An Impressive First Taste of Dubai

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After threatening to go to Dubai for a number of years, I finally went for my first ever visit. I was favorably impressed, notwithstanding Dubai is obviously suffering from a recession which is slowing its monumentally ambitious plans for the future.

My reasons for going were to generate media coverage in the region for next year’s Brilliance of the Seas program, to meet tourism officials from the ports of call Brilliance will visit when she arrives in January and to interact with European travel agents we had brought to Dubai for a familiarization. Arabian Travel Market was taking place in Dubai at the same time so all of the nearby destinations were present. And when I say present, what I mean is that I have never in my career seen such elaborate trade show stands. I think some of the hotel companies could have saved money by dragging a whole hotel on to the trade show floor rather than use the booth displays I visited.

When we decided to offer cruises in the Middle East, we did not expect to sell them to Americans. We expected the sales to come primarily from the UK, Germany, Russia, India and the local market. Now that the cruises are on sale, we find some Americans are buying cruises on Brilliance out of Dubai. These customers probably already know that within the region there is a diversity of current events, states of development, cultures, histories, cuisines, etc. After my trip I have a much greater appreciation of this variety. The memorable after-dinner outdoor sound and light show I saw courtesy of our new relationship with Dubailand accentuated the attractions of the region.

One impression from my visit was very reminiscent of our industry. The man-made attractions of Dubai are abundantly clear – e.g., the seven star hotel, the world’s tallest building, Atlantis and the almost completed monorail system, not to mention the remarkable Palm I and the World developments jutting out into the Persian Gulf. In fact, in my experience only Shanghai and Las Vegas rival Dubai for state of the art urban design and architecture. Nevertheless, it was the hospitality of the people that really shined through. Hmm, I sound like a cruiser.

  • kAREN

    Adam,

    Thanks for taking the time to post some of your thoughts around the new effort in Dubai. As a shareholder, I am certainly interested in how Royal Caribbean is expanding into new markets. I would guess that there are some changes that will be made to the cruise experience to accomodate the local market – meals, activities, bars? If you have the time, it would be very interesting to hear what some of the differences are when cruising from the region vs. cruising from Europe or the Caribbean.

    Thanks,

    Karen

  • Mandy

    You absolutely sound like a cruiser!!

    Very interesting post. And I agree with Karen. It would be fascinating to read about how RCL addresses the cultural differences when marketing cruises to different parts of the world.

  • Ron Fantino

    Several years ago on a Royal Caribbean cruise that stopped at Cozumel my wife encountered a problem while shopping as a result we avoid taking cruises that include Cozumel. Although we enjoy cruising we look for alternatives that avoid Cozumel even if we end up at a hotel in Florida.

    I wish you had better ports for western caribbean cruises.

  • Tom

    We were sorry to see the elimination of the longer England/Ireland cruises. We like to visit the Loyalty Ambassador while on board to book our next cruise. The RCCL book that was available in the LA lounge had a couple of England/Ireland trips that sounded very interesting. When we talked to the LA, he said those had been removed from the program and replaced by Dubai. We didn’t find an interest in Dubai so we decided to look into the Canary Islands. At the time the LA also said those trips had been removed from the schedule and tried to talk us into Dubai. We finally settled on the 10 night Caribbean & Panama.

    After a recent search of your web-site, we found that the Canary Island itinerary has not been canceled. We were not overly impressed with the service provided by the LA on our recent cruise.

  • Ralph pohl

    Will RCCL ever di trans-pacific cruises, ie Sab Francisco CA to Australia and back?

    • http://www.royalcaribbean.com Adam

      Ralph, thank you for your question. We do traverse the pacific a couple of times a year with voyages between Vancouver and Hawaii that then go on to Australia. For example, Rhapsody of the Seas will depart from Vancouver on a 12 night cruise to Honolulu on Sept. 18th, 2009 and then will continue on to Sydney with a 16 night South Pacific voyage departing Honolulu on Sept. 30th, 2009. The above voyages can be combined to create a unique 28 night Hawaii / South Pacific Vancouver to Sydney voyage with no repeating ports.

  • Bob D

    To go to Dubai, the Brilliance will have to go through the Suez canal and the horn of Africa where those pesky pirates seem to rampage at will. Does RCCL have that good a security set up to guarantee safe passage? I have always wondered which cruise line will have the dubious distinction of being the first to become a pirate captive. From what I have read, one or two came pretty close. I sure hope no cruise ship will ever become one, particularly RCCL. So why Dubai? Personally, you could not get me in one of those itineraries. I prefer relaxation, not anxiety. I admit there is a lot of money floating around in that area. Good luck.

  • Kathi

    I was recently on a very enjoyable east bound transatlantic cruise aboard Jewel of The Seas. I was wanting to take this cruise again but am disppointed witht the ittinerary for the ta in 2010 with only 3 ports.Will you be changing this?

  • http://kenandkaren1@embarqmail.com k & K

    Please consider more 10 day cruises from Florida besides the Canal one. Took it several times and took the Grandeur 10 day So. route (great itinerary) You are offering nothing. Princess has several great ones. Have sailed exclusively with RCCL since 1977 but with all that has been taken away and not offering longer cruises from Florida we will be switching to Princess.

  • Paula

    I received my Crown & Anchor magazine but I didn’t see any discount for Vision of the Sea going to Europe. A group of seven of us went on Adventures of the Seas in Aug 17, 08, 7 night Southern Caribbean criuse, that was our 2nd cruise on Royal Caribbean. The first one was to Europe and the service was much better than the caribbean one. We were given credit for the following year and we told them that we traveled every two years. The cruisers in state room 2304 could not leave the room because of a diarrhea outbreak. They didn’t start using santizing wipes until three days into the cruise. Our experience was unpleasant and we were hoping for our next cruise which we are planning in July 2010 is more pleasant and we could get a discount. Our interest is for July 18, 2010, Vision of the Sea, departing from Stockholm, Sweden. Your consideration would be benefical,especially in this economical times. I look forward to hearing from you.

    Yours Truly,
    Paula -