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10 Mumbai (Bombay) to Asia Cruise Reviews

After five wonderful Viking River cruises we decided to try Viking Ocean Cruises on their newest ship, The Orion and were were so glad that we did. The Orion is a state of the art mid-sized ship that can comfortably accommodate 930 ... Read More
After five wonderful Viking River cruises we decided to try Viking Ocean Cruises on their newest ship, The Orion and were were so glad that we did. The Orion is a state of the art mid-sized ship that can comfortably accommodate 930 passengers without feeling the least bit crowded . I had no problem getting a lounge at the pool or a seat at the bar. The SPA was amazing with experienced staff and modern and unique facilities. The dining experience was wonderful with four restaurants to choose from. The world cafe was our favorite because of the incredibly diverse menu and the kitchen would also prepare just about anything that we asked for on a moments notice. The two fine dining restaurants were both spectacular and the service was outstanding. The Viking Included Tours were good but we opted for many of the more extensive paid tours to visit special sites that were high on our wish list. The most outstanding thing about Viking is the crew and the service. They went above and beyond to make sure that our every needed was fulfilled. They were very approachable and easy to talk to and always followed up to keep us informed when we needed to make itinerary changes etc, This experience was so wonderful that we have booked another cruise on the Orion this year that starts on November 30th in Bali and cruises to Lombock, Komodo and the the entire Australian coast from Darwin to Sydney. We can hardly wait to get back on the Orion for another three weeks of pure Bliss! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose to take the pre-embarkation tour in Northern India - Delhi, Jaipur and Agra - which was sensational. Highly recommended. On embarkation day, we flew to Mumbai and had to conform with the Indian government's rule that all ... Read More
We chose to take the pre-embarkation tour in Northern India - Delhi, Jaipur and Agra - which was sensational. Highly recommended. On embarkation day, we flew to Mumbai and had to conform with the Indian government's rule that all passengers must check in through a hotel before they could get on the ship. Viking was not pleased, and the passengers were not pleased, but everyone made the best of it. Like all ocean ships in the Viking fleet, the Orion is beautiful and is one of two equipped with a planetarium. Our cabin - 6th deck, mid ship, port side was lovely, comfortable and convenient. Our steward and his aide were excellent and treated us royally. We did a mix of included and optional shore excursions - which we always do, and the experiences in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand were eye-opening and fascinating. Whether dining in the sit-down restaurant, the World Café, or the specialty restaurants, you will encounter excellent food and service, and a mix of traditional and local cuisines. We attended many excellent lectures and port talks. We would rather read in our rooms than seek out the nightly entertainment, but there is plenty - stage, screen, tastings (well, okay, we did some), dancing, lounge piano. We have sailed many times - river and ocean - with Viking and keep coming back. The quality in everything Viking does is unmatched and at a very reasonable price. We like the smaller mid-sized ships, the itineraries, the service, the food, the learning, and the most interesting people we meet. You can't go wrong with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We did not cruise for 32 years after some not very good experiences. Realizing the industry had changed I would look at reviews here and say to myself I am not like these people. I read a review by a man who thought his service was bad on ... Read More
We did not cruise for 32 years after some not very good experiences. Realizing the industry had changed I would look at reviews here and say to myself I am not like these people. I read a review by a man who thought his service was bad on a two week cruise because on the second day he got some breakfast on his robe and the cabin people never changed his robe. I saw numerous reviews by people who parsed the smallest thing instead of giving me the big picture. So I concluded it was not my style. Along cam Viking Ocean and the fabulous itinerary of the Orion from Mumbai to Bankok. Reviews of Viking could not be higher. We just returned and we could not be more impressed by Viking and its crew at every level. We avoided the few passengers who wanted to compare and contrast the cruise with others. Who cares? These are like the people who think I am interested in their last doctor's appointment. I am not. Sorry. What we loved were the lectures by former Ambassadors and the round-table discussions. The best moment for me was they had all veterans gather to tell their story. each was different yet the same. We all gained much for our entire lives from our military service. We did not come home to parades, but the anti-war movement in full voice. We felt like we had let the country down. After years and out gathering it is clear we were not the lacking the military mission of the Vietnam war was fatally flawed. Thanks Viking for providing that special bonding (even a Brit was in our group). The passengers were predominantly Brits and we all got along well. The ports were great. We traveled on to Hong Kong on our own and we experienced unfriendliness from many people based on, we assume, the trade war and policies that are newly in place. They see their immense growth as threatened. And maybe it is and should be. Look at downtown Toledo and Kuala Lumpur and you will get the problem. Viking is #1 for good reason. No company can meet the needs of a cruise better than they can for people who prefer no casino, kids, or glitzy shows, but lectures and fine art, books and music. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
My wife and I were trying to get from Europe to Japan mid-October to meet our son for a two week vacation with the least amount of jet lag. This seemed to fit the bill. We could catch the ship in Mumbai, disembark in Hong Kong, spend a ... Read More
