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Traveler

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  1. Thanks for this very nice detailed blog , Enjoyed every post , got me even more excited for my Independence OTS next month.
  2. I booked September cruise on the Symphony from Barcelona , currently here are the restaurants I can see in the cruise planner : Solarium Bistro Chops Gril Wonderland Jamies 150 Central park Izumi Izumi Hibachi Very sad they will not have Sabor there , I do not think the new Mexican place will have the fresh guacamole
  3. Thanks, 11 hours +2 But actually I did not gain miles as I used miles for the tickets that I gain in my too many business trips
  4. Voyager Casino review: Hi all, 10 days after the cruise and as promised I am bringing the separated casino review which I visited from time to time. As the Voyager of the seas sells half of the year in south East Asia the casino is adjust to the Chinese population, which means: 1. No crap table, instead there is an automatic machine with some 3 cube games, not really took the time to understand how it works. Did not matter to much as I saw that in other RC casinos were you have the crap tables the odds is 1:1 which is very bad to any reasonable crap player (don’t ask me for details, I am just repeating what experienced people than me said J ). 2. Less slots machines – almost 20% of the casino space was occupied by high roller baccarat room which had 8 tables inside. This room was never opened during the time I was around. 3. 75% of the slots machines are the Chinese type (machines with Chinese good luck symbols , lots of dragons and jade figures) Table games: 1. Blackjack – 6 to 8 blackjack tables, hand shuffling, 8 decks, the dealer take his second card at the end which create huge pressure on the last player. Table limit – during the day (sea days) the minimum was 6 $ during the evening 10$ never once I saw any tables above 10$ , lots of open seats when I was around. There was a bonus game of getting two face/10 cards (queen of hearts I think the name) 2. 3 card poker – 4 tables, limit was all the time 10$, six card bonus (with the dealer card) 3. Texas Holdem – 2 to 3 tables, 10 $ minimum - most of the times the tables were empty. 4. Baccarat table – actually mini baccarat, one table always occupied, did not checked the minimum. 5. Roulette – one table Smoking policy: Like any Royal Caribbean ship the casino is one of the limited places people allow to smoke, many are taking advantage of it. The casino is virtually divided into smoking and nonsmoking area, which means a part with many people smoking and a part that just smells heavily from smoke. As very nearby. on deck 4 there was also a smoking area, maybe they could try limiting the smoking area , I know this issue is under huge dispute but for sure better ventilation system should be installed. General observation: 1. Casino cage money – you could ask to get money from your sea pass card with the 5% sucker tax, club royal member had a waiver , I notice they don’t give it to you as cache money (as I saw previously on other ships) but as coupon for the slot machines or chips for the tables that you cannot get back until converting to regular chips , so it seems you need to decide where you want to lose your money ahead of time. 2. They organize the usual “take off money from your account” raffle but they limited it to 500 $. 3. They started to sell scratching cards. 4. At the end of the cruise they gave the vouchers for people that collected enough points , I think the top was 4900 points for balcony cabin Sorry no pictures from the casino, but cannot publish a post without at least one picture from the sea , this is from the coffee house/restaurant where I am written this post.
  5. First of all , what a wonderful blog, enjoying every post Regarding the 80/90 parties , they actually started to do it, in my cruise they had both 70s party and 80 party.
  6. I must say, after experience in writing this live blog it amaze me how you do it every day , my full respect for you maintaining this wonderful site .
