My wife and I chose this cruise for its itinerary, its cost and not the cruise line. We had read a variety of differing reviews and were expecting to have some problems with availability of free drinking water and hot drinks. We encountered no such problems as both were readily available in the self service restaurants throughout the day and late evening. Staff were approachable and friendly given the fact they had to contend with so many different nationalities. Once we had recognised we were aboard a ship reflecting the United Nations we embraced the opportunities to interact with our fellow passengers who reciprocated in a similar manner. Fellow passengers were friendly and it is to be expected with so many people in a confined space there were some occasions when people acted in a discourteous manner. Embarkation was the quickest we had ever experienced and everything was available for us to use once we were aboard. Disembarkation proved to be a similar experience and because we were going to hotel later on in the day we were able to stay onboard enjoying the benefits until no later than 12 noon.
Our outside cabin was comfortable and clean. We had no issues of disturbance from entertainment sounds even though we were below the Concorde plaza which had live music until the early hours. Lifts were plentiful and efficient. However, our cabin was on deck 6a and to get to it we had to climb down a flight of stairs from deck7 which would be challenging for anybody with mobility problems.
Staff easily changed our assigned dining time to our preferred time. The menu choice in restaurants and buffet was varied given the large numbers of diners.The Sinfonia restaurant provided a more relaxed environment for breakfast and you were able to order items from a menu additional to the buffet. On our 14 night cruise there were two Gala dinners and dress code was optional, black tie, suit and smart casual. We were not able to find out before embarking on the cruise what the dress code was going to be. Additional to the two formal nights we had a white night and an Italian red white and green night, all of which were optional.
The daily diary,delivered late evening, was full of the days activities, timings and venues. We participated in some and watched others entertain us and fellow passengers as is usual when cruising. Entertainment in the the theatre included a variety of genres and overall it provided a pleasant experience.
Visiting the Seychelles for 2 days enabled us on the first day to tour the Island using the local buses from the central bus station in Victoria for 7 rupees per journey. On the second day we used the services of one of the many tour touts ,outside the port gates, to provide us with a days tour to to the marine reserve, Moyenne Island, snorkelling and Creole meal for 90 euros each, which was cheaper than the cruise line.
During our 3 days in Madagascar we used the excellent services of Madagascar Excursions to provide us with 3 excursions offered by the cruise line but at a much reduced price. In all the ports we visited taxis were available to negotiate a price for an excursion and we heard of no one being disappointed by using them.
In Reunion Island we chose to hire a car from Avis, who have a pickup location five minute walk from the cruise terminal.The location also provides rentals from Budget. We chose to tour Reunion using a car because it gave us greater freedom of choice. We booked the car knowing we had to find overnight parking which we were pleased to find was available in the cruise terminal char park.
In Mauritius we secured the services of Mauritius taxis, operated by a Mr.Charles, to provide us with an 8 hour tour of the south of the island for 83 euros between 3 persons. Both Mad’Ex tours and Mauritius taxis can be contacted by email.
Overall we thoroughly enjoyed the islands we visited acknowledging we have only had a snapshot of them.