seen. We were without kids on this trip and having never cruised before on such an old and comparatively small ship we did have minor reservations about ... Read More
We booked this cruise on the itinerary alone, being a part of the world we had never seen. We were without kids on this trip and having never cruised before on such an old and comparatively small ship we did have minor reservations about this when booking - although being RCCL 'veterans' we had a good idea what to expect! At this point I have to say (and not for the first time) that those who continue to describe ships of a certain age as 'tired' or 'showing their age' are clearly not researching what exactly they are booking. In this day and age all the information you require about anything is easily available so if you don't bother to check it out before you go and adjust expectations accordingly you've only yourself to blame. Making comparisons with Anthem or Oasis or Freedom is just plain ridiculous. In my opinion it's a little harsh to criticise upon your return. First impressions of the ship as you approach her are indeed of a vessel that has been in service for almost 20 years. Once inside however, it is standard Royal Caribbean throughout with all public areas looking pretty damn good after the refurbishment of a few years back. That said, the Solarium if you look closely is in need of a tidy up in places, but we thought everything else was absolutely fine. Our cabin on deck 8 had what looked like a new bathroom and a new mattress and we had no issues with it whatsoever other than some occasional noise from the pool deck above - which we half expected ( research again! ). What really left an impression on us were the crew. Our steward Antonio was possibly the best we've had, whilst Carolina and Vasyl in the dining room were top notch - the latter the best assistant waiter of our 15 cruises. Food in the main dining room was also as good as any we'd had previously, and Giovannis in particular was excellent. For this cruise I'd mark the Windjammer down a notch though, perhaps due to the local availability of certain ingredients. To sum up, we were pleasantly surprised by this ship and if you like cruising and are going on holiday with the intention of relaxing and enjoying yourself then you'll have a good time on the Vision. We will certainly consider another ship of this size for future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
After a terrible experience at the port I could not wait to get on to Vision of the Seas. I should explain that at this point that Royal have no involvement with the port authorities. When Mangesh our Concierge and the Guest services ... Read More
After a terrible experience at the port I could not wait to get on to Vision of the Seas. I should explain that at this point that Royal have no involvement with the port authorities. When Mangesh our Concierge and the Guest services manager found out what had happened the Royal Customer care wheel came in to play. I was treated so kindly and they both listened to what had happened to me and could not believe my experience. I was offered some compensation but I turned it down as I said before Royal have no control over the port authorities and I thought it unfair for Royal to compensate me. Now as for the rest of the ship and holiday it was great and with Captain Merek on board I new it was going to be a great time. I was on Vision in December and it was good to meet up with some staff from previous cruises some were still on board and welcomed me back it was so nice. Captain Merek was very visible through out the cruise and took time to speak to everyone and become involved in the activities and entertainment. Vision is getting on in age but I think still in great shape well maintained and cleaned constantly. My cabin steward was amazing and hard working thank you, my cabin was 7613 an inside ideal for me being a solo travel. The food was really good and our waiting staff on table 152 were just amazing and a lovely surprise for me was the wine waitress from Harmony. I do enjoy the Diamond lounge and the Concierge lounge and Mangesh works so hard spending time with everyone he has a great pride in his work I met so many nice people there. I also have to say the breakfast staff in the Main Dining room were truly amazing and caring. I did the bridge tour again and this time Captain Merek showed us around it was the best experience I have ever had on a tour. I should point out at this point that earlier in the day we had a very close fly past. It was a twin engine (Iranian I was told) transport plane the pilot must have been crazy especially when he flew very close to the pool deck on his return. The Captain and was taking a question time and was very calm and professional I have to say it was an experience I would not like to repeat again. Captain Merek is a real credit to Royal Caribbean. I have recently done this trip so I cannot share any experience on trips or shore excursions. The bands and the singers I saw were totally amazing and the Captains singing voice is fantastic. The staff and crew were always kind and friendly and work so hard thank you to you all Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We did the same cruise on Splendour last year and wanted to get away for winter sun. Everything was very smooth. Boarding at 11.30am went well and our cabin was ready at 1pm and baggage arrived during the afternoon. We travelled on a ... Read More
We did the same cruise on Splendour last year and wanted to get away for winter sun. Everything was very smooth. Boarding at 11.30am went well and our cabin was ready at 1pm and baggage arrived during the afternoon. We travelled on a transatlantic on Vision in 2014 and liked the whole ethos of the ship. From the top down, Captain Marek to the room staff, dining room staff and bar staff, it was friendly and inclusive. It was the same on this trip. I can honestly say we didn't meet a member of staff who was not smiley and helpful. We had an inside cabin on deck 3, above cabins on deck 2 and underneath the dining room. There was no issue with noise whatsoever, although I have head tell that deck 7 cabins are often noisy due to the Schooner Bar and the Some Enchanted Evening lounge being directly beneath. The food in the dining room was very good with plenty of choice. We ate there on five of the seven evenings. One evening we ate in the Windjammer and one evening we were out on an excursion. The serving staff in both the dining room and Windjammer were friendly and helpful and efficient. I'm not crazy about eating dinner in the Windjammer as the buffet style seems rushed and not so relaxed, but we had a show and other things we wanted to get to that evening. The entertainment on board was pretty good. The Beatles Celebration were as always excellent both in the theatre and the following night in the Centrum. The two on board shows by the Vision singers and dancers were pretty good too. We didn't go to all the shows - we've seen quite a few comedy