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15 Langkawi to Asia Cruise Reviews

This was our 4th cruise with Tui/Marella. twice on the Dream and twice on Discovery. This being our 4th year in a row, we were hoping for something different. We were very disappointed to find that the food menu was very much the same, ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise with Tui/Marella. twice on the Dream and twice on Discovery. This being our 4th year in a row, we were hoping for something different. We were very disappointed to find that the food menu was very much the same, but shocked to find the the menu was repeated after the first week. How strange when most of the cruises that were available to book were for 14 or more nights. The show team on board performed the same songs and dance routines the we'd seen for the previous 3 cruises with only some minor changes to the shows. The only new entertainment for the two weeks were the guest singer and comedian. So if you've been on any of the tui/marella cruises before, don't expect to see any new. The destinations on this cruise also sounded interesting. But we found that Port Blair in the Anderman islands was a wasted day, Not much to see and driving across the island was like taking a tour through the local tip. Mangalore was also a horrible port. The cruise ships were docked alongside the coal terminal that was being scooped and heaped all day by diggers, throwing clouds of coal dust into the air. Tui like to claim that they out their customers first, but like all big companies, profit comes first and when you complain they only accept what you say, but do noting to rectify the problems. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Delayed in Manchester for 3 hours as Langkawi had a military air display.. TUI only had 2 years notice of this so why did they arrange flights for this day?? Arrived after a good flight Premium Economy on the Dreamliner. Took 2.5 hours to ... Read More
Delayed in Manchester for 3 hours as Langkawi had a military air display.. TUI only had 2 years notice of this so why did they arrange flights for this day?? Arrived after a good flight Premium Economy on the Dreamliner. Took 2.5 hours to do the 20 minute Port transfer due to the Military event. Once on the Ship everything was great.. cabin steward Prakash was amazing.. Deluxe Balcony on deck 7 was brilliant.. loads of storage bigger than usual bathroom.. tea and coffee facility great balcony. Ship was great staff helpful and friendly food ok. Tried each of the specialty restaurants which were worth a visit. Ports of call... appalling!! Sri Lanka was lovely everywhere else wasn’t worth the effort of going ashore. After the fiasco with visas the itinerary was very disappointing as ports were too far away and far too industrial. The departure from Dubai was stressful to say the least as I think it’s the first time the smaller airport had been used by TUI.. total IT system failure meant we waited nearly 2 hours to begin check in following arrival with no TUI Rep at the airport not a good end to the holiday Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this Cruise as it was out of our comfort zone and was for our Golden Wedding. We had a fantastic holiday The Ship was very good, bit tired in places but in general very nice. Main problem encountered was the vibration ... Read More
We chose this Cruise as it was out of our comfort zone and was for our Golden Wedding. We had a fantastic holiday The Ship was very good, bit tired in places but in general very nice. Main problem encountered was the vibration running through the ship when sailing, which suggests an in balance in the drive mechanism, especially when trying to sleep. Staff were the best we have encountered, food very good in all Depts and entertainment generally very good Flights too long for us especially on the return which was 6 hours late. The trips we did were very good and informative The ports were primarily working ports which was a bit off putting, possibly down to cost. Overall a fabulous holiday which we will never forget. We had a problem with dirty water in our first cabin but this was quickly remedied by a move to another cabin John and Pat Caulkin Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We have cruised with Marella in the past and already had great cruises but this one surpassed all expectations. Asia was a new itinerary for Marella this year, I had visited all of the destinations many moons ago when backpacking but knew ... Read More
We have cruised with Marella in the past and already had great cruises but this one surpassed all expectations. Asia was a new itinerary for Marella this year, I had visited all of the destinations many moons ago when backpacking but knew it would have changed a lot, whereas for my mum and dad it was their first time in Asia. It certainly won't be the last! Fabulous itinerary and made all the better by a classy ship and amazing crew and officers who really went out of their way to make everything perfect! Would recommend it in a heartbeat! We flew from Bormingham to Langkawi on the Dreamliner. I have to admit that we all hated such a long flight, this was the only downside, but the crew were excellent onboard the flight and Tui were very helpful in organising extra luggage allowance for the medicating I need to travel with, full marks to the welfare team pre cruise! The drwMliner very comfortable. Unfortunately the inflight entertainment was a bit uninspiring but comfort wise the Dreamliner was very roomy. On arrival to Langkawi it took only around half an hour transfer time and the check in on board was very quick and efficient. Doe to booking only ten weeks before there had only been the choice of all three of us in a standard inside cabin so we spectre it o be cramped, which it was. However full marks to Chiefhousekeeper Larry and his team, the ship was cleaner than spotless all cruise and all of the housekeeping team we encountered were do pleasant and helpful, especially our cabin steward Andy who even specially arranged a fridge for my medication. Marella still do the nightly turndown service and chocolates on pillow which I'd a nice touch, we find a lot of lines skip this nowadays. We did not eat in any of the speciality restaurants but the island's buffet for breakfast and lunch, the glasshouse for lunches and reaturant 47 deck 4 and the Italian on deck 5 were excellent. I cannot commend the f and b team highly enough. I have to follow an extremely strict diet for medical reasons and thus travelling can be a nightmare for me. However I was met on board on arrival and the restaurant staff and chefs were