2 Manila Senior Cruise Reviews

Well it was my first time going on a cruise so I think it was alright. Good thing Super Star Virgo (SSV) decided to port in Manila because finally I experienced going on a cruise! I didn't really know what to expect so everything is ... Read More
Well it was my first time going on a cruise so I think it was alright. Good thing Super Star Virgo (SSV) decided to port in Manila because finally I experienced going on a cruise! I didn't really know what to expect so everything is bright and shiny for me. Haha. I did read some of the reviews here hence the title. The other reviews kind of prepared me on what to expect but hey I still enjoyed my time on SSV. There wasn't much to hate about it at all. Even with a despicable smartphone and the corrupted micro SD card, I still had a good time during the whole cruise experience. This is going to be a bit long so read at your own risk. :) The theme of the trip was Spiderman inspired. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse stickers and posters were all over the ship. Even Spiderman cosplayers were onboard with us. They had Spiderman themed games for kids to enjoy and for adults to do photo ops with the cosplayers. Too bad I didn't meet my college batchmate while she was working. Haha. Good for her and her fellow cosplayers though. Work cruise ftw. Anyway going back to my review, during embarkation there weren't many people around the port so it was fine. I had thought it would be full of people like in airports but no, it was alright. Not too much lines at all. Imagine my first trip abroad was on a cruise trip. Haha. As for the staff or the cabin crew, they were all nice and spoke good English. There are many fellow Filipino crew staff too so we could also speak in Filipino when they were around. * * * * * ♦ Ship: My first impression was of course just being amazed at being on a cruise ship. The information lobby or the currency exchange area looks amazing. I forgot what it's called but it's the best looking place in the entire ship. SSV is big but we had fun going around and checking out the nooks and crannies we could. We were almost able to tour the "entirety" of it in one day. Of course only the ones open to the public but not everything in one day. We weren't able to join the initial ship tour though, not sure if it was "free". Subsequent ship tours had fees so meh. The pool is 7 ft deep so for those who can't swim well, you can enjoy the jacuzzis and the giant slide. Also the ship has centralized aircon. I didn't think it would but I still think it's worth mentioning. Hehe. * * * * * ♦ Dining & Service: I love the food. Don't worry about what other reviewers here say. If you aren't a picky eater and not rich at all, you will enjoy the food. The best is the buffet in The Lido. Mmmhmmm. I love having breakfast at The Lido. Bacon is crispy. There's milk and fruits and veggies and bread and oh it's just heaven for me. Lunch is good too but I wasn't able to try the dinner buffet since we ate at the other restaurants. In Star Dining we had a bit of an issue the first time we ate there. It took more than an hour for them to inform us they lost our order slip for the main course. Wow. But they were able to resolve it immediately upon us walking out because the Pinay staff outside overheard us talking about the bad experience we had. Good job in "catching" us! Lol. As for Pavilion, the food was good too. Overall, I was always full everytime I ate any meal, except for two incidents. Thank you Lord! * * * * * ♦ Entertainment and Activities: The shows are not so entertaining for me. It was enjoyable for my eyes but if you like a good storytelling like in awesome movies, don't expect much. The best show was the magic show. The rest are just a feast for the eyes. No we did not go to the adult show. We preferred the shore excursions. Lol. I did enjoy the Basic Chinese lesson. No reading or writing, just basic conversational Mandarin written in alphabet and translated to English like "Ni hao ma," etc. There's also the morning stretch in the gym. I joined once before I went to the shore excursion. Hehe. I thought going up the mountain/cave in Vietnam would be difficult. :P * * * * * ♦ Ports & Shore excursions: Before you go to the shore excursions, make sure to exchange your peso or HKD etc., to the local currency. The ship has a currency exchange so this shouldn't be a problem. Cruising into Ha Long Bay port was of course something to remember. There was plenty of time to take pictures before we even got to the port. It was my first time outside the country so seeing the mountains jutting out of the sea was awesome for me. Also the excursion was pleasant and nice. The climb up the steps to the limestone cave was not too difficult at all. Good thing I had my morning stretch that day. The tour guide was nice and thoughtful too. The people speak very little English but are nice and pleasant. In the Sanya, China trip our Chinese tour guide was always in a hurry and didn't care much about us so we did not enjoy much of it. Disembarking took a long time too as we had to go through the arrival port I think? How else were we gonna get into China? Lol. It took longer than we expected. (And they do not allow you to take videos in there.) Perhaps this was why the tour guide was in such a hurry all the time. And yes we already sent our shore excursion feedback while we were on the ship. Remember to use a mobile app to translate or communicate with people in China. I forgot to and never thought of it so I got stressed and frustrated. It's easier if you have a companion who speaks Chinese too. Even so, for some reason the people in Sanya, China didn't seem very nice at all. Or maybe Chinese people are normally rude? Anyway, I did not think of using any mobile app to speak