We have never been to the Far East before and so were very excited about this HAL cruise. We made excellent use to the CC forum and booked all our trips as part of our 51 strong CC group. We found the forum invaluable and made many friends on our numerous trips.
We flew out to Hong Kong and spent an extra day exploring this fascinating city. Embarkation was very chaotic and as previous reviews have stated the visa process paper the most complicated l have ever seen! You do only need group visas if you are not staying over night anywhere. This will save you loads.
Ship is very comfortable and cabin spacious. I especially liked the amount of room in the bathroom. We were worried about being so far aft and wondered if we would hear engine noise. I'm pleased to report that except for 1 night when it was rough and the Captain had his foot down we heard nothing. It was also very handy for stairs to the LP deck at the back.
Crew without exception were wonderful and seemed to have time to interact with passengers. The best crew on any ship we have sailed on. Food was very good, ample, hot and tasty. We did not however feel the Pinnacle Grill was worth the extra 50 USD. The steaks were massive and just too much for us. Maybe we just choose wrong on the night. Entertainment was very poor and the worst we've had on any major cruise line. This was the one thing HAL should work on otherwise everything else was excellent.
Itinerary was great - full of fascinating ports:
Halong Bay - easy to arrange on the day. 4 hours is enough and the caves are really worth seeing. It was a wonderful hot sunny day here which l am told is very rare. We went with 20 other CCs and booked a whole junk with transport to and from the pier for 20 USD each with a guide
Saigon - arranged in advance with CCs. Wonderful day out especially enjoyed the water puppets and the sight of all the bikes I think this was 65 USD each