  7. Oh , good , hope you will have lots of fun , if you will have any question regarding the itinerary will glad to answer
  8. Day 11 – Disembarkation day: Well this sad day arrived were we had to say goodbye to the ship , The process was very smooth , our numbered was called exactly the time they estimated (10 AM) and from the ship to the taxi (including Singapore immigration) and it took us 10 minutes , I wish every disembarkation process will be like that. The Taxi we took brought us in 5 minutes to the Marina Bay Sands hotel and we got our room much earlier than expected so we had enough time to change, go to the roof and enjoy the amazing infinity pool. Now for quick summary: Room – VB inside was excellent does not make sense to pay money for outside room, balcony is a different story. The Ship – well maintained, you hardy see the age on this ship and if I did not knew I would guess its age. The itinerary – very interesting, I do recommend to visit south East Asia on a cruise. The food – Ups and downs , mostly we were eating in the WJ which most of the time was good but repeated itself too much. The food in Giovanny was the best, Chops disappointed us , but mainly due to the service. Service in General – very good , no complain here. Pool area – Also very good, enough chair were empty even in sea days, if not on the first deck then on the second. Most missing - SABOR !!! Entertainment – Not the best , there were some ups and downs here also , Liked the ice show (as always) less liked the home productions.. Will I go on the Voyager again – Yes as long as it in an interesting route , for the Caribbean I will still prefer to be on one of the Oasis ships. I would like to thank my spouse for understanding all the times that I told her: “I must take the internet now as I need to updated the live blog” “Oh, don’t eat it yet, let me first take a picture of the plate” “Wait for me two minutes, this is a good picture that I can use for the blog” Thank you all for reading and comment, hope you liked it as much as liked written it, for me it was a very nice experience. And may your next cruise will come as soon as possible. Yuliya and Assaf
  9. Day 10 – Last day Sea day. Well even for a ten days cruise there is an end, although it is the last day I don’t really feel that bad as I used to feel on the pervious cruises last days , maybe because we are not flying back yet , maybe since 10 days is the perfect amount of days , not sure. For a sea day it was a perfect Sunny day, the sun was shining all day long while temperatures were not really high. We took advantage of it and went to do last effort to get some tanning (otherwise no one will believe us we were on vacation) , the wind was blowing lightly which helped to feel better on the deck. Today again the clock was changed, now we are back in the original timing as we approaching Singapore, First time for me that they are changing the clock like that on a cruise but it make sense for many activities. I took advantage of the extra time and finally completed the book I brought with me, I considering leaving it here contributing to the library to reduce the weight we need to carry. We did the packing as always which did not took much but we tried to organize it in a way we will not require to repack after the two days we are planning to spend in Singapore. Our schedule departure time is 10 am but I do hope it will go quicker although we don’t have big plans for tomorrow yet. The WJ toady finally served sea food, not lobsters but shrimps, Calamari rings and mussels, it was nice but due to heavy demands they did not allow to take it ferly but served it to your plate (you could get more if you wanted later). After dinner we went up to the deck to catch the final sunset overt the ship Also we saw this creature neat the closed towel deck , seem he was heaving fun. Tomorrow I will final summary but this was a very good cruise and I enjoy almost every minute.
  10. One thing about Vietnam I almost forgot : I was a millionaire well at least before the first port The only problem is that what you see here is around 45 $ ....
  11. Day 9 – Port of Pou May which is the gate to Ho Chi Minh. Nothing really to write about the port, it is cargo port 80 miles from Ho Chi Minh (AKA Saigon). We went down from the ship to take our daily tour , this time we have chosen to do the Panoramic Ho Chi Minh tour. Going out from the ship was very quick, immigration did not even bother to check our landing cards. We went on the bus and started our journey to the city, Ho Chi Minh is under huge development right now and you can see many skyscrapers in the way to the city center. We started our tour near a Chinese temple, not much different from the temples we already visit but as always with those kind of temples they are nice and highly maintained. The stop was supposed to be for 10 minutes but last to be 30 minutes as the lines to the bathrooms were very long … Some of the places are not that ready for so many visitors at the same time. Our next stop was yet another temple, that time it was Vietnamese temple, that’s it no more temples for me in the next few month , I gut temple fatigue We stayed at that temple for 15 minutes and continued to the city center and to the Grand hotel area were we got 2,5 hours of do it your own trip which I much appreciated. We went around the nice old buildings and checked some stores, after being tired from the continues need to negotiate for everything we found a big supermarket which we always like. Fixed price, good verity and ability to buy things like local coffee and local candies. Once we completed with the shopping, we found an nice coffee shop to eat lunch in. Although it was not real Vietnamese restaurant it served some interesting fusion plates like Tacos and Hamburgers. Lunch was quick and we still had some free time so we went (yes you start to see the pattern) to do a 30 minutes foot massage , as you see we both became addicted to 7 $ foot massage. Around 3.15 we met again with the group and headed to the next stop, the former presented palace. This is the palace of the South Vietnam presented that was in use until 1975. The building is kept today as museum, I guess to show the corruption of the former regime We had another quick stop at the French Cathedral. Later we went back to the ship, arriving around 6:30 PM not before our bus was stopped by the police for speeding. The food today was all about Indian food (Matt, you missed it) which means no lobsters this cruise. We went to see the Ice show which was, as always amazing, I think that this is the only show which is a sure thing in RC cruises. Went to the Casino after, maybe I will have separated review about the casino, during the time I was there they announce the emergency call Alpha,Alpha,Alpha in Studio B which mean medical emergence , I found out later that one of the performer injured during the second Ice show , later on we came to knew she is all right, but hearing those emergency codes in the announcing system never feel good. Tomorrow is the last day, its going to be a sea day or as I call it packing day.
