The ship is smaller than we have been on previously, the shops were fewer than we expected, but stocked what I needed (tissues, paracetemol etc.)
I had been ill with a cold, and once aboard I began to suffer with a chest infection. The medical team looked after me so well, and after four visits, with antibiotics and nebuliser treatments every day, I was well enough to enjoy my holiday. I would feel confident bringing someone with a serious condition on this cruise, the doctors and nurses are knowledgeable and the medical rooms well equipped. They wrote me a sick note for one of the excursions so that I got a refund, and although it was disappointing not to go ashore, it meant I was well enough to go to Ho Chi Minh city, as I have always wanted to see it.
The star of the cruise ship was Bobby, the cruise director. Not only did he compere the game shows and variety shows in an entertaining way, but he unobtrusively went around the ship making sure that it all ran well. Every now and then I spotted him clearing away bingo cards, checking on repairs, and once I saw him pick up the phone to report a door which had suffered in high winds. Previous cruise directors have been frustrated DJs/children's entertainers, I have never seen one who was so professional and who worked so hard.
We had heard that the ship was dirty - it was spotless, and I couldn't go past any of the decks without seeing someone cleaning and polishing. We had heard that the food was bad - it was delicious, both in the Romeo and Juliet restaurant and the Windjammer.
The majority of the passengers were charming and very civilised, there were no disputes over loungers etc. and on excursions we got to meet interesting people, as well as at our assigned table in the restaurant. The largest contingent on the ship was British, with I believe Australians the next largest.
The shows in the evening were quite good, although as we were on the late sitting for dinner, we were sometimes too tired to go to the show, which started at 10.15pm. However, we saw a violinist who had won New Faces in Australia years ago, the 3 Chinese tenors who performed at the Sydney Olympics, and the regular singers and dancers who were excellent.
There were lectures about the culture of each country we were visiting, plus China, from a professor. His English was not very good, he had prepared powerpoint slides with bullet points, and he just read from them. My husband went to them all because he felt sorry for him!
The disembarkation at Singapore was very well handled. We had booked a tour which ended up at the airport. We didn't see much of what had been advertised, but had a nice visit to the botanical gardens and saw the front of Raffles hotel and the Merlion. Our luggage went with us, so it was a good way to see the city without having to worry about the luggage.
Overall, a lovely, if slightly small ship, with excellent crew, who made this a most enjoyable experience.
Some of the traders in Hoi An were a little insistent. A couple on our bus ordered shoes to be made, and we had to leave before they were ready. The girls from the shop chased the bus miles down the road in the pouring rain on their mopeds and flagged it down a few miles from the ship.
A good (free) experience was coming into Halong Bay very early in the morning. We couldn't sleep, so got up and sat in the Windjammer before it opened, and all the strange rocks sticking out of the sea appeared in front of us as the ship made its way forward. Fishermen in boats waved to the ship. Everything was quiet and peaceful.
Cu Chi tunnels were extremely interesting, but a very old man in our group got stuck in one of the tunnels, causing a back up, so instead of a few minutes in a hot tunnel, some of our group were trapped in there for a while. Didn't much like the AK47 shooting range and the bullets for sale, but it did give us a picture of life as a Vietcong soldier. The restaurant on the way back was very good, it was owned by a former guerilla fighter who trained new recruits during the war.