We were picked up from our hotel and then called to two other hotels to collect 4 other passengers who joined us for the day tour. We were driven in a 7 seater vehical which was adequate but would have appreciated a bigger vehical or lesser people. Three people sitting in the middle back seat, one in the front with the driver and two in the rear. On the 1 1/2 hour road trip we called into a service bay jst before Abu Dhabi to use wc, exchange money and buy some water or sandwiches. The sandwiches and water we were told could be consumed in the car, away from the public eye.
On arrival to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque we were given some long black dresses to wear over our clothing. So with our scarves over our heads and these black over dresses on, we headed off to visit the largest mosque in UAE. Voted the world's favourite landmark for 2 years running by Trip Advisor, this stunning place of worship did not disappoint my 6 year desire to see it. When we were on our world cruise, back in 2011, our ship had engine problems and our planned stop in Abu Dhabi had been cancelled and then in 2014 when a planned cruise here had to be cancelled due to health issues, I am pleased to report my 'bucket-list' visit has been met.
And....I am not disappointed. Beautiful, stunning and spiritual. The mosque is built with pure white marble from Italy, East white and Ming green marble from China and makrana from India and took 11 years to construct. It opened in 2007. Once inside there are 7 chandeliers which are made from millions of Swarovski Crystals from Munich and a huge, did I say huge?.....yes a huge carpet made by 1200 carpet knotters from Iran of wool from NZ and Iran. Apparently the world's largest carpet.
Relieved from wearing our hot black over dresses and back in the car, we were driven into the city of Abu Dhabi to see various famous landmarks. Emirates Palace, Borniche Beach, the three spectacular Etihad Towers and the copper coloured Bab Al Qasr. Some beauitful architectureand must have been an architecture's dream to have a hand in designing these buildings.
I had some lunch with some of the other passengers on the 2nd floor of a hotel before seeing Ferrari World and heading back to Dubai. Our driver had been fasting all day, without food or drink (even water), so we were quite concerned about his sugar levels driving us at 120 kms per hour back to Dubai, but thankfully we arrived back to the hotel safely.
Back in our hotel room I checked my e-mails to see if Princess had responded to my e-mail, but no, nothing. So my travel mate checked with her insurance company to be told that any cancellations due to political reasons will not be covered by them. Hmmm....Then rang the Princess port agent in Dubai who tried to contact their Princess contact but with no success. Then I tried ringing Princess direct in Seattle and Fort Lauderdale without the phone being connected. Same with our contact number in Australia. Bummer. What to do when we have not heard from Princess who we had booked our flights with.? Mind you, our flights were for 24 hours time.
A decision was made to seek flights back to home ourselves. Which we did before going to bed.
Next morning my travel mate recieved an e-mail from Princess with the tickets for a non-stop flight from Dubai to home, replacing our cancelled Qatar tickets. Yahoo, Princess came through. Now our dilemma was what to do with our Malaysian Air tickets!. We ended up cancelling as they wouldn't allow us to use the money as a later travel credit and instead refunded us a third of the fare we had paid.
Hopefully we may get the money back with our travel insurance. We are yet to find out.
Dressed in our appropriate clothing
Enterance to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque
photo just after entering the covered walkway
Out of sequence, but the fence which runs alongside the 6 lane freeway. Behind it is the Sheikh's hunting ground
covered walkway with marble pillars and domes
beautiful marble courtyard, surrounded by buildings
in foyer to inside of mosque
close-up of section of carpet
one of the 7 chandeliers, decorted with Swarovski Crystals
some of the carpet in the mosque
close-up of part of chandelier
Etihad Towers & Bab Al Qasr (hotel opened 2016 cost USD 375)
6 lane Freeway, approaching Dubai. Train Station with
a/c covered walkway and elevated tracks
Well that is the final post of Majestic Princess Rome to Dubai cruise. Hopefully move cruise blogs will follow.