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This holiday consisted of a 3 night stay in Singapore followed by back to back cruises out from and back to Singapore. Although we live only 10 minutes from Birmingham airport we decided to fly direct to Singapore with BA from Heathrow rather than have a split flight - and therefore a much longer journey time - via Dubai with Emirates. But having flown previously with Emirates I must say that they offer a better service than BA. Immigration at Singapore can be painfully slow. Arriving from the UK and getting on and off the ship were all slow processes so I was pleasantly surprised that that there was no queuing whatsoever on leaving from Changi airport! All the prearranged transfers worked like a breeze. Singapore itself is brilliant and I would always recommended that you spend at least 3 nights here prior to or after your cruise. Now for the cruises, the first one of which was a five night cruise to Bangkok. Having done a mini cruise with RCI last year and not being too impressed we approached this cruise a little apprehensively, especially as we were travelling with friends who had not been with them before. However, we were pleasantly surprised as the food, entertainment and service were never less than good and often excellent. Yes the ship looks a bit tired in places but it is due a refit this year. Hopefully this sorts out the shower that does not seem to get hot and the sink tap that does not seem to run cold. Brushing your teeth in warm water was a bit different. But we had a fabulous service team at dinner who we made sure we stayed with even though we were on open dining. The itinerary is bit weird as the only stop is at Laem Chabang where you arrive at 11.00am and leave the next day at 12.00pm. The overnight in port would seem to be there to allow some passengers to stay overnight in Bangkok if they wish. Bangkok itself is a good 2 hour drive away so if you do a day trip to the city be prepared to spend half the time on the coach. The next morning in port is a complete waste of time as there is nothing to do. No trips are advertised for this day (by anyone) as there is not enough time to see anything. So apart from Bangkok, so far so good. Now for the second cruise... What a contrast. On the changeover day we went into Singapore but on returning our friends discovered that a bedside alarm clock had gone missing. To cut a long story short the "service" team (not the cabin steward) had gone in, assumed the cabin had been vacated and so took out the alarm clock that had been "left" behind. Now, I know our friends are tidy but you could still see some clothing poking out from the wardrobe. Any way, the alarm clock was eventually recovered. Our service team at dinner had been split up for the second cruise but we tracked down our waiter and managed to book a table in his section only to find it was the adjacent section, with a wine waiter who didn't seem to know what he was doing. We alter discovered that he had been recently "promoted" from the buffet to the dining room but it looks like he hadn't been given any real training - what happened to sommeliers? The first port of call was Port Klang for Kuala Lumpur. Here we had a bit of an issue with Cruising Excursions whom we had booked our trip with. The advertised port times were 7.00am to 3.00pm but our meet time for a 7 1/2 trip to Batu Caves and Kuala Lumpur was 9.00am! Calls were made but we ended up doing the trip which turned out to be about 5 1/2 hours Luckily it was a Sunday and traffic was light so we managed to do everything albeit a little rushed. It helped that there were only 5 people on the trip and we had a minibus so we were probably able to get in and out of some places a lot easier and quicker than the RCI trips using big coaches. We enjoyed this trip and Kuala Lumpur which was much nicer than Bangkok. Next stop Phuket where again the timings gave us cause for concern. The cruise planner gave an expected clearance time for tender operations to start of 10.30am. We therefore queried why our meeting time for our RCI trip was 8.20am with the prospect of a 2 hour wait in a lounge before the trip started. We didn't get a straight answer but a vague indication that we may arrive earlier than planned. This turned out to be the case and we were off the ship by 9.00am - but why advertise the port time as 10.30 and then have trip meeting times 2 hours earlier than that? This is bound to lead to questions and confusion. But RCI surpassed themselves on the evening by doing away with set dining and the ability to book a time if on open dining. The world, his wife, their kids, extended family and everyone else seemed to turn up at 8.00pm leading to long queues, long waits, and much frustration as some people appeared to be queue jumping. An unpleasant experience all round. When we did eventually get a table we were placed next door to a busy service station which we were having nothing off. They managed to put us somewhere quieter and gradually peace was restored. On the last day - a sea day - when you can have a lie in, the buffet closed at 10.30 so off I trotted to the Café Promenade only to find that was also closed whilst they switched over from breakfast to snacks. 24 hour service not! Other issues? The menus and the entertainment were a complete repeat of the first cruise. Given that the two cruises seem to be packaged together you would have thought that there would have been a much greater variety. In summary, would we cruise with RCI again - probably yes. On the whole the positives outweighed the negatives and most of what was wrong could easily be rectified. Singapore is wonderful. Bangkok - would not bother with again and I would not recommend visiting the city as part of a cruise unless you just want to tick it off your bucket list. Kuala Lumpur and Phuket - we enjoyed both. One last thing - one of the most entertaining parts of the cruise was watching the shop staff dancing along to the dance tunes being played on the Royal Promenade in the evening. Get yourself a table outside the Pig and Whistle, order a drink and sit back and enjoy (or join in).

