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  1. Vision of the Seas – 7 Night Arabian Sea cruise from Dubai Day 1 – Embarkation Day We left Glasgow at 8:50 pm on Sunday, 5 February on our way to Dubai on Emirates Airways. The flight was an overnighter so was uneventful. We were due to land at 8:05 am. The plane landed at about 7:40, which the pilot sounded so proud of, until we heard that in order to land so early we had to land on a runway on the other side of the airport from where we needed to be, which took about 30 minutes of taxiing. The result, we got there right on time. The walk from the plane to baggage claim was ridiculously long. Seemed like we walked for 30 minutes to get there. Passport control was slow also. There were two agents to service the 400 or so passengers that got off that plane. I must say at this point that nothing up to now was any reflection on Royal Caribbean. Once we got our baggage we went to the lobby where we found someone with a RCCL sign. She pointed us to the far end of the lobby to join a long line of people. We made it through that line to check in with someone who gave us a piece of paper and a number and then put us into another line. Still not out of the airport. Apparently, the busses weren’t there yet. The piece of paper gave a rundown of the process of check-in that we would be going through. In a nutshell: The busses will take us to a hotel, where we will do our check-in and then we will have a buffet breakfast. Busses will then take us to the cruise port to meet the ship. RCCL Dubai Welcome Letter.pdf We were on-board a bus at 9:45 to go to the hotel where we found a row of tables where we could check in. Something about the immigration policies in the UAE require them to hold all passports so be prepared to exchange yours for your Sea Pass card. Breakfast was standard buffet food, but not quite as good as the windjammer. Tolerable though. Busses were loaded and we headed to the port at 10:45. The ride to the port was about 30 minutes. Once at the port, it was a matter of going through security and walking right on-board. If you wonder when you get your passports back, we were given the schedule for that as well. RCCL Immigration Information.pdf If you have followed my previous posts about this cruise, you will know that I paid for the Deluxe drink package on the Cruise Planner page of RCCL website. The price that I paid was about USD $55.00. That price was the same price from the date that I booked the cruise until I bought it. No sale was ever offered. Everyone has said, and I had believed that it is cheaper to buy it before the cruise so I didn’t take any chances and I bought it before we sailed. Once on-board, I noticed that they were selling the drink packages for the same price. No difference in prices. Drink Packages Onboard.pdf Drink prices on-board, at various venues can be seen in the following documents. No drink card was ever offered on this cruise, although the Cruise Planner had a coffee card available that was not available on-board. Lattetudes Menu.pdf Pool Bar Beer Special.pdf Pool Bar Menu.pdf R Bar Menu.pdf Windjammer Drink Menu Once we got to our stateroom at 1:00 I found our soda cups waiting on our bed with a statement of what was included with the drink package. Beverage Package Receipt.pdf Also a listing of Platinum benefits Platinum Benefits.pdf We just spent the rest of the day exploring the ship, drinking drinks, and relaxing. Dinner was in the Main Dining Room. We had a table of 6. One couple (Stuart & Barbera) were quite old (I think he was 86). A Yorkshire man who was a veteran of the Korean war as well as the Viet Nam war. He was a test pilot in the RAF. Every story seemed to relate to one of these wars or just his service in general. The other couple was a bit younger (Richard & Sheila). He was a retired police Officer from the London area. All in all, the group was well mixed and we had a good time with them, but I certainly felt young at 53. Our servers were Jose, from the Philippines and Lilia, from Croatia. They took very good care of us throughout the cruise. I think the day would not be complete without the drink counts: Coffee = 3; Wine = 3; Beer = 1; Cocktails = 4; Mixed Drinks = 4; Bottled Water = 2 – Which put us about USD $20pp over what we spent. Getting our money’s worth. Can we keep it up? Keep reading to find out. Cruise Compass - Boarding Day Edition
  2. Booked the Vision for 6 February. To my surprise - I was doing the double digit dance as soon as I booked. I havent seen anything about Vision nor Arabian Gulf on these boards. Has anyone gone with either? Anything to review for me? Thanks In Advance Bob
  3. With Ovation of the Seas, making its first port call to Dubai, the Director of the port is making some very big claims. Normally when a port director makes a claim like we will have the best cruise port it is just that a PR claim. But when the claim is made by UAE member Dubai, everyone should take notice. They said they would have the tallest building in the Word and did, they claimed they could build the World's finest made made island and did, the airport is rated number one in the World. Dubai really understands tourism and the value of it. Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem. is the DP World and chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation chairman and CEO and these claims this week. Dubai will host one million cruise passengers by the year 2020. "Mina Rashid is the number one cruise terminal in the MENA region in terms of traffic and infrastructure, but we are set to go all out and make the passenger-friendly facility the best in the world," "We want to increase the number of cruise ships calling at Dubai Cruise Terminals in order to meet our target of one million cruise passengers a year by 2020." "Dubai has experienced a 22% growth in the number of cruise ships and a 33% increase in cruise passenger traffic between the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 cruise seasons, from 109 ships and 373,000 passengers to 134 ships and more than 500,000 passengers respectively." He further stated that with the ongoing development projects, Dubai's position as a global city and the premier cruise hub in the world will be strengthen. Royal has been targeting Dubai as the key to cruises from the Middle East and transit cruises. With the Ovation of the Seas , just this week being the largest cruise ship to ever dock in the port. Jamal Humaid Al Falasi, Director of Dubai Cruise Tourism, Dubai Tourism, said: “We are delighted to welcome Ovation of the Seas and its dedicated crew and guests to our fascinating city, and are honoured to be its first port of call in the region with an overnight stay and major passenger turnaround. “Our business relations with Royal Caribbean date back to 2009, when the line commenced its first Gulf cruise itinerary with Dubai as its home port, and the commitment is becoming stronger and more mutually beneficial year after year. We are pleased that Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas® will home port in Dubai for the 2016/17. We look forward to strengthening our relationship with Royal Caribbean and further developing Dubai’s reputation as a cruise destination.
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