fabulous. They were already aware of my allergies. They cooked specially for me all week and managed to produce anything I requested. Julia who is in charge of special diets deserves a particular mention. In all of my years of travel I have never received such good customer service! She has the patience of a saint and is worth her weight in gold to Marella. Her attentative service is one thing that will certainly make us cruise with Marella again alone! The food was excellent and the service consistently brilliant.. I have also never had better porridge in my life! Top marks to the breakfast chefs! It as also nice that they tried to incorporate local fruits such as dragonfruit, Logan berries and guavas into the menu! Well done executive chef and his team! Destinations services team and their manager Pd were also brilliant, they were a fountain of knowledge and also very helpful with independent information, not just interested in those doing their trips. We did most things independently apart from the 'on your own' transfers onto Ho Chi Minh city and Kuala Lumpar which were both very well organised. Very impressed. We found the other ports easy enough to do by ourselves although be warned, you need to do plenty of research, this is not a relaxing cruise but the destinations are so worth it! We found the who's very good. Also the gym instructoe Curtis was very pleasant and helpful. Well done Marella for a brilliant two weeks. Can't recommend you enough. You have three loyal passengers now for life!ggg Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
i was waiting to see if Thomson (TUI) were going to cruise Asia as they haven't in the past and we've always wanted to go in that direction. I will not comment about the ship as others have provided more than enough information ... Read More
i was waiting to see if Thomson (TUI) were going to cruise Asia as they haven't in the past and we've always wanted to go in that direction. I will not comment about the ship as others have provided more than enough information and pics. Travel The whole journey out and back went more or less to plan (a little late both ways but that's almost to be expected). We flew Premium both ways and was a little disappointed at Gatwick because check-in was a free for all, fortunately we arrived early so there wasn't too much of a queue. However we did get fast track through the emigration. Cabin crew both ways were good and the food adequate; but having paid a lot of money for Premium, charging extra for things like crisps was penny pinching and little niggles like that pervaded the whole experience (see comments below). Unusually we had to collect our cases on landing to go through customs. This is the first cruise we've been on where that had to be done. On the return journey however we didn't see our cases again until we arrived at Gatwick baggage reclaim. Embarkation/disembarkation The whole operation ran smoothly but the signs for Premier check-in were less than obvious and most, like us, joined the main queue. We had to leave our cases outside the cabin by 2am and vacate by 8am on the day of departure and as our flight wasn't till 5pm everyone was milling around waiting to go. Cabin Our cases were delivered to our cabin and the cabin itself was exactly as expected and up to the Company's usual standard, well equipped and clean. The balcony had 2 chairs a table and 2 loungers. Our cabin steward, Riva, looked after us very well. Having had a long journey we wanted a drink of water so opened the bottle without realising that there was a charge of £1.50 for the privilege! Water stations were on most decks with notices not to fill your own bottles. Dining We only ate in the Islands Restaurant as there was a 'supplement' to dine in many of the others. The food was plentiful and varied but some rather bland. The desserts were an absolute dream and were the best past of the meal. Excursions All were rather expensive (we knew that as most were booked before leaving UK), some did not represent good value for money in my view but I accept that others may not agree. However they were enjoyable and all but the island catamaran trip provided a well informed commentary and the guides were helpful. I must congratulate the destinations team for their positive and helpful approach. Bar service The bar staff were always smiling and helpful and we never had to wait too long for drinks service. Disappointing that some drinks (including coffee) were at an additional cost. Overall impression Entertainment was good and the team worked very hard, a comedian - Martin Daniels, was the highlight for me. There were 'technical difficulties' one night which stopped the show but these things happen. I did get the impression that the Company was out to extract every last £ whilst you were on the ship. I know that they have to encourage spending for commercial reasons but making the process obvious was unnecessary. I think it would be better the Cruise was billed as 'inclusive' to indicate that not everything was included. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Have been on Marella ( formerly Thomson) Cruises before and this one appealed as it was a new itinerary with some great places. Flight was long but good, arrived on time and apart from a queue at airport immigration we arrived at the ... Read More
Have been on Marella ( formerly Thomson) Cruises before and this one appealed as it was a new itinerary with some great places. Flight was long but good, arrived on time and apart from a queue at airport immigration we arrived at the ship after a 20 min journey. Check in was done on board and was speedy and our luggage appeared quite quickly. Cabin - we had an inside cabin on deck 6. Although near stairs and lift it was very quiet and we heard no noise from bars downstairs. It was an ideal deck to be on - down to bars/restaurants and a few flights up to the pool deck, yet away from engine noise/vibration. Although not large there's plenty of drawers and cupboard space & a small sofa,adequate for our 2 weeks. The bathroom was small but well planned & also had good storage space , Ive been in smaller. Ship - the Discovery was new to us and we really liked it. Plenty of bars and restaurants but some quiet spaces as well. It was spotlessly clean and we saw staff cleaning & dusting every day. On sea days sunbeds were short ( as on every ship Ive been on!) but we always managed to find one in the afternoons. The indoor pool - The Glass House- was an indoor spa with pool, sunbeds, relaxing chairs & a small restaurant, a great place to go when it was so hot outside. Also loved the Veranda Terrace with sunbeds & big round