My wife and I were trying to get from Europe to Japan mid-October to meet our son for a two week vacation with the least amount of jet lag. This seemed to fit the bill. We could catch the ship in Mumbai, disembark in Hong Kong, spend a week in China before catching a short flight to Tokyo. The ship is beautiful, comfortable cabin, good food, great on board library for readers who like history, memoirs, exploration etc., which I like, not so great for thrillers, romance novels etc. Got to know all the fellow smokers well. Passengers are mostly affluent, retired Americans (I'd guess 80%), the others mostly anglophone from the UK, Australia, NZ. Ports of call and tours were a mixed bag, many at container ports with miles of docklands a long way from anything you'd want to visit, though seeing the container ports themselves was eye-opening, often with beautiful sunsets through the gantries. No way in most places to walk off the ship and explore on your own. Our own favorites were an overnight trip to Kandy (Sri Lanka), Georgetown, Penang, and Viet Nam (Saigon, Da Nang and Hoi An and Halong Bay). The best ports for getting off the ship and exploring on your own are Georgetown, Halong Bay, Singapore and Hong Kong. The port for Bangkok was especially inconvenient, a 2-1/2 hr drive each way in slow traffic. We went in once, spent the second day in port on the ship. In ports like Bangkok and Saigon, where the ship is docked overnight, our advice would be to book a hotel in town and explore on your own. Our main criticism of the ship-organized tours, which we took in every port, is they left no time for wandering around on your own. In Sihanoukville, where we took a tuk-tuk tour we took things into our own hands and told the driver where we wanted to go (a liquor and cigarette store), after which we lost the rest of the tour group, to our relief. Same with Hoi An, where a large majority of those on the bus rebelled against some cultural stop that hadn't been flagged on the itinerary and asked to be dropped off in town to wander on our own. These turned out the best of the tours. A lot of passengers complained about Sihanoukville, which is dirty and poor, with little culturally of interest to see, but we found it interesting, the obviously poor public services, the life story of our tour guide, sent to a child labor camp at 6 where many of the children died of starvation, the signs of Chinese investment (billboards promising great new developments, some built, some half-built and abandoned, some just billboards of fabulous things to come). I hope Viking won't drop it from future cruises based on the comments of others. Our guide was grateful for us coming, and I hope others will come in the future. The ship is beautiful, but not without flaws: it should have teak decks (the rubberized, fake teak decks are deplorable), for cruises in the tropics, there's inadequate shade for the sun deck loungers and after-deck dining, the promenade deck, which is wholly given over to walker, would be much improved if it had deck chairs. The library should have a section of guidebooks to the countries being visited. An ATM onboard dispensing US Dollars, even if not local currency, would also be helpful. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
On April 24, 2018 I began a trip of a lifetime visiting several places on my bucket list. I flew to New Delhi for a pre-cruise package from Oceania to the Taj Mahal. I had very high expectations of the seeing the Taj Mahal and actually ... Read More
On April 24, 2018 I began a trip of a lifetime visiting several places on my bucket list. I flew to New Delhi for a pre-cruise package from Oceania to the Taj Mahal. I had very high expectations of the seeing the Taj Mahal and actually being there exceeded my expectations. It literally took my breath away. We had a 3.5 hour bus ride to Agra from New Delhi and 114 degree temperature but it was worth it. I highly recommend a trip to see it. I took protein bars and peanut butter crackers on the trip because in some places I was concerned about eating the food in India. After a bus trip back to New Delhi, we flew to Mumbai to board Oceania Notice for our 28 day cruise to Rome. As usual, Oceania was spectacular. I didn't think it was possible to upgrade the food, but they always seem to find a way to make each trip more memorable. The service is always flawless. I ordered some tea from room service and the person bringing the tea thought he should bring me honey and lemon for my sore throat. The attention to detail was amazing. Since I am trying to eat a healthier diet, it was great to have Greek yogurt and Truvia available. At the Terrace Cafe, they would grill lobster tails, shrimp, steak, lamb chops and other things for you. It was a very popular addition. The Terrace Cafe has the same food options as the Grand Dining Room which was great if you wanted a more casual and quicker dining experience. Coming back to the ship from a day of touring in the extreme heat and being able to have great food in a casual environment was great. Toscana, the Italian restaurant and Polo Grill, the steak restaurant were fabulous too. We had 28 days on the ship and the menu and food choices kept changing, so you never got tired of the food. Nautica had great staff and there was always something fun to do if you wanted to. I never got bored. Oceania bent over backwards to take great care of us. I had booked a shore excursion package with Oceania prior to sailing. I had so many shipboard credits that I went to the spa for two massages and several hair appointments. The deep tissue massages were fantastic and it was nice not to have to blow dry my hair a few times. The spa is expensive, and I wouldn't have used it if I didn't have so many shipboard credits. The gym on ship was big and had great machines. I wish it opened before 6:00 AM though. We had two guest lecturers on the cruise. One was kind of boring, but the other man, Hassan, was entertaining, interesting and informative. The ship's cabins and bathrooms are small, but adequate. You don't use your cabin except to sleep and shower. Our ports include Dubai, UAE, Fujairah, UAE, Muscat, Oman, Salalah, Oman, Aqaba, Jordan, and optional overnight trip to Luxor, Egypt, two days in