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Live from Silver Shadow: Voyage #3904; Hong Kong to Singapore, Feb 8 - 22, 2019

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Unibok, i’ll see what I can find out for you.  I highly doubt the junk departs directly from the Shadow as the Vietnamese have built a huge tourist facility where all of the junks reside.  It’s packed with tour buses and was about 15-minutes from the ship.  And, all of the junks and pretty much junk.  We didn’t see anything close to a romantic junk as SS likes to show on their website.  Below is a pic my wife took, posted without comment. 😉

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On 2/11/2019 at 1:25 PM, les37b said:

Next stop Chan May which I'll be interested to hear if your views of the port are the same as mine.

Here is a pic of your favorite port from our balcony, Les.  😆C2A5329F-6211-4121-B8E0-72009B48DB23.thumb.jpeg.f0b7589202fd1391ce300ee3f92fac96.jpeg 

 

While I wasn’t a fan, I understand why SS uses it.  Our drive to the Imperial Palace Huế was nearly 90-minutes. I know I’d hate to think how much longer that drive would be from Da Nang. So, I think Chan May will stay on the port list.

 

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Brian there is no point paying for premium wifi access.We get it complimentary for 2 devices.Most of the time I can not upload photos-definitely no chance on sea day.So I wait for a port day when not going on tour.But I always check the TV-go to my expenses,then when you push the back button at the top of the screen on the right hand side is a section showing reception and usage.I wait until usage is showing as medium before trying photos.

 

As to foods being brought aboard we have experienced it several times-coconut crab in Vanuatu,Tristan Da Cunha lobster and on one memorable occasion the chef had the kitchen staff fishing off the back of the Explorer whilst we were off on a zodiac ride-enough 5 stripe snapper for all the passengers at dinner.

 

And we are cruising with David Bisland on this cruise and a nice lot of cheeses brought on in Christchurch.

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Having recently been to Halong Bay with Silversea I can confirm that on our junk trip the junk picked us up directly from the ship.  A flat boat is moored to the ship and you board the junks from that.  There were steps to get onto the junk but plenty of people to help the boarding process.  Each junk had around 20 people on, so plenty of room to move around and seating options.

 

 

Our excursion included a walk through a cave.

 

Hope this helps

Edited by seaquay

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We were on Crystal last year at Halong Bay. Our junk experience was the same as seaquay's. Flat boat moored to the ship, then directly on to the junks. The junk tour was awful! The scenery was beautiful, but there were 3 or 4 people on the junk dedicated to trying to sell us "junk". They kept coming around and placing different trays of things they were trying to sell on every table -- jewelry, scarves, toys,... We finally told them to go away and not come back to our table. We complained to Crystal about the experience.

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On 2/12/2019 at 4:40 AM, Unibok said:

Also, for Les, the description of our excursion says that junks pick us up from the ship, not from land -- which thrills me. I'm on the next sailing, #3905, Singapore to Hong Kong. But that is still 10 days away, so back to 3904!

 

Yes. I can confirm this is what happens. On ours we all gathered in the theatre then led to the deck 3 exit onto a large floating wooden platform that was attached to the Shadow and you simply walked onto it and is on the same level. Much easier than a tender. All Junks used were moored onto this platform and we simply departed one by one. I think we had 4 Junks from memory.

 

My experience of the staff on the Junk was much the same as above. Loads of “junk” placed on the tables to hard sell. They also came round at the end to shake every passengers hand expecting a tip to be passed. Given that I wanted to GoPro from the top deck the entire trip and the attitude of the captain in ripping the camera off a few minutes before arriving back, he ensured nothing was given. The crew were not particularly welcoming but I guess you just need to ignore and take in the experience of the visuals.

 

Actually I’ve just remembered. The friends of the owner family (the huge guy in the MDR on formal night in an Hawaiian shirt) were led onto our Junk without needing to be seated with the rest of the passengers. They then proceeded to talk over what the guide was saying, detracting further.

 

However I can’t stress enough.... it’s a great trip and the cave is awesome.

 

 

Edited by les37b

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On 2/12/2019 at 11:40 AM, Unibok said:

When you have time, here's another question about Halong Bay: do you know if the included "Halong Bay in a Junk" excursion from the ship was similar to what you experienced? I would LOVE to be with such a small group, but I'm prepared for something much larger.

