It was an early start for us this morning so we took our breakfast in the buffet. The rendezvous point for our excursion to Al Maya (described as an exclusive beach Island) was in Teatro Rosso at 8:15. We were really unsure of what to expect but were optimistic it could potentially be a good thing to do. However, as events unfolded it became a stark reminder of why we don’t take ships excursions. On this cruise, it’s the only way to get off the ship so it’s a case of needs must. We arrived at the theatre at 8:00 and the requested documents were checked, we had everything noted on the app plus tickets. Yes, we had our Costacard, yes we had proof of vaccination. What we didn’t have was the results of the PCR test we took on arrival at Dubai last Thursday morning!!! But it’s okay though because you have the sticker on the back of your passport!! All this does is prove that we took a test at the airport and doesn’t provide the result. It seemed to satisfy the Costa lady so we carried on our merry way, disembarking the ship and then passing through the very impressive Abu Dhabi cruise terminal to one of 5 waiting coaches.
We were the first on our coach but then proceeded to wait for 35 minutes until the last couple finally arrived to make our coach total 30. 8:15 had then become 9:00 and we were still at the cruise terminal. Another headcount, then the only other instruction from a Costa rep – be back on the boat for the return journey at 2:15. A 15-minute coach trip through Abu Dhabi to the boat which would then take us to the island. This is where were we then asked for printed proof of a negative PCR test???? Lots of arguing and puzzled looks before the security man relented and let us all through. Two coach loads made up a total of about 60 people that were then distributed across 3 boats to the island.
This bit was actually quite enjoyable taking about 15 minutes to ferry across and arriving at 9:30. Paradise it certainly wasn’t but it was still a very nice beach and complex.
Apart from the journey to get here, the day was actually really peaceful and relaxing, plus it got us off the ship for a few hours. A little bit of clearer instructions would have made the whole process a lot smoother. The journey back was a little less eventful and took around 50 minutes.
Getting back on board the ship again was very much like we were used to with the only exception being the mask-wearing. We spent the remainder of the afternoon just wandering around the ship trying to find a good place for sunbeds that would suit us tomorrow interspersed with a few bar stops.
Tonight we are back in the MDR at 9:00 for dinner and will see how lively the ship is after that.