74 Cape Town Luxury Cruise Reviews

Staff, Cruise Director, Chefs, food and service absolutely first rate, and not just for a few days...it was 35 days of pampering. FANTASTIC... keep it up Oceania. CONS: The drinks were pricey, but we could have picked a drink ... Read More
Staff, Cruise Director, Chefs, food and service absolutely first rate, and not just for a few days...it was 35 days of pampering. FANTASTIC... keep it up Oceania. CONS: The drinks were pricey, but we could have picked a drink package. Casino was very quiet slots extremely tight, but Manager explained Oceania has just taken contract back from previous independent operator and will be making improvements and changes... PROS: Superb food in all venues. Best shellfish and steaks at sea without question. Most nights a local or specialty offering available on top of regular menus. All desserts and home baked breads delicious. Service was tops. Bar, room, cabin, butlers, restaurants.... always a smile and a greeting, day after day... a happy and delightful team working connected by pride in their work. SUPERB Entertainment good, stand outs : the Bellissimo Quartet with classical strings, then did a wild rock show on strings too!! Cruise director, John E. With his own hilarious show, also extra crew shows such as Beat the Chef , party undet the stars in Seychelles. Clever, fun and innovative fresh ideas. Great team No more to say... back with Nautica, next we go! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We LOVED Oceania's ms Nautica! Only 650 passengers (maximum possible = 684), and a huge, very international crew. An older but well-maintained intimate ship, full of beautiful art; fabulous food (the best we have ever savoured ... Read More
We LOVED Oceania's ms Nautica! Only 650 passengers (maximum possible = 684), and a huge, very international crew. An older but well-maintained intimate ship, full of beautiful art; fabulous food (the best we have ever savoured afloat); excellent singers and dancers; a personable cruise director (he made up for the humourless captain); and great cabin/dining service in every respect. Very comfortable (if small) cabin and adequate (if miniscule) bathroom. Bellíssimo, a most talented Ukrainian string quartet (from the Putin-menaced Donets region) played classical and popular music for hours ever day; good evening entertainment, especially the specially invited singers and comedians; a daily MENSA quiz, puzzles, and challenging games of trivia and an art scavenger hunt; reasonable enrichment program, delivered by a knowledgeable astronomer and an egocentric Canadian biologist who attempted to introduce the history and culture of the ports of call, but was out of his depth whenever he strayed from his narrow speciality; FREE internet with superb connectivity; a good library (but lacking almanacs, a good dictionary, and an encyclopedia). All this comes at a cost which tests the limits of our cruising budget. However, it illustrates the old adage, "You get what you pay for." When we look back at about 60 nights of cruising with Celebrity; 300+ nights with Holland America; and single cruises with Princess, Royal Caribbean, Swan-Hellenic (now bankrupt), and MSC, we would say that Oceania is superior to all of them. When we did not purchased any of the rather high-priced (and often mediocre) ship-organized excursions, we simply took the shuttle bus, which the Shore Excursion desk almost always organized, and went to wherever it took us. They were always safe spots, even in Durban, from where we could walk without fear of being mugged. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise for its itinerary. We could “Safari” without sleeping in tents! We also wanted to escape the winter weather in the US. Ports were interesting except for Maputo, Mozambique. Oceania should skip it...very 3rd ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its itinerary. We could “Safari” without sleeping in tents! We also wanted to escape the winter weather in the US. Ports were interesting except for Maputo, Mozambique. Oceania should skip it...very 3rd world. We didn’t feel safe and was the only port that required us to take malaria medicine. We were surprised Oceania offered a 2 hour walking tour. DON’T TAKE IT! Street vendors aggressively follow you and pressure a sale. Streets are dirty. We were only allowed to take photos when given permission. Definitely not worth stopping. As for ship: Food and service were outstanding. Loved the “dine anytime” arrangement. It was fun to share a table and meet other guests but we always had the opportunity to dine alone. Being in the Owners Suite gave us special privileges and we were able to eat in specialty restaurants whenever we requested to do so. Stewards were exceptional! Entertainment not quite as elaborate as other cruises but I suppose that’s due to size of ship. On shore: the Belmont property, Mount Nelson Inn, is fabulous! If you are staying in land pre or post cruise, make a reservation! And don’t miss Table Mountain and The Cape. Two spectacular sites in Cape Town. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise the very first day it came out. We'd done North Africa and wanted to do South Africa with a pre-cruise safari. Regent did a fantastic job providing us with a Shamwari 5 Star game resort where we were so lucky to ... Read More
We chose this cruise the very first day it came out. We'd done North Africa and wanted to do South Africa with a pre-cruise safari. Regent did a fantastic job providing us with a Shamwari 5 Star game resort where we were so lucky to have seen and photographed a leopard and a white rhino at sunset against a setting sun. Our suite onboard was very convenient to the elevators and our cabin attendant was so attentive. The food was fantastic as well as the musicals. The weather however proved a bit of a disappointment as we had to forgo a port in Nambibia and Mozambique. Internet service was problematic and the food too salty. Salt shakers are on every table so why not use those? The only disappointment was the awlful air routing to and from Cape Town that resulted in 10+hours spent in Lufthansa's Frankfort's lounge going and coming. This was our third Regent cruise and the second one with Captain Serena who is an outstanding, vivacious captain. Spending Christmas, New Year's Eve and New Years Day was truly one of our most memorable cruises. The 1600 photos we took are indeed a photographer's dream come true. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We just booked this at the very last moment as it was sailing from Cape Town to Southampton and were delighted there was space. This was our first Cunard experience, but I think virtually all other passengers were long-time fans of ... Read More
We just booked this at the very last moment as it was sailing from Cape Town to Southampton and were delighted there was space. This was our first Cunard experience, but I think virtually all other passengers were long-time fans of Cunard. I really cannot find anything to complain about. Check-in was professional and we received our suitcases relatively quickly. The cabin was a decent size, as was the wardrobe and small balcony but perfect for two. We chose late dining and never once had repeat food. It was excellent, as was the service. We mostly had a late breakfast in the Lido where the choice was as good as I have ever had in a top Hotel. Lunch we occasionally took in the dining room, but there were so many opportunities to eat we had to choose between lunch or afternoon tea. We ate in the dining room every night. Talks were excellent, particularly Ian Brown and John McCarthy. Entertainment was mostly professional, bar staff were attentive. The daily quiz was a daily challenge. If I were to have one gripe, and I really shouldn’t, the drinks were expensive. But that’s nothing in the scheme of things. Really, it was 17 nights of pure joy. It’s not a cruise for youngsters, the dress code is jacket for gents every night, and formal on four nights, but there’s something very pleasant about a dress code. Well done Cunard - we will be back. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Wanted to explore South Africa. Cruise enabled us to see a good deal of this country. We were guided by the knowledge and wisdom of an outstanding lecturer, Rob Prescot and the kind and informative interraction with Ira Feldman.. ... Read More
Wanted to explore South Africa. Cruise enabled us to see a good deal of this country. We were guided by the knowledge and wisdom of an outstanding lecturer, Rob Prescot and the kind and informative interraction with Ira Feldman.. The ship staff was very professional. Excellent service without being overly solicitous. The dining experience was overall outstanding. Top cuisine choices from Japanese to French to Italian and to general cuisine. The entertainment under direction of Adam was outstanding. The young voices were first class. At least two singers were worthy of the Opera staage. The selection and presentation was very professional. The Silver suite was very spacious and the hotel services provided by Al and Niki were excellent. The ports of call were determined by the cruise itinerary and not the very best. Two days in Richards Bay was too much. Too bad you could not find a place to dock closer to Plettenberg Bay and George which is the heart of the Garden route. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
This was the longest cruise I have ever taken, and I never traveled as a solo traveler (age 52) before. From 650 guests on board, 450 knew my name during my adventure. I have met endless wonderful people who I exchanged e-mails with. ... Read More
This was the longest cruise I have ever taken, and I never traveled as a solo traveler (age 52) before. From 650 guests on board, 450 knew my name during my adventure. I have met endless wonderful people who I exchanged e-mails with. Giuseppe, the general manager, solved an issue I had with my cabin and resolved this matter quickly and to my absolute satisfaction. The food was excellent, but the wine selection could use some improvement. I chose the "magic card" which allowed me to drink any alcohol beverages. Knowing that each glass of wine plus an 18% gratuity on top of it was "not knowing the price" well worth it for me. However, some wines I could not choose with my unlimited beverage card because it did not allow for bottled wines, only the ones by glass. Otherwise, I enjoyed 99% of all excursions I had chosen. The entertainment was wonderful even though I think it could improve a little. What I missed was yoga or meditation classes. I would have been perfect offering those for sunrise or sunsets. I loved this cruise so much that I booked the world cruise directly on board and I am looking forward to many more adventures. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We joined Queen Elizabeth on the 20th April in Cape Town. We had travelled on quite a few cruises on Queen Mary, but wow we were blown away by Queen Elizabeth. From the moment we stepped aboard, our holiday began and it was wonderful ... Read More
We joined Queen Elizabeth on the 20th April in Cape Town. We had travelled on quite a few cruises on Queen Mary, but wow we were blown away by Queen Elizabeth. From the moment we stepped aboard, our holiday began and it was wonderful the entire journey. From the food in the Lido to the Brittannia, we could not have asked for more. The shows were wonderful, with the exception of one show. Our entire experience was superb and we so look forward to being able to travel on Queen Elizabeth again. The cabin was in a lovely condition. It was really easy to navigate through the ship without getting loss. I certainly recommend a holiday on Queen Elizabeth. The staff on the ship were only too happy to go the extra mile, whether it was in Brittannia or at the buffet in the Lido. The friendliness was absolutely superb. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
My partner and I, with friends, recently did a ten day cruise through South Africa; it was a wonderful experience and a great way to travel to this part of the world. We have travelled on Silversea many times in the past and find it to be ... Read More