  12. Day 8 – Sea day , YHAAA no need to disembark Although it is a sea day we woke around 7 AM (I guess the fact the VB was left open contributed to that) and went to eat the regular breakfast, it was again very full for this time of the day but we found a table. I guess the fact that no many other option to eat breakfast exists contribute to the high occupancy. I did my way around 9 to the third guest lecture , this time it was about making better decisions, this time I was very tired as I slept only 4 hours but the subject was interesting and the lecturer really know how to keep the ordinance awake. After the lecture I took the best decision I could take (you see I learn from it) and went back to the room to catch some sleep trying to close the gap from last night. I woke up after hour and half to do some steps around the ship trying to find new places which I never visit yet, I found one, the deck that can be accessed from the Solarium and overseas the helipad and the bridge. I thought to go to the rapid art sell just to see who is still buying art work after all the different articles which were published on the company who run those sells but I missed it already. I met my spouse and we went to the WJ for lunch, while loading some food on the plate I noticed a very ecological awareness kid who took some french-fries but some were spelt on the counter, the kid was not confused and as he did not want to waste any food hearing about all the hunger issues in the world, he collect the french-fries with his hand and put them back to the general pile. I would like to thank this kid for saving me from allot of empty calories today. Some info about the people on this cruise: The majority of passengers are Australians, next are coming from the UK and then Germany and the US , so most of the announcements are given in English following by German. Not many children on this cruise comparing to the West Europe and Caribbean cruise I attended in the past, in general the population seem to be older but there are passengers from all ages. During one of my stroll I started to count the rescue boats, well the numbers are not adding … there are 26 boats, each can carry 150 passengers which comes to total of 3900 + the 24 inflatable boats that can carry 35 people each, total off 800 seats. Quick calculation showing 4700 total seats, now as far as I know there are 4000 passengers and at least 1500 employees. I am sure I am not the first one that notice it , I must missed something ,what is the answer to this riddle ? , are the rest of the people supposed to swim after the boats in there live jackets (at least the water are warm in China sea, not sure regarding the sharks). Tonight was a Thai night in the WJ , including some Thai chicken and Thai beef with Tom Yam Soap that was so spicy that I could not finish it and I like spicy food, the rest was very good. To contradict the Tom Yam it I took the excellent Chilled mango soup We relaxed the rest of the evening, both did not care about the evening show which was performed by the ship singers. About 10:20 I went to Studio B to watch the quest show, Although it is my fifth cruse this is the first time I am watching it , why ? well I don’t have a really good answer. The game was very funny which made me sorry for missing it until now , I even participate in some of the quest , don’t worry did not gave up my pants or shirt as did not want to scare anyone . Our team took the second place. Going to sleep now , tomorrow is the last port day and we need to go up early , but I am sure I will also catch some sleep in the bus.
  13. Yes , its still is nice to see , always there at least one new animal they I did not saw before.
  14. Day 7 – port day Chan My Vietnam. It’s the 7 days which ussaly I hate as it is the last day and packing is required but in this 10 days cruise its just another port day. We arrived to the port of Cahn My , nothing to tell about this port as it is in the middle of nowhere although the green mountains around are nice view. The port is around one to two hours from the main attraction around. For the shore excursion we choose today to go to Hoi An which is a small city one of the Unseco sites in Vietnam. The tour started at 10 AM which gave us some extra time to sleep. We went on the bus and drove via the city of Da Nang which is now a big resort city. The view from the bus was amazing, very green scenery and some mountains. At the morning we had rain showers , lucky for us it was only after we were on the bus. We arrived around 12 PM to Hoi An directly to a restaurant to eat lunch, nothing special about the lunch it was typical Chines food not even really Vietnamese but it was ok. After the lunch we went to a tour in the city , the city itself is nice but quite small , how small ? well it seems to me that you can cover most of the sites in about 20 minutes. After the tour we got some free time so we went around and finally decide to do some foot massage (6 $ for 30 minutes) . The tour guide told the group to meet between 3:15 to 3:30 and in 3:30 we will all go to the bus. We went back at 3:25 to find our group already left , apparently most of the people arrived at 3:15 as they did not found anything to do there… We asked one of the other tour guides to call our tour guide and he came to take us to the bus. I usually hate people that delays the all group but hey they said 3:30 … We went on the bus to get the “humiliated” applause from the other group , well Since we were on time I did not felt too bad. The next stop was the highlight of our tour , it was bicycle ride in a village near the city. It was so nice cycling between the rice fields, as the weather was perfect and the wind was blowing to cool us down. The cycling reminded me my childhood when I use to cycle in the village where I was born.. We cycle for about one hour until it became dark. He did not asked for money to take his picture The way back brought us to the shore area of Da Nang and the area looks amazing during the night. We arrived back to the port around 7:15 few minutes before the ship was schedule to leave. Extra info will be tomorrow as we are very tired and should catch some sleep.
