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35 Bali to Asia Cruise Reviews

This is a great intimate soft adventure but with all the luxuries. We shared the experience with 144 other passengers but you never felt crowded. Every sail away the sails were raised along with emotions. Dining was very good with a six ... Read More
This is a great intimate soft adventure but with all the luxuries. We shared the experience with 144 other passengers but you never felt crowded. Every sail away the sails were raised along with emotions. Dining was very good with a six course meal should you choose with full waiter service. Drinks were well priced with house drinks at 3.5 Euro along with an excellent wine list from house bottles through to Cristal champagne. Something for every budget. The breakfasts and lunches were buffet style with so much to choose from. Tenders to shore in most ports where other ships could not go including deserted beaches. The sports team boys provided many activities from sailing to water skiing all included. By Day two all the staff knew your name. Music by Jerby was excellent, from piano to guitar to late night dancing, including a fun passenger and crew party night. Cruise Director Irina was great fun (Ciao Ciao) and Edwin a fantastic Bar Manager/Sommelier. If you want something different from a mega cruiseliner this is it. The ship is very stable and while there is a slight rumble from the generators you get used to it. Passengers were mostly well travelled in the forty plus bracket. Many were repeat customers which says something. There were no kids on our voyage. Very inclusive and welcoming to all including our LGBT group of six. As the Captain said, “you can take a hundred photos, but it is what you take home in your hearts that matters!”. Highly recommended. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We were expecting the best ever cruise and our personal experience is as follows: The good things: - The ship is beautiful, fairly new and nicely appointed. - The dining and room staff are great and will do anything for you. - ... Read More
We were expecting the best ever cruise and our personal experience is as follows: The good things: - The ship is beautiful, fairly new and nicely appointed. - The dining and room staff are great and will do anything for you. - The itinerary of our 17 day cruise from Bali to Hong Kong was well thought out and perfect for us. - The whole ship is clean and tidy. - The rooms are well sound proofed. - the bathroom and seperate toilet are small but adequate. - The Blue Lagoon bar is an unusual and nice experience. - The captain is great, very available/approachable and down to earth. - The cruise director is great. - The singers and dancers are great although lacked live music support. - The bridge is accessible for most of the time which is a nice experience. - The number of passengers, max of about 180, means you get to know a lot of people. - Free style dining is good in two dining areas. - A good variety of shore excursions. - The included drinks are acceptable. The not so good things: - gratuities are not including which is a surprise given the cost of the cruise. - Whilst the Blue lagoon bar is a good experience, don’t expect to see sea life through the windows as this seems highly unlikely. - Our stateroom was a bit on the small size. - Our dress mirror was held on by duct tape, fixed 2 days later. - Poor information about dress code. - Poor shore excursion information. - Prize for winning the quizzes, a free bottle of champagne, the same as is freely available to everyone at the bar so not a prize at all. - The food choice is limited and is definitely hit and miss. Much of the French cuisine really didn’t suit us. The bacon was hard and absolutely dreadful. I still have sore gums from chewing it. - Nylon brush bristles in mushroom soup one evening, our table and the adjacent table and another diner who ate the bristles thinking it was celery - no apology or offer of an alternative. - The shore excursion Ponant staff that accompany the trips seem oblivious to their inaptitude and need some serious training in hospitality. Some examples: - a single long bench seat with shade at a view point fully occupied by Ponant staff and elderly guests left to stand out in the sun. - on a boat tour to a beach, the tour operator asks us to swim ashore or use a canoe because there were other boats filling the available beach space. The boat was full of elderly people but the Ponant staff member said and did nothing. I refused several times on behalf of the passengers and eventually got them to move another boat on shore to make way for us. 15 mins out of our 45 mins stop wasted. - another boat’s passengers were told that the canoes at a stop had to be paid for and the Ponant staff didn’t know that they were included. That boat voted to go somewhere else and they missed out on a visit by canoe to the most beautiful hidden lagoon. - on two occasions we had to wait for the Ponant staff at the end of a tour stop as they were too busy chatting to their friends. Everyone was there but the Ponant staff. There was much talk about the poor performance of these staff amongst a number of the passengers. - we heard various stories of rude bar staff and experienced directly one occasion where the staff were outside at the handrail on entry to Hong Kong and my wife asked them to make a little space for her and she was rudely told this area was not for guests. In fact it was usually not for guests but opened up for guests during the harbour entry and was full of guests. Eventually they went off in a huff. - Where was the piano player? A beautiful grand piano with no one playing it. Not good and was really needed to support the singers. - We were rudely awoken with room service breakfast ordered by another cabin. The passenger had mistakenly written our cabin number on their order but their correct name. Surely the hospitality staff should cross check names. Not good. Out of 14 cruises and 8 cruise companies this was close to being our worst experience. That’s not to say we didn’t have a good time, we did, but it should have been so much better. Sorry to say, 5 out of 10. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I had been to Thailand before and really enjoyed the trip. This cruise brought me into contact with several other countries of interest to me. We took the pre cruise in Bali, the hotel was fabulous and the tours very interesting. Since I ... Read More
I had been to Thailand before and really enjoyed the trip. This cruise brought me into contact with several other countries of interest to me. We took the pre cruise in Bali, the hotel was fabulous and the tours very interesting. Since I am not familiar with Hindu and Buddhist religions I was interested in learning more. Although the trip was outstanding my one complaint is that the 'free' excursions were mostly city bus tours. The more interesting tours had to be paid for. One of the iconic places in Bangkok to see is the Grand Palace, the excursión did not go there. I was disappointed. I like the Viking cruise because it was not a party boat. I am not a joiner, not fond of the pool or dancing but love to travel comfortably. This fit me well. It is a smaller ship which I really appreciate having been on a couple several thousand passenger cruises during spring break, never again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We are loyal Viking River cruisers (5 trips) and decided to give Viking Ocean a try. We have traveled on other ocean cruise lines. Generally, things went pretty well for us, though there were a few bumps during the first couple of days. ... Read More
We are loyal Viking River cruisers (5 trips) and decided to give Viking Ocean a try. We have traveled on other ocean cruise lines. Generally, things went pretty well for us, though there were a few bumps during the first couple of days. We love the Viking Orion. With only about 900 passengers, it is small and intimate but still has everything we wanted. If you are looking for casinos or large Vegas-style reviews - the Viking Orion is not for you. The good: wine and beer included with meals, free internet, free launderette, free excursion in each port, heated bathroom floors, comfortable beds, adequate sized cabins, alternate restaurants included, outstanding lecturers and speakers, friendly & efficient crew, good food selection and preparation, verandas on all cabins, the "Explorer Dome". Ample storage in cabins. Certain class cabins get free minibar and laundry. Awesome use of state of the art technology everywhere on board. Spa area. Many quiet comfortable spaces to read and relax. Infinity pool. Musicians and singers were all good. What we thought could be improved: Dining Room was crowded - seemed like there were too many tables for the space. Excursions - We usually take the "Easy or Leisurely" excursions due to some mobility issues - Choices were limited. Need magnifying makeup mirror in bathroom or elsewhere in cabin. Itinerary - Bali to Hong Kong - Sihanoukville, Cambodia is awful. Dirty, polluted - No reason for any passenger to go there. Singapore - Needed an overnight there - not just one day. Vietnam, Singapore, Kuala Lampur, Bangkok, Bali, Hong Kong were all very good . Indonesian ports other than Bali were just okay - not great. We'll cruise again with Viking Ocean, but will carefully select the itinerary based on Mobility-friendly excursions. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Since we were so happy with our Viking River Cruise we figured that we could expect the same overall quality and amount of personal attention if we elected to do an ocean cruise with them. This was not necessarily correct. While ... Read More