 

Unibok,

 

I spoke with Sofia who works on the shore concierge team.  She is always very helpful.

 

The included junk shore excursion is different than the one DW and I were on.  For example, while we boarded the junk at the massive tourist facility, you will board yours via a platform at the Shadow.  In addition, your tour goes to a cave, whereas ours went off into the nooks and crannies of the myriad of islands.

 

Hope this helps!  I highly recommend it because the bay is quite beautiful.

48FC0AA0-3AFF-4E37-852E-CDABA15DFB04.jpeg

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On 2/2/2019 at 12:11 PM, Unibok said:

If you have a chance, I will be interested in hearing about a couple of things: 

* what are sea days like on these Shadow Asian voyages? Anything fabulous I should plan around?

* does the MDR ever serve local or regional Asian fare? Or are there other special events (lunch buffet at the pool grill?) when they do?

 

Unibok,

 

With this being our 2nd sea day, I wanted to answer your question above.  But first, the MDR does not do a local or regional theme menu during the voyage.  The first page of the menu changes daily, as well as the desserts.  With that said, you can find the occasional regional dish.

 

In regards to sea days, they are as busy as you want to make them.  We have two different lecturers on this voyage, one who addresses the ports we visit and the other who addresses the cultural and political climate of Asia.  There have been a variety of fitness classes, Vietnamese language lessons, and bridge lessons.  The pool grill has set up a buffet each day and the Shadow Trio plays on the pool deck as well.  Tonight, there is a classical pianist on board, Veronica Yen, who will entertain us @ 6:30p before dinner.

 

On 2/3/2019 at 7:32 PM, MBP&O2/O said:

Personally I am interested in the ‘use of regional cuisine’ as we are in the Med and Mediterranean cuisine tops our foody list.

 

I’m afraid there really isn’t a themed meal per se based on a specific cuisine.  We are scheduled to dine in Terrazza on Valentines Day, so I’ll be able to see if the menus have changed for you as it’ll be our second dinner there.

 

On 2/9/2019 at 5:26 AM, les37b said:

Who is the CD? Kirk?

Les,

 

Moss is our Cruise Director.  He departs for vacation at the conclusion of our voyage and will be replaced by Kirk who will be on Unibok’s voyage.

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10 hours ago, seaquay said:

Having recently been to Halong Bay with Silversea I can confirm that on our junk trip the junk picked us up directly from the ship.  A flat boat is moored to the ship and you board the junks from that.  There were steps to get onto the junk but plenty of people to help the boarding process.  Each junk had around 20 people on, so plenty of room to move around and seating options.

 

 

Our excursion included a walk through a cave.

 

Hope this helps

Very helpful, thank you!!

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Les, thanks for confirming, and I’m glad to hear max capacity is about 20. 

 

But, sheesh, that Hawaiian shirt guy does it again! Ugh!

 

Stumbles, thank you for all the info — and the photo! I’m looking forward to many of the excursions, but perhaps Halong Bay the most. 

 

Interesting that that we can learn some Vietnamese on sea days. I’m in. Also, I’m so excited I can barely stand the anticipation... but I know that the beginning of my voyage means the end of yours, so I’m content to wait. 

 

Cheers,

Edited by Unibok
Typo

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We did the Halong Bay kayak shore excursion last year from the Whisper.  We took the ship's tender to shore and boarded a junky junk there which then took us down the bay to the kayak place.  The kayak part of the tour was wonderful.  We also visited a floating pearl farm (and store) and the cave.  A really "interesting" lunch was served on board, but I am happy to report, no one got sick.  There was only one life jacket on the junk and the boat looked like it was held together with rope and duct tape.  One of the wc's went out of order and a crew member was not polite about it.  Halong Bay is not to be missed, and the junky experience was just that -- an experience!

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On this Valentines Day, we celebrated a very special milestone.  Silversea did it absolutely perfect with no fanfare and a simple celebration with a favorite crew member of ours, Ricardo, and the exceptional La Terrazza manager Allan.  They both made our 100-day milestone an absolutely perfect evening in Saigon.

