As a part of our job, we usually get invited by any travel-related companies to showcase what they have to offer. My very first site inspection was in Maldives, visiting 10 resorts in a span of 5 days. Now that one was really tiring and we were unable to enjoy the beauty of the place at all. Next was by Trafalgar to join their Italian tour, which was great as we were treated like real passengers and basically we just need to experience how a Trafalgar tour works. Next stop for me is for the one this coming April, the destination is yet to be disclosed in a much later time.
Anyhow last Monday we, along with some other travel agents in the UAE, were invited by Royal Caribbean Cruise for a ship inspection/training in one of the ships that was docked in Dubai before they start their Serenade of the Seas cruise. As many of you know, the first part of it was not really a good experience (blog about that on here). However, let me just reiterate that it has nothing to do at all with the service of the Royal Caribbean staff themselves. The sales people who organized the event for the travel agents did it in a very bad way which apparently is the case every year. A colleague of mine went to the same training/inspection last year and he experienced exactly the same thing as what I have experienced last Monday. Talk about learning from their mistakes, apparently they never do. The Royal Caribbean staff, specifically the check-in supervisor in-charge at the time was very helpful though and she was the one who helped me sort out all the miscommunication even if I wasn’t a real passenger on their ship for that day anyway. So just to make it clear, whatever happened to me last Monday has nothing to do with the service of the cruise staff themselves. I was there and I have witnessed how helpful and happy these people were and I think they will really try their very best to make you feel at ease during your holiday. I just hope none of those people who organized the training will ever work onboard that ship.
I have never been in a cruise ship before but of course I already have an idea of how it will be however, I was still taken aback of what I saw – it was unbelievable! It’s like a whole community in a moving vessel. The ship that we inspected was one of their smaller ones and I was still surprised of how many activities they have in store for their guests. They have a theater, a casino (non-functioning though as they follow the laws of the land), outdoor sports activities, youth section (21+ people are not allowed in this side of the ship), kid’s club, a number of restaurants and bars and of course, swimming pools for adults and children. The only thing I noticed though which is such a cliche for all the cruise is 90% of the passengers that were onboard at the time were above 50. I don’t think that’s a coincidence however, the itinerary for that cruise probably has something to do with this age group. Serenade of the Seas goes around the UAE (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Fujairah) and Oman which for someone living in Dubai, doesn’t even make sense. It’s good for holidaymakers though to make the most out of their stay in the Middle East. I just hope that the cliche of only older people take a cruise vacation doesn’t apply to all of their ships as I really am considering to go on their Eastern Mediterranean Cruise.
After the ship inspection, we had our lunch at their main restaurant. Upon entering, we were repeatedly asked to sanitize our hands before going in the main buffet area. I’m not sure why but hey, that’s good to know that everyone’s got clean hands while having a meal right? They’ve got a wide range of food choices onboard, surprisingly everything served were good. I think after the cruise it’s inevitable to gain weight if they’ll be serving all those yummy food onboard the whole time – bear in mind that it’s a full board meal package for any cruise you’ll be taking. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be covered excluding the drinks. They do offer iced tea, lemonade, water, tea and coffee for free though however for your soda and alcohol fix, you’ll need to pay extra which I think is ok. I was slightly put off though when I took a plate from their buffet table, it was plastic. It doesn’t really go with the grandeur of the rest of the ship. I’m also not sure if they serve halal food which is very important for the Muslim market. I just assumed that because there was a pork meal served and it was along with the rest of all the food displayed. Here in the UAE or Middle East in general, anything which has pork in it will have to be in a different section of any restaurants and if they didn’t segregate the pork from the other food, it might not even be halal as well. Well, I don’t think they import all of their ingredients somewhere else. I bet they buy everything in the UAE so it must probably be halal as well. Confusing hey? I’ll have to check on that with the company directly.
I leave you now with the photos I took from the ship, it’s not much but trust me it was awesome.
So, do you want to go on a cruise? 🙂