Haifa, Israel, Limassol, Cyprus, Rhodes, Greece, Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey, Santorini, Greece, Valletta, Malta, Palermo, Italy, Sorrento, Italy and Civitavecchia, Italy. The itinerary couldn't have been any better and all the passengers raved about it. I was surprised to see mountains of rock in the Middle East. Of course, there was plenty of sand too. The color of the water and the beaches were beautiful. Unfortunately, women don't have free access to the beaches as we have here. In Fujairah, women can only go on Wednesday. The overnight trip to Luxor was fantastic. I have always wanted to go there and to visit Karnack Temple, Luxor Temple, the Valley of the Kings and other archaeological sites. We had another 3.5 bus ride from the port of Safaga to Luxor. Our hotel was right on the bank of the Nile. It was an action packed two day trip and we didn't spend much time at the hotel. We went back to Karnack Temple at night to see the Sound and Light Show. It wasn't very good and I don't recommend it. It was dark and you walk a long way on an uneven walkway. People were using the flashlights on their phones to light a path. In the Valley of the Kings we went to three tombs, Ramses III, Ramses IV and Ramses IX. For an extra $12.00 you can visit King Tut's tomb which we did. If you want to take photos, it costs $18.00, but I am glad that I could take photos. No photos may be taken in King Tut's tomb. You walk down a steep staircase and see King Tut's mummy and another room with beautiful drawings. The other tombs also had beautiful drawings. We saw lots of guns in Egypt. We were told only the police and military can have guns, but I saw someone selling watermelons on the side of the road with a gun. I waved to people from the bus and the people smiled and waved back. I wasn't afraid though and would like to see the pyramids and the Cairo Museum in the future. Dubai was all about shopping. I have never seen so many malls and the city was very clean. We took a walking excursion of Old Dubai and I wouldn't recommend it. We went to the Dubai Museum and it was dark and looked a bit moth eaten. I was sorry I didn't splurge for tea at the Burg al Arab hotel. The Dubai Mall is incredible and has fountain show that is supposed to be bigger and better than the Bellagio in Las Vegas. I loved the architecture in Dubai. The emir bought the QEII for the use of his guests. Life in Dubai if you are a local is amazing. Housing, education, medical care is free for locals. Fujairah, UAE looked like a lunar landscape with nothing to pretty to see. It was sobering and eye opening to see the number of oil storage units at the port. They went on forever. The entire Arabian Gulf had a lot of oil tankers. I enjoyed Muscat, Oman. We had a great guide and the country even had women in government positions. The current sultan has done a lot for his people and the infrastructure was impressive. His father didn't help his people and the current sultan overthrew him. The father lived out the last years of his life at the Dorchester Hotel in London...not a bad place to be in exile. We asked why the women cover their faces. Islam doesn't require Muslims to cover their face or feet. It is a personal choice if the ladies want to cover their faces. I am not sure I believe it. The sultan has two huge private yachts in the harbor, but he doesn't use them. We stopped at a few places on our all day tour. I would have been happy to skip some of them to have gone in the Grand Mosque, which was gorgeous on the outside. Salalah was okay. We did go to the Museum of Frankincense and a souk. They were selling a lot of touristy stuff at the souk, but we saw lots of locals too. Our ship took on extra security as we cruise around Yemen, past Somalia, through the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea and up to Aqaba. They call it a "High Risk Area" because of the pirates. The waters are patrolled now and the piracy has been eliminated. In Aqaba, we took a 2 hour bus ride to Petra. We passed some Bedouin tents on the way. Petra was great. We walked about a mile downhill to the Treasury which was beautiful. We also walked to the amphitheater. You can ride in a donkey cart or take a camel, but we opted to walk. There were many caves and interesting rock formations on the path. People are selling postcards, silver bracelets, and other trinkets all the way down the path. Our ship entered the Suez Canal at 4:00 AM. I was in Horizons Lounge at the front of the ship to see us enter. The Suez Canal is wide and has no locks because sea level is the same in the Gulf to Suez to the Mediterranean. The transit took 11 hours. They actually allow people to fish in the Canal. In Haifa, Israel, we took an all day tour of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Jerusalem was packed and involved a 1.5 hour bus ride. I loved Jerusalem even though the city was packed with tourists and the guide kept us moving. He obviously didn't understand the female's need to shop. When we went to Bethlehem, we crossed into the West Bank, so we had to take on a Palestinian guide. We were told that Israelis can't go to Bethlehem unless they are tour guides. The guide also told us that we were not protected by the Israeli military in the West Bank. We went to the Church of the Nativity and Manger Square. We stood in line for 1-1.5 hours to see where Jesus was born. It was very chaotic and people were cutting in line and pushing for a quick look at the manger site and the Star of Bethlehem. It was a very unpleasant experience and I wouldn't recommend trying to see the manger site. The next day I took an all day tour to Nazareth and went to the Sea of Galilee. We went to a few sites where certain biblical events were supposed to have occurred. Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth are so built up, nobody really knows if what you are seeing are the actual sites. We stopped at a baptismal site on the Jordan River. The Sea of Galilee is actually a lake and is quite beautiful. We went to more biblical sites around it. Limassol, Cyprus has the most beautiful ancient floor mosaics I have ever seen. The water was crystal clear. Rhodes, Greece is a charming island with a medieval walled city. We got there early so I wandered the streets and alleys lined with shops and restaurants. I had been there before, but it was just as nice this time. In the afternoon, I took a tour of ancient Lindos. It is a long climb to the top, but it is worth it. You can also ride a donkey up the hill. The ruins and the views were fabulous. The next day we were in Kusadasi, Turkey where Ephesus is located. I had been to Ephesus before, but the cruise line offered a tour of Ephesus with an expert. We had an archaeologist who actually worked on the site and he gave us a tour of the Ephesus Museum before we went to the actual site. He showed us the items that he personally found. Ephesus is an amazing place and being with him made the tour even more memorable. Santorini, Greece is a beautiful island, but we had 5 cruise ships in the port that day. The crowds and the traffic going to Oia were horrible. I had been there before without the crowds and loved it, but this time wasn't very good. To get back down the dock, you can either walk down the steps, ride a donkey or take a tram. The tram had six cars that could hold six passengers. The crowds were so bad that it took us two hours in line before we got to the pier. I felt sorry for the people who were on their first visit to this picturesque island. I would never get off the ship if there were that many ships in port at the same time. Valletta, Malta was a pleasant surprise. It was clean and had some beautiful old buildings. They also had a great gelato store. I had been pretty good on my healthy eating, but I caved when I saw gelato. Palermo, Sicily was okay. I wish I had taken another tour than the one to the catacombs. I found them to be very creepy. There are some pretty churches, and other buildings by the Four Corners. In Sorrento, we took a tour to Herculaneum. We had been to Pompeii, Capri, Positano and Sorrento before, so we chose to go to Herculaneum. While Pompeii was covered by lava from Mt. Vesuvius, Herculaneum was covered with volcanic ash and was much better preserved. The ship docked in Civitavecchia, Italy and I took the ship's transfer to the airport. My only complaint was having to get off the ship. I wanted to stay there forever. This really was a trip of a lifetime and I would do it all over again. I booked my next Oceania cruise onboard and when I got home, I booked a second Oceania cruise. 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Sail Date April 2018
WE have sailed 4 times with Silversea. Twice in the Silver Cloud (before becoming a expidition ship) and twice on the Silver Spirit (before the latest refurb.). We sailed from Mumbai to Dubai. As usual the Silversea staff was ... Read More
WE have sailed 4 times with Silversea. Twice in the Silver Cloud (before becoming a expidition ship) and twice on the Silver Spirit (before the latest refurb.). We sailed from Mumbai to Dubai. As usual the Silversea staff was attentive and our cabin butler was offered excellent services. The cabin was larger and clean. The dining room service and food were excellent and the wait service attentive and the food, as always, we excellent. The itinerary met all of our requirements and the excursions offered covered much of what one would want to see. At some ports we chose to hire a cab to take us around. We found the drivers very willing and their prices reasonable. Just make sure you agree on a price prior to beginning. This is not a ship to take children and that includes teenagers. Small ships have limited entertainment facilities and The are other curise lines better suited to handling children. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
I have broken this review into segments rather than a day by day account. Conclusion Azamara is back on track with one of the best cruises we have had Azamara transport and travel arrangements Caught flight ex NCL to spend some ... Read More
I have broken this review into segments rather than a day by day account. Conclusion Azamara is back on track with one of the best cruises we have had Azamara transport and travel arrangements Caught flight ex NCL to spend some time in Concorde room at LHR before boarding 9.25 pm flight to Mumbai. Service on board excellent and the flat bed was conducive to a good night’s sleep after a few more glasses of champagne after the few pink ones in CCR. We had heard horror stories re Indian immigration but we were met at aircraft door with electric buggy and whisked to separate immigration desks and after picking up luggage were escorted to private taxi for the hell that is Mumbai traffic. Anybody in a Tuctuc must have a death wish. I presume anybody learning to drive only learns to turn left as turning right is a nightmare. Arrived at Taj for overnight stay which was great and met a few Azamaraites who were equally bamboozled by letter from Azamara promising “a plague of locusts” or similar if we arrived at port before 12.30 pm, We then got a note saying coaches were available at 11.00am. Usual Indian chaos to get on bus but have to say boarding experience was as good as anywhere else in the world. Return journey was equally pain free although watching Indian staff unloading suitcases one by one down a ramped passenger gangway was painful. Luggage was then loaded onto airport 2 suitcase size trolleys for other day labourers to put into shed. I understand from Azamara staff that ALL supplies for this 20 day voyage were also loaded case by case up this similar gangway. I dread to think how many cases were carried up this gangway for this cruise. Why they do not invest in a fork lift truck and some grocery cages I do not know. Met at bus and directed to far left of terminal where First class passengers are processed. Usual Indian security where I was convinced soldier was reading our TA documentation upside down until baggage handler suggested he look at a separate list for our names. Taken to seating area with settees etc where staff come to you and process you. HOW VERY CIVILISED. Went to GVK lounge where snacks were available. My wife had foot massage and I also had a complimentary back massage. I am convinced that at some period he was actually walking on my back so hard was the pressure. Usual long walk to gates where the final bit of Indian idiocracy waited. To get to plane using the lifts you have to press arrivals button!!! Onboard usual First service with a good meal and some decent wines. Watched I ,Daniel Blake and Hacksaw Ridge. Both amazing films in their own way. Landed in UK and spent some time in CCRoom before the final indignity of BA flight to NCL and a Bl ... y Awful experience. Had priority boarding but my wife’s pass would not work in self boarding gates. Told by staff to wait until ALL the other passengers were boarded before they could/would do anything about it. Bad idea to say that to my wife but as I was on other side of barrier could not help but got it sorted. Got on plane to find passengers seats double booked which took some time to sort out on a full plane. 