  15. Day 6 Nha Trang: This was the first port in Vietnam out of 3 , we had a very early shore excursion so we set several alarm clocks to be ready on time , As this port is a tender port I wanted to try and be even earlier so we can join one of the first groups out of the ship as it was predict to be a very warm and humid day and for sure it was. We went to the WJ to catch something to eat to find out almost all the people on the ship tried the same which means zero chance to find somewhere to seat so we took some plates and went out to the pool deck to eat which was nice arrangement. My Plans to be one of the first group to go out of the ship failed and we actually where the last group to leave but it was ok , tender process was very quick without any issues beside the regular ventilation issues on the tender boats(which were actually the rescue boast of the ship) but it was ok as the tender time was less than 10 minutes. The shore excursion we choose was the Nha Trang highlights which is half day tour with around four stops. This is our first Vietnam visit so we did not know what to expect , mind most of my “knowledge” about Vietnam comes from movies like Platoon, Good morning Vietnam, The deer hunter, Full metal jacket which as far as I know were not even filmed in Vietnam (as you can see I successfully omitted first blood 2) . in other words many know Vietnam in a much less nice circumstances , as always it was very different. (in the background of this picture you can see a big amusement park , the story behind this park is that some reach Vietnamese person wanted to go with his daughter to Disneyland but he was dined from getting a visa so he decided to build a park here) We got to the small tender port which is near the city, the port and the bay where the ship anchor is in a very beautiful bay with mountains surrounding it , I just wish we had better weather as the sky were very gray , although lucky for us no rain . Our first stop was to the white Buddha statue, a big white statue that stand over a small hill which you need to climb 155 stairs to reach it , the statue is immersive and the view from the hill was very nice. Stairs , my old enemy :-) The next stop where in some native painting factory, as we understood the concept very fast and since we really did not intend to buy anything we went to the beach area to admire the landscaping , The boardwalk near the sea is amazing, it kept very clean (both the boardwalk and the beach itself) and all the trees have a special haircut like in some of the amusement parks, very nice. There are many resort near the beach and across from it, if I would not know I am in Vietnam I could think I am in many other places around the world. Here is a quick quiz for you, what do you think the second spoken language in Naha Trang ? Give it up ? well it is Russian, apparently there are many tourists from Russia , mainly from the area near Siberia taken the advantage that is relatively close by and the cheap cost of living here. Many of the locals which are involved in the tourist industry learn to speak some Russian. After this visit we went to a nice coffee shop near the sea where everyone got a huge coconut to drink from . I love coconut water and this one was very fresh, after we finish to drink it they gave us spoons to eat some of the coconut content. As we had some extra time we went to nearby pharmacy to buy Aloevera gel , as I wrote before, we and the sun are not that good friends. Next stop was an Hindu temple on another hill , this one was older and with less stairs, with a view over the river and the fishing boat. To finalize our trip they took us to the local market, what can I tell you , I thought that prices in Thailand but in Vietnam they are even lower as long as you willing to negotiate (which I don’t really like) we bought some tea, coffee and a nice small teas set I also bought a small North Face backpack in 5 $ so I will have somewhere to put our stuff during the bicycle ride the day after , I am sure it is 100% authentic. We got back to tender area, we had a short queue for the tender boats, RC did nice job over there, offering to the people in the queue cold water and cold towels. Late lunch in WJ and regular deck rounds to see what is new and do some steps. During the evening time when the ship started to move it was very windy and we could feel very well we are on a ship , I can say “that the sea was angry that day my friends” , but I am not pretend to be a marine biologist. Since we were both very tired and the ship movement contributed to it we called it early today and went to sleep , Tomorrow Danang:
  16. Day 5 Another sea day. Woke up around 7:30 (don’t have really excuse for that) and spent some time surfing the internet before it will be taken from me when my spouse will wake up. We grab something quick to eat in the WJ, Again the location of our cabin in the 10 deck just down from the WJ is proven to be perfect. I went to the second part of the guest lecture, this time it was about culture and was interesting as yesterday, the other part of our group went to catch some sun. After the lecture I went to find her in the sundeck just to notice that the “private sundeck” which we found yesterday was half full, maybe it’s a prove there are more reader to the blog than I thought J Well if that is the case I just wanted to say that I check the antenna near this decks and it is a cellular antenna so maybe this deck is not that safe as I thought yesterday . So we went to the second “secret deck” the one that I did not disclosed its location here and it was again empty. Since the room was not done yet (and it was already 11:30 , annoying) I went to deck five to find that RC is performing its 10$ gift sell , as always it was pack with people as if they were handing gold for free. I think it was very clever of RC to conduct the sell today as tomorrow we arriving to the first of three Vietnamese ports were many of the offered merchandised are actually manufactured and I guess can be found for better prices and better Variety We went to eat lunch at the WJ, trying not to eat too much as I was figured out that today going to be lobster day at the WJ (it is after all the second formal night in this cruise)., well I was wrong The daily complain corner: SPA, you see, both my spouse and me love to go to the SPA , get a good treatment and relax for a while, we do it back at home and during many of our travels to the US and Europe , we don’t mind to pay for a good SPA treatment although nothing can beat the process in Thailand J The SPA on board the RC are very good equipped and prices although not cheap are more and less the same as other SPAs from the same level. The problem I have is the fact that people go to a SPA to relax not to be target for product pushing. I don’t complain aout the SPA workers, I know that is what they have been told to do and quite sure their salaries is highly effected from their ability to sell extra products ,my complain is to RC , really I don’t mind the sell push all around the ship , I can understand it , but please lease the SPA alone. On the other hand if RC wants to keep the SPA as another option to push products pleas cut the price of the treatments or maybe let us choose , full price SPA treatment without commercial , discount treatment with advertising. We took our afternoon nap which is a must on a sea day if you ask me, after all we are on vacation I successfully denied myself reading any work mail for the first day at this cruise which might contribute for my better sleeping. For dinner we tried the WJ and no lobsters or any other interesting sea food , I figured out that although it is the second formal night it was also the second day at sea which mean no fresh products arrived which can explain why instead of lobster we had Mexican J . I do love Mexican food and I was glad to see the big bowl of Guacamole , I enjoyed the food although the Guacamole was far from being Sabor quality I will say more like the one you get at Chile's with their fajitas, I will give them some credit and will not say Taco Bell quality The Churros that was served next to it were very good. After dinner we went to do some rounds on Deck 4 (which for some reason is not the official running track deck), we notice something very strange. A very bright light (much brighter from regular ship lights) on the sea which seems to be moving from time to time , People started to speculate what it can be , I heard people saying it might be an oil rig, a ship that searching something in the water, a lighthouse and many more. I tend usually for the simpler answer so I decided it is an UFO with ET that came to see the wonder of the belly flop contest. After a few minutes I remember I read an article about sea food in Vietnam and the squid fishing method which using shine hooks that the bright light is being used to lure the squids , so yes it was a squid boat, very disappointing. For the evening entertainment we skipped the headliner show (was again some focal group) and went later to the love and marriage show which as always was very funny and nice to watch (As long you are not the one on the stage). Tonight we are changing the ship watch to Vietnam time zone which mean we will gain another hour to sleep , excellent as we have our shore excursion is at early morning (7:45 AM) Tomorrow , first port in Vietnam.
