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Voyager of the seas from Hong Kong to Singapore 8-October 17


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First I would like to apologize ahead of time  for some English spelling /grammar error  I might do during this blog (and I will, promise you) as English not my first language.

After the excuses, I can start, I am going to write this live blog  which will cover a south Asia cruise since first I did not found too many blogs over this area and second I want to give something back to this wonderful site which I found to be very helpful , entertaining  and most important very positive (comparing to many other site (which its  name would not be spoken)  that I found focusing on complains).

 

The cruise which we are going to attend is 10 (well almost 10 ,I will explain shortly) days cruise from Honk Kong to Singapore on the Voyager of the seas.

 

Here is the itinerary:

 

08 - October  Hong Kong    11:59 PM

09-October Cruising

10-October Kaohsiung, Taiwan

11-October Cruising

12-October Cruising

13-Octover Nah Trang , Vietnam

14-October Hue/Danang , Vietnam

15-October Cruising

16- October Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

17-October Cruising

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see the embarkation is to 23:59 as the ship will arrive (without passenger) from mainland China.

Now I hope that we will really set sail at the designated time and the 11:59 PM is not just so RLC will  not need to change the name of the cruise to 9 days Hong Kong to Singapore …

One can ask himself why I am starting this live blog a week before the start date ?   well I have two good answers:

1.       For me starting this blog now it also a commitment that I will need to update it and planning is almost 50% of the fun in cruises (quoting better than me)

2.       We are actually starting the vacation few days before by flying first to Thailand and to be able and catch this flight I first need to come back from a business trip.

For some reasons like the fact that my work colleges ask nicely, the customer insist and the most important somehow I need to pay for the cruises I found myself in this business trip which will finish few hours before my vacation starts.

There is just a small problem, while the vacation starts in Thailand the business trip is to one of the south American countries which its name will not be reveled but let’s just say they have very good ceviche’s, they really like Llamas/Alpacas and if you will tell them that the original Pisco sour was invited in Chile they can get very offended.

The plan itself is very simple (at least that is  what I tried to convince myself with)  , I finish what I need to finish , start to fly around the world with some connections, land at night at my home town just to take the vacation flight 5.5 hours later.

I do hide one card in my sleeve, the same aircraft which will I take for my last connection is exactly the one I am going to take for my vacation (yes another connection) so if the last connection will be delayed also the next flight will. So you see it is very solid plan (it’s not) which I covered any problem that may pop (I did not) but hey, it makes live more interesting and if I will make it on time a very good story to tell.

I have also created plan B if I will miss one of the connection and this is mainly  to cry to my travel agent and beg her to find me an alternative route (One must love plan B)

Now, you might ask why not to save some time and  instead of flying to my home town and back to the connection point just stay at the connection airport and go from there (after meeting my belter half)  ? Well apparently the gods of the airlines will not let you do something which actually make sense, you see I booked my vacation flights using award miles and while I could find the flights starting from my hometown going via the connection airport I could not find the same flight going directly from the connection airport plus if I would find it would cost more miles.

I gave up on trying and understand the way the airlines works, so here we are.

The good news is while I am written this I am already started my trip back , so currently I am in the airline lounge waiting for my next connection which appear to be on time.

I promise to continue and update.

For now , just so it will not be too boring I am adding pictures for one of the main reason I agreed to take the business trip:

 

 

 

 

Oct1.thumb.jpg.923e40f44d1217704b06ce999a512265.jpgcev1.thumb.jpg.63f7a8c4c370f24b9dd013460d80162a.jpgso.thumb.jpg.28e17e179d8e0446f569fe8ee92e0df2.jpgsashimi.thumb.jpg.2085048dbc0a687a769814f0fb03288a.jpg

 

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First I would like to apologize ahead of time  for some English spelling /grammar error  I might do during this blog (and I will, promise you) as English not my first language. After the excuses,

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

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 start

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On 10/2/2017 at 6:40 AM, Traveler said:

Running to catch the next flight (still on time :1_grinning:) But here are the pictures with some explanations on the food , maybe will add some more later. 