My partner and I, with friends, recently did a ten day cruise through South Africa; it was a wonderful experience and a great way to travel to this part of the world. We have travelled on Silversea many times in the past and find it to be a wonderful product: this was our fourth time on the Silver Cloud. We had an outstanding cruise and an amazing trip through South Africa that also included a quick visit to Johannesburg, a wonderful Safari at Sabi Sabi and a post cruise visit to Cape Town. The cruise started and ended in Cape Town. Embarkation and Disembarkation were effortless - no line, no waiting, no drama, but we find this to always be the case with Silversea with their smaller ships. We were onboard in less than 15 minutes and quickly checked in. Perfect. We are familiar with the Silver Cloud and she is still elegant and lovely. Silversea, especially the smaller vessels, are all about quiet luxury and the Cloud delivers. No atriums, no amusement parks, no shopping centers, just a quiet, elegant, easy going ship where the service excels. The décor is elegant and while the ship is due for an update, everything looks just fine and works well. No issues whatsoever - expect quiet luxury and that is what you will get. Our cabin was the "typical" Silversea veranda suite with all of the amenities that one could expect. The suites are comfortable - yes, the living area are and bathroom are a bit smaller than those on the Sprit, but the accommodation is absolutely wonderful especially with a butler that is willing to help you with every need and wish. One this particular cruise, we found the dining and the service to be over-the-top excellent: the food was terrific in each dining venue with a wide choice of items. Breakfast and Lunch buffets were typically good, the specialty restaurants were very good, but the main dining was offering the best food that we have scene in years on Silversea. Everything was delicious. And, the service was impeccable - nothing was ever a problem and every wish was catered to. Bravo! Also, the wine service was especially good this time around. It really is all about the service and we cannot say enough good things about the crew onboard. Entertainment onboard - its Silversea and its a small ship. The shows are enjoyable and keep you busy for an hour, the casino is quiet and there are some lectures which we never seem to get to....but Silversea is not really about entertainment and Las Vegas type shows. We don't expect it or miss it: Silversea (especially the smaller vessels) is about enjoying a luxurious cruise to outstanding destinations. A great dinner, an after dinner drink and get ready for the next adventurous port of call! The itinerary on the South Africa cruise was unusual; one needs to do some research to really enjoy this itinerary. On most cruises, one can take a nice walk around town or grab a taxi to see some sites....that really does not work in South Africa. Advanced planning in required: we planned private shore excursions for each port (we don't like bus tours with lots of people) and did extraordinary things from an ocean safari to visiting children in a township school. It was great but required a lot of work and research. I think that our group had a much better experience than most due to our private arrangements. As said, South Africa is a bit different than more typical cruise destinations. In conclusion, we had a wonderful cruise and a wonderful trip to South Africa - the Silversea cruise was a luxurious and comfortable way to explore this part of the world. We cannot wait to return to our next Silversea voyage. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose this cruise purely for the itinerary, which is different from most of the cruises in this area. Firstly, before booking, we had consulted the reviews, and knew roughly what to expect. I get fed up with listening to some of ... Read More
We chose this cruise purely for the itinerary, which is different from most of the cruises in this area. Firstly, before booking, we had consulted the reviews, and knew roughly what to expect. I get fed up with listening to some of the professional whingers who seem to revel in complaining about some detail or other. READ THE REVIEWS FIRST BEFORE BOOKING, then you won't be disappointed. Yes Oceania Cruises are more expensive than some of the other cruise lines, the question is whether the extra expense is value for money.. We were certainly very happy with what we got for what we paid. We were already aware that the cabins were more compact than some other ships, and yes,the bathrooms were a bit cramped. But the food was excellent, and NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE for the specialty restaurants . Also there is free soft drinks available all day long, and on sea days the deck attendant continuously came round with a trolley of soft drinks , in addition to the bar servers. The evening entertainment was very limited, but we were already aware of this. We saw a few shows and the individual artists were good. The ship's entertainers were enthusiastic , making up for lack of experience. They are young, probably starting off in the business, learning the ropes the hard way! I was impressed with the professionalism of the crew, cabin attendants and many of the waiting staff remembering your name after just a couple of days. All of the crew of whatever grade or department showed good training, by acknowledging you, rather than ignoring you. All serving staff showed the training and standards required by serving correctly, e.g. drinks always being served off a tray as opposed to being handed to you. The captain's midday announcement was always entertaining and informative, even though some people choose to be ignorant of others and talk through the announcements. Such is life! I would comment that the drinks, other than soft drinks were ferociously priced, but we opted for the drinks package which worked out to be a much better option. We did go on some excursions, which as usual are pricey, but the ones we went on in East Africa and Kuala Lumpur were worth doing. Many ports , again after research can be done on the "open top bus", or by clubbing together and hiring a taxi for a few hours. At least that way, you avoid the obligatory stop for shopping at some mall that is favourable to the cruise company. Overall we enjoyed the cruise, thought it worth the money, the little details making the difference. Yes the ship is a bit quiet at night, but that suited us. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This cruise was chosen for its itinerary. Our Akron transport did not arrive at Cape Town. We were advised by other workers at the terminal to wait. After 30 minutes of waiting we walked out to the front of the airport to seek further help ... Read More
This cruise was chosen for its itinerary. Our Akron transport did not arrive at Cape Town. We were advised by other workers at the terminal to wait. After 30 minutes of waiting we walked out to the front of the airport to seek further help . We talked to the information booth and they helped in getting a rep to us. After another 30 minute wait a car arrived for us. When arriving at the ship we informed reception...no response received. No what we expected, especially since it was now 9:30 pm...we had lost a complete day in Cape Town... disappointing as we have traveled 36 other cruises and not encountered this type of transport service. Room service was great. Bathroom size was the usual small size for a concierge suite. The ship was very clean. Dining menu was repeated too much for a 30-day voyage. Selection of lunch could include diversification of sandwiches with the meals in the buffet. We some some issues with undercook steals and cold potatoes and slow service Toscana. When the manager questioned us on the meal we expressed service for our main entree was extremely slow. His explanation was that it takes 15-20 minutes for the entree to be served. We then explained we had been there two other times and that was not the case...same meal. We unfortunately feel it was a cover up for a mistake made by the waiter Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
I took my daughter, her husband and their two daughters on a wonderful two week cruise. We went round trip in and out of Cape Town. The ship was in great shape, the crew was fantastic, intuitive and always helpful. The excursions were all ... Read More
I took my daughter, her husband and their two daughters on a wonderful two week cruise. We went round trip in and out of Cape Town. The ship was in great shape, the crew was fantastic, intuitive and always helpful. The excursions were all very good, with the exception of Port Elizabeth. It was complimentary...a good thing as the place is boring, dirty and easily skip-able...if that's a word. The excursions to visit three game reserves were extraordinary. We saw lions, a big family of giraffes, rhinos, zebras, elephants and many more smaller animals..including some cute little monkeys which delighted the children. My favorite excursion was to a big lake which was filled with "herds" of Hippos. My son in law referred to the lake as a hippo soup. Because it was both a Christmas and a New Year's cruise, the Cloud was very festive..lovely decorations. We all...ages 9 to 75, had a terrific time. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We have so far cruised with Regent Seven Seas 128 days in total, round South America (highly recommended), from Bali, from Cape Town. After having done two world cruises with different cruise lines, as well as numerous shorter voyages ... Read More
We have so far cruised with Regent Seven Seas 128 days in total, round South America (highly recommended), from Bali, from Cape Town. After having done two world cruises with different cruise lines, as well as numerous shorter voyages in various places, we decided the RSSC is the only cruise line for us, for many reasons. Luxury, yes, but also good value: you pay well in advance but then there are no more hidden costs, no extras, once you are on board everything is there for the asking. You can choose your shore excursions (free and never disappointing) well ahead of the crowds, the specialty restaurants (no extra charge), superb ships, more spacious standard cabins than high-end suites on other cruise ships, all with balconies, amazing bathrooms, and crew, being pampered without worrying about tipping..... Knowing that the staff are not exploited adds to a guilt-fee enjoyment. Anybody who has experienced waiting in long queues in the port of embarkation will agree that it detracts from true enjoyment. What Regent excel at is making you feel cared for. The pre- and post-cruise hotels are good and everything is well organised. It is truly fully inclusive and we love everything about Regent Seven Seas. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This was our third cruise on the Mariner, our second relocation crossing, and our first since the last refurbishment. Overall, we were highly impressed by the condition of the ship. The food was consistently excellent. Service levels were ... Read More