jugglers/magicians before - but what we saw was great. The Cruise Director's staff were all friendly and helpful and ran some very good entertaining events. Angelle, in her first post as Cruise Director, did a great job, able helped by Tony, Gianmarco, Hannah and Jamie. We got on well with them all and found them very nice people. We took two excursions. One was on the dhow at Khasab which was OK, but not overwhelming. The scenery was pretty good, but chasing dolphins with 5 or 6 boats all homing in on a small spot where they expected dolphins, but whom of course all disappeared, was a bit pointless. However, the crew on the dhow were pleasant and it was a sleepy, sunny afternoon. Having arrived in Dubai the day before the ship left port, we didn't need to explore Dubai when we docked there so we took an excursion, The Desert Dinner Safari, which was excellent. One of our best excursions. From bouncing across sand dunes in a 4-wheel drive, to climbing dunes to watch the sunset and ending up in a little oasis where we had dinner, road a camel and watched a belly dancer, it was all excellent. To round up, we are not picky, and there may have been a few mini points which weren't perfect. Yes the ship is ageing a little, but it's clean and the cabins are compact, but they have everything you need. If you ask for toiletries they will be provided - yes this is a change as they used to be provided automatically, but as with everything, there are always cost cutting measures. It wasn't an expensive cruise and you do get what you pay for, and in this case, more. Captain Marek runs a great ship and couldn't be more friendly or approachable. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We decided to cruise on this ship for various reasons. Captain Marek on this vessel, runs and excellent team, and the entire crew seem very happy & interact with passengers very well. At this time of year, the weather on this ... Read More
We decided to cruise on this ship for various reasons. Captain Marek on this vessel, runs and excellent team, and the entire crew seem very happy & interact with passengers very well. At this time of year, the weather on this itinerary is normally very good, without being humid. We decided on a b2b cruise to cover a birthday, & enjoy good weather for longer than a week. The change over from one cruise to the next, was well handled by Fernando & staff. The fact we kept the same room was helpful, but the handing out of new cards was simple & the entire event went very smoothly. We chose a JS, midship, which proved a good choice when on the second week, our sea day, was the only day we experienced a storm, but the location of our room meant we were not affected at all. The fact the stabilisers were in use also helped. Alex was our SRA for the first week,then he went on vacation, so Bernard was his replacement. Both these chaps were lovely & cleaned our room well & promptly, as they knew we were early risers. We had enough space for storage, and seating, both inside the room and on the balcony. The only downside to this room was that it had an overhang which meant we didn't get the sun all the time on the balcony, but to be candid, we were quite happy as it would have been too hot sitting in the blazing sun all the time. As we are experienced Diamond Plus cruisers (500+ points), we do not dine in the MDR regularly, not because of the quality of food, but we know the menu so well. We decided to eat mostly in the Windjammer for breakfast & dinner. The crew working here were lovely, helpful & friendly. Paula, from Argentinia, was one girl we interacted with regularly & she had a very outgoing personality. She always seemed to find something to clean & tidy, above clearing the tables. It was good to see the Captain & senior officers eating here....and clearing their own plates afterwards ! We saw more senior officers in one day on this ship, than we have during an entire cruise on other ships....well done. The food in the Windjammer was of high standard, both in presentation & taste. Most evenings they had a theme might, but always had other options to select if the Thai, TexMex, Italian, etc didn't appeal. How anyone could not find something to eat is beyond us, but...... Fernando, Loyalty Ambassador was super friendly & efficient, but he is due to go on vacation, so his replacement, Vishal, another lovely person, will take his place until he then goes to the Rhapsody, once Fernando returns. Guest relations & Shore excursion staff were all lovely people, having to put up with unpleasant people & questions on a regular basis. We can state this without hesitation, because we witnessed such events. Whilst standing in line at Guest Relations, we overheard a very arrogant woman complaining loudly about, what we considered, a minor problem. The staff member handled the situation very well, but not to the satisfaction of the complainer, who we think wanted compensation in some form....It certainly takes all sorts on a cruise ! Our only complaint, which is fleet wide, not the responsibility of the Captain...Smoking in the Casino. Grrr...RCCL....when will they realise that passive smoking is as bad for the health of those having to breathe in someone else's smoke, as it is for the actual smoker. We were in the casino one day, when a man stood right beside me & lit his cigarette, even although I had a tissue over my nose & mouth. We could not move from the slot machine, as we were using a voucher which meant we had to confine ourselves to the one machine. As a result of the smoke in here, I felt unwell for a couple of days, I now understand what it is like to suffer from smoke inhalation...I did. Please ban smoking completely in the casino, not just for health minded passengers, but especially crew, who have to work in here constantly. Rant over....again ! We did not normally sunbathe, but on one occasion, when we decided to lie out after being ashore in Muscat, we found there were no loungers available. It was obvious that most people, as confirmed by the Captain later in his announcement, did not leave the ship at all the second day in port. We had use of the Concierge lounge, and MJ, Concierge, worked very hard, both dealing with telephone enquiries/demands, and interacting within the the lounge itself. In the evening, he, along with Vin & Wayne, bar servers, worked very hard. They were all very diligent, & ensured the bar & food was ready for opening time. Attentive & friendly, without being overbearing, is an appropriate way to describe them. Keeping the best to last....Rocking Captain. If you haven't been to the Centrum to hear him & some crew sing at 8pm on second formal night,then you have missed a good experience. We have never been on a cruise when this happens and it shows that the Captain and crew have great respect for each other. Not all the singing is right on key, but it's the fact the event takes place is what is so good ! Everything went to time, muster drill started when stated, as did everything else, another sign of a good leader. The new CD did well, and was as visible as all other senior members. We enjoyed the Bridge tour, conducted by the Captain, again unusual, as it is normally a junior member who is assigned to carry out this duty. On disembarking, Captain Marek was present to wish everyone a safe journey home..a very nice touch. We hope to return soon to this ship, & are looking forward to the warmth of both the weather & personnel ! Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
