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kiramoli

Need help choosing a cruise

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We've been eyeing a cruise to Eastern Asia, to visit Hong Kong, Singapore, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), etc.

 

There are couple of options that I found that I need help with, though both itineraries are very close.

 

 Option 1 is Silversea Spirit on Dec 7 2019, 14 nights, 4 days at sea

 - Singapore

- Koh Samui

- Laem Chabang (Bangkok) - 2 days

- Ho Chi Menh City - 2.5 days

- Hue/Danang 

- Ha Long Bay

- HK - 2 days.

 

 Option 2 is Oceania Nautica on March 4 2020, 14 days, 4 days at sea.

- Singapore    

- Koh Samui

- Laem Chabang (Bangkok) - 2 days

 - Sihanoukville, Cambodia - not on Silversea itinerary.

- Ho Chi Minh City - 1.5 days - different from Silversea 

- Ha Long Bay/Hanoi 1.5 days - not on Silversea itinerary

- HK 

 

I would like to hear from people who went on similar itinerary and possibly on these ships. Can you please validate my thoughts and provide your feedback.

 

- Which season is better down there - Dec or March? December suits us better for personal reasons but we can make March work as well.

-  Saigon  - I understand that the port is couple of hours drive from the city, so with Silversea we can get there and stay in a hotel for 2 nights, with Oceania only 1 night, the second day we have to drive back in the morning.

-  We were planing to get to Angkor Wat yet Sihanoukville is hours away from Angkor Wat so we probably won't be able to get there and should do it pre-cruise or post-cruise on our own.   

- If the price is close which one to choose?

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43 minutes ago, kiramoli said:

We've been eyeing a cruise to Eastern Asia, to visit Hong Kong, Singapore, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), etc.

There are couple of options that I found that I need help with, though both itineraries are very close.

 Option 1 is Silversea Spirit on Dec 7 2019, 14 nights, 4 days at sea

 - Singapore

- Koh Samui

- Laem Chabang (Bangkok) - 2 days

- Ho Chi Menh City - 2.5 days

- Hue/Danang 

- Ha Long Bay

- HK - 2 days.

 Option 2 is Oceania Nautica on March 4 2020, 14 days, 4 days at sea.

- Singapore    

- Koh Samui

- Laem Chabang (Bangkok) - 2 days

 - Sihanoukville, Cambodia - not on Silversea itinerary.

- Ho Chi Minh City - 1.5 days - different from Silversea 

- Ha Long Bay/Hanoi 1.5 days - not on Silversea itinerary

- HK 

I would like to hear from people who went on similar itinerary and possibly on these ships. Can you please validate my thoughts and provide your feedback.

- Which season is better down there - Dec or March? December suits us better for personal reasons but we can make March work as well.

-  Saigon  - I understand that the port is couple of hours drive from the city, so with Silversea we can get there and stay in a hotel for 2 nights, with Oceania only 1 night, the second day we have to drive back in the morning.

-  We were planing to get to Angkor Wat yet Sihanoukville is hours away from Angkor Wat so we probably won't be able to get there and should do it pre-cruise or post-cruise on our own.   

- If the price is close which one to choose?

 

Great questions and the quick response is that there is no one perfect right or wrong answer.  Much depends on your personal needs, budget flexibility, how much depth you desire and when you seek to escape the winter cold, etc. Many variables/factors!!  As background, we have done five different cruises with Silversea, including one on the Silver Spirit from Lisbon to Rouen in June 2017.  In December 2018, a little over a month ago, we completed a twenty-day sailing on the Oceania Nautica from Greece to Dubai, including stops in the Holy Lands, Egypt, etc.  

 

Know much about both ships.  Some aspects are similar, other factors are a little different.  

 

For Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangkok, we explored these areas extensively just one year ago.  Below you can see my live/blog for much on  these key areas.  Plus, below, are a few visual samples to help build your excitement for SE Asia.  

