The Ship - Pacific Sky - it sailed beautifully without any hitches. The ship was full (as in cabins) but only 1200 passengers rather than 1500 that it can hold. Most of the passengers were of mature age and very few young people but still a great bunch of people. The ship was clean, service was great and it always left pretty much on time from port. There were also only 3 kids in the 3-6 yr age group and 19 from 7-12 yr age group so not a lot of kids or young families on this cruise.
Crew - The room service and dining room crew were mostly the same as when we sailed in October and they were fantastic - excellent service and lots of fun as usual. For those with children, the child care is excellent and the child care workers will be going over to the Sun or Star together with most of the crew from the dining room and room service.
Ports of call:-
Malacca - we did Countryside & village experience which was excellent - the bus takes you into the country and you are shown how rubber is made. You also visit a house in the village and learn about some of their traditions and customs. Malacca is very old but interesting. I would highly recommend this tour. I also believe the trishaw tour was excellent too.
Port Kelang - We did the KL highlights which took in the Palace, the towers, and the museum - very interesting and gave you some good insight into KL. A large city with lots of tradition. There was a lot of driving on the bus though as Port Kelang is at least 1 hr from KL. This was a half day tour which was great but no time for shopping or looking around the city in KL. The full day tour I believe allowed for this. There are shuttle buses into the city as well if you wanted to do your own thing.
Langkawi - this was my 2nd favourite spot - absolutely beautiful. We did the Island Hopping tour which took you by banana boat to two of the islands. You could swim, go paraflying or just relax - very very beautiful and natural. I highly recommend this tour. There was another cruise liner in the Island at the same time (The Virgo - Star cruises) and it was beautiful to see the two ships at the island even though we had docked a little way out and not at port.
Phuket - my favourite - just beautiful. We did our own thing and relaxed on the beach, and swam . Lots of locals came up and sold us t-shirts, and fresh fruit and we even got a massage on the beach - for about $10. The shopping is great and the people are just beautiful. Everything is cheap and the food is great too. There were quite a few tours from Phuket too which I believe were excellent especially James Bond Island & Phang Nga Bay which I have done before and it is beautiful.
Penang - a very historic and old place - very interesting. We took the Typically Penang tour which took you to a local flea market (where you get your Rolex watches and Rayban sunglasses for about $6-$8 - one thing they do well is copy). The tour also included a visit to a Chinese clan house and a family mansion - very oppulent.
Day at sea - our last day - was very relaxing. They had the childrens talent show in the morning which was great - the kids were gorgeous .
Activities - we never got a chance to do many of the organised activities as were on shore every day and were busy with children stuff a lot of the time. We did see the Tribute show which was excellent. The comedian on board Ivor Richards was also excellent - a very funny man. We went to the preview of the art auction but never got to the auction - there were some pieces that were very nice but not a lot that caught my eye - again that is a personal preference. We went to the Champagne Waterfall and that was excellent - they had a pretty good turnout for that. Michael Whitmore was the cruise director and he was great, even though I did prefer James Ibrahim who was on our last cruise.
The Island night was excellent and most participated in that. The disco was quiet at night and not too many late night dancers - again indicative of the age of the passengers on the ship. Those who partied on had a good time . The DJ though would put on some crappy music later in the night - I am sure to discourage us away from the dance floor so he could go to bed.
There were two formal nights - one was the welcome aboard party on the 2nd night and the other was on Wed night for the Captains Club - previous cruisers They are the same - you get to sit down and have a drink while the Captain does his formal spiel about introducing the crew on the 1st formal night or giving bottles of champagne to the most regular cruisers at the Captains Club cocktail party - I think the people that had cruised the most had done something like 66 cruises. The Captain was Stefano Ravera and he was very pleasant and personable. We dined with him on the Wed night with 2 other couples which was lovely.
Dinners were excellent - the usual Italian night with the Bombalaska, and the Chicken dance at the tables on the last night. We had late sitting this time, so never left the restaurant to after 10 most nights. Our other table mates were fantastic so we had a great time. The Maitre'd was great - Max Rondoni - and he did the usual special 3 drinks each night and you got to keep the P & O cup. After dinner we usually went to the Verandah Bar which was mostly full, and the Horizons on the few times I went up there was probably half full. The band Muzik Unlimited was the same as last time we cruised and I thought they were excellent. There was hardly anybody in the Rainbow Bar and the Casino was usually full early evening (not that I went in only past it). The outside decks were fairly quite at night even though the weather was beautiful.
Overall it was a fantastic cruise. There was only one major sadness not related to the ship but you may have read in previous threads, that one of the passengers who had gone to shore at Penang died in a Jet Ski accident. One of the crew from the ship was also badly injured and another 2 girl passengers had minor injuries. As mentioned in previous threads, the Captain kept everybody informed and we had a minute silence on the Friday after the Captain read Psalm 23. Very very sad.
It will be interesting to see which P & O ship goes to Asia to take up these cruises in the future and whether they will be the same. All the best to anybody that may be cruising Asia in the next couple of weeks. The Pacific Sky will be completing its cruises on the 6th May - so sad to see such a beautiful ship leave P & O but I am sure a lot of us will have very fond memories of it.