Instead of flying home from Europe, we were keen to try and find a cruise that was heading towards Australia. We were lucky enough to find a luxury cruise ship that was doing a ‘relocation cruise.’ For little more than the cost of an airfare, we were therefore able to book our passage on board the luxury ship ‘Celebrity Solstice’ for 12 wonderful nights out of Dubai. – Heaven.
As well as one night in Dubai, we were able to visit Muskat Oman, Cochin India, Port Klang Malaysia and Singapore. In between we stayed in our luxury ‘stateroom,’ dined on magnificent food and took part in lots of fun activities.
Having tasted the luxury life available on board cruise ships (search Venice cruise for details), we are certain that cruises will always be a part of our travels in the future. On the sort of cruise we were on, it is very economical! This is because we did not have to pay any additional airfares and were basically on the way home.
As well as getting a great cruise on a magnificent ship, we also received:
- Superb food, around the clock
- Access to three swimming pools, whirlpools and deck-chairs
- Heaps of bars and lounges
- A casino, with Texas Holdem Poker
- A great gym, half court asketball
- An excellent show, every night, with top class entertainment
- Lots of other activities including games, trivia
- Acres of real lawn on the top deck, for crochet, bocce & golf putting.
- A chance to meet lots of like-minded travellers
- On board library, films, talks, game-shows
Muskat, Oman was an interesting port city. The sea-shore area has been nicely developed and it was fun to wander around the town. There are lots of shops in the nearby bazaar and a few interesting mosques and local buildings. The salespeople are very passive compared to Egypt.
Cochin, India was a real highlight. Having spent time in the golden triangle of Delhi, Jaipur and Agra on a previous trip, it was interesting to compare it to Cochin. Cochin wasn’t as hectic, but over 2000 cruise passengers offloading still makes an impact. Many passengers stick to the shore excursions provided by the boat, but we always like to do things privately. You typically save 70% by doing it this way and you are free to take as little or as much time in each place as you like. We shared a taxi with Danny and Lily off the ship and did the ‘backwaters’ on the first of our 2 days in Cochin.
Our ‘2 level boat’ featured a roof you could sit on for its 2nd level, but we had the boat to ourselves and really enjoyed all the sights. We saw villagers washing, boating, fishing, tending to their ducks and going about village life. Very relaxing.
The following day we checked out the local sights around Cochin, via another shared taxi, with the same driver. This included churches, mosques and the famous Chinese fishing nets. It was interesting wandering along the shore-line. We even spotted local cricket games in progress. My favourite visit was the meat market where the local butchers killed their animals on the spot: very fresh, but the doe-eyed expressions on the decapitated goats’ heads were somewhat off-putting.
Port Klang, Malaysia was a bit of a disaster. There were major delays due to two accidents on the road leading from the port, and no taxis due to the blockage. Even the official shore excursions were late back to the ship, so departure was delayed by more than an hour. Some independent travellers were unable to make their planned trips into Kuala Lumpur, but having spent two weeks there on a previous trip, we weren’t too fussed.
Our final stop was the very clean and modern city state of Singapore. We disembarked at the impressive new cruise centre. It was then off to find Rusi and Umesh’s apartment where we would be staying.
And the overall cruise experience? Fantastic! Lots of fun, lots of great food and we met many interesting people from a range of countries.