Since we were so happy with our Viking River Cruise we figured that we could expect the same overall quality and amount of personal attention if we elected to do an ocean cruise with them. This was not necessarily correct. While Viking's amenities, food, housekeeping, etc., etc were as good as other cruise lines, there was nothing on this cruise that made it any better than say a Norwegian or Holland America cruise. An exception to the above is that Viking does offer an "included" excursion at every port. We were very impressed with the "Pre-Cruise" stay at the Maya Hotel in Ubud (Bali) and with the Shangri-La in Bangkok. The hotels and tours (especially the floating market) were outstanding. I think everyone agreed that the 2 days at Jakarta should be dropped. Singapore would be an excellent 2 day port. Jakarta's air quality was about as good as the burn pits we experienced in Iraq. As for on-board dining , I for one would like to see a Pasta Station and a Stir-Fry station where one would be able to interact more with the preparation of the dish. Essentially, at those stations, the chef simply plates the food after warming it in a skillet. There are few choices in what gets plated. Also, I was not impressed with the supervisor in the World Cafe who verbally abused one of the young ladies about her job performance right in front of us. Definitely bad for business! And last of all, Viking cheated us out of $250.00 on-board credit. We were supposed to have $250 each - I checked with our travel agent just today to make sure- but only had $250 total. That alone makes me think that my future sailings will be with other lines. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We are regular cruisers and have sailed on many different lines like Celebrity, RCCL, Princess, P&O, NCL and Carnival, however, this was our first cruise on a smaller ship. The combination of a good price for the cruise and an ... Read More
We are regular cruisers and have sailed on many different lines like Celebrity, RCCL, Princess, P&O, NCL and Carnival, however, this was our first cruise on a smaller ship. The combination of a good price for the cruise and an interesting itinerary made it attractive to book this holiday. We were certainly not disappointed with our first Silversea experience! The ship was immaculate and had generous public areas. The cabin (a Classic Veranda Suite) was luxuriously appointed with plenty of space. The walk in wardrobe was an excellent size and there was more than enough storage space for luggage. The bathroom was lovely with a full size bath and separate shower. The bed was comfy and the seating area spacious. The only minor criticism was there were no non smoked glass mirrors in the cabin. It would have been useful to have a normal mirror near the balcony door. The food in the restaurants was excellent quality as were the drinks.There were several very good restaurants to choose from and we enjoyed the ability to dine in different venues during the cruise. We particualry liked the Italian themed 'La Terrazza' which served delicious food and you could enjoy this al fresco on the deck. One thing we particularly liked was that because there were less passengers than on the larger ships, we were able to go to the buffets and not feel crowded, there was always a waiter to help you find a free table and offer to take your food for you. It was really lovely to always find a table outside to dine. The entertainment on the ship was not as 'full on' as on the larger ships we had been on but we were never bored. The shows in the Venetian Lounge involved the Silversea Singers, instrumentalists and when we were in Kota Kinabalu a local dance troupe and instrumentalists came on board and performed an excellent show. We also enjoyed dancing the night away in the Panorama Lounge and had fun at a karaoke night! The deck party was good fun and also during the day there was great food served at tables by the pool. In the evening the area around the pool became the 'Hot Rocks' restaurant where you could cook your own meat/fish on hot volcanic rocks. The staff were really friendly and helpful. We also met many friendly passengers, on several evenings we would arrange to meet up and go to dinner with new friends. We were so impressed with the Silversea brand that we decided to book a future cruise on the Silver Shadow. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We spent two days in Bali before embarking. We chose this cruise for the remote expedition excursions, and we were not disappointed. Mick, the expedition director, created some wonderful and unusual experiences on fairly isolated ... Read More
We spent two days in Bali before embarking. We chose this cruise for the remote expedition excursions, and we were not disappointed. Mick, the expedition director, created some wonderful and unusual experiences on fairly isolated Indonesian islands. Expedition staff was excellent. Lectures were excellent. Weather was hot and muggy, but we expected that. Two of our excursions had to be dropped because of bad weather. Cabin service was fine, no complaints. We are Ponant "Yacht Club" members and receive free laundry service which is an exceptional benefit, especially on a trip this long. Restaurant staff was friendly and helpful, but service was slow and uneven. The food was excellent. Reception staff was snooty, but got things done when asked. Ship was about 30% English speaking (American, Australian, English-speaking Europeans), the rest were French. We did not attend any of the entertainment activities. Fitness room was fine, but small. Embarkation was chaotic. Everyone crowded the entrance at one time and got a little pushy on the way onto the ship. We were surprised they didn't create lines or some better system. Luggage arrived reasonably promptly. Debarkation was smooth and easy. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and small ship size and we were not disappointed! We were aboard for 3 segments: Comprehensive Indonesia, Borneo and Philippines and Icons of S.E. Asia (Vietnam), all of which gave us an insight into ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and small ship size and we were not disappointed! We were aboard for 3 segments: Comprehensive Indonesia, Borneo and Philippines and Icons of S.E. Asia (Vietnam), all of which gave us an insight into the culture and beauty of the various ports and countries. We were fortunate to be in Vietnam during Tet (Chinese New Year) so we got to partake in many festivities, including the most amazing fireworks display in Saigon, where Star Legend was docked in the perfect location. We enjoyed all of our 37 nights, with the exception of crossing the South China Sea from Philippines to Hong Kong, which was very bumpy, but other than that we hardly felt any motion. We did a mixture of shore excursions, some with Windstar, but most booked independently after making connections through Cruise Critic, which significantly less costly. Our cabin 124 was perfect, low deck and mid ship and very comfortable. The housekeeping staff took care of us very well and the service from the wait staff and bar staff was great. Kudos to all the crew. Food was excellent in Amphora Reataurant and Candles as well as the deck BBQ, and room service was quick and hot when it arrived. The evenings were sometimes quiet as a lot of the guests retired early, but we enjoyed dancing on the Star Deck and trivia at Compass Rose most nights. The ship is in great shape for its age, well maintained and soft furnishings are very nice. We definitely recommend Windstar and plan to sail on Star Legend again after it had been refurbished and stretched to accommodate 300 guests. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Never been on tall ship cruise before. Chosen as it coincided with end of a conference in Bali. Embarkation and disembarkation easy and smooth. Smaller than traditional large cruise ships - about 70 passengers on board, but at ... Read More
