We chose this cruise for ports and because there was bridge. Embarkation was easy; disembarkation was chaos. We were given times to disembark in groups. Repeated announcements said Indian officials were not ready, but did not tell later ... Read More
We chose this cruise for ports and because there was bridge. Embarkation was easy; disembarkation was chaos. We were given times to disembark in groups. Repeated announcements said Indian officials were not ready, but did not tell later groups to wait. Group after group added to the crowd.
The ship was lovely, the cabin spacious, though we had a penthouse suite, which was actually a room with a sitting area, not a suite. The food was mostly above average, desserts were excellent, service was wonderful. Service in general was extraordinary, from wait staff to cleaning staff to butlers. Ports were interesting.
Entertainment was poor in general. The cruise director, "Julie," I think, was friendly, but awful. Once she announced that she had nothing planned and ship's personnel saved her life by doing a show. Another time she announced the entertainment only cost a few hundred dollars. A local show was awful. A passenger talent show was low end--and not good. The comedian/magician was very good. The female singer was very good with a dated repertoire. The orchestra's repertoire was also dated. Before shows the orchestra played for dancing. Two couples, both with probably an average of 1000 dance lessons, were the only people dancing. Everyone else was intimidated. I know because I tried to get people to get up and dance. Where was Julie? Why didn't she ask people to dance, turn them over to spouses and get more people on the floor? She made TV announcements and appeared to have no clue what she was talking about.
The list of daily activities is deceiving since virtually no one showed up for anything--beside bridge. Even bridge was disappointing because a normal session is 3 1/2 hours. These sessions were two hours, though there was more than enough time to extend them, and only on afternoons at sea, never on port days and never in the evenings. Clearly, Julie knows nothing about bridge. That said, the bridge director was very good. Mah jongg at 11 a.m.? Not a single soul showed up, which I know because I was in the game room playing with friends at 10:30. Julie never even stopped in. There were sets, but no cards, indicating that Julie hadn't taken the time to find out about the game. Bingo? We were lucky to get the minimum of 12 players. Ping pong, etc.? Virtually no one showed up. There were many days at sea and without bridge we would have been bored. I did not go to hear the speaker, who spoke on topics unrelated to the cruise, but was reportedly good.
We had no health issues, but those that did were ripped off by the doctor--$185 to wash off a skinned knee and apply a band aid plus another $185 for the same the next day. A woman had a stomach ache, was given 5 kinds of pills and charged $2000. A woman felt ill during the G.I. epidemic after we left the ship--and was charged.
We were advised in advance that Oceania's tours were 2 to 3 times the cost of privately arranged tours, and mostly arranged our own, all of which we enjoyed. The three we took with Oceania were terrible. The Cochin guide couldn't really be a licensed guide. She had nothing to say and half the trip was riding to and from a boat to cruise and watch people bathe, wash pots and do laundry. The Phuket Thailand trip was a disgrace. We took this because we were supposed to ride elephants. We weren't told until on board that we could not ride and it was too late to make other plans. Instead we got ox cart rides. Yes, climb up, ride a block, see nothing, do nothing, turn around, ride a block, get off. This day was a waste. The Singapore tour could have been so much and yet was so little. And yet, we were able to find excellent guides on our own with no knowledge of the areas whatsoever.
One thing that struck me was that, in contrast to a Regent cruise we took, there was constant conversation about money. People felt nickeled and dimed because alcohol was not included (drinks were costly), and tours were not included (and were costly).
I don't know if we would return. We might if there were more bridge to keep us occupied and a very appealing itinerary. Read Less