Vacation time is an exciting time for everyone, but it gets better when it’s a cruise vacation. For a first time cruiser, you may get the notion that cruising is mostly for the senior people, but overtime this has greatly changed. My recent trip, which was the first time I have been on a cruise is only fair to say that this was my most exciting and eye opening vacation I have ever been to. Once you go sea, believe me you will never go back. I was on Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the seas on a 7-night cruise to Dubai and below is a breakdown of how we spent each day of our vacation.
Day 1: 16th Dec 2019: ARRIVAL TO DUBAI
We took a very early morning flight and got to the port before sunrise. Port Rashid is the cruise port in Dubai. Before boarding the ship, you can do some duty free shopping or walk around soaking in the amazing Dubai skyline that is visible from a distance, especially during sunrise. Upon boarding, there is an essence of wow, especially if it is your first time. The art is amazing and so is the décor. Basically every turn you take is whoa worthy. You will find your luggage at your door, that is why it is important to print out your luggage tags. Our room was an ocean view – with a window where you can see the magnificent views as you sail.
Day 2: 17th Dec 2019: DUBAI
After breakfast, we spent most of the day roaming the streets of downtown Dubai shopping. The Naif Street is a great place to do shopping at discounted prices. Later we headed back to the ship for lunch.
On this day, a drill is mandatory. They explain to you where you should meet to avoid confusion and what you should do in case of an emergency. The drill takes about 15 minutes.
Later we went to the sail away party by the pool which was truly a great experience. This was also the formal dinner night. Everybody looked so dressed up during dinner. Definitely a night worth remembering.
Day 3: 18th Dec 2019: DUBAI – ABU DHABI
We woke up in Abu Dhabi. We had breakfast early as we had pre booked excursions. Our first stop was at the Qasr Al Watan, which is the presidential place in Abu Dhabi. Here you will learn about culture, knowledge and inspiring journey’s that reveals and reflects on governance, knowledge and craftsmanship.
Later we visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre, which is the largest mosque in the country. This mosque is the key place of worship. During Eid, it is visited by over 40,000 people. It is made up of white marble domes, semi-precious jewel-encrusted internal columns and 24-carat gold plated Swarovski crystal chandeliers, making it the jaw-dropping centrepiece of the city’s cultural legacy.
Day 4: 19th / 20th Dec 2019: AT SEA
The tide was too high so we did not go to Sir Bani Yas, instead we spent the whole day cruising and enjoying the ship’s facilities. On-board shopping is also a must on a sail day. You will get amazing discounts on designer products – bags, diamonds, jewellery to name a few and sometimes they even go for 1/3 of their original price! Be sure to watch out for amazing sales at the shops of Centrum during any sail day. We later went to watch a movie at the cinema. There is also a theatre hall that is used for live shows and can also be used as a big screen movie theatre. The live show musicals will move you to tears. Mini golf and rock climbing is also a must do on the ship. There are almost 15 bars on board, and whether you want a quiet time all to yourself or enjoying the company of other people, there is that bar for you. When it comes to dining, there is the main dining area, Windjammer which is a self-service buffet restaurant. Here you will be spoiled for choice by the hundreds of delicious food choices waiting for you to try them. During dinner, you get to another main dining area, the Tides dining room where you will have to sit at your table and wait to be served. You will choose what you will take from the menu given. There are also other restaurants on the ship that offer different food choices like the Japanese restaurant. But that is the thing about cruises and food, even when not in the main dining area, there are small cafes where you can get bitings any time of the day- cakes, pizzas, cookies… You will never go hungry while on a cruise.
You can also choose to visit the gym and the spa. It is important to read the cruise compass that gives you an update of what is happening in the ship each and every day. This is a brochure you find on your bed every night of the happenings of the next day. This way you will not miss the parties, movies or even the free spa pamper parties!
Day 5: 21st Dec 2019: MUSCAT
Before we even got to Muscat, you could see its astonishing beauty from miles away. So far this was the most breath-taking destinations of them all. We couldn’t resist going out to explore after the ship docked even if we had excursions the following day. We took a stroll along the souq at the Mutrah Corniche. It looked like a traditional Arab market and the shops were selling Omani and Indian artefacts with a few antiques, traditional textile, hardware and jewellery. We also tried out their shawarma at a local joint which was way much better than what we have back in Nairobi.
It was amazing to see how much the people here still practise their culture. Most of the men were in thawbs and all the women were fully covered from head to toe in their abayas.
Our excursions started early in the morning and our first stop was the Al Alam Palace, which is the ceremonial palace of Sultan Qaboos used for official functions and receiving distinguished visitors.
Next stop was the Holy Spirit Catholic Church. There was a function and we did not get the chance to go inside. We then proceeded to the Al Bustan Place Hotel, which is a luxury hotel set on a stunning stretch of coastline with a dramatic mountain backdrop. Here you are bound to experience world class service.
We also got to try out local cuisine at one of the local restaurants which was very delicious.
Day 6: 22nd Dec 2019: MUSCAT – DUBAI
Sadly, this amazing vacation had come to an end for us. This day was spent at sea. We went for swimming and also enjoyed a moment soaking in at the hot tub and enjoying the farewell dance party by the pool.
In the afternoon an announcement was made that the passport collection process was open. We all headed to the main dining room. Each deck has their designated location for collection. It is important to go early especially if your flight is on the same day. We were also required to go out of the ship and have our passports stamped at the port immigration office. Information on where to collect your passports will be displayed on all on-board screens.
Later we went for dinner which was an amazing. Our waiting staff even performed a dance for us! We knew this was good bye. We checked out at 10pm and left for the airport.