Never been on tall ship cruise before. Chosen as it coincided with end of a conference in Bali. Embarkation and disembarkation easy and smooth. Smaller than traditional large cruise ships - about 70 passengers on board, but at full capacity the ship can take about double that number. Most of passengers from UK, Germany, and a few from USA. English, German and French spoken by the crew for passengers. The food on board was outstanding and really superb (too good for the waist!), the only exception being a shore BBQ one lunch time, which was fine but inevitably not up to the gourmet cuisine on board. Service was professional, competent and friendly throughout, with a multinational crew of about 70, all immaculately clad in seafaring uniform. Opportunity to do a good amount of exercise - morning class, mile round deck, climbing the rope rigging up the mast (I climbed at the age of 75), snorkling, scuba, and more; shore excursions such as Mount Bromo volcano, trek to Mata Jitu waterfalls - all suitable for older people. A wide variety of evening entertainment - quizzes, talent show, karaoke... only problem being a bit loud for those who wanted to sleep earlier, tired out by exercise activities. Very interesting talks given about the ship, from the Hotel Manager to Chief Engineer, and a knot tying class. Massages were available on sheltered deck, with wind and sound of the sea. Lovely old-style library with books; DVDs available from Purser for cabins with DVD player. TV channels only showed information on Clipper ships origin and building. No other channels. There were no children on the boat, although some cabins had bunk beds up against the wall that could be lowered over the main bed if anyone wanted children to sleep in the same room. Felt it a very special trip. Perhaps coming from a seafaring nation, having lived by the sea, and with a father a master mariner, made it even more special and memorable for me. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
First time on a clipper ship after about 20 other cruise ships from silver seas to celebrity. Exceeded our expectations with excellent food both quality and choice and the drinks were not expensive. Itinerary changed due to the earth ... Read More
First time on a clipper ship after about 20 other cruise ships from silver seas to celebrity. Exceeded our expectations with excellent food both quality and choice and the drinks were not expensive. Itinerary changed due to the earth quakes, but did not affect cruise as we still got to see the Komodo dragons highlight of the cruise and other different islands. Crew and service was some of the best we have experienced. In particular the Russian captain who was always around the ship and joined in dancing with the passengers, a nice touch was him shaking hands with us as we left the ship at the end. Passengers were a good mix of ages 30 to 80 which was a relief as fitted in with us being in our 70s. The nationalities was also a good mix about 8 in all and helped give the ship a party atmosphere in the evenings. We knew not to expect big ship entertainment, but although low key (almost home made) we found very good from crew shows, to a film about Clippers under the stars and an excellent musician Jerby playing keyboard and guitar who got everyone joining in after dinner. Of note should be the German cruise director with a good sense of humour who made a point of saying he was Bavarian not German. If you are in to water activities the 3 staff offered wind surfing, kayaks, paddle boards snorkling and water skiing at all our beach stops, with an on board diving instructor for the enthusiasts. Always enough sun loungers on deck, but obviously you had to move around for shade because of the sails. HIGHLIGHT of the ship was seeing her with all full sails specially rigged up for us to see from the tenders. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I worked 2-man fishing boats in my teens. Sailing ship (4 masts) lacks stabilizers and i was seasick all eleven days. Don't take opiate pills they offer. Food is excellent and plentiful. Soups and Indonesian food outstanding, ... Read More
I worked 2-man fishing boats in my teens. Sailing ship (4 masts) lacks stabilizers and i was seasick all eleven days. Don't take opiate pills they offer. Food is excellent and plentiful. Soups and Indonesian food outstanding, cheeses served at their best. Wet landings ashore. We skipped the ones that required transfer to tender followed by second transfer to zodiac. Passengers need be physically fit, agile. Our cabin was on same deck as dining room but five short sets of stairs intervened. Wife here now, my only issue was with the drinking fountain, the only source of water other than with the dining room meals, or you could buy expensive bottled water. I was told the tap water was not drinkable and shown to the water fountain. It also had a bottle filling pipe. On day two through the rest of the trip the water from it was BROWN and had a bad taste. I asked if it was distilled or filtered and was told it is filtered. So bring your own personal filter- Brita or something like that. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I took the 10 day Gems of the Java Sea cruise on the Seabourn Encore on March 12, 2018 with a group of friends. We selected Seabourn as two of our group have cruised many times with Seabourn and raved about their service and quality. ... Read More
I took the 10 day Gems of the Java Sea cruise on the Seabourn Encore on March 12, 2018 with a group of friends. We selected Seabourn as two of our group have cruised many times with Seabourn and raved about their service and quality. Unfortunately, I had a very uneven experience with Seabourn both on the cruise, in the pre-cruise interaction with land based staff and the Seabourn website, and in the after cruise dealing with Guest Relations. Some things were really good as follows: 1. The boarding process was a breeze. There were lots of staff to handle the process and we were on board in minutes after arriving at the cruise port terminal. Our luggage was also delivered to our cabins very quickly. However this may have been due to the fact that we were very late boarders at around 4 pm in the afternoon after most guests have boarded already and we understand from staff that the turnaround for this cruise was particularly easy as a large number of passengers had chosen to do back to back cruises having done an 18 days cruise from Australia to Benoa, Bali and then continuing on with the 10 day cruise to Singapore. 2. The Cabins are very impressive. They look like luxury hotel rooms. Very bright, very modern, spacious, lots of storage cabinets everywhere, a bathroom with bathtub and shower (though the shower did have an awkward location in a corner of the bathroom that resulted in you exiting almost bumping into the toilet with not much room to manoeuvre) and double sink. There is a large walk in closet with mini safe, lots of hanging space and wood drawers and shelves, a large flat screen TV with lots of programming, a separate seating area with glass table and a good size verandah. The only complaint I have, besides the awkward shower location noted above, is that the light switches were a bit difficult to figure out but I had no more problems after asking the cabin steward (we were told to call them stewardesses) to show me how they worked. 3. We had some serious issues in the early part of the cruise and when it was finally reported to the Guest Relations Manager Tiaan Visser, he took extraordinary steps to make sure we had a great time the rest of the cruise including telling us to contact him for all further matters so that he could ensure proper communication and quality control, arranging to waive the charges on an additional private van excursion we requested, and sending some kind of notice to all staff that resulted suddenly in everyone in the restaurants and elsewhere knowing our names the next day and giving us extra attention to make sure we were well taken care of. He also sent each of us a personal letter apologizing for the shortcoming accompanied by a bag of gifts from Seabourn. 