“Sampling southern India”
Cruise review of Swan Hellenic Minerva

BRPuffin Minerva 4 Sampling southern India
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I am a traveler who frequently takes solo trips. I had traveled northern India by myself two years before this cruise and wanted to return and do southern India but did not know where to start. When I saw this cruise offering I grabbed it as a sampler with a plan to return in the future. I was not disappointed. If you want to meet well traveled passengers and have all cost included in your fare this is the line for you. They also had single cabins so I avoided and single supplement. This is also and adult cruise for those who do not have to be entertained. There are lectures everyday and when it is a day at sea there are four lectures. For dinner you can dine formally or informally. Food choices included Indian cuisine at lunch. Journeys are well organized to maximize time in port with excursions included in your fare. I did choose one extra cost excursion as it included an all day trip to older forts in Oman. Since this cruise went across the Arabian sea to Oman the ship's captain took precautions to have pirate drills, put chicken wire around the hull and revised his routing by going further up the Indian coast before heading across the sea in Oman.

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.

Minerva Cruises to the Middle East
  • Sail Date: March 2011
  • Destination: Middle East
  • Embarkation: Other
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  • Shore Excursions
  • Value for Money

Cabin review: Single Inside

Single cabins are inside so there is no window. All rooms have an internal and external television system on which cruise related theme movies are shown and on board lectures are televised and reshown in case you missed one. Room was adequate and bathroom had well appointed toiletries. Single cabins are on the promenade deck and were quiet.

Port and Shore Excursions

With a day and a half in port enjoyed two contrasting experiences. One was a city tour that included the now renamed Price of Wales Museum, the India gate with a backdrop of the Taj hotel and Gandhi's home away from home in Mumbai. The other experience was out to Elephanta Island that not only exposes you to the ancient treasures on the island but gives one an intimate sea view of Mumbai and especially India Gate and the Taj.
Published 04/19/11
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Minerva Cruises to the Middle East
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