 

As a quick comparison, the Oceania Nautica generally has smaller cabins and pricing a little lower.  Originally built in 2000, it has about 684 passengers and a crew of 400 with the Nautica.  The Silver Spirit, built in 2009 and stretched in 2018,  is a little smaller with its number of passengers at 608 and a crew of 411.  Both have anytime dining in the main dining rooms, plus each has nice speciality dining options.  Both offer very good food and staffing quality.  For many pictures about the the Spirit food, crew, facilities, entertainment, etc., see: 

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2511358

 

Tell us more about your personal interests, past travel experience, etc.  What do you most like to do and explore?  History?  Shopping?  Culture?  Nature?  Food?  Arts?  Architecture?  Music?  Wildlife?   Scenic countrysides?  Being more "aggressive" in doing more?  Or, more relaxed and laid-back?  How flexible is your budget?  Spending more sometimes does allow you to see and experience more and in very "special" locations.   

 

Our approach to Southeast Asia was a little different than doing an ocean ship from Hong Kong to Singapore (or the reverse). Our "method" involved more time and cost but yielded more of a deeper, immersion experience.  We had four days in Hong Kong, three days in Bangkok, three days in Ho Chi Minh City, then doing a seven-day sailing up the Mekong River, finishing in the Cambodia capital.  Then it was a couple days for spectacular Angkor Wat.  We finished with four days in the Hanoi/Halong Bay area and then five days for Hue and Danang.  Just post any questions about ant of these specific locations and options for any or all info for these cities/areas on this live/blog and I will be happy to respond.  There are a variety of trade-offs with an ocean cruise versus what we did.  With either Silversea or Oceania, there is one main "unpacking" and your logistics can be easier.  What you do before and/or after your cruise is a key part of your strategy/options to consider.  Look forward to hearing more back fro you. 

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

SE Asia/Mekong River, Etc.!  Live/blog from early 2018, first adventure through SE Asia, stops in Hong Kong and Bangkok, before exploring all over Vietnam and Cambodia, seven days sailing on the Mekong River. Now at 43,733 views.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2591474

 

For our latest live/blog featuring the Oceania Nautica, see “Greece, Holy Lands, Egypt, Dubai, etc.”, with many visuals, details and ideas on this ship and for the historic and scenic Middle East.  Check it at:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2607054-livenautica-greece-holy-lands-egypt-dubai-terrypix’s/

 

Here are just a few visuals samples from what we saw and did with Avalon while sailing along the Mekong River in Vietnam and Cambodia. Many, many more photos and details on the full live/blog.:

(Open your screen/viewer wider to see these pictures larger/better!)

CMY_0654%202_zpsu3xzdbr1.jpg

 

CMY_1642%202_zpsylne46ki.jpg

 

CMY_1874_zpskuw4drgj.jpg

 

We saw many temples, palaces, markets and samples of daily life/work, including at this below spectacular Royal structure in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.:

CMY_1271_zpsif0trcea.jpg

 

CMY_1025%203_zpsn1ha0rtn.jpg

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1 hour ago, kiramoli said:

I would like to hear from people who went on similar itinerary and possibly on these ships. Can you please validate my thoughts and provide your feedback.

You might want to look through the topics here in the forum, but we’re on a similar itinerary right now in reverse and Unibok will be taking the Shadow from Singapore to Hong Kong starting Friday.  I’ll try my best to answer your questions.

 

1. December or March doesn’t matter as both are during the dry season.  The only real difference will be heat.  It’s been in the 90’s ever since leaving Ha Long Bay.

 

2. Not sure where you got the Saigon port info, but we docked right downtown and were able to walk to many key sights in a single afternoon.  Perfect location as far as I’m concerned.

 

3. We just returned from a 2-night SS mid-voyage land adventure to Angkor Wat.  SS flew us from SGN-REP and REP-BKK.  The only thing we missed was a sea day on the ship, so the timing was perfect.

 

4. I’d hate to dock at Laem Chabang as you are soooo far away from downtown Bangkok.  We’re docked at the Khlong Toei pier right now in the heart of the action.