A cruise of two halves

Voyager of the Seas Cruise Review by Salty59

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2019
  • Destination: Asia
  • Cabin Type: Spacious Ocean View Balcony
This holiday consisted of a 3 night stay in Singapore followed by back to back cruises out from and back to Singapore. Although we live only 10 minutes from Birmingham airport we decided to fly direct to Singapore with BA from Heathrow rather than have a split flight - and therefore a much longer journey time - via Dubai with Emirates. But having flown previously with Emirates I must say that they offer a better service than BA.

Immigration at Singapore can be painfully slow. Arriving from the UK and getting on and off the ship were all slow processes so I was pleasantly surprised that that there was no queuing whatsoever on leaving from Changi airport!

All the prearranged transfers worked like a breeze.

Singapore itself is brilliant and I would always recommended that you spend at least 3 nights here prior to or after your cruise.

Now for the cruises, the first one of which was a five night cruise to Bangkok. Having done a mini cruise with RCI last year and not being too impressed we approached this cruise a little apprehensively, especially as we were travelling with friends who had not been with them before. However, we were pleasantly surprised as the food, entertainment and service were never less than good and often excellent. Yes the ship looks a bit tired in places but it is due a refit this year. Hopefully this sorts out the shower that does not seem to get hot and the sink tap that does not seem to run cold. Brushing your teeth in warm water was a bit different. But we had a fabulous service team at dinner who we made sure we stayed with even though we were on open dining.

The itinerary is bit weird as the only stop is at Laem Chabang where you arrive at 11.00am and leave the next day at 12.00pm. The overnight in port would seem to be there to allow some passengers to stay overnight in Bangkok if they wish. Bangkok itself is a good 2 hour drive away so if you do a day trip to the city be prepared to spend half the time on the coach. The next morning in port is a complete waste of time as there is nothing to do. No trips are advertised for this day (by anyone) as there is not enough time to see anything.

So apart from Bangkok, so far so good. Now for the second cruise...

What a contrast. On the changeover day we went into Singapore but on returning our friends discovered that a bedside alarm clock had gone missing. To cut a long story short the "service" team (not the cabin steward) had gone in, assumed the cabin had been vacated and so took out the alarm clock that had been "left" behind. Now, I know our friends are tidy but you could still see some clothing poking out from the wardrobe. Any way, the alarm clock was eventually recovered. Our service team at dinner had been split up for the second cruise but we tracked down our waiter and managed to book a table in his section only to find it was the adjacent section, with a wine waiter who didn't seem to know what he was doing. We alter discovered that he had been recently "promoted" from the buffet to the dining room but it looks like he hadn't been given any real training - what happened to sommeliers?

The first port of call was Port Klang for Kuala Lumpur. Here we had a bit of an issue with Cruising Excursions whom we had booked our trip with. The advertised port times were 7.00am to 3.00pm but our meet time for a 7 1/2 trip to Batu Caves and Kuala Lumpur was 9.00am! Calls were made but we ended up doing the trip which turned out to be about 5 1/2 hours Luckily it was a Sunday and traffic was light so we managed to do everything albeit a little rushed. It helped that there were only 5 people on the trip and we had a minibus so we were probably able to get in and out of some places a lot easier and quicker than the RCI trips using big coaches. We enjoyed this trip and Kuala Lumpur which was much nicer than Bangkok.

Next stop Phuket where again the timings gave us cause for concern. The cruise planner gave an expected clearance time for tender operations to start of 10.30am. We therefore queried why our meeting time for our RCI trip was 8.20am with the prospect of a 2 hour wait in a lounge before the trip started. We didn't get a straight answer but a vague indication that we may arrive earlier than planned. This turned out to be the case and we were off the ship by 9.00am - but why advertise the port time as 10.30 and then have trip meeting times 2 hours earlier than that? This is bound to lead to questions and confusion.

But RCI surpassed themselves on the evening by doing away with set dining and the ability to book a time if on open dining. The world, his wife, their kids, extended family and everyone else seemed to turn up at 8.00pm leading to long queues, long waits, and much frustration as some people appeared to be queue jumping. An unpleasant experience all round. When we did eventually get a table we were placed next door to a busy service station which we were having nothing off. They managed to put us somewhere quieter and gradually peace was restored.

On the last day - a sea day - when you can have a lie in, the buffet closed at 10.30 so off I trotted to the Café Promenade only to find that was also closed whilst they switched over from breakfast to snacks. 24 hour service not!

