Being chosen for an educational is an honour and I was really excited to be going to Dubai with MSC Cruises as this would be my first time in the UAE. We arrived very early morning into Dubai and were transferred to the Moevenpick Bur Dubai Hotel for a rest before inspecting the hotel later on that day, followed by a gorgeous lunch. This is a great hotel and would be ideal for a pre or post stay in Dubai due to its close proximity to the port and airport. After lunch we explored the Jumeirah Beach Residence and visited the Ritz Carlton Hotel, which is situated in the heart of the Dubai Marina District with superlative shopping, dining and beaches all within easy reach. A stroll along 'The Walk' took us to the JA Ocean View Hotel with its magnificent sea views and modern interior. So feeling tired, but excited we then made our way to Port to embark on the MSC Orchestra to start our journey around the UAE.
We arrived in Abu Dhabi the following morning and enjoyed a visit to Ferrari World, the largest indoor & first Ferrari Theme Park in the world, with the fastest roller coaster in the world and I was brave enough to go on it. Day 2 was at sea which gave the chance to relax by the pools and then later have a ship inspection. The Orchestra accommodates 2550 guests and is a beautiful ship with the MSC signature Italian style and is suitable for all types of cruisers. Everything from the food to the staff were amazing! Day 3 arrived in Khor Al Fakkan and explored the small town around the port, but an excursion would be the best option at this port to experience life in Abu Dhabi. Day 4 Muscat renowned as one of the worlds greatest ports since ancient Rome. An open top hop on, hop off bus was the experience this day and it was a great way to see Muscat with its bustling souq, Grand Mosque and Sultan's palace. I loved it here and would have loved to spent longer visiting the sites. Day 5 Khasab, Oman - a Dhow cruise took us on the scenic and tranquil Fiord, observing the coastal villages. Seeing the dolphins swim alongside us was again another great experience as was swimming in the pristine fiord at Telegraph Island. Day 6 after disembarking the Orchestra in Dubai we were taken to the Atlantis on the Palm and after exploring what this large hotel has to offer, including their Lost Chambers Aquarium and Dolphin Bay, we had a few hours in their Aquaventure waterpark to enjoy all the rides and lazy river. This is an amazing hotel on the Palm with so much to offer its customers, all I can say is WOW! Later that evening after another fabulous hosted meal at The Manzil Downtown Dubai some free time was had to explore the largest shopping mall in the world and see the famous Dubai Fountains (this is a must when visiting Dubai) Day 7 another action packed day in Dubai with a guided CityTour taking in the Marina, a photo stop by Burj Al-Arab hotel, on Jumeirah Beach. We took in views of the white marble dome and minarets of Jumeirah Mosque and had a Tour of the old quarter of Dubai, Bastakiya, also a water-taxi ride across Dubai Creek and visited the exciting Spice Souq and shop for bargains. That afternoon for our last night, we were picked up from our Hotel to end our day with a 4x4 Jeep Safari in the Desert, another must excursion. After Quad biking, Sand boarding and a camel ride we watched the sun set whilst sipping champagne - a truly memorable experience.
I loved my first visit to Dubai and it certainly won't be my last.