Our member Atleastonce recently experienced a truly unique way to travel between the Middle East and Asia. Multiple flights per day do the trip from Dubai to Singapore in just seven hours. But instead of flying, our member decided to travel the long way, enjoying a two-week cruise! Departing from Dubai, the trip on board the Ovation of the Seas made stops in Oman, India and Malaysia before reaching its final destination.
Our member used a combination of Virgin Australia and Etihad Business class for the positioning flights from the Sunshine Coast to Abu Dhabi. Although the Etihad lounge in Sydney lived up to expectations, it unfortunately seems the service on board Etihad’s A380 did not.
Nonetheless, one of the benefits of flying Business class on Etihad is the post-flight service. Our member was able to freshen up in the Abu Dhabi arrivals lounge after the flight, before enjoying the chauffer service to the Dubai cruise terminal. It was from there that the real journey began!
Etihad were happy for us to remain in the arrivals lounge for a few hours, so a shower and shave were in order to use up some of the time. The chauffeur was excellent and it took us two hours from Abu Dhabi airport to the Dubai cruise terminal.
The Ovation of the Seas is one of the newest and largest ships from Royal Caribbean Cruises. The enormous cruise ship is home to multiple restaurants, including Jamie’s Italian, and countless entertainment options. Right from the start, our member was impressed.
Our balcony stateroom is on deck 13. The balcony has a rather large overhang ceiling from the deck above which balconies on the lower levels do not have. Being a new ship, it just “feels good”. It is huge and at the time of posting this (4:35pm local time) it doesn’t really feel crowded. Checkin and boarding finishes at 5pm. The new dynamic dining choices has us automatically booked into three different restaurants over the next three nights.
The first of several shore excursions took place in Muscat, the capital of Oman. Our member spent the day visiting the Grand Mosque, dodging the frankincense salespeople in the Muttrah Souk and taking in the sights of the old city. It seems that one day in Muscat wasn’t nearly enough!
Our first visit to Oman, and Muscat is an amazing city. Too much to see in one day, and we would love to come back and explore more. The people here are very proud of their city and are quick to let you know they are more liberal than other countries in this region.
The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque was amazing, and huge, accommodating upwards of 20,000 throughout the main areas and outside prayer areas. Although very new, being completed in 2001, it showed the same attributes as the blue mosque with the grandeur and large chandelier, which weighs 21 tonnes.
As the trip continued, our member visited the likes of Cochin and Penang, making for some eye-opening cultural experiences!
Read all about the cruise, and find out how the rest of the trip goes HERE.