 

Best wishes to you all!

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On 2/3/2019 at 7:32 PM, MBP&O2/O said:

...‘how often does the menu change in La Terrazza?’

The change is every 4th day, but honestly, the change is quite minor (<15%)

1) Antipasti - No change

2) Salads - No change, 4 choices

3) Pasta - No change, 8 choices 

4) Soups - No change, 3 choices

5) Vegetarian- One change, 2 choices

6) Meat - Two changes, 2 choices 

7) Fish - Two changes, 2 choices (one was just a different preparation of the same fish; Turbot)

8. Cheese - No changes, 3 choices

9) Gelato - No changes, 7 choices

10) Dessert - Forgot to compare, 7 choices

 

Edited by Stumblefoot

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On 2/2/2019 at 12:11 PM, Unibok said:

what are your favorite parts of HCMC, which excursions do you hear people raving about, or which places are well worth wandering to on your own?

Unibok,

 

Now that we’ve been in HCMC for 2-days I would recommend the following SS tours; (1) Reunification Palace, Ho Chi Minh City Museum, and War Museum; and (2) Cu Chi Tunnels.

 

After talking with guests yesterday, we decided to cancel our Saigon highlights tour for tomorrow.  Literally everything on the tour is within walking distance of the ship, so we did it on our own in about 3-hours.

 

Finally, two other couples who were on the Mekong Delta tour advised against it.  They said while they liked the fact the tour only had 4 guests on it (i.e. themselves), the drive was long, they didn’t really get very far into the delta, and the only real highlight was having a python wrapped around their necks.  It was a full day tour, so it sounds a bit arduous to us.

 

Hope this helped!

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Hello all.  I think I have answered all of the questions posed to date, so if anyone has anymore, please let me know.

 

We depart the ship in roughly 24-hours for a 2- night mid-voyage land adventure to Cambodia.  Going to head out for a bit of shopping this afternoon.

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On 2/12/2019 at 12:19 PM, Stumblefoot said:

Here is a pic of your favorite port from our balcony, Les.  😆C2A5329F-6211-4121-B8E0-72009B48DB23.thumb.jpeg.f0b7589202fd1391ce300ee3f92fac96.jpeg 

 

While I wasn’t a fan, I understand why SS uses it.  Our drive to the Imperial Palace Huế was nearly 90-minutes. I know I’d hate to think how much longer that drive would be from Da Nang. So, I think Chan May will stay on the port list.

 

 

I understand the logistics and explanation given. Problem is, it’s not a massively long stay. Danang to Local attractions was quick and easy. Hue was obviously a trot.

 

Now everything is a fair distance. The tour we did of Marble mountain wasn’t worth the effort because of the lack of time.

 

When I’d booked, I happened to notice they’d change the port probably 6 weeks prior to departure. 

 

 

Enjoy your shopping trip... if you’re going to the market....remember.... even though it might say “fixed prices”.... you can still haggle and if you buy several items reduce the prices shown from between 20 and 50%.

 

in general buying a few things really does help in bargaining more than you might realise.

 

Look forward to your land trip report and photos. Somewhere I’d really like to visit.

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Brian, (and Amy in support); thanks very much for your posts have fun on your land trip.  

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2 hours ago, les37b said:

Enjoy your shopping trip... if you’re going to the market....remember.... even though it might say “fixed prices”.... you can still haggle and if you buy several items reduce the prices shown from between 20 and 50%.

 

in general buying a few things really does help in bargaining more than you might realise.

Thanks Les.  We had fun at the Minh Phuong Art company.  Amy enjoyed applying her international shopping expertise to the four items she purchased.  Now, if I could only convince her to apply those same techniques at Nordstrom. 😄

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5 hours ago, Stumblefoot said:

Hello all.  I think I have answered all of the questions posed to date, so if anyone has anymore, please let me know.

 

We depart the ship in roughly 24-hours for a 2- night mid-voyage land adventure to Cambodia.  Going to head out for a bit of shopping this afternoon.

Enjoy your trip to Angkor Wat!

Be prepared for huge crowds, when we were there on Feb 1st, there had already been nearly 28,000 visitors in January.

Edited by Silver Spectre

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