|Monday 29th March Day 79 – Dubai
Turning northwards Arcadia arrives in Dubai, in the heat haze you could make out the skyline with the world's tallest tower; 'Burj Khalifa' which is 828 metres (2,716.5 ft) high
As we drew in to the port area, we spotted the QE II along with another cruise ship, quite quickly we were docked and the port activity swung into action. A secure zone always surrounds the ship, and the gangways, were quickly in position.
It was hot all ready, the big difference was the lack of humidity so the 38deg temperature was bearable, whilst we walked along the port, through the new, very impressive cruise terminal which had air-con., out to the waiting coach for our Panoramic Dubai tour.
We had a very leisurely drive through the Jumeira district, which is a very picturesque residential area which is home to modern day palaces. Our guide was Indian, very knowledgeable and he made the tour extremely interesting.
We have been to Dubai several times, usually for just a few days, but once spending holiday time with Susie, Bill, Joshua and Liberty, it was so hot then as it was their summer, I remember saying it was so hot I could not think straight, they all loved it, but I could only survive if I went from one air con place to another.
The tour took us past a beautiful sandstone Mosque and along the Sheik Zayed Road to the iconic Burj Al Arab, currently the world’s tallest, water based all-suite hotel costing in excess of $1,000 per night! You do have your own butler! We enjoyed taking photographs on the beach, but the heat was rising, moving on to our next visit a hotel which had its own ski slope, within, we could view it as we enjoyed a cappuccino.
It is an amazing place, full of high rise buildings, a lot of them empty, or partly built, because of the world economy, and whilst it is evidently clear it is suffering, you also realise the wealth and commitment that is Dubai, the mono rail system is now operational and due to expand, it is poised ready for the upturn.
Our final visit was to the Gold Suk, whilst they do not manufacture any gold jewellery here, it is the centre for the gold industry, with hundreds of shops, displaying every type, because it is tax free. Some passengers did buy, but with 30mins only to browse, I was quite content to buy the alternative Arabic head gear, which is a chequered cloth and black plaited rope, and a beautiful silk pashmina, after much bartering by Bill.
Back to the ship, walking through the terminal I did spot the belly dancing scarf in red, complete with bells, now, do not ask why, It just seemed a good idea at the time, perhaps we could start a group in W.I.!
We joined fellow passengers in the Belvedere for a late lunch, and as it is self service you can have a lite-bite. We then sat on our balcony in the sun and relaxed.
The captain then addressed us all over the inter-com in our cabin about the sail-away and also the serious message about the pirates. As you can imagine that was the topic of conversation at dinner.
Our one regret in Dubai, is that the ‘wait list’ Angie and Stuart had been on for a while, which would have enabled them to join us for the final leg on Arcadia, did not materialise, that would have been amazing. Whilst the ship is full, we could have put them up on our sofa bed!
Well that’s all for now, speak to you tomorrow.
Bill & Liz