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QE2 from Oceana

I’ve had a few chats with people who flew to Dubai with P&O and who arrived today, and this is a summary of the accounts.

Flights were indeed with Emirates and Virgin. I was surprised to learn that the flight from Manchester, at least for this cruise, was provided by a Virgin charter. I’m surprised because in fact Emirates have three scheduled flights a day from Manchester to Dubai, all in A380s, and I had assumed that P&O would use them. On reflection I had perhaps not considered that the Emirates flights are generally full anyway, and they probably weren’t able to accommodate a large group of extra passengers, some of whom may have booked quite late.

It’s also possible that the timings might not have right. Most people’s flights were overnight, leaving the U.K. airport in the mid evening yesterday (around 8 to 9pm) and therefore arriving in Dubai at about 8 or 9am today, Dubai time.

On arrival at Dubai International, passengers had to go through immigration and then recover their luggage on their own, so these cruises definitely have different arrangements from the Caribbean cruises where immigration seems to be smoothed and passengers don’t see their luggage until it turns up outside their cabin. That said, none of those I spoke to this evening was surprised by this. What did come as a shock to some was the sheer size of Dubai International airport. I came through there this afternoon, and I agree that it really is a long way from the landing gate to immigration, then the baggage hall is huge, and the walk from the baggage belts to the outside of the airport is a long one. Then there was a further walk to the coach pick-up point. All of this seems to have perhaps been a bit of problem for some passengers. There’s also the issue of liftong bags off the baggage carousel and onto trolleys.

Even after all that there seem to have been some problems with getting on the coaches, with suggestions that the coaches were held back by traffic supervisors so that at any one time just two were on hand for passengers to board.

Going back to immigration, accounts vary. Some people experienced very short delays (as did I), but other reported significant hold-ups. Mainly through sheer weight of numbers it seems – passengers said that there were plenty of immigration officials on hand, but at times there were a lot of passengers (and other entrants to the UAE, of course) lined up.

There will be more new arrivals tomorrow, and I shall keep reviewing this page in the light of what I learn.

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