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West Africa Coast


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We loved it, although it was a few years ago now and before Silver Cloud became an expedition ship.   Nice combination of sea days and ports.  Plenty of interesting places to visit and we had lovely weather.  Also, the cruise attracted some really interesting people as guests – most of them experienced cruisers with Silversea experience, but skewed rather younger than usual; professional and interesting companions.

 

I can’t locate your cruise on the website, so not sure what the ports are.  We found that the tours were expensive, but there are limited alternatives, and it is normally not easy just to wander around, as some of the ports are a little industrial (others had nicer views). The quality of the tours was OK – none were disastrous. We would highlight some of the Canary Islands, the slave castles in Ghana, the Portuguese San Miguel fort in Luanda, Walvis Bay in Namibia and the lake village in Ganvie, Benin.  The day on Principe was lovely too. Not sure if that is included in this cruise.

 

Limited wildlife (a little in Namibia), the focus is history (including some World Heritage sites) and anthropology.  If you are now on an expedition cruise the experience could be enhanced by the expedition team adn their range of knowledge to transfer in lectures.  Our lecturers were fine, but a little superficial, but that is the norm on classic cruise ships. 

 

I am very used to working in some dodgy parts of Africa, but my companion is not, and was comfortable throughout.  A tiny minority were taken aback at the Africa experience, mostly these were those doing only the second half cruise – those who did the B2B seemed to be more open to the experience.

 

So I would recommend the cruise if you want to be able to experience a whole range of countries that you probably will never otherwise visit, and to do it in some comfort. 

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6 hours ago, never2home said:

We have booked the November/December 2020 cruise from Lisbon to Cape Town.  What are your experiences with ports on the western coast of Africa?  I am trying to decide if this is an itinerary we really should complete.

If you have a look at the two threads on this year’s (2019) World Cruise segment from Cape Town to Lisbon there is plenty of info on a number of the ports. If you have specific questions please ask.

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I did Ghana to Cape Town aboard the Cloud in 2015.  Although I found that trip more than a little gruelling, I am considering Ghana to Lisbon next April which visits Ivory Coast, Liberia and Sierra Leone.  West Africa is a challenge - Paul Theroux called it the 'Cote d'Ordure.'  My blog is here -

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.co.uk/topic/2202390-west-africa-on-the-cloud/

 

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We did Cape Town to Lisbon this past spring on Cloud. Was mostly great. Two back to back cruises actually. Ship's shore excursions were mostly included in the cruise price. Silversea could have provided a lot better Africa experts to lecture and guide us. We did a lot of our own research. We learned a lot and did a lot on this trip. Beware of the itinerary. Ours changed and yours probably will, too. If you have specific questions, I'm open to questions. LittleRedJohn

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Thank you all for your lengthy responses.  I especially agree with the comment about seeing places I probably will never get a chance to see otherwise!  These positive replies make the decision to take the trip much easier.  Again, thank you.

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  • 3 weeks later...

We did a similar itinerary on another line in 2011.  LOVED IT! The main points are as above: these places aren't really ready for mainstream tourism which means that having your creature comforts available on the ship makes it much more "cozy" to see them, and there is a high degree of authenticity to what you see.  I definitely recommend taking organized tours (likely the ship's tours) for security reasons, to avoid anxiety about missing the sailaway, and also because you will be docking at container ports and can't really just get out and wander around (we normally DON'T take ship's tours but were glad we did in countries like Togo and Benin).  Remember the ships will attempt to hire the "best available" tour vehicles and guides, and "best available" will NOT be what you are used to (be prepared for school buses and enthusiastic but heavily accented English in some of the ports).  Ports in Namibia and Ghana are less challenging, but all are culturally fascinating.  Don't give children money or candy, but if you are able to pack some small useful things like soap, pencils and small pads of paper, many children will be very grateful.  (eg. in Benin there is free schooling up to grade 3 only and we saw children using chalk and slates as they do not really have paper or books).

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