I chose this cruise as it was on offer at the travel agents,also Friends had been with Royal Caribbean before & recommended it! I read reviews before I went & was a bit concerned about the negative comments but I think they must ... Read More
I chose this cruise as it was on offer at the travel agents,also Friends had been with Royal Caribbean before & recommended it! I read reviews before I went & was a bit concerned about the negative comments but I think they must have been on a different ship! We went on the Dubai,khasab, Muscat, Abu-dhabi,to Dubai trip (7 nights) every thing was well organised from being met at the Airport to boarding the ship. throughout the trip all the crew were friendly ,helpful & couldn't help enough, we had an inside cabin without a window which was very comfortable but I would choose to have a view next time,(some ships have a virtual window) the ship was clean & well maintained although a cabin near us did have a burst pipe! There was plenty of choice of food during the day (serve yourself buffet) & in the evening,we chose my time dining so we were able to go for evening meal when we pleased & found there was only a short wait to be seated, the main restaurant staff were excellent & the food was top quality. you can eat in the buffet if you prefer, there was 2 formal nights which was nice to dress up a bit! On the whole the entertainment was good or you can use any of the bars for a drink. we didn't go on any of the excursions as we thought they were a bit expensive & some who did go were a bit disappointed. would we chose Royal Caribbean again? yes! one tip is if your using a credit card make sure that you let your bank know your cruise route as these are American ships anything purchased on board shows up as a transaction in Miami, so my card was blocked as I was in Miami at 10am & Dubai 1hr later! the Customer services team allowed me to use their phone to contact my bank & resolve this without charge, Vision of the seas is not the biggest or newest of the fleet but we thoroughly enjoyed it! Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was our first time cruising. After reading some of the reviews on here I was a little apprehensive. Well was I in for a surprise. We had an excellent time, weather fantastic, staff on board excellent, food excellent, entertainment ... Read More
This was our first time cruising. After reading some of the reviews on here I was a little apprehensive. Well was I in for a surprise. We had an excellent time, weather fantastic, staff on board excellent, food excellent, entertainment very good. We where in a stateroom with balcony room 7060,i was excellent, very compact but loads of storage. Our room attendant kept the room spotless. Room was cleaned during the day and at night room was prepared for us going to bed. Cannot complain about anything on this cruise. As I said we where a bit apprehensive after reading some of the reviews and what people where complaining about...I think some of these people would need to take a look at themselves and or their lives...you are on a boat with thousands of over people, the pools are salt water so some things will have a bit of rust on them...the staff are always cleaning, painting, polishing etc they cannot do enough for you. Bring your own shower gel and shampoo none are supplied. Thank you to all the staff.. a job well done. We have booked another cruise for 2017/2018. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Had never been on cruise with RCI beforebut we wanted some winter sunshine and this Itinery fitted the bill We were really pleased with the ship and staff We found all members of staff to be excellent , all seemed happy to be on board ... Read More
Had never been on cruise with RCI beforebut we wanted some winter sunshine and this Itinery fitted the bill We were really pleased with the ship and staff We found all members of staff to be excellent , all seemed happy to be on board Although an older ship and bit tired in places all areas of ship kept really clean Public areas all bright and cheerful . The weather was great and we always managed to find sun beds regardless of time of day Food in Aquarius was very good , plenty of choice , lovely waitresses Nancy and Tatania Enjoyed couple of meals in Windjammer and snacks in Lattitudes and Park Cafe . Had drinks in R Bar and Schooner bar of evening , again staff were great especially Ronaldo in R bar and excellent choice of drinks at all venues We had a complimentary select drinks package and upgraded to premium package onboard for 10 dollars a day plus tax which was really good value . Did our own thing in Khasab Muscat and Abu Dhabi And got hop on/ hop off bus in Dubai All in all this was a fabulous cruise and Itinery and would 100% recommend Can't understand the negative reviews . Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We had a fabulous time....the Weather was brilliant as we expected We arrived at the terminal after a flight from the UK around 11 am. We were on board within 15 mins We booked for the 19th December for one week over Christmas ... Read More
We had a fabulous time....the Weather was brilliant as we expected We arrived at the terminal after a flight from the UK around 11 am. We were on board within 15 mins We booked for the 19th December for one week over Christmas stateroom 8024 and then stateroom 8032 from 26th December for the New Years Cruise . These staterooms are under the pool deck and you can hear trolleys, children running etc but it did not bother us to much We had a wonderful time ,so much so we have booked to sail again on this cruise on February 6th 2017 we have booked an aft jnr suite. We were very impressed with the service that we experienced everywhere on the ship The Captain Michael Lindberg was very visible and made a point of speaking to many guests on a one to one basis . The Officers we would like to thank for making our cruise very special are the Loyalty Ambassador Fernando, The Bar Manager Alex from Romania, the Maitre de and of course Junior and his team for the wonderful fresh food on board. The Concierge Team of Mangesh and V were also amazing When we docked at Muscat you can buy a hop on hop off bus ticket there is a special deal if you buy the Muscat, Abu Dhabi, and the Dubai bus tours which were a great way of seeing and learning about these great places. These buses are frequent and not to crowded. If you have a gold card then you can have breakfast served to you in Giovanni's. Check the cruise compass for timings. You can also have breakfast served in the main dining room. The