chairs away from hustle& bustle. We also loved the putting course & had many a game as well as shuffleboard, although we didn't have the nerve to try the climbing wall. It also has an escape room at extra cost. Food & entertainment - the usual buffet & a waiter service restaurant. There was an Italian restaurant which only had 2 menus, a small tapas & pizza restaurant and the Snack shack which had breakfast & lunch snacks e.g. sandwiches, salads, chips etc.There were also the usual extra charge restaurants but we didn't try these. After discussion we decided the food was generally underwhelming and there were only a few meals we could say we really enjoyed. It was often bland and didn't live up to its description. The buffet had some good options depending on what time you went, the Snack shack sandwiches were fresh but very sparsely filled but hey,you'll never go hungry. The restaurant was often full by 7.30 pm and we were given a pager that buzzed when your table was ready which meant we often ate quite late & staff were a bit rushed. I think some passengers complained but it was fair.There was plenty of the usual entertainment - singers, bands, quizzes,game shows etc. the shows were varied - some were reminiscent of a 6th Form school production often off key and shrieking songs, others dance routines were fantastic,especially the Roxane and Can Can dance.Mark Daniels ( Paul Daniel's son) was the guest comedian and was hilarious, it was packed. Excursions -loads on offer to suit everyone. We were often berthed in ports far away from main cities but there was always transport for you to do your own thing. There was very little to do in port as they were quite industrial in places. I found some staff on destination services a little dismissive -we were told the local beach at Koh Samui had no facilities & ' you wont want to swim there' when in fact it was a lovely little palm fringed beach with clear sandy waters and a bar at the end. Paper maps weren't available any more - maybe maps could be put on the Discovery app as there was nothing to help you find your way round places,just a moving display map. Unfortunately, I developed a kidney infection and had to use the medical centre - I cannot fault the treatment, care and follow up from the medical team, complete with full copies of all tests and results which meant I could enjoy the end of my holiday. The places we visited were amazing and never to be forgotten and I think this itinerary gave us a flavour of the Far East Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Have reviewed Disco before and we love it, so will concentrate on ports and trips. It’s fair to say that in some of the Ports a DIY job is not really an option as they’re as big as a city. In other places the ports are a minimum of 2 ... Read More
Have reviewed Disco before and we love it, so will concentrate on ports and trips. It’s fair to say that in some of the Ports a DIY job is not really an option as they’re as big as a city. In other places the ports are a minimum of 2 1/2 to 3hrs away so it’s a long day. We like half-day trips so a bit restricted, but most were very good. Compared to a recent cruise to Norway where everything was very expensive, we thought these trips were reasonable. We reckon the grub to be good but not great. We did Islands buffet for brek and most lunches or the Snack Shack where the wings, fish and chips are excellent and hot. Stays open until 6pm so if you’re late lunchers like us it’s great. One slight knock in most areas is that the grub could be a bit hotter. We liked 47 for dinner and eat quite late, after 8.30pm.You do get a buzzer but it’s a chance for a few bubbles pre-dins. We tried the Steak on Stone for an £11.95 surcharge. Well worth it-best dinner of trip. As others have said, if you want a sunbed on sea days you need to be up with the early breakfast cooks, about 5am. We normally waited until it thinned out a bit later. No-one gives up their beds. They run a ‘yellow card’ system for beds left for more than 2 hrs but it’s just for show. Drinks great. Longest wait a few mins. Good bottled beers, Peroni, Corona, San Miguel. **I refuse to pay for wi-fi so there’s very limited internet access. Even on the day trips there was hardly any ‘free time’ so you had to try find wi-fi wherever you could. Langkawi Nature Reserve: Excellent. Half day. About 30min journey. You go into bat cave then boat journey to watch eagles feeding from the river which is amazing. Penang: Temple followed by funicular ride to top of island. Really good. At top you can have a buggy ride around the area for a couple a quid. Very good. ***Hotel at top of hill has wi-if you can access. KL: Half day sights. Petronas Tower excellent and Independence Square and War Memorial good. Visit to disused colonial railway station a bit bizarre and an obvious ‘filler’ Bangkok: did trip ‘On your own’. Be warned, it’s 3 hrs in traffic to get there and you get 4 hrs there. And you’re dropped at a Shopping Mall outside the city. Our excellent guide recommended the Skytrain (about £3 for an all day tourist ticket) to the river, a river taxi (also about £3)then a Tuk Tuk back which was about a fiver. Had a great day. Went to Reclining Buddha which wife loved. Some guides apparently discourage being too adventurous due to time constraints but we really enjoyed it and had no problems getting back. Pattaya Beach: Coach Trip ‘On your own’. Cancelled Bangkok on own for day 2 as couldn’t face the journey and getting up in middle of night-or so it seems. Taken to shopping mall then on your own. Not really a daytime place but still enjoyable. Lots of British men talking to young people in sea front bars which is a bit weird but glad we went. Singapore: half day ‘In the footsteps of Raffles’. Best trip of the hol. Only four hrs but we got half hour walk tour, 30 mins boat ride, Singapore Sling in the Raffles Hotel (no queueing as part of trip-on your own be ready to queue for about 45 mins) then a ride on a tri-bike with a recognised firm so safe and reliable. Excellent. Sihanoukville, Cambodia: Did our own thing. An eye-opener. Quite a few scare stories re valuables and the like but didn’t hear any horror stories. There will be beggars and Tuk-Tuk overload but it’s not overwhelming. Went to the beach with another couple we met, Tuk Tuk for about 20 mins which was $20 dollars US and he wouldn’t haggle. Whole place is a building site. Vietnam: Ship is 3hrs from Ho Chi Minh so any trip is a schlep. We did Cu Chi tunnels which I really enjoyed but it was a bit of a one-trick pony. Still worthwhile. Malacca: half day sightseeing. Bit dull. Highlight was going up viewing tower and a castle. We did all those trips and they’re great, but they’re usually early kick-offs. We did four on the spin and I couldn’t wait to get back for my bottle of Peroni. We’d do the itinerary again. Loved it. **Depending on flight time, you can keep cabin past the 8am kick-out.Ours was £35 right up to 3pm departure for Gatwick and worth every penny as you weren’t fighting for space as everyone waits to get off. Apparently, 80% of people paying keep their own cabin. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Having cruised many times, mainly with P&O, we thought we’d give Marella a try as it was going to places we hadn’t been to before. Accommodation We had a balcony cabin on Deck 7 which had loads of storage space and kept ... Read More
