My husband and I purchased this cruise in July, 2011 while Myanmar was listed on the itinerary, along with Tanzania and Zimbabwe, and the remaining ports of call. All 3 of the aforementioned ports were deleted, and replaced with Mangalore, Cochin, and Trincomalee. All three of the latter were poor substitutes. BUT, it WAS Oceania, so we knew, having cruised on Insignia, that we were in for a pampered 35 days on the seas.
We had previously inhabited a penthouse suite on Insignia, so the Concierge level suite was a bit small, but we made it work. Our first night at happy hour we had the pleasure of meeting Sasa from Croatia, and Philmar from Philippines, at the Martini Bar; both were delightful. When we encountered them a week later, each remembered our names and what we liked to drink. Impressive.
We enjoyed our excursion in Cape Town atop Table Mountain, even though the wind and cold were at times unbearable. In Durban, we experienced an amazing game reserve, getting up close and personal with giraffes, rhinos, hippos, ostrich, zebras, wildebeast, etc. Madagascar was an uneventful stop, as was French Comoros. We enjoyed Mauritious well enough. In Seychelles we thoroughly enjoyed snorkeling at Coco Island, and found the Maldives to be attractive and picturesque. Enter Mangalore. Here is where things begin to go south. The excursions offered by Oceania proved similar to one another, in that all involved temples, churches, and shopping (par for the coarse on cruise ships), but the sheer poverty at every turn was saddening and a bit uncomfortable, what with trash everywhere, and the plight of the underclass so underscored by the itineraries of the expensive excursions. Sri Lanka, while much cleaner, appeared like an extension of India, and we were glad to get to Kuala Lumpur, Phuket (where we rode elephants), and Penang.
We agree that 35 days was, for us, much too long on one ship, on one trip, with one group of 650 passengers. We met very interesting people, both on and off the ship, but each of us was more than ready to disembark to head for home when we reached Singapore. Having used Oceania's air itinerary, we flew for 34 hours to get to Cape Town and 49 hours to return home from Singapore. We will never again allow Oceania to book our air travel.
Overall, Oceania is #1 for food qualilty and service, and crew. It is apparent they hire personalities, not just people. The friendliness and knowledge of the crew is Oceania's strong suit. We plan to sail on Marina later this year, and hope to try Riviera as well.