Cruising India and Dubai

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Judy Lyons and Kerry Groves are two colleagues working together who have developed such a strong friendship in recent years that they decided to start travelling together.

The pair has already trekked to several places across the globe, both separately and together, and they’ve recently just returned from a truly eye-opening tour and cruise of India and Dubai.

Judy and Kerry touched down in Dehli and commenced their trip with an eight-day guided tour of India. They were lucky to be part of a very small tour group, only eight people. Also unique to their tour, the group were guided by a female tour guide, Yashaswani Bhayal, one of very few female tour operators in all of India.

In India, Judy and Kerry were blown away by the architecture. Following from two days in Dehli, the group travelled to the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur. Jaipur truly is the pinkest of all cities due to the colour scheme of the buildings. The palace building Hawa Mahal, which translates to Palace of the Winds, was the highlight of Jaipur. An immaculately detailed and literal pink palace, Judy and Kerry were blown away by the detailed architecture and soft tones.

Following from Jaipur, the group stopped briefly at the small town of Karauli before continuing to Agra to see the Taj Mahal.

The Taj Mahal is like a real life postcard and the group were blown away by the design and spotless cleanliness. To avoid damage to the ancient site, tourists were told they were unable to take anything at all into the building with them. Bottled water was provided once inside and everyone had to cover their shoes to protect the marble floor from scuffs. Judy and Kerry spent almost three hours touring the grounds of the Taj Mahal and remarked that it was one of the main highlights of the trip.

After their last day in Agra, the group returned via bus to Dehli, to then fly to Dubai for the cruise portion of their trip.

In Dubai, the pair went on a land rover cruise across the sand dunes. This ‘sand bashing’ was as exciting as it was terrifying, with the small vehicle thrashing up and over the dunes like a rollercoaster.

When it was time to board the cruise, once again, luck struck Judy and Kerry and the pair were fortunate enough to be a part of the maiden voyage of the Royal Caribbean International’s quantum-ultra-class cruise ship, ‘Spectrum of the Sea.’

The ship itself was a marvel. There were three pools, live music, adventure games, boutique shopping (including Gucci, Prada etc), fine dining and so much more. While on board the trip, tourists were treated to a unique performance of a show called Silk Road. Featuring live music, dancing, acrobatics, magic, and even a stage that moved mechanically, the production was a mind-blowing experience unlike anything they’d seen before.

The cruise stopped over at Oman, which they described as being akin to Aladdin square. There were mud brick buildings built into mountains and these extremely narrow roads and an enormous ancient mosque. The whole place felt very beautiful and spiritual.

Next, the cruise stopped over briefly in Bombay and Cochin, India, before continuing on to Penang, Malaysia.

Penang is the cycling capital of the world and the pair loved the feel of the city. Both remarked that they would return to Penang on future travels and were raptured by the obsession with bikes across the street art and city itself.

Following from Penang, the cruise departed for the final destination of Singapore to get ready to fly home.

Judy and Kerry’s tour was organised by Campbell Brayshaw from Flight Centre Shepparton Marketplace.