March 2016
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  • Day14

    WOW

    March 19, 2016 in the United Arab Emirates ⋅ ☀️ 79 °F

    Royal Caribbean have what they call their WOW! awards.
    It's a scheme where you can give recognition to members of the ship's crew who have given you exceptional service.
    Well they could not print enough awards to go around this ship, as every single member of staff I've come into contact with have been superb.
    For example at this moment, I'm sitting in the concierge lounge at 5.30am having a coffee and writing this blog, the guy who puts the food out in the lounge and the guy who cleans the lounge, have just finished their jobs and on the way out, stopped and said to me, "safe journey home sir, it's been a pleasure".
    That's with out any prompting or tipping or anything, just nice friendly people.
    I mean WOW! never had that happen before, and it's the attitude that the staff on this ship all have.
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  • Day12

    Afternoon High Tea

    March 17, 2016 in Oman ⋅ ⛅ 91 °F

    As promised, Peter took a group of us out for afternoon tea at the Al Bustan Palace Hotel.
    This place is the only 6 star hotel in Oman, it was originally built for Sultan Qaboos as a palace, but he had it converted into an hotel.
    I suppose he had enough palaces already, lol.
    The hotel is located right on its own beach, and has an infinity pool, that when in the pool it looks like it flows directly into the sea.
    It really is a beautiful place.
    The afternoon high tea was great and a lovely experience, with dainty smoked salmon sandwiches along with caviar and things.
    They served us English scones, with jam and cream, and some really cool chocolate cakes decorated with real gold leaf.
    It was a brilliant afternoon, and a treat not only for the ten passengers Peter had invited, but also the three staff Monet, Adriana and Stokely who were invited also.
    It gave them a chance to get out of uniform and kick back and relax with the passengers.
    As I've said before Peters management style is different and it works perfectly, as his staff all love him, and consequently give their best, and us as passengers reap the rewards.
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  • Day10

    Peter Dimitrov

    March 15, 2016 in the United Arab Emirates ⋅ ☀️ 86 °F

    What can I say about this guy?
    Apart from being professional, very friendly and approachable from the passengers point of view.
    His management style is such that he has the happiest crew I've ever met, and as the saying goes, "Happy crew, happy passengers".
    Anyway last night we where invited to the captains table by John Hazzard the F&B manager.
    Besides the six of us guests, his new wife Ann joined us and we had an excellent meal, in a very relaxed atmosphere with excellent company.
    Despite his senior position, John is another approachable down to earth and friendly guy, and his wife Ann is beautiful and in true Scottish Glaswegian fashion is a great talker and very friendly.
    After the meal we went back to the cabin and lo and behold what's on the table but a courtesy bottle of wine from Peter, along with a bottle of Moet Chandon champagne also from Peter to apologise for the soot mess we had on our balcony over night.
    Apparently they were doing some work on the funnel, and a load of soot ended up on the rear balconies, the cabin steward Franky had told us about it, and it was cleared up by late morning, so was no big deal to us.
    But Peter being Peter there was a bottle of champagne in the cabin as an apology, but not the usual sparkling plonk that's dished out as quiz prizes, but a bottle of genuine Moet.
    To continue with this cruise to end all cruises, later this afternoon a group of us have been invited for afternoon tea at the 6 star Al Bustan hotel with Peter and some of the officers.
    I'll tell you all about that tomorrow.
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  • Day9

    Didn't we do well??

    March 14, 2016 in the United Arab Emirates ⋅ ⛅ 84 °F

    We had a very nice surprise off Gisleni, she upgraded us to a junior suite, which was unexpected.
    Things on this ship just get better and better we've been treated like royalty from the minute we entered the cruise terminal.
    On the back to back check in,Peter the hotel director and Andre the guest services manager escorted us through check in and Gi Gi the suites concierge came down to escort us on to the ship. We've had captains table, galley brunch, and the promise more this week.Read more

  • Day9

    Almost forgot!