 

 

 

First picture is Grill Octopus indeed , it was taken over lunch  in "El Marcado" restaurant , very good Octopus , in general you hardly can go wrong with grill Octopus over that city.

Second picture on the left is a ceviche , at this restaurant you first choose your fish and then they are doing it in three different way per your choice  , we took it first as ceviche after as a soup and last as a grill fish with some extra sauce. A word of advice , although the red pepper  in this ceviche looks like innocent red pepper its not , actually its a very spicy one , I think the main reason to keep it in this dish  is for the fun of the waiters to see first timers trying to eat it. 

The picture on the right is langoustine soup with add of fried egg , although strange the egg adds allot to this soup.

And finally on the bottom is a sashimi plate in Maido restaurant , they cut it in front of you and serve it after coiling the plate using liquid nitrogen    , and yes you can eat the flowers :-) 

 

Oct1.thumb.jpg.923e40f44d1217704b06ce999a512265.jpgcev1.thumb.jpg.63f7a8c4c370f24b9dd013460d80162a.jpgso.thumb.jpg.28e17e179d8e0446f569fe8ee92e0df2.jpg

sashimi.thumb.jpg.2085048dbc0a687a769814f0fb03288a.jpg

 

 

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1 hour ago, Traveler said:

A word of advice , although the red paper in this ceviche looks like innocent red paper its not , actually its a very spicy one , I think the main reason to keep it in this dish  is for the fun of the waiters to see first timers trying to eat it. 

Took me a second to realize you meant PEPPER, red pepper.  I was looking for a flat sheet of..something red.

Love spicy peppers and I'd love to try it out.  

Great pictures!

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Quick update , 

I successfully catch all the connections and even had time to go back to my apartment for a quick shower.
To avoid any delays I already packed a suitcase for the cruise before starting the business trip.

Currently again back at the airport waiting for the first vacation flight while trying to break the record of how many airline lounges I can visit in 72 hours.
Very sad to hear the news about Vegas. 

  

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Day -5 some general information.

 

We landed safely in Bangkok and got our hotel room , I have some time to  elaborate om the  background regarding the cruise and some answers  while waiting for my spouse to get ready for a stroll around the city.

 

So why this cruise? - this is going to be our fifth cruise  (finally becoming platinum)   , the other routes we done so far is two western Europe cruises, one east Caribbean and one west Caribbean all for 7 nights. We were looking to cruise somewhere new and found this cruise to take us  places we never visit before (Taiwan and Vietnam). For sure one important condition was that it should be a Royal Caribbean cruise

The cruise was not that expensive (for the room we took) and also the timing was perfect for us to take vacation .

My concern was of the ship itself, please try not to laugh at me but I really hope that I will find the Voyager of the seas big enough J you see our first cruise (and the one that made us addicted) was with Liberty of the seas following by Allure, Oasis and Harmony of the seas … (Hey, an idea for Royal Caribbean , special award for people that cruise in all of the ships of a certain classes)

Yes I know, the Voyager is a big ship and should have enough activities , but I am afraid the Oasis class (and mainly Harmony of the seas)  spoiled us  , its not that we can do all the activities/special restaurant on the Oasis , its just good to know we have the option if we want to (same answer which I give when people ask me why I love leaving in a big city and not in somewhere quite).

I sure hope I will find this concern not to be true, working on convincing myself to avoid and compare the ships while I am enjoying the cruise.

 

Stateroom :  Virtual Balcony – since we book the cruise very late  (not going to tell how late but lets just say we had to pay the all amount while booking it) the balcony rooms and even the sea view rooms where very expensive So we decided to take the VB room which will be first for us. For me, the room is for rest and taking a shower between the different activities so it should be ok (Wow , I almost convinced  myself).

 

Internet: Yes for sure , how else I will be able to update the live blog , whatsup pictures for friends and family  that will make them jealous  (very important part from any good vacation) and yes , do  some emergency work if needed (but only from the sundeck).

We took one device package which we will share between our devices (we done it in the past, its working quite well as long as you have one device connected at a time and as long as I make sure my spouse is slipping while I am trying to use the internet).

