We had four full on days in Dubai staying on The Palm at the Anantara and then boarding Oceana for our last night.
We visited one of the shopping malls, spent time resting on a beach and visited the souks.
Our cruise through the Suez Canal started in Dubai and took us to Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Salalah, then the transit of the Suez Canal, Valletta, Dubrovnik, Hvar, Venice, Split and finally back to Valletta.
Day 1 Monday 18th March Heathrow to Dubai
In the run-up to this cruise we had had lots of advice about what to take and what not to take to Dubai. Of most concern to everyone were our prescriptions for our drugs. The best advice that we had was take them in the original packaging and take our doctor’s prescription with us to prove our ownership.
Both our suitcases were about 23 kg on our scales. The good news about this trip was that we wouldn’t be having a combination of hot and cold places to visit. Our seats on the plane were reserved and we had electronic morning passes on my iPhone – so we were ready to go when our taxi came early for the short drive to Heathrow.
The roads to Heathrow were clear and soon we were soon at the BA bag drop off. Our scales at home are clearly under reading as the British Airways scales registered one or two kilograms more for the suitcases – oops!
Heathrow Terminal 5
Security was a breeze and we were quickly out through and air-side proper. We have decided that a meal before the flight would be a good idea. At the end of the terminal we went into Wetherspoons. The food & drink ordering was across the corridor at the bar there.
I had a Brewdog Punk IPA to wash down my cheeseburger.
We sat for a while as we still had over two hours before our flight. We knew that our plane would be at one of the B gates and that the gate number would be displayed at around 8.20 pm.
The Bombay Sapphire gin was a good price at the duty-free. One bottle, we hoped, should be enough for the three weeks on-board P&O Oceana. I called at the WH Smiths bookstore. None of the books I was interested in were on offer unfortunately. Instead I bought a recently published history of the Dam Busters WWII raid at the full price of £9.99. Oceana has a good library so this would be okay for the flight and for the first few days.
To get to the B gates we descended the steep escalator to catch the shuttle train. Once at the gate we joined the queue for ‘Group 5’ boarding – the last to board. We chatted to a gentleman who explained he was in Economy as there were no seats available in the other classes on board. He told us about his experiences setting up the polo club in Dubai on land gifted by the royal family. ‘Group 5’ eventually boarded and we headed to the second last row on the starboard side.
ON our BA flight to Dubai
Our BA plane was a 777–200 and had seen ‘better days’. When the seats in front were occupied the backs of the seats rocked alarmingly towards us. I was disappointed that we didn’t have a USB socket for charging phones or headphones. Even more disappointing was the rippling or wave effect on the screen when I tried to look at the moving map and the position of the plane on the screen.
The first round of drinks provided us with a couple of bottles of Merlot and the obligatory packet of nuts. We were in the window and the middle seats of the row. The companion to my left didn’t speak for the entire flight of almost 7 hours except to ask for food and drinks.
I chose the meal based on chicken for my late night dinner. This was helped by yet another bottle of Merlot. By now I had watched the Hollywood adaptation of ‘The girl in the spiders web’. Only the names of the characters had any resemblance to the original book.
I did manage a couple of hours sleep before the cabin lights went back on and our breakfasts were being served.