This was a cruise from Singapore to Cape town. We have cruised on this ship several times but never on a sector cruises so we were unsure what to expect. We were not disappointed but she is starting to need a bit of a refurbishment, particularly the cabins. No interactive TV here like the newer ships.
Without too much about the ship, the library is well stocked so you don't need to waste valuable luggage allowance on books. The Rhodes speciality restaurant has been replaced by the Ocean Grill by Marco Pierre White. This was good but not as wonderful as Rhodes, a cheaper cover charge but more basic and not as long or memorable a dining experience. The Orchid speciality restaurant was still as good as ever but we were disappointed to find that the evening dress code did not apply here. Meals in the main dining room - Meridian were good and whilst the buffet restaurant has lots of salads and cooked meats alongside hot dishes at lunch time it does become a bit boring. We were on second sitting which is a bit late at 8.30 -8.45pm but better for us than an early sitting at 6.30pm. Pity there is no flexible dining. The crew were all excellent and the Captain was one of the best we had.
if you like atriums this ship doesn't really have one and events such as the Captain's Gala party has to be held around the main swimming pool. The weather was good to us crossing the Indian Ocean but if you don't like being out in the sun the daytime activities are a bit limited. The best was a build your own boat regatta.
The cruise itself started by flying into Singapore. This was a bit of a shambles P&O rely on agents at the airport and their organisation skills were a bit slap dash. We were treated to a free trip around Singapore which we didn't know about in advance. A good idea but after an extremely long flight none of us were really interested
This was obviously because we couldn't board the ship until lunch time and we had a few hours to kill. On the day of disembarkation again we were put in the hands of port agents and just dropped at Cape Town airport without any advice or instructions.
Ports of call - Singapore is a huge container port so you need at least the shuttle service to get you out of the docks. We only had the complimentary tour here but have visited before and it is a place well worth visiting and is easy to walk around once you get to the centre.
Kuala Lumpur - the ship docks at a cruise trminal in the middle of nowhere so a shuttle ,taxi or excursion is needed to go anywhere. We went on a trip to KL and saw most of the sites sometimes on foot and other times from the coach. We thought this was one of the better trips. Those who used the shuttle service said they only went to a shopping mall and saw nothing else. Note you need local currency to use public toilets here.
Langkawi. Another docking in the middle of nowhere. The shuttle takes you to the nearest resort about 10 mins away where there is a public beach and a few shops and cafes. Our trip took in the rice museum and a cable car trip to the top of a mountian. It was expensive for what it was , there were long queues for the cable car, we waited about 40 mins. When we reached the top it was misty so the views were not as good as they could have been. We were told not to get off at the first station or else we would have trouble getting back on to the top. At the top there was also a suspension bridge which was worth visiting but lots of steep steps so not so good if you are not steady on your feet.
Mauritius. We wished we had taken a trip because we didn't really see anything of the place. We were warned that taxi drivers tended to rip you off and a few passengers said that had been their experience. The shuttle took us across the bay to a tourist type shopping/ eating complex but there wasn't much there and the town didn't look particularly inviting for exploration.
Reunion again a working dock and you needed a shuttle to at least take you to the dock gate if you wanted a taxi. We opted for a shuttle to a beach resort about 30 mins drive away. It was pleasant but it was a very small beach and after a couple of hours we returned to the ship. Again we wish we had taken some sort of tour.
Durban - this port of call was originally not included as we were meant to go to the Seychelles but pirates put paid to that. We were given the impression that this wasn't a particularly safe place and not to go out on our own. We were told not to try to walk out of the dock but to use the shuttle. This seemed to made passengers book trips, us included but a quick trip around Durban by coach with a 40 min stop at a botanical gardens was about it. The gardens were lovely and we could have spent longer there but the trip was expensive for what is was.
Port Elizabeth. This seemed to be a safer place but it was Easter Sunday and the shuttle took us to a shopping complex by a beach so we didn't see the city. Again we were told not to walk out of the dock area. A quick walk around and we were back on the shuttle in no time.
Cape Town - this was the highlight of our whole trip. A lovely place, the shuttle took us to a Waterfront shopping and eating complex that was far better than all the rest. Lots of people went out on the two nights we were docked there to eat as it was very safe. We had a trip up Table Mountain as part of an excursion. If we were doing this again we would get the hop on hop off bus which includes this in its route. the beaches along the coast also looked inviting and could be accessed via the bus.