 

Drinking package – no, although we like to  drink from time to time we do not drink as much to make it financial worthwhile so we will pay per drink plus the two bottles of wine we can carry with us on board .

 

Special restaurant – Yes for sure, we order the first night done right (which I hope we can use as the set sail for the ship is 23:59), Chops girls for one of the sea days we also consider maybe the chef table and of course at least one visit to Johny Rocket. Unfortunately, No Sabor on the VOS so I will have to attend my crave for guacamole somewhere else.

 

Shore excursion – we actually booked 4 shore excursion, one for each port, all are organize by Royal Caribbean as it is new ports for me in countries which the number of words I know to speak are less than five (and none of them will help me find my way back to the ship) I decided to play it safe.

Thanks for this wonderful site I could have catch the 20% discount on many of the excursions (just canceled and rebooked them again with the discount when it became available).

For Thailand (not in the route), Singapore and Honk Kong we will do our own excursions as we already visit them more than once (well beside Thailand which I never been but  my spouse visit in the past).

 

Pre and pro cruise hotels where booked by me using reward points. Before the cruise we took two nights (just to be on safe side) same for the post cruise.

 

Visas – here we are touching a sensitive subject, the only country at this cruise, which we need visa to enter is Vietnam (same by the way for most of the passport holders beside some countries in Europe like UK). On the tickets documents we got for the  cruise it was state that Royal Caribbean will help the passengers to obtain visa on board which will cost around 6 $ PP. I was very happy to read about it  this info  also align with what I have read in other sites. Now the  plot thickens, few weeks ago RC send us email stating that all visas and other documents should be ready before we set sail and one that don’t have the requirements might be not allow to embark the ship. I tried to understand if this is like the standard email which RC sending before any cruise but it did not seemed like that.

I decided to try my luck and call RC to ask them about it, not sure if anyone here tried to ask RC Visa questions, let’s just say that trying to get clear answers from RC about visa is harder than to get honest answer from a politician. The words: “Maybe , better to check by yourself , we are not sure and better you ask the embassy” raised up  many times with different representative. I know they cannot tell me if I need visa or not (nor that I expected to) and this is not what I asked, all I wanted is to get is a strait answer if they are going to take care of the visas on board the  ship or not.

Mow, before Matt will jump and say “Hey this is another good reason why its always better  to book using TA , they could have answered this question” I must say I asked special TA that is dealing with RC and cruises , she got the same answers.

Although I was almost sure that based on the past cruises such a visa will be obtained on the ship I just did not want to take even the smaller risk that we will be denied to the cruise. After a quick check I found out that the Vietnamese Embassy is about 15-20 minutes’ walk from my home and they can do the visa on the spot for extra charge, I thought by doing that I will kill two birds using one stone , first I will be able to sleep better knowing that this issue is covered , second, 20 minutes  morning walk each way will help me do my steps quota and more important  prepare myself for the windjammer.

To make long story short , after quick walk and 10 minutes waiting I said bye bye to around 200$ (around 100$ for each passport) and came back with multiple entry visas for Vietnam. In few days I will now if that was the best thing I done for the cruise or I just spent (in cruise money language) two chef tables or two nice shore excoriations , ok ,  and half drinking package.

 

Tomorrow still  in  Bangkok, will share more Bangkok updates  , for now  here is some taster, this picture is not of an sea urchins that walked in the sun too much  while forting  their sun screen at home  but of a crazy relative of Lychee (in taste anyway)  called  Rambutan :

Rambutan1.thumb.jpg.0743d59ee28de23c2a88cd0937f6093a.jpg

And the inside of this sweet fruit :

 

 rambutan2.thumb.jpg.75139c3ebffb3f98ab7fbc69ca700f54.jpg

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Wow, here's hoping that your trip to the Vietnamese embassy (and the extra money spent) wasn't wasted! That's really unacceptable, that RCI customer support couldn't just give you a clear answer of who was responsible for obtaining the required visa. That's something they should easily be able to find as a detail of the itinerary, even if it's only noted internally and not to the general public.

