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26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
This cruise was operated by Noble Caledonia who have chartered the ship for several years from APT who apparently have a share in NC. The trip: It was an expedition cruise along the coast of Java, ending in Singapore. The attraction ... Read More
This cruise was operated by Noble Caledonia who have chartered the ship for several years from APT who apparently have a share in NC. The trip: It was an expedition cruise along the coast of Java, ending in Singapore. The attraction of these cruises is that there is an emphasis on nature and local culture and they go places larger ships can't get to, with frequent use of zodiacs for landings, many of them "wet" on beaches where there is no dock available. The expedition staff have their specialisations. e.g. history, birds, marine life, geology, and are all trained and skillful zodiac drivers. This is important as the nature of the cruises means the ports of call are more than usually at the mercy of weather, sea state, currents and tides and they did well to find suitable landing spots and get everyone off and back on the ship in changing conditions. It also means that a reasonable level of fitness and agility is required from the passengers and you have to be prepared for almost anything. Inevitably, some of the ports of call were more successful than others and in a couple of places it seemed the shore agents had not done sufficient research, which resulted in missed stops and insufficient information being available throughout the day. The nature of these excursions off the beaten track does mean that things can go awry but I have travelled with Noble Caledonia on similar cruises in this region before and I thought these trips had been better organised, maybe because the NC staff seemed more hands-on rather than leaving a lot of the arrangements to local agents. Also, on this cruise the Expedition Staff were less friendly and mixed less with the passengers at meal times than on previous trips. The ship: The food was superb. The dining and cabin stewards were all excellent. The reception staff were OK, but not overly pleasant or responsive to requests - a smile now and again goes a long way. The air conditioning in all indoor areas was fierce and after a couple of days many passengers had developed coughs and sneezes; requests at reception to have it turned down were met with "but then you will complain that it is too warm" (see responsiveness above). There is a difference between a pleasant ambient temperature and cold!! Overall the ship's décor seems a bit tired: the colours in the suites and dining room are quite dreary; the tiling in my bathroom was the worse for wear and the bathroom door had obviously been replaced but shreds of the protective plastic covering had not been properly removed. OK, it's a small point that didn't affect the operation of the door but it does indicate a lack of attention to detail in the appearance of the ship, which did not meet the expectations set by the company's publicity. It was supposed to have been refurbished about 5 years ago, but felt much older than that. Overall this cruise just missed the mark: for what Noble Caledonia charges, everything should be excellent. Read Less
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