4. After a rough first night dinner in the main restaurant where service was chaotic and we seemed to be served by 4 or more different people who did not seem to have communicated with each other about what we ordered or wanted and a drinks server roughly telling one of my friends that it is the food waiter's job to get the hot water we requested but that she would go ask about it just this once, as if it was a special favour never to be repeated, we asked to be moved to another table and then had great service from Jose our waiter and Csaba his assistant for the rest of the cruise. Food quality was great except for a couple of cases of over-cooked fish (one was a swordfish filet that was really tough) in the lunch buffet restaurant and at the dinner restaurant. Soft fleshed fish seemed to do better on the cruise and meats were great. Particularly memorable were the Chefs dinner where the entire set menu impressed with its quality and the beef Wellington was asked to share as an extra main which made us very glad indeed we had asked to share a small slice each of the additional main. Jose and Csaba were particularly thoughtful when we asked to share things such as the beef Wellington by slicing up the meat into smaller slices and presenting each of us with a side dish with our share rather than forcing us to divide ourselves doubtless with less skill. Wines served each evening were good quality and liberally offered as well as pre-dinner cocktails and aperitifs (the special 30th anniversary drink with passion fruit flavour was a favourite, as was champagne before dinner). I must also mention the excellent service and always with a smile that we received from Ruslan in the buffet restaurant at breakfast and at lunch. 5. We tried the Japanese specialty restaurant for the bento box and ramen noodle lunches and they were great. We also had one dinner at the Thomas Keller Grill and it was truly a highlight dining experience on the cruise. Everything was very elegant and the food, spectacular. 6. The actual excursions we booked with Seabourn were very good quality. We loved the Pink Beach snorkel on Komodo Island and our private van tours of Candi Jabung at Probolinggo with Rudi, for shopping around town in Surabaya with Sherly, and to Borobudur from Semarang with Took were all very well arranged and our guides were all very good. I particularly loved Sherly in Surabaya because not only was her English very fluent but she was efficient and decisive and always pointed out to us better ways to do something or a better order of seeing things so as to be efficient and to avoid crowds. 7. The final night celebrations in the pool area was great. Not only were great finger food on offering at various stations in a special Epicurean event, but most of the crew came out on the upper deck above the pool to wish us well in a photo-friendly finish to the party. Well done and classy. 8. The entertainment and guest speakers were great. Dr. Lawrence Blair was fascinating as an authority on Bali and its culture. The 4 singers and 2 additional dancers put on three shows that were very high quality and impressive given the limited space and resource that a smaller ship such as the Encore has. The world champion harmonica player was a different kind of entertainment that was unexpectedly impressive with fireworks like technical dexterity display with a harmonica comparable to a top violinist. 9. I had a soft spot for the afternoon tea and was hooked from about mid cruise and went every afternoon I could. Food offerings were great and there were interesting organic tea offerings. I was also fond of the scone trolley wheeled about by Joao and enjoyed the warm raisin scones with clotted cream and jam. What makes this review an average (at least for a premium cruise line) rather than excellent were the off-setting bads, which I thought were really bad but also the more frustrating because they were incomprehensible as follows: 1. Prior to the cruise, we pre-booked two private van excursions one for $745 total and one for $945 total and shore side Seabourn excursions agreed it could split the charges for each private van excursion into 5 and charge to the on-board account of each of the 5 travellers in our group so we can use up some on-board credits that we received with our booking. Imagine my shock when a few days into the cruise and before any of the private van excursion tickets were delivered to us, I found out that for the $745 van Seabourn had carefully split the total into five charges of $149 but charged all of them to my account but more astoundingly that for the $945 van Seabourn had made it into 5 charges of $945 which were all charged to my account and then refunded $945 to the on board account of each of my friends. I ended up being charged $5,470 instead of my share of $338 and my friends were very happy as they each received a credit of $945 without having paid anything! The most surprising thing was none of the shore excursions staff we dealt with on-board seemed to be shocked at this and simply weakly offered that it was head office and they could not do anything about it. I took up the matter with front desk reception and Angeliki quickly worked her magic and wiped out the 4 excess $945 charges from my account but said dividing the remaining $945 charge into 5 would need a bit more work. I asked to speak to a manager about my unhappy experience and she also suggested I speak with the Guest Relations Manager Tiaan Visser. Tiaan promptly met with me the next day for over half an hour as I recounted my troubles dealing with shore excursion and other matters and he then took the actions that I mentioned in "good" above that righted the course of our cruise experience. 2. Billing was not the only issue for shore excursions as we also had problems arranging a third private van tour as a result of a change of itinerary where we would have an extra day in Surabaya. Notwithstanding our speaking with the shore excursions head Murat who was also responsible for private van bookings and then my carefully writing him a note detailing what we wanted, another excursions staff then asked me to fill in a form with the same information when I was following up with her about the wrong billing so I felt I wasted time dealing with shore excursions because they did not coordinate internally at all. The third member of the excursion team met me to say he could explain the wrong billing but when I did stop talking and let him talk, he did not explain anything as to what happened and in fact was not even clear on the nature of the error. All this is most perplexing as I had previously given the excursion staff photocopies of the private van confirmations sent to me by shore based Seabourn staff that detailed the cost of each van and how the charges were to be split into 5 and billed to the individual traveller's on-board account. 3. Shore excursions was not the only accounting problem on board. A few days before the end of the cruise, I noticed I received a credit of about $90 which when I asked, was told was a refund of port taxes as Seabourn had cancelled the port call on Celukan Bawang. However, none of my 4 fellow travellers received the same credit. Two of them finally got the credit in their final invoice after they vigorously protested on the final evening and the other two never got the credit and are following up with Seabourn post cruise. It is a mystery to our group how we can all take the same cruise with the same cancelled port, and yet some will have a refund for port taxes and others will not. 4. When we boarded the cruise on Day 1, two of my friends received a notice in their cabin that the itinerary had been altered, the port call on Celukan Bawang had been cancelled, the port call on Probolinggo was moved up a day in order to avoid a Hindu religious quiet day which would have resulted in no tours to Mount Bromo being possible had the ship called on Probolinggo as originally scheduled, and an additional day added in Surabaya to take up the day for the cancelled port call on Celukan Bawang. The other two of my friends received the same notice in their mail slot on Day 2 and I did not receive the notice in my mail slot until Day 3. It goes without saying that a notice of change in itinerary delivered on the third day of a cruise is completely unacceptable and while Tiaan agreed with me, no explanation as to how this happened has been offered. As an additional issue, all of us thought the handling of the change of itinerary was suspect. The Hindu religious quiet day is a well known fact that any internet search would have easily revealed and in fact, we knew about it from our pre-cruise preparations searching on the internet. Therefore it seemed less than competent for Seabourn to arrange a cruise where they would call on a port on a day that they should reasonably have known would result in issues arranging excursions but more confusingly, Seabourn's inability to arrange excursions to Mount Bromo (the volcano which is the top attraction near Probolinggo) would have been known to Seabourn months or at least weeks before the cruise as they went about arranging the excursions so we are at a loss as to why Seabourn failed to notify all booked guests of the change to their itinerary before the cruise so that for example, any guest who made private arrangements for tours for Celukan Bawang can cancel before cancellation penalties were applicable and guests would have time to consider what else they might want to do in Surabaya given the cruise was adding an overnight in Surabaya. The change did not affect us too badly as we had only planned to go on the bird watching and snorkelling excursion at Celukan Bawang with Seabourn and we did have another snorkelling excursion already at Komodo Island but other guests who may have chosen not to snorkel at Komodo Island thinking there was another opportunity at Celukan Bawang might have been more affected (there were no other ports that offered snorkelling in this cruise). 