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As noted in my prior post, we strolled through Dubai Marina this morning, taking in the ambience (and our morning coffee). By daylight, the area reminded us of Beach Dr. in St. Petersburg back home in Florida. It has a similar mix of tropical, waterfront, hip, and contemporary attributes. Dubai Marina just delivers it on a grander scale.

We checked out of the hotel and departed for Port Rashid around noon. I actually thought the hotel was closer to the port, but I was somehow confused in my planning. As it happens, Port Rashid is fairly close to the airport and Old Dubai. On balance, I think the Marriott at Dubai Marina was still a fine choice for a hotel (and an area we likely wouldn’t have visited had I been right about the port’s location); we’d certainly stay there with Emerson given the ideal family setup and close proximity to food. However, for other cruisers, I’d probably suggest elsewhere unless the marina or nearby beaches really ring your bell.

Check-in for the ship was mildly disorganized around some of the details. With large crowds, it could have been a nightmare, but the passengers seemed to arrive in more of a steady trickle. As such, we breezed through and were aboard Brilliance in about 15 minutes.

Like our return to Navigator, it’s nice to be back ‘home’ on Brilliance. Last time (in 2009 on our trip to Egypt), we were in an oversized oceanview cabin. Now, we’re in a standard-sized balcony cabin (#8088) with a vastly oversized balcony. It must be 3-4 times as deep as a normal balcony. The only downside is that it’s right off the Centrum, making it a poor choice if sounds (like the bad rendition of ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ being played right now) bother you. :-)

Upon arrival to our cabin, we found our ‘make-up’ cheese and wine plate. Unfortunately, that nice gesture of goodwill after the Mariner scheduling debacle was kind of wiped out by the cruise line’s inability to give us a table for two in the dining. So, we’re on the waitlist and will skip the main dining room unless/until they can accommodate us. Anti-social? Hell, yes. We’re on vacation. Together. Alone. We have no interest in ‘making friends.’ Screw that.

Besides, for what I’ll save in MDR tips (no eat, no tip), we could just dine in the two specialty restaurants more often (we’d planned on one visit each already). Plus, we’re going to go on a sunset dhow cruise in Muscat (forcing us to miss one dinner), and we’ll use our overnight back in Dubai to eat out there (far more interesting than the cruise ship anyway). So, basically, we won’t be eating in the MDR for three nights. And, did I mention they serve the same food (from the same menus, which we’ve had before) in the Windjammer each night? We checked. It’s not a tragic loss.

One other interesting, though not surprising, factoid: we’re (as Americans) in the scant minority on this cruise ship. If I had to guess (based on informal survey methods at the welcome aboard show), I think the British make up the single largest group of passengers. The remainder is mostly Western Europeans with a dash of other North Americans. Other folks from the USA? No, not so much.

We’ll stop in Fujairah, an Emirate on the UAE’s East Coast, tomorrow.

We’re about to enter the Straight of Hormuz. So, I’ll sign off for now. I have to go wave at Iran from our balcony! 😉

One Response to “Cruise Day #1 – Dubai, Embarkation”

  1. Andre says:

    Hi There,

    Thanks for the posts. We are scheduled for the 19th of March cruise upon BOS. I find the information you supply very useful – and naturally interesting. Keep going…………will do a bit of reading every morning.

    (South Africa)

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