Windjammer was very busy on times but as long as you avoid these busy moments then you will always find a seat and the staff are quick to assist and help, offering to take away empty plates and/or bring drinks. We ate at Chops, Giovanni's and Isumi several times during both cruises and enjoyed the exclusivity and quality of the food.and don't forget to try the Park Cafe in the Solarium for lighter options or late snacks. Room service was delivered quite quickly and if you fancy breakfast in bed then put out the breakfast menu before you go to sleep. your on Holidays after all ; o ) The Gym is well equipped and the spa was very good with special offers on port days The entertainment team we enjoyed and the cruise Director and his team were entertaining and happy at all times.we enjoyed the shows and the trivia quiz. There are plenty of lounges to sunbathe on because a lot of people are doing the shore excursions and don't forget to try the Park Cafe in the Solarium. You can also get fruit cups and some desserts at the Seattle's coffee bar deck six We went out in the evening in Dubai during the overnight stop for a curry on the and found that taxi's are cheap and we used Uber to take us back to the ship, worked out less than $10. You feel very safe in Dubai. My Husband had a shoulder back and neck massage along with a manicure inside the terminal it was extremely good and very reasonable, worth checking this out. Disembarkation was quick but we had already booked a car to our Hotel which was a day rate at the Hilton Creek.which is a wonderful Hotel The taxi rank however was not that busy around 8.30 but around 9 am it went very busy around 70 people waiting but the line moved quickly with plenty of taxi's Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I had an overnight flight to Dubai I found out later that a lot of people on the flight were taking the cruise. I arrived at the airport picked up the case and after clearing customs were met out side in Arrivals by a Royal Caribbean rep. ... Read More
I had an overnight flight to Dubai I found out later that a lot of people on the flight were taking the cruise. I arrived at the airport picked up the case and after clearing customs were met out side in Arrivals by a Royal Caribbean rep. After checking everyone off we boarded the transfer coach to the port. This was an unusual cruise for me as I always travel alone, but this time I was meeting up with a couple of friends and some other people in their party. I met one of my friends at the port and we promptly boarded the ship. I have sailed on Vision before and as much as I loved being on Harmony I was looking forward to sailing on a smaller ship. The ship is quite old but still in great shape at the pool bar I was met with a friendly smiling face it was Kendrick from Ovation of the Seas it was great to see him again. As the morning passed we seemed to meet up with everyone within the next few hours. The time passed quickly and the cabins were ready in the early afternoon, I had a kind steward called Samuel who looked after the cabin. I had my time dining which was a bit hit and miss with the food and service but never mind it did not take anything away from my time on this lovely ship. A group of us did Chops on the second night it did not disappoint the food was amazing as was the service. I had breakfast every day in the main dining room with a section for members to sit at. The service and the food was very enjoyable as were the people I sat with. I also enjoyed the lunch twice on the cruise in the main dining room I do so love the salad they serve there. When we overnighted in Muscat we had an Arab themed party around the pool it was great I have never experienced anything like it. Everyone there seemed to really enjoy the evening and the staff worked so hard thank you to everyone. That really apart from the nation of flags ceremony with the Captain in the atrium was the only other entertainment that I saw. Talking with other people on the ship there seemed to be quite a mixed response regarding the other entertainment available. Service was generally excellent but My Time Dinning was a disappointment I have to say. The staff worked hard but I felt that the food was slow coming I did leave two meals but went to the Windjammer all turned out well. Mangesh Jambhulkar our concierge worked really hard in the lounge and everyone seemed to speak highly of him. Overall the cruise was really good, so good in fact I booked up to go back again in February to go back. I have sailed many times with Royal Caribbean which I enjoy and will continue I hope to do so for many years to come Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Excellent value and the ship was brand new. Getting on board was seamless. Better than usual entertainment. Went to ports we would not normally choose, Oman & Kochi. Even though it's a huge ship it was not crowded. There were no ... Read More
Excellent value and the ship was brand new. Getting on board was seamless. Better than usual entertainment. Went to ports we would not normally choose, Oman & Kochi. Even though it's a huge ship it was not crowded. There were no problems getting lounge chairs at the pools. no big queues at the dining venues. Food and service are great as usual. Good choice of tours in Ports. Activities are great too, North Star and I fly were amazing. Robot bar was a great novelty. There was a great wine bar with a good selection. Two seventy at the blunt end was an excellent bar to relax in and in the evening it transformed to a theatre. The free dining venues were 1st class and although an extra expense Wonderland was a great dining experience. Cabins were a good size and no sticky shower curtains, much more storage room than usual. Overall a great sailing adventure. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We were traveling with our 21 yr old granddaughter so originally booked a grand suite but were offered an upgrade to a grand loft suite which was absolutely fabulous. Our Royal Genie was wonderful and made our trip extra special. All ... Read More
We were traveling with our 21 yr old granddaughter so originally booked a grand suite but were offered an upgrade to a grand loft suite which was absolutely fabulous. Our Royal Genie was wonderful and made our trip extra special. All three of us were tremendously spoiled - we never had to wait in line, all of our restaurant reservations and shore excursions were made by the genie. We were met at the port and guided thru check in and taken to our cabin. Don't think we could travel without a genie again! Our cabin was 2 stories with 2 full baths which worked very well. We dined in all the restaurants and found them very good with excellent service. We only ate in the marketplace a few times because it was usually very crowded. You do need to make your reservations online prior to setting sail because tho there are more restaurants on this ship than most, they aren't that big and most people opted for MyTime Dining. If you choose Classic Dining I think I RCCL makes your reservations for you. WE choose this cruise for the ports and weren't disappointed , Dubai, Oman, India, Penang and Singapore. There were a lot of sea days but there was enough to do onboard besides reading by the pool. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