This was our third cruise on the Mariner, our second relocation crossing, and our first since the last refurbishment. Overall, we were highly impressed by the condition of the ship. The food was consistently excellent. Service levels were also extraordinary, and even a notch above past cruises. The staff was consistently friendly and helpful. One word of advice to would-be first time Regent cruisers. Do your research. There are no wave pools, climbing walls, trampolines, or ice bars on the Mariner. The clientele is decidedly older than average. The favourite activities seem to be bridge, tea time, and trivia contests. At times the ship seems as much a floating luxury retirement home as it is a floating luxury resort. The pace is generally slow; the evenings end relatively early. This is absolutely perfect for us; it may not be perfect for you. This itinerary was particularly heavy with sea days. Again, this is what we look for and enjoy, but if you want to hit a different port every day and seek out excursions, you might not have enjoyed this cruise as much as other itineraries. Cruise Director Jamie Logan did a great job hosting and organizing events and communicating information to the passengers. We stayed in a Seven Seas Aft stateroom for the first time instead of our usual Horizons View, and we fear the spacious and tasteful surroundings, and especially the expansive deck, might have ruined other choices for us in the future! The butler and stewards provided unparalleled service throughout. As part of this cruise, Regent offered a pre-cruise safari option at several game reserves in South Africa. We stayed at the Botlierkop Game Reserve near Mossel Bay in the Western Cape region. This was an unexpected highlight of the whole trip. Excellent food and accommodations (in an air-conditioned a luxury-appointed tent away from the main lodge), knowledgeable and friendly guides, and an up close chance to see many animals in the wild. We were fortunate to see African elephants, giraffes, rhinos, impalas and black impalas, lions, eland, nyala, wildebeest, water-buck, bontebok, Cape buffalo, springbok, crested guinea fowl, blue crane, jackal buzzards, Cape zebras, and many types of indigenous plants and insects. It was a busy and magical few days, and we’d love to go back and do it again. We only have a few small quibbles with this cruise, as explained below, but none of these things detracted from our overall extremely positive and enjoyable experience. We will continue to sail on the always-excellent Mariner! Some people we spoke to felt that some of the excursions were not adequately explained by Destination Services and, as is the custom with Regent, included some long bus rides to places where short stops occurred. My wife, in particular, did not enjoy an excursion to Swakopmund on a Sunday, because many attractions were closed that day. Destination Services came in for some criticism because of this. That said, some of the things we heard from other passengers, either directly or through ship scuttlebutt, in the nature about complaints concerning the lack of attractions and services in Namibia, suggested that these folks did not do much of a job researching their itinerary before embarking on the cruise. It is the rural west African desert, people! There is not much here, and what is here is always far from everything else. What did you reasonably expect? Soon after we left Namibia rumours began to swirl about the presence of several single male passengers, apparently paying guests, who were employed by jewellery stores in Rio, and who were approaching other passengers to sell them jewellery and tours in Rio. This is apparently against Regent policy, but as they were paying guests it seemed little was done to curtail this activity. Let me stress, we heard about this from others and did not experience it directly. One final matter deserves attention. We had to miss our stop at Saint Helena due to a mid-Atlantic medical emergency that required the Captain to get a critically-ill passenger to hospital. Rather than turn back to Namibia or even Cape Town, he chose instead to increase speed and make haste for Rio de Janeiro. All aboard were disappointed in missing Saint Helena, and some passengers even claimed that this port was the sole reason they took this trip. Some of the more cynical passengers even speculated about the real reasons for speeding to Rio, to the point that the Cruise Director had to explain publicly that the extra fuel costs and dockage fees to get the passenger to hospital in Rio was costing Regent upwards of $175,000 USD. This is the second time we have experienced the Mariner having to change schedule to address the needs of an ill passenger. In both cases we believe the Captain and crew acted professionally and responsibly with the best interest of the passenger in mind. We were totally comfortable with the actions taken by the Captain and crew in this difficult situation. We fully enjoyed this cruise on the Mariner and look forward to visiting her again soon. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This was out third Ocean crossing. This time from Cape Town to Rio. We have been cruising since 2006 but have done a lot of independent traveling over the years. We flew from JFK through Paris to Cape Town. The connection we ... Read More
This was out third Ocean crossing. This time from Cape Town to Rio. We have been cruising since 2006 but have done a lot of independent traveling over the years. We flew from JFK through Paris to Cape Town. The connection we booked allowed for a 15 hour layover in Paris. We took the train into Paris, had lunch and then visited the D'orsay and returned to CDG. Arrived the next day in Cape Town. Checked into our hotel. The next day, Friday, we took a private excursion to Wine Country. On Saturday we connected with a couple we met on the cruise roll call. We shared a van for a sightseeing trip to the Cape and then were dropped off at the ship. We did want to visit Table Mountain on Sunday morning but it was clouded over and there was about a 3 hour wait to get to the top. The Marina is a very comfortable ship. We had book a concierge level veranda suite but our travel agent called offering a nominal cost for an upgrade to a penthouse. We took the upgrade and enjoyed the extra space. The ports the ship stopped in West Africa were not great. WE did make arrangements for a whale/dolphin boat trip rather then taking the ships excursion. We boarded the boat and shortly after that a baby seal climbed on board. He allowed everyone who wanted to pet him to do so. When the boat left the pier, a pair of pelicans came aboard. They to allowed those aboard to touch them. Although we did not see any whales or dolphins everyone enjoyed the trip as we saw lots of seals and were able to get close to them when w few came on board. These seals knew they would be fed. The crossing was uneventful. The service aboard was excellent. We did book 3 hands on cooking classes which were educational and fun. As an aside, I ran into the parents of our daughter's first boyfriend from kindergarten. Dining: We ate a number of meals in the main dining room where we opted to sit with others. e met a lot of nice people this way. The food selection was very good and the service attentive. We also found that we could book the specialty restaurants more frequently the advertised since on many nights they were not fully booked. Embarkation: Quick and easy as we boarded late on Saturday. the ship was doing an overnight in Cape Town. Disembarkation: Rio - We had arranged for transportation to our hotel, the Copacabana Palace and were able to get off the ship fairly early. Overall, we enjoyed this cruise on the Marina. However, we do like smaller ships like the Nautica. Yes, I would book another Oceania cruise if the itinerary was of interest Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
When I discovered the cruise in June 2015 for nov/dec 2015 around South Africa and a reasonable rate, I did not hesitate , certainly that a few years ago we were already on the Nautica and for once there is an interesting program for this ... Read More
When I discovered the cruise in June 2015 for nov/dec 2015 around South Africa and a reasonable rate, I did not hesitate , certainly that a few years ago we were already on the Nautica and for once there is an interesting program for this area. If fact after dep from Cape Town we went to Walvis Bay Namibia (2days) and then Port Elisabeth, East London, Durban (2d), Maputo (former Lorenço Marques) , Richards Bay, Mossel Bay and back to Cape Town. I have been surprised by the visiting possibilities to several excellent Parks rather close ( 50- 70 km) from the different ports. (Addo Elephant Park, 1000 Hills Valley, Bantou and Zulu Villages, St Lucia Wetland Park, Botelierskop Private Reserve, etc) Not having "experience" in this continent, we took the majority of excursions with Oceania. Yes perhaps a bit more expensive but well organized and interesting. (In Port Elisabeth we used a local operator Pembury Tours). As Oceania has the advantage to stay correct time in the ports, it was without problem. We have a an excellent souvenir of the quality of this cruise. The Nautica has been renewed since our previous cruise. Quality of the food in the different restaurants is above the levels. Honestly Oceania is proud to have the best food on sea and I agree. There are no extra costs or reservation fees for the different restaurants. Now, the non alcoholic drinks are included. OK wines are a bit more expensive as on some other cruise lines (exemple HAL) but ok it is still within norms. The service on board was excellent. The ship is comfortable, clean, nice. We stayed a few days before sailing in Cape Town Double Tree Hilton. The disembarkation was early 8H en our flight late (past midnight) but we arranged a full day trip with Pembroke Tours in the Wine Yards to end in the evening at the airport. During seadays we were lucky with the weather already nice in this season. (Pool facilities). Cape Town is a nice city and is reasonably safe (of course always with the normal precautions) The port is in fact in the middle of Cape Town center (Waterfront). The airport not to far out. You have of course to check the medical requirements for South Africa. There have been some discussions about the Yellow Fever which Oceania required, and which is however NOT required by International Tropical Institute of Antwerp it is clearly mentioned that this vaccination is NOT required for South Africa, Namibia and Mozambique!! Finally they accepted this official rule. I really recommend it this cruise. More other companies are also offering is such as Regent Seven Seas and also Compagnie du Ponant. Regarding Ponant the cruise is only 7 days which is too short! Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This was our second cruise on board Sojourn. Our first was an excellent experience so much so that we were a little nervous returning. Would this trip live up to the previous experience? Fireworks look amazing because you aren't ... Read More
This was our second cruise on board Sojourn. Our first was an excellent experience so much so that we were a little nervous returning. Would this trip live up to the previous experience? Fireworks look amazing because you aren't expecting them. You know you're going to see some and the organisers use flowery words like "extravaganza" in their promotional material but you aren't exactly sure what will happen in the sky. They light up the night sky, you see colours and shapes for a brief moment then it's all over and hopefully you walk away with a smile on your face and excitement in your voice. Having been on Sojourn last Christmas we knew what was going to happen. It was like knowing each firework in advance having seen it before. That,"startled in the headlights of luxury" feeling wouldn't be there this cruise. Would it all come crashing down when we knew the script? The answer is absolutely and unequivocally no. If anything I would say that knowing the ropes helped us enjoy our time on board even more. We didn't feel pressured to use the main dining room for evening meals choosing to take ourselves off to the Colonade a couple of nights for a delightful dinner. Sitting under cover on the back deck in particular was wonderful. The service was still just as sharp but this time we knew a lot of the people looking after us and more importantly they knew us. Even 12 months on there were a couple of times when we were amazed when a favourite item arrived without our asking. Vladan in the observation lounge remembering a cocktail, Temur and Paul remembering a wine choice. The food was excellent. Although we ate in restaurant 2 one evening it wasn't to seek out better offerings, merely for a change of scenery. The New Years dinner in the main restaurant for example was spectacular. Chef Neil and his team are at the top of their game and he was to be seen regularly doing the rounds making sure everything was in order. But the headline act onboard Sojourn is the service. Little moments like Antonio popping down to the square to fetch a coffee whilst I was playing cards by the pool in spite of my saying not to, I'd grab one myself later. At no time did the staff feel overwhelmed, not even one morning when the world and their mother descended on the Colonnade just before they closed. In fact at no time does the ship it's self ever feel overwhelmed such is the space per passenger ratio. Last year we had a problem during