Having never been on a cruise before and being assured by everyone that we would become cruise "junkies" and just love the experience we set off with a very positive attitude. We flew to Singapore to spend a couple of nights prior to boarding the ship. Embarkation was to be at 11.00 and so we arrived at the terminal at 10.30 to find the place already full of people. Being concierge class and knowing that entailed priority embarkation (it said so in the blurb!) we assumed we would board quickly. First mistake. We didn't have a number! We couldn't be given a number as there were none left. Some people had been at the terminal from 5am so they were given priority because they'd waited so long. Priority embarkation?
Eventually reached our cabin to be met by an exceptionally helpful and cheery Javier who was to be our "cabin boy" for the duration of the cruise. Top marks for a great job Javier!
For the most part the people we encountered, both staff and fellow passengers were very friendly and very helpful. Dealing with the public is not easy and most of the staff did this with smiles on their faces.
The greatest disappointment was the food AND the coffee. We ate in the dining room most nights and the food, although sounding fantastic on the menu, was, for the most part pretty bland and lacking taste.
The cafe (buffet) was the same. Food was often cold, tasteless and unappealing. There was little variation and even the pizza menu didn't change the whole time we were cruising. The coffee was undrinkable. As one of the waiters said when I spoke to him about it, the coffee doesn't have time to brew. First thing we did when we got to Hong Kong was have a coffee!
The tours we did were great and well worth the money we spent. Yes we could have done them cheaper had we organized them ourselves but, having never been on a cruise before it was great to have everything organized for us. Will probably do it differently next time. Only down side was being moored so far from the major cities as this made for very long days sitting in a bus. This was especially so for Vietnam. 3.5 hours to travel to Hanoi was interesting on the way there but having to do it again to return to the ship seemed like such a waste of time. The tour guide spoke excellent English and gave a very insightful commentary on Vietnam and communism which helped to pass the time.
All in all our first cruising experience was interesting and very enjoyable. As for becoming a cruise 'junkie' the jury is still out!