Posted by: travelrat | February 16, 2011

Flight to Dubai

Over Turkey on the way to Dubai

Horley: 5th / Dubai: 6th February 2011

When I heard we were flying out to Dubai with Emirates, I immediately though that, at last, I’d be able to report on the Airbus A380. No such luck. They operate A380s out of Heathrow; from Gatwick, they fly Boeing 777s … and I’m sure the designers at Boeing think the world is populated by midgets.

Mind you, last time I flew out to the Gulf was in a C-130 which, although it wins no prizes for comfort and style, does allow you a lot more legroom.

When we fly from Gatwick, it usually means a very early check-in, so we usually find it convenient to stay the night nearby, and choose a hotel where we can park the car while we’re away, and they’ll organise an airport shuttle.

This time, we stayed at the Cambridge Hotel in Horley. It’s a Grade II Listed Building, and was originally built in 1865 for the Duke of Cambridge, hence the name.

It’s clean and comfortable, and we were impressed with the light and airy dining room, with its marble pillars and chandeliers … which sounds rather pretentious, but it isn’t; here, it’s just right. Since the Chef is Turkish, what else could I have for dinner but a shish kebab … succulent lamb, cooked to perfection, which took me right back to the Mediterranean.

And, free wifi in the rooms! What more could you want?

Well, someone on reception when you check out at the ‘crack of sparrow’s’ would be good! Or, at least a note saying the receptionist also drives the shuttle bus to the airport, and would be back before long … and the bus arrived exactly when we’d requested it.

We’re well used to an international crew on Costa Cruises’ ships; this time, we had one on the aircraft on which we flew. The Captain was Argentinian, the First Officer Brazilian and the multi-national cabin crew was headed by an English purser.

Since we went straight to the ship, we didn’t see much of Dubai; we get a look around when we return at the end of the cruise. But, from the bus window, it doesn’t look like we missed much. But, I did wonder if cars over a couple of years old were illegal here?

I was rather pleased that this time, as a ‘Coral’ member of the Costa Club, I’d get priority boarding … but I didn’t need it. We were boarded and processed fairly quickly, and led up to the buffet for dinner …lasagne. We just took a quick look around the ship (it was 11 pm local time by the time we’d finished dinner). And, at that stage, all we could say s it’s like the ‘Serena’ … only bigger!

Costa Deliziosa: First sight.


  1. That is an impressive looking ship. Free Wi Fi? I would have been set. Sounds great!

    • When will some establishments realise that free wifi is an impressive selling point? When we chose our accommodation in Cairns from several similar, we picked the one with free wifi.

      (Places that do include Macdonalds, the Holiday Inn, Singapore and Hong Kong airports and the Café y Te chain in Spain. And, they’re just the ones I’ve come across)

  2. Hi Keith,
    Great photo’s, why is it that every time I get on a plane I just happen to get dirty windows, and there is always spots on the photo’s. 😆

    The ship looks magnificent, I can only imagine how wonderful it would of been to go cruising on her. I agree with you about wifi, there are still too many places around that want to charge an arm and a leg for the privilege.

    • I suppose it really depends on where you get on the aircraft, and what time of day it is. You see, they don’t wash aeroplanes at every stage of the flight; it takes a considerable time, and it’s haemorraging money all the time it’s on the ground.

      Now, the spots are the same problem you get at the zoo … if you photograph an animal with your camera on ‘automatic’, it usually focusses on the bars of the cage. But, if you switch to ‘manual’, and focus on the animal, the bars will, at worst, appear as an unobtrusive blur; at best, they’ll ‘disappear’ altogether.

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