Decided to go on this very exciting sounding expedition cruise. It offered places that had not been visited before (that was part of the problem) opportunities to swim and snorkel and visit remote islands and some interesting Indian ports.
This was a round trip from Male to Colombo.
However before the cruise had even started the route was changed, so instead of a round trip we zigzagged the Arabian Sea three times each at around a five hundred mile sailing between places that were quite close. The explanation was due to India not allowing entry into their territorial waters. The changes did have a huge impact on the quality time we were due to be on remote islands.
Anyway as we had no choice we had to go along with the changes. Silversea were very cagey about the route change and offered no real explanation.
When arriving in Male there was no one to meet us. NowMale is a very small and somewhat messy airport. After waiting for a Silversea rep to arrive, a helpful airport greeter phoned someone and told us that a rep would arrive soon. We waited for four hours for this to happen. After a bit of a rush we were taken to a boat with our luggage. The boat was difficult to get into because there were no ramps etc and no one to help you jump down the concrete quay side into the rocky boat. Taken to another quayside, hauled ourselves off the boat and waited about an hour before a Zodiac arrived to take us out to the Discoverer. Not an easy embarkation. On board safely and had lunch. Cabin really good. A little small but OK. First night we met the expedition team and had a good dinner to get ready for our first day at sea and the Maldives for swimming and snorkelling. Good morning then back to the ship. The next day was visiting a Maldivian inhabited island. After that the changes started to take place with a 500 mile+ trip across the sea to Cochi. On arrival in Cochi we were introduced to the very burocratic Indian Immigrantion Service. Wasted a lot of time going through this and with lots of Indian officials on board. Had two days in Cochi which was interesting and enjoyed a typical Indian banquet complete with local dancing.after this it was off to Beypore. Taken to a boat yard and a coir factory. Whilst in Cochi and Beypore there were lots of very long coach trips. Some of which were taken at very busy times of the days, thus making us late for certain activities. No free time to shop etc. Some interesting little streets with bazaars that would have been nice to visit and spend a few rupees. Not so. Not on the itinerary.Then back on board ship for another 500mile+ trip across the sea to Lakshadweep Islands. More immigration to go through. Whilst at the islands we had very long Zodiac rides to shore, and the Zodiac drivers were not the most considerate people. It appeared that they all wanted to outdo each other which led to very fast and bumpy and uncomfortable rides. If you were at the front your spine crunch so much that it would have been possible that you finished the holiday a few inches shorter due to a crunched spine. After that another 500mile+ ride across the sea to Vilanjam. This being the last of the 500mile+ journeys across the sea because of the original changes to the itinerary where we had to go to Cochi first in place of Minicoy. All because of Indian Immigrants, or so we were told. Another coach trip to a wooden palace. Again no time to explore the shops . Then another long trip to Galle. Not a particularly interesting place, where we had an awful supposedly high tea at the Rampart hotel. In fact it was a buffet of almost inedible cakes and big sandwiches. No time here for shopping. Back to the ship and off to Colombo where we disembarked. Had a whole day here due to flights etc. It was Sri Lanka ‘s Independence Day celebrations. Again no opportunities to shop. However it was a good opportunity to see the very very long Independence parade.
This must be the first holiday ever taken when I did not spend a rupee. No time allowed. This is the first time that Silversea has done this cruise and I guess it will be the last. We were all used as an experiment and no one from Silversea had any experience or knowledge of most of the places on the itinerary. It was a case of suck it and see, resulting in a lot of wasted time, the so called planning was done on the hoof and in a bit of a rush. From what information I gleaned from the crew it was due to London, not having done their homework and really thoroughly investigating the places we were supposed to visit in the original itinerary and the rules of Indian Immigration. So the passengers had to endure three extra very long sea journeys. The captain and his crew were not happy about this either.
This was not a slick Silversea Cruise. Lots of hanging around, total lack of ability for the team leader to plan due to lack of thorough planning and investigations by the people who dream up the cruise routes.
The Discoverer is due to be decommissioned early 2019 and it will be replaced with a larger ship. The whole point of the smaller ships is that those who use them love the expedition type cruise. Almost no one on board enjoyed big ship cruises . So this might be the end of the road with my relationship with Silversea and small ship cruises. Others expressed this as well.
The meals on board were excellent. Small but very tasteful dishes. The crew were all very helpful and did all they could to please the client. Hot Rocks is always a good evening as was the special Blue Moon evening meal on deck.
The video of the cruise is very expensive #100us. It all depends on the expertise of the photographer. There were no views of activities on board, lots of views of local people. Did buy it but it is a very expensive reminder of the cruise .
Silversea please do not discard your small ships. Many people love them and the places they visit