I chose this cruise because it is a new ship that is quite contemporary and full of technology. Plus I always wanted to see Dubai, India and Singapore, so they were the highlight of the trip. I had an amazing experience on the cruise: The ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it is a new ship that is quite contemporary and full of technology. Plus I always wanted to see Dubai, India and Singapore, so they were the highlight of the trip. I had an amazing experience on the cruise: The food, entertainment, technology, did I say entertainment!!!!..The performers are so talented and well organized...I had a blast. Customer service--TOP NOTCH. Added bonus, the bumber cars, first time in my life on a bumber car. Then the North Star--Up in the air so many feet above sea level giving such an exciting view. Then there's the I fly. What a treat!! Lots of other activities including Xbox, volley ball, air hockey. You name it, it's there. Plus you get a deal package of 3 dinners in specialty restaurants for such a low cost...OMG!!! Inside cabins with hi technology allowing one to see everything that's happening outside. I think that ship was constructed with taste and thought. And after all of that, there's the inviting gym. Well organized crew: No hassle nor long wait in line... I've been on many other cruise lines, but I will stick with Royal. They are AwesomE!!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We chose this to be our introduction to cruising. Being disabled we booked an accessible suite and were not Dissapointed, the stateroom was superb with the balcony having a ramp to get in and out, a full wet room shower and everything was ... Read More
We chose this to be our introduction to cruising. Being disabled we booked an accessible suite and were not Dissapointed, the stateroom was superb with the balcony having a ramp to get in and out, a full wet room shower and everything was lower to suit wheelchair users. Access was great with the larger door having an auto opener fitted. The food was, without a doubt, a high point. The specialist dining was worth every penny, but no way would anybody feel shortchanged with the standard package, it was all plentiful and the selections available would suit any palette. The entertainment was plentiful and would suit the vast majority. Most of the crew were like walking ship maps and seemed to know what, when, and where for everything and as helpful as you could wish. Plenty of time was given over to excursions and city visits including plenty of time in Dubai prior to departure. I was at first a little concerned about embarkation and disembarkation but need not have worried, getting on and off went as smooth as could be and help was there at all points. Luggage was never an issue and was where it needed to be when it was needed. Just as an aside, the bars were great. The only problem now is where and with who next? Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We had already spent 2 days in Dubai prior to embarkation. We arrived at the Cruise Terminal at about 11 am and our check-in was smooth and quick. We were able to get to our stateroom at midday so we went and had a drink first before a ... Read More
We had already spent 2 days in Dubai prior to embarkation. We arrived at the Cruise Terminal at about 11 am and our check-in was smooth and quick. We were able to get to our stateroom at midday so we went and had a drink first before a little exploring. We found our stateroom straight away but were a little disappointed to discover that it was just off the Centrum and hoped that this would not be too noisy. Also, we were right above the lifeboats so could not see right down the side of the ship! Never mind, the stateroom was a little smaller to what we were used too but was pleasant enough. The bathroom was a little too small for my liking tho'. We freshened up a little and then went exploring again. By now we were hungry so went to the Windjammer for lunch which, of course, was delicious. I jokingly said to my husband that as we were one of the first to check in, our luggage would be the last to arrive ... strangely enough this was true - it didn't arrive till after 6 pm! We were on 8.30 sitting for dinner so we weren't too bothered as we sailed at 6 anyway. Dinner the first night was informal and we met with the other occupants of our table. Our waiters were attentive - the assistant waiter more so! We had decided that we would spend most of the time on board as we really needed to unwind after a hectic year. Therefore we were able to get a sunbed most days although there was still the usual saving of beds ... RCI do not seem to enforce the "no reservation of sunbed" rule too strongly! As usual, the food on board was superb ... we tried Chops Grille, Isumi and Giovanni's and they were all brilliant. The waiters/waitresses were very attentive and advised on the menu at all times. I believe that RCI staff are far and above the most friendliest we have ever come across. This was true of Serenade of the Seas! This was the first cruise I had been on where there were passengers of so many different nationalities - everywhere you turned there was a different language being spoken. This was only a problem when it came to important announcements as they had to be broadcast in most languages!! I was also very surprised that not many people actually turned up to dine on formal evenings dressed in formal attire! The entertainment was so-so! The Cruise Director, Paul Rudder, was excellent but was let down by some of his staff. Special mention to Bjorn though - he was hilarious!! We were sadly correct by the noise from the Centrum being heard in our stateroom ... luckily this only affected us once when we retired earlier than normal ... mainly because we were getting up at 4.00 am to go home!! Not really what we needed on the last night! We only went on two shore excursions - Abu Dhabi was amazing and the Grand Mosque was breath-taking. The guide was informative and unobtrusive. We did the tour in Dubai with the trip to the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa. This time the guide was route-marching us a bit. We had to tell him to slow down as some of the group were unable to keep up. It was almost as if he wanted to get the tour done in record time. Unfortunately one of the party did not turn up when we were about to leave for the next stop so the guide had to go and look for him. This wasted almost an hour so our tour was curtailed and we never got to the Souks!! Very disappointing! Disembarkation was quick - we took our own luggage as we left at 5.45 am. Very surprised that breakfast was being served from 4.00 am ... not that you could get a table even that early! All in all - a lovely cruise with a few niggles. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We have recently returned from a week's cruise in the Middle East on board RCI's "Serenade of the Seas". This was our first cruise and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We booked very early, paid extra for an outside ... Read More
