Nautica Cruise Review by Annie1959: Delightful!
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The adventure started in finding the right cruise terminal in Singapore -- there are two, and our cab driver got it right the second time. But cabs in Singapore are cheap, so no harm, no foul. A very large Holland America ship was boarding at the same time, so the queue seemed to wend its way for miles until we saw the Nautica personnel holding their signs up. We bypassed the queue completely, and breezed through the embarkation process like rock stars.
Our inside room was larger than we had experienced on Princess. We were able to maneuver around one another without choreography (You Stand There While I Move Here, cha-cha-cha). Lots of storage, and a shower that you could actually turn around in. Really comfortable bed, and nice squishy pillows (unlike the foam logs you so often find.) Four electrical plugs, 2 European round prongs, and 2 American, with one of the American devoted to the obligatory night-light -- bring universal adapters if you travel with electronics. More
Loved the ambience on the ship, with the emphasis on adult travel. And really loved the small (600 passenger) ship.
The food was uniformly excellent.
The staff was lovely.
The only hiccup in our cruise was dense fog in Canton. We parked about 24 nautical miles from port waiting to get in, and when it was evident that the fog wouldn't lift, we weighed anchor and headed to Hong Kong. Our pre-paid tours were refunded and we enjoyed another day at sea.
Would i go again? Yep, in a heartbeat.
Best comment heard: "Can't they clean up the garbage near their shacks?" Less
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Cabin review: F8014
Great closets, cleaning crew staged equipment next to our door, room 8014, but it wasn't a problem.
Port and Shore Excursions
Ayuddhaya Walking Tour
A long drive for a short tour. We arrived and took golf carts around the palace. Wanted to see more ruins and historical sites, and were disappointed.
Compares (to us) with the Sistine Palace for jaw-dropping beauty. Go!! Very, very crowded, especially on the eve of the lunar new year
Great tour, lots of history, interesting.
Be aware that the "Hanoi Hilton" is largely devoted to French atrocities against the Vietnamese, and that only one room is devoted to the spectacular treatment given to the US POWs. They are shown to be so happy & healthy that they are decorating a Christmas tree. I almost threw up.
Great cruise among spectacular scenery for about 1/2 the cost of the cruise line's tour.
Presidential palace was interesting. Ho hum on the Notre Dame cathedral & post office. Lacquerware shopping stop was interesting & expensive.
Cu Chi Tunnels
Again, hard to give this a rating, as an American. They won, they get to write the history. Very interesting, and heard the first comments from my Vietnam veteran say that the nearby shooting sounded like what he experienced. A must see for any devotee of history.
Best bet -- 1 hour Thai massage for $7. No, I didn't leave out zeros. $7. Mediocre shopping in the port town. A nice restaurant about 3 blocks in with free wifi. Lovely beaches further afield.
I don't know how to rate this, because we weren't expecting a lot. The city-center market was fascinating, because you got to see how a middle-class grows and thrives. Someone has to catch the live seafood, then someone has to buy it, then someone has to rent the space in the market and sell it to the locals. Thus the evolution of the economy. What first seems poverty turns into a thriving lifestyle. Be aware that there are amputee beggars lying and beseeching. We have so much, and they have nothing, so dropping a dollar or two isn't a big deal. Except that you get noticed.
The tuk-tuk drivers are the hungriest people on the planet. We took the bus into town,and the local drivers zoomed along side us and (seemingly) picked out us as targets. Once in town, they didn't let us go. Ever. One followed us into the market, and we had to wind our way in and out of the stalls to try to lose him. When we finally thought we were rid of him, he showed up again, trying to give us a tour. I finally gave in, and let him drive me back to the ship for about $10l
My husband was bound and determined to get a massage in every port. When he asked the tuk-tuk driver about it, he was taken to a brothel. Nope. Next stop, a place that wasn't very clean. Nope. Final stop, a place with a blind masseur who was wonderfull
We stayed at The Scarlet Hotel near Chinatown, and loved it. The Maxwell Street Hawkers Market (made famous by Anthony Bourdain) is across the street, and we ate there frequently and cheaply!
There are two cruise terminals in SIN, and some taxi drivers aren't fluent in English, so make sure you know which one you're leaving from.