We loved this cruise of Arabia and India which departed from Dubai and stopped in Abu Dhabi (UAE), Khasab (Oman), Porbandar, Mumbai, Goa, Cochin, Tuticorin (India) and ended in Colombo (Sri Lanka). The ship is just the right size for us as we have no interest in the larger cruise ships that overwhelm a port when they arrive. The crew were truly delightful from the captain and his officers to the warm and wonderful waiting, support and technical staff (mostly Filipino). The food quality and range was excellent and it was great that we could join tables if we wanted, sit by ourselves or go with a buffet choice outdoors if it suited us. Our 3rd deck queen size bed cabin was spacious (although the portholes were at ceiling height!). The small pool on the sundeck and the jacuzzis allowed us to cool down and there was ample seating and sun lounge availability throughout.
The entertainment by a small but very talented company was mostly great - unfortunately the Darwin Lounge is not More
ideal as it has no tiered seating and pillars block the view in many cases. The lectures were mixed - some excellent (politics, nature) with the history lectures very disappointing (more about the lecturer than his topic!). The activities on the ship included art, jewellery making, bridge, trivia and some light-hearted events like towel folding! Overall, it was a happy ship where people had the space to make acquaintances and friends if they wanted or had plenty of room to themselves.
The excursions were mostly excellent with a few exceptions that were quite boring (Sharjah/Ajman, Al Ain) or spent mostly on the bus due to traffic (Mumbai Temples & Shrines - all day to visit 3 places but they were very interesting once we got there and the buffet lunch provided at the Marriot was sublime). On some outings we experienced annoying things like being charged for weak instant canteen-dispensed coffee when we made a scheduled stop without being pre-advised by the guide that any drink was chargeable (and at rip-off prices by the hotel). This was not the fault of the cruise but it might be something they can ensure is all-inclusive in future outings.
Although recently and beautifully redecorated, the layout of this ship has limitations - as mentioned the pillars in the main performance lounge block the views, and a library that is a walk-through space between lounge and restaurant so not much peace and quiet here! Maybe this space could be closed off at one end to give it the privacy needed.
We loved the free room service option and ordered early breakfasts to our cabin for every early start - a lovely way to start the day and always on time and freshly prepared. We bought a bottle of wine every night @ circa £20 which was not too highly priced and the laundry service was fairly reasonably priced as well so we used this twice. We booked this cruise at the very last minute so we got a great deal. We went on at least one excursion every day (two to see the Oman fjords from the top of the mountains in the morning and by boat in the afternoon - stunning trips!). We would definitely book this cruise ship again and have no hesitation in recommending it to others who prefer very busy and interesting offshore itineraries with less laid-on entertainment/activities on board. Less
Very spacious cabin (Livingston deck) with two porthole windows at ceiling height. Extremely comfortable bed (made up as a queen size for us). Nice decor. Spotlessly clean. Bathroom compact but fine. Plenty of storage space. Good TV channel choices. Soundproof.