This was our first cruise on C.M.V. so we were unsure what to expect. We had the quickest ever embarkation in Freemantle and first impression of the ship was very favourable and that opinion did not alter. The décor, layout and cleanliness of the ship was first class.
We had chosen an inside cabin 5240 and again was pleasantly surprised with the space, layout and décor and it was available as soon as we got on the ship, followed very closely by the luggage.
During the 26 nights we probably ate half of the time in the self service restaurant in the evening and the other half in the Waterfront Restaurants. The self service was O.K. but considering that 99% of the passengers were either Brits or Aussies I think that there was to much "foreign" food and not enough traditional food, but that is only my opinion.
The Waterfront restaurants were on a freedom dining basis and it did work very well. The food in the Waterfront varied so much between very average and good. The quality of service also varied tremendously depending on your waiter, at times they were leaning over diners to serve, removing some peoples plates whilst others were still eating, never asked if you required a second drink. Generally not the quality of service you would expect on a cruise ship.
The entertainment team were first class and very hard working, they were all talented and performed probably 10 different shows to a very high standard. I have never seen a team perform so many different shows and that is apart from doing solo and duo spots around the ship at other times. Where the entertainment was let down was by the lack of different acts been brought on board, it was day 15 before a guest act was brought on board and then he was poor. In all I think we had 5 guest spots, including local dancers in 26 nights.
To make matters worse after leaving Singapore on day 12 they reduced the show to one performance per night which led to having to be in the theatre 45 minutes before performance time to get any sort of a sea.
There were other varied activities during the day but to be fair laying in the sun was a better option for us.
Service in bars and drink waiters was very good and apart from in the theatre very swift.
Our first port of call was Geraldton in Australia and because we had been there before we didn't get off the boat, there isn't lot there for a second visit.
Next stop was an overnight stay in Broome, we caught the shuttle into town and made use of the free Wi Fi and sorted out arrangements to visit Cable Beach in the evening for the famous sunset over the sea. We did this in the evening and it was good spoilt only by getting a round of drinks in that cost £40 for 4 pints of lager.
The day after we had arranged a tour through Viator to be picked up at the ship and have a tour of the area. This worked well, along with another 8 off the boat, we were driven by a local in a small coach to see all that Broome had to offer.
We than had a day at sea then Bali, This was the first little problem with Corona, we were due for a late arrival anyway but were delayed due to additional health checks by the local health officials, some trips, ours included, had to be cancelled due to lack of time. Instead four of us hired a taxi and had an enjoyable run round to gardens and a coffee plantation and look around the countryside.
Next day we were in Lombok with a ship trip to a small offshore island which was good especially the high speed boat ride to it.
Our next stop was Semerang in Java where we were met by a delightful local lady who showed us around the area and included meal in a local restaurant. This was again arranged through Viator and worked very well. We found out later that the port closed the day after to all cruise ships.
We then made our way to Singapore where a lot of people got off and a few got on so the ship appeared to be only half full.
The next stop after a couple of days at sea was Kota Kinabulu in Borneo where we did a short trip of the ship in the morning and then into town in the afternoon.
Again after a couple of days at sea we were in Phu My in Vietnam for two days, the first day we went on a ship trip to Vung Tai, a holiday resort for a tour round, interesting but too much focus on markets. The second day we stayed on board, we virtually had the ship to ourselves, quite a weird feeling really.
On to Ko Samui, we were on a ships trip around the local area finishing on a beautiful beach. Very good.
Next stop, Sihanoukville in Cambodia, we got a taxi to the nearest beach, Sokha Beach, absolutely beautiful but apart from a hotel it was deserted. The journey to the beach was through their main road which was the biggest building site I have ever seen, through dozens of tower blocks all being erected, all being worked on with apparently Chinese money behind it. Goodness knows how they are going to fill them.
Laem Chabang in Thailand was the last stop and this is where we had the second problem with Coronavirus. We were ready to disembark when the local authorities decided that they wanted face to face contact with the passengers with their passports in their hand, but the ship had them. The was an awful scramble to get our passports back and then queue to be inspected by the authorities. All in all it delayed us by a couple of hours but in light of later events we goy off very lightly.
When we got to our trip we went to Pattaya for the rest of the day, a very big seaside resort which was interesting.
We then were at sea for a couple of days and back to Singapore.
With regards to excursions the shops trips were all interesting and well organised but like all cruise ship excursions overpriced. I always look before we go on a cruise at other alternatives and use Viator quire a lot. We have been on a lot of trips organised by them and never been disappointed and usually about half the ships price.
The other surprising thing with this cruise was the Captain. He attended the welcome ceremony and his performance was poor and during the whole 26 days we saw him only once more, not very good at customer relations.
All in all we did enjoy the cruise but it was let down with those little touches of finesse which you get with many other cruise lines.
At the rear of the ship with little outside noise apart from the anchor, everything worked as it should, plenty of room and wardrobe space.