20 mins taxiing and then take off. Staff were completely disorganised . As we were in row 2 we could see discussion/chaos for ourselves. Started serving CE meals to discover they only had cutlery for 2 people!! Eventually found some plastic cutlery but doubt if they actually got to serve everybody as trolleys were only put away minutes before landing. Ship Experience Dining As we have sailed before we knew the score and booked our restaurants straightaway with Daniel and Alex. We only ate once in MDR as early dining prior to private LCV entertainment so cannot comment meaningfully. We did use Patio cafe at night on several occasions as it undoubtedly serves freshest food on ship. After all it is cooked to order. Prime C as good as ever and was able to get personalised dishes given notice. I.e. Goats cheese soufflé and halibut when I fancied a change from fillet steak. Crab cakes and Onion soup good also but I wonder how many people actually order the pheasant confit. Good to see cheese trolley on display but still a pity that it is not brought to the table with a few specialist cheeses rather than merely the standard ships cheeses. Windows buffet was fine for breakfasts in the outside area before it got too hot during the day Good to see Marmite as well as Vegemite although I was not convinced by the Indian Marmite look alike with red label. English sausages at breakfast were some of the best I have tasted on ship and the German sausages were also very good. I realise I might sound like a UKIP loving Brexitting little Englander. Brexiter certainly. Not convinced that any premium ship should be serving Shepherd’s pie even on an English themed buffet night and I understand that the Indian night dishes were not a great success speaking to some other guests. Lunch buffet was good with some really good soups (crazy in a hot climate but good nevertheless) We were able to get our preferred Riesling at all venues and meals via a discreet request. Best of Best dinner was a standout meal by Iwan which included one item covered in gold leaf. Rather a shame to think where that gold leaf was in 2 days time. I gave toast on behalf of the guests to the Fabulous 5 Captain Magnus Iwan Thomas Heike Angello Guests Finally got to identify Excited of Harpenden and Riocca but missed Uktog A great mixture of nationalities that seemed to gel together except for one couple who were famous within a couple of days for their complaints. I understand from talking to staff and other guests that this was ther first ever cruise. Why you would choose the longest cruise in the book to start with I do not know? We thought the anecdotes we heard were exaggerated until we met them dining in the Patio Cafe one night. They changed tables 5 times and complained to the chef and his supervisor for approx 7 minutes about the quality of the food. I do not intend to repeat what was said but it was unacceptable to abuse anybody in that way and they left the chef in tears. We spoke to him as well as Heike (Hotel Manage)r and Thomas (Food and Beverage Manager) to ensure that if any complaint was made then we would support the chef as the behaviour was completely unacceptable. We noticed later that Azamara seemed to have nominated Guest relations staff to sit with them at meals etc. to check their behaviour. Entertainment Usual great show from Eric as well as 2 great female singers. Firstly an American lady and finally i.e. 2 days only an English singer. White night party was good with a great conga line around the decks as normal. Eric of course finished a great cruise with his trademark skating. Amazing evening Well organised transport with snacks etc. available. Fortune tellers etc. Ports of Call etc. I am probably too old for third world countries and Dubai is probably as far as we will travel future. I cannot believe that India has 100 nuclear weapons but allows their population to live and work in such squalor!!! Firstly unless you go to a hotel or take tours there is nothing to do at most calls. We did one private tour on the Cochin backwaters and it seemed a long way to go to sit in a boat to watch people bashing their clothes in the river. Had raging row with taxi driver in Sri Lanka after agreeing $60 fare for three hours with fixer as well as driver. We were the confronted with demand for $200 to be paid via ATM in Ceylon currency. In UK it is alleged that ther is a thriving Srilankan crime syndicate which specialise in ATM Pin code stealing. It was only when we demanded to be dropped off at police station that demands were dropped. A bad taste to an interesting day. Immigration This was usually a farce. At one port we happened to be first in line to be processed after the leaving crew. It was like Lilliput Big Enders vs. Little Enders. The 6 personnel had a 5 minute discussion which appeared to revolve about whether they stamped your card or signed it first . or did it simultaneously Eventually the man with the biggest moustache got his way. I recognise they are entitled to be on the ship all day but I do not see why their wives and children should be allowed on board stuffing the buffet and blocking stairs for photographs. I guess it is part of the way things get done in these countries Standouts I do not normally try to pick individuals as ALL staff contribute to the experience but here are 2 1: Angello Housekeeping Manager. We met him an Owners suite private reception and my wife made a throw away comment about it being a pity there were no magnifying mirrors in the bathroom. On return to room after reception there were 3 different magnification mirrors for my wife to try. Followed up 2 days later with a call to see which she preferred. 2: Russian waiter Kuril who noticed our struggles to get a working salt cellar. From then on at every meal he saw us he provided a condiment pot with loose salt without prompting. Niggles. 