Stayed 2 nights pre curise at the Mariott City Wall Beijing, lovely hotel. Did Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and Great Wall at Mutiyanu all the same day. On reflection we probably should have stayed an extra night, doing the Square, Forbidden City, etc on one day and the Great Wall the next day giving us more time at the Wall.
Tianjin the port for Beijing is about a 2.5 hour coach journey. We heard one or two horror stories about people arranging their own transfers. Don't go there! Embarkation was effortless, soon on board watching a Paul McCartney Concert on the big movie screen. Cool beer in hand.
Second stop Nagasaki, which turned out to be our favourite port. We did the walking tour which was very interesting and informative, ie Ground Zero, Atomic Bomb Museum. But there was nothing you couldn't do on your own with the minimum of research or a little advice from the Tourist Info at the port building. There was also a money exchange there. If you do nothing else in Nagasaki, don't miss the sail away. We had a high school band and dancers turn out to playH, along with hundreds of locals to wave goodbye, very emotional. Then as the ship sailed under a huge bridge there were lots of people lined up waving us off.
Missed out on Shanghai due to bad weather (bad news). Good news we got an overnight stay and an extra day in Hong Kong. If you only have one day in Hong Kong, would recommend the Ho Ho (hop on hop off) bus which takes you virtually everywhere, including peak tram and star ferries. HK is very easy!
Vietnam quite difficult to do your own thing, in fact Princess would only let you take their own shuttle into Ho Chi Min City. We did the tunnels excursion which was excellent, very interesting adding a different perspective. Very hot!!
In Singapore, Princess provided a shuttle service from port to centre. Very easy to do your own thing here with a little effort and using the Ho Ho bus.
Everything we encountered on the ship was superb. We opted for anytime dining, having said that we ended up going to the Sante Fe Dining room every night. We had two excellent waiters, friendly but super efficient. Food was delicious. We did the wine package which saved a lot of money, but towards the end of the cruise, choice got a bit limited. The staff on board were excellent, friendly but not over-familiar.
We now ask ourselves, did we pick the best ship and crew and spoil ourselves for any future cruises or are all the ships in the Princess fleet as good as this one?
We finished the cruise spending 3 days in Bangkok, where we did a particularly memorable trip to the Bridge on the River Kwai (we booked this tour back in the UK). The tour included the War Museum and a train journey along the banks of the River which followed the route of the original railway.
We have booked another cruise with Princess, this time to the Caribbean. If it's as good as this one we will be more than pleased.