Celebrity Millennium Review

CHINA & THE FAR EAST

Review for Asia Cruise on Celebrity Millennium
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RJW2
10+ Cruises • Age 70s

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Sail Date: Oct 2017

Our holiday took place in the second half of October until a few days into November, it was arranged through CruiseCo and was one of their , ‘Tailor Made’ range of holidays that included some land based days as well as a 14 night cruise.

The title of my review is a good indication of where we went and I have to say on behalf of both my wife and I that as a first real venture into the Far East we really enjoyed ourselves and at no point did we feel at all uneasy in any of the countries that we visited. One thing in particular that significantly helped to make things enjoyable was that all the major transfers were included in the package. There were language difficulties throughout, but, it proved very easy to spot a man holding a sign with my name written on it, waiting to escort us to our hotel, port or airport. However, there were two main problems that we encountered along the way and I have included those in my day to day review.

We arrived in Beijing on Saturday afternoon and our hotel location was slightly downtown. I decided that it would be good if we could get to see Tiananmen Square as all day Sunday was taken care of with our package trip to the Ming Tombs and The Great Wall. Having no Chinese language skills at all we managed to explain to the concierge where we wanted to go and he kindly arranged a taxi for us. So that, evening feeling a little unsure, we boarded the taxi and crossed our fingers that we would arrive at our destination. Fifteen minutes later the driver stopped the taxi and said Tiananmen Sq. We paid what seemed a ridiculously small amount and alighted the taxi into the Beijing night. After a couple of minutes looking around we realised he had dropped us on the far corner of the sq. and commenced walking. The roads all around the sq. were closed to traffic and we soon came to a security check point and all the Chinese people seemed to be producing what I assume were their personal identification papers. We thought perhaps our sightseeing was over before it had really begun. We approached the checkpoint, held out my wife’s handbag and my camera bag, to our surprise they simply waved us through, I guess it was very obvious that we were not Chinese and had no papers to present. The closer we got to the entrance to The Forbidden City at the far end of the sq. the more the crowds increased. You got the sense that this is a very special place for the Chinese and the entrance gate to The Forbidden City in particular is regarded almost as a shrine. The weather wasn’t great and it rained on and off throughout, but we had no intention of letting that spoil what turned out to be a lovely evening. Finally, we were left with the problem of getting back to our hotel, we returned to our drop off point and somehow managed to hail a taxi, showed him our hotel card and he returned us to our hotel safe and sound.

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