embarkation, they were so quick we didn't get to have a drink in the check in area! This year we got one but only just, once again the check in process could have been measured in seconds rather than minutes or the hours of some cruise lines. Speaking of other cruise lines the one area where Seabourn are scuppered from the start is entertainment. Where other ships have gargantuan theatres with hydraulic stages and flying gantries Sojourn has to make do with far more modest facilities. Once again though Handré and his team punched well above their weight. In particular we were delighted to see Sergii and Anastasia the two dancers on board again. They not only put on some amazing shows for us but also helped out around the ship and meeting up again was a genuine pleasure. The trivia quiz was, as expected full of controversy and inter team rivalry. Sadly we fell somewhere short of winning the key ring but enjoyed ourselves none the less. More successful was name that tune where we stormed to an unexpected victory amongst stiff competition. As per last year we had a V2 balcony cabin, or suite as Seabourn refer to them. To be fair size-wise it slots in between a Royal Caribbean Junior and Grand suite, worth bearing in mind when comparing prices. Ports of call this time were ok although we found ourselves in some pretty dire surroundings on a couple of occasions. The overnight stop at Richards Bay was taken amongst coal and scrap metal. Will be be coming back to Seabourn? Categorically yes. We paid a small deposit on board which gives a modest discount off the next cruise. Our concerns that the sparkle might fade on a second cruise were unfounded. If anything it might have been a better cruise. We met some great people as seems always to be the case on Seabourn. The ship helped us host our own table of new friends on New Years Eve, they even went to the trouble of printing out invitations for us then delivered them to cabins. Once again no additional charges were made. We met up with some people we had cruised with the previous year. Because Seabourn ships are smaller and there are fewer of them the guests form part of an elite club bumping into each other from time to time. This is particularly the case on special cruises such as the Christmas / New Year trip. Seeing familiar faces and trading stories from the moment you step foot onto the ship really helps you to get into the spirit of things. If I was to look for fault service in the main dining room was a little slow at times, but probably down to the individual rather than an institutional failing. The menu on the day, when we and other guests arrived probably all played a part and it certainly didn't detract from and otherwise tremendous product. I can't recommend the experience highly enough. Until the next cruise..... Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
SILVER WIND– CRUISES 2406, 2407 AND 2408 CAPE TOWN TO BARCELONA, 27 FEBRUARY TO 5 APRIL 2014 PART 1 WEST AFRICAN WANDERINGS Review of the ship for all three cruises and the ports visited during Cruise 2406 from Cape Town, South ... Read More
SILVER WIND– CRUISES 2406, 2407 AND 2408 CAPE TOWN TO BARCELONA, 27 FEBRUARY TO 5 APRIL 2014 PART 1 WEST AFRICAN WANDERINGS Review of the ship for all three cruises and the ports visited during Cruise 2406 from Cape Town, South Africa to Tema, Ghana SHIP REVIEW Silversea revised its passenger documentation arrangements around the start of 2014. Out went the large document wallet, that few used, and luggage tags; in came a smaller silver box containing a booklet, which included the cruise tickets, and itinerary notes. Whereas we previously got our silver box three weeks or so prior to departure, this time our pack came only a couple of days before we left for Cape Town, the pack being produced in Italy. The reason being our third and final leg from Las Palmas to Barcelona had not been printed. Beware world cruisers! Whilst waiting to embark Silver Wind in Cape Town on 27 February, we were talking to Asta, the Future Cruise Consultant and Venetian Society hostess when we noticed her gaze looking beyond us. We turned to see our old friend, Captain Gennaro Arma, in civilian clothes and looking for the opportunity to renew our acquaintance. He had flown in from Valparaiso two days’ previously, having left Silver Spirit and was taking over command of the Wind. After some pleasantries, we embarked. After our photo was taken at Reception, we were met by Cruise Director, Colin Brown, who was sadly disembarking for a well-earned holiday. After a quick exchange of news we sought a warm, shady table outside the pool bar for our introductory Pimms. Passengers came and went but we were in no rush to get into cabin 718. About 3pm, Captain Arma came along his well-trodden route around the port side of the pool. Dressed in uniform, he came to our table, leaned over and whispered ‘I’m in charge now!’ He asked if he could join us for a coffee and this gave us a better chance to catch up on his news. 45 minutes later, the queue of staff wanting his attention meant that he had to go and so did we, to see whether our cases had arrived and unpacking could begin. The ship was full, with 270 passengers, of which about 15 were travelling solo. There were two party bookings. One was a group of around 50 from Hawaii, who were not actually travelling as a unified party. The other group of about 30 were all followers of an American radio broadcaster. We kept getting different explanations about this guy, who seemed to be ultra-conservative, embrace Jews and Christians and boasted he was now on his third wife. They had events some nights, which closed off venues to other passengers, but were otherwise unobtrusive. These parties serve as a warning about how a large party could (and have) effectively dominated a small ship. Cape Town’s wind had abated on the 27th after several days, and we set sail in fine weather. Next day was at sea but that night we ran into fog as we headed for Luderitz. Reviews of the ports will be dealt with later in this document. A number of these were first calls for a ‘standard’ Silversea ship and this explains why the voyage sold out so quickly after bookings opened. Everyone without exception that we spoke to said they had booked because of the itinerary. Sadly, some passengers seemed to think the ports we visited would mirror the Italian or French Riviera. Luanda in Angola was far from the poorest place we visited, being the capital of an oil-rich country, yet one passenger berated the Tours Manager that she should not have been taken there. Cotonou, Benin, was deck barbecue night and it proved to be a hot, humid tropical evening. By 10pm, several people were in the pool, cooling off after exuberant dancing. Meanwhile, Captain Arma was clearly not happy with the state of Silver Wind, as inherited from his predecessor, who we shall refrain from naming. Several members of the crew described his predecessor as ‘lazy’. Most noticeable to us was the work he put in train around the swimming pool and wet areas. Subtle, largely un-noticed other upgrading was progressed but there was a limit to the resources available to the onboard team; more extensive work would require a dry dock visit. Talking of which, we love Silver Wind; it’s our favourite ship, maybe because it was our first Silversea ship. We accept that it is far from new and getting tired in some areas. We heard that, in very heavy seas which we encountered, the windows in the Deck 4 cabins leaked, whilst water came through some Deck 5 balcony doors. During packing in Barcelona, we were concerned to find many of our clothes coated in dust and small hairs, far more in fact, than we found in our home on return after six weeks! This most probably came from the air conditioning but our butler was dismissive about it, so had a vacuum cleaner sprayed the dust accidentally in the wardrobe? One of our cabin chairs resembled a rocking chair and did not stand as stable as it should have done, whilst the sofa was badly worn. The dark brown wood and marble in the bathroom looks dated and should be changed, and the wash basin taps are now legendary and spray water everywhere! In the tropics, the air conditioning in the cabin opposite was excessively cold, yet ours struggled to cool our cabin at all, and we hate a/c! In fact turning the dial either way seemed to make no difference. The seal on our balcony door was ill fitting, and the paintwork on the outside was virtually non existent, with a screw missing from the handle. Taken together with the leakage on balcony doors and windows, the suites need significant expenditure to bring them up to 5* standard. Suite doors are also poor at suppressing corridor noise. Lady butlers seemingly cannot carry trays as heavy as their male counterparts, and are therefore provided with trolleys as an alternative. These trolleys rattle noisily and from 6am there was a regular ‘run’ by the butlers, taking room service breakfast to the (typically) half dozen suites who were early risers. Silent trolleys need substituting and cabin door insulation upgrading, to stop passengers being woken by butlers servicing those passengers who wish to rise at 6.00am. The first cruise Voyage 2406 ended in Accra Ghana; actually Tema, Accra’s port. The weather began to change as we sailed north from the Ivory Coast. Banjul had been chosen for the deck barbecue and at 5.30pm the ship reported the temperature as 99.7’F! Once the sun set, the cold wind put a different complexion on things. The dining room had been set up with just two waiter stations on the expectation most would dine on deck. The cold wind, however, brought a steady stream of passengers into the dining room and the ship’s managers had to begin moving waiters from the deck barbecue to the dining room to cope. When we went out on deck at 9.30 pm, there were hardly any passengers and large quantities of untouched food was being taken away. In our experience, the deck barbecue is always a hit-or miss affair due to the weather. It also brings out the worst behaviour among some passengers, who push and shove others, and we have said many times the work and effort by the crew is just not worth it. Have a post-dinner deck party but scrap the food aspect. The strong, cold wind that blighted the Banjul deck barbeque continued to plague us. After the next turn-round day in Las Palmas, came Arrecife, Lanzarote, also part of the Canaries. Leaving here, the Captain’s welcome cocktail party was cancelled due to the motion of the ship caused by the strong wind. Only 75 out of around 230 passengers made it to dinner that night, the rest presumably remained in their cabins. Chairs, with passengers on them, slid around the wooden floor in the dining room! Pity the poor crew, who could not retire to their cabins, but had to keep the ship fully functioning, and not just on that evening. Even in the Mediterranean, leaving Cartagena (our final port), the Captain announced he had revised his navigation to hug the coast. The last 12 hours before Barcelona, however, found us again encountering very rough seas due to the wind. By now, the crew looked really worn out by the effects of the high seas, and many had to resort to pills for seasickness. The weather’s impact caused us to miss Agadir, Morocco. Leaving Madeira, the Captain explained that a complex low pressure was forming in the vicinity, whilst there was high pressure over Morocco. He had been advised that, even if he managed to get into the port of Agadir, he would not be able to get out. He therefore headed at full speed for Casablanca, where we stayed for two days, instead of the planned one. For some passengers, this was a good outcome as they could visit both Marrakesh and Rabat should they wish. Unfortunately for us who have visited Casablanca on many occasions and seen most of what she has to offer, it was a huge disappointment not to land in Agadir as it would have been a first! By virtue of the overnight stay in Casablanca, the deck barbeque for this cruise was moved from the night we were due to be in Malaga, to Casablanca. The reason was because the weather prospects for Malaga were not good, and at least it was forecast to be only showery in Casablanca. As a precaution, only half the usual number of tables were set up on deck, and the dining room