I apologize for the long winded review!! It was a whirlwind trip. We booked this cruise at the last minute ... as the Star Princess FLOATED in the Indian Ocean without any propulsion. LOL For those of you that don't know this story, BOTH Azipods on the Norwegian Star lost propulsion and the ship floated at sea for several days, before being pulled / tugged into Melbourne Australia where the Azipods were replaced. That apparently is a completely different story. ha
Anyway - we had no intention of going on this cruise. It was one of life's little "gifts".
I suspect they lost quite a few passengers during the engine trouble. I think a number of people cancelled and disembarked. Anyway - I got a last minute email with a great price. A deal I could not refuse. We had always wanted to go to India - but didn't know where to start - and this itinerary looked amazing. So we took a gamble! Hoping and praying that by the time we embarked in Singapore, the ship would be in tip top shape. It was a bit nerve wracking to say the least (from booking until boarding) but once we were on board the ship, this cruise was AMAZING. The ship had been very well tended to while in dry dock in Melbourne. Everything was spiffed up. Fresh paint everywhere. Everything was squeaky clean, and the engines were smooth as silk :) I do believe this was the smoothest sailing we have ever been on. Most days, you couldn't tell we were moving!
The itinerary was unbelievable. We would do this cruise again 10 more times. We were both like 5 year old kids at Disneyland. Every port was exhilarating. 13 ports in 18 days. We were completely exhausted, but over the moon happy. My feet hurt from walking and my cheeks hurt from smiling. We have traveled to many Asian countries (just about all) but we had not been to India and Sri Lanka. I don't know what I was expecting. But those two countries were nothing like I expected, in the BEST WAY POSSIBLE.
The people were FABULOUS. The food was amazing. Everyone was so kind and welcoming. Nothing at all like the notion I had preconceived in my mind. I was prepared for disgusting. It was not disgusting - at all. The food was great. We chose nice looking places to snack and ate with the locals. (not from street carts) We were not overwhelmed with poverty and begging. (but that doesn't bother me) I am so grateful to be where I am, I am happy to help this one and that one. Anyway!! We loved every stop. We had four ports of call in India, and every stop was unbelievable. Cochin (Kerala) Goa, Mangalore, and Mumbai. We did Cruise Critic tours in Kerala and Mumbai and hailed a cab in Goa and Mangalore. I was so sad to leave India. Yes, we will go back!!
But the place that surprised us the most was Colombo, Sri Lanka. About a week before we left for Singapore, I found a tour guide online that responded to my email right away and gave me a VERY good price. He even called us again before we left the US to confirm. Very professional. There was very little information available about Colombo, so he was also another little "gift" on this trip. Since Colombo is not listed on the Cruise Critic drop down menu of ports, I am leaving his information in my review. I hope this helps some folks stopping in Colombo. The driver/guide's name is Dilhan. His company is Dilhan's Awesome Adventures. His site is http://www.DilhansAwesomeAdventures.com. Oh my gosh, we had the MOST amazing day in Sri Lanka with Dilhan. Way too much to tell. We had no Sri Lankan money with us, and he happily bought us lunch and ice cream. Back at the port, we paid for the tour and tipped him (a small amount) but he would not take the money for lunch. He was very gracious and kind. The ship offered 3 tours in Colombo (I think) and we went to every place that was on the ships tours, and a lot more for about 1/3 the price. LOL. If anyone's ship is stopping in Colombo, Sri Lanka, you need to contact this guy. He's amazing.
I was sad to read the negative reviews about Oman and Fujairah, as that was not our experience AT ALL. We had a total blast in every single port. We took Cruise Critic tours again in Oman and got a cab in Fujairah. All three days were wonderful. In Oman, the Oman private guard at the Sultan's private restaurant (near the Opera house) opened up the restaurant for us to take a peek and photos! Unbelievable. I have such amazing memories. Abu Dhabi was difficult (thanks to Big Bus) lol. But Dubai was fabulous.
This cruise was absolutely the most memorable cruise of our life and we are blessed to have done 54 cruises so far ~ YES!! ~100% ~ if I ever find this sailing again, I hope to be first in line. If you have the chance to do this itinerary, don't think twice, Pretend you're 25 and go!! You can rest when you get back home.
Cabin was in good order. Cabin Steward was fantastic.
Love Singapore!! Have been here before. Just a fabulous place.
Been here before as well. Loved it again :)
First time here. Loved it - I loved every port on this cruise!
Booked this tour through a Cruise Critic post. IT WAS FANTASTIC. The view was unbelievable, and the food was excellent. I felt bad that some people didn't eat. They were afraid to eat. We ate and it was delicious. No tummy trouble after :) I felt bad for the lovely staff that presented us this wonderful meal. Tour company did a great job with organization and details.View All 15 Backwaters of Alappuzha by Houseboat Reviews
Phuket was my least favorite place on this itinerary. Can you imagine? We have been here a lot. My ex-husband actually lives here!! LOL - it's a beautiful place, we just had a REALLY HOT day with no shade. Organization was a bit confusing at the tendering dock. Oh please ... someone slap me for whining. ha. It's gorgeous, I would go back again for sure. It just seems to have lost a bit of charm since the rebuilding after the 2004 Tsunami :(
Booked a Cruise Critic tour with AMAZE tours. It was AMAZING!! Everything was perfect. They took us all over Mumbai, saw everything imaginable, and the tour included a beautiful lunch at what would be considered a 4-5 star restaurant. More waitstaff that guests. Beautifully dressed. Very polite. Of course some people just sat and didn't eat anything. Remind me next time not to cruise with those people!! LOLView All 31 City Tour Reviews
Booked another Cruise Critic tour from our roll call. Tour was long, but OK. I enjoyed it more in retrospect. Several places were closed, and there's not a lot to see. Forts, Forts, Forts. But we had a good group and we made the day fun in the dull places. ha The highlight for me, we got to peek inside the Sultan's private restaurant near the Opera House. Stunning.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Worst day of the cruise thanks to BIG BUS. I won't tell you every little detail .... but it was BAD. We were basically 'held captive" on a bus for almost 4 hours. Twice as long as described. Never got off the bus. No AC, no bottled water, no working ear phone jacks. No maps!! They picked us up at the port and dropped us off at a "Souk" ... in case you don't know, it's a shopping mall ... and we had to take a $25.00 taxi back to the port. HORRIBLE experience with BIG BUS. I feel like we completely missed seeing Abu Dhabi because of it. ZERO STARS IF I COULD. (for Big Bus) Abu Dhabi looked pretty interesting - we just didn't have the opportunity to really check it out. We visited the Sheikh Zayed Mosque after we were settled (post cruise) from Dubai. Wow. That was AMAZING. Definitely a must do!! We timed our visit at about 30 minutes before sunset and got to see the blue lights come on in the evening. Gorgeous.View All 12 Big Bus Sightseeing Tour Reviews
we booked a private tour with a tour company called "Dilhan's Awesome Adventures" The driver/guide was the owner I think. Or the son. His name was Dilhan. lol www.DilhansAwesomeAdventures.com .
Tour was super reasonable. Dilhan was THE BEST. Very professional. Had a fantastic day!! Read the additional comments about Colombo tour in my text.