We have recently returned from a week's cruise in the Middle East on board RCI's "Serenade of the Seas". This was our first cruise and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We booked very early, paid extra for an outside balcony and chose cabin 8102. On our balcony were 2 sunloungers, 2 chairs and 2 tables ... and there was still plenty of space. The cabin itself was compact but there was ample wardrobe space, hangers, cupboards and also a sofa. The shower was always hot with plenty of pressure. The staff were superb, particularly our waiter (Sandry) and assistant waiter (Ajay) who made our evening 3-course dinner in the Reflections Restaurant even more enjoyable (Table 451). The food was superb and sometimes it was difficult to decide which dish to have. There was also a "healthy option" but we did not select from this menu! One point to mention is regarding the dress code for dinner. According to the information we were sent prior to the cruise, there were 2 formal nights (tuxedo or suit and tie), 2 smart casual nights (jacket and shirt) and 3 casual nights. However there were no smart casual evenings so my husband had taken a jacket and 2 shirts for no reason! In addition on the formal nights we were disappointed to see that several guests wore casual clothes. Surely if the literature referred to a dress code, and the daily "Cruise Compass" newsletter left in the cabin stated what was required, then it should be enforced? The "Windjammer" self-service restaurant is available to everyone at no extra charge so those guests who did not want to make an effort should have been advised to use that restaurant on formal nights. Check in was very efficient. We flew overnight from LGW on the Emirates flight and were taken to The Hyatt Hotel for breakfast where we completed the necessary boarding documentation and received our cabin keycards. Mid-morning we were then taken to the ship where we could take advantage of the sunshine relaxing on loungers on the sun decks until our cabin was available. There was no queue to get onto the ship. Disembarking the ship was even more efficient. Luggage was collected from outside cabins at midnight and guests were advised of the time of their departure and where they should assemble in the morning. Purchasing drinks packages prior to departing the UK is definitely worth doing as it means you can have some control over the costs involved, paying for these in advance so that it's not such a shock at the end of your cruise! We chose the unlimited soda fountain package and a 7-bottles of wine package (other deals are available). Obviously you can purchase more drinks when on board which will be charged to your cabin. We were also allowed to take 2 bottles of wine on board with us that we had purchased at LGW duty free, but you should declare them before boarding the ship as other drinks might be confiscated. The ports of call were interesting. We had previously been to the Middle East and visited Dubai and Abu Dhabi but had never been to Muscat in Oman. We therefore decided to do the Mystical Mosque and City tour but booked this independently via our travel agent about 2 months prior to leaving the UK. This meant we had already paid for our trip and it was at a much lower price than if we had booked it direct with RCI. Imagine our surprise to find that we were the only 2 people on this excursion, chauffeur driven in an air conditioned luxury car by our very knowledgeable and helpful guide and we could therefore explore at our own pace. The mosque was fascinating and definitely worth a visit. However it is only open to the public until 11 a.m. and please note that ladies should wear loose long trousers (or loose long skirts), long sleeves, preferably socks with sandals and a scarf to cover your head when in the mosque itself. Men should not wear shorts. On board ship there's plenty to do during the day and in the evening but it is up to you whether you wish to join in or just relax. There are numerous bars, lounges and places to sit. We had a great time and will go on a cruise again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Just back from a 7 day cruise from Dubai on the Serenade of the seas. Starting with embarkation: Very chaotic, we had an overnight flight and was taken to the Hyatt hotel for breakfast and booking in process, but they had run out of sea ... Read More
Just back from a 7 day cruise from Dubai on the Serenade of the seas. Starting with embarkation: Very chaotic, we had an overnight flight and was taken to the Hyatt hotel for breakfast and booking in process, but they had run out of sea pass cards, so we had, with others a piece of paper giving our cabin Numbers etc. But they didn't tell the security so we couldn't get on the ship until we made quite a fuss, also getting picked up from the hotel was like a mad scramble to get on the buses.(suggestion get a taxi from airport straight to ship) no hassles I gather. Once aboard very impressed with the decor which is very elegant and comfortable. Cabin was excellent, we were on 4th deck with large window, lots of storage space and cabin steward was really good. I gather the lower decks with small portholes not as good as very low down, limited view, but most people thought cabins were very comfortable and large enough, balconies were recommeded as good for getting away from the crowds. Food - was good but a bit disappointed as not to 5* quality, I gather from regular R.C travellers food is not as good as in the past. But saying that we enjoyed both the Windjammer buffet for lunch and the set evening dining. If you are willing to pay extra there is more options in the speciallity restuarnts. We also enjoyed the Park cafe in the solarium which is very chilled and good for a light lunch or breakfast. The solarium is a little haven of peace and quiet, no children allowed... However, we thought the cost of alcohol was extortionate especially wine, cheapest bottles cost average 40 dollars without the added tax, approx £35 + so we like so many people didn't buy too many bottles and made the wine last for a couple of nights which I felt spoilt the whole experience of eating good food and drinking fine wine. We did however bring on two bottles of wine as this is allowed, but you could only drink this in your cabin, not really a lot for a week aye but anything helps !! The drink package still works out at 165 dollars- £26 per bottle + tax a bit much when other cruise lines are much more reasonable. ( All the drinks are expensive so be aware) There is a 45 dollars each package drink as much wine and beer as you want, but I am not sure if that includes the tax. I doubt if we could drink that much a day so was no use to us but may work out