staffed for half capacity. This proved to be well judged in terms of passenger preferences, but a (personally) surprising number of hardy souls braved the cold evening air to dine on deck. The Executive Chef changed in Arrecife, Chris replacing Anne-Marie. The latter had included Oriental items at meal times to cater for the handful of Chinese passengers on board and we enjoyed these dishes, and some menus included specific African dishes. We were less pleased with the dinner menus after Arrecife. English pub lunch was the day after Gibraltar, when we were in Malaga Spain. Despite three calls in Spanish ports, tapas dishes were never offered at either lunch or dinner. This was a surprise, not least as Silversea states that menus featuring regional specialities unique to the voyage destination are routinely offered. Baked Alaska, specially requested for a private party of eight, was botched. The ship also had no mandarin liqueur to make a proper crepe suzette. Cooked shellfish, especially lobster, was always salted to excess, a trait about which we have complained on other Silversea cruises. The menu in Le Champagne had seemingly not changed since we were on Silver Spirit last April. Despite the specifics mentioned, the food was of a generally high standard which we now expect from Silversea. Enrichment and port information was clearly delineated between the two cruises from Cape Town to Las Palmas and the final cruise thereafter to Barcelona. During the first two, we had ‘enrichment’ speakers on different aspects of Africa. One disembarked in Accra and was replaced by another enrichment speaker, who discussed world security issues. All three were very interesting and informative. The Shore Concierge Manager described the ports in her presentations about the trips offered by Silversea. From Las Palmas we had Corey Sandler as a ‘destination expert’. Corey is a nice guy, whom we have sailed with previously, but he is/was a journalist and was no more an expert on the ports being visited than we were, as a result of our in-depth research. We know Madeira much better than he and picked up errors and omissions during his presentation. He tries to give the proper pronunciation for the country being visited, in this case, Spain and Portugal. However he has the infuriating habit of using American pronunciation for place names, such as “Lanzer Wrote” for Lanzarote, not pronouncing the “e”, which helps no one to learn the correct name of the place. He also referred to the “Aye Zores”, which as an American, is the way they say it. If he wishes his listeners to learn the correct way to say a place name, this being Portuguese, it should be pronounced “Az-or-esh”. After all, the passengers didn’t all come from the US! As always, the crew worked really hard to deliver the Silversea standard and to meet personal expectations. Our butler had 13 cabins and her hours were from 6,00am till 12.00 noon and 400 pm to 10pm, seven days a week for eight months! Some of the idle, benefit-addicted unemployed in the UK and US should do a spell on a cruise ship and then they would know what work really means! The butlers are not alone on this regime, dining room and bar staff work to a similar routine. Captain Arma had referred to the voyage from Cape Town being an “adventure” and we suggested to the Hotel Director, Flavio, that the Captain might like to host a cocktail party for the 37 “doughty” adventurers, who were sailing from Cape Town all the way to Barcelona. He thought it was a good idea, but in the event the Hotel Director and the Cruise Director were the hosts, as unfortunately it coincided with our arrival into Gibraltar, and Captain Arma remained on the Bridge. A nice touch was that we were all given a “certificate of recognition” that “we had sailed through the pirate infested waters of West Africa/Nigeria from Cape Town to Barcelona”. We realised that we may have been the adventurers; but it was left to the Captain and his team to safely steer us through these difficult waters and the challenges they faced in dealing with the different countries’ immigration authorities and potential stowaways, which was handled with the utmost tact and diplomacy. We have booked to travel on Silver Wind again because many aspects suit our lifestyle and preferences. The onboard service is more intimate than on the larger Silversea ships and the staff get to know passengers and their preferences more quickly and so give better service. We just hope that when we travel again on the Wind in March 2015, she will not be looking as “tired” as she was this time when we boarded in Cape Town. LUDERITZ, NAMIBIA SATURDAY 1 MARCH 2014 Silver Wind docked at 08.00 and all passengers were mandatorily required to attend a face to face inspection, before proceeding ashore. The Immigration officials were due on board at 8.15am. However it was 9.15am before two arrived, with another two following behind, and it was 10.15am before we were cleared to leave the ship!! The Silversea shuttle bus dropped us off right at the beginning of the Main Street, which was only five minutes from the container terminal at which we had docked. In the near distance it was just possible to discern the end of the tarmac which demarcated the end of the town! So after a ten minute walk we had seen the highlights of Luderitz and spent the rest of our stay wandering around the lowlights! In a manner reminiscent of what I had been told, each of the two banks had a queue of people outside. Seemingly in Southern Africa, it had occurred when I was in Jo'burg, people were only admitted inside when there was a teller to serve them, otherwise they waited outside. We inspected the merchandise in the pharmacy, which was quite “old fashioned” in its way, but not so marked as two pharmacies found in Spain! A fellow passenger from Australia bought some mothballs, something that is unavailable in both Oz and the UK. A twelve hour flight from home still seems to transport you back 50 years! The cashier never batted an eyelid when we proffered South African Rand to pay for the antibiotics, and we were in fact a few cents missing. On leaving the pharmacy, we continued our walk up the main street and found the long abandoned railway station, which still sported a rotting sign board displaying the name of the town. Luderitz railway station site adjacent to the town’s main street Despite being down at heel the town was generally clean, with no litter in the streets. As is customary in many countries, the church was on the highest point in the town, reached by a sand strewn road which was fairly steep and quite slippery because of the amount of sand which had blown onto the road. Like many other churches in this region, it was a simple Lutheran building, with a couple of lovely stained glass windows. The view of the coast from outside the church was quite stunning and you could see for miles. After asking a couple of locals, we found a Wi-Fi cafe, and were directed to sit on a little dais with two armchairs. This was all very comfortable and we enjoyed a local ginger beer whilst checking emails. Our sightseeing over, we caught the shuttle bus back to the ship. WALVIS BAY, NAMIBIA SUNDAY 2 MARCH 2014 Being of course of a Germanic background, this place's name is pronounced "Valvish By" (the Afrikaans spelling being Baai). The port authorities were being particularly awkward concerning tour bus and coach access into the dock area, and it appeared they were only allowing so many vehicles in at a time, the upshot being that we were all congregated on the quayside, with no one knowing which vehicle they were supposed to get into. We were doing a 4 x 4 trip and some of the vehicles appeared to be based on a Land Rover, but one of the first produced in the 30's! Luckily the one we had was at least a fairly modern and comfortable, long wheel base 4 wheel drive vehicle. There were five of us, David being the only man, apart from Lawrence, the guide. He was an ex South African from Pretoria, who had been a clinical psychologist who had come to Namibia for a better life and to escape the rat race. Leaving in a convoy of three, there were only about 14 passengers doing this trip, which was called the Treasures of Namibia. We left the container port finally and made our way through the streets of the town, deserted, being a Sunday. First impressions were of low rise houses, in neat rows, with clean un-littered streets; the population is about 60,000. We left Walvis Bay and drove along the coast to Swakopmund, about 170 miles from the capital, Windhoek. Smaller in population by about 10,000, to Walvis Bay, there appeared to be one long Main Street lined with shops. Swakopmund is a beach town, but maybe because it was a Sunday, it seemed like a ghost town, with few people in the main street and little activity in the surrounding ones. We then turned inland, roughly following the course of the Swakop River, before turning off and heading into the gravel desert. We then drove along the dried up river bed for some few kilometres. The landscape changed from lunar, to flat, to valley as we progressed through the desert. We stopped in various places along the way where the guides showed us various plants, one of which resembled a succulent from which he obtained a great deal of water, proving that you wouldn’t die of thirst in this desert! We also saw a springbok in the distance and the famous Welwitschia plant, endemic to this area, and truly unique. Really weird looking, it consists of two leaves, a stem base and roots and that’s it! The two initial leaves are never shed and continue to grow and become tatty, torn and bedraggled with age and can grow to about 20 inches. It is said by some that it resembles a collapsed octopus which in fact is quite apt! Many of these plants are hundreds of years old, and are both male and female. We stopped in the middle of the bush at the Goanikontes Oasis which is residential and offers both camping, with bungalows and chalets, where we were offered a drink of champagne - actually a cheap moussec which was quite sweet but nicely chilled. Leaving here we drove back onto the road and went to Dune 7 so named as it is one of seven. It is the nearest to the airport and is therefore the one that everyone visits, although it is certainly not the tallest. It was very windy when we reached here and one guy actually from our party ventured to the top and came down sliding on his bottom. We then returned to the ship and subjected to a final face to face exit interview with immigration, so that the ship could leave the country in the sure knowledge no one was trying to remain in the country! Dune 7 LUANDA, ANGOLA 5 MARCH 2014 Arriving around 8.00 am we entered the large bay and docked in the container port. We caught the shuttle to the central square, which was only a short distance from the port entrance, and walked across the road to the President Hotel in the hope of using the internet. We were directed to the top floor café but our hopes were dashed when the staff member there asked for our room number. There followed a fruitless search along the Marginal, Luanda’s palm tree lined road running along the Bay for any cafe or internet facility. This road unfortunately appeared to house only banks and government offices with never a decent cafe or restaurant in sight. After a 15 minute walk we gave up and retraced our steps to where we had left the shuttle bus, this time walking along the sea side of the Marginal. The Marginal has obviously been upgraded recently with a play area set aside for children and landscaping with various trees and plants and we met others from the ship, similarly promenading Our ship’s tour left early afternoon, and we passed the Marginal and the Baixa district and headed to the Cidade Alta area, as its name implies, which is the upper part of town. The traffic was heavy and we first stopped at the cathedral, which was nothing special, and thence to an anthropological museum with a variety of old figures and musical instruments which was quite interesting. The highlight came last when our coach swept in to the São Miguel fort, once the home of the Governor and built by the Portuguese in 1576. This stands on an imposing site, high on a hill with a lovely view of the ocean on one side, and the urban area on the other. The large