Back again to our old friend the Queen Mary 2 today. We got all packed up at our hotel and had a last leisurely breakfast. The wind was blowing from the desert today and there was a haze of dust over the whole country. We were bid a fond farewell by all the staff. I must say that the Ritz Carlton staff were incredibly helpful and friendly in all departments. They tried so very hard to please.
We called them to come and get our bags at 1230 and checked out and were on our way by taxi by around 1pm. Back through the red sand desert of the UAE hinterland. Not the most attractive of landscapes. Pretty flat, scrubby and not much to see. The roads are very good though. Traffic was pretty light and we were in Dubai by 145. After a bit of hesitation our taxi driver got us to the right ship 😊 He was slightly confused by the presence of the QE2 on the harbourside. We sailed on her back in 2001 towards the end of her career at sea. Nowadays, she has been refurbished and is now a 5 star hotel here in Dubai. She only opened this year and it is possible to book a gala dinner aboard which replicates one of the 6 course celebration menus from days gone by. Would like to do that sometime, maybe next year when we visit Lucy. It was lovely to see her again anyway.
Check in was very easy at the cruise terminal. They had an absolute army of staff on hand, taking luggage and doing the actual check in. We did not have to queue at all. Most impressive. So lovely to come on board again. We have exactly the same cabin as we had last year when we cruised from Southampton to Sydney. We like the location very much. Went straight there and dropped our hand bags. They had a bottle of champagne on ice for us in there. Will save that for another occasion. We went up to the buffet and got a cup of tea and took it out to the promenade deck. Drank it down but to be honest it was just so hot and muggy, we didn’t linger. You could hardly see the skyscrapers of Dubai, such was the fug of the dust. It was as if nothing was there.
Went back down to the cabin and our suitcases had arrived so we unpacked. It all goes away like magic. There is a lot of storage space and we have less with us this time than on previous longer cruises. It will take us 21 days to get back to Southampton.
Felt very tired so chilled out then for a while till it was time for the lifeboat drill at 5pm.
We have 2 days at sea and then we call into Salaleh, Oman, the city of frankincense. I am really excited for that because it’s one of my favourite scents. I have always loved the smell of incense, the smell of old churches….. so I am hoping to be able to really stock up there.
We went up to one of the bars and had a pre dinner martini which was perfectly dry and delicious. QM2 pulled away from the dock at about 730 and we sat on deck and watched as the lights grew more distant. Dinner was at 830 and we met our new table companions – 3 other couples. 1 English couple, 1 American and 1 Australian. So all very cosmopolitan and genial. Intended to go to the cinema after dinner but we were too tired, so we turned in at about 1030.