Meeting new people and doing our own self guided travel was the best part of our cruise, at dinner we compare our daily events and feel we got more than the folks who took the standard cruise tours. We do understand some cruisers don't have the mobility or the interest to discover things on their own and feel safer/ easier to do group tours.
For an Asian cruise, we expected Authentic Asian fairs on the ship. Fruits such as Mangos, Papayas, star fruit etc, not the standards apple, water mellow, pineapples that get serve on Alaska and New England cruise. Also where are the local foods like Pho, Bánh mì, Pad thai, dim sum, Taiwan beef noodle soups? something that's local/authentic. Instead we got mostly Indian dishes (I love Indian food, but our cruise didn't go to India) could it be most of the chefs are Indian?
We feel most of the food was dumbed down to feed the unknowing tourists, we have tasted better Asian meals at fast food chains.
Little larger lager than we expected.
Overall: We are in the 50's in shape and adventurous, so we did all self guided tours. Very easy to get in and out of the port on self guided tours. Just expected to walk 10-15 minutes to the MTR to get into the city.
We stayed in Singapore 5 days before the cruise and saw almost everything worth seeing. One note don't come during the Chinese New Year, too many restaurants and place were closed.
No much to do in this little fishing village, just standard beaches, food and basic shopping. Skip the ship tours.
The port is good 2 hrs to Bangkok, you need to use the ship's bus service to get into town. Plan on much more time than needed to get to any tours, Bangkok traffic is one of the worst in Asia. It's not unusual to take 30 minutes to travel 2-4 miles in central Bangkok. We stay over night and booked our own bike and boat tours and saved a lot comparing to ships tours, at next night's dinner we find out later we did and see more that's the's own offerings.
This port is 1.5 hours from Ho Chi Minh so we took the Cruise's bus into town, once in town we visited most of the famous landmarks on our own (most are within 30 minutes walk of the bus drop off).
The experience from Chan May was so good, our group decided to to tour together in Ha Long Bay. Once again our 2 Vietnamese ladies got us vans to tour the city and cruise the bay for $30USD and we saw the bay, caves with authentic experience instead of big bus Americanized tours. On our way back we ask our driver to drop us couple of miles from the port near local restaurants and shops, we ended up eating locally and shop all the way back to the ship. Another perfect day.
The train station is only a 5-10 minutes walk from the port, the train ride into central Taipei station take 30 minutes. Once we got into town we went straight for local Taiwanese breakfast at Yong He Soy Milk King. Than toured National Palace museum, Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, The National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall and finally up to the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival, there were many local buses from the Taipei zoo up to Pingxi (USD$4?) FYI, you don't need tickets to see the Lantern festival, it's free. You can even buy lantern onsite to release for $5 USD. The expensive tickets are for inside stadium area group releases.