106 Da Nang Cruise Reviews

Hoi Ann and Danang: Our favorite stop in Vietnam with one bad hour. This was a kind of strange day due to the guide who arrived to escort us in the morning. I would say that this was the worst day we had touring and since it was also our ... Read More
Hoi Ann and Danang: Our favorite stop in Vietnam with one bad hour. This was a kind of strange day due to the guide who arrived to escort us in the morning. I would say that this was the worst day we had touring and since it was also our favorite day I guess this means it wasn’t really that bad. We arrived in Danang early in the morning and were off the ship at 7:00 am to meet our guide, Minh (as in Ho Chi Minh). Minh was great at the start of the day. A really great guy. He knew a ton and spoke great English. We were very pleased with the first hour of our tour. We headed off to the ruins at My Son. These ruins are more than 1000 years old and truly incredible. It took us about an hour to get to the ruins and once we arrived there we had to get out and walk quite a ways to get to the actual ruins. The “road” you walk on soon becomes a trail made up of stones and dirt. If you aren’t a decent walker this is not the tour for you. My general impression of most of the places we went in Asia is that it would be very difficult to be handicapped here. As the eight of us walked to the ruins it was getting very warm. First Debi decided that she couldn’t walk the whole way and turned back. When we arrived at the ruins/relics Barbara and Carol went to sit in the shade and get out of the heat while Mike went off to take pictures. Jack, Kathleen, Hans and I were with Minh who got very upset that the others were not there to listen to his talk about the ruins. Minh had us standing in the sun telling us about the ruins and relics for about 30 minutes. That’s him doing his speech at right. He kept repeating basically the same thing. Finally Barbara and Carol had moved closer to us and we needed to get back to the car so that they (or any of us) didn’t pass out from the heat. I finally had to interrupt Minh and tell him that we needed to leave and get back to the van and get into some air conditioning. Minh went ballistic. He accused us of not caring about his culture because we would not all listen to his entire lecture. We tried to explain that to us it was more important that we make sure that we didn’t have to call an ambulance for one of us due to heat stroke but he would have none of it. He set off towards the van at a very fast pace, leaving us in his dust. He only stopped long enough to point out another relic that had large holes on either side of it and said, “This is where you Americans tried to bomb our precious relics.” It was the most anti-American spirit we had heard on the trip. He then set off towards the van again at a high rate of speed. When we got back to the van, he told us that he could no longer be our guide and that he would call ahead to Ha and make sure that there was a new guide waiting for us in Hoi Ann. We tried to explain to him that we were pleased with his services up to the point when he decided to object to us favoring our wives over his culture. He said that he didn’t care about money or anything else, he just thought we hated his culture. So back in the van we had a long, silent trip to Hoi Ann and on the way, we had to listen to Minh on the phone talking to Ha. He actually started to cry. After this awkward trip, we arrived back in Hoi Ann where we picked up our new guide, Thanh who was excellent for the rest of the day. His picture is below. What a great guy to step in like that and a total professional. The first place Thanh took us to in Hoi Ann was a silk factory. He dropped us off and the folks at the factory took over and showed how the process went from worms to silk and then of course tried to sell us their products. Usually this is where we resist. We had so far not purchased anything really but the quality of the goods was amazing as was the price. There was a huge room where a number of women sat doing silk embroidery that was then framed and hung on the wall. It was amazing to look at. When I first saw it I thought I was seeing photographs hung on the wall. When I saw that it was embroidery I was totally flabbergasted. We purchased one of them for our bedroom. Others bought embroidered table linens and pictures as well. Then we were ushered into a wonderfully air-conditioned studio that was full of beautiful, silk and silk blend clothing. Coats, scarves, purses, ties and more. Almost everyone bought something. We later to talked to others on the ship who had purchased clothing that they had custom-made for them. They were of amazing quality and fit. We did not hear one person who had clothes made for them that didn’t love what they got. We got purses for Kathleen, Michelle and Jenna as well as two silk ties for me. As many of you reading this know, I don’t wear ties that often but at $3 for a silk tie it was hard to pass them up. After this buying spree we were off to walk through the center of the village on our way to lunch. It was a great walk and Hoi Ann is beautiful. We passed all kinds of shops including a number of art galleries. As we walked by one, I saw this oil painting I loved. I called Kathleen back and showed it to her and she loved it as much as I did. Long story short, it is being shipped to us. Mike and Carol liked the artist as well as they purchased an even larger painting from his collection. Painting purchased and shipped (we hope) it was off to lunch at a nice little cafe called Tam Tam. Most of us ordered the same thing, carmelized pork and a spring roll appetizer. Kathleen tried a pork tenderloin dish that she thought wasn’t as good. Jack got what every