Having cruised many times, mainly with P&O, we thought we’d give Marella a try as it was going to places we hadn’t been to before. Accommodation We had a balcony cabin on Deck 7 which had loads of storage space and kept clean and tidy by our steward, Charlie. Some of the towels, particularly the hand ones, were very thin and were pretty useless in absorbing any water and were seriously in need of replacement. Food The Islands buffet we found to be very poor. The same choices seemed to be repeated again and again. Always Chicken Korma, Chilli Con Carne, pizza. Poor selection of salads and cooked meat. The waiter service restaurant just couldn’t cope. Every evening, at various times, it was necessary to have a pager and wait for 40 minutes to be called. The food again was repetative and not enough choice. Trips As we hadn’t visited this area before we booked ship’s tours. We did feel that some of the trips were poor value for money and that we were being used as guinea pigs for Marella’s first visit to Asia. Coaches were of dubious quality, one had little or no rear suspension and we all feared for our backs when going over bumps. One trip advertised as 4.5 hours had us back on ship in 3. One of the highlights of another was a visit to a fruit and spice stall at the side of a busy road! Entertainment Lady Boys of Bangkok was a good show but as only one show was performed, many people were left disapppointed as they couldn’t get into theatre. We had two comedians. One, Martin Daniels ( son of Paul) was very good, the other not so good. The Marella entertainers were very good and worked hard. Loved Natalie, she was hilarious! Could have done with something a bit different on sea days. Perhaps a talk? Would we do Marella again? Yes at the right price to the right place. Would we do Asia again. Probably not but would return to Singapore in a heartbeat, such a clean place and easily accessible . Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Just to be aware most of the ports on this cruise are large container ports so don’t expect pretty vistas from your balcony cabin. Also the main ports, those for Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City are a long way from these ... Read More
Just to be aware most of the ports on this cruise are large container ports so don’t expect pretty vistas from your balcony cabin. Also the main ports, those for Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City are a long way from these cities (at least 2-3 hours). There are lots of reviews about the ship so won’t go into detail about that as there is lots of info online. We found the standard drinks package fine (I don’t drink alcohol and hubby was able to have beers that he likes from the limited choice of beers as it is mainly lagers) and felt it was not worth the upgrade to the premium package which is an £50 per person per week so £200 on the 2 week cruise. We flew in and out of Langkawi as we wanted the extra time in Bangkok and had booked the ship tour called Sleepless Bangkok and tuk tuk ride which meant we didn’t get back to the ship until around midnight. One of the things I would have liked to see was a ladyboy show and unbeknown to us the ladyboys of Bangkok come onto the ship and do a show in the theatre on the evening of the overnight in Bangkok which we missed. Everybody says the show is fabulous. Langkawi – the advice I read was to walk past the initial throng of taxi drivers trying to get your business and carry on a bit further to the car park area. However one of our group of 4 was able to negotiate a return fare to the cable car of 150 ringgits (£30 so £15 per couple). Took about 45 minutes to get there but was closed due to high winds, we had been advised it was closed the previous day also due to the winds but did open later in the day, we hung around for a while but no sign of it opening or the wind easing so the other couple were returned to the ship and on their advice we went to the mangroves. The boat trip for 2 hours was 350 ringgits (£70) which is a private boat, there were no other people getting a boat at the same time so we were unable to share despite plenty of room on the boat, the price is for the boat, not the number of people so would be better to have several of you to share the cost. The 1 hour trip (sorry can’t remember the cost) would be sufficient as you don’t see much more on the 2 hour trip. We then got the taxi driver to take us to Eagle Square where we stopped for about 20 minutes. When we asked the taxi driver how much extra it was he said to pay what we felt so we paid a further 150 ringgits on top of the original 150 for taking us to the cable car and back and he seemed happy with this. He was happy to wait as long as needed at each stop. We found out later that the cable car did open later in the day despite it still being windy so if it is windy suggest going early afternoon and you may get to do it. Penang – we got the HOHO bus from outside the port – bus was waiting as you exited the port terminal but had to wait a while for it to depart. We bought our tickets inside the terminal at a cost of 45 ringgits each – so around £10 each. We wanted to go on the funicular (as we were unable to do the cable car in Langkawi), you can buy tickets on the bus, either 30 ringgits or 80 ringgits for fast pass tickets per person. We made the mistake of going for the cheaper ones and it took about an hour and a half before we made it to the top. You have to wait until your boarding number is called, then queue for about 15 minutes in one area, then you move on and think you are going to board the funicular but then it is another big queue before a final big queue before you get on. The fast pass tickets just go straight through so you would be up in about 10 minutes. By the time we made it to the top we only had a quick scout round as we were concerned about the queue to get back down and having