1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2015
First i want to say "Thank you!' to everyone on the previous world cruise segment who cancelled this portion of the cruise, which allowed my wife and I the chance of a lifetime at a wonderful price! Seems Princess changed many ... Read More
First i want to say "Thank you!' to everyone on the previous world cruise segment who cancelled this portion of the cruise, which allowed my wife and I the chance of a lifetime at a wonderful price! Seems Princess changed many of the original ports of call due to the Ebola crisis. Since we didn't know of the original itinerary anyway, the trip and price were perfect for us. The Ocean Princess (nee Tahitian Princess) is on its last legs as a Princess cruise ship. It is being sold to MS Cruises in early 2016. Even still, the cabins and public areas were kept up and we very much enjoyed our time on this small ship. The staff and crew were marvelous, especially our cabin steward and the singers and dancers who doubled as the Cruise Director staff. Even with 16 sea days, we were never bored. Dining was excellent, but a little repetitive the last two weeks. The nitpicks are the nickle and diming that occurs now since Carnival took over. Many ports had shuttles that charged $8 or Euros to get from the port to the downtown area and another $8 to get back - ridiculous! These should be free or very minimal. Embarkation was difficult due the South African immigration checks that were needed, and some port stops (Namibia in particular) were ridiculous due to an inexperienced and overwhelmed immigration staff. The port stops were both interesting, adventurous and, in one case, down-right fascinating. Stops included Luderitz and Walvis Bay, Namibia. For my money, we could have skipped Luderitz and made Walvis Bay an overnight stop so we could have experienced the Namib desert dunes at Sunset and Sunrise. The dunes are the draw here and they were more, much more, than i expected them to be. Our choice of Sandwich Harbour 4x4 (off ship tour company) was perfect and we had a wonderful time. Luanda, Angola was an adventurous stop. This was a first for the Princess line and, despite all the hype and warnings from the port lecture, we found it a nice place to visit. It is a former communist-aligned country and they were devastated by a very long civil war. Now it is an Oil Oligarchy and the downtown area is booming, slowly pushing the slum areas out of the city and building high-rises everywhere. There are not many colonial (it was a Portuguese colony) buildings left due tot he war, but the old fort (now a war museum) was very nice. I wouldn't return, but I found it a very interesting stop and enjoyed it. Sao Tome/Principe is another former Portuguese colony of the coast of West Coast of the African Congo area. When the Portuguese pulled out in 1975, the economy took a tumble and it is just now regaining its footing as a tourist destination. Still riddled with poverty, many eco-resorts are being built and the Taiwanese Government is investing heavily. The US maintains a (secretive) communications area on the island. A nice day stop and the only tender port. Our crossing the Equator ceremony was postponed due to rain, but they held it a few days later and it was a lot of fun. Cape Verde is a misnomer of an island nation as they have been suffering a drought for the last decade and the main island (Mindelo) hasn't had a drop of rain in 18 months - even the palms are dying. However, we had a wonderful (off ship0 tour and, like Sao Tome, they, with Dutch and Eurozone help, are bringing the island up to tourist standards. Water will be a problem, though. Tenerife in the Canary Islands was a very nice stop. We just flagged a cab and went for a ride around the island. Madeira is absolutely gorgeous! I'd stay a week here the next visit. Casablanca and Rabat in Morocco were great stops. Very enjoyable tour as well. Ceuta, Spain was our first ship excursion - overpriced and crowded with a couple silly stops (a waterpark, really???) But the guide was nice and after the non-walkers left us, we had a good tour of the fortress. Malaga is excellent and we highly recommend the "free" walking tour offered from the square. Lisbon is always a great port (we have been many times as we have friends who live near there), but Princess really needs to plan a longer stay there. However it is one of the best sail-aways you will ever experience. Rouen France was a fantastic treat as we sailed up the Seine and actually ported right in the City not at Le Havre, so we had a bonus river cruise on the way out. We again took a ship tour to Giverny and Monet's gardens and home. A great guide, but again an overpriced, overcrowded group function. We made port in Dover and went our separate ways. There are a lot of things to like about a small (800 passenger) ship - more ports and less tenders, getting to know your fellow passengers and crew. There are some things that don't work - 24-hour service is nearly non-existent. Less choices for activities, bars, snacks etc. Overall, this small ship experience was excellent and we will miss having this option in the Princess fleet. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014
