A Travellerspoint blog

United Arab Emirates

Dubai to Singapore - Sunday, 5 May 2019

Heading home

semi-overcast 40 °C
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Roda Al Bustan Airport Hotel - Room 321

By the time I got to bed last night (this morning) it was 2.45 am so we set the alarm for 8.30 am as we didn't want to miss breakfast, which finished at 10.30 am. Breakfast was nice and we are now chilling out in our room, just relaxing until it's time to go to the airport. Our room overlooks a great pool and it's 37 degrees outside, BUT I left my swimmers in Cornwall with all the evening clothes from the Queen Mary, waiting to be posted home.

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We left the hotel at about 5pm and caught a taxi to the airport.

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It is reasonably quiet but at check in we are told there is no Singapore Lounge here, or a Virgin one either. Mmmmmm, we can purchase membership to one that they recommend, so we paid 40 AUD each to spend a couple of hours eating, drinking and relaxing before our flight. We actually had a very nice chicken and basil curry with rice.

The flight from Dubai from Singapore took seven and a half hours overnight. and the time passed relatively quickly. I watched "The Boy who would be King", slept a bit and then watched some episodes of Sex in the City and before we knew it, we had landed in Singapore, to a balmy 33 degrees.

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We have two hours before our flight to Sydney, so we are now looking for the general direction of the gate. Found it, and now have time to go to the Singapore Airlines Lounge for a quick drink and a snack.

Posted by gaddingabout 05:06 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (0)

Dubai - Monday, 25 March 2019

Embark the Queen Mary 2

overcast 31 °C
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Queens Suite - Deck 9 - Cabin 9047

Today is the day we join the Queen Mary 2 for our luxurious three week cruise down the Arabian Peninsula, through the Red Sea, up the Suez Canal, through the Mediterranean to Southampton. Whoo hoo! Getting very excited, if not a little apprehensive about seasickness, but everyone says I won't feel a thing!

For the stats lovers, here is a little bit of info about the ship.

RMS Queen Mary 2 is a transatlantic ocean liner. She is the largest ocean liner ever built, having served as the flagship of the Cunard Line since succeeding the Queen Elizabeth 2 in 2004. As of 2019, Queen Mary 2 is the only passenger ship operating as an ocean liner. She is 345 m long; is capable of 30 knots (56 km/h or 35 mph) and can accommodate 2,695 passengers after the 2016 refit. It cost 460 million UK pounds to build her (or US $687 million).

When we went to breakfast this morning, I looked out the window and there she was - The Queen Mary 2 in all her glory. She is huge! Starting to get very excited now.

After acquiting our account, we went down to the foyer and waited with the others for some instructions about boarding the bus that would take us to the Queen Mary 2. There was a bit of confusion but finally someone announced that all those who were to board at 12 noon, were to take their luggage out to the bus and board it. After about ten minutes we arrived at Terminal 3 and proceeded inside with passports in hand. We passed through immigration okay and then were asked for our tickets, which we didn't have. Phil had them in the folder in his carry on which, for the first time ever, he had left to be taken on board by the staff. At least we had our luggage tags on my backpack so we knew what our cabin number was. We passed through two security checks and then out to the wharf, where there was a queue waiting to board which moved quite quickly and before we knew it, we were aboard.

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Dubai was very windy today and engulfed in a dust storm.

We found our way to our cabin and were greeted very warmly by our Butler Joel and his helper Dennis. Our cabin is gorgeous. We have an entry passage with an enormous cupboard, a floral arrangement and a fruit and coffee station. We have a lounge room and bedroom combined then an office/passage way through to a walk in wardrobe with a million coat hangers and a large bathroom with a spa bath. We also have a verandah with two deck chairs. We are on Deck 9 Room 9047 mid ships.

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Joel and Dennis told us everything we needed to know.

We then headed off the the 7th deck to find the Queen's Grill for lunch. This was quite difficult to find because we went down the wrong stairs, but we came back the correct way, so that's one hurdle we have crossed.

The Queen's Grill, where we will be eating all our meals, is exquisite. Most of the tables are for two people, but we opted to sit at a table for six. We haven't met our other diners yet. So far, all we have met are pommies.

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Lunch was a light snack which consisted of a crab salad and lemon mousse with berries for me and a mushroom ciabata and icecream for Phil. It was just enough.

After lunch, our luggage had been delivered to our room and we unpacked and settled in for three weeks of heaven. All the drinks in our bar fridge are complimentary and will be replaced as we use them. Also, we are entitled to two litre bottles of our choice of alcohol, but it must be consumed in our cabin. Yes, we can do that! And when they are empty, they are replaced.

