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Dubai 12th February
Post: #1
I had been considering this trip for several years but parking it in favour of longer trips and finally managed to find a window and am very glad that I did.  That said I was surprised that a trip that has been running for some time still had areas that could be refined.  I don't normally do a day by day review but I think for a short trip it is worthwhile.  In the first place this is not a 6 day holiday as billed.  Very few of the group left home before the afternoon of the 12th (the first day) and with an overnight flight, Day 2 is actually the first day.  At the end of the trip, the group were all left by 11.30 am on Day 6 so again not really a day in Dubai.  The Stansted flight actually left the hotel at 6 am which was a bit of shock to the 5 travellers involved.

Day 2 (or Day 1 as JY would have it).  The group started arriving from 8 am onwards and with a few exceptions, no hotel rooms were ready which seemed a bit surprising for such a large hotel.  Facilities were available to freshen up and later that morning we left on an orientation tour returning mid afternoon when those without rooms had to go through the check in process and find their way around the hotel.  The hotel is on 72 floors spread over two towers which was a bit daunting to begin with.  In the evening we went to Dubai Marina for a dhow cruise with included buffet dinner.  I and a few others felt that this would have been better on another evening as we were all tired after being on the go for over 30 hours, it was cold on the Marina, the food was unremarkable and not very hot plus the cruise seemed to be rather drawn out with an unexplained wait by the unfinished Dubai Eye. 

Day 3 - Optional trip to Abu Dhabi which I did not join so maybe one of the other travellers will add a comment but the trip returned late and many of those who intended to go to the Dubai Mall for the musical fountain display opted out.  I visited the Miracle Garden, 72,000 sq m of floral sculptures and display which was breath taking.  The musical fountain display at the Mall was wonderful and it is a pity that there was not another opportunity for the Group to see this.

Day 4 - Visit to Burj Khalifa which was unfortunately spoilt by the arrival of a cruise ship which meant that despite having tickets, the queues were very long and it was very difficult to actually get round for the 360 degree view. An experience worth having but not as good as it could have been.  Apparently this visit used to be done in the afternoon following which the Group were free to stay at the Mall for the fountain display.  That would have been much better and I understand the change was due to the 'feedback' we hear so much about.  The timetable for the day was now severely impacted but Nebil, our local guide was determined we should fulfil the itinerary. We were then walked through the Dubai Mall, set free for lunch and then taken to the Mall of the Emirates specifically to see Ski Dubai - in my view this could have been dropped as the ski slope could hardly be seen. Onto a whistle stop tour of the Dubai Musuem followed by a crossing by water taxi (best bit of the day) to visit the Gold Souk for some retail therapy time  A dinner was arranged at the hotel for this evening at our own cost but a couple of us braved the Dubai Metro to the Marina for dinner which was great fun.

Day 5 - Included visit to Sharjah which has a totally different feel to modern bustling Dubai being more traditional and laid back. The Museum of Islamic Civilisation was very interesting followed by the chance for some retail therapy at the Blue Souk.  Later that day we set out on the optional desert safari and BBQ which was excellent.  Dune riding was great fun, the drivers were great at taking photos for us tho sadly the sunset did not oblige as cloud arrived.  The BBQ was delicious and there were loads of activities to take part in followed by belly dancing as entertainment  The stargazing at the end sadly did not happen due to the cloud but this was a great evening.

We were a group of 26 and sadly over 4 days with a packed itinerary it was not possible to properly meet everyone but there was lots of laughter and thanks to everyone for making it a fun trip indluing Carolie, the TM and Nebil our local guide who was a 'character' and a bit like Marmite.  Dubai is an amazing place and still expanding plus they have Expo 2020 that they are preparing for.  It is a playground for the wealthy but also a base for well known diverse commercial enterprises and has a vibrancy about it that I enjoyed.  This is not a cheap holiday - eating out and particularly drinking alcohol is expensive but I do feel that an extra day to the holiday would improve the experience.
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Post: #2
Jonah

Thank you for a honest review of this tour, it has been mentioned before the days away and what the reality really is, but JY are not alone in this procedure! I have been on many tours landing at LHR at 6am and that’s classified as a day...

Sounds as though you did enjoy this tour and like you as it has been running for a while I would have thought all the problems would have been addressed by now. Let’s hope they are sorted ASAP..

This isn’t a destination that appeals to me but I enjoyed reading about your trip

Cindy
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Post: #3
Hi Cindy

Yes I did enjoy it very much and I know all tour companies class holidays this way.  For longer trips this is less of an issue but I really felt for the Stansted guys with such an early start.

Regards
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Post: #4
Thanks for taking the time to do this review, I enjoyed reading it.
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Post: #5
Hi Chris,
Thanks for this review. This trip has never really interested me but enjoyed your excellent review.
Regards,
Roger
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Post: #6
Hi Chris
Thanks for writing the review, its always really useful to get a first hand opinion of how a particular trip went.  Its not something that's appealed to me and, although you enjoyed it, reading your review just confirmed that its still something I'm not interested in.  Had though I might cover it as an add-on, if coming back from an Asia trip but not really bothered about it.
Thanks
Katy
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Post: #7
Chris, Glad you had a good time. Messaging from a room with a view of Mt Kilimanjaro after our first safari drive. No HRC ...... yet...LOL Ian
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Post: #8
Thank you for your review Jonah.
I am going on this tour next month and I found your comments interesting.

Time will tell if I can stay awake for the Dhow Harbour cruise as I can never sleep when travelling! As you say, it is not the best evening for this to take place.

I am pleased that despite problems you were with a good group and had fun.

Lesley
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Post: #9
Hi Lesley

Hope you have a good time.  I would happily return to Dubai as a city and found it very comfortable and easy to navigate once I got my bearings. Hopefully JY will take our 'feedback' on board and rejig things a bit to make the experience even better.

Regards
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Post: #10
(20/02/2019, 05:08 PM)IanWight Wrote: Chris, Glad you had a good time. Messaging from a room with a view of Mt Kilimanjaro after our first safari drive. No HRC ...... yet...LOL Ian

Thanks Ian.  There was a HRC in Dubai as you would expect but time and finances did not allow.  Have a great trip.

Regards
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