We chose this cruise for the chance to see some animals and to see South Africa. Chance is the operative word here. Before we even got on the ship we were handed a letter saying we would miss our first port, Mossel Bay. We had a safari ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the chance to see some animals and to see South Africa. Chance is the operative word here. Before we even got on the ship we were handed a letter saying we would miss our first port, Mossel Bay. We had a safari booked and were disappointed but we made a beeline for the shore excursion desk and booked another game Reserve at another port. If you have an excursion canceled don’t wait, book something else quick as they sale out fast.
Now we have 5 sees days instead of four. This change was due to predicted bad weather. I’ll make this short, we missed Mossel Bay, Maputo-Mozambique, Port Elizabeth and were 4 hours late returning to Cape Town we missed our shore excursion to Robben Island. Two were missed due to rough seas, Maputo was due to immigration arriving too late and their equipment failed so we could not get off the ship and the late return to Cape Town was due to strong currents...That’s 4 shore excursion we missed, one being the elephant sanctuary I really wanted to see. We had a package that included 5 shore excursion each, the free ones were refunded as ship credit and the paid ones were refunded with cash. We had to buy stuff on the ship to use up the ship credit and left $50 credit on the ship. They had a cocktail party to make it up to us but as we’re not drinkers we declined to go. Not sure how they could make all these missed excursions....
So now we had 8 seadays counting the late arrival in Cape Town. With the weather bad the exterior areas were closed. And we found the common areas all busy thus we were in our cabin more than we thought. The ship is smaller and didn’t seem as stable as the bigger ships. My husband was sick 3 days. This was our 17th cruise and we’ve never had such bad winds and swell. Even the seasick meds didn’t work. Be warned, the coast can be rough.
The ship was a great small ship. As I first got on I thought, ‘this is small’ but I soon grew to like it. No long lines anywhere on the ship. Only lines were at the MANY passport control stops in every country, face to face. Get off the ship, line up for immigration, and get back on the ship to wait for shore excursions. Could that be handled better I wondered...
The ships decor is very rich. Lots of dark wood and seemed formal. Lots of beautiful art work on board. The library was my favorite spot. Lots of good books too. The entertainment was adequate. The string quartet was exceptional as was the classical pianist they had on board at the time. The speaker was also adequate but her slides were lacking. Oceania missed a great chance to feature Africa on this sailing, needed more cultural events, African dance or even an African movie on the many sea days we had.
The main dining room was perfect. We ate at a single table for lunch and a shared table at dinner. We had lovely table mates. There were plenty of choice on the menus. Food was pretty good but expected more from the hype. Specialty restaurants had even more choices and were located in prime viewing areas. Very well appointed and service excellent in all dining areas. Don’t miss the afternoon tea. And try the South African pineapples, they are small and delicious. Ate breakfast in our cabin most mornings and service was good and quick. Only ate at the buffet a couple of times and it was just ok.
Our cabin, 6077, was very nice. Decor was dark wood again. Sofa was by the balcony. It was a bit small but there was plenty of room for us. Lots of drawers and closet space. Bed was very comfy. I didn’t care for the giant mirror across from the bed but oh well. The bathroom was were the ship showed her age. Tiny shower, you can sit on toilet and wash your hands at the same time but we managed. Thank goodness for the support bar in the shower for the rough sea days...
Not much shopping on the ship, just two small shops. Shopping in ports was iffy too. Only a couple of ports had locals at the ship. I was looking for local typical souvenirs. Found some at Howick Falls on an excursion out of Durban. Then more in Walvis Bay, Namibia. There is always some at the airport.
Service was great on the ship. We were remembered by most of the crew as time went on. Everyone was friendly and were eager to meet our needs. Cabin attendant was excellent!
We were on the precruise 3 day Cape Town tour. We stayed at The Southern Sun Cullinan. It was very near Victoria and Albert shopping center and the ferry to Robben Island. They have a shuttle that drops you off every half an hour. Very handy. The tours included a trip to Stellenbosch and to the Boschendale Winery where we had a lovely picnic lunch under the trees along with wine tasting. Great time. The drive there was very scenic. We also went to Aquila game Reserve for lunch and animals. Lots of springboks, zebras, a few rhinos and hippos. The lions were in a separate enclosure so they don’t eat the other animals. They are trying to reintroduce the animals in the reserves. Most of the animals come as rescued animals. The lions were from a hunting farm, sad. We saw 2 elephants. What they lacked in numbers they made up for with their antics. Play fighting, spraying each other with water from the hippo pond. It was amazing to see these animals up close.
The last day of the Cape Town tour we drove out to the Cape of Good Hope, traveled up the funicular to the top. It was amazing to be standing on top of the tip of Africa! It’s not the southern most point but was spectacular. We also visited Boulder Beach and saw the penguins. The one place we didn’t have on the tour was Table Mountain. We arrived a day before the tour and since it was sunny and no clouds were on top of the mountain we took a cab to the incline. It’s a must do if the weather cooperates. Beautiful view, nice trails, a coffee shop and lots of dassies to see, a small guinea pig like animal. I recommend going a day early to see everything and getting settled. It’s a long flight from Canada.
In Richards Bay we went to the Dumazulu Cultural Center. The tribesmen take turns living in the village. They treat you to some of their ways of living there, show spear making, basket weaving and offer you a taste of their beer, everyone drinks from the same cup, so be first. It tasted like beer, my husband said. It was interesting and again the drive was good. In Durban we did a city tour the first afternoon and a trip to the Nelson Mandela Capture site the next day. City tour was just that. Capture site was interesting and they are building a new museum which they dearly need. The monument was spectacular!
In East London we did another game Reserve, Inkwenkwezi. We saw the same animals here and a few more. The lions were tawny and white lions. One mom had a toddler. So neat to see so close, maybe 10 feet away. I sat in the Jeep and talked to the lioness. I told her how beautiful she was and she thought about lunch. We also saw a herd of giraffes which I loved. They ran across the path in front of us. Amazing! Some of them were in the trees and all you could see were their heads sticking up. We had another 2 elephants here too but only a peek a boo sighting.
Our next stop was Walvis Bay Namibia. The landscape was very different here with the desert going to the Ocean. I loved it. We went to Dune 7, the largest dune nearby. You can climb up and roll down. Talk about sand everywhere... We saw flamingos at the seawalk. There were only a hundred or so as it was off season when thousands arrive. The desert drive to see the Welwitschia plant, the two leaf never die plant. Can live 500 years. Desert was fun...
Another seaday and we arrive late to Cape Town. Last night on the ship was relaxing, no show just packing. Embarking and disembarking were pretty easy. We took a cab to the airport for about a quarter of the ship transfer. We didn’t have enough time before our flight so we went. Absolutely nothing to do at the airport so if you have time do something in Cape Town. Flight time home 30 hours. Read Less