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  • Writer's pictureEllen Frazer-Jameson


03 February 2023 Enroute to Muscat, Oman

Queen Mary 2 World Centenary Voyage

102 days, 31 ports, 18 countries.

CURRENT POSITION: 01 February DUBAI (Overnight)

Ellen Frazer-Jameson reporting live from Queen Mary 2


Enormous construction and development has been and continues to be witnessed in various industries in Dubai Over the past few decades Dubai has attracted world-wide attention through real-estate projects, sports events, conferences and Guinness records. The aspirations of the ruling sheik are reflected by the ultra-modern architecture of the city, including twin Chrysler towers replicating New York’s famous landmark. The government took a decision to diversify from a trade-base oil reliant economy to one that is service and tourism orientated.

A new day, a new month, a new cruise terminal overlooking Dubai’s skyline. The Dubai Eye, a Ferris wheel on the banks of the city, lights up the night sky from the decks of QM2. A picture postcard scene when I awake and open my curtains. I’m already impressed by my first visit to the United Arab Emirate of Dubai.

It was an early morning start on our shore excursion made even earlier due to strict immigration procedures where all passengers – whether disembarking or not – undergo person-to-person passport checks with the local officials. The sun rises rapidly cutting through the mists of morning and almost immediately temperatures begin to rise. Anticipate 80c through the day – come summer, 100c and more is common!

Sleek, clean, white air-conditioned coaches await outside the cruise terminal to ensure travel in comfort for QM2' guests through the streets of the city. The guides in Dubai are well trained and knowledgeable.

The wide, modern highways are full of traffic and empty of people. This is the ultimate car city though for reasons of commuting there is a metro and public buses. Distances between the giant skyscrapers are such that walking is totally impractical. Public car parks are plentiful and millions of palm trees provide cover and landscaping in a concrete metropolis. Water is reclaimed from the ocean as there is no water in the dessert. One public park has grounds for 33 football pitches. The national flag of the United Arab Emirates displays four colours : red for courage; white indicates peace; black and green describe land and oil.

Back in 1958 the population of Dubai was 20,000 - now, 3.4million. Ninety-percent are foreigners. To accommodate the booming and constantly growing tourism industry there are over 500 five-star hotels. To facilitate the religious practices of Muslim adherents there are over 500 mosques as well as churches and temples; there are no restrictions on religious worship in Dubai.

Driving through select high-end residential areas of the city, palaces and the homes of royal family members and exalted government officials can be glimpsed over high walls and even the cages of the Sultan’s private zoo.

Whole families of husband, wife, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins live together. The Koran allows men to take four wives but when government benefits are handed out to Emirate nationals, only the first marriage attracts the gift of land and upwards of 100,000 S. Only Emirate nationals, or those who marry nationals, ever achieve resident status.

The millions of foreigners, mostly Indians and Pakistanis, who live and work in the UAE require visas, however long they have made the country their home however difficult they find it to survive in a land of plenty.

Nationals pay no rent or insurance to the government, they receive payment if they don’t work and are paid highest rates if they do. The sheik is considered an enlightened ruler and he granted women equal rights to pray in mosques and they earn equal pay. There are many high-ranking female officials in the government.

Arab dress for men in this state is the while cotton dress from neck to stomach with a folded head covering including a roped accessory. The rope was used by Bedouin tribes to tie up their camels when they slept in tents in the desert. To avoid losing the rope, the men wrap it around their head. Women dress in black because this is the colour which is not see through and disguises the female figure. A black covering with eye slots is common, also a necessity developed in the desert when women were required to protect their faces from the burning sun and stinging sand.

Yet another good reason for wearing black, it displays to best effects the women’s jaw-dropping extravagant 24karat gold jewellery. They cover their heads outdoors but not inside the home. Expensive jewel embellished silk dresses are the fashion. Ostentatious displays of wealth are on show everywhere.

-High-rise luxury apartments in the sky, private planes, helicopters, luxury yachts. Dubai is a playground for the super-rich, a fast-forward fashionable city with stylish restaurants, huge entertainment complexes and the highestend designer shopping. The lifestyle is extravagant and indulgent with new ways of exhibiting excess being discovered and celebrated all the time. If you’ve got it, you flaunt it in Dubai.

One hotel laid claim to the most expensive cocktail ever sold, $7,400.

No one seems to know what was in it. But if you want to buy one, the hotel will surely find the recipe again.

Stay tuned for PART II: DUBAI. Coming up, MUSCAT, OMAN.


Current position of Queen Mary 2:

Under way from Dubai to Muscat

  • Departure was 21 hrs 28 min ago. (at 23:00 h local time)

  • Arrival will be in 10 hrs 32 min. (at 07:00 h local time)

  • Traveled distance since Dubai: 214.10 nm (396.51 km)

  • Remaining distance to Muscat: 103.40 nm (191.49 km)

  • Course: 143°


Happy Sailing ... The Journey continues... Ellen



04 February 2023


Photo of the day (from the archives of JD Schwartz)


Further updates will be posted as soon as we get them from Ellen onboard Queen Mary 2.

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