to anyone. I'm old school that way. Haha. The places we went to were okay, we were able to take enough pictures. All I can say is it was a stressful shore excursion so keep that in mind when going to China. Also, if you're not an active person, better take advantage of the morning stretch activity before going to any shore excursion. * * * * * ♦ Recommendations: Overall I think it's best for seniors and kids or adults looking for a pleasant and nice vacation. It definitely does not have much of a night life. Yes they have ladies nights and such but I heard some parts of it but nah. It's best for families too maybe. My impression of everything on the ship was like being with seniors in their retirement activities. I wasn't bored at all thanks to the shore excursions but for me it may get boring without the WiFi and the food or the pool/jacuzzi. There are more things to enjoy so just explore the ship and always check the itinerary. If you get sea sick easily, ask for Bonamine from the information area or the housekeeping. If the waves get strong like it did when we were cruising back to Manila you will need it. A lot of us were getting sea sick because of the weather and the strong waves. Oh and open your TV because you will see the ship cruise channel where a live video of the front of the ship can be seen. Plus it shows a map of the ship location too! Cool huh. It would be much cooler if there was infrared or night vision video version at night, maybe so we could see what's out there in the dark? Lol. And that's it for my review. I definitely would go back if I could. Moolah come to mamah! hahaha. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Check-in - there was a long line even if we already checked-in online. You had to go through the following: queue to go inside the port to drop your luggages, queue again to go inside the air-conditioned room to get your cabin card (they ... Read More
Check-in - there was a long line even if we already checked-in online. You had to go through the following: queue to go inside the port to drop your luggages, queue again to go inside the air-conditioned room to get your cabin card (they gave us bread and a bottle of mineral water), queue again to go through x-ray, queue again for immigration which took more than an hour (but there were seats). I received a text message at 7pm the night before that our itinerary was changed due to "technical difficulties" from Manila-Naha-Keelung-Manila to Manila-Miyakojima-Keelung-Manila. I also received an email confirming if we would still push through with the cruise despite the change in itinerary or re-book it. I actually joined the cruise because I wanted to bring my parents to Naha which has a castle, public market and shopping district. Miyakojima is an island known for its beaches and corals...yes, it would be nice to go there if you are NOT from a tropical country and if you are NOT with seniors! So it was a big disappointment. The day before we arrived Japan, they asked us to get numbers for the tendering (you need to take a boat going to the island). Good thing I queued in early so we were on the first batch (200 people per batch). We did not get the land tour offered by the ship because we did not feel like going to a botanical garden so we opted to do it on our own (they call it "free and easy). We arrived at Miyakojima 11:30am. Our time was 2:30pm since they prioritized those people who took the land tour. There was a problem with Immigration (they required face-to-face contact) so we finished at 5pm ship time (Japan is one hour ahead). Due to the delay, they also extended the departure from 5:30 to 8:30pm. Everybody should be in the ship at 8pm. Remember we were at the first batch of "free and easy" and we finished Immigration at 5pm (ship time)!!! That would leave us only 3 hours. We took a cab going to Don Quixote (about JPY880) and just went there. The Donki branch was small relative to the other branches in Japan but it was good enough. There was also a food center inside so we decided to eat ramen and takoyaki balls. At least my parents got to experience paying for their meal using a machine! Haha! I asked the cab driver to pick us up after an hour because I was worried that we might not be able to get a cab going back to the port. The following day, we docked at Keelung port at 8:30am. Again, they prioritized those with land tours but the wait was not that long for those who want to do it "free and easy". We got off at 9:30am, took the MRT going to Taipei, went to Taipei 101, ate at Din Tai Fung (even if we have branches here in Manila haha!) and took a cab to Chiang Kai Shek. We also took a cab back to the port (about NTD900) because taking the MRT back would take 1.5 hours and we had to be back at the ship at 4:30pm. Gala Dinner - all restaurants were fully booked. So we just had our dinner at Taverna. We had steak & seafood, and it was good. Lido Buffet - we ate here most of the time. Do not expect "Vikings", maybe around 5-7 viands, 5 counters so queue is not that long. I'm surprised that seniors eat a lot! Last year, my mother joined the Manila-Vigan-HK-Taiwan-Manila cruise. Passengers were only 900. In our cruise, there were 3000 passengers due to the Buy 1 Take 1 senior promo that Starcruises offered. Despite the hassle and disappointment, StarCruises gave us HKD675 dining credits per cabin for the change in itinerary and HKD375 each passenger for the hassle in Japan Immigration. Overall, my parents enjoyed the cruise. They enjoined the experience..as they say it's not the destination but the journey. I purchased the wifi on the ship. It was too slow, I could only use viber (and not even send pictures) to send messages. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018

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