  17. Day 4 Sea day. Today was the second sea day in the cruise, Although the forecast predict a very cloudy day it was once again a wonderful sunny day, perfect for a sea day. I started early (well 9 am on a vacation for me its early) gong to a guest lecture about creativity, it was a one hour interactive lecture which was interesting and funny, I glad I been able to attend. For some reason RC (at least in this cruise) put all the lectures around 9 AM , not sure why. After the lecture I met with my spouse and we went to the sundeck area to catch some sun. Although the pool deck was fully occupied there were enough chairs on deck 12 , not sure why people insist on the pool deck (I know that some like to jump to the pool from time to time but it can easily done also from the upper deck). Actually we found some extra hidden decks that were empty so we used them as our privet deck (there is one above the bar which was kept empty all the time , my guess the proximity to the round antenna radome which is nearby may intimidate some people but they contain mostly satellite equipment and almost harmless comparing to the sun radiation. Although we are coming from a very sunny country I cannot really stay in the sun too long before becoming a lobster(one of the downsize of working at office all the time), since the lobster day is tomorrow and I did not want to find myself as the main dish in the Windjammer I finish my pathetic effort to get tanned very fast. We took some pictures to send home after getting complains that we only send picture that they can be download from the internet and they want to check that we are relay cruising. And now for the daily complain session J , not really understood why RC are insisting on this towel policy with the room card , the queues to get a towel become sometime quite long which is annoying, there must be a better way to handle it, its not that people have where to take the towels beside the ship. I understand that again we are paying the price for people that throw the towels over the board or something like that. For lunch again we did the Windjammer trying to focus on light things, I decide to try something healthy for a change so I took a Pizza. The good thing about lunch today was the fruits they brought , beside the regular apples they also served Rambutan and Longan , Rambutan you should already recognize from my previous post about Thailand but Longan (not Logan ok ? , its not made out of Adamantium) is a small round fruit which taste more and less like Litchi. The fruit stand was very poplar but there were plenty for everyone , it was good dessert. The time past quite fast on the sea day, we enjoyed several of the show in the pool area and some indoor activities. For dinner we went to Chops, the food was very tasty, loved the crab cake and the soups, the service on the other hand was ok , I mean when we got service .It seems they were missing waiters and each waiter had to serve too many tables , I will just say the dinner took us two and half hour and we had to wait 40 minutes between the steaks and the dessert .Hopefully it was aone time issue as I heard the service in this restaurant usually excellent. Tomorrow another sea day. FYI , if there are any request to get some more info about the ship or cruise or you want me to take a picture of something in the ship , let me know I will be happy to answer/take the pictures.
  18. Thank you ! I most welcome comets like that since well it will help me first to fix the post and second to learn from my mistakes, so please feel free to comment And now for the excuses :-) , the speller is good up to a certain point , now when I am not sure on the right spelling of a word I will try to use online dictionary tbut when the internet become very slow... And here is another photo I could not upload yesterday of the temple :
  19. Day 3 Port day. Kaohsiung Taiwan: After a nice first sea day we finally arrive to our first stop at Kaohsiung , we got to the port around 7 AM and I Started to get organized as we had our shore excursions To avoid the rush hour of the buffet on a port day I went up and grab a plate to bring down to my spouse and me, our room is actually just one deck directly below the Windjammer so it makes live easier. After the quick breakfast we rushed to the excursion (thank you WAAYATOO) meeting point , it was 8:15 which was the time the meeting should tool place ,when arrived we have been told to catch the bus outside so we went out pass the immigration very quick (as the passport still with the ship we got yesterday a stamp photocopy of our passport, that was why RC asked everyone to bring a photocopy with them). As usual not everyone arrived on time so we were waiting for people on the bus until 9 AM ,maybe this is the punishment for people who come when they are being told too (that and also my spouse saying to me , told you so ,we should not have rushed J ) The excursions was for the Buddha temple complex in the city of Fo Guang Shna , I choose this one as the city of Kaohsiung is mainly industrial city and not much to see. The drive to the temple complex tool around one hour, each participate got bottle of water on the bus which was nice has it was a very hot humid day. The complex is spitted to two different areas, the first is where the monks are leaving and learning, it also contain a huge temple with three golden Buddha’s (sorry no photo were allowed inside the temple but here is the standing Buddha from the parking area). The second one is the more modern area which has a 360 foot Buddha statue and many pagodas tower. I found the second part to be very immersive although tending to more commercial, in the entrance there is something that look like a mall , it even contain a Starbucks (well maybe they sell there an holly tea , did not check). Although there were allot of people around the place is huge and it was very quiet and e feeling of serenity was surrounding us (and not the serenity now kind) , I really enjoy it, just sorry we could not stay there some extra time We were doing our way back around 12 PM as it was half day tour. By the way in the port there was an ATM machine and money changer, beside that there weren’t any other services. The way back to the ship was very fast without any queues or delays , nothing like to come back from the very warm day to the air-condition of the ship , love it. For lunch we did our way to the buffet, this time it was not as busy as yesterday and the food was excellent, again I was eating too much. After a very required rest we went to see the headliner show which presented a vocal group name “Dream Zone” they were performing different songs with the ship band which was entertaining. Tomorrow sea day ,