1:As above salt and pepper shakers of either variety china or metal are simply not fit for purpose You either spend time with toothpick or take bottom off and get rice with salt. At first I thought it was restricted to outdoor area but same in MDR. They should invest in Perspex grinders so that they can work and you can see if they need filling. 2: They ran out of glass bottled free sparkling water fairly soon and I do not consider Soda water or sparkling flavoured water (label states No fruit content) as acceptable alternatives. Fortunately we had a good supply in suite. 3: I understand that standard serving protocol for serving tea is to provide a separate saucer for disposal of dunked teabag rather than have drips etc. on cup saucer but this was rarely implemented. Also I believe it would be better to have teabag dry when presented so that the individual can decide on strength of tea. First world problem I know!!! Final Conclusion Azamara is back to its best and we look forward to using our free nights soon. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We scuba dive and this itinerary gave me and my wife the opportunity to see India by flying into Bombay and use of the ship for a hotel for a day and half while touring Bombay. The ship was fantastic and the service superb. Americans ... Read More
We scuba dive and this itinerary gave me and my wife the opportunity to see India by flying into Bombay and use of the ship for a hotel for a day and half while touring Bombay. The ship was fantastic and the service superb. Americans on Costa get their water with or without gas free! This was a great surprise for us since I regularly drink water with gas. At night we had entertainment both by floor shows and the disco, most of the time the disco was not visited due to being too tired from the days excursions or scuba diving. Many times we seek other tour options due to some cruise lines inflate their's so much not on this cruise. The most enjoyable aspect of the cruise was that you knew what you were eating and where you were sleeping was comfortable for 14 days. We extended our stay for several more days so as to visit the TM. India needs to spend money on infrastructure. While on our extended visit there were a couple of days we did not eat for fear we would have to find a place for deposit, Oh, toilet paper forget about it. If you have a desire to see our experiences both above and below the waters around India please visit my YouTube channel. TherealDavidPressler Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Our cruise from Mumbai (Bombay as it is referred to in India) to Bali had a pre-cruise option for three nights to the Taj Mahal. We took advantage of this option so we flew into New Delhi rather than Mumbai. For this, our 14th Regent ... Read More
Our cruise from Mumbai (Bombay as it is referred to in India) to Bali had a pre-cruise option for three nights to the Taj Mahal. We took advantage of this option so we flew into New Delhi rather than Mumbai. For this, our 14th Regent cruise, we had Regent arrange our air. We were not confident about our skill in negotiating transportation in India. I will also say upfront that I have not had a desire to visit India but my DH did. From the start my intention was to be open to this new and possibly very different experience. Regent booked us on British Air, Business Class from Vancouver to Heathrow with a 2 hour layover and then continuing on to New Delhi. The flights were excellent -- on time -- no problems. When we arrived in New Delhi we waited until all of the luggage arrived and one piece of our luggage was still missing. We must have waited for close to an hour. Then my DH had to file a report with the airline. All of this took so long that we were fairly certain that there would not be a Regent representative waiting for us for transportation to the hotel. Fortunately we were wrong and we were able to get the bus to the hotel. There were people on the bus that must have waited for a very long time for us. Now for the review: Starting with the pre-cruise trip to Agra, Regent did an amazing job coordinating three nights in three hotels plus the plane trip back to Mumbai. . Taj Palace, New Delhi -- the best of the three hotels -- lovely accommodations and exceptional food. This was an excellent choice and we certainly appreciated the ability to check in when we arrived at the hotel (approximately 8:00 a.m.) Regent offered 3 ½ hour tours to "Old Town" or "New Delhi" for a cost of approximately $100.00 per person. We booked a 3 ½ hour "small group" tour to Old Town for $31.00/person that included a stop for Chai tea and lunch. We were the only people on the tour and it was a highlight of our trip. IMO, it pays to check out reputable private tours when you are in India. ITC Mughal, Agra -- this is a rough one to review. The food, service and grounds were very good -- no complaints. However, the accommodations are so poor that I feel this hotel should be dropped. There was one couple who were given a room that had not been cleaned from the previous occupant. Some rooms lost power and, from what I've heard, all of them were dirty and needed refurbishment. On the plus side, Regent had a cocktail party on the lawn of the hotel with local dancers. It was truly lovely and again, the food was superior (just don't go to your room :-(. At 9:30 p.m., we received a phone call that our luggage had arrived. It first arrived Delhi and was sent via courier to Agra. What a relief:-) Marriott in Jaipur -- definitely the most beautiful hotel -- it appears new. The only negative at this hotel was the food which was the least appetizing of the three hotels. No reason to change the hotel -- just ask them to provide hot food and to serve it on time as we were on a tight schedule. The buses and tour guides used were very good. It was an incredible -- if tiring -- 3 days. Unfortunately, too many passengers had not done their homework and complained that the India was too hot and too dirty. I cannot for the life of me understand why this is Regent's fault. The flights to Mumbai were delayed (again -- some blame Regent for this) and some passengers did not arrive on the ship until 8:00 p.m. This was hard on the passengers