On the 18th of june we flew to honk kong to begin a 16 night tour of the far east. transfer and embarkation were smooth and efficient. Our cabin steward... Rey ...introduced himself to us immediately and kept our cabin immaculately clean and fresh during the whole 16 days, although we never saw him once in the cabin!!
Our costa card and dining table number were waiting for us on arrival..we were on the second sitting and as we had arrived rather late went straight to dinner. We were seated with a couple from Northern ireland and a couple from Wales ..we all hit it off straight away and spent a lot of time together during the cruise..this I find is the advantage of arranged seating at night..everybody can do their own thing during the day and at night discuss the days events. The dinner and service were superb and the staff could not do enough for you.
The cross over to manila was rough and a lot of full plates of food were left at lunchtime as gradually even the strong succumbed to the sway of the sea. This however was the only bad crossing on the whole of the trip.
Dizzy from australia had written a very informative few pages on this trip and the information given was excellent and mainly we followed the tips and saved ourselves a fortune.
MANILA..we took the shuttle bus to Robinson mall and inside changed currency to philipino pesos and after a taxi to the market (near the church.cost ..about 2 dollars) .where we spent most of the day.This is by far the cheapest place on the whole cruise , and i urge you to buy all your presents here sunglasses watches clothes hats etc are available here for very little money. The people here are very friendly and not pushy with sales as they were in other places. We sampled all the local drinks and snacks available and then found a street restaurant to eat ..about 8 euros for two people.Dont order a large bowl of soup there is enough for an army!! We then hired a cycle taxi back to the shopping mall and felt very guilty having two young lads cycling and pushing two fat lumps in the back for 20 minutes ..cost 4 euros .we took the lovely air-conditioned coach back to the ship. ps buy cigarettes here if you are a smoker ..they are very very cheap.
BORNEO..no need for taxis or coaches here ..turn right at the port exit and 20 minutes along you hit the town centre ..not much to see or do here ..we spent most of the time in the markets again drinking the local coconut and mango drinks ..once again very friendly people. We hooked up with a couple here and visited the museum mosque and siek temple( don`t bother)
BRUNEI ..very interesting ..once again took the local transport into town ..takes about 45 minutes ..cost 2 dollars...leave port and turn left at the roundabout for the purple buses you will see them ..here we visited the beautiful mosque and then walked to the jetty where we found a guy who took us on a fascinating boat trip to see the proboscis monkeys and his lovely house in the water village ..absolutely enthralling...all for 20 euros . i wished we had visited the royal regalia museum but forgot about it , after such an exciting trip and lunched in the market instead ..cost 1 dollar each. we took the purple bus again back to the ship..what a fabulous day .....
SINGAPORE ... very modern ..not really to my liking. though i would like to go back again having done more research we spent most of our time in china town and little india.
SAIGON ..we had a short time her and could have done with longer ..took the shuttle bus to rex hotel. we were greeted by lots of people offering taxis etc and one charming boy who had polio , selling books ..i didnt buy one off him and have felt very guilty and mean ever since .we then wandered round. very pushy sales here and annoying. we visited the war museum here ..very interesting. Bought a couple of jade bangles her on the street corner going to the market for 5 dollars each..far better price than the market.
DANANG..make a list of all the places you want to visit here and then get a taxi or mini bus from inside the port ..tell the driver where you want to go ..and agree a price for the whole visit. we visited marble mountain and hoi an and wished we had gone to my son ..bit didn`t ..still next time... on the way back stopped at the beautiful beach ..what a sight ..then to the market in danang where we had the spiciest soup ever ...
HALANG bay...very interesting buy pearls here ..it is the best place. here we were propositioned a few times for sex ..if it hadn`t been so hot i might have considered it. here we took a boat trip across to see the caves 10 dollars each very slow trip across and rather pointless as the same trip you have already done on the tender boat try and see the grotto ..we didnt..this is a very interesting stop and the scenery is spectacular.
HONG KONG ..once again very modern ..not really my taste ..do take a tram -ride though through the town , and get off wherever you want..costs next to nothing.
ALL IN ALL A FABULOUS TRIP, which i would repeat again doing the things i failed to do ..do tip the crew on the boat , in their hands though as they are very dedicated and paid very little, get the x1 package by calling costa direct, and try and do as many excursions yourself as you can