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Our cruise in 2019 is going to be a bit different. Specifically, it isn’t going to be ‘our’ cruise – it’s going to be ‘my’ cruise. I shall be going on Oceana in February 2019 for one of her Persian Gulf cruises, and I shall be prefacing this with a few days’ holiday in Bangkok. On my own….

You might be asking how this is happening. Well, when I retired in early 2015 Val and I agreed that I would be free to do some travelling while she continued working – she hasn’t retired yet. So in the first couple of years I did a number of trips to Europe and to the US. Then in 2017 I did a longer and, to me, more adventurous trip – a holiday in Asia, specifically Singapore, Penang in Malaysia, and Dubai. And I did a similar trip in 2018, this time to Singapore (again) and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. I enjoyed these trips enormously. They were hard work; the flights were long and I found the heat a challenge at times, but it was interesting to go to places that were different, even if in Singapore English is very widely spoken. Most important of all was that I was mixing with people who had a completely different world view. Not necessarily opposed to mine, just different. Here’s a link to a review/report of the first of those trips in my travel blog.

I wanted to do another trip into Asia in 2019 and in the course of planning it I saw the information about Oceana’s Arabian Gulf itineraries in the new year, and they seemed interesting. I visited Dubai in 2017 and although I didn’t warm to it much on that occasion, I have a feeling that there must be more than I saw on that visit. I’ve never visited Abu Dhabi or Oman, which are among the other ports of call on the 10-night cruise. And I would probably prefer to fly with Emirates to Asia anyway – they have three flights a day from Manchester to Dubai which avoids having to go down to Heathrow. From Dubai there are onward flights to everywhere in Asia, of course, and this year I’ve decided to give Singapore a miss and go to Bangkok instead. (Hopefully I’ll go back to Singapore, with Val, in 2020.) My route back would be via Dubai, of course, so I decided that instead of adding other destinations in Asia as ‘fillers’ I would do the cruise from Dubai.

I’ve booked a Select Fare for an Inside cabin on Oceana. Interestingly, we found that booking a Select fare meant that Trailfinders were able to get a discount on the price because they’re making the flight arrangements for me, and thus I won’t be using the P&O flights. As I say, with a Select Fare Trailfinders were able to get that part of the P&O price (or some of it) knocked off. I’ve found that the Emirates service from/to Manchester is very good. Generous baggage allowance (multiple bags in the hold with a maximum weight for all of them of 32kgs), good meals with real cutlery, very comfortable seats even in economy (those A380s are exceptional aircraft), free alcohol – too good to risk not getting Emirates with the P&O-arranged flights. That saving on the P&O flight meant that the overall cost with the Select fare was very, very slightly cheaper than it would have been with an Early Saver. The icing on the cake is that because it’s a Select fare I’ve got a tiny bit of OBC, I was able to select my cabin, and I’ve got my preferred dining arrangement – Freedom dining.

So come February I shall be off again.

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