5. I was also disappointed with post-cruise dealings with Seabourn. In addition to the on-line survey, I chose to e-mail Seabourn both to make sure staff like Tiaan Visser received full recognition for their excellent service and also to raise concerns and questions about some of the things that went wrong, if nothing else in order just to get an explanation and an understanding why. I was surprised that I received a reply from someone with the title of special advisor office of the president who then meticulously referred to each of the things I complimented or complained about, offered apologies of course, but then offered no explanations or comments about actions taken to ensure some of the mis-happenings I mentioned would not be repeated. In fact, I expressly followed up with a question about how the billing error came about on shore excursions where I ended up being billed $5,470 instead of $338 and my friends all received refunds of $945. The reply indicates accounting staff mistook the $945 as a per person charge instead of a per van charge but the night audit manager caught this but mysteriously decided to refund $945 to each of my 4 friends instead of making 4 refunds of $945 to me. The reply indicates they have no idea why he did that and gave no indication of what, if any, steps will be taken to ensure this does not happen again. I also received no explanation or response to my question as to why Seabourn did not notify passengers of the change to itinerary when the decision was made months or weeks ahead of the cruise, instead of by notice given to the passengers after they had boarded the cruise. 6. Not having cruised with Seabourn before, I thought the ceilings on all decks were noticeably low. Several other passengers I spoke with had the same impression. I am not tall at about 5 ft 9 and could easily reach up and touch the ceiling in the buffet restaurant without fully extending my arm. 7. The Encore, with 600 passengers, is significantly larger than previous Seabourn ships which maxed out at 450 passengers. It was evident Seabourn was still figuring out how to handle a larger ship with more passengers. Tendering was an issue. Passengers were told to meet in the theatre to take tenders for their tours but there was no system of tracking who arrived first or not and instead, when it was time to board the tenders, the shore excursions staff in charge simply arbitrarily counted off people in one side of the room causing others on the other side of the room who had waited longer to complain. Also more confusingly, we had booked a private van excursion for Probolinggo and should be able to get off quickly since we were a complete group already but instead, when we were sent down to the gangway by the shore excursions staff, we and others were then held back on the stairs by the entertainment director who said he had been told to only allow those on large bus tours to board the tenders. This created an unsafe situation lining up on stairs and again frustration as it made no sense not to board the private van tour with the complete group which clearly did not need to wait to be filled, and instead board large bus passengers who may have to wait for more passengers anyway to fill a bus. Tender back was also a problem as our tour ended around 2 pm but it was about 2:40 pm before we were back on the board the ship as there was a long wait for a tender to finally arrive. This was perplexing as the tender ride was only 10 min so if two or three tenders were operating, there should not be more than a 10 min wait for a tender. Back on board, again the failure to plan for larger crowds showed as most tours were delayed due to the tender inefficiency and large groups of passengers arrived back on the ship after all lunch venues had closed for lunch except for the patio bar and there was insufficient seating in the patio to accommodate all. I ended up grabbing food and taking it back to my cabin rather than wait for room service, which was available but again might be impacted by the large crowd returning after lunch service had closed. We had problems even when the ship was docked and not anchored off shore as there are two stairways at the front and middle of the ship and once again the entertainment director, acting as traffic controller, chose to let only those from the middle elevators/stairs file out the gangway holding back those waiting in the foyer and up the stairs of the front stairwell until I finally had to shout to someone in the front to let him know that he was creating a dangerous pile up with people lining up on the stairs in the front stair foyer area. Again, on other larger and more experienced ships, there was always an alternation between letting passengers from the front and from the middle out the gangway, and some system would be in place to assign places in the tender according to arrival at the meeting place. 8. There were some curious lapses in service throughout the cruise. On a couple of days, the face towels place in my room had unsightly brown spots on them. On another day, there was a noticeable hole right in the middle of my napkin at afternoon tea service and on the third day of the cruise, when we asked for one of the special organic teas that was listed in the tea menu and in fact displayed in a sample vile in a box containing examples of each of the organic tea blends, we were told they were out of that tea. It surprised us that they would run out of a particular tea on only the third day of a 10 day cruise. In fact, they kept listing that tea on the tea menu throughout the cruise notwithstanding it not being available. In summary, I found the cruise to have some really nice premium cruise qualities but then also some shocking and glaring lapses in service and response. While the Guest Relations Manager really made a difference for us after hearing our complaints, I do wonder though whether what we experienced for the rest of the cruise was the true Seabourn experience since he apparently tagged us for special notice such that I could then no longer tell what "normal" service would be like. (I knew he tagged us as I had never given my name or cabin number at the breakfast buffet each day but one day after meeting with Tiaan, the manager for the breakfast restaurant came by at breakfast, addressed me by name and asked if there was anything he could do). Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We had last sailed on an Azamara ship approximately 6 -7 years ago and due to a combination of circumstances,destinations and dissatisfaction with Azamara we had not booked again until we found this cruise going from Bali and around ... Read More
We had last sailed on an Azamara ship approximately 6 -7 years ago and due to a combination of circumstances,destinations and dissatisfaction with Azamara we had not booked again until we found this cruise going from Bali and around Australia beginning on its west coast. At the outset we were delighted with the incredible changes that have been made to the journey. The refurbishment of the ship was good, but the cabin redo's were excellent. Space was much better utilized, especially in the suites. for the first time we actually had room to spare for our belongings on this longish, 18 day cruise. The bathroom set up was a great improvement, over past years and other comparable accommodations on other cruise lines, having a much larger amount of space for our toiletries. The staff was wonderful, knowledgeable and friendly and all had the Ritz Carlton mentality/mantra of being empowered, or so it seemed, to solve problems, both large and small.Highlights of the trip included a great White Nights evening, a wonderful breakfast for Le Voyage Club, Azamara loyalty program, members and a simply superb rijsttafel dinner one evening, at a small extra charge. Gratuities included as is most alcohol, other than very high end premium brands of liquors and wines. With all of that "booze" it was interesting that we never saw a single passenger the slightest bit tipsy other than when the waves were high. Of course some things were not great. Included in that was the differences in the taste and quality of coffee depending on the venue in which it was served. some of the tours that we attended were fair or less at best including the Azmazing night in port at Freemantle. The singers/musicians and songwriters were good, but the native dancers performed off the stage and on a level with the chairs so that unless one sat up front it was difficult to see them. The food was plentiful and quite good at this event but the venue was overcrowded and very hot. Entertainment on the boat is what one would expect with a smallish ship-not terrific, but in some instances quite passable. The enrichment lectures were quite good. In sum, I would rate them tops for value and would not hesitate to return to Azamara for other cruises in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Azamara Journey goes above and beyond most cruise ships. The staff are so friendly - We love all the question and answer periods with all the officers from the captain down. The food was excellent with lots of variety. There was lots of ... Read More