okay if you like a few drinks.. Entertainment very good great fun with good party nights, but was disappointed shows were pre dinner most nights i.e 7pm or just the one show at 8.45 so didn't get to see these much as we like to watch them later after our 8.30 dinner seating. But overall, some good fun nights. Pool area gets very very busy espeially when everyone is back from their trips and on sea days. Itineries were good would definitly recommend Oman a beautiful place, but don't bother to go on any of the trips at Fujairah, everyone we spoke to said they were rubbish, we decided to go to the mall and found it very cheap, can use Dubai money there or dollars. Would recommend the hop on and hop off buses usually based at port gates, cost approx £38 gives you a good overall view of the place and you can stop and off and explore when you want. Remember to take long trousers men and ladies plus a scarf for covering hair if viewing a mosque. Overall I thought the cruise ship was wonderful the crew members were so helpful and friendly and nothing was too much for them the ship had lots to do and it was easy to find a quiet spot if needed, but there was shortage of sunbeds in the sun when everyone was around and you had to grab one early especially on sea days, it was also very crowded on deck on these days too, sunbeds practically on top of each other. I would go on another R.C cruise but on one of the smaller ships like the serenade as it was friendly and easy to meet up with people. We were lucky we had great people on out table and met some lovely people reguarly on board. So apart form the cost of trips and alcohol on board a very pleasant experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Prior to the cruise I had linked up with others via the Roll Call. As a solo traveller this was a way of getting to know others prior to sailing. We met at the Sky Bar on sailaway and often met up during the cruise, either on various ... Read More
Prior to the cruise I had linked up with others via the Roll Call. As a solo traveller this was a way of getting to know others prior to sailing. We met at the Sky Bar on sailaway and often met up during the cruise, either on various excursions or around the ship. I had been staying with family who are based in Dubai so had already done a lot of sightseeing in Dubai. I made my own way to the port and embarkation went very smoothly. I was in my cabin by 1 pm and luggage arrived shortly afterwards. My cabin steward, Clinton, was there to greet me and throughout the cruise he kept the cabin spotless. He was efficient, friendly and always had a cheery greeting. The balcony cabin (D9062)on Deck 9 was spacious with plenty of wardrobe and drawer space. The shower was a good size and the water always hot. The balcony had two comfy chairs but the round table was a bit small. DINING - When I booked the trip I requested My Time Dining and this was confirmed and gratutities taken at the time. However, my SeaPass Card showed I had been put on 2nd sitting. Apparently My Time Dining was overbooked and a lot were not given the seating they had requested. I was unable to change to even the 1st sitting. Found the late dinner meant it was not always possible to see and do all I wanted to of an evening but I did manage to fill my evenings with an early show, pre-dinner drink and fun in one of the many bars afterwards. The food was very good with plenty of choice to suit all tastes. It was nicely cooked and well presented. My table waiters (Table 492) were efficient, curteous and made the dining experience most enjoyable. The Windjammer Buffet served good food but it got so crowded. I tended to have a relaxed breakfast in the Reflections Dining Room and did have Room Service on a couple of days. This was delivered at the requested time and is free of charge (plus a tip if you wish to the person who brings it). Lunch would be either in the Windjammer Buffet or at the Park Cafe which served delicious snacks and salads. I did eat at the Chops Grill one evening and this was such good value - the best steak I have ever tasted. BARS - Each Bar had something different to offer. The Centrum had a small dance floor and the group the Boogies certainly got your feet tapping. My favourites were the Schooner Bar, Safari Club and the Crown & Castle Pub. The bars around the pool areas were good and the staff very attentive. ENTERTAINMENT - This was not as good as on some cruise lines I have been on. However the YMCA NIght was superb; the Beatles - A Musical Celebration was fantastic with everyone singing along and even dancing in the aisles of the theatre. The Arabian Night around the pool was great fun. The highlight for me though was Jonathan Ansell (exG4)whose performance of classical, show music and rock could only be described as magical. He remained on board ship for a couple of days and even entered into the fun of the Belly Flop competition at the Main Pool. Needless to say when the judges realised who Jonathan From England was he scored perfect sixes and was awarded the Gold Medal. He was a very likeable person and did not fail to say hello if he met you around the ship. DRINKS - Prices were outrageous and I feel a 15% surcharge on all drinks is disgraceful. I am glad that I orderd a water package and the Soda Package. With the prices so high for wines and spirits I tended to stick with the cocktail of the day and was content with my Soda Package option. FACILITIES ON BOARD - The main pool could get crowded but the Solarium Pool (Adults Only) was much more relaxing. The water slide and children's pool area was nicely set out. I found no problem in finding a sun-lounger even on the day at sea. I did treat myself to a spa treatment (Seaweed Wrap with full body and head massage) This lasted 90 mins and was sheer bliss and I thought a reasonable price as spas at sea go. The rock climbing wall was impressive but having a problem with arthritis I was not tempted to try it. It was fun to watch others though. I instead had a leisurely game of golf and shuffleboard with some new friends - we had quite a few laughs going round the golf course - not as easy as it looks! I did visit the Casino and had a few goes on the 25c slot machines but did not win very much. Glad I made sure I had Dollars to hand because if you get dollars from the cashier and put it on your SeaPass, RCI will charge you 3%! There are some things I can give a miss - Can never understand the need for Art Auctions on board and the discount sessions in the ships shops did not impress and I found the photographer's prices far too high. I managed to get some good pictures taken by other passengers so saved a lot there. There was so much to see and do on board throughout the day with something to suit all preferences. It was often difficult to fit everything in. SHORE EXCURSIONS - I opted for the ships excursions because as a solo traveller I did not want to venture out alone and the prices I felt were very reasonable. In Abu Dhabi I took the City Tour and Grand Mosque tour - absolutely