Other issues? The menus and the entertainment were a complete repeat of the first cruise. Given that the two cruises seem to be packaged together you would have thought that there would have been a much greater variety.

In summary, would we cruise with RCI again - probably yes. On the whole the positives outweighed the negatives and most of what was wrong could easily be rectified. Singapore is wonderful. Bangkok - would not bother with again and I would not recommend visiting the city as part of a cruise unless you just want to tick it off your bucket list. Kuala Lumpur and Phuket - we enjoyed both.

One last thing - one of the most entertaining parts of the cruise was watching the shop staff dancing along to the dance tunes being played on the Royal Promenade in the evening. Get yourself a table outside the Pig and Whistle, order a drink and sit back and enjoy (or join in).
Salty59’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Dining
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Entertainment
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Cabin Review

Spacious Ocean View Balcony
Cabin 6B 7338
The cabin was a bit tired. The shower never seemed to get hot and it was a bit cramped. The sink tap rarely ran cold. The cabin itself was fairy spacious and had enough storage and hanging space. The balcony was smaller than what I expected but it was quite private.
Deck 7 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Wat Po (Reclining Buddha Temple)
    Billed as the Hidden Jewels of Bangkok this trip involved visits to 3 different temples, Wat Ratchanadda, Wat Suthat and Wat Po plus a Tuk Tuk ride which was probably the highlight - a bit like the Wacky Races. Probably one temple too many for most people given the heat and humidity. Bangkok is also a good 2 hour drive from the port so you spend about half the day on the coach.
    View All 22 Wat Po (Reclining Buddha Temple) Reviews
  • Batu Caves
    Although this was billed as a 7 1/2 trip we were only in port for 8 hours and the meet time was 2 hours after we arrived. As it was we managed about 5 1/2 hours and because it was a Sunday and the traffic was light we managed to take in everything that was advertised, albeit a little rushed. The Batu Caves are well worth visiting although it is a bit of a hike up all those steps. The trip also took in the Nation Mosque and Old Railway Station (both interesting but not exceptional), Independence Square (much more interesting thanks to the stories told by our guide) and a photo stop and a bit of spare time at the Petronas Towers. Make sure you go through to the gardens at the rear.
    View All 16 Batu Caves Reviews
  • Phuket
    The ship docks at Patong Bay and you are tendered ashore. Our trip here was to Phang Nga Bay and the James Bond Island. A long trip but very enjoyable. An excellent lunch preceded a boat trip to the James Bond Island (made famous in The Man With the Golden Gun) and a short visit to a floating village. Patong Bay itself is a bit like Blackpool on steroids and more picturesque and very hot.
    View All 99 Phuket Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Phuket Cruise Port Review
  • Singapore
    This trip was included as part of the whole holiday package. We were picked up from the hotel and dropped off at the Gardens of the Bay. The trip included passes to the 2 domes which we thoroughly enjoyed. We also paid extra to do the skywalk and to go to the bar at the top of the tallest of the "trees" in Supertree Grove. This afforded great views of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.
    View All 12,409 Singapore Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Singapore Cruise Port Review
  • Botanic Gardens
    The Botanic Gardens are well worth a visit and if you do go make sure that you also visit the Orchid Gardens which only have a small entry charge - just 1 Singapore dollar for the over 60's. The best value you will get anywhere in Singapore
    View All 26 Botanic Gardens Reviews
  • Marina Bay Sands Hotel - Sky Walk
    Not exactly the sky walk. We visited 2 of the rooftop bars for the view and cocktails. Whilst you can't get to the very edge of the viewing platform the views are still fantastic.
    View All 9 Marina Bay Sands Hotel - Sky Walk Reviews
  • Raffles Hotel
    Although the hotel was still undergoing refurbishment we were able to visit the Long Bar for the obligatory Singapore Sling. We went in the late afternoon and had to wait for a table. Yes the cocktails are expensive but it just has to be done.
    View All 9 Raffles Hotel Reviews
  • Sentosa
    We took a taxi from the cruise terminal and specified the cable car at Sentosa. I thought we would be taken to Mount Faber but instead we got dropped off at the cable car station on Sentosa Island itself. This resulted in the taxi fare being twice the price of the return from the Harbourfront Station where the Sentosa Express runs from. We also nearly got caught out by the ticket we purchased for the cable car. We thought it was a simple day ticket that would allow limitless rides but it actually only allowed 3 journeys. We therefore did a full round trip to the main island and back again as well as 2 trips on Sentosa itself. Great views and allows you a glimpse of the many attractions on offer on the island.
    View All 4 Sentosa Reviews