Azamara Journey goes above and beyond most cruise ships. The staff are so friendly - We love all the question and answer periods with all the officers from the captain down. The food was excellent with lots of variety. There was lots of activities to do onboard if so desired. The ports were interesting especially Perth(Freemantle), Auckland, Melbourne and Sydney. The smaller ports Esperance, Albany, Bunburry had less to do but certainly the Australian people made you very welcome with bands playing when you arrived and lots of info re their port. The weather could have been better but that certainly is no fault of the cruise line. Yes - it rained in Bali but it is the passengers responsibility, not the cruise ships responsibility, to get to the ship at the start of a cruise and once the cruise is over and you have checked out it is your responsibility to have umbrellas etc. not the cruise ships. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
This was our 5th Cruise with Azamara and cruising down the West Coast of Australia is the wrong time of year as it is Cyclone season. Although we didn’t come across one there were a few in area both before and after our sailing down the ... Read More
This was our 5th Cruise with Azamara and cruising down the West Coast of Australia is the wrong time of year as it is Cyclone season. Although we didn’t come across one there were a few in area both before and after our sailing down the coast. Embarkation was a little longer then we have previously experienced as there were torrential rain in Bali and I think everyone wanted just to get onboard and stay dry. It was great to see familiar faces as we boarded handing us a glass of champagne Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
This particular cruise was chosen for the itinerary of exploring Wesreern Australia. We knew we’d never be able to visit all the ports that Azamara Journey called on without going on a cruise. Having visited Queensland and Victoria many ... Read More
This particular cruise was chosen for the itinerary of exploring Wesreern Australia. We knew we’d never be able to visit all the ports that Azamara Journey called on without going on a cruise. Having visited Queensland and Victoria many times, we wanted to explore the west coast. The best was Kangaroo Island and the all day shore excursion to view kangaroos and koalas in the wild. Having experienced three previous cruises on Celebrity, we were interested in trying a smaller vessel. Azamara Journey did not disappoint. We were particularly pleased with the staff and crew in every area, from the cabin attendants to the wait staff to the officers on the ship. Everyone was more than cordial and went out of their way to engage, converse, and make you feel welcome. While the larger ships offer more in the way of entertainment, the smaller vessel offered a chance for everyone to get to know others from around the world. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Just back from an excellent cruise around the western and southern coasts of Australia on the beautiful Azamara Journey. Why do we return to Azamara? - the WONDERFUL Azamara crew who look after us so well and with such enthusiasm. The ... Read More
Just back from an excellent cruise around the western and southern coasts of Australia on the beautiful Azamara Journey. Why do we return to Azamara? - the WONDERFUL Azamara crew who look after us so well and with such enthusiasm. The ship is in excellent condition, though there are a few issues (gym equipment , elevator indicators) and new carpets in the hallways, and fortunately no further alterations to interior decoration (though we noticed a couple of pictures had been changed). The resident artwork on this ship is wonderful and we always go around the ship revisiting our favourite pieces (atrium stairway sculpture, Michael Eastman photographic prints, etc. etc. It was such a shame that the green marble counter of the Reception Desk was ripped out and replaced with off-white when the original green was so in keeping with the rest of the decor and still in excellent condition. To our mind this was an expensive and unnecessary expenditure. Our route was from Bali to Sydney with excellent stops along the way. Only Exmouth was cancelled (a town insufficiently equipped to receive a cruise ship) with Bunbury, Kangaroo Island and Melbourne the highlights of our cruise. A similar cruise around the eastern shores of Australia two years ago we found very hot - this cruise was very different with cool temperatures and very strong winds. Most of the entertainment was similar to that we had seen before with visiting acts coming on and leaving (some of it downright awful, though some was entertaining - we always say, though, If you want to see a Broadway show you have to go to New York [or London]). The special interest talks are generally interesting, though unfortunately Dr. Rebecca was a disappointment - her subjects were interesting but there were too many umms, errs, and ‘you knows’ which distracted from her subject. Our favourite entertainers were the specialty dancers - so graceful and delightful to watch. We used to enjoy the harpist but sadly, their services were discontinued. I rather think that Azamara head office misunderstand onboard entertainment. It was so pleasant sitting in the Discoveries Bar enjoying a pre-dinner cocktail with the subtle sounds of the harpist in the background. A guitarist who wants to be heard and so is amplified is NO substitute as the volume discourages conversation. Consequently we usually find somewhere quiet for cocktails - and miss the harpist. A really big problem during this cruise was the internet - if you could log on (and that wasn’t always possible, with the little wheel spinning, and spinning, and spinning. . . ) eMails would sometimes download but then try opening them . . . ! Virtually impossible!! The problem may partially be due to the ‘Free Internet’ package offered to some staterooms and it being free they never log off, whereas if the system were to log them off after a period of inactivity it would free the service up for others. The boys manning The Mosiac coffee station are worked so hard but are always so eager to provide the very best service and always with a smile. I am always shocked when I witness a ship’s passenger treating them as they would a slave with not a work of ‘please’ or ‘thank you’, but they take it in their stride and give immaculate service. Executive Chef Monica Ortiz and her catering staff are to be congratulated on producing an excellent variety of menu selections in all restaurants. The Indian Buffet in Windows Cafe is always one of our favourites. When our cruise Came to an end British Airways carried us to Singapore and after a nights sleep and a day in the city British Airways’ A380 service sped us very comfortably home. Now to plan another cruise . . . Where to this time? Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
To judge by the number of B2B travellers from the previous cruise, many of the Azamara family had been eagerly awaiting this first journey to Sydney round the West Australian coast. I for one was certainly not disappointed. A brisk ... Read More