courtyard had an array of heavy weapons used in the struggle for independence which included a "shot down” Puma helicopter and a Mirage jet, both of which were little more than twisted pieces of metal. Entering inside one of the rooms we were surprised to see all the walls were covered in azulejos (the Portuguese blue and white ceramic tiles) but depicted African wild animals rather than the pastoral agricultural scenes found in mainland Portugal. Unfortunately there was not a "shopping opportunity”' and indeed the Alta area appeared just as run down as that we had seen in the morning. We were obviously not taken to the Luandan upmarket shops where jeans cost £000's! Our final stop was to the President's mausoleum housed in huge grounds with some marble statuary. This covers three floors and we were taken up in the lift, and unfortunately all the floors were polished marble and extremely slippery, and it was very difficult to keep your footing, so we tiptoed very carefully round the exhibits. The top floor was open to the elements and apparently President Agostinho Neto's favourite flower was the Welwitschia which was carved out in marble on the floor. We remained here for about ten minutes and then returned to the ship. An interesting codicil to our visit to Luanda; we not only had a police escort, but also an ambulance equipped with the latest apparatus and staffed with both doctors and nurses. Apparently this was due to the fact that should any passenger be taken ill, they would probably not survive, should they need to wait for medical help due to the horrendous traffic! This also probably accounts for the very high cost of the shore excursion SÃO TOMÉ & PRÍNCIPE 7 MARCH 2014 The first weather-related casualty of the day was the crossing the line ceremony due to be held at 11.30 am, a great disappointment to me as I was going to be one of the "victims". The reason was a very violent thunderstorm and torrential rain. We were due to anchor at 1pm and tender ashore but unfortunately the weather had caused a poor sea state. Despite waiting for a period of time for the sea to calm, Captain Gennaro that the authorities in São Tomé reluctantly decided that it was too dangerous to lower the boats. With nowhere else to go, we spent the rest of the day sailing round the island! BOM BOM ISLAND 8 MARCH 2014 With a little bit of fear and trepidation, we awoke early in the hope that the weather had improved and that our visit here would not be aborted, as this too was a tender port. Luck was with us and the tender boats were lowered around 8.00am and as this was a free shorex, almost everyone went ashore. Our destination was a private resort on the island, which lies a few miles off Príncipe. Portuguese speaking, these two islands, Sao Tome and Principe lie around 140 miles off the northwest coast of Gabon. We came ashore at a small jetty, close to the resort’s restaurant. From here the main part of the resort was reached a fairly long wooden walkway. As you would expect, very lush foliage and plants cover this small island. Guests staying here are accommodated in chalets dotted round the resort. There are several little coves as you walk round and many passengers swam in the sea. We had considered taking a towel, but decided against it. We were very pleased we had not ventured into the water, as one of our quiz team members had seen a six foot sea snake lying asleep on the sand in knee deep water and had very nearly disturbed it Being an Aussie, she was only too aware that it was highly poisonous! Bom Bom island, with Silver Wind at anchor and one of the resort’s chalet’s on the left. There was the option of a "city" tour in a safari type vehicle to the town centre at a cost of 20 dollars each, which we thought was expensive, considering it was not very far. Those that did, said the town consisted of a few dilapidated buildings, so we were glad we hadn't gone. The resort has a quite small swimming pool. The reception hut had free Wi-Fi and a few expensive souvenirs and we did make use of the internet service which was surprisingly fast. After a short walk round the perimeter of the resort, we returned to the ship by tender for a deck barbecue, which on a previous visit had been held on the Island, when everything from food to cutlery had been taken ashore. There were various speculations as to why this had not taken place this time, from the resort's management not wishing us to do so, to the expense and logistics being too difficult. In the event, Anne-Marie and her team surpassed themselves with lobster and crab claws on the ship’s pool deck. Silversea gave us a 50 dollar per head credit for the "disappointment" of the barbeque not being held ashore. LIMBE, CAMEROON SUNDAY 9 MARCH 2014 We arrived in the very large bay of Limbe where there were several oil drilling platforms and a backdrop of the mountain range, at around 8.00am, from where we tendered ashore. We were so fortunate with our Captain, as on initial contact with the Cameroon authorities, they wanted us to anchor much further out in the Bay, which would have meant a 15 mile trip to tender to the shore! Luckily, he insisted that he was not a container ship, and proceeded further inshore to where he thought we should be, and dropped anchor! The Captain told us later, that he had been trying from 6.00 am to raise someone onshore, and having heard nothing, he sent a tender ashore at 8.00 am, to try and find the immigration authorities. They found 15 officials waiting to come on board to conduct immigration and inspection. Therefore the ship was not cleared until later than intended. We eventually touched land, after about a ten minute journey on the tender. The jetty, along with the whole of this small, unmodernised, port was dilapidated. From here, the Silversea shuttle took us on a five-minute drive to the edge of Limbe and we were dropped opposite the Presbyterian church. The streets were paved, just (see photo below), and deserted, it being a Sunday. However this proved to be an advantage to us. We went across the road to look in the church, which was fu and a service in progress. We then walked up the street after asking where the market was, and after a few blocks turned left, away from the coast and up towards the hills. We dubbed this street Church Street. Along both sides of the street church services were in progress, with various different denominations. These were being held, not in churches as we would know them, but in ramshackle warehouse-type buildings. In one the sermon was in English with another man translating into the local patois. There had been a very bad thunderstorm the night before and the streets were very muddy, wet and potholed, but despite this, as usual, everyone was dressed in their Sunday best. It was nice to see little boys in crisp white long sleeved shirts, little waistcoats and long trousers, and their sisters attired in pretty, elaborate dresses. Along this short stretch of road there must have been about a dozen services taking place. Limbe main street, with Sunday producing only a few market stalls; note the state of the pavement! We continued to the "market", consisting of what were a few street-facing stalls, selling a variety of goods from screwdrivers to soap, to vegetables. We could see other small stalls disappearing into narrow mud alleys, but because of the terrain we did not proceed any further. Retracing our steps down "Church Street", we continued straight down from where we had turned left, and came to a little bay and the ocean, with the tide coming in. The sand was dark, although not black, and there were a few people walking about. We sat on a little bench for a short while, and then went back to our shuttle bus pick up. Impressions were of a very run down town, with few "good" buildings, enhanced by the absence of much traffic and no hustle and bustle because of the day of the week. However there were a few large SUV vehicles, so there obviously is some money in the town. We felt fortunate that we had seen a different aspect of Limbe to that which we would have seen had it been a weekday. On arrival back at the jetty, there was a very small boat, not much bigger than a canoe, where men were loading hand over hand, cardboard boxes labelled "Vin rouge". On enquiring, I was told that it was indeed red wine, and its destination was Nigeria! In conclusion, it was interesting to hear from Captain Arma privately that he was more concerned with stowaways than he was with pirates, and indeed in all these African ports he deputed boats when the ship was at anchor and look-outs when tied alongside a quay to check that no one could gain unauthorised access onto the ship. Leaving here Captain Arma planned a wide berth out into the Gulf of Guinea to avoid too close a proximity to the area frequented by pirates to reach our next country, Benin which lies on the other side of Nigeria to Cameroon.. COTONOU, BENIN TUESDAY 11 MARCH 2014 Docking at around 8.00 am at the above port, the largest city and economic centre of Benin, although the capital is Porto Novo, we arrived into a very big container terminal with much activity. Mustering as usual on the quayside ten minutes before the departure time for our shorex to the Ganvie Stilt Village, we set off around 9.00 am for the drive to the south east and Lake Nokoue, passing through the city of Cotonou. This country still practices voodoo, and there are many markets selling fetishes together with all its associated paraphernalia. This was altogether a different kettle of fish to that of our previous port in Cameroon, with many 4 x 4 wheeled cars, and a general ambience of more money and a greater French influence. The roads were busy and there was a lot of traffic. Turning off the main highway, built by the Chinese, we came to the Lake where we left our coaches to board small "pirogues" basically dug out canoes, for the trip on the Lake. I was fortunate, by waiting until most of the passengers had streamed down the purpose built steps to get in their boats, as ours only had about 6 passengers which included one of the ship's company accompanying the tour. We had been led to believe that to reach these little boats would be a hazardous trip down rickety stairs. In the event this was a complete and pleasant surprise. The sturdy construction was a broad wooden jetty with hand rails on both sides, and wide wooden steps leading down to the boats. The lake is so reminiscent of the sail up the Saigon River from Phu My in Vietnam, although this is much narrower. There are areas on both sides roped off for fishing, and also lots of plant life floating by, with many boats similar to ours packed with goods and people sailing back to sell their wares at the watery market from where we had embarked. We had a mixed reception from these boat people who were all ages, from young kids to large ladies expertly manoeuvring their boats within the crowded channel. Some were very friendly and replied to my greeting in French, but others hid their faces, and scowled as we went by. Some were openly belligerent, regardless of whether it was a wave of the hand or a verbal exchange. I can understand that they do not like having their picture taken, and it would not have been possible to ask permission whilst passing, but the reactions of some of the people were surprising, considering we had no cameras in our hand. The only conclusion we could come to was apart from the picture taking, we may be, in some way, disrupting their normal everyday lives, and perhaps churning up the waters by using the number of boats which constituted our party. We had been instructed to take our ship’s life jackets for this trip, as the boats did not carry the requisite number for all our party, but that we did not need to wear them, but just to carry them. You can imagine the chaos that reigned, when despite being told not to, many trailed their belt straps along the ground, making it very dangerous should you happen to be anywhere near them! The trip round the lake took about 45 minutes until we arrived on the outskirts of the stilt village. The village houses were fascinating, were many and varied. Some were little more than pieces of wood, or corrugated iron, with bits of material slung round openings to preserve some privacy, and others were more elaborate affairs