After a 6 day break in Singapore we boarded the Sun Princess for a 14 day cruise to Fremantle via Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia. Embarkation was quick and efficient with the Princess staff taking care of all details.
The Sun Princess is an old ship by cruise standards so of course it is showing its age as any piece of machinery (which is exactly what it is) will do especially after more than 7000 days at sea. People who want a more up-to-date vessel with dodgem cars and water slides really should book a trip on a more modern ship, simple as that. However the Sun is well maintained and is kept spotlessly clean by the ever busy cleaning/maintenance staff. After taking the tour of the ship below decks in many of the ‘crew only’ areas I can say that the high level of maintenance and cleanliness extends to all areas not just the areas on view to the public so kudos to the whole crew.
The Sun Princess is a ship for older cruisers and my estimation is that the average age of the vast majority of passengers (90%) would have been 65 years and over. Younger cruisers be warned that unless you enjoy travelling with your grandparents, great uncles and aunts etc. then you should look for a cruise with a younger demographic. Due to the older age group on board the entertainment and activities were obviously directly at them and while we found it all a bit dull and old fashioned the majority loved it so Princess must have gotten it right.
We were lucky enough to get a cabin upgrade before we boarded and went from a mini-suite to an owners-suite at the stern. The biggest difference between the two is not the levels of appointments but rather the actual size of the cabin, bathroom and balcony which were HUGE by ship standards. The cabin like the rest of the ship was 21 years old but well-kept and more than adequate. The bed and pillows were comfortable and there was plenty of cupboard space. The extra-large balcony was a great place to relax when the entertainment was just too dated for us or just for quiet reading time. Breakfast on the balcony was also very enjoyable.
The mini-bar fridge in the cabin was the one thing that was past its use by date. No shelves and barely cold enough to chill water it needs to be replaced but as the first mini-bar stock is complimentary for this level of cabin we won’t complain too much.
A very long time since we'd been to Bali and the changes did not really impress us. It doesn't seem to be the Balinese who are benefiting.
Saigon moves at a frantic pace. Be very careful crossing the street.
Cambodia is very much a 3rd world country. Be prepared to be confronted especially if you take a tour to more out of the way palces.
Travelled to the real Thailand. We saw 1 westerner for the entire day.
We just walked around down-town Nathon which was interesting and relaxing compared to rushing here and there as happens on a tour.