Duqm Floating Hotel Veronica

Duqm Floating Hotel, the first of its kind in Oman, sounds amazing and looks pretty good in pictures, but one might not be so impressed with the place after staying there.  I posted these pics Nov. 8th but am only adding comments now on Dec. 5th.  This blog post is getting a lot of attention and as one of my friends who also went there told me, “You need to give your complete review on that place because as it is, it seems you are promoting the place with the nice pics.”  He’s right and so I better tell you about the good, the bad, and the ugly about Oman’s “only floating hotel”

This is the front desk on the Aloha Deck.

Because we were 3 adults and 2 kids (1 child & 1 infant to be exact), we opted for the “luxury suite”.  What got us interested in this hotel was an ad promising a luxury suite for 50 rials, standard for 35 and a basic for 30.  That did come with breakfast and dinner I must add.  They also included a “free massage” for each night but then we learned that they have only 1 male masseuse (my wife is not comfortable with that!) and it’s the poor Filipino guy who works as the barber who was assigned to do massages as well!  He really didn’t seem happy about it at all when he was telling my wife.  When I called, the receptionist told me that it’s 50 rials per person!  One of the only hotels in Oman I’ve ever heard charging per person rather than per room!  On top of that, they charge me another 10 rials for my 2 year old son!  Do the math folks.  We paid 160 rials + 17% taxes per night and we stayed for 2 nights.  I don’t mind paying decent money for a place if the price matches the facilities but this “dream like boat” seemed more worthy of 3-star prices than the prices we were charged!

There’s not a whole lot to do in Duqm in case you didn’t know it and it is a LONG ride from Muscat.  I explored the Duqm Rock Garden and one afternoon we went to the Oryx Santuary.  The best experience was Ras al Markaz but it was amazing we ever found the place considering the horrible directions we were given which led us on a 2-hour wild goosechase.  On their website they promote “local Duqm attactions” (which is a big reason I went!) but then nobody on the floating hotel had a clue where these attractions were!!!

You will not find any pics of toilets in any of the brochures/ads/website pics for Duqm Hotel Veronica with good reason.  All the toilets are like the one you see above – and this was the “luxury room”…Another major surprise for us was that they turned the hot water off.  When we called reception to find our what the problem was, they told us that they turn the hot water off from 6pm to 6am. Would have been nice to know that!

Although it may not look like much, we enjoyed the food and the restaurant on board.  No complaints from us regarding food whatsoever!

They have a pretty decent dinner buffet if there are enough guests on board.

Not only was the food pretty good; all the staff we interacted with were very friendly and helpful. (Except when it came to giving directions to the “local attractions”! 🙂 )

The onboard pool makes me laugh. Better to laugh than cry!  It kind of looks pretty good in a pic, doesn’t it?!  It is in the hull of the ship and had very murky, cloudy water like it is never cleaned and it was lukewarm at best.  As much as everyone in our family loves pools, we were not getting inside that!  Imagine paying more than 180 rials a night with the promise of a pool to realize that you’ve been had.  To make matters worse, even if I had been brave enough to get more than my foot into that cold water, there were no clean towels around at all.  I realized why – the poor barber/masseuse also acts as “pool boy” and doesn’t have time to manage/clean the pool!

Another big selling point to the boat is their theatre.  My wife and I enjoyed watching a movie one evening.

Hotel Veronica looks quite good at night!  I do have to warn single women and anyone with a wife and kids though…Alcohol is a big selling point on the boat.  Labourers come on board to get drunk each evening and even sailors from other ships visiting the harbor.  I think it’s a real recipe for disaster that they allow these men (some who may have not seen a woman in months!) to wander wherever they please around the ship smelling like alcohol.  They were wandering up and down the corridors pretending to take pics but they were eyeing the passengers and some almost got a taste of Andy-in-Oman justice when I saw them glancing a little too long at my wife.  I’m telling you that this is an accident just waiting to happen.  The ship has to decide if they want to be a “decent family hotel” or a place for lonely men to get drunk.  I don’t believe they can do both in the longrun.

