Pacific Princess Cruise Review by NormaBM: Pacific Princess
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I flew from Chicago, IL to Amsterdam to Nairobi. The flights are the worst
part of the trip-very long but worth it. There was a quick safari briefing
and a gift of a safari hat on the first day. Princess Cruise Lines contracts
with Micato Safaris for this land tour. The did a fabulous job of moving us
and keeping us occupied & comfortable.
We had a tour of Nairobi, a visit to Karen Blixen's house (Out of Africa) and a visit to feed giraffes. What a great start! Since we would safari for 8 days before meeting the cruise ship, we had been told in advance to pack separate bags. Princess stored the cruise bag and we didn't need to drag that with us. That night there was the option of dinner at Carnivore. This restaurant was such fun. Besides offering the usual meats, they offered zebra (very good),ostrich (also very good)& Crocodile (tough).
The next morning, early, we left by land rover for Amboseli Nat'l. Park. We did a game run on the way and saw so More many of the animals we hoped to see. I was amazed how close we could get. The lodge was what you would expect an African bush lodge to be, rustic but comfortable. Food is served buffet style with lots of variety and though not gourmet, pretty good. There are few to no roads anywhere so be advised-bring a pillow to sit on.
The next morning we were able to see Mt. Kilimanjaro from the lodge. After a morning game run, we were on to Arch, Tanzania. We had the afternoon off with an optional trip to a cultural center which turned out to be a shopping trip.
Next day we flew from Arusha to Serengeti Natl. Park. With a game run along the way, we saw many animals again in their natural habitat. The Serena Lodge there was lovely and we spent 2 nights. One evening a group of Masai came to dance for us. Very enjoyable. Our guide was very knowledgeable and every evening before dinner shared information about what we would do & see the next day.
After a morning game run again, we were on the way to Ngorongoro Crater. On the way we stopped at Olduvai-area opened by the Leakeys where primitive man was found. Given a talk by an associate that was interesting. Ngorongoro Crater is the location of a large migration of Wildebeest & Zebra and we drove in the middle of it. We had game runs every morning & afternoon. The last stop on the Safari was to Lake Maynara. This is a lush, green area compared to the dryness of Ngorongoro. Again many animals & birds. From Lake Maynara, we drove to Kilimanjaro Airport in Arusha for a short flight to Mombasa to meet the Pacific Princess.
Embarkation was smooth & painless and I was glad to see my other suitcase in my cabin on arrival. Have been on Pacific Princess several times and unfortunately she is showing her age. The cruise was a nice place to recover from the busyness of the safari since we had several days at sea.
Because of the problems in Zanzibar that port was canceled and an extra day added in Male, Seychelles. Unfortunately the extra day was a Sunday so even though Princess arranged shuttles to take us into town, everything was closed. At least we got to walk around a bit before going back to the ship. The next day we had a tour of Male that was OK. There isn't that much there but they did the best they could.
After 3 days at sea we stopped at Mahe, Maldives Islands. It is so small there are no optional tours. You just go in & walk around. It was a holiday so most tourist sights were closed.
Two more days at sea and a stop in Cochin, India. India is hot, dirty, smelly and culturally hard for Americans. It is a very poor country and beggars are everywhere.
Our final stop was in Bombay for the day until time to go to the airport for the long flight home. With all the extreme poverty in India, the hotel was incredible opulent. Unfortunately it was located in an area where there was no place to go. Took a nap since our plane didn't leave until 3:25 AM. Overall, I'm so glad I took the trip. The Safari was amazing and all I hoped it would be. Since I love cruising, I enjoyed being on the water but the ports were disappointing and the ship was nice but old, food OK but not as good as it had been in the past.
In spite of all that, I recommend the trip. Princess does a classy job of cruise/tours (I've used them for Alaska Cruise/Tour) and Micato Safaris was terrific.
March 2001 Less
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