who had to get up at 6:00 a.m. but was also hard on the crew....... over 400 passengers arriving on the ship late caused a lot of work. For the better part of the first week, the passengers were complaining about everything. Some passengers did not want to dine with people they did not know because all they heard was complaints. I am sure that reports of this will filter back to the home office. In my opinion, there was nothing Regent could have done better. Regent passengers were taken care of every step of the way. We were given food, free flowing wine and beer and very good service. Excursions -- I think I have said enough on CruiseCritic on this subject. In my opinion, no one can handle 500+ passengers going on an excursion at approximately the same time. Destination Services has improved a lot in this area....... still, as of this time, I will try to avoid "included" excursions. Sitting in a full theater waiting for the ship to be cleared is not a happy experience. I have to wonder why tours are booked at the same time the ship arrives? Okay -- I still love Regent but hate the excursions. One excursion had three busloads of passengers complaining and asking to go back to the ship. Only one bus load talked the driver into taking them back. It was a 7 hour tour that should have been no longer than 5 hours.... it was hot with poor air conditioning. I felt that we should have been taken back to the ship. They did a vote and we unanimously wanted to return. This is something to think about for the future. Since boarding the Voyager on December 1st, we have received excellent service and food. There is an exception to the almost perfect service. We made a difficult decision to change butlers mid-cruise and it was a fairly good decision. Our first butler seemed to argue every point with us. The "new" butler was upbeat and communicative and we enjoyed being around him. There is a "but" to this story. Towards the end of our cruise, he started talking about Oceania and how their pay and benefits were better than Regent. He quoted very specific salaries, etc. He complained that his salary never goes up -- no matter how many contracts he has. And, he said that Regent employees want to work for Oceania as they have a completely different system and also receive great tips. On the last night, it was apparent that our butler was waiting for a tip. It is interesting because I do not tip individuals on Regent -- not in 14 cruises. However, it was Christmas and I did want to give the butler a Christmas gift ........ up until the last 2 nights. The discussion of Oceania salaries and tips was uncomfortable. Then, he was rarely at the cocktail party we had and when the G.M. came to our suite, I had to pour his wine. This was very different than cocktail parties we have had in the past where there is always a Regent crew member present to serve guests. Then, when he was obviously waiting for a tip, I was no longer interested in giving him anything. I call Captain McNeil, General Manager, Franck Galzy and Cruise Director, Paul Reynolds the "Dream Team" of Regent. They are, IMO, the "standard" that every officer should be held to. Everything seems to run perfectly with this team. I have long said that, in my opinion, Franck should be the top G.M. (if there were such a position). There are excellent G.M.'s on Regent but it would help if they all were on the same page (so to speak). Franck has the respect of both passengers and crew. I speak with the crew a lot and they universally are happier when Franck Galzy is on board. General Managers could be even better than they are with a little guidance from Franck. Paul Reynolds is just great -- not enough words to describe how much we enjoy this gentle, kind man. We are so happy that we will be on the Mariner with him in March. So, finally, you may wonder what I thought of India -- the one place that I did not want to visit? Well, I am happy that we went, had a very enjoyable time and learned a lot about a very complex country. I am not a warm weather person and the weather on the entire cruise was in the 80's with lots of humidity. Fortunately our suite was nicely air conditioned. Would I go back to India? No -- don't think so...... but there are few places that we do return to. Regent provided a most boring and miserable "included" excursion prior to taking us to the airport in Bali. One stop was so bad that few people even bothered getting off of the bus. Those that did returned to the bus within 2 minutes (not understating the time). Regent booked us on Cathay Pacific from Bali to Hong Kong and then on to Vancouver. What a great airline! The Business Class lounge in Hong Kong may be the best lounge we have visited. For those of you taking these long flights, planning for a shower in the lounge is a great idea. After departing the Voyager at 7:30 a.m. and arriving in Hong Kong 9:00 p.m., a shower was wonderful. Being able to change clothes and feel fresh before the next flight makes a difference. The showers in Hong Kong (and Heathrow) are actually full private bathrooms -- very clean and comfortable. This was another wonderful cruise. We look forward to our March 20th Miami to Barcelona cruise on the Mariner. When we step foot on the Mariner, we'll be "Platinum Seven Seas Society members" (free laundry ) Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We chose to return to the Journey after a wonderful cruise in South America last Christmas, and selected this itinerary as a way of visiting India without dealing with luggage or other intra-country transportation issues. We thoroughly ... Read More