    March 14, 2016 in the United Arab Emirates ⋅ ⛅ 84 °F

    Forgot to mention that all four of us jumped a taxi to Mercato Mall to meet our friends Eric and Doreen who will be joining Sheila and I for the next cruise, Maz and Sue are going home as they have some business to attend to.
    Mercato is one of the smaller malls in Dubai, but is a beautiful mall and a lovely place to have a coffee and people watch.
    After coffee five of us got a taxi to Karama souk that's the place in Dubai that you can buy copy designer gear, anything from T shirts to Rolex watches all genuine copies, lol.
    It's a fun place to shop if you don't mind running the gauntlet of friendly, polite but very, very, persistent guys trying to sell your watches, sunglasses etc.
    The thing that tickles me is that these guys are spaced sometimes inches apart and you say no to the first one immediately the next one is trying to sell you exactly the same stuff, and so on down the line.
    But as long as you don't take it to seriously, it can be good fun.
    I mentioned earlier that only five of us went to Karama, this is because Mazen would rather have red hot needles poked in his eyes than shop there, lol. As I say it's not for everyone.
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  • Day9

    Well that's the first half done

    March 14, 2016 in the United Arab Emirates ⋅ ⛅ 84 °F

    Last night was the usual happy/sad occasion when you say goodbye to friends old and new.
    I've already said how good the staff are on this ship.
    But also once again we've met some lovely people, in particular Paul and Deana from Northampton, and Jimmy and Louise from Conwy, North Wales also Steve and Teresa from Liverpool, along with Teresa's Italian mum, who's name I didn't get because from the off I called her mother.
    Such lovely people and we had a great criac every evening in the concierge.
    These cruises get to be less and less about the destinations and more about the people we meet.
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  • Day6

    The friendliest ship ever

    March 11, 2016 in Oman ⋅ ☀️ 79 °F

    Peter Dimitrov the hotel director came to say hello to the four of us at breakfast yesterday and invited Sheila and I to the afternoon galley tour and brunch.
    Being the highest cruisers Maz and Sue already had their invite, as did the other two pinnacles Steve and Barbara, but as Peter said Maz, Sue, Sheila and I are a group so the invitation was extended to us also.
    We had a great tour of the galley and a brilliant meal after.
    Also as Sheila and I are on the next cruise also, Peter said we'll be invited to an event next week too, he's not sure what his going to do but it will definitely be something off the ship.
    Last trip he took his guests to the Al Bustan, which is the best hotel in Muscat, for afternoon tea, the trip before he took them to the local fish market and they picked their fish and it was brought back to the ship and cooked especially for them.
    Apparently Peter likes to mix things up and do something different for the pinnacles and high point guests, just to show appreciation for their loyalty.
    We've never had anything close to this on other ships, and it's sad that this ship is being sold to Thomson cruises and this brilliant staff is being broken up and going to different ships.
    Because seriously every one of them have been brilliant, from our bar waiters, to Gisleni the concierge, to Andre and Elaine on guest services, to Gordon, bar services manager, to Peter and many
    more I've not named.
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  • Day5

    Muscat

    March 10, 2016 in Oman ⋅ ☀️ 79 °F

    Yesterday after breakfast, Maz and Sue's eldest daughter, Reima picked us up from the port to take us on a tour of Muscat.
    We had to slum it in a brand new 550CL Mercedes-Benz, but such is life LOL.
    We started with a Starbucks on the Corniche, which had a fabulous sea view.
    Then off we went for a tour of the city.
    One of the interesting things was to see the private residences of the royal family and the top government officials, only from the outside of course, lol.
    Then we had a ride to Reimas house where we met her four adorable children, who we'd seen many pictures of on Facebook but never in the flesh.
    Then we called in to see Hussam, Reimas husband, at his car detailing garage, car detailing for the uninitiated is sort of very expensive and expert car valeting.
    It includes special processes on the car body, to bring the paintwork back to, better than showroom quality.
    The average price is about £500, so you can imagine the type of cars his staff get to work on, when we went in there were a couple of Range Rovers, a huge Jeep thing, a couple of BMWs, an Audi, all top of the range, also one beautiful Ferrari, which I sat in for a photo, and then struggled to get out of. So I've decided not to buy one lol.
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  • Day4

    Khasab

    March 9, 2016 in Oman ⋅ ☀️ 79 °F

    We docked at Khasab today but none of us fancied getting off the ship, which was great for me as it gave me the chance of another sleep, to help get over the hangover before the Captains table tonight.....
    Anyway the meal was with the staff captain, Matthias Sebom, who is from Sweden and a really nice guy.
    There were only six guests and funnily enough all of us are from Wigan, there was Barbara and Steve, Maz and Sue, and Sheila and I, so it was easy having conversations with everyone, which made a nice change.
    The food was excellent and the wines top notch as usual, no Chateau de Sainsbury on the captains table, lol.
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