We cruised on Celebrity's Millennium on our first trip to South East Asia. We have cruised Celebrity before. I tend to be a glass half full rather than half empty person. The whole trip was an amazing experience. We had a couple of days in Hong Kong before the cruise and a couple in Singapore after the cruise. We flew out of Colorado Springs through Chicago. The flights were long and pretty uncomfortable in economy.
We really enjoyed the ship. The Solsticization added some nice things without ruining the things that we liked. The ship is showing its age in spots, but on the whole is very well maintained. As usual we saw people cleaning everywhere all the time. The service was great. The food was good. We ate in the Main Dining Room at our assigned late seating about half the time. We had a couple of overnights and some late nights in port the other evenings. We had a fun experience for dinner in QSine. The only shows we attended were the production shows which were very good. The cabin was in good shape with plenty of storage. Celebrity seems to have worked out all the problems that their earlier cruises in the area experienced. We had no problems with the Vietnam visa or picking up our passports for getting off the ship. We wouldn't hesitate to book the Millennium again.
We stayed at the Park Hotel in Hong Kong which was fine with clean, well furnished rooms. We didn't eat there since all they had was a buffet. We enjoyed the lounge in the lobby. The location is convenient to many of the sightseeing areas. There are lots of restaurants in the area; many of them seemed to cater to locals and Chinese tourists. Most did have English translations on the menus, but the food was definitely local. We took a cab from the airport, but the express train and shuttle would be cheaper and almost as convenient.
Disembarkation in Singapore went smoothly, although we did have to wait for a cab. We stayed at the Fairmont which was great with wonderful service and a really good location in the Colonial area across from Raffles. The Fairmont is directly connected to the Raffles City Shopping Center which has lots of shops and a huge food court. We took a cab to the airport when we left.
The ports on this cruise are all well worth visiting. For us, they were places we had read about and felt privileged to see. Hong Kong and Singapore we toured on our own on foot and using the MTR. They are very different cities. Hong Kong feels more Chinese with a touch of England. Singapore is more British and very sophisticated. Both have lots to see and are worth 2 or 3 days each.
We used Ann Tours for the ports in Viet Nam and were very pleased with their service. Hanoi and Saigon are both huge cities with heavy traffic including lots of motor scooters and motorcycles. Both have a number of historic sights and temples to visit. Saigon feels a little more modern than Hanoi. Hanoi feels more Communist. Halong Bay is gorgeous. We only had a half day for a junk tour, but it was very worthwhile. At Chan My we really enjoyed our visit to Danang and Hoi An. Hoi An is very touristy but fun. We did a tour into the Mekong Delta which was great, We felt like we got away from the tourist area a little.
We used Wandee in Bangkok. Bangkok was overwhelming with the heat and crowds. The Palace and Royal Temple were beautiful. We also attended the Siam NIramit Show which was great, like Cirque de Soleil on steroids. Skip dinner and just book the show. The floating market was lots of fun.
I recommend the cruise itinerary and the ship whole heartedly. You do need to be able to get around on your own. The ports are not handicap accessible. Be prepared for heat and crowds and an amazing experience.