This cruise is running between Dubai and Singapore and the reverse during January and February and into March. I believe the ship will then shortly go into dock for a complete makeover before returning to service. I think this is the first time they have done this route.
We had saved up our pennies and booked a suite and I cannot speak too highly of the food and service we received during the cruise. Our cabin was kept spotlessly clean by Victoria and our butler Bart could not do enough for us. The food and service in Luminae was outstanding and while you tend to remember the names of the extrovert ones such as Rosebud and Mercy while there is a whole team keeping it going day after day. We have been with Celebrity many times over the last 15 years. Also, the ship was in excellent condition considering her age and was kept spotlessly clean throughout the cruise.
We took this cruise because we wanted a taste India with a place of tranquillity to retreat to every night and Constellation provided that. However, you need to study the route and port timings very carefully and be aware that these change for the Singapore to Dubai route which at first glance are the preferable. My comments relate to the Dubai / Singapore route only.
Most rolls call’s for Indian cruises spend the bulk discussing the India visa procedures. We had no problem in obtaining ours although producing the photograph took time. All the ports listed are covered by the Evisa scheme which has not always been the case.
Celebrity have taken the route and squashed it into 15 days resulting in a number of half days at ports. Often arriving in the middle of the day in temperatures of 30 C plus and where it gets dark at around 6 pm. Many of the stops are not tourist destinations and you may find yourself over 5/ 6 hours driving 4 hrs with just over and hour at the destination. On the Indian coastline you have the Portuguese, The Dutch and finally the British all leaving their mark so you will be shown examples of houses and churches in all those destinations. These are some of the issues we found, which you may find helpful
Dubai . Leaving at 4pm on Day 2 gives little time to do much. The HOHO buses do not route through the port, although it might appear they do There is a feeder bus from the port to the Burj area before you can join the routes and unless you have a clear two days the ticket price is not worth it. We took a taxi to the “Creek area” nearby for a couple of hours which still retains some history. If you want to do the Burj then take a ships tour, but there is mainly an awful lot of sand to see once you are up there.
Muscat – Arrived midday. There is absolutely nothing to do in Muscat in the afternoon. The big draw is the Mosque which is open in the mornings only so do not get taken in by the ships tour which is a stop and view.
Mumbai – We were part of a group of 5 couples who hired a private guide with a small coach and had a fantastic time over the two days and that was the highlight of the cruise for us. However Mumbai is very “busy” place and I do not think you would see much trying to do it yourself. The down side is that Mumbai is very polluted and one day it obscured the sun, so if you have chest or breathing issues take care. Om Namaha Shivaya Pranav looked after us and I give him a very strong recommendation.
Goa / Mormagao - There are lengthy taxi rides to beaches, we had a group tour to the local town and a spice plantation.
Cochin – Hot ! took the Grand tour with a local guide , interesting has one of the oldest synagogues in the world which will have importance for some. I am told the "Houseboat trips " were a two hour drive to the starting point.
Colombo - Half a day and hot. Spent a lot of time driving to a lowland tea factory. Short time at destination, very interesting and we had tea and cake on the lawn. Arrived back at the ship in the dark.
Phuket – Half a day. Was here twenty years ago and much has changed. You tender here and the jetty is on the south side of the beach / town. If you take a ship’s tours you have to walk some distance from the jetty to a coach park and at the end walk back to the jetty. The traffic is gridlocked. We did not finish the tour as we lost someone, and it then got dark. Suggest you do your own thing.
Singapore – Wished we had stayed on. There is the highest indoor waterfall in the world and complex now open at the airport where you can pass the time at before the flight.
We got the impression that Celebrity might not do this route in another year, because of the Admin at the Ports. You have to get a copy of your visa stamped by a customs officer each time you disembark and don't even think about loosing it.
You will need an entry permit to visit Sri Lanka which you can get online
Hope some of this helps