Thai Restaurant Opposite Our Hotel
We had dinner at a very popular Thai restaurant opposite our hotel. Toy declared it to be authentic. He also ordered an apple cider, which was served upside down on a bed of ice in a glass. It was popular with locals there.
On the Tram
The next day we decided to do a Hong Kong tour by bus. We had enjoyed the “hop on hop off” bus experience in Singapore so much. We took a taxi to the Star ferry where we bought tickets. In Hong Kong the service is called the “Big Bus”.For our first trip we toured the island including the Peak Tram.
The Big Bus
View From the Peak Tram
On the Top Deck of the Bus
Entrance to the Peak Tram
The Peak Tram
The Lights of Hong Kong Island from the Kowloon Side
The square outside our hotel was a pedestrian mall, lined with many restaurants. Most buildings had Christmas decoration lights As well there were groups singing Christmas Carols and other activities. It was a popular area for families and young people.
Click to Enlarge
Internet on the ship was very expensive. Depending on the whims of the satellite it was sometimes unreliable or painfully slow. All in all a frustrating experience.
Sunset from the Wharf
We returned to the ship after our bus trip to Sanya and had a snooze. We sail for Hong Kong tonight so it will be our last day at sea. To celebrate the occasion we watched the sun set from the Topsiders’ Bar. Toy discovered a new drink….Angry Birds Cider.
We had our last drink in Gatsby’s Bar and had dinner in the Dining Room.
Hong Kong Harbour
A Wheel Chair Was Available
In the morning…there was Hong Kong. Disembarkation went smoothly. Our luggage, which we had put outside our cabin door the previous evening, was waiting for us in the customs area.This time a wheel chair was waiting for me!
The Regal Kowloon Hotel
The Business Lounge
We caught a taxi to our hotel,the Regal Kowloon, and checked in.We were offered a room upgrade package which included a Happy Hour for three hours every evening and a cooked breakfast in the Business Lounge each day. We accepted the offer.
The hotel room was very comfortable indeed
Angry Birds Cider
Futuristic Hotel Towers
This morning we arrived in Sanya, Hainan Island China.This modern major tourist destination is still under development. The futuristic towers of a major hotel is near the harbour entrance and immigration facilities. It is an impressive entrance to Sanya, which has been called the Hawaii of China.
Disembarkation for tours in Sanya was nothing short of a disgrace.
Sanya Chinese Immigration
The ship provided only one gangway exit point .Part of the blame probably lies also with the authorities by not allowing faster clearance.It took over one hour to disembark passengers. Immigration authorities had to inspect passports one by one.
Sanya on Your Own Bus
We had booked a Sanya on your own tour which included a bus to a mall in the city centre returning on a regular basis to passengers pick-up. I checked out the facileties. They were about the usual Chinese standard!
We had lunch at a great seafood restaurant. As usual not munch English is spoken, so ordering was by sign language.Anyway we had delicious fish, oysters, and scampi.
Obvioously Sanya attracts a lot of high end Chinese and Russian tourists. Shops were stocked with leading retail brands and a lot of shop advertising was in the Russian language.
Scampi and FIish
The Beach at Sanya
On Board Art Auction
Our bad luck continues. We were due to berth at Nha Trang, Vietnam, today, but it was too rough to use tenders. So another day at sea…who cares! The next morning we berthed at Chan May, Vietnam. I was not supposed to disembark here but due to some beaucrastic stuff up I was given a landing pass. I expected to be shot as I walked accross the wharf but nothing dramatic happened.
LangCo Beach Resort
Reception LangCo Resort
Shuttle Bus to Resort
I only wanted to go to the souvenir shop at the end of the wharf but, we discovered shuttle bus there to the Lanco Resort 8 kms away for US $10 return eacdh. So off we went for an adventure in the drizzling rain!
Me and My Vietnamese Friend
We had a cup of Vietnamese Coffee and a walk arond the resort. Because of the inclement weather a strong surf was running. After a while we got tired of pestering by maotor cycle taxi operators and headed back to the ship.
Our Berth at Chan May
Our Berth at Charn May
Entertainment in Gatsby’s Bar – Our Favourite Bar
Our Daily Folded Towel
A Good Way to Lose Money
More Folded Towels
There is always something to do on board. Each morning a new edition of Freesthle Daily is available, which highlights the day’s activities.
Our cabin (called a stateroom) was very comfortable. It was on Level 4 of 12 levels. Only staff cabins were below ours. We had a porthole which could not be opened but we had a view of the ocean and the outside weather. It was not claustrophobic.
We had one standard Singapore three pin 240 volt power outlet and one three pin USA 110 volt power outlet. We took a small power board with us. This was sufficient to power all our appliances eg. I Pad,.two iPhones , two electric shavers, etc. We had a small refrigerator and a TV(some satellite channels). Shower space was perfectly adequate but the toilet was a little cramped.
As a previous cruise passenger, Don was entitled to certain latitude privileges. One of these was a complementary dinner for two in the Le bistro restaurant. We took it for three and I paid the extra. We all ordered Tenderloin steak It was delicious
At Sea At Last
We sailed on13th December. Our lifeboat station was B2. Getting used to shipboard life is easy.
Inside the Stardust Theatre
Outside the Stardust Theatre
Breakfast at O’Sheenhan Bar and Grill
It’s Gettng Late
Well we waited and waited. The Captain announced we would be late, 7;30 or after. Finally he admitted there was a technical problem and we would not be sailing that night. It would be necessary to bring in experts from Europe and USA to advise.
The Casino Is Closed
As a result of this technical issue, the speed of the ship would be restricted and we would sail a revised itinerary.We would call at Nha Trang and Chan May in Vietnam and Sanya in China. We would be bypassing Koh Samui and Bangkok.We sailed on the evening of 13th December. Our arrival in Hong Kong would be on schedule on 22nd December.
As a gesture of goodwill we would be offered a full refund on the cruise as well as a 50% future cruise credit. More than adequate compensation!
We were due to board the Norwegian Star at noon.When we arrived at the cruise terminal at about 11:30 am, there was already a fair crowd there. I had pre-arranged a wheelchair embarkation, but it was nowhere to be seen Eventually I joined the incapacity queue and in time a wheelchair turned up. Embarkation was a nightmare really.The authorities seemed to be panic-stricken that all passengers had the correct visas in their passports. They were taking all passports away for checking.The captain later apologised because checking in was so time-consuming.
Immigration on the other hand was a breeze. Suitcases were to be delivered to our cabins later
Toy’s Guest Card
So off we set with only our carry on bags to discover our cabin and have lunch at the Buffet Cafe
A not so Crowded Buffet
After settling in to our cabin,we headed for the Topsider’s Bar to await the sailing party and to make sure the guest card worked for our complimentary drinks package!
Topsider’s Bar Awating Sailing Party