to wait for the HOHO bus. Kuala Lumpur – we did the Kuala Lumpur on your own trip with the ship which I would recommend. I had pre-booked the Petronas Tower tour for 12.15 so before that we got a taxi to and from central market which cost 40 ringgits (£8) there and 20 ringgits back (£4). We were given maps on the coach and the drop off and pick up was by the Petronas Towers. Singapore – we used the metro which is accessible from the port terminal – jus follow the signs or ask. A day pass is $10 per person or a single ride is $1.80. We just did single rides as we knew we wouldn’t do enough to warrant the day pass. We got the metro to Clarke Quay and then did a boat trip from there to Marina Bay which was $18 each. There are various stops to get off in Marina Bay. (We got off at Marina Bay Sands hotel but I would recommend getting off at the Merlion Statue to see that close up then walking round to Marina Bay Sands although this would be a fair walk). We then went up to the viewing platform of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel which was $23 each – just enter the hotel and follow the signs. We then followed the signs to Gardens by the Bay. Unfortunately the arial walkway in the trees was closed for maintenance on the day we were there but costs $8 each. We were undecided about doing the domes (as we have been to the Eden Project in Cornwall and felt it would be like that) but we did it and they are amazing – highly recommended. $28 each. Koh Samui – We got a songthew (type of bus with an open rear) to Chaweng Beach, agreed a cost with the driver of 500 baht (£13) return fare for a couple. 6 other couples joined us. On arrival the driver arranged a pick up time with us and he was there exactly on time which we arranged for 2.30pm to allow sufficient time to get back to the ship, it was an hour’s journey each way. The driver even stopped on the way back and went into a shop, then presented us all with a chilled bottle of water. We walked about 5 minutes or so along the beach and hired sunbeds on the beach outside a hotel for 100 baht each (£2.63) for the day. We also had access to the toilet facilities. Hubby also had his first ever massage for I think 300 baht – was supposed to be 45 minutes but was over an hour. Laem Chabang (Bangkok) – we did ship tours on the 2 days to Bangkok – Sleepless Bangkok and tuk tuk ride on the first day and the ancient city on the second day. The tuk tuk ride was fun, night market was quite small. Spent quite a lot of time at the temple where they do the evening chanting (bit too long) and the flower market is just a walk through. Ancient city trip was nice, very clean and picturesque. Cambodia, Sihanoukville – the port transfer bus gets accosted by taxi/tuk tuk drivers wanting your business which some people find very intimidating and return straight away to the ship. The guy at my husband’s window met us off the bus and we moved away from the crowd to negotiate a price which was $60US for 3 hours, He spoke good English and the Cambodian people are friendly. We visited a square, a religious site, several beaches, golden lions roundabout and a fishing village. There is a lot of building going on of casinos and hotels by the Chinese as advised by our driver/guide but they bring their own people so it doesn’t give work to the locals. The area is very third world with lots of rubbish around and basic roads, with the fishing village being extremely basic and slum-like, makes you appreciate what we have at home! So is an experience which shouldn’t be missed, plus you are helping their economy. We had originally planned to go on a ferry to the island of Koh Rong Sanloem and had prebooked and paid online for the return ferries. This was based on the the itinerary had said we would be in Sihanoukville from 7am to 9pm so allowed plenty of time for getting back to the ship as we had been told that transport such as ferries don’t always run to the scheduled times. However when we received the cruise paper the evening before the departure time was 7pm which we felt was too tight to ensure we would make it back in time so had to forgo the island trip. This trip is not offered by the ship. On asking other people the 7pm departure had also happened on the previous cruise. Phu My Vietnam – Vung Tau – We chose to do a ship tour to the seaside area of Vung Tau rather than go into Ho Chi Minh City which is retrospect was probably not a great idea. The trip was partly sightseeing and partly beach with lunch. We were firstly driven to a lookout point but there wasn’t long enough to climb the many steps to get to the top to see the Jesus statue due to the short time we were given here. We then went to a religious site and were given quite a long time here which wasn’t needed as not a great deal to see, so the timings were not great. We also stopped along the seafront for a brief photo stop. The beach hotel we were taken to was nice, the lunch was basic but ok (no choice of food), the beach was nice although the sea was rough and there were kite surfers who didn’t have any consideration for the bathers so you had to be careful when in the sea. Speaking to people who had gone into Ho Chi Minh City, they said it was really good, so we wished we had gone there instead. Malacca – Tenders to shore which was not mentioned in Tui info but departure time was 4pm rather than the stated 2pm. We walked to Dutch Square and Jonker Street, then did a boat trip on the river which cost 30 ringgts each (approx £6 each). As it was very hot we then hired one of the bike/tuk tuks to save further walking in the heat (sorry can’t remember how much this was). However we ended up re-visiting some of the places we had already been to and wasn’t able to communicate this with the language barrier. We got him to drop us at McDonalds so we could get some refreshments and use their wifi and we then walked back to the tender area. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This was our 8th Cruise, our first with Marella. Previously we have cruised with RC, P&O and MSC. We had previously sailed on Discovery 10 years ago when it was Royal Caribbean - Splendour of the Seas so we knew what to expect. ... Read More