At 5 pm we had a life jacket drill and assembled with our group downstairs. We haven't seen any of the people who were staying on the QE2.

We were supposed to leave Dubai just after 6.30 pm but they kept making announcements asking for about five people to urgently contact reception. Then they kept calling for Mr and Mrs Rogerson to urgently contact reception. I wonder whether they made it back on board or whether we sailed without them.

We were siting on our balcony having a drink and the call to prayer started at 6.30 pm and it was lovely. There were many different calls and they were echoing all over Dubai. It was lovely to hear.

We were waiting to watch the ship leave port but had to get ready for dinner and while we were getting dressed, the ship left port and we didn't feel a thing. We are part of a table of six - Chris and Robin from a small village called Liere in the Midlands and Fiona and Yemi from Alberta, Canada. Very, very nice people and we all got on very well together. We all can't get over why most of our dining room is filled with tables for two. How boring!

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Our meals were all lovely. I am so glad we are in a Queens Grill Suite. It is really a la carte dining.

I am going to have a nice relaxing bath, maybe even a spa and see what tomorrow brings.

Posted by gaddingabout 13:45 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (0)

Dubai - Sunday, 24 March 2019

Free day in Dubai

overcast 31 °C
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QE2 Floating Hotel - Room No 2075

We were both in bed and asleep by 9 pm, had a good night's sleep and woke naturally just before the alarm which was set for 7 am. The bed is a huge king sized bed and is very comfortable. So are the pillows.

Breakfast was held in The Lido, which is a huge room overlooking the port. Not many people around. Either they are all sleepy heads or don't eat breakfast! There is a group of 70 pommies staying here, who will be sailing with us on the Queen Mary 2 tomorrow. We met and chatted with some at breakfast. No name exchange yet.

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After breakfast we wandered around the ship. Most areas are deserted.

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The theatre has the most exquisite wall paper.

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This is the Queen's Grill Dining Room, the best restaurant on the QE2.

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We have met up with Paul, who will be on the Queen Mary 2 with us and has been on 32 Cunard cruises.

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Oh no, Phil is sailing the ship!

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Agi, our lovely friend from Greece, who worked at the Australian Embassy in Athens when Phil was on posting there in the seventies, flew over to Dubai from Muscat, Oman to have lunch with us today and left a few hours later to fly back to Muscat. Now THAT is friendship! We last saw Agi in Greece in 2014 and were planning to go to Greece in June of this year, but our trip to the Norwegian Fjords has been postponed until June 2020, so we will see her again following that trip when we call into Athens on our way to Croatia.

We had a buffet lunch in the Lido and there was every type of food imaginable there. But the same thing happened at lunch as it did at breakfast. About half way through meal they started playing loud rock and roll music through the speakers. Weird! You can hardly hear yourself think.

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We have had far too much food today and have decided to skip dinner this evening. Tomorrow is the big day - boarding the Queen Mary.

Posted by gaddingabout 09:50 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (0)

Singapore to Dubai - Saturday, 23 March 2019

On board QE2

overcast 31 °C
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QE2 Floating Hotel - Room No 2075

We had a one hour stopover in Singapore and were very pleased to see that our departure lounge for our flight to Dubai was right next to the door where we disembarked from our flight from Sydney. Sometimes at Changi Airport, you have to catch a train to get to your departure lounge.

The flight wasn't full and Phil and I were seated in the centre of the plane with two spare seats beside us. It's good to be able to spread out.

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We were offered two meals again during the seven hour flight but declined the last snack. We both watched "A Star is Born" and I thought Lady Gaga was very good in that movie.

I read more of my book and slept and in no time at all we landed in Dubai. Immigration was painless and we caught a taxi to our hotel for the next two nights - the QE2. Driving through Dubai is just wonderful. The roads are wide and clean and the traffic flows beautifully. The city lights are magic. It has changed a lot since we were last here which is more than 10 years ago.

The wharf is not far from the airport and the taxi fare was 54 dirhams, which was very reasonable.

We checked in and were then taken through some doors, onto the wharf where the QE2 is tied up. What a magnificent sight.

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Our room is on the second level and is huge. We have three portholes. While sitting here typing my blog, I can hear the ship "groaning". It is lovely, but I can't feel any movement but apparently it does move, depending on the tides.

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It is now about 16 hours since we left Sydney so it's time for a bath and off to bed.

There was a huge dust storm here today and the sky is very hazy. And my nose is running like a tap and I'm sneezing all over the place - non allergic rhinitis! Time for a tablet and off to bed.

Posted by gaddingabout 10:05 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (0)

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