My wife and I have been on numerous cruises (19+) throughout the world on various cruise lines over the years. This was our second cruise with Oceania; the previous cruise was to Bermuda. The 28-day Timeless Wonders Cruise started with ... Read More
My wife and I have been on numerous cruises (19+) throughout the world on various cruise lines over the years. This was our second cruise with Oceania; the previous cruise was to Bermuda. The 28-day Timeless Wonders Cruise started with the India Taj Mahal Extension on April 25, 2018. Our flight from Florida was arranged by Oceania and flew through Newark, then to Delhi. No problems. The Oceania representative was waiting for us at the airport in Delhi.
The Taj Mahal Extension was great, the JW Marriott Hotel in Delhi was at the airport and was outstanding. The trip to Agra started with a quickie tour of Delhi before driving south. On the way to Agra we saw a developing area of India. The bus trip was around 3 hours or so, in a very nice bus. We stopped a few times for restroom breaks. We had to get up very early to see the Taj Mahal at sunrise. We returned in the evening to see it again at sunset. The next morning we got up early again to drive to the airport to fly to Mumbai and board the ship. When in Mumbai, the driver gave us another quickie tour of the city. Mumbai is quite a bit different from Delhi. India was HOT.
Boarding the ship was very easy. Our room was towards the front of the ship on deck 6, room 6014. This was a good location because we were near the areas of the ship we used the most. Most points of interest are on 5 (dining room at the rear) and the Nautica Lounge at the front. Deck 9 has the computer room, card room and spa. The ship was a few years old and was very nice; very clean. The staff was great and the food was excellent. Coffee, including specialty coffees, were available 24/7 on Deck 10 front and also, during select hours on Deck 5 rear.
The ship provided complimentary water and soft drinks. The Program Director, Julie, provided information about tours and timing and basically everything you need to know on a timely basis. She even provided entertainment one evening. The ship had a cast of wonderful entertainers on board and also a great band. They were very professional and excellent musicians. The cruise line provided two speakers who covered a wide range of interesting topics. Both needed to use larger print on their PowerPoint presentations.
This was a 28 day cruise plus a few additional days for the Taj Mahal. That seemed like a long time but the time went by quickly. The passengers and the crew were all very nice people from all walks of life. The people on the ship made the cruise interesting and enjoyable. The only real negative was the price of alcoholic beverages. The prices are ridiculous for what you get.
We had a lot of fun playing games and competitions to earn Big O points. We earned almost 600 points which were cashed in on the last full day for Oceania merchandise.
The visited Ports of Call follow.
DUBAI, UAE – We took the Discover Dubai tour and the Sharjah Heritage tour. The tours cover the city. You will see lots of gold and more gold ….. and more gold … and spices. The weather was very hot. Dubai is a beautiful new city and is a bit over the top. We learned a lot about the Muslim religion and saw very large Mosques.
FUJAIRAH, UAE – We took the East Coast City tour. Fujairah is a developing area. It is hot and dusty. The mountains in the background make it considerably different from Dubai. You will see more Mosques and more gold and spices.
MUSCAT, OMAN – We took the Mystical Muscat tour. Muscat is a beautiful city of old and new architecture. You will see a Mosque and more gold and spices. It's still hot.
SALALAH, OMAN – In Salalah, we took the Scenic Salalah tour. This is the place to buy Frankincense. The good stuff is very light in color and can be purchased in liquid or solid forms. This was an interesting place. …. still hot.
FOUR DAYS AT SEA – We received Pirate Training and Navy Seals boarded the ship!
AQABA, JORDAN – After the Taj Mahal, Petra is the reason we are on this cruise. We took the Magnificent Petra tour. The tour required a lot of walking through a beautiful slot canyon. This was one of the high points of the trip. …... It was actually cool in the morning but, it got HOT. The walk to the main attractions was generally downhill, but uphill coming back. Horses and carts were available to rent; both were a little questionable. The tour included a nice lunch.
SAFAGA (LUXOR), EGYPT – On the first day we took the all day trip (Ancient Luxor tour) to Luxor to see the Valley of Kings and other ancient stuff. Most of the drive was through desert! When we finally got near Luxor, the driving was very slow. We were in Luxor previously on a Viking Cruise so we probably could have passed on this tour and spent more time in Safaga. But Luxor is special if you have never been there. On the second day we went on the Snorkeling in the Red Sea tour. This was fantastic. The Red Sea is full of interesting fish. The area along the Red Sea is a resort area that is very dead. Not much going on.
THE SUEZ CANAL – The canal was another reason this cruise looked interesting. The history behind it is interesting … covered by the speakers. The canal is basically a big ditch, parts of it is only one way traffic. While cruising through it, an all day trip, you will basically be in Egypt with Africa to the west and Asia to the east. A nice relaxing day surrounded by sand.
HAIFA (JERUSALEM), ISRAEL – This stop was another reason we were on this cruise. We took the A Day in Jerusalem and Bethlehem tour. Jerusalem was a zoo …. very crowded and busy. Besides all the people that live in Jerusalem, it is full of tourists and shops. Bethlehem appeared to be more reverent and enjoyable. We stopped at a nice place to shop in Bethlehem. On the second day in Israel, we took the Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee tour. This was out in the country and very enjoyable … but very, very HOT … in fact, the HOTTEST. The heat was a real problem.
LIMASSOL, CYPRUS – In Cyprus, we took the Pafos & Kourion tour. Cyprus is a beautiful island with an interesting history. The included lunch was very good. This is a nice place to visit.
RHODES, GREECE – The Highlights of Rhodes tour was very nice. The island is beautiful with a great harbor and market.
KUSADASI (EPHESUS), TURKEY – We visited Ephesus, the Virgin Mary House and a local museum. The Virgin Mary House is special … it feels holy. Of course, Ephesus and the museum are world class. We also visited a carpet factory! The weather is much better. The lunch was great.
SANTORINI, GREECE – We took the Santorini Winery & Oia tour. The winery included a small glass of three different wines. We were in and out in 30 minutes. You can miss this! Oia is what you expect Santorini to be like. The only problem was that four ships were in port. People everywhere. Up to this point, we really didn't see another cruise ship. The line to go back to the four ships was a joke … we never found the end. Fortunately, there are many restaurants in Thira to kill time. The food is good, as is the beer and wine.
VALLETTA, MALTA – We took the Scenic Sights of Malta tour which included a tour of the island. The port is beautiful and very active. Malta has beautiful churches and is a great place to shop … good prices. We may not have needed a tour in Malta. It looks very walkable to most points of interest.
PALERMO (SICILY), ITALY – We took the Mysterious Palermo tour. We probably should have just walked around the city. In fact, we did when the tour was heading back to the ship. One interesting stop in the tour was a catacomb with hundreds if not thousands of exposed skeletons; aka mummies.
SORRENTO (CAPRI), ITALY – We took the cruise to Capri. This was one of the highlights of the cruise. We had time to just walk around the island and visit too many high end shops, sample Lemoncello and other treats. Its nice to just have a drink and watch the world go by in Capri. The scenery is outstanding. Capri was warm!
All of our tour guides were very good. They all spoke English well and were very approachable.
Overall, the cruise was wonderful. You will see too many churches and mosques, markets, gold, spices … but you will meet many very nice people on the ship and also, tour guides and locals. You will also walk …. a lot. Oceania really took good care of us; they were always there to make sure everything was taken care of during the trip. They really seemed to care. A great trip. If they only reduced the price of alcoholic drinks. Read Less