Azamara, Oceania and Crystal Cruises: Indian Ocean 2018

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

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
  • Gratuities
  • 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.

VOYAGE ITINERARY

 
DATE PORT/CITY ACTIVITY ARRIVAL DEPART
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.

Crystal

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.

VOYAGE ITINERARY

DATE PORTS ARRIVAL DEPART
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.

Oceania

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.

VOYAGE ITINERARY

DAY PORT ARRIVE DEPART
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.

 

 

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