In Spring 2018, three cruise lines, Azamara, Crystal and Oceania, each have 18-day cruises and the itineraries include stops in Yangon, Phuket, Mumbai, Colombo, and Cochin.
The question is which line has the best trip.
Azamara is the newest of the cruise lines that will be reviewed and has the most inconsistent reviews. Loyalist to the brand, swear by the AzAmazing Evenings, the smaller ship size, the service and the white party. Others have been less than impressed with the size of the rooms, the age of the ships and the branding of luxury.
Azamara Cruises is part of the Royal Caribbean brand. This line is more inclusive. Included with the price of the cruise is:
- Select standard spirits, international beers and wines
- Bottled water, soft drinks, specialty coffees and teas
- Self-service laundry
- Shuttle service to and from port communities, where available
- Concierge services for personal guidance and reservations
The Azamara Journey cruise sails on April 8, 2018, to the Indian Ocean.
|SUN 8-APR||Singapore, Singapore||Embark||5:00 pm|
|MON 9-APR||Port Klang (Kuala Lumpur), Malaysia||Docked||8:00 am||6:30 pm|
|TUE 10-APR||Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia||Docked||8:00 am||6:00 pm|
|WED 11-APR||Phuket, Thailand||Tendered||8:00 am||2:00 pm|
|THU 12-APR||At Sea||Cruising|
|FRI 13-APR||Yangon (Rangoon), Myanmar (Burma)||Docked||9:00 am|
|SAT 14-APR||Yangon (Rangoon), Myanmar (Burma)||Docked|
|SUN 15-APR||Yangon (Rangoon), Myanmar (Burma)||Docked||6:00 pm|
|MON 16-APR||At Sea||Cruising|
|TUE 17-APR||At Sea||Cruising|
|WED 18-APR||At Sea||Cruising|
|THU 19-APR||Colombo, Sri Lanka||Docked||7:00 am||4:30 pm|
|FRI 20-APR||Kochi, India||Docked||1:00 pm||6:00 pm|
|SAT 21-APR||At Sea||Cruising|
|SUN 22-APR||Mumbai (Bombay), India||Docked||8:00 am||6:00 pm|
|MON 23-APR||At Sea||Cruising|
|TUE 24-APR||At Sea||Cruising|
|WED 25-APR||Dubai, United Arab Emirates||Docked||5:00 pm|
|THU 26-APR||Dubai, United Arab Emirates||Debark|
Pricing starts at $4009 for an inside cabin. One potential drawback of this cruise is the amount of time at sea, 7 days. Another potential drawback is the time in ports like Mumbai and Colombo.
This all-inclusive cruise line has won every award for luxury. Crystal Cruises is known for consistently delivering an exceptional onboard experience with the best entertainment in its class.
Crystal’s all-inclusive cruise features:
- Fine dining in eight elegant and distinct venues
- Six-star service and all gratuities included
- Innovative modern cuisine and globally inspired specialty menus
- 24-hour room service
- Exclusive 360° teak Promenade Deck with sweeping views
- Fitness Center with state-of-the-art equipment
- Golf instruction with PGAinstructors
- Kimonos, Frette bathrobes, and 100% Egyptian cotton linens
- Unlimited fine wines, champagne, and premium spirits
- Crystal Visions® Enrichment Series and interactive Ocean Views™
- Magic Castle® at Sea offering special performances and classes.
On March 28, 2018, Crystal Serenity sails to the Indian Ocean.
|Mar 28, Wednesday||Singapore聽(overnight)||Embark pm|
|Mar 29, Thursday||Singapore||5 pm|
|Mar 30, Friday||Kuala Lumpur/Port Kelang, Malaysia||7 am||6 pm|
|Mar 31 – Apr 01||Phuket, Thailand聽(overnight)||4 pm||5 pm|
|Apr 02, Monday||Cruising the Andaman Sea|
|Apr 03 – Apr 05||Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)聽(overnight)||4 pm*||4 pm*|
|Apr 06 – Apr 07||Cruising the Indian Ocean聽(Overnight)|
|Apr 08 – Apr 09||Colombo, Sri Lanka聽(overnight)||12 n||4 pm|
|Apr 10 – Apr 11||Cochin, India聽(overnight)||12 n||6 pm|
|Apr 12, Thursday||Mangalore, India||8 am||6 pm|
|Apr 13, Friday||Cruising the Coast of India|
|Apr 14, Saturday||Mumbai (Bombay), India聽(overnight)||7 am|
|Apr 15, Sunday||Mumbai (Bombay), India||Disembark am|
Pricing starts at $8000 for an outside view cabin. This is the most expensive cruise reviewed. The potential drawback is that with only four sea days will you get to experience all of the onboard amenities.
This cruise line is known as the retiree line although their clientele is no older than Azamara or Crystal. Oceania is also known as the foodie line. Jacques Pepin is the chef and it consistently delivers intriguing menus. But Oceania is also known for having poor onboard entertainment. Unlike the other two cruise lines, gratuities and alcohol are not inclusive.
On April 11, 2018, Oceania Nautica sails to the Indian Ocean.
|Apr 11 Wed||Bangkok, Thailand||Embark 1 PM||5 PM|
|Apr 12 Thu||Ko Samui, Thailand||10 AM||6 PM|
|Apr 13 Fri||Cruising the Gulf of Thailand|
|Apr 14 Sat||Singapore, Singapore||8 AM||8 PM|
|Apr 15 Sun||Cruising the Strait of Malacca|
|Apr 16 Mon||Phuket, Thailand||8 AM||6 PM|
|Apr 17 Tue||Cruising the Andaman Sea|
|Apr 18 Wed||Rangoon, Myanmar||8 AM|
|Apr 19 Thu||Rangoon, Myanmar|
|Apr 20 Fri||Rangoon, Myanmar||1 PM|
|Apr 21 Sat||Cruising Bay of Bengal|
|Apr 22 Sun||Cruising Bay of Bengal|
|Apr 23 Mon||Colombo, Sri Lanka||2 PM|
|Apr 24 Tue||Colombo, Sri Lanka||3 PM|
|Apr 25 Wed||Cochin (Kochi), India||10 AM||6 PM|
|Apr 26 Thu||Mangalore, India||9 AM||6 PM|
|Apr 27 Fri||Goa (Mormugao), India||8 AM||5 PM|
|Apr 28 Sat||Mumbai, India||9 AM|
|Apr 29 Sun||Mumbai, India||Disembark 8 AM|
Pricing is different for this cruise. The cruise-only fares for an inside cabin are $4199. The cruise fare with OLife Choice for an inside cabin is $5699. The Olife Choice fare includes Bonus Savings, Airfare & Unlimited Internet plus either FREE – 8 Shore Excursions, FREE – Beverage Package or FREE -$800 Shipboard Credit.
The potential drawback of this cruise is paying for gratuities. However, I have seen some cruise specialist offer it as an added amenity for booking through them.
Which is the Best?
Oceania is the winner. Crystal and Oceania have a very similar itinerary. The separator is the Crystal experience. However, based on the port intensity of the cruise, I am not convinced that a cruiser would recognize the value of a Crystal cruise. Also, even with an upgrade to a deluxe ocean view cabin, Oceania is almost $3000 cheaper than Crystal. Finally, with only 5 non-consecutive days at sea, cruisers avoid boredom with Oceania’s lackluster onboard activities.