Next up on our Middle East Tour - Abu Dhabi
A new port is always exciting and we could see the high rise buildings of Abu Dhabi from our balcony. A quick breakfast in the cafeteria, and we were off on our Abu Dhabi tour in the complimentary transfer bus to the WTC Mall. From there, we got a taxi to the Grand Mosque - which was far further away than we'd thought, a good 20 - 25 minutes, yet the fare was only about £7. And boy, was the Mosque worth it.
It is simply the most stunningly beautiful building we have ever seen. Pristine white marble, with golden embellishments, fountains, sparkling blue pools, ornate and colourful glass chandeliers... words aren't enough really, so if you are in this part of the world, please make a point of visiting it.
Handy tip: Ladies you must cover your heads (a scarf wrapped round is fine) and wear respectful clothing. No shorts or skirts above the ankle, and tops need to cover you from neck to wrist. Men you shouldn't wear shorts or sleeveless tops. Long black abayas are available if you need them, though.
Back on the MSC Orchestra, lunch was in the cafeteria again - the range of food is extensive and it's pretty good too. It's busy once the morning excursions get back in, so if you don't happen to be on one, it's best to eat earlier to avoid the crowds.
We have a lazy afternoon in prospect. The temperature's in the 80s, so we'll soak up some sun and look out over Abu Dhabi till we set sail at 8.30pm. Dinner's 2nd sitting at 9pm- very European! - so there's no rush to do anything. Cruising can be as busy or relaxing as you like - and that's why we like it!