Background: We had booked a 14-day fly/cruise package directly through Fred Olsen leaving from Cape Town, visiting Port Elizabeth, Richard’s Bay, Mayotte, Madagascar and the Seychelles.
Flights: Instead of the direct flight we were supposed to have, we had to go through Johannesburg, collect our luggage, go through customs, re-check our luggage, change terminals and take another flight to Cape Town. It was a nightmare and took 22 hours. For the return flight we had a 5-hour flight to Dohar, a 3 hour wait at midnight followed by a 7-hour flight to UK. What upset me most about the whole experience was that other passengers had direct flights both ways.
Ports of Call: In Port Elizabeth, the debunking service failed to show. The ship was 12 hours late leaving the port. In Richard's Bay, our berth was next to a Coal Factory and everything on the ship including us was covered in a thin layer of black soot. The shore excursion arranged by the cruise was terrible. We completely missed the next port of call, Mayotte in the Comoro Islands. This is a rarely visited island and we were looking forward to visiting it.
Disembarkation: In Seychelles we had to be out of our cabin by 8:00 AM. Our flight was at 6:15 PM. We were left for hours queuing in the 34 degree non air-conditioned Airport.
Cabin/Food/Entertainment/Service: The cabin was nice, the food was excellent, the entertainment was very professional, the service by the crew was first rate and the port talk etc. were very informative.
The Ship: is a bit dated but comfortable and small enough to give an intimate atmosphere.
Summary: It is a shame that these administrative disasters spoilt an otherwise very pleasant cruise.
Cabin was good. On board service was good. Administration left a lot to be desired.
Good excursion to Addo Elephant Park. Guide was excellent. We saw lots of elephants, zebras, and even a male lion.
This was the most expensive excursion and it was terrible. Hluhuwe Game Reserve had a really good reputation. However our guide was horrible and more interested in dung beetles and termites nests than viewing animals. I have been on about 8 safaris in South Africa and this one was the worst.