We chose to return to the Journey after a wonderful cruise in South America last Christmas, and selected this itinerary as a way of visiting India without dealing with luggage or other intra-country transportation issues. We thoroughly enjoyed the places we visited, and had a very relaxing time on board despite the full ship. It was fantastic to meet again some of the staff who made our first Azamara trip -- my mother's third -- so memorable. However, the ship needs to be refurbished -- both public and private quarters -- and we're not certain eight days in dry-dock will suffice. Before I comment on our visits to other ports of call, let me address Male in the Maldives. Over the summer, I asked fellow Cruise Critic board members about onshore excursions in Male since none were offered by Azamara. Regent, which was in Male the same day as our ship, was offering several onshore excursions (private beaches, submarine). One of the board members replied that the Azamara video for this cruise noted that there would be a "surprise" for guests as the Journey would stop at a "private" island, and that he hoped the ship would perhaps provide a barbecue on the beach. I had not watched the video of Claudius and Eddie sitting on an uncomfortable-looking couch because the videos for other itineraries were (and are) visually unappealing and not very informative (i.e., I love shopping). But hearing about the "surprise" at a "private" island made me dream about a barbecue on a pristine beach -- a precursor, perhaps, of the Azamazing special excursions for 2013. Alas, the surprise at the private island turned out to be merely a marketing ploy. The staff on-board did not know about the video -- they found out at the shore excursion presentation -- and Captain Idiakidis wisely decided against dropping off hundreds of passengers on an island without electricity or restroom facilities, and only 20 lounge chairs, from which the last passengers would board the tenders in the dark (after 5pm). Azamara Miami had not done their homework, so passengers were notified a day before we arrived to Male that there was no local outfitter up to Azamara's standards -- yet Regent had made arrangements for its passengers months in advance -- but there would be a tent at the dock where passengers could make private arrangements. We were further notified about the beach on Male Island -- one of the world's most densely populated places -- where women would have to bathe in t-shirts and shorts given that it was a Muslim beach. Sounded like fun!?! We ended up joining 20+ passengers on a beach day at Faru Club, an island resort 45 minutes from Male by boat. Beautiful white sandy beach that stretched forever, lots of fishes and even some baby sharks, regular bathing suits. No barbecue, however. Mumbai - we arrived a day early and took two private day tours with Mumbai Magic. Fabulous, and we saw more than we expected during our limited time at this city. Our second day's tour included the transfer to the ship; did not have to wait or walk in the heat. Would recommend this company to others. Goa - we took the churches of Goa shore excursion; it was very good. Well organized and run. On our second day, we took an excellent private tour with Goa Magic visiting old colonial houses, the Rachol Seminary and a market. The overnight stay definitely allowed us to do a lot. Cochi - we arranged an overnight houseboat backwaters tour with Wilson Tours, which included a quick visit to Fort Cochi and a cooking class on the second day. The visit to the backwaters was the highlight of our trip, so peaceful. Male - see above Colombo, Sri Lanka - we took one of the city tours, which was very good. During our visit to the Galle Face Hotel, we saw the wedding party and guests of a very fancy wedding. With the wedding party were the members of a dance troupe in beautiful local costumes. That evening, the ship offered a local dance show with a similar troupe on the pool deck, so it was great to unexpectedly get a preview of the costumes. As in Goa and Cochi, the ship docked in the middle of a huge industrial pier, so there were no shuttle buses or quick access to town. This was not Azamara's fault, but it was a challenge. Upon our return to the ship around noon, I asked a taxi driver who was standing next to the ship how much it would cost to go back in town. The price that he quoted went down considerably when I returned with a similar request two hours later, and we were able to "escape" the pier to visit a couple of places not included in the morning's tour. Galle, Sri Lanka - we took the tender to the ship's shuttle to this fort town and walked around. We also got on a tuk-tuk -- cleaner and in better shape than many we saw in India -- and had a blast. While Colombo is a large city, Galle is an easy stroll, with plenty of small shops. A relaxing day ashore. Chennai - we took the Mamalapuram tour with the ship; a magical, must-see place. The Mamalapuram complex has the most persistent trinket/postcard sellers we encountered during our trip. To say "no thank you" four times was often not enough. But since they could not enter the temple site areas, we got a respite. But you have been warned. Our transfer to the Chennai airport for our 430am flight was well coordinated by the ship's concierge staff. Regarding meals, I had never seen that many people at the main dining room. Wow! Meals were very good, and if few were memorable, it's more important to note that our special requests were honored with a smile despite the bi-zillion other diners. We ended up going to the buffet upstairs more than in previous trips, especially on special dining nights (Greek, Indian, etc.) and there was hardly anyone there. We found the pool grill improved from last year, and had plenty of meals at that venue. Regarding the pool area, we were all warned against hoarding beach chairs, but that was never an issue -- and we were in the pool every single day. We always found a pair of lounge chairs near the pool readily available. Regarding entertainment, the highlight for us was the Sri Lankan dance troupe. Slava and Alina were amazing, as was the rest of the dance crew. The guest performers did not appeal to us, but might have to others. I cannot count how many yummy skim lattes and cappuccinos I had at Mosaic Cafe -- fantastic service too. We participated in several ship activities, but these left us wondering where was everyone since the only place were one ever realized there were 700 passengers was early in the evenings in the main dining room. I lucked out during my two visits to the laundry room -- hardly a wait. In sum, the staff is the reason why many Azamara passengers return time and again. From the consummate professional Captain Idiakidis to the employees who cleaned the pool area each morning, the Journey's staff is positively wonderful. But the Miami staff has to perform as well as the on-board staff, and it definitely did not. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012

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