one agreed was the best. A really good stir fry. It was great. A lukewarm coke for me (hard to get good ice in Vietnam) and cold beers and ice tea for everyone else and we were on our way. One more pagoda/temple combo right there in Hoi Ann and then back in the van for two more quick stops. The first stop was at the Marble Mountains. These are a group of five small mountains (here in Washington they would be hills) that each represent a different Buddhist deity. The big draw here is that the mountains are really made of marble and there are (it seems like) hundreds of shops that carve marble and sell statuary. We drove the small village past multiple statuary shops to stop at one that I am sure was getting a nice kickback from our guide company. It was really nice though and we got to see actual carving done. After a 30 minute tour and restroom visits (many stops are about shopping and clean restrooms) we were almost ready to go but Barbara and Hans found they had to have a particular sculpture. They did a little bargaining and ended up with it going into a box for shipment to Boynton Beach. Kind of an abstract piece that I really liked. Good choice. One more stop at the famous or infamous China Beach. If you have never seen the 1980s television series or read much history of the Vietnam war, China Beach was the main liberty spot for thousands of American GIs during the war. The beach was beautiful but our stop was more about the history. While we were there we were met by the illustrious Ha Long who owned the tour company we were using in all the ports in Vietnam. Her website can be found at http://www.discovervietnam.com.vn/Eng/index.php and except for the bad experience with Minh here in Danang, her guides were outstanding. She wanted to touch base with us about the Minh problem, pick up payment for all five days of tours and give the ladies all a beautiful Vietnamese silk scarf. It was a great ending to a day when we had seen some great sights and had half a day of excellent touring. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
Docking was at a small container port, with easy access to local taxis and "door-to-door" service for shore excursions. We chose the cruise line's offering of an all day trip to Hoi An which included an approximately 6 mile ... Read More
Docking was at a small container port, with easy access to local taxis and "door-to-door" service for shore excursions. We chose the cruise line's offering of an all day trip to Hoi An which included an approximately 6 mile bicycle excursion, followed by an historic walking tour and a fantastic 8 course lunch at Ms. Ly's Morning Glory restuarant, which was rated as three stars (highest rating) in Frommer's. A visit to a 150 year old Chinese home, and the Japanese bridge were highlights. There was a stop at one of the many marble quarries on the way back, as well as a photo op at the fishing village near China Beach. Our tour guide was charming and considerate of bathroom breaks (much appreciated!). This was one of the best shore excursions I've experienced. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Boat trip to Halong bay was awful. Arranged through boat, not worth the money. Docked miles from anywhere and then told transfer would be $10.
Boat trip to Halong bay was awful. Arranged through boat, not worth the money. Docked miles from anywhere and then told transfer would be $10. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Rio was somewhat of a disappointment given the fact that have to get both an expensive Brazilian visa and yellow fever shot (about $400 a person) to even get off the ship there. Yes, you need them even if you are just going to the airport ... Read More
Rio was somewhat of a disappointment given the fact that have to get both an expensive Brazilian visa and yellow fever shot (about $400 a person) to even get off the ship there. Yes, you need them even if you are just going to the airport to return home. The setting is beautiful, but there is a high crime rate and it is quite expensive if you stay in the Copacabana area which is the only decent part of town. Aside from the beach, the only major sights are Sugarloaf and Christ the Redeemer. The other tours we took were disappointing. Our opinion of Brazil was not enhanced by the Health and Immigration departments keeping us on the ship for over 7 hours while the shook down Holland America for bribes before letting any passengers disembark. If you take this cruise, do yourself a favor and get off in Buenos Aries. Rio is clearly not ready for either the World Cup or the Olympics. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
This was the port of call for Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), we actually berthed at Phu My and didn't have to tender ashore. Saigon was a good 2 hour by road and it would have been impractical to do your own thing!! Princess provided a ... Read More
This was the port of call for Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), we actually berthed at Phu My and didn't have to tender ashore. Saigon was a good 2 hour by road and it would have been impractical to do your own thing!! Princess provided a bus "Ho Chi Mihn City On Your Own" which dropped you in the centre of Saigon and collected you 4 hours later. It came with a courier who was very helpful re places to visit etc. At $69 (from memory) it was well worthwhile. Saigon with all its millions of motor cycles has to be seen to be believed. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
Sacrificed the long coach trip to Hue and just did a short trip around DaNang
Sacrificed the long coach trip to Hue and just did a short trip around DaNang Read Less
Sail Date January 2009

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