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Home > Member Reviews > Steph27's Port Reviews of Singapore, Bangkok (Laem Chabang), Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Hanoi, Hong Kong

Steph27's Port Reviews of Singapore, Bangkok (Laem Chabang), Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Hanoi, Hong Kong
Celebrity Millennium cruise in December 2012
Member Name: Steph27
Cruise Date: December 2012
Embarkation: Singapore
Destination: Asia
Member Review: Steph27's Celebrity Millennium Review
Singapore
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
We had 36 hours to spend in Singapore. We actually stayed at a hotel since we arrived at 6:00 am on an overnight flight from Shanghai. We loved how clean and interesting the city was its modern shopping malls and historic buildings. We stayed at the Fullerton Bay Hotel which is right on the Singapore river overlooking the Marina Bay Sands. It was fabulous! We ate lunch at Raffles at the Tiffin Room and enjoyed the curry buffet. The Christmas lights on Orchard Road were not to be missed!

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Bangkok (Laem Chabang)
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
The passport fiasco on the ship delayed us by over 2 hours. We finally left the ship and met our driver from Oriental Escape. The drive to Bangkok was long in both directions. Over two hours going and almost three hours coming back. We lost most of the first day but still did an evening dinner cruise on the Loy Nava down the Chao Prhaya River. The food was just ok but the sights at night were wonderful. We stayed overnight at the Siam Kempinski which was pure luxury and so much nicer than the ship! We did not want to go back to port. Loved our room and the pool which we enjoyed for a few hours before we returned to port. We spent the morning at the Grand Place, Reclining Buddha and the Jim Thompson House which were all great. Took taxis and one tuk-tuk from the Jim Thompson House. A wonderful visit.
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Da Nang
Hoi An Walking Tour Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
We did the ship tour "Hoi An on your own". The drive to Hoi An was about 90 minutes each way. We had a great lunch at Morning Glory. The ancestral houses and assembly halls were very interesting. Our favorite was the Tan Ky house which is located next door to Morning Glory. We looked at many of the shops but it was too hot to contemplate any clothing purchases. The stores are all open to the outside and do not have a/c. We very much enjoyed Hoi An and the lush countryside of Central Vietnam.


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Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
City Tour Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
We booked a tour from our Celebrity Roll call with Smile. The tour had 10 people and we were picked up on the first day and brought to Saigon and then on the second day had a tour and returned to the ship. The Smile tour was just ok. They brought us to a lacquer store when we arrived in Saigon which was not on the itinerary. We left and went to our hotel instead by taxi. The Smile guide hardly explained anything and also decided we should skip the Bin Tay market but we insisted on going there and he relented. We saw the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, post office and the history museum. Our last stop was the Ben Thanh market.

Saigon is a sea of motorcycles. I hired my own private guide from Viator for the first day and we spent the day shopping. We had a great time. My favorite store was Khai Silk. We had lunch at the Temple Club and then followed that up with Ice Cream at Fanny's downstairs. The ice cream is all natural and yummy! We went to a water puppet show the first night and enjoyed the 45 minute performance but would not lose sleep over missing it.

We stayed at the Saigon Nikko Hotel. It was nice but we would have been better off at the Sheraton which is closer to town.


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Hanoi
Halong Bay Rating: 5+ out of 5+
We did an overnight in Halong Bay on the Halong Violet. The name of the company changes from Cruise Halong and is now known as Heritage Line. (www.heritage-line.com)

The was the highlight of the entire cruise for us. We arrive in Halong Bay at 1:00 pm. After a delay 40 minutes to tender to shore, we walked to the Royal Pier where our private tender was waiting to take us to the Violet. Apparently there was someone waiting for us at Bai Chay when we arrived but we did not see them. It would have saved us the walk. It took about 40 minutes to get to the Violet by tender. We saw some beautiful scenery. When we arrived they showed us to our room which was the Cloud Suite. This being a luxury junk, we had a beautiful room with wood floors and floor to ceiling windows. I was traveling with my mother and the bed could be made as a king or pulled apart for two twin beds. We also had a gorgeous bathroom with lovely shower and huge bath tub.

The food on the Violet was delicious. They served a dinner with many options and also a yummy breakfast.

The events included a visit to the floating museum and village by row boat which was magical. The water was clean and emerald green. We also visited a cave and the next day a beach for swimming. Everything was done very professionally and such a difference than Celebrity. We did not want to leave. The Violet only holds 12 people and it was wonderful to spend the time relaxing on the junk. During the night we anchored and you could see a few boats which were lit up nearby drifting near us. It was one of the best excursions I have ever done!

When we came back to the ship the next afternoon we had a ship tour which was called Countryside and Shopping. The tour was awful. There was no shopping, no farm, and we only saw the buildings at the foot of the mountain for the Yen Pagoda. You actually have to take a cable car to the real Yen Tu which was 20 minutes from where we were. We stopped three different times for a bathroom break. It was the worst tour ever.


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Hong Kong
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
We loved Hong Kong and spent the first day exploring Hong Kong. We went to the Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden in Diamond Hill. The garden and buildings are beautiful. It is hard to image this is located in busy and chaotic Hong Kong. We enjoyed visiting the Chinese Arts & Crafts store near the Star Ferry and looking at the shopping arcade at the Peninsula Hotel. We took the Star Ferry to Central and then went to the IFC mall and had a snack before going to Hollywood Road for antiques and shopping. It was a busy day! We were docked overnight but had dinner at Aqua Tokyo which is located in Kowloon at One Peking Road. It was a five minute walk from the ship. The food was great and the view phenomenal, but close to what we had at the rear of the ship. We watched the light show from the restaurant which seems so overrated. Personally we thought the skyline of Shanghai was more interesting.

The Ocean Terminal was not our favorite place. It was hard to find our way back to the ship. There were very few signs for Millennium and we met many other passengers who were also lost. You had to walk through the mall to get to and from the ship. Easy to do in the morning when the stores were closed but a real challenge in a crowded mall.

On the second day we went to Macau which was very crowded right before Christmas. It was sort of disappointing. There were too many people and the Turbojet left often but immigration was very slow each way. I am glad we went but would probably not go back to Macau.

When we returned from Macau we went to have dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. They have a fabulous buffet in the Clipper Lounge. I am so happy that we ate her. It was fantastic and one of the best meals we had the entire trip. We then went to the airport where we had left our luggage earlier in the day. We had checked in online for our Cathay Pacific flight but just needed to check our bags. The Cathay flight was in Business Class to San Francisco. It was one of the best flights ever. The seat, food, IFE all great! Looking forward to flying Cathay again for a return trip to Hong Kong.

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