This was our 8th Cruise, our first with Marella. Previously we have cruised with RC, P&O and MSC. We had previously sailed on Discovery 10 years ago when it was Royal Caribbean - Splendour of the Seas so we knew what to expect. The flight and boarding of the ship was smooth and easy. We had an inside cabin and this was small but functional and clean. Marella have tarted up the sink units in the bathroom but the shower is still the same with a curtain, rather than an enclosed cubicle. Freedom Dining: This was a new system to us as we have always previously had a late set dining time. We were a large party of 14 adults and we knew that we would not be able to have one large table, so we split into two groups each night - a table of 6 and a table of 8. Personally I thought this was a good system, we would be given a buzzer which would indicate when our tables were ready and there was never a long wait. I would add that the down side to this is that we didn't have the same waiting staff each night and the service varied considerably, on the whole the staff were attentive and being all inclusive the wine glasses and water glasses were kept filled. However, one evening our glasses remained empty until we asked a passing staff member for more drinks, which he immediately started to fill, only to be questioned by the Restaurant Manager why he was waiting on someone else's table, a short sharp heated exchange took place, which resulted in half our glasses being filled before he walked off very disgruntled! This was awkward and embarrassing for us. Personally I think you get better service on a set sitting on a set table as the waiting staff get to know you and also know they will be tipped if they provide a good service. Entertainment: The bands on the ship were very good, there were some fantastic singers on this cruise. Bar & Drinks: All inclusive package was absolutely fine, I didn't find any need to upgrade as there was plenty of choice in the normal package. We never had to wait too long for drinks to be served. Excursions & Ports of Call: We booked the Catamaran Excursion on our 2nd Day in Langkawi, after a long flight we had to be up early to join the excursion, only to be told when we got to the dock that our excursion was cancelled as the Catamaran had broken down. We took a taxi to a local beach - in hindsight this was probably one of the best beaches of the cruise but at the time I thought how dirty and shabby it looked. There were plastic bottles and waste on the beach and the sea was quite rough with Jelly Fish warnings posted on the beach! I went swimming all the same - no Jelly Fish sighted! Malaysia - Penang The next day we had an excursion to Monkey Beach, despite reading terrible reviews we thought we would like to try it for ourselves. The reviews were not unfounded - the beach was covered in plastic, rubbish and bottles, lots of rundown shacks that need clearing away. I would not use the "facilities" they were too dirty. We had a BBQ lunch on the beach but I was very wary of the hygiene, but hunger got the better of me and I ate some of the chicken skewers which were very tasty and nothing untoward happened. The monkeys all came down to the beach, so you do get to see a lot of monkeys. They were not aggressive but you need to watch your bags etc.. we saw one monkey make off with a packet of pills from one ladies handbag! Another grabbed a can of coke and bit into the can to drink it, I don't think we tourists are making a very good contribution to their diet and well being. On the return journey we had to climb a ladder onto a very rickety pontoon with no handrails, so I would not advise anyone with any mobility issues to attempt this excursion. I actually wonder whether a Tui representative has tried this excursion? Kuala Lumpur - Port Klang By this time jet lag had definitely kicked in but we still had to be up early for our excursion to see Kuala Lumpur on your own. A very clean modern city. Loved the KL & Petronas Towers. Singapore Another very clean city - we used the hop on hop off bus, which goes from the Cruise terminal. Went to Raffles (of course) but a long queue deterred us from waiting for a Singapore Sling. My sister went in but found it a bit of a tourist conveyor belt. Went to the sky bar with the inifinity pool - lovely views but pricey - expect to pay London prices. Finally a Lay in and a day at sea...of course no sunbeds available on deck. One point to note on the sea day - my brother in law went underwater in the pool and came up in agony, something in the pool really upset his eyes. He wasn't the only person either, there were a couple of other guys also complaining of painful eyes after submerging in the pool. Koh Samui - Thailand Got a mini bus for $75 each way for 8 people to Chaweng beach, quite a pretty beach but not clear enough for snorkelling. Jelly fish warnings again but none of us suffered any stings. Bangkok - Thailand We booked the Classic Thai dance and dinner The port is a working port - with nothing pretty to see, as were quite a few of the ports on this cruise. The coach trip to Bangkok was 2 hours - we had an hour in the Night Market before going to the show, the show lasted for one hour with dinner served during the show - a typical thai curry with various accompaniments (we were told it was Crocodile Curry) - good tasty food but it was all over and done with very quickly and we were back on the coach for the 2 hour journey back. In hindsight I wish we had made our own arrangements to see Bangkok on our own - perhaps with an overnight stay in an hotel. Pattaya - Thailand We did Pattaya on our own, again due to the ship departure time we only had a very short amount of time here. Had a look around a shopping centre and went to the beach - nothing much to say about it - beach ok but not pretty like the beaches in the Caribbean. I think it would be better to visit at night to see the lady boys etc.. Cambodia A group of us took the port shuttle bus to make our own way around. However be prepared for a total scrum of Tuk tuk drivers who as soon as the shuttle bus gets out of the port will start to run along side the bus, banging on the windows, pointing at their placards of places they will take you. When the bus stopped I wasn't sure I wanted to get off as there were around 30 tuk tuk drivers wanting our business. In the end two of the guys in our group managed to agree for two brothers to take our group to Sokha which is a beach resort hotel. The short tuk tuk ride took us past the building sites and smells of this area of Cambodia. It looks at present as though the whole region is under construction so don't expect anything pretty. The resort of Sokha however was a little haven. I am sure we paid too much for the Tuk tuks - but it was only $15 dollars each way and the brothers only took payment on the return journey. Sokha has a beautiful pool and access to the beach which looked clean and nice although the sea was a bit rough. Entry to Sokha was $20 each and for this you got a beach towel, and a drink. Vietnam: We cancelled our - Saigon on your own tour as I didn't fancy the long coach