 Well, that’s my 2 cents about the Duqm Floating Hotel Veronica.  I really think they had better bring their prices down to a realistic level if they wish to do well in the longrun.  Sure, ignorant people (like myself) may come down once and get milked at prices way beyond even some of the best 5-star hotels in Muscat or Dubai, but when people realize that they didn’t get their money’s worth, they are going to feel cheated, as I did and still do.  If you are the type that likes the idea of coming down to Duqm alone or maybe with a friend and getting drunk out of your mind, then it’s just the place for you! (But why not just do that in Muscat/Nizwa/Salalah or wherever you are?!) Duqm may be promoted as an up and coming place time and time again by Oman Tourism and other agencies, but it really is not much to see in the middle of nowhere and I think it’ll be many years before Duqm is worthy of a second trip.  I recommend staying at the Duqm Tourist Hotel (I’ll post pics/prices when I can) or camping nearby and just visiting the Duqm Floating Hotel if you really want to see it.  Better to visit and pay for lunch than book a room and be majorly disappointed as we were.  I have plenty more I could say, but I think I’ve already said more than enough!  🙂

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25 responses to “Duqm Floating Hotel Veronica

  1. this looks exciting!! very smart, food venue not maybe up to scratch?? love the pic of you and your boy!!

    • Hi, Kerry!
      It was exciting to be there but was far from exciting to pay the bill at check-out! 🙂 Food venue was up to scratch-probably just didn’t take the best photo is all. Thanks so much for your kind words. I also love that photo of me with my son! 🙂

  2. wow this is neat. Thanks for sharing the pictures. I wondered what it was like on the inside. Looking forward to reading about your experiences.
    I enjoy how adventurous you are!

    • Jado,
      It’s always a pleasure to share our experiences with others! 🙂 It’s easy to “be adventurous” when you live in an exciting, beautiful place like Oman!

  3. Strangely, i went there in August. It was hassle to be waited at the security gate at the port and after 10min we just left because we didn’t want to wait for the Manager to bring us aboard.The rules are that Veronica is in the port and there’s no public access.You need to leave your car outside and wait until somebody is willing to bring you in hotel’s car to the area.
    I was not impressed by the surrounding at all, a lot of dust and industrial mess around. I can’t imagine what was such a lovely boat doing in the middle of nowhere?Romantic weekend?No,shukran!
    i can imagine it was in Muscat, why not.
    Anyway, thanks for sharing the pictures and the story with us,I like to read your blog and always find some inspiration for my trips around Muscat!

    • Miki,
      Thanks for sharing your horrible experience at security gate. We had a similar experience before they finally allowed us through. The manager told us that this is a reoccuring problem that they are trying to fix. The Omani guy at the guy didn’t speak English and was so rude! The reason we eventually had less troubles than others is only because we emailed our driver’s license and registration number so they could prepare a “visitor’s pass” for our car. This point about making guests wait around or walk 15 minutes to the boat is RIDICULOUS!!! You are right about there being a lot of dust and industrial mess around. There’s not a whole heck of a lot of things to do or see in Duqm!

  4. I was hoping that this ship would become another SS Rotterdam. Have you had the chance to visit her in Holland? Also, I was quite surprise that the Mona Lisa when to Oman. At least, it is much better than the scrapyard.

    • Dan,
      This was the first time to visit to ship and I’ve never been to Holland (at least not yet!). I have only recently learned that this ship was previously called the Mona Lisa. I do suppose that it’s better than the scrapyard, but there are definitely things management could do to make ones stay onboard a lot better.

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  6. she was known as the Sea Princess when she belonged to P&O lines I cruised on her twice she was a beautiful ship, it would probably break my heart to see her now. Thanks for your overview I enjoyed reading it.

    • Yep the Sea Princess I worked onboard her then back in the 80’s my favourite ship of P&O’s,I remember working in the restaurant,and the old lido area next to the pool on the lunch buffetts loved my time onboard her,the cinema,had a small door at the back,where the crew would be allowed to come through when the film had started and sit at the back,happy times seems strange seeing how she looks now.