To judge by the number of B2B travellers from the previous cruise, many of the Azamara family had been eagerly awaiting this first journey to Sydney round the West Australian coast. I for one was certainly not disappointed. A brisk headwind greeted our journey south, but as we visited ports where we were given an enthusiastic welcome, the temperature hovered around the mid 20's (70's) which made for comfortable exploration .For a first journey, the ship's excursions, while expensive, were varied and professionally presented but one or two need fine tuning The shuttles provided for individual exploration, worked well. Tenders were needed for only two ports. As a solo, older traveller, I cannot speak too highly of the always pleasant, professional and efficient staff throughout the ship. One never needed to be surrounded by family or fiends to feel included. Open dining in Discovery in the evenings made for many pleasant and interesting dinners. The delayed arrival of a Bridge Director in Perth was welcomed by the card players in Perth as lessons and duplicate sessions began. Some of the entertainment was outstanding, especially two of the solo singers but I think some of the day time lectures might have dealt with Australian history and culture. The films shown on board were disappointing compared to other Azamara cruises. While Casablanca and Sleepless in Seattle are classics more recent offerings would have been welcome. I noted that people with varied dietary needs were well catered for but while the range of food available was broad and more than adequate, the menu in Discovery has changed little over the years and I personally would like to see more authentic dishes in Windows on Asian and Middle Eastern evenings. Overall for me 10 out of 10 Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
In a teeming rain, we left the shelter of our hotel in Bali, wondering if we had made a good decision in booking an 18-day circuit around the barren western & southern coasts of Australia, ending in Sydney. Did we??? Well - you ... Read More
In a teeming rain, we left the shelter of our hotel in Bali, wondering if we had made a good decision in booking an 18-day circuit around the barren western & southern coasts of Australia, ending in Sydney. Did we??? Well - you decide, by reading my story of our travels.... Let us begin at the very beginning...before Bali...as it takes some doing for an American to even get there. One must start from a jumping off place in the USA & that suggests a 14 to 16 hour flight to either Hong Kong or Singapore from America's west coast, with a follow-on flight to Bali. We flew out of San Francisco & on our flight, a family decided only while on board in the airport that their child wasn't feeling well enough to fly. The poor child was slung over a shoulder & taken out...& there followed a 2+ hour search for the family's luggage which resulted in a delay that made us miss our connection to Bali out of Singapore. We waited 6 hours for a follow-on flight, & so, from the time we left our home in Delaware until we checked into our lovely hotel in Bali - it was 46 hours. You can believe that, as I checked it against my watch. Bali must be a lovely island & it is inhabited by lovely warm people, who smile & bow to you in such a gracious manner that you wish you weren't so stupid with jet lag & could actually interact with them. We spent two days holed up like honeymooners in a quite lovely room in the Conrad, in a stupefied state trying to figure out who & what we were. Meanwhile, it being January the rain TEEMED down in a way one can only imagine in movies BUT there were still Asian tourists there determined to enjoy the beaches. This proved to us that there is something for everyone in every holiday.... Embarkation onto Azamara Journey was uneventful and almost easy. My husband argues with me about our choice of cabin on every cruise but he never questions why we get to go onboard in Group 1, & we charged on board & set up housekeeping with a lovely lunch & the typical Azamara welcome. How do these people do it??? The crew work so hard & are so unfailingly welcoming & happy, eventually bringing on board their tired & worn-out who are so very very glad to be on board Azamara again (if they've ever sailed on Az before)... And so began a wonderful cruise. There was a tweaking of the itinerary that gave us an initial 3 at-sea days, followed by wonderful overnights at Perth/Fre-Mantle, & then on to a series of small ports. We were VERY VERY impressed by every single port we visited, & VERY VERY much hope that Azamara will revisit this itinerary. It's not on their itinerary for another year at least, but I am betting that this will be the NEW itinerary for most cruise lines in years to come. Our favorite port city - Perth - what a beautiful city! with such adventures just outside Our favorite destination - Kangaroo Island - some lovely wineries & a brewery, plus a beautiful drive through the countryside Our favorite shore excursion - Adelaide - to their Cleland Wildlife Park - followed by lunch on board watching sailing activity in the port Our favorite memory - sailing into Sydney on a beautifully clear morning! The BEST THING! - The Eagles won the Superbowl, & Azamara had a party for us! As always, Azamara assures us that we are making the right decision in booking cruise after cruise with them. Of course we will do it again!!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
The expedition team on this cruise apparently did not do a site visit or any planning. The itinerary changed once before the trip and four times during the trip - always because of 'the Indonesian government'. As someone who ... Read More
The expedition team on this cruise apparently did not do a site visit or any planning. The itinerary changed once before the trip and four times during the trip - always because of 'the Indonesian government'. As someone who planned humanitarian service travel for groups of 40+ for almost two decades, these issues can almost always be sorted before departure. One itinerary change was because they did not know when it would be high tide in Kumai - something ultimately knowable, and not in control of the Indonesian government. Besides the inconvenience of constant itinerary changes, the team did not plan for participant safety. A group of seniors was asked to high straight up a mountain (6.6 miles round trip) in 95 degree heat and 99% humidity. No alternative travel up the mountain was planned except that provided by locals trying to make a buck, transporting folks in rickety iron 'carts' pulled by three guys with ropes. But the most serious offense was transported guests in open river houseboats across open sea with no lifevests - and no way to disembark to the dock. There were no expedition team members on board, just locals. We were asked first to jump six feet off the railing to the dock & when we refused that option, we were asked to climb up 5-6 feet of a slick rock outcropping in the dark - being pulled by the arms by locals. All while the ship's crew looked on. It is a miracle no one was hurt. In addition to the danger, our stateroom was filthy upon our arrival - sheets had not even been changed - but we didn't discover that till we got in them to go to sleep. Food was marginal. Itinerary changes resulted in three days on rocky seas with nothing to do - No TV, no internet, no entertainment to speak of except slapped together power points from the 'expedition team'. Though seeing the orangutans was fun, the rest of the experience was just not acceptable. We've been on four other Silversea cruises without complaint, only praise. So the cruise line really needs to fix the multiple fails on this journey to salvage reputation. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
I chose this cruise because of the "no single supplement". Ponant is the only luxury cruise with this option and I really think it is a good marketing option for the company. More and more you have a lot of women traveling and ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the "no single supplement". Ponant is the only luxury cruise with this option and I really think it is a good marketing option for the company. More and more you have a lot of women traveling and exploring the world by themselves. At the beginning of my cruise Ponant had a get together for all the people traveling alone, so we could meet each other. I also selected Ponant because I wanted to speak French and eat French! I was not disappointed! We visited some very remote islands in Indonesia and met fabulous ethnies: the Torajans for example. Ponant went out of its way to find an event so we could observe first hand the Torajan Funeral rites (we even went there with two live pigs we could offer to the family!). It was superb! The conferences were always of great interest: the naturalists were experienced on board and we were lucky to have Jean Marie Rouart from the Academie française in a panel Paris Match (a great addition for this cruise)! I am now a fan of Ponant! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We wanted to see Bali and the Komoto Dragons.The Encore is only 6 months old,a real pretty ship,staterooms are quite large,double sinks in bathroom,big screen tv,good size balconies.If you are new to Seabourn,the Seabourn Square is a new ... Read More