trip - 2 - 2.5 hours for a few hours there. Some of our friends did the tunnels and thoroughly enjoyed it although they all felt claustrophobic in the tiny tunnels. The rest of us grabbed a minibus and again went to a local Beach Resort Hotel - this was about 45 minutes away. The hotel and pool were very nice $24 each, this time no drink just a towel and use of the facilities. The beach was full of bitumen and again very rough sea, so we stayed in the resort area. Malacca - Malaysia The last stop before returning to Langkawi for home. This is a tender to shore, very quick and easy, you can walk into the town area, you don't need an excursion. The tuk tuks here are very colourful and blasting out with different kinds of music. You can walk to the Jonker Street area, which is quite busy and near the Dutch Square too. Conclusion: My first time in Asia: Some countries were very clean and modern and others not but that was all part of the experience. In hindsight some of the excursions we booked were not the best choice. There are things I would have liked to have differently but not knowing how easy it was to get around we played safe. I would have liked to see the Mekong Delta and Saigon but both places were 2-2.5 hours away from the port as were some of the other excursions. I expected breath taking beaches and pretty towns but this was not what we got, a lot of the places are in the midst of mass development. The beaches are not good for snorkelling and all the beaches we visited were strewn with rubbish. I think I have been spoilt by the beauty of the Caribbean. But everything added to the experience and it was a holiday I would not have missed. I just don't think I would hurry back...just yet. One final point to note; there was a lot of sickness and tummy upsets on the ship, we heard people in the public toilets being violently ill and heard lots of people talking about stomach bugs! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We had visited South Africa, Sri Lanka and stopped for three days in Bangkok in September, October and November 2018 with a view to visiting more of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. We returned home in UK for a family wedding and Christmas ... Read More
We had visited South Africa, Sri Lanka and stopped for three days in Bangkok in September, October and November 2018 with a view to visiting more of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. We returned home in UK for a family wedding and Christmas and we spotted this cruise offer in local travel agent window during December. Having not done a cruise previously, we decided to give it a try based on friends and family feedback from other cruises. This is totally our personal view of the experience, which will certainly be different for everyone. I will bullet point only as not wanting to write a book. POSITIVES - Cruise was very well organised and ship was very clean with excellent staff. Comfortable cabin and bed. Flexible eating options. ‘Some’ good entertainment. Different place to visit most mornings. Plenty bars around the ship. Able to find quiet spots even on days at sea. NEGATIVES - One week would have been long enough on a ship for us. Adult only cruise catered more for older generation (55+) with most entertainment. All English on cruise. The towels on sun beds situation. Very limited times on shore. Food became a little bland after a while. All inclusive did not include bottled drinking water. All inclusive did not include WiFi. We feel that as drinking water and WiFi are pretty important things to most, they should be included. A glass of coke was chargeable at bars before 10am. Could not get foreign currency onboard using a bank card at reception and no ATM. Excursions not always value for money or too long. Some ports too far from places of interest. Some entertainment a little poor. Ended up coming home with a severe bout of diarrhoea even though we only ate onboard and always followed the hygiene facilities (unlike a lot of others using the toilets) A different experience for both my wife and me but no more cruising for us. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We have been cruising over Xmas and New Year for 6 years now, usually to the Caribbean but when this trip to Asia came up we decided to give it a try. Our flight from Manchester was the inaugural one and so there was a bit of pomp included ... Read More
We have been cruising over Xmas and New Year for 6 years now, usually to the Caribbean but when this trip to Asia came up we decided to give it a try. Our flight from Manchester was the inaugural one and so there was a bit of pomp included with champagne and cake. The flight itself from Manchester was good though long at 11 hours. On arriving in Langkawi there was no substantial delay in getting through the airport to the ship and the boarding process was fairly quick. Having got our ships cards we went to the cabin only to find it was not what we booked. We had booked a cabin with 2 beds and a sofa bed as there was 3 of us. We had been given a cabin with a double bed and an elevated bunk bed which is not practical as we cannot climb into a bunk bed. On complaining to the hotel manager we were told that it was impossible for us to have booked such a room as they did not exist on the ship. This was a barefaced lie as we know they do and have physically seen them. The outcome is that we had to accept another cabin for me which was a workable solution but not too convenient as it was a good distance apart and a bit inconvenient. I can live with ,mistakes being made but not being lied to. Anyway, we had to make the best of it from that point though moving cabins meant our credit card became detached for our account and we had to make 2 visits to reception to get it reactivated. We had booked excursions in advance and were very surprised to find tickets on our beds on arrival for the morning of that day which had already elapsed. A computer mistake I was told on complaining to the excursion desk and new tickets would be issued in a weeks time as the computer can only work in the current week. There were a few mistakes made on issuing excursion tickets and they had to be replaced on several occasions. The trips themselves were a bit of a mixed bag, some excellent and some not so good. The trip to the Chu Chi tunnels in Vietnam was not good as the guide spoke bad English too quickly, did not take care of her party, gave us her life story and nearly lost everyone in Ho Chi Minh city. We were very pleased to have booked the excursion in advance, as many were not available on the ship and the ports that the ship stops at are industrial