Excellent Introduction to South East Asia

Volendam Cruise Review to Other (Asia/Africa/Middle East)

Cruises: 4-6 cruises
Reviews: 3
Helpful Votes: 59

Overall rating:

4.7 out of 5
Volendam

14 Night Far East Discovery Holiday (Hong Kong To Singapore)

Sail date: December 20, 2017

Ship: Volendam

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 3357

Traveled as: Family (older children)

Reviewed: 3 years ago

Review summary

A highly recommended overview of these south asian countries. Lots of time to explore and tour, and many non-HAL options available. This review did not provide the opportunity to review Halong Bay. There we did a taxi to the city in the morning with a quick overview of the city, then return to the boat for our HAL Halong Bay excursion with lunch. The lunch was amazing and the boat tour a must in Halong Bay.

Embarkation

5 out of 5
Efficient and well organized embarkation in Hong Kong. Took no time at all. The terminal is new and you will need taxi or transfer there.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

5 out of 5
All excellent. The dining room menus were great. The Lido has good service and choice. I always checked the Lido menu so I didn't miss anything special on the day

Onboard Activities

4 out of 5
The fitness centre was good for overall workouts - nothing intense. The greenhouse spa provides a decent spa experience. I didn't visit the casino.

Entertainment

5 out of 5
The best on any HAL cruise so far. the singers and dancers were amazing. the headliners were great, Adagio - a violinist and pianist, played terrific classical entertainment. Definitely attend the question and answer session with the dancers/singers and go backstage - gives you some appreciation for the work

Children's Programs

no children

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Always high quality with HAL. Very responsive and friendly

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
They were always cleaning and keeping things neat.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
This is a lanai cabin. I wasn't sure I would like it, but the access to the promenade was really terrific, and while not as private as a balcony was so spacious and comfortable. The loungers were also great (and not something you would have with most smaller balconies.

Ship tip

Do check out the entertainment, and the EXC overviews for the ports. The EXC staff (Josh and Phil) were fantastic - very informative and helpful.

Ports of call

Hong Kong

5 out of 5
I was last in HongKong 30 years ago and it has changed considerably - it is fantastic. There is tons to do and no need for an excursion here. Everything is easy to access by taxi and public transit. Do the ferry and the tram - and check out the lights at night.

Da Nang, Vietnam

5 out of 5
We did a private excursion for Da Nang including a trip to Hoi An. It was excellent. The guide was amazing and very informative - a terrific introduction to Vietnam, and much more economical than the HAL excursions

Nha Trang, Vietnam

4 out of 5
This was a short day. We took a local taxi (on the metre) to the Cham temple and then the Buddhist temple. Then we had a coffee near the port. No need for an excursion if you are staying in the town. The taxis are cheap and great. Very little English is spoken so bring a map and the names of the places you want to go. Ensure they are on the metre. The green taxis, and the white taxis with the green stripes, are apparently the most reliable.

Phu My (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam

5 out of 5
We did a private excursion in this port - and another amazing day. We went to a local market, visited a temple, did a tour of Chinatown by cyclo, went to the War Remnants Museum (must see). The tour guide was terrific.

Sihanoukville, Cambodia

3 out of 5
The port does not have a lot to offer. We hailed a taxi for a few hours and toured a couple of temples, the market, had a beer at Jean Jean and then went to Independence Beach. It was enlightening and interesting. As the only port in Cambodia, it provided a glimpse into this changing area.

Laem Chabang (Bangkok), Thailand

5 out of 5
Very interesting. We hired a taxi from the port and went downtown on the first day - did a boat cruise of the river, then Wat Pho followed by the metal castle, a tour of the democracy monument, a delicious lunch then back to the boat for a quiet evening. the next day we hired the same taxi to go to Pattaya - touring the Sanctuary followed by the beach. It was a short day so this worked for us. Far cheaper than a HAL excursion.

Ko Samui, Thailand

3 out of 5
We hired a taxi and went to a beach. We rented seadoos, had coffee, then returned to the port. I think if you are a beach person you would go a little further afield, or spend $100 and go to a private beach resort. For us, this low-key inexpensive approach worked just fine.

Singapore

5 out of 5
We did a HAL excursion/transfer to the airport, which provided a truly excellent overview of this amazing country. The guide was terrific, and the sites amazing.

Disembarkation

5 out of 5
Truly so efficient - very well done by HAL and Singapore port.
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