March 27, 2016

World Cruise 2016 Day 82

Day 82 – Dubai, UAE. We arrive about an hour early. I think the last few days the captain was enjoying his personal game of cat and mouse as we tied up at the dock just as the Splendour of the Seas headed for the same pier. They are now tied up in front of us. Our passengers were disembarking while they were still awaiting clearance. The forecast today is for partly cloudy skies, breezy, with a high temperature of 81. Perfect temperature wise.

I don't know where she came from, and don't know where she is going, but the Splendour is not draped in razor wire as we are. There are two other cruise ships scheduled to be here today and tomorrow, but I haven't seen them as yet. The old Queen Elizabeth 2 is tied up at a nearby pier. I think the idea was to make a tourist attraction out of her. Whether or not that ever happens remains to be seen. The engines haven't run in over three years, which probably means they never will again. There are lots of construction projects here that have been put on hold because of the drop in the world economy.

There was a church service at 6 AM on the Lido deck, about 200 passengers attended. Religion has a strong presence on this ship. We have a Catholic priest, a Jewish Rabbi, and a protestant minister on board, all competing for time and space to hold service. Also many of the shore excursions are focused around visits to various mosques, churches, temples, etc.

Today I finally meet Leon, the passenger from California that brought 12 cases of wine with him. As I suspected his motivation was strictly quality. He feels the wines sold on board are pretty bad, and are purchased strictly because of low cost with no consideration to quality.

The tour today was pretty good overall. The guide was good and the chosen locations good, but the atmosphere is so hazy from the dust from the desert combining with moisture from the sea that visibility and picture clarity was very poor. We couldn't really see the completed Palm Islands, the ocean, our ship, or the desert from the observation decks on floor 124 and 125 in the Burj Khalifa.

The architecture in Dubai is stunning, not at all like the boring buildings constructed in the US. We did see "Ski Dubai" at the Mall of the Emirates, and took pictures of the Burj Al Arab hotel, and other neat buildings throughout the area. For you shoppers, the Mall of Dubai has over 2000 permanent stores, 3000 if you also count the aisle kiosks.

Construction of "The Universe","The World" and two of the three Palm Island projects have been put on hold. Many hotels and office buildings are only partially occupied.

Debby is very excited today. Not only does she play outside on the Lido deck tonight, her daughter is joining the cruise for our return to Florida. While on the subject of passengers joining the ship, for all you romantics, you need to known that the "Love Boat" has nothing on The Amsterdam. Barbara and Ralph met after we left Ft. Lauderdale, and were often together until he disembarked in Sydney to return to the US. Being half a world apart didn't work and today, Ralph rejoined the cruise to be with Barbara.

There are local entertainers scheduled for the Queen's lounge tonight including belly dancers and Lebanese performers. I attend despite having a tour early tomorrow. The show starts about 15 minutes late, but the wait was definitely worth it. The show was excellent.