We wanted to see Bali and the Komoto Dragons.The Encore is only 6 months old,a real pretty ship,staterooms are quite large,double sinks in bathroom,big screen tv,good size balconies.If you are new to Seabourn,the Seabourn Square is a new concept on deck 7, this where the reception and shore excursions are booked,they don't tell you this,you have to figure it out yourself.The gourmet coffee and ice cream shop is also there on deck 7.There are five places to eat on the ship,the food in general is good,although my wife got sick twice.The Grill,is the best and the ship restricts the number of visits to this reasturant.For more casual dining try the pool/ patio area.The bar man on deck 10 is the best,the worst deck 9.In general the service in all areas is not up to Seabourn standards,the service in the Main dining room is exceptionally spotty.The crew / passenger ratio on this ship seems to be out of whack.I would avoid this ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
chose this cruise for destinations and inclusive options, we were not disappointed with either, my wife and I loved the ship staff, dining and itinerary, honestly can not fault the perfect cruise, magic castle at sea was such a treat as ... Read More
chose this cruise for destinations and inclusive options, we were not disappointed with either, my wife and I loved the ship staff, dining and itinerary, honestly can not fault the perfect cruise, magic castle at sea was such a treat as were the lectures, especially DR Laurence Blair, even on a sea day their were plenty of sunbeds to choose from and always a good conversation with mostly the nicest passengers we have had the pleasure to sail with, of course there's always going to be the odd exception, always a pleasure at the main restaurant, evening entertainment somewhat mixed, but loved the professional ballroom and Latin dancers on board, my wife made the most of the excellent ambassador hosts, and since returning home we are both having private dance classes as a result, of course when tender ports are involved there are always going to be issues but nothing to be worried about, all our tours were enjoyable, and cabin comfortable, we have since booked a cruise on the serenity. only negative is my wife usually has gym classes but deemed as previous passage mentioned area and size of gym not suitable, which is a shame. embarkation and disembarkation was seamless. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
My wife, Rosy and I chose this cruise as it guaranteed warm / hot weather and having traveled from Singapore to Hong Kong last year, experiencing cool weather as we moved north, we decided we were more bothered about the weather than the ... Read More
My wife, Rosy and I chose this cruise as it guaranteed warm / hot weather and having traveled from Singapore to Hong Kong last year, experiencing cool weather as we moved north, we decided we were more bothered about the weather than the itinerary. We booked a package through a UK TA, including club class flights on Emirates and hotels / transfers in Singapore and Bali. Emirates offer club class pax free luxury transfers to and from home to LHR and from Singapore to hotel and on return from cruise terminal to airport. We booked one night at the Marina Mandarin, in Singapore and two nights at the Conrad Bali. Our package included a club flight on KLM from Singapore to Bali and transfers. After two nights at the very comfortable Conrad Bali, we were excited to be taking our first Crystal cruise. We took a 'blue' cab to the port, a journey of about 30 minutes costing about £6! This included a toll on the new access road and another to enter the port! On arrival, porters took our luggage for a fee, to the official porters and we entered the terminal building. Check-in soon commenced albeit a tad chaotically and we were soon on board. We were advised that lunch was being served in the dining room, but instead we opted to sit in the sun on deck 11/12. We were impressed by the pool deck, including decent sized pool and very large hot tub. We enjoyed some cool drinks before heading to the Lido Cafe for lunch. This was going to be a real challenge for me, as I had just been diagnosed with diabetes and had to eat and drink in 'moderation'. I was used to eating and drinking in liberation, on cruises. Lunch offered a good selection, but this didn't change much during the cruise, so I was a bit limited in what I could eat on a sugar free diet. Never mind, rather unusually I hardly gained any weight, whereas I usually gain at least a pound a day! The afternoon was spent unpacking, doing the laundry and on orientation. We didn't leave the port until the following morning, so the usual afternoon emergency drill took place just before departure. We had booked dinner in Prego, which was excellent, but it meant we would miss our late seating dinner on a table for eight, not meeting our table-mates until the 2nd evening. Our table seemed to be the place they used for occasional diners, as it was rare for even 6 of us to be there. Two couldn't have liked us, as after two days they switched tables only to return 6 days later. Anyway the 6 of us regulars got on really well. There was a couple from Miami Beach and another English couple from Somerset, very close to our home in Dorset. Thousands of miles from home and we meet near neighbours. Our waiter, from Poland, was a real misery, which was a huge disappointment. He kept recommending unsuitable dishes to me, despite several reminders of my medical condition. We found the evening entertainment a bit mixed, but I was often in bed by 10.30, so wasn't up to much myself. We loved the violinist / pianist duo in the lobby. The enrichment lectures were well attended and loved by Rosy. We both enjoyed the computer lessons and tips for I-phone / Ipad users. I completed an online travel survey and was rewarded with unlimited internet, so my needs were sorted. We were able to Skype family around 8pm, when we guessed most people would either be preparing for dinner or eating it. The dance lessons also seemed extremely popular and singles were well catered for with hosts of both sexes readily available. There were several tender ports and this operation was managed very poorly, with long lines on the staircases, which could be very dangerous. Disembarkation was a breeze, which was a relief after standing for 1-2 hours clearing immigration just to go shopping the previous day. Do Singapore want visitors? Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
chose the tour for Bali and Singapore. The good news: The food was superb, our sommerlier Mladen and Maitre D' Mario made the general seating dining a delight. The entertainment was a little old school but fun. The bars and ... Read More
chose the tour for Bali and Singapore. The good news: The food was superb, our sommerlier Mladen and Maitre D' Mario made the general seating dining a delight. The entertainment was a little old school but fun. The bars and nooks were great. It made us feel that we were frequenting our own little neighbourhood. We stayed in Ubud in Bali doing our own touring with the Safest Driver in Bali's driver. We loved our tour, our dinners, our experiences. We enjoyed Komodo Island. Brunei was a slice of life. Malaysia had an interesting mountain tour. Singapore is dazzling and fun. The bad: The ship boarding process was disappointing. There was no-one at the car park to direct us and welcome us (We've done Oceania in the past and you were passed from one warm greeting to another). Hence a bit of confusion finding our debarkation point. It was a dodgy gangplank. The ship's rooms are small (we had a balcony on the 9th floor just below the penthouse level) and had the whole ambience was 80s nostalgia. We understand at the end of this cruise the entire ship is in for refurbishing. There were 2 designated sittings. This created a sense of chaos of the first night - it wasn't dining, it was feeding. We spoke with Mario and thereafter we ate between the two sittings and it was divine. Our waitors and sommelier Mladen were relaxed and capable and we loved every meal and enjoyed a wonderful wine experience. The gym is too small for classes - I worried that weights being used by individuals may be a threat to class members. The port days needed work: Komodo island could have been tightened up; the snorkeling in the Philippines was dodgy and there were no flippers, the descent off the boat was hampered by lines that could have been unsafe, a lot of unhappy people, but the beach we ultimately ended up at was beautfiul; Rombon is a poor island - thought should be given to working with the community to organize an event that would benefit it and engage the visitors - something with the schools?; Brunei day tour dragged - 1/2 day was sufficient to see the main buildings and then perhaps an experience that deepened the appreciation of the museum. singapore we did our own thing and had some amazing walking tours and experiences. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017

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