This was going be the longest queue we experienced on this cruise, as we don't have Platinum or Elite status,[ not yet anyway, but I'm working on it] which is preferred check in. Nevertheless, it was run smoothly and we didn't have that long to wait. Once on the ship, it was like coming home, familiar after our last cruise. Our suitcases delivered quite promptly to our cabin.
We chose Aloha Deck cabin A311 on the starboard side of the ship. Exceptionally clean and well maintained. Plenty of coat hangers in the cupboards. I love having a balcony, as it's great to just watch the sea, and I saw plenty of whales, flying fish, a sea turtle etc.and I love to have the fresh air on my face. Our steward Saks did a great job.
There are always lots of things to do on a cruise. We are not in to doing a great deal, just like to relax in the sun and swim when it gets too hot. For those who like to keep busy, there is an endless choice of activities going on, so there is no excuse for boredom. We enjoyed Captain Neptune's arrival when we crossed the equator and the special nights e.g. Tropical, Country & Western etc.
We chose 2nd sitting, in Marquis Dining room. Very well attended by our food and drinks waiters, the food always fresh and delicious. Great variety of choices,but conscious of the ever expanding waistline, tried to cut back on all the 4 courses.On the nights we had been in port, we went to Horizons Court. We always went to Horizons for breakfast and lunch, great choices of food once again. Also fantastic service from the staff.
The variety of shows offered is really good, especially the singing and dancing troupe, very professional. The other artists were great too and as well, the passengers formed a choir who performed at the end of the cruise, which I believe was a lot of fun to be a part of . I want to make special mention of the talented crew members who entertained us with a fantastic concert, not to mention the passengers who also showed us their talents. Mark and Frenchie our cruise directors kept us in stitches and what can I say about Marvin, one of the cruise directors. It was worth just going on the cruise to see Marvin.
Ports of call
Not sure of what to expect, as we had only been to Bali and Thailand before,it was a bit disappointing to find there was so much travelling time from the port to the main cities of Ho Chi Minh[Vietnam] Bangkok[Thailand] and Kuala Lumpur [Malaysia], which left little time to really see anything, let alone do any shopping. I know that there is little anyone can do about it, except give more time before the ship sails, so it leaves more time to get back to the ship.It meant we spent 3 to 5 hours on the bus and lucky to get 3 hours in the city.
Bali We took a pre arranged tour to Kintamani Volcano with Gusti. It was a fantastic day. Of course, as in all these tours, they include a visit to the Gemshop, the Artists, Wood carving etc etc. If you don't want to go to all these places, just tell your driver. Visited the Holy Water Temple and then had a lovely lunch overlooking the volcano, then stopped at a coffee plantation for tastings. Drove on through a very congested Ubud and back to the ship. The roads are extremely busy with the Balinese now owning more cars than motor bikes, as was in 1997 when we last visited.
Sihanoukville Cambodia What a good day. No big bus ride, just a short trip by free shuttle to town, then choose a Tuk Tuk driver for the day and off you go. Sophat was our very obliging happy driver and he took 4 of us to a very nice resort to have lunch and then a scenic drive. A lot of fun. a very poor country, but such friendly smiling people. I would like to go back again.
Now the negatives !!!
Nothing in this world is perfect, even a cruise, and I don't like dwelling on negatives, but there are a few points to mention.
There was a not so nice pooey smell around certain parts of the ship. Not sure if there was a sewer problem, but it was off putting, especially when the stomach was a little queazy.
On the whole most people were friendly, but there seems to be a snobbish element on Princess cruises [ can't comment on other cruise lines]. It doesn't cost anything to smile or say hello, good morning or good afternoon etc when on a lovely holiday such as this is. And rudeness to the staff or fellow passengers should not be tolerated. Lighten up.
Princess, please do something about your laundries. Not mentioning laundry rage, but why can't you put at least a few more around the ship. We all can't afford to pay to have our laundry done.
And fellow passengers, make sure you don't hold others up by not coming back on time to take your clothes out of the washing machines or dryers.Not everyone wants to spend hours in the laundry room.
On the whole this cruise was most enjoyable, the ship was very well run from the captain down. I can't wait until I have saved up enough to go again.