Myself,recently retired and my wife nearing retirement,we finally embarked on our first cruise holiday. The first mistake was not checking out on visa requirements, regulations an costs which our travel agent nor the cruise company informed us about apart from saying it is our responsibility. Despite our far and wide air travel experience,we discovered the hard way,India is very different,true to her much vaunted advertising slogan,"Incredible India". It cost us two £187 not least having to complete on line a lengthy form,travel twice to Hayes in Middlesex,UK,once to hand in the documents and again for collection after waiting in queues each time! If that was bad enough,Indian Immigration Officials (just two) had to conduct a ludicrous visa to face check on board before arrival in Goa for around 3000 passengers and repeat the same ordeal before her next port of call,Cochin in India. First time,we queued for nearly 3 hours and felt sorry for elderly and frail passengers.
Our hotel accommodation in Dubai after flying out on Emirates A380 from Heathrow was great and prepaid transfer was great. Transfer from hotel to Port Rushid in Dubai was bungled and we had to pay for a taxi ourselves. Hotel accommodation in Singapore was very mediocre.
Our stateroom on Deck 9 with private balcony was superb and spacious.
Room attendant was friendly and polite deserving the handsome tip.
Ship information service was very good and accepted our instruction not to preload gratuities as wanted to reward those who made our vacation special.
Hand sanitisation requirement was excellent and food was good albeit tasting pretty much the same. Orange juice was free only at breakfast and iced water was preferred to iced tea and lemonade. Electric violinist Jane Cho brought tears of joy to my eyes and we had the privilege of meeting her by chance at breakfast the following morning. Disappointment that she had only a three minute slot on the final day before reaching Penang where she left the ship while other artistes had bigger slots,some of whom bored me to tears!
We found ship's shore excursions restrictive and not value for money and therefore,venturing out on our own with a couple of fellow passengers to share expenses giving more freedom.
Not allowing passengers to bring their own choice of alcoholic drinks was a big disappointment as we enjoy a few drinks on holiday and relax in the privacy of our room or cabin.
In summary,it was an experience to 'enjoy' but,cruises calling at different ports of call in the same country giving some 7 or 8 hours to go sightseeing instead fewer ports of call and spread of different countries giving more time for sightseeing and definitely,NOWHERE IN INCREDIBLE INDIA after our own experience. Sadly,it is not the country nor the people but sheer BUREAUCRACY that we do not want a repeat of. It is a shame that such itineraries did not include neighbouring Sri Lanka,a tourist friendly paradise with simple on line visa requirement which costs much less.