  20. Well I am starting to get into the cruise mode, yesterday with all the issues, the late sail and some work related issues I was not there yet , took me a while J There is something very special in the moment you get from the gangway to the ship , I love that feeling. During the morning I found out the VB to work fine just the sky looked gray, which is ok as we did not planned anything for the sundeck yet. The room itself although small is big enough for two people with tons of storage, we came with two big suitcase (after all we packed for 18 vacation days) and after unpacking we still have free space, I like the way they utilized the room, The suitcases where nicely shoved under the bad and we are glad we don’t need to see them for the next 9 days. This is our first time to be in inside cabin , I thought I might feel it to be claustrophobic but no ;its just fine and open more opportunities for us in the future not to rollout this option. When I woke up today I saw it was already 8:30 , so, although feeling still tired I went to the bathroom to prepare for the day (we had the meet and mingle at 9:30 AM ) lucky for me I took a look at the laptop which indicated it is 4:30 AM … I asked uncle Google for the time in Hong Kong and it concurred indeed it was 4:30. I found out that my cell phone which I did not moved to flight mode (big mistake) connected to the Verizon service that moved the clock to EST. Since I am wearing a smart watch (dumb watch in this case) it was synchronized with the same time which was 8:30 PM … basic beginner mistake. Luckily for me I did not tried to wake up my spouse, that could have been a disaster J. After waking up again (normal time) I took something quick to eat at the promenade café and went to the meet and mingle meeting (my better half still slept) that was 9:30 am (who do such meetings in the middle of the night on a sea day) ? There where around 25 people in the meeting and RC did the usual raffle so I figure almost 50% got something, I was not at that 50% but it was still nice. Beside the regular small notepad gift they also gave everyone a folding shopping bag with RC logo, I actually found it to be very useful. For Lunch (and breakfast for some people) we went to the Windjammer that was packed. it took us around 15 minutes to find a table at the end we just joined some other people, typical sea day J. As the wind was very strong the upper deck was closed also in the lower deck it was not that easy to walk, the pool by the way turn into a wave pool, who said there is not a water park on the Voyager of the seas. We browsed the ship for a while to see where is everything, I am very happy to tell you that I saw the famous park café sandwiches served in the promenaded café. One thing was very clear, there were many queues on the ship , queues to the shore excoriation (which might indicate that many are not using the site to pre order it) the queues started almost on the other side of the promenaded. Queues to the guest service were also exist for the all day, Maybe since we sailed late people did not had time to complain yesterday and queues to the MDR. With all the different queues I heard people suggest to rename the ship to Queues of seas. For dinner we went to the MDR , it was ok , slow but food was fine. I think we will visit the Windjammer more. Tomorrow we are in Taiwan and we have early shore excursion
  21. Day 1 - Embarkation day Usually this day is simple although tense, we wake up eat quick breakfast and take a shuttle/taxi to the port around 10:30 AM . This time its different as the check in to the boast will be only at 5 to 7 PM while the sail hour is midnight (not sure why it still called 10 days cruise … where is the missing a day ? to the finders I promise reward) So we had to find out how to spend the full day before going to the port, to add to the complexity today we also had Hon Kong cycling competition which brought to many road blocks , we found out that the start/finish point of the race is just across from our hotel. To reduce the risk of finding taxi that will take us to the port I reserved a car from the hotel guessing they will have better chance to know how to avoid the road blocks and the extra traffic associate with it, so yes I paid twice what I would pay for the taxi but at least I knew its safer. The good thing was that the hotel let us keep the room until 3 PM . We went again to the same place to eat breakfast, after all you don’t replace a wining horse or a wining sandwich. We watch the bicycle race for a while, preparing our self for the cycling tour we booked in Vietnam which his almost the same then went to take our free drinks at the hotel lobby waiting for our car (watching the race was quite an effort and was enough practice for today).. Once it was the time to go; the hotel send someone with our suitcase as we had to bypass the road block by claiming a bridge and navigate via a street or two to get to our car. The ride to the port was very fast around 15 minutes so it was around 5:15 when we arrived , we gave our suitcase outside ,until now it was like any boarding day, yap until that time … We got to the hall where we saw tons of people seating and waiting for something, there were many lines but we figured out that the biggest line was for the photo copy machine , you see , RC