wonderful; in Fujairah I did the East Coast Tour which was enjoyable but not that wonderful - a lot of on and off the coach for short periods. In all a little rushed but it was interesting nontheless. In Muscat I did the Mystical Muscat and this was very good indeed. Excursions were well organised and the guides very knowledgeable. GRATUITIES - As mentioned earlier my tips were deducted from the beginning as I had requested My Time Dining. However as I did not get my requested dining option I decided to ask for a refund of my pre-paid tips and requested I be allowed to tip those of my own choosing . The Purser's Desk was very obliging, there was no hassle and the money is to be re-imbursed. I then handed out tips to those I considered had earned them e.g. cabin steward, dining room waiters and certain bar staff. Serenade of the Seas is a lovely ship.It is spotlessly clean and the decor is well thought out. I can understand why people keep returning to RCI as their standards are so high This was my first cruise with RCI and although I feel I had a good deal on this cruise I will have to carefully look at their prices on future cruises because the single supplements tend to be quite hefty. I would however recommend RCI. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
We had the good fortune to be on this Royal Caribbean ship for the cruise around the Arabia Starting in Dubai. This was our first time on Royal Caribbean but hopefully not our last, the ship is in good order throughout. Compares ... Read More
We had the good fortune to be on this Royal Caribbean ship for the cruise around the Arabia Starting in Dubai. This was our first time on Royal Caribbean but hopefully not our last, the ship is in good order throughout. Compares well with other cruise lines. I cannot think of any negatives Good, friendly staff. The buffet dining areas top deck is very good with an excellent selection of food .The meals in the mdr in the evening were very good ,we had Beef fillet one night which was the best beef I have ever tasted melted in the mouth. I would say though that I will not be ordering the steak which is available every night as they are never very good - not just on this ship but other ships as well .. my advice would be to go with the main menu. The matr d was very good. He and his team really looked after us. We were on flexible dinning and it worked very well - never had to wait for a table. Park Cafe by the indoor pool was lovely for a quiet breakfast. The port of calls were interesting ,we had not been to this part of the world before - it is good to embrace the culture The trips around the various mosques very informative with good guides. I wanted to go to Oman after seeing an advert on CNN TV last year a revelation to see how advanced the infrastructure is And the thinking of the Sultan ..we have something to learn from them I think .Also we discovered Frankincense for the first time. They burn it in the Souks - the air is thick with it. The scent is fantastic - good for depression they say, I was as high as a kite on it when I came home!! Will have to return to the Middle East, the cruise companys seem to take it in turns to go to this part of the world, think its MSCs turn next year . All in all a very good trip and would not hesitate to repeat the whole experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
I booked this cruise for my husbands 50th birthday. We stopped in the Dubai Marina 4 nights before and stayed in Dubai 6 times before so the intention was to do view sea inwards on our cruise. the ship being the holiday not so the ... Read More
I booked this cruise for my husbands 50th birthday. We stopped in the Dubai Marina 4 nights before and stayed in Dubai 6 times before so the intention was to do view sea inwards on our cruise. the ship being the holiday not so the destinations. Due to the snow days before, we were very worried but we had 4 days to get to the ship. we found others with the same idea. Embarkation was smooth. The clerk at check in didnt know why they took all passengers passports and slapped a big sticky label over the front saying British which was nigh impossible to remove when we left. Normally RC stick labels on the back of the passport not smack bang over your nationality. We usually book an inside cabin as we find as its so dark its the best we ever sleep. Take a small torch and an alarm, we NEARLY MISSED BREAKFAST. Our cabin was clean functional and we were more than happy. Our Cabin Attendant was lovely and when he realised it was my husbands bitthday made a flower collage on the bed and he got a bithday card. A lovely touch. We had muster the first evening and half the passengers were late for the roll call. Very laxidaisical and walking dead slow despite catcalls from punctual people saying *let em drown* bet they speed up if we sink. Shame some of the people wearing the tabards ASK ME FOR ASSISTANCE, had them on inside out. Shame some passengers didnt take the muster seriously. Entertainment excellent. Ken and Tim excellent. Loved the games, the competitions and the YMCA night was FAAAANTASTIC !! Barney the guitarist and singer from Montana is a lovely, friendly and gifted man, mainly featuring in the Crown and Castle English pub. We werent worried about the smokers and didntnfind it an issue, just surprised. There seemed to be more places to sit quietly on this ship. Buffet Food was wonderful. Disappinted that even though we all used the handwash, some passengers still stick their fingers in food. The formal dining was excellent the waiters excellent. Special thanks to the Greeter lady from the Carribean who greeted you to the buffet with puppets and songs. I had a soda package, strange how sometimes you still dont get your soda drink. i asked one male waiter in the Schooner Bar 4 times. on the 5th I asked a lady and it was instantly got for me. The waiters at the pool were the same, easier and quicker to go tothe bar. Our dinner waiter repelenished my drink BEFORE I finished , wonderful. Had this problem on other RC ships. Bar staff more helpful than the waiters wandering around. We had to go back to Dubai for two medical emergencies. I hope if I am ill no one stands and takes pics of me like some passengers did. Unbelievable. We only did one boat trip at Muscat. Which was good and fed dates and Arabic tea. The trip company men were great. The RC sttaff are so attentive and all stop and say hello maam and sir. Bit top heavy on supervision. we had a White Party night on top deck. One table, two men, six ice cream containers, queue of passengers and ONE SCOOP. Six supervisors standing and watching. Never before have we stood at the front of a ship, BRILIANT!! Yes of course we did the TITANIC POSE!! RC run to the same format, but we loved it. This is the best ship we have been on so far and have 4 more coming up on different cruise lines. LOVED IT !!!! and now cant get the Flow Rider song out of my head!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
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