more hut like. All had one thing in common, they were on stilts, and in some cases it was difficult to see how they could gain access, as some were very high off the water. Several had washing strung out on makeshift pieces of string and you wondered how they would ever dry in these very hot and humid conditions. We eventually arrived at the grandest building of them all, complete with no less than four thatched roofs. Here was a small jetty and steps where we disembarked our boats. This was the "Carrefour Hotel" and restaurant, with I think three rooms! This was a square with one side, a door less room with various shopping opportunities, facing three other rooms which could have been the accommodation, but seemed to double up as toilets, of which I did not partake. Next to the little shop, was a small bar, not sure whether it sold alcohol or just soft drinks. We were treated to a band of about 8 musicians and a couple of dancers. We were here for about half an hour or so before returning to the little boats and back to the landing stage and our waiting coaches. Produce was sold not only on the river, but also on the little road leading to the main highway but unfortunately we only saw the colourful fruit and vegetables on offer from our departing coaches. Artisinat (Artisan market) From here we returned to town and the Artisinat. This is a large area selling local goods, from paintings to leather goods and basketware, and is the centre for promoting what Cotinou has to offer. On driving in, we saw a sign for an Internet cafe supposedly open from 8 am until midnight, so we decided to come back later as this was the same place that the shuttle dropped off passengers doing their “own thing”. On returning, we were annoyed to be told that the cafe had closed three years previously!! Hadn’t anyone thought to take down the sign? After being directed to another cafe, which surprisingly we managed to find despite the directions, we found that they would only accept CFA (local currency), would not entertain dollars, and that there was a bureau de change down the road where we could change our dollars! We therefore returned to the ship disappointed. This was doubly so because the CDFA price, when converted into US$, worked out at 50 cents for an hour! We did not sail until 11.00 pm, which enabled Silversea to do their dinner under the stars, which we attended just for the dancing. Surprisingly it didn’t rain, but was exceedingly hot and humid, so much so that several passengers went into the pool to cool down around 23.00. LOME, TOGO WEDNESDAY 12 MARCH 2014 Here for 13 hours, docking at 7.00, and not sailing until 20.00, Silversea offered two shore trips, neither of which we decided to do. One of the ship's tours was to a voodoo village which included a Zangbeto dance performance which I had initially wanted to see. A cross between a Zulu dance and a whirling dervish, and very African, it is very rhythmic. We were therefore very pleased to be greeted on docking in the above container port by a group of these people, playing instruments and dancing. Fascinating to see were two stilt men. They must have been at least 8ft off the ground, and to adjust the stilts around their legs they sat on the stacked containers lined up on the quayside! These two guys twisted on their stilts, gyrating and appearing to be about to fall. They were performing for about an hour, in tremendous heat, and one wonders why the women were still so large! Getting the complimentary shuttle bus into town, we were dropped off at the Superamco Supermarket in the city centre. This is, as its name suggested, a retail outlet for the locals and sold mainly food, cosmetics, alcohol and some small electrical goods, so of no interest to us, other than looking at the sort of goods on offer and the prices. For the first time this trip, we encountered Magnum ice creams with a flavour not hitherto seen. Maybe a new variety for sale for the summer of 2014 in Western Europe!? Lome street market scene Leaving this supermarket, we walked down towards the ocean, and the road on which we had come into town. Wide and straight running alongside the ocean, with a central reservation, also built by the Chinese, for all the world like an upmarket Californian beachfront, one end goes to Benin and the other to Ghana. There are a few hotels along this road and we went into one on the corner of the road on which we had left the supermarket. Unlike in Luanda, the business centre not only took foreign currency, but allowed us an hour of internet time for $5. The unfortunate circumstance, being French, the keyboard was completely different, and combined with a not very fast connection was a bit of a nightmare. However we did manage to get one of the documents we had not previously been able to open and printed at a cost of a $1 per page, so the whole episode had cost us $17! Before returning to the ship, we retraced our steps to the supermarket and the market stalls on both sides of the road. We bought a few postcards, and wandered into the small simple cathedral where a service was in progress. The music and singing appeared to be hymnal but with a strong African beat which was very infectious. We stayed to listen for a few minutes and then we wandered down another few streets with lively vendors selling everything from gold watches to smoked fish, and thence back to the ship via the shuttle bus. TEMA, GHANA THURSDAY 13 MARCH 2014 This was the turn round port and the end of the first cruise, however roughly 200 passengers were staying on for the next leg to Las Palmas. Tema is the port used for the city of Accra and lies some 16 miles east of the capital, and the Greenwich Meridian - 0 longitude, passes directly through the city. It was a pity that we were unable to sail out into the Atlantic to 0 degrees longitude and latitude, but Captain Arma told us that it lay some hundreds of miles to the south west, and we had neither the time nor the money to expend on the extra fuel. Tema is nicknamed the "Harbour Town" because of its status as the largest Ghanaian seaport. Docking on time at 8.00 am once again in a soulless container port, we were fortunately not “shore side”, so had a better view of the town in the distance. We had opted not to do a ship's tour, but fortunately with Silversea, they had provided a complimentary shuttle service. Unfortunately this was not to the town which was some distance away, but merely to the port entrance where taxis would be waiting and the likely cost would be $15 an hour to hire. In the event they had either been misinformed, or inflation had happened very quickly. The first guy we spoke to wanted $25 to which we said we had been told that it was only $15. He didn’t seem interested, so we walked away to another taxi driver who quoted $50, and when we said that was outrageous, he replied that Americans had paid that earlier. We then agreed on $20, realising that no-one would be any cheaper, so we accepted this price and sped off into town. Fortunately English is the language spoken, although they do have their own patois. Our chap seemed friendly enough and pointed out various things of interest that we passed. His name was David and he chatted as we drove in his un-airconditioned seen better days Nissan Primera! Leaving the port we drove along the oceanside and then reached the main part of Tema which was very much down at heel with shops and "houses" intermingled, portraying a very bustling scene. It was here we encountered the traffic, virtually nose to tail, with big heavy trucks nearly all of whom had seen better days and appeared to have major bits missing. There were also many small minibus-type vans which were obviously local buses. These also seemed to be old and in a bad state of repair. The road was generally of a good surface, but with a few large potholes, where David was careful in slowing down. The road into Accra ran along the ocean until we reached the outskirts of the capital, where a series of large roundabouts took us inland. Here the buildings were grander and better kept. These buildings included the Old Parliament House, the Supreme Court, and the Central Library. Arriving in the outskirts of Accra, we made our first brief stop to take a picture of the Independence Arch, followed by a visit to the Accra Sports Stadium and Conference Centre. This holds 40,000 people and covers a wide area with seating at either side. They had just celebrated their Independence Day and chairs and decorations in the country's colours were being stacked away. Having taken some video footage we then went to Nkrumah's mausoleum and Memorial Park. This stands in lovely gardens with a large rectangular lake with fountains and beautifully carved statues. At the end of this lake is the mausoleum in which lies the "great" man. You can walk inside and everything is marble, from the walls to the floor and of course, his coffin. Outside is a headless statue of Nkrumah, with his head on a plinth next to it. Apparently when he was overthrown, his statue was toppled, and his head was recovered by a loyal supporter and hidden until the furore died down, when it was decided to re-erect the two side by side - presumably as a reminder. Nkrumah's mausoleum, Accra We retraced our steps to return to Tema and passed by the Arts and Crafts Market, but as time was going on, we decided not to stop here. The journey was quicker on the return drive as David was able to utilise the motorway, something not possible before, due to roadworks. He dropped us back safe and sound to the port gates and was very happy with the extra dollars we gave him. Part 2 - Tema, Ghana to Las Palmas, Canaries follows under a separate posting called – Amazing Atlantic Adventures   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
My husband and I sailed from Cape Town to Sydney and the the whole experience was fantastic. If only people would realise that the Queen Mary 2 is not a cruise ship it is a liner. If they want glitz go to the other companies where it is ... Read More
My husband and I sailed from Cape Town to Sydney and the the whole experience was fantastic. If only people would realise that the Queen Mary 2 is not a cruise ship it is a liner. If they want glitz go to the other companies where it is virtually impossible to get a sun lounger but with QM2 it was no problem and lots of space. The liner is elegant as it should be I admit there are a few issues but that is just being picky. We have been on many cruises and the Kings Court yes was busy but all I can say is don't rush for lunch at 1.00 leave it for half an hour w,hen things calm down. The Britannia restaurant I thought was going to be a problem as I have a few food problems but the maître de bought me a menu every evening so my choice could be adjusted. The shows were excellent I really cannot think of one which we disliked. Unlike other cruise lines they were varied and enjoyable. I think one thing that I think people ought to realise is find your way around its a huge liner and needs a bit of research but personally I have started saving to go again. Can't wait. Thank you Cunard we'll done. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Embarkation went smoothly. The transfer from Cape Grace Hotel to Silver Whisper was so efficient that I was onboard before official embarkation time. I sneaked down the corridor to my Vista Suite to drop off my carry-on bag then went up ... Read More