dockyards up to 2 hours away from anything worth seeing. You simply cannot do much on foot on this trip. A spurious charge for mini bar appeared on my account after a few days. It took 3 trips to reception to get this removed. There is very much a computer says no regime on this ship. The good points. The ship though old is nice and roomy and clean. The food is very good in all the restaurants and New Year dinner was exceptional as was the steak house speciality restaurant. The entertainment team are very good, probably the best I have seen on a cruise ship and we had very good guest acts apart from the comedians who were very average. Service in the bars can be excellent or very poor depending on the time of day. The service in the main restaurant was exceptional. Overall the cruise was good but let down by some mistakes and it was quite apparent that this was the first time they had done this itinerary. We were definitely the Guinea Pigs on this one. If you just want a taste of the far east then this cruise is okay but I will stick to the Caribbean in future. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Went on the Enchanting Far East Cruise We were sold the cruise as an ‘All inclusive’ package but found that we were limited as to what we could drink and where we could eat. Having talked to other passengers about this we were told ... Read More
Went on the Enchanting Far East Cruise We were sold the cruise as an ‘All inclusive’ package but found that we were limited as to what we could drink and where we could eat. Having talked to other passengers about this we were told that even had we paid £100 per person for the ‘premium’ package we would still have had to pay a nominal amount for ‘premium’ drinks and would still have to pay for the speciality restaurants. This is not what we expect from an ‘All inclusive’ package. Once aboard the ship we tried most of the restaurants, including the so-called Italian restaurant which appears to be Italian in name only. Overall the food was average at most. Apart from Lankawi, Singapore and the ports where a tender was required we berthed in what can only be described as industrial freight ports which were miles from any towns {we can only surmise that this was for cheaper port tax}. This meant that it was pointless trying to see places like Ho Chi Min City which was 80 miles from the port. We were told by thr agent that we needed cash for a Cambodia visa only to be told onboard that the fee would be taken from our account even if you didn't get off the ship! We considered taking the excursions but after talking to passengers who had done so did not bother as they all said they didn’t have time to see everything on the printed itinerary due to the time taken to travel to and from the destinations. On our last day we were informed that we had to leave our main cases outside our cabin by 2:00am and had to vacate our cabin at 8:00am. As our transfer to the airport wasn’t until 3:00pm this meant we had a 7 hour wait. We were also informed that there were 8 cabins available for 3 hours for the whole flight (300+ people) to freshen up in which calculates to just over 4 minutes per person!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
left Gatwick just before it was shut down ,due to drones which may or may not be true. Flight, transfer and embarkation well organised .Balcany cabin 7578 was spacious clean , quiet Food in the buffet was good with lots of ... Read More
left Gatwick just before it was shut down ,due to drones which may or may not be true. Flight, transfer and embarkation well organised .Balcany cabin 7578 was spacious clean , quiet Food in the buffet was good with lots of choice. Gallery 47,was nice as was 47 and the glass house . Drinks were plentiful , never waited more than 2 minutes ,cocktails were a little weak but still nice . The Broadway Show lounge had some entertaining shows, as did the Squid and anchor.The pool deck had an afternoon quiz and Gavin and Co messing around . jaki Graham appeared one night ,singing her 80s hits. All the staff worked hard ,with little time off The Ports were all new to tui, so we were first to experience them , firstly Lankawi . Was a lovely island would be happy to spend 2 weeks there Next Penang ,a day was sufficient,went to see the Oranutans , they didnt seem th Kuala Lumpar ,Batu Caves and Petronas Towers were a must see ,liked the city Then Singapore . Did the open top bus, saw one building of merit ,the rest were average a few shopping malls , a bit like boring .When returning to the ship the bus driver tried to stop an Indian family ,who were on the cruise , getting on the bus .You live and learn Koh Samui .Taxi to Niki Beach ended up somehow in a luxury beachfront hotel with huge beds being waited on by friendly Thai staff !! Did ships tour to Bankok because of distance , Boat trip on river ,saw temples . Guide then took 30 people on the metro , very crowded but never lost anyone!!Went to mall ate some local street food Cambodia , Taxi to beach and temple .The Chinese are investing a lot of money here Did ships tour to Ho Chi Minh city, again because of the distance .The way the locals drive and ride is incredible .Went down Cu Chi tunnels .Crossed the road twice and lived , Malacca , not worth getting off the ship Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Choice of cruise was due to the attractive rates and yearly family get together bonding. We board at around 5.30pm, warm welcome and picture taking at entrance. My Costa Mobile App is very useful to communicate on board tapping on ... Read More
Choice of cruise was due to the attractive rates and yearly family get together bonding. We board at around 5.30pm, warm welcome and picture taking at entrance. My Costa Mobile App is very useful to communicate on board tapping on cruise Wifi. There is no lack of entertainments as daily schedule was given, dancing class, Michael Jackson show by Ice, Acrobatics Show, Movies, games, tournaments, dance party, lounge singing... Lots of "lepak" places. Deck 11 Self service buffet counter serve the same dishes at Indian Corner & International corner, however the mutton is very delicious. Yummy desserts too. Experience Authentic italian pizza at deck 12 for teabreak and supper. Pools are 1.4m too deep for children. Basket balls and ping pong bats are not so "good". Shore excursions was interesting however, when return there was chaotic at the tender boat boarding. Overall crew were helpful, despite some miscommunication issues due to coming from different country. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016

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