      • Robert,
        You make me wonder why on earth they moved the pool if it used to be in the Lido area!!!! The pool they have now is HORRIBLE. A pool on the upper deck would be fabulous! Sounds like you have some great memories on this old ship. Happy New Year, Mr. McDonald!

  7. she used to be the Sea Princess when she was owned by P&O lines, I cruised on her twice and it would break my heart to visit her now. I enjoyed reading your overview thanks very much.

    • Andrew,
      Thanks for more history about this ship. Glad to hear you enjoyed my write-up. You might still enjoy a visit. It was really the incredibly high price that was the most “heartbreaking” aspect of our visit!

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  9. Hi Andy,
    The MS Veronica was also known as the MS Kungsholm. Here is a link that talks about her history. Let me know if you find the ship’s history interesting.

    http://www.ssmaritime.com/Kungsholme-Victoria.htm

    • Dan,
      Thanks for the link. It’s clear that you put a lot of work into the site! Thanks for sharing some fascinating history!

  10. hi andy, chanced upon your blog when looking up the new dam off quriyat. then i saw this post on veronica. i do go to duqm quite often, to visit the shipyard. veronica is managed by the korean mngt of ODC (shipyard). indeed some of their managers stay there. so, even though it is hyped up as a tourist destination, it is nothing of that sort. pass system is in place thanks to the yard, easier if you call up ahead of time and get them to mail u a copy of the pass. as regards the rooms, do not stay in the below decks, water stops because of pressure problems. i unfortunately know a bit about it, coz i stayed there a few times. at someone else,s expense though:-) the tourist guest house is demolished, there is a city hotel now, cheper than the ,V,- one more hotel coming up in feb. what they do with the rooms is anyones guess though. like you mentioned, shps crew is allowed to go and enjoy the bar at veronica, ony because it belongs to the yard where these ships berth. anyway, they are mostly harmless. you are right though, the hotel needs to decide where they want to be at in a few years.

    • Anon,
      Thanks for your detailed comments. Are you sure the Tourist Guest House is demolished? I was there in November and all seemed well (apart from no customers!). I know that the Veronica is managed by a Korean company and you can see that they cater to Koreans when you see all the “Korean soju” offers on the menu and take note that they have a “singing room” (SO Korean, haha!). Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.

  11. Hi!
    We just returned from Masirah last night and someone mentioned Veronica. I was about to drag my husband there. Thanks to your blog, changed my mind. at that price I would rather enjoy in Muscat. Thanks. 🙂

    • Hebah,
      You were probably better off not to. But there are some interesting sites in the area including a few great beaches, the Oryx Sanctuary and the Duqm Rock Garden. Now they have the Crowne Plaze Duqm which I hear is worth the trip down there! (and then maybe visit the Veronica in the daytime if it’s still open…)

  12. This used to be a grand ship. I worked on her as the Sea Princess for about 2 years. Then I went to the original Love Boat for another long set of contracts. Both great ships but once you spend time on one of these old liners you come to know and love the difference. She was built for rough seas. We had to follow a hurricane into Samoa and the seas were incredibly high but she rolled along, yawed etc and we got to port safely.
    I was glad to see she hadn’t gone to scrap yard but honestly, the interior is horrendous. The old ship look is gone. The old classic look is destroyed. Some things should be left alone.
    I am not a fan of these new huge ships that lack decks and like Vegas casinos seek to keep passengers inside without sun and without windows.
    I had a small (tiny, tiny) private cabin which is unheard of for crew but had to share toilet and shower at the end of the hall with everyone else on that hallway. If the watertight doors shut while you down there you had to climb a hatch and come out in the dining room! Great look if you were soaking wet in a robe. Dash back to our hallway on the other side of the door. It was a warren of hallways, passages etc. I had a steep learning curve in ships with stepping onboard Sea Princess but would not change that for anything. In fact, if I was a mulitmillionaire this is a ship I would rescue. Just wish I could.
    Sad that it is now a liquor haven for this ‘dry’ country.
    Thanks for posting this pictorial. I stumbled across this accidentally.
    Good memories and some sadness. Cheers.

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