Greetings from Dubai!
We are here in Dubai ready for our grand voyage on MSC Orchestra to Australia, but first a couple of days to explore the ever developing Dubai. Work is not stop building new high rise hotels and office towers – they now have 500 hotels and the plan is to have 1,000 in time for the 2020 Expo.
After a smooth Emirates flight from Brisbane we touched down 45 minutes early. No worries leaving the terminal, there was only one other flight that had arrived. It was the quietest I’ve ever seen the terminal.
It wasn’t long before we arrived at the Sheraton Grand Hotel, only been opened 3 months. As we opened the door to our room Kerry said OoLaLah, a beautiful suite with large sitting area and lounge and a separate king side bedroom. A great place to stay! Throughout the day the foyer was buzzing with guests coming and going. On the 52nd floor is the Shine Spa that boasts over 10,000 square feet of space with ten treatment rooms and featuring a steam room, sauna, ice fountain and Jacuzzi. The views of the Dubai skyline from the spa are very relaxing.
A culinary highlight at the Grand Sheraton was a 2 hour Afternoon Tea with 11 Teas to choose from the black teas – English Breakfast and Earl Grey to green teas from China and Japan and a Jasmine Lotus flowering tea plus a white tea from China, oolong tea from China, herbal peppermint from the USA and a fruity strawberry and mango tea. The food indulgence included assorted finger sandwiches and Viennese bridge rolls, freshly made scones including a blueberry streusel which was sensational, of course the scones were served with Devonshire clotted cream and homemade strawberry rose petal jam. As well there was a fine selection of cakes and pastries. Afternoon tea at its best.
Now after a good night’s sleep a visit beckons to the world’s tallest tower, Burj Khalifa and the viewing deck on the 124th level. We will have a chance to look at the largest mall, Dubai Mall and then a tour of Dubai. A Big Day!
Our second day in Dubai was well organised by Arabian Adventurers – our thanks to our knowledgeable guide Marshall – and provided us with the opportunity to see a diverse Dubai. First stop was the Dubai Mall – the largest Mall in Dubai. Inside we found the World’s largest aquarium with over 33,000 aquatic animals, the Dubai Mall Indoor Souk, Fashion Avenue with over 70 flagship stores with an unprecedented collection of global fashion brands, Olympic sized ice rink and Dubai Dino, the resident Dinosaur. On display is the original skeleton of a long necked whip tailed sauropod that is over 155 million years old.
We then shot up to the 124th floor of the world’s largest tower, Burj Khalifa for a 360 degree view. Unfortunately it was a hazy day with strong winds blowing a sand storm which reduced visibility – but a great experience. Next stop was the Meydon Luxury Hotel built with the Meydon Racetrack home of the Dubai World Cup.
From there to the Palm Jumeirah and the flamboyant 1,539 room Atlantis Hotel – a very busy spot with people everywhere. Saw the Lost Chambers Aquarium with 65,000 species of aquatic animals.
Next stop was the famous Emirates Golf Club then onto the Dubai Marina for lunch before taking a nine station ride on the Metro. Finally a visit to the Dubai Museum to see the history of Dubai unfold. A fascinating Day!
Now on board MSC Orchestra – after quick embarkation whilst waiting for our luggage we paid a visit to the La Piazzetta Cafeteria which is open 20 hours a day and has a special section for children.
Very happy with our cabin on Clarinetto deck 12 – Time to explore the ship before Dinner.
Travels from Dubai
MSC Orchestra was launched in France in 2007 and can accommodate up to 3013 passengers. At 92,409 ton the ship is 293.8 metres long and is very impressive in its white colour with blue signage – inside impressive colour schemes and design has created a delightful home away from home. The Covent Garden Theatre over two decks and the Savannah Lounge are standouts.
Food, Food, Food!
Enjoying the choice of food onboard – most mornings having cereal, tea and toast in our room, lunch in the buffet and dinner in our restaurant. We have had 3 special theme nights – Arabic, Indian and South African – all delicious. Yet to try room service during the day, afternoon tea and the Shanghai Chinese Restaurant where there is a surcharge. Also plenty of fresh fruit and salads available.
Cochin was the second city visited in India. Saw the 16th century Portuguese built Church of St. Francis and the mid-16th century Paradesi Synagogue as well as the Chinese cantilevered fishing nets. There was time to shop and purchase some spices, especially pepper.
Visiting Colombo Sri Lanka
A very clean and inviting city. A great deal of new buildings being developed including 3 major hotel chains, but there is the old charm including the museum, old parliament house and the new arts theatre. Colombo was known to traders over 2,000 years ago.
Creativity at Sea
A very well attended activity at sea has been the Creativity classes. Kerry had made some great pieces including a fan, mask, necklaces and pot cards. Many of the men are attending as well!
So far from Dubai to Benoa, Bali the sea has been very still and calm - Ideal to sit on the balcony and enjoy. It is very calming.
Enjoyable lunch at the Shanghai - Asian Fusion Restaurant. Open Lunch & Dinner - Charges Apply
A variety of entertainment from classical concerts to lavish Broadway Production show and groups playing in the various lounges and bars - music for everyone.
There have been theme nights in the restaurants - the other night Balinese.
Yesterday in Singapore today at sea crossed Equator and a number of guests took part in King Neptune's Baptism
Passengers awoke this morning to a bright blue sky sunny day with the pilot joining MSC Orchestra before heading to the the Sunshine Coast. The ship is now slowly making its way across Moreton Bay to its arrival in Brisbane after almost 9,000 nautical miles from Dubai. Expected arrival time is by 1pm and Brisbane will be the first Australian port of call.