Our agent did an absolutely first class job in arranging our travel. A few examples:
The real highlights of the trip were the master suite and the diving.
The master suite was everything and more than was advertised. It was simply better in all respects than we had ever imagined, and the pictures do not do it justice. First, there was an abundance of space — more than enough than we could use; my wife was able to hang all of her clothes, a luxury we do not find even in the top hotels in Asia. The sitting room under the windows was very comfortable and ideal for reading or reviewing the daily pictures of life below the waves. There was a giant beanbag chair — two people could easily enjoy it together — and it was so comfortable that there was an issue removing oneself from its sleep-inducing clutches. The king-sized bed was super comfortable and very romantic — ideal for a honeymoon or for a vacation that turns into a honeymoon. We did not try the jacuzzi — although it was inviting — mainly because we were too busy diving, eating, and sleeping. The shower was spacious with plenty of hot water. The room came with two strong air conditioners, and they functioned just as they were supposed to function — we could sleep in cool air and during the day, we could open the port holes and the back windows (how fantastic is that?!?!?) and air out the cabin and enjoy the smells and sounds of the ocean around us. Oh, and all of the other passengers wanted to see our suite, and they were all blown away by the size, the furnishings, and the beauty of the cabin.
The cruise had scheduled four dives a day, except for the first day when we were cruising to the southern part of Raja Ampat (no dives), midway through where we cruising to northern Raja Ampat (three dives), and the final day (two dives) in order for the divers to have 24 hours to de-gas before their flights. On this trip, we lost one more dive due to bad weather and rough seas — no one minded!
The cruise divided the divers into groups of no more than four plus a dive master, and those teams and dive tender assignments remained fixed for the entire trip. My wife was fortunate in that her dive master was the cruise director, and because there were only two other divers in her group, one who took no photographs and one who took only two or three pictures per dive. Also, those two divers skipped many of the dives and so my wife had a one-one dive experience for many dives.
Because of the rain and seas somewhat rougher than normal, the water was not as clear as would normally be the case this time of year. That said, my wife’s pictures are magnificent, so I think we are really just talking about degrees of excellence. There was a good mixture of sea life — larger creatures like mantas and small creatures like pygmy seahorses and nudis. And, there were many instances of schooling fish, reef shark sightings, a lagoon filled with non-stinging jellyfish, and the coral! The coral was absolutely beautiful.
Our experience was excellent, and there is probably nothing more that our travel agent could have done. If there is one thing we would try harder to emphasize in our desire to have really fresh food (especially fresh fish) for the majority of our meals. The cruise's galley was good, but the fare was heavily land-based -- beef and chicken as opposed to fresh fish.
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