Embarkation went smoothly. The transfer from Cape Grace Hotel to Silver Whisper was so efficient that I was onboard before official embarkation time. I sneaked down the corridor to my Vista Suite to drop off my carry-on bag then went up to the Viennese Lounge. The classic Silversea hospitality had begun. Cape Town is a marvelous port for a 5-day visit before departing South Africa. Signal Hill, with the noon-day gun is a fine local tradition and the impressive Table Mountain looms over the harbour making the departure especially beautiful. In a stunning coincidence, Saga Ruby the ship was tied up at a wharf in Cape Town Harbor. It is always a treat to open the door of a Silversea suite and see again the handsomely decorated large suite, even at steerage level. My requests for fresh fruit and bottled water with a full ice bucket were waiting for me thanks to my excellent butler, Reynaldo, who anticipated my needs before I knew what I wanted. For the first time in decades of cruising, early in the cruise, I woke up at 2:00am thinking I was starving. I called Room Service which promptly brought a marvelous club sandwich and chips to my suite. A tip of the toque to the Executive Chef, Anne-Marie Cornelius. She provided exciting menus from around the world which were delicious. At dinner, my tablemates showed off their dessert plates to display the latest brilliant artistic offerings from the pastry chef. The food was consistently the best I have had onboard ships in many years with extensive choices plus the service in the MDR was excellent. Late in the cruise, we had a BBQ grill on Pool Deck for the entire ship. A generous buffet was such fun under the stars. The evening was well-organized, the food was bountiful, the waiters ably helped us walk around the deck with plates, trays, and drinks. On the penultimate day of the cruise, we were in the Caribbean headed to Fort Lauderdale and our "lunch" was a parade of nations spread out among three decks. This particular cruise was coming to the end of the World Cruise and passengers could choose exotic food offerings from Asia, Africa, Europe, and America - everywhere the ship had visited. The various food choices were impressive and it was quite fun to indulge in these many exotic dishes. The only entertainment I attended was the guitar maestro, George Sakellariou, whose topnotch skills and musical offerings are always outstanding. George's performances were well-attended as word spread through the ship about his polished technical skills which produce fine bass notes and warm tones. His CDs are excellent but a live performance brings home the point that only a master guitarist can produce such excellence because, in live concerts, there are no do-overs. I particularly appreciated the many boat drills performed by the crew. In case of emergency, the crew was well-trained to provide safety for the passengers. The cruise director, Fernando, did a fine job. I had heard about him prior to boarding Whisper and he was as good as everyone said. It was such a treat to receive a handwritten invitation to his dinner table. All CDs are like Energizer bunnies and Fernando, with his many announcements and gift for languages, is top of the mark in his field. Begonia in Reception seems to have the ability to turn water into gold. Her social and technical skills are amazing and appreciated. My main focus for choosing this itinerary was to sail the western coast of Africa which completes my African collection and also to enjoy living in the lap of luxury on the ship. Both goals were accomplished with full marks and Dinner in the Desert in Namibia was, indeed, an abfab experience. My thanks to the entire staff and crew onboard Whisper. Each and all of them made this solo passenger feel comfortable and warmly welcomed onboard this luxury small ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We chose this cruise strictly for itinerary. Our whole vacation, taking 3 months, included Seabourn Quest Fort Lauderdale to Cape Town, 2 weeks in South Africa and Zambia with Kensington Tours, this cruise up the coast to Gran Canaria, ... Read More
We chose this cruise strictly for itinerary. Our whole vacation, taking 3 months, included Seabourn Quest Fort Lauderdale to Cape Town, 2 weeks in South Africa and Zambia with Kensington Tours, this cruise up the coast to Gran Canaria, ferry service to Tenerife, flight to Malaga, and the container ship Coral to Savannah! This cruise was simply the best way we could find to get from Cape Town to anyplace with freighter service to North America. And what a find it was! We'd never been on SilverSea before, but will be back! Great people, beautiful ship, we couldn't have been happier. Dining was superb, Main, La Terrazza and Hot Rocks. We don't drink, so La Champagne wasn't tempting. Even though alcohol is free aboard, the staff soon learned we preferred not, and didn't pester us. There was a decent selection of non-alcoholic wines and beers for those so inclined. Fresh pasta, superbly prepared fish, fresh fruit, great service and friendly people made for wonderful meals every time. Entertainment and enrichment was much better than we'd expected on a ship this small. And the best theater of any ship we've been on. Cruise director Colin Brown and his staff had a wonderful mix of big and small activities throughout the day, including our favorites of bridge and water volleyball. And the breadth of topics, and depth of knowledge, by all the lecturers was incredible. Cabin was exactly what we were expecting. Bathroom a little small, but more than adequate. Ample storage space. Big picture window. We like to be close to the water, and happily trade a balcony for a lower window. Only went on one shore excursion, in Namibia, and it was average. No better or worse than any other bus tour on any other ship. Passengers were the friendliest of any ship we've been on. This being our first SilverSea cruise we don't know if that is typical or not, but it sure was fun. Made several friends we hope to keep. Having just been on Seabourn Quest, we couldn't help but compare the two. Quest is new, Silver Wind isn't, and it showed. She's not a dowager by any means, but she is a little worn in places. However, to more than balance that out, the old style theater on Wind was a welcome treat. Pool is much bigger and deeper than Quest, and also salt water, so that was a big plus. Food was so excellent on both ships I can't rank them. Same for service. Entertainment was quite a bit better on Wind, even though she's a smaller ship. Bottom line - we WILL cruise SilverSea, and Silver Wind, again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
We joined the Silver Whisper 30 days into the World Cruise which had started in Fort Lauderdale. Our parents had been on board for all that time and we were glad to be on this trip with old hands as many friendships had already been ... Read More
We joined the Silver Whisper 30 days into the World Cruise which had started in Fort Lauderdale. Our parents had been on board for all that time and we were glad to be on this trip with old hands as many friendships had already been formed. The ship was unable to dock at the V&A Waterfront as planned. This appears to be due the local authorities having security worries. The working dock is only a 10 minute walk from the Waterfront and a shuttle was provided on the 2 days we were there. We boarded at lunchtime, before the cabin was ready and were welcomed in the Panorama Lounge where we had a coffee. Our cabin had two single beds made up as a good sized double. There is a walk-in wardrobe with plenty of hanging space and drawers and a safe. The bathroom has shower, bath and two basins. Good toiletries are provided and you can choose from three different ranges. There is a balcony with two chairs and a table and a sitting area with large sofa, two more chairs, a table, a desk, fridge and TV. There is also an ipod player. We had a charming butler and stewardess who were around morning and evening and could be contacted easily. The laundry service was excellent and free to us as we have cruised more that 100 days. All the restaurants offer free seating and if you have not already made up a table with friends, Maitre D will do this for you, or you can eat at a table for two. All drinks are included at all times. The Main Dining Room is the most formal of those on offer. The menu is extensive and service excellent. La Terrazza offers a buffet breakfast with egg, waffles, pancakes etc. available or cooked to order. There is a buffet lunch in Terrazza too and Italian dining in the evening. There are about a dozen tables outside this restaurant. The Pool Deck offers light lunches of burgers, grilled fish, a dish of the day, salads and sandwiches. In the evening they do hot rocks where you cook fish and meat to your liking and it is served with jacket potatoes or fries and salads. Anyone may eat anywhere whenever they like. Reservations maybe needed in the evening at La Terrazza and on the deck. Room service is also available 24 hours a day and any dish from the menu of the day can be served. We had two excellent lecturers on board who spoke about the places we were visiting from a political and financial angle. There is a group of five entertainers who put on shows in a low key way after dinner some nights. Soloists also came on board and were excellent. There is the usual mix of bridge (with World class coaches), Trivia, Yoga, Pilates, golf putting, bingo. The trips organised by Silversea are expensive. They do keep groups to a small size when they can and queueing is not something that you ever have to do! In summary, the Silver Whisper is small enough that you feel very much at home and the over-riding feeling of fantastic service is always upheld. The crew and officers are outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
This was a Christmas and New Year cruise for us getting away from wet and weary England. With over 20 different ports of call -many at islands and other locations not regular cruise ship stops - this was fairly special and we have came ... Read More
This was a Christmas and New Year cruise for us getting away from wet and weary England. With over 20 different ports of call -many at islands and other locations not regular cruise ship stops - this was fairly special and we have came home with many wonderful memories. Service, food and general attention were well up to Oceania's normal high standard. However we feel that Nautica is beginning to gently show her age and facilities like the gym are falling behind modern ships. Nautica attracts well travelled, interesting fellow passengers - always courteous and well mannered. A spirit of great harmony was evident throughout this long cruise and we enjoyed excellent companionship throughout I have no time to list and describe the 22 ports of call.Cape Town is brilliant and well worth visiting for a few days in advance of a cruise starting there The Seychelles are stunningly beautiful islands and everywhere else on this cruise is,well, different! On the negative side, entertainment was poor.We don't ask much - just a good professional singer or instrumentalist every evening. We had some + local dancers on 2 occasions but this was inadequate. Other efforts were just cheap and evidence of miserably cut back budgets. The itinerary for this voyage endured a number of late changes with some poor substitutes in India and Sri Lanka for Burma. There was no apology from Oceania in Miami whose approach to criticism or challenge from passengers seems to be to ignore letters that they would find difficult to answer. This was a widespread feeling on board and is beginning to alienate previously loyal supporters. Oceania would do well to take note Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We have sailed with ten cruise lines, and find Oceania to be the best for our needs and lifestyle. Our first experience was in 2010 on Insignia, Nautica's sister ship, from Buenos Aires to Barcelona. Our experience was superb. Crew ... Read More
We have sailed with ten cruise lines, and find Oceania to be the best for our needs and lifestyle. Our first experience was in 2010 on Insignia, Nautica's sister ship, from Buenos Aires to Barcelona. Our experience was superb. Crew service, including our butler, was excellent. Food is Oceania's strong suite. Every meal, in every dining room pleases the palate. Wine lists are a cut above the average cruise lines, a 35 day cruise, regardless of ports, ship, or cruise line can become monotonous. Oceania offered more than 20 ports on this itinerary, most of which were pleasant experiences. Nautica's food service staff goes out of their way to learn guest's preferences for drink, restaurant accommodations, and breakfast delivery times. We have booked an upcoming cruise in December on Riviera, in a concierge suite. We very much look forward to being pampered and well fed by Oceania and their superior staff. You can not go wrong with Oceania....... very classy, no formal nights, just elegant casual relaxing evenings aboard. Bon Voyage! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011

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