This cruise offered unusual ports. I was on the last segment from Capetown South Africa to Southampton England. Our ports were: Capetown, Luderitz and Walvis Bay in Namibia, Luanda, Angola, two islands in Cape Verde, three islands in the ... Read More
This cruise offered unusual ports. I was on the last segment from Capetown South Africa to Southampton England. Our ports were: Capetown, Luderitz and Walvis Bay in Namibia, Luanda, Angola, two islands in Cape Verde, three islands in the Canaries, Agadir, Casablanca, and Tangier Morocco, Cadiz and Vigo, Spain and Lisbon, Portugal. As usual the service on Holland America was excellent. There were only 900 passengers on this last leg of voyage which basically circumnavigated Africa for 88 days. With so few passengers, the crew was even more attentive than usual. Many cancelled this leg of the voyage due to the Ebola virus. But, safety first, Holland America cancelled port calls in countries anywhere near the outbreak. The weather was perfect throughout the cruise. During sea days we were kept busy with excellent lectures on topics concerning ocean travel, its luxuries and travails and on wild life. The usual crafts, dancing and bridge activities were popular. You could even attend computer classes. The only portion of the voyage that did not measure up to Holland American standards were the shows put on by the HAL singers and dancers. Otherwise the entertainment was very good. We're told Holland America will not be offering the circumnavigation of Africa cruise in 2015, but Princess has a comparable cruise on its website. Bill Reynolds   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2012
We joined the Silver Whisper 30 days into the World Cruise which had started in Fort Lauderdale. Our parents had been on board for all that time and we were glad to be on this trip with old hands as many friendships had already been ... Read More
We joined the Silver Whisper 30 days into the World Cruise which had started in Fort Lauderdale. Our parents had been on board for all that time and we were glad to be on this trip with old hands as many friendships had already been formed. The ship was unable to dock at the V&A Waterfront as planned. This appears to be due the local authorities having security worries. The working dock is only a 10 minute walk from the Waterfront and a shuttle was provided on the 2 days we were there. We boarded at lunchtime, before the cabin was ready and were welcomed in the Panorama Lounge where we had a coffee. Our cabin had two single beds made up as a good sized double. There is a walk-in wardrobe with plenty of hanging space and drawers and a safe. The bathroom has shower, bath and two basins. Good toiletries are provided and you can choose from three different ranges. There is a balcony with two chairs and a table and a sitting area with large sofa, two more chairs, a table, a desk, fridge and TV. There is also an ipod player. We had a charming butler and stewardess who were around morning and evening and could be contacted easily. The laundry service was excellent and free to us as we have cruised more that 100 days. All the restaurants offer free seating and if you have not already made up a table with friends, Maitre D will do this for you, or you can eat at a table for two. All drinks are included at all times. The Main Dining Room is the most formal of those on offer. The menu is extensive and service excellent. La Terrazza offers a buffet breakfast with egg, waffles, pancakes etc. available or cooked to order. There is a buffet lunch in Terrazza too and Italian dining in the evening. There are about a dozen tables outside this restaurant. The Pool Deck offers light lunches of burgers, grilled fish, a dish of the day, salads and sandwiches. In the evening they do hot rocks where you cook fish and meat to your liking and it is served with jacket potatoes or fries and salads. Anyone may eat anywhere whenever they like. Reservations maybe needed in the evening at La Terrazza and on the deck. Room service is also available 24 hours a day and any dish from the menu of the day can be served. We had two excellent lecturers on board who spoke about the places we were visiting from a political and financial angle. There is a group of five entertainers who put on shows in a low key way after dinner some nights. Soloists also came on board and were excellent. There is the usual mix of bridge (with World class coaches), Trivia, Yoga, Pilates, golf putting, bingo. The trips organised by Silversea are expensive. They do keep groups to a small size when they can and queueing is not something that you ever have to do! In summary, the Silver Whisper is small enough that you feel very much at home and the over-riding feeling of fantastic service is always upheld. The crew and officers are outstanding. Read Less

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