Singapore to Hong Kong – Outstanding Cruise - February 2017: Celebrity Millennium Cruise Review by BSinPNS
Overall Member Rating
Singapore to Hong Kong – Outstanding Cruise - February 2017
About us. Active 70-somethings who enjoy seeing different parts of the world and like the convenience of large ship cruising as a basis for exploring. This was our seventeenth cruise mostly with Celebrity and a few HAL and RCCL thrown in.
We did anytime dining and had the same great wait team, Carmo and Roel, every evening. One day my wife did not feel well and stayed aboard while I went with a group to Hanoi. Both of them were concerned that she was eating alone and one offered to sit with her until it got busy. More She declined, but it was the thought. There were very good menu options every evening that included beef, pork, chicken, fish, lamb, veal and vegetarian. Usually we had to decide between two or three items that we would have liked. French Onion Soup, escargot, and Cesar salad were always available. There was always steak, but there were some additional new items rotating there also. One evening we were very late coming back and had a tasty Indian dish in Oceanview. Of course, Carmo and Roel wanted to know if there was a problem with the menu that evening.
We were in cabin 3114, one of the oceanviews added during a recent yard period. It was in very good condition and had a huge window since it formerly had been part of the conference area. Our room steward, Armando, always greeted us when he saw us and took care of our every need in the room.
Entertainment was very good with three cast shows and a variety of visiting entertainers ranging from singers to magicians. On most sea days, there was usually a matinee performance with two of the guest performers from previous evenings. The seven piece Celebrity orchestra provided live music to accompany all shows in the theatre. We particularly enjoyed guest lecturers, Francis O'Donnell and his presentation Retracing the Steps of Marco Polo and Ken Williams who provided lots of information about the sites we would be visiting. Trivia drew good sized audiences and was challenging. Cruise Director, Mark Western, did a great job coordinating all this and was visible around the ship and willing to talk. Captain’s Club host, Graeme Kelleher, was his usual upbeat talkative self while making the rounds to meet with everyone at Captain’s Club events. We even got to meet his wife, Amy, who is the stage manager onboard.
The ship itself was in superb condition for a piece of steel exposed to salt air for 17 years. The bosuns were busy caring for the exterior, chipping, priming and painting every day. If you wanted to find fault you could search and find some rust (but not much), furnishings that are not the latest style, etc. We really didn't have time for that.
We even found the Guest Relations staff to be friendly and helpful. Since we booked all private excursions, we did not deal with the excursions staff. We arrived early and were cleared early at each port and our travel group were among the first 20 or so off the ship. Even tendering in Halong Bay did not provide any problems with being off first to meet our guides.
Singapore. We arrived three days early and spent a day with Wei, from Indie Singapore touring Chinatown and Kampong Glam, areas we would not have attempted on our own. Singapore is very easy to tour on your own, but we found the insights Wei provided about his country and citizens quite valuable. The subway (MRT) is super-efficient with trains running every two minutes during rush hours and slowing to 4 to 5 minutes in off peak times.
Bangkok. Four of us toured with BKK Tours and had a great experience. Ms. Air was our guide and again provided an abundance of information. I am not sure how we saw so much in just two days including a 2.5 hour transit to/from the port. With the exception of our hotel, breakfast and dinner, everything was included – two boat rides, tuk-tuk ride, multiple temples and markets and so much more. Total cost was less than $200 per person. We pre-booked one night with the Hilton Millennium.
Vietnam – Saigon, Hue, Halong Bay, Hanoi. All booked with Handspan Tours. Transit time from the port to the cities ranged from 2.5 to 4+ hours each way. Driving in Vietnam is the craziest I have experienced. Most signs are advisory in nature (or at least that is how the locals view it). The law of gross tonnage applies – the bigger vehicle has the right of way even when passing with oncoming traffic. Be prepared or save your eye mask from the flight.
Hong Kong. Booked two days of tours and post-cruise hotel through China Odyssey, a private Chinese tour company that we used previously in Shanghai and Beijing. They provided Ms. Ceci Mak, an excellent guide who again provided lots of side information and visits to unusual places off the normal tourist route.
Guilin, China. We had been told of the beauty of the Li River Valley and rice terraces so we booked a three day trip from HKG to Guilin. China Odyssey provided all the arrangements including air travel, hotels, and an exceptional guide, Robin Shao.
As you can tell it was a wonderful trip which we will talk about for years. Please feel free to ask questions and I will do my best to respond. Less
Cabin review: 063114 Ocean View 6
One of the oceanviews added during a recent yard period. It was in very good condition and had a huge window since it formerly had been part of the conference area. Our room steward, Armando, always greeted us when he saw us and took care of our every need in the room.Read All Ocean View 6 (06) Reviews >>
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