asked people to bring a photo copy of their first passport page , many I guess or did not read it or don’t have a printer at home … The priority check in lines was reverse for Platinum and up (while in Europe and US they have queues for gold also) which was not that bad as the regular line took us less than 5 minutes and hey after this cruise we will become platinum, well we are newbies J We did the check in and got a number for boarding, that actually explain what where all the people doing in the hall, while in many other places you do the check in and then you go via security to the waiting hall here you did the check in and waited for your number to be called to the security. I guess they don’t have place for people to wait after the security.. They started to call all the suites and down to Platinum members to approach the security for boarding around 5:45 PM . We were called around 7 PM , if I just knew it was the first line … The good thing was that the crew tried to maintain the order meaning they really checked the numbers that people had and removed them from the line if their numbers were not called yet, I liked that system. After the security line which went quite fast we got to the immigration line that took another 20 minutes, once we passed that I was relived, finally time to get on board , but no , just another line , this time it was a line to give the passport and a the passport copy , apparently on this route the ship is holding everyone passport as part of issuing visas to Vietnam (remember my previous post of running to the Embassy, well as I suspect it was not required , hey at least I did some walking).. This line was another 15 to 20 minutes and then finally we got to the board. We were boarded at the fourth deck which was a surprise for me as until now we all the time boarded to the royal promenade At least there was one good thing which was the fact that our room was already ready has the ship arrived empty from China the bad thing was that we were missing the major things which usually should be already at room like the shore excursions tickets and the internet code. I went down to the Guest service to fix those issues and to check what happened to our first night done right which the guest service suggested that they will book me whatever restaurant I want. We decide to try Giovanni Table which was excellent, I will just say that for the entry we took the filet (both of us) and it was one of the best filet that I was ever eaten, very tender and taste full. From the restaurant we went directly to the muster drill that was conducted at 10:30. Tomorrow sea day
  22. Day -1.5 Honk Kong , Yesterday was a transfer day, although the flight from Bangkok to Hong Kong is only two and half hours the flight was at 2 PM which quite kill the all day. We went out to the airport around 10 AM directly after breakfast , we wanted to play it safe due to possible traffic issues in the way to the airport but it took us no more than 30 minutes to get there. 10 minutes after we already passed the check in, security and passport control so we had more than 3 hours until the flight which we spend walking around the very nice Bangkok airport gaining more steps for the fitbit counter. The rest of the time we spent at Thai airways lounge. The flight was short by they still served a full meal which was nice: hhh We arrived around 5 PM to Hong Kong and stuck in traffic for more than one hour , we arrived to the hotel finally , it was already 7 PM so as you can see a wasted day, maybe I should have booked early or late flight so I could enjoy more time on one of the places (Bangkok for sure) lesson learn for next time.The hotel we are staying in Hong Kong is the Intercontinental in Kowloon its very near the harbor and has nice view, again I used reward points to book this hotel (yes I travel too much, I agree).After settling down, we went out to try and catch the Symphony of light show which is a laser and lights show that performed over many of the Hong Kong skyscrapers every day at 8 PM. After the show we went to catch something to eat near the famous Nathan road. Today we started the morning in a nice bakery we found near the hotel. We were planning to go to an Optometrist shop that I used its service before, both me and my spouse are using eyeglasses and doing a pair of glasses in Hong Kong is almost half of the price (for frame and lenses) than back home , I believe it is much cheaper also comparing the US. SO every time I am visiting HK I am trying to purchase new pair , the good thing is that usually they can prepare them on the same day. After we both choose the frame and did a short vision check we rushed to a short Hong Kong free walking tour, this is one of those tours that you can book enjoy it and just pay the tip at the end to the guide. The tour was nice with allot of stories of the different palaces around. After the tour we took the subway to the ladies markets (and no , it’s not just for ladies so it was ok for me to join) , this market is full with stands of cheap cloths, fake of fake bags and watches (fake of fakes is like a fake but not really for example: they have bags of LU instead of LV ). Not sure I would spend too much time there unless you want to find fake Rolex watch , but that can be done in any of Hong Kong street. Next to the market there is the computer center , a building full with shops that sells computers, computer accessories and computer parts , we went over there just for me to buy some more charges , I bought one with 4 USB ports so we will able to charge all the devices using one power outlet in ship. Doing our way back we decided that it will be a good idea to walk back , well it was a bad idea because became very hot day and walking 1.8 miles in such weather was not the best thing we could done about , well at least we finished the day with over 20000 steps so at least the fitness applications where very happy. Tomorrow finally we should board the Ship .
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