 

5. I know you say Hanoi isn’t on the SS itinerary, but it is.  All itineraries to Ha Long Bay will offer tours to Hanoi.

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Shianookville is not an exciting port. We went for a visit at a school..the children were sweet, bright and charming.  The headmaster was very welcoming. Silversea, we were told, and were happy about, contributed school supplies. After visiting the school complex, we were taken to a beach resort. Had an very nice buffet lunch. That was about it..we could have been pretty much anywhere in SE Asia. The grounds of the resort were very pretty, but we couldn’t swim on the beach because there were tiny stinging jelly fish. Nice day, but certainly not a reason to choose this itinerary. As I remember, and it was quite a while ago, this was the only excursion offered.

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Wow, they do look similar, and either one would be wonderful.

 

I can add just a bit to what the others have said, but I want to reinforce a few things Stumblefoot mentioned first. For both cruises, you are likely to be docked right in HCMC/Saigon -- that's the virtue of small ships. Also, just to reiterate, Halong Bay is the entry point for Hanoi, so there is no significant difference between the two cruises in that regard. What is different is that the greater time in Halong Bay with the Nautica voyage allows you some options: overnight on a junk? overnight to Hanoi? The single day in Halong Bay with SS does not allow you those kinds of choices (and is more similar to my itinerary -- we will only be there from noon to 8 pm).

 

As for Angkor Wat and Sihounikville, both lines may be likely to offer a pre-cruise or a mid-cruise land portion to Angkor Wat, knowing what a draw that is for many travelers. For my upcoming sailing, we have an overnight in Sihounikville, with 2 options for land journeys: an overnight to Phnom Penh (which I am doing), and a multiple nighter to Angkor Wat similar to what Stumblefoot described. A single day in Sihounikville without one of those land options would not appeal to me at all, for many of the reasons CruisinPashmina notes.

 

Whichever you do, you'll have a wonderful time and experience marvelous places. Which would I do? Whichever one comes first -- I'm impatient that way 🙂

 

Cheers,

 

 

 

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I'd say December is better than March as March starts getting much more humid.

'

As for Silversea as opposed to Oceania remember that on Oceania in order to get a similar amount of cabin space you have to book a penthouse, By the time you do that, add tips and alcohol you are paying at least as much as on Silversea if not more. And I fin the cost of excursions on Oceania higher.

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We toured Southeast Asia last year, a mostly private tour arranged by Abercrombie and Kent. Everybody has their own needs, budgets and desires. But, while I'm an advocate of cruise ships, I think we got a lot more out of a land tour than if we had done a cruise. We spent several days in most places. We got our fill of Saigon and Hanoi, and there's a lot to experience. We took a day-long Vietnamese train trip. Plus, we took a five-day cruise on a Mekong River cruise boat, which was an unusual and wonderful experience. I looked at cruise ship visits to Southeast Asia, and I wouldn't want to take one. LittleRedJohn

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1 hour ago, LittleRedJohn said:

We toured Southeast Asia last year, a mostly private tour arranged by Abercrombie and Kent. Everybody has their own needs, budgets and desires. But, while I'm an advocate of cruise ships, I think we got a lot more out of a land tour than if we had done a cruise. We spent several days in most places. We got our fill of Saigon and Hanoi, and there's a lot to experience. We took a day-long Vietnamese train trip. Plus, we took a five-day cruise on a Mekong River cruise boat, which was an unusual and wonderful experience. I looked at cruise ship visits to Southeast Asia, and I wouldn't want to take one. LittleRedJohn

 

Great above points by this Kansas City "neighbor" to the west.  Plus, other very good points from wripro, etc.  Love to hear more reactions, questions, info needs, etc., from our original poster.   For timing, my leaning would to do this adventure sooner, in December.  Much depends so much on your precise personal needs and interests. 

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

For our latest live/blog, see “the Holy Lands, Egypt, Jordan, Oman, Dubai, Greece, etc.”, with many visuals, details and ideas for the historic and scenic Middle East.  Check it at:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2607054-livenautica-greece-holy-lands-egypt-dubai-terrypix’s/

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This is a terrific thread that robustly helps answer the thread starter's questions.  Kudos to all for sharing their experiences to help Kiramoli make an informed decision.

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