Might want to bring that up once you're aboard, especially if it turns out that RCI was, in fact, going to be providing those visas for you. And follow that up by noting it in the post-cruise survey as well. This is extra last-minute stress no one needs in the days before a vacation. At a minimum, I'd hope it translates into action by RCI to make sure their reps have all the required information at hand.

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23 hours ago, JLMoran said:

Wow, here's hoping that your trip to the Vietnamese embassy (and the extra money spent) wasn't wasted! That's really unacceptable, that RCI customer support couldn't just give you a clear answer of who was responsible for obtaining the required visa. That's something they should easily be able to find as a detail of the itinerary, even if it's only noted internally and not to the general public.

Might want to bring that up once you're aboard, especially if it turns out that RCI was, in fact, going to be providing those visas for you. And follow that up by noting it in the post-cruise survey as well. This is extra last-minute stress no one needs in the days before a vacation. At a minimum, I'd hope it translates into action by RCI to make sure their reps have all the required information at hand.

Thanks,I will know on Sunday, 

I for sure will try to complain about it but as you may know RC is clearly stating that all visa/passports or any other  documents  is under the responsibility of the passenger.

 

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Day -4 Bangkok

 

As this city exist in some of the south Asia Royal Caribbean routes I think it fair to writeabout it.

 

As I wrote before this was my first visit to Bangkok, the reason for stopping two days  in Bangkok  was mainly due to the fact that I could not found a direct route to Hong Kong with the award miles but found out this route to work nicely for us as it also a good city to buy some cheap T shirts for the cruise J (One can identify me on board by the shirts with the elephants and I love Bangkok 2 $ T shirts)

We landed very early and I arrange that we will be greeted at the gate by the hotel representative who took us with a buggy car bypassing the immigration lines, I  took this idea from Episode 183 - Making a memorable Royal Caribbean cruise ,  while passing the long lines I could not avoid  quoting  in My head  Mel Brooks “It’s good to be the king”

For hotel we took the Grand Sheraton (using reward)  which is very nice located on Sukhumvit road and 2 minutes from the MRT (local subway).

The Funny about the Sheraton reward program is that much of my points did not came from the room staying but from the fact that they give you allot of points if you decide not to use the daily clean service (and not replacing towels), you can actually do it up to 3 nights every time. They call it the Ecological choice, since I practice all my childhood (and my spouse will claim  it continues also this days) not to make up my room I became very good at that and for sure I don’t mind to get some reward point for it. Now only if I knew then to explain my parents it was all Ecological choice ….

Here is a picture of the hotel very nice tropical swimming pool.

 

After settlipool1.thumb.jpg.3b5054bbacee1b09c136f56972dc09ac.jpgng down we started to walk around to the nearest mall for some shop browsing and eating early launch, we picked some local restaurant and order a Pad Thai and Green Papaya salad.

 

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Since we are after all in Th ailand we went for a foot massage , which was very very good and cost around 10 $ for a full hour.

Regarding the Sukhumvit road, this is one of the famous tourist roads and many chain hotels are located very close to. Not sure I would take small kids to stroll around this street unless you want to practice your “bee and birds” talk and try also to explain them what are all those plastic replacement body parts which are presented on every second stand (and no , I ddont meant they  sell  prosthetic arms and legs).Every second other  stand on the street also sell many different famous prescriptions drugs which I can guess  are authentic  as three dollar bill.

You will need to forgive me for not uploading pictures from the street as it is a family prove site and also I had the feeling that if I would try to take picture over there I might find myself staring in one of the next episodes of National geographic,” Locked up abroad” describing the Thai jail daily routing and talking about my only friends  over there there,a rat name Pinchi and a trained cockroach.

 

Tomorrow we will catch a flight to Hong Kong.

 

papaya salat.jpg

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2 hours ago, JLMoran said:

Really appreciating these daily updates! My older daughter has said multiple times she wants to visit Thailand, so this is some great background material I can share with her!

I can tell you one thing , two days is not enough :-) for sure we will come back.

