This review is for the Nautica cruise to South East Asia departing from Hong Kong on 24 January 2016.
Overall we had an absolutely fabulous cruise with a varied and interesting itinerary, the highlights being Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), Brunei and Singapore. We also took a privately arranged add on from Bangkok to Siem Reap for Angkor Wat which was the icing on the cake. Travelling on a smaller ship is a definite advantage over the bigger ships as we were able to navigate the Mekong Delta right in to the heart of Saigon this journey being a highlight in itself. The same was true for getting close to Bangkok at the end of the itinerary. We did not take any of the ships tours having pre arranged a number via Cruise Critic roll call, a couple on our own and a couple when we arrived in Port.
It was our first cruise on Nautica having previously cruised on Marina. We love the country club ambience of Oceania, classy but not stuffy, and if anything it was better on Nautica being a smaller ship. The ship is well designed with lots of outdoor space and always easy to get a sun lounger, the staff DO remove towels/belongings if people reserve and then disappear. As with Marina a fantastic choice of restaurants, our favourite being the Grand Dining room for dinner even though there was often a wait for tables if you want to eat as a couple rather than join an open table, the way round this is to turn up with new found friends who you want to spend dinner with and usually this meant we were whisked straight through.
First the positives; small but well laid out, nicely furnished, comfortable bed, spotlessly clean.
However, this cabin on the back of the ship is definitely one to be avoided if you want a quite nights sleep. Firstly there is a constant loud droning noise coming through the ceiling vent and constant loud hissing through the air conditioning unit. There is also noise from the outside terrace restaurant area above with staff or guests scraping chairs ridiculously early in the morning (4.30am!). We complained immediately but were told that no one from management was available and offered ear plugs!!!! When management (Executive Concierge Connie) finally appeared at her desk first thing next morning she "investigated" only to advise that the noise is "machinery", the ship is full so no chance of a move and to use the earplugs provided by reception the night before.
We did sleep with earplugs every night. The room experience won't put us off cruising on Nautica again but we would be much more careful about cabin location.
Easy to do on your own and makes for a pleasant half day trip with amazing views of Hong Kong.
Having been to Singapore before we chose to visit Changi war museum which was very interesting then on to Marina Bay sands gardens and skywalk which was beautiful. All easy to do yourself using the MRT.
Interesting to understand what happened here during the Second World War.
Fabulous day spent snorkelling, swimming and visiting off the beaten track islands and beaches. We arranged the trip on arrival along with two other couples.
Our ship was unable to dock here due to high winds, not a problem as I don't think there was a lot to see anyway and we had our visa cost refunded (89 dollars each, Cambodia visa only costs 40 dollars so do it yourself if you are visiting, we only find this out later)
Did not visit Bangkok as been here before instead spent a lovely lazy day on an almost deserted ship!
We took a private taxi around Intramuros which was great without having to go into the busy city of Manilla. Our favourite sail away, the local schoolchildren gave us a lovely send off performing (singing, dancing, playing musical instruments) on the port side for nearly two hours.
We were in Saigon during TET holidays so very lively and colourful, had a walking tour through the flower gardens, felt very safe here.
Visited the war remnants museum as part of the tour, very enlightening but also disturbing, prepare yourself if you choose to do this
Good to see the other side of the Vietnam war, the journey is well worth it to fully appreciate what happened here and also to see some of the beautiful countryside.