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(Part of) Dubai from the air

In a couple of weeks I shall be starting my cruise (E904) on Oceana – 10 nights round trip from Dubai to Dubai. I’ll be prefacing the cruise with a short holiday in Bangkok. And of course I shall be blogging from both parts of the trip, both here for the cruise and in my Travel blog for the short holiday in Thailand.

This is a new itinerary for P&O, of course. Well, not entirely – I believe that some ships have called at Dubai while on world cruises, but this will be the first season of fly-cruises to the Persian Gulf.

The itinerary for E904 is:

  • Day 1 – embark at Dubai;
  • Day 2 – another day at Dubai, then depart (time not known yet);
  • Day 3 – a call at Manama, Bahrain;
  • Day 4 & Day 5 – an overnight call at Abu Dhabi;
  • Day 6 – a call at Sir Bani Yas island;
  • Day 7 – a sea day!
  • Day 8 – a call at Muscat, Oman;
  • Day 9 – a call at another Omani port, Khasab;
  • Day 10 – back to Dubai;
  • Day 11 – disembark at Dubai.

So that’s a total of 7 days in the United Arab Emirates (Sir Bani Yas island is in Abu Dhabi emirate, and therefore in the UAE), a day in Bahrain, and two days in Oman. Oh, and a single sea day….. that’s what you call a busy cruise. There’s an alternate version of this cruise (E904A) that starts on February 10th (my Day 2) and extends through to the day my disembarkation. Effectively, the only difference between them will be the specific actual days you have in Dubai. I decided to do the E904 version – because I’ll be flying in from Bangkok on a self-arranged flight at the beginning of the cruise, I don’t have to worry even if my flight is very delayed, because Oceana will still be at Dubai until sometime late the day after. One thing that I don’t yet know is the times of arrival and departure at Dubai and Abu Dhabi. As the distances around the Persian Gulf are quite short, I’m hoping that arrivals will be early and departures late.

As I say, this is a new itinerary for P&O, and no-one has any experience of the arrangements at the ports. For example, will there be a shuttle bus from Port Rashid at Dubai to some point from where public transport can be picked up? I’ll endeavour to find out as much as possible about these issues as I possibly can and document them in the posts that I make.

One thing I won’t be able to cover from personal experience is what the arrangements will be for flights, luggage handling, and transfers for passengers. As I said above, I’m prefacing the cruise with a short holiday elsewhere so I’ve made my own flight arrangements. (My TA, Trailfinders, was able to get me a reduction on the P&O price for my unused flights.) However I shall ask around when I’m on board and collect other passengers’ experiences on these issues. I get the feeling that many passengers will be flying with Emirates – they certainly have flights, several a day in fact, from Manchester, Birmingham, and Edinburgh as well as from Heathrow, and (at least for passengers who buy their flights from them) they have very generous baggage allowances – 30 kgs in the hold which can take the form of multiple bags, and a reasonably-generous 7 kgs for cabin baggage. Best of all, they certainly look after you while you’re on the aircraft, even in economy. I’ve done a couple of trips from Manchester to Singapore and Malaysia with Emirates and they featured the best food I’ve ever had on a plane, actual metal cutlery!, and free alcohol…. if that’s your thing, of course. And the big A380 is definitely quieter than other aircraft and the seat feels more comfortable. The seven hour flight to Dubai on the A380 was much more comfortable than other long-haul flights I’ve done from Manchester, e.g. on creaky old Boeing 757s to Dulles or Newark with United.

So roll on early February!


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