But Thailand is not just Bangkok there many wonderful places to tour here , I would consider flying to to one of the island for a week or two and just stop in Bangkok at the beginning or maybe at the end for some shopping before going home.By the way ,Regarding   Bangkok usually or people really like it or really hate it. there many nice things here but on the other end is not the clean city in the world  and there is the issue of air quality.

We  quite enjoyed  the city. 

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Day -3 (or Maybe -2, I lost the count sorry) Bangkok

 

Today Was another full day in Bangkok , since we (silly us) believed  the forecast which indicate rain during the two and half day in Bangkok we really did not  planned something special.

We woke up around 9 AM (jet leg …) and went to grab something to eat at the breakfast buffet. The buffet was full with western dishes side by side to many oriental dishes, actually with the type of food served it could easily be also a lunch  buffet.

I mainly loved the fruit stand where they cut different fresh fruits in front of you, in general Thailand is a haven for fruit lovers, and at any corner of the street you will find a fruit stand serving fresh cut fruit inside nylon bags with small forks to eat it.

59d7a3811817a_fruitplate.thumb.jpg.f92d1d13fa82ae501700e59bc5f2b1a4.jpg

 

The food in Bangkok is so good and the verity is endless, from western to Thai food, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Indonesian and much more.

If you are looking just for western food (weird but ok) you will find many famous fast food restaurants like Macdonald’s, Burger King, Subway etc ..

There are also many coffee shops (reminder its Bangkok not Amsterdam so I am talking about places which serve real coffee) I also notice almost on every corner a  very special local coffee chain that seems many tourist as local likes to queue near it , If I am not mistaken it called something like Starbucks but I might be wrong .

The food cost is very cheap comparing to the US and Europe, for example you can get a nice Pad Thai for less than 3 $ and model soup for 1.5 $ in the food court, at the restaurant yesterday we paid 12 $ for two main course, one starter + drinks.

You can find also many food stands on the street selling almost everything, since we did not to take the risk we avoid it but since we still wanted to taste some of the street food we area inside a mall which has something like 30 stands serving different street food. The mall call terminal 21 and the stands are in its 5th floor. We bought a prepaid card for the food stands which we used to taste many dishes, in the end you can return the card and get refund for any amount which still left.

!Warning , the next paragraph should not  be read before planning to eat anything!

 

In Thailand there is one special fruit which famous for its lovely smell , its call Durian , now you cannot get confused between this fruit and other fruit as its smell is so strong that in Singapore they not allow to carry it inside the Subway. It’s hard to describe the smell but believe me I think it should be consider as anti-riot weapon.

Many consider the Durian to have a very good taste so I did the move and for the sake of this blog I decided to taste it (the thing I do so I will have something to report on …). I took a plate of sticky rice with Durian , what can I Tell you, the taste was so bad, something like Onion that was covered with sugar and left outside for a week or two , even while I am written this I feel sick.

Was I sorry that I tried? well if you don’t try new things you never know , would I do it again ? certainly not  I am here so you would not do the same mistakes J

 

 

Duran.thumb.jpg.a01615024793de4762702bd61a3c4292.jpg

!End of warning!.

 

The rest of the day between meals we spent in the huge malls the city can offer , one of the biggest malls (called MBK)  which contains hundreds of small shops that sell almost everything , one can spend hours over there trying to find the best deals. You have one floor that is dedicate just for electronic shops which again claim they have anything , for example they offered   us the new IPhone X , Which is nice consider that apple did not release it to the markets yet.

For dinner we went to a Korean restaurant which serve DAK Kalbi which is cooked   on your table , similar to  the hibachi concept but with a big pan on the middle of the table.We took a mix of chicken, sea food ,vegetables and rice, which was mixed with cheese. It was very tasty and remind me Spanish  Paella

 

The Before plate:

59d7a42a82628_DAKbefore.thumb.jpg.2c12ff90f904dae5829328d370e1eab2.jpg

After cooking : sorry we started to eat before I remembered that I did not took the picture 

 59d7a450dc030_DAKafter.thumb.jpg.87bac7438addc6989b7b2bae5d600188.jpg

 

Tomorrow Hong  Kong

 

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