The Swan staff have perfected the system of getting passengers on and off the ship. With only about 300 passengers there is little down time. While as an independent traveler I am used to my freedom, I did not feel penned in by the regimentation necessary in moving this number of people on and off the ship. One drawback of the excursions was the inability to sometimes hear the guide; I have suggested to Swan that they obtain the speaker and microphone system used by the Viking Cruise line. I like to roam away from the speaker to take photos so I sometimes lost the dialog in order to obtain a picture.
Be prepared to have stimulating conversations. Most of the passengers are repeat travelers and many on are aboard for more than one leg of the Minerva's trips. Of particular interest to me as an American on this cruise was the immediate connection that many of the British passengers had to India by either having worked there in the past or even spending some of their childhood there. Of course British and Indian history are closely laced which made the lectures particularly rich.
Ports on this trip included Chennai, Tuticorin, Kochi, Mangalore, Marmagoa, Mumbai and Muscat in Oman. Kochi, Mumbai and Muscat were my 3 favorites Kochi was fabulous for the backwaters; I am thinking of returning and renting my own houseboat. Mumbai was so varied to encourage a return for a longer period. I was surprised by the countryside of Oman; a desert with lovely largely limestone mountains that change hue.