As I was unable to enter Fremantle W.A. (AUS) I put Sydney as departure point.I first entertained the idea of a cruise after the breakdown of a 26 year marriage.I needed a break, a new start, should I tour Australia or overseas? but where do I start, who do I contact, what price do I pay and will I enjoy it? Fate played a major part in my decision to cruise as the daily newspaper did a double page spread on cruising, the rest they say is history.
I contacted all the relevant sites and ended up booking 16 nights to Asia sailing from Fremantle aboard the Sun Princess. I arrived at Fremantle about 11.30 am promising myself not to be too eagar to board and then to sit about for hours.I need not of worried, I was onboard in my cabin (my bags arrived about 1 hour later)taking photos and grazing in the buffet before 2pm,amazing. Not only smooth on boarding but also a cabin upgrade to start my first cruise!!
From my first contact with Staff aboard the Sun Princess until I regretfully marched down the gangplank back at Freo 17 days later, I have nothing but praise (more on this later). Sailaway was at about 4.30pm and was amazing and exciting even for a single bloke who at this stage only new his cabin attendants name (Armando). He made me feel relaxed to the point I felt I was a seasoned traveller! Our resident band played each afternoon and after sailaway at each of the ports and ensured relaxing music to listen or dance to.
As space limits me I need to restrict my coments but I have nothing but praise from the captain down to the staff who washed my clothes and had them back to my cabin the next day. The drink waiters who new my name,number and drink preference after the second day and only needed a nod of the head or show of a hand to have your next drink delivered. To the maitre d' who spotted after sitting alone one night that maybe I should be on a different table, his choice made my second siting dinners memorable for the friendship that entailed, reliving the days activities,shore excursions and theatre shows with others at the table.
The food that the staff of the Sun Princess presented was second to none, from breakfast to the themed lunches e.g. Italian or French, to the Island night buffet on deck, it was stunning. I have eaten at some fine restaurants and the meat especially was as good as it gets, tender,tasty and cooked as I ordered.
The daily activities had something for every one, bridge,deck coits,table tennis, bingo where one family on the last day went home over $9,000 richer! to just relaxing with a book from the library, time on the internet touching base with family and friends or a quiet drink at one of the many bars.
All good so far but if I had one gripe to put to Princess cruises was that after most shore excursions (which I went on four)the talk on the ship that night is where other passengers went on shore and had a ball, these places were not offered by Princess!!
I was told there were nearly 300 children under 18 on board out of 2000 people, you would not know. They were well behaved and they had their own pool and entertained themselves without any annoyance to myself and others.
After dinner there was the choice of listening to a piano player, a Jazz ensemble, the casino or a stage show of the highest calibre. Most nights after catching a show I went to the Disco until the early hours of the morning. As this was my first cruise I had hesitations on many fronts, I need not have woried,people were happy to talk, they were on holidays, just like me. Sun Princess exceeded ALL my expectations and have booked a cruise to N.Z.in February '10 aboard the Sun Princess hoping to enjoy my next cruise just as much. Hesitations no more JUST DO IT.
Decided on Princess shore excursion where the highlight was feeding and
riding an elephant. If you haven't been on an elephant before, try the
Island safari and buffet lunch,worth the money. The only down side was
it left no time to discover Patong beach a drawcard for all vistors and
most talked about that night.
I could live here
The climate, the duty free shopping, the beaches, the everthing about
Langkawi I liked. Once again the passengers who hired taxis did the
same as us and more during their time ashore at minimal cost compared
to what I payed. The cable car ride up the mountain provided
spectacular views and photo opportunities and is a must. the foot
massage at the top wasn't bad either!
Port Klang ( Kuala Lumpur)
We were advised that K.L. was too far from the port to visit so I chose
the home visit to a typical Malay family for morning tea and snacks, I
did enjoy this part of my day but found that being dropped off in what
they called little India for nearly two hours alone, I felt intimidated
and uneasy as a single visitor, thus I didn't venture too far from our
bus. I don't think many people bought much here. it appeared it was
only to fill in the days trip.
Talk on the ship that night was of people hiring taxis and going into KL and doing the real tourist drive.
The best day on shore by miles.
Started with a 3/4 hour bus trip to the Singapoe Zoo to have breakfast
with the orangatuans and 2-3 hours discovering the many animals and
animal shows on offer. just enough time to cover the lot.
Back to the ship where I caught a taxi to Raffles hotel for a Singapore
sling, something I had wanted to do for nearly 30 years since I was
last in Singapore and over $30US poorer (inc the glass as a memento)!!!
I then decided to take the cable car to Sentosa Island. this cable car
actually goes over the Sun Princess and the photos taken added a
different slant on photos of the ship already taken as well as the
Super Star Virgo berthed next to it, give me SP anytime!. I erred by
not getting off at Sentosa Island as I feared I might run out of time,
by all reports I should of got off for a look, once again this was NOT
an option put forward by Princess.
Decided to sample the local brews at the Freemasons hotel and our group
of 10 or so had to have a Hungry jacks burger as the previous 15 days
of fine dining had taken its toll!!. None of the shore excursions
appealed to me. Back at the ship not one person I spoke to had gone on
a tour. Shopping appeared to be the favourite,spending Aus $ followed
by the transferring of more money into the credit card account before
the next days ship board account arrived!.