This cruise was chosen because very few ships visit Africa. The cost was high, and as the cruise approached, deals were offered to those who were not yet signed up. This was carefully orchestrated so that previously committed passengers would not get any refunds or future cruise credits. (Do not have NCL arrange airfare, because later deals don’t include air and cannot be compared with early reservations.) the food on the cruise was usually overcooked, overly spicy, and tough (except for some specialty restaurants.) The spaghetti, an exception, was undercooked and tough. Sprite Zero was served, which was appreciated because so many ships and planes only serve caffeinated diet soda. There was a lot of entertainment. The cabin steward was wonderful. Elevators were horribly crowded after excursions, with everyone ignoring the signs that said limit of 4 (Covid precautions), instead there were typically 20+, mostly overweight passengers in our faces, literally. No way to get out once you are trapped in the crowd. NCL should have been enforcing and reinforcing the smaller limits, maybe with a more reasonable limit of 6. Yes, we got Covid. By the end of the 12 day cruise, every party had a least one coughing passenger. The shop did not offer helpful items such as antihistamines. Also, no make-up, no African or African themed items. Most of the staterooms with balconies had tubs, not showers. And the tubs were very high, user unfriendly, hazardous. The ship windows don’t seem to be cleaned. The lighting is ridiculous; you would need to use the elevators to put make-up on, read a book, etc. Thise we’re the only places with decent lighting. The pools were surrounded by chaise lounges that were being “reserved” for hours, disallowing many of us to have a turn. Some of the excursions were disappointing. Going on a safari in a large tour bus is not worth it. That limited the safari to main roads and dirty windows. Only the open air safaris allow for viewing and photographing animals. One of the boat rides to see penguins turned out to be a booze binge. At debarkation, we got to be yelled at by staff who told us to leave our carryons (with our meds and valuables) in the hallway so that we could sit in the theatre where others were already sitting in the ends of rows, not readily allowing others to get past them to any open seats. This was especially difficult for older or physically impaired passengers.
We had a bed, couch/sofa bed, small balcony, a dangerous tub, drawers, closet, refrigerator, mirrors, and very poor lighting. The balcony glass was dirty.
Modern city, many things to experience. Waterfront Mall is huge and has both upscale and souvenir shops. Allow enough time! Table Mountain tour was ok. Cape Peninsula tour brought us to see lots of penguins close-up. However we were forced to eat at a seafood restaurant that also served salad (not recommended when traveling) and drinks with ice (again, not advisable.) The guide walked too fast (we are not slow, but have shorter legs), and we were lost a couple times. On the bus, we were assured that we would be able to see baboons but when I spotted one, they would not stop. The bus was too hot, and the AC was not really working until the end of the tour. The guide’s voice faded out every time he spoke using the microphone.
Took a boat ride to see seals. Too much booze was being offered. Lots of seals and a friendly Pelican.
We took the Buffelsdrift Game Reserve because our original choice was cancelled. Took a tender. We saw giraffes in the distance, water buffalo, 2 white rhinos, some wildebeest, and antelope. The bus driver was misleading and told us to leave our things on the bus because we would be returning to it after the pit stop. However, the bus was whisked away, and many of us were left without our binoculars, bug repellant, etc. when we boarded the open air all terrain vehicles. Our vehicle followed another, causing us to “eat their dust” . We also had limited visibility of animals because the lead vehicle stayed by the animals until they moved away. We were brought to a turnaround where we were told to get out and grab a bottle of something to drink from a cooler. We refused to move because the ground in that area was covered with swarming ants.
We went to the Addo elephant reserve. It was a rainy day, and we only saw 2 elephants in the far distance. We were riding in a tour bus (coach) and the windows were dirty. Not a good option for viewing animals, and very limited in where it could go. Usually only the people in the front of the bus got to see animals. The tour bus circled the port many times upon returning. The port had closed most of the gates, and the driver was very confused.
We went on the St Lucia Wetlands pontoon boat tour. It was rainy. We saw a good amount of hippos, hardly any crocodiles due to lack of sun. We passed vervet monkeys on the bus ride to the boat, but the driver would not stop.
We chose the Ayala Game Reserve. Fun open air ride, viewing zebras, giraffes, wildebeest, ostriches, water buffalo, impala. Nice gift shop. Guide was informative. Given a brownie and soda.