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travelfan20

Planning Ahead

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Hi , 

 

We have booked our first Crystal Cruise . Mar 1 , 2020 . Singapore to Hong Kong 

Really excited and looking forward to it. 

 

Already started researching ports and options for itineraries while port. I know its a year away but I  love this part of the cruise planning 

 

Tried to look at similar cruises on the Crystal website to get a better idea of what tours Crystal offers but what was on the site seemed limited and not really useful

Also emailed the help line to get information on the actual ports for the cruise , not really much help 

 

I tried to go to roll calls for similar cruises but also not much information there as well 

 

Any thoughts ?

 

Thanks for your help 

 

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Great itinerary and there will be lots of tour options.

 

Since you have an overnight in Bangkok I recommend you consider staying in the city at a hotel.  The drive time is 90 minutes each way and that give you more time there.

 

Ho Chi Minh City is a great place to tour and you can do it with Crystal or privately.  Do check out the Asia Ports of Call Board to get ideas.  It is also a great place to shop and you'll have time to do that and there will be a shuttle to the city.

 

If time permits add on a few days in Hong Kong at the end of the cruise and additional days in Singapore.  Both are wonderful and there will be lots to do and see and with good planning you can do a lot on your own without needing an official tour.

 

Keith

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Check out the Symphony cruises in the region in March and April 2019 - I believe they’re covering similar ports

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On 2/18/2019 at 7:47 PM, Keith1010 said:

Great itinerary and there will be lots of tour options.

 

Since you have an overnight in Bangkok I recommend you consider staying in the city at a hotel.  The drive time is 90 minutes each way and that give you more time there.

 

Ho Chi Minh City is a great place to tour and you can do it with Crystal or privately.  Do check out the Asia Ports of Call Board to get ideas.  It is also a great place to shop and you'll have time to do that and there will be a shuttle to the city.

 

If time permits add on a few days in Hong Kong at the end of the cruise and additional days in Singapore.  Both are wonderful and there will be lots to do and see and with good planning you can do a lot on your own without needing an official tour.

 

Keith

This is great advice, as usual, Keith. Why waste six to eight hours on a bus for two trips into the city...time that consul be spent exploring and eating the great food there? 

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An overnight is a great way to do it! We stayed at the Peninsula on the river. There are others too - Shangrila and Oriental to name just a couple. Easy to get to and from shuttle dropoff point too.

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Travelplan20

We are on the Symphony Singapore to Hong Kong cruise this May. Just go tho the Crystal web site and look up this cruise.

many if not all of the tours offered on this cruise might be offered on your cruise.

If not, you will get an idea .

 

 

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2 hours ago, suzeluvscruz said:

An overnight is a great way to do it! We stayed at the Peninsula on the river. There are others too - Shangrila and Oriental to name just a couple. Easy to get to and from shuttle dropoff point too.

How does one work the logistics to do the overnight in Bangkok?  The paid Crystal shuttle returns one to the ship the same day according to the online description.  What is the best way to get to Bangkok one day and return the following day?

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Just now, RLMSLL said:

How does one work the logistics to do the overnight in Bangkok?  The paid Crystal shuttle returns one to the ship the same day according to the online description.  What is the best way to get to Bangkok one day and return the following day?

Rhonda, my advice is to contact the hotel you book with and through them to arrange a private vehicle to take you both ways.  Or have your TA arrange a company to do this.  The drive takes about 90 minutes but can take more depending on where you are staying and the traffic downtown so just give yourself a lot of pad returning to the ship.  I highly recommend the overnight.  It maximizes your time, allows you to enjoy one of the special hotels and to enjoy a nice dinner in the city.

 

Keith

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22 minutes ago, Keith1010 said:

Rhonda, my advice is to contact the hotel you book with and through them to arrange a private vehicle to take you both ways.  Or have your TA arrange a company to do this.  The drive takes about 90 minutes but can take more depending on where you are staying and the traffic downtown so just give yourself a lot of pad returning to the ship.  I highly recommend the overnight.  It maximizes your time, allows you to enjoy one of the special hotels and to enjoy a nice dinner in the city.

 

Keith

Thanks, Keith,

 

We will explore both options.

 

Edited by RLMSLL

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travelfan20 when you look at the voyages for the links I provide you with and go to the shore excursion pages if there are ones you may be interested in be sure to copy and past them.  This way you will have them handy.  The vast majority should be offered the following year.

 

Also, the ports of call section on CC is a terrific way to get ideas as to what to do in each port and to ask questions.  I also find trip advisor to be very helpful. And the roll call can be helpful to see what others plan to do.

 

If you want to do Ho Chi Minh City Privately some of those more popular tour guides book up a year in advance as I know from experience.  If you have two days there I would tour for one day and give yourself a day on your own.

 

Keith

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3 hours ago, RLMSLL said:

How does one work the logistics to do the overnight in Bangkok?  The paid Crystal shuttle returns one to the ship the same day according to the online description.  What is the best way to get to Bangkok one day and return the following day?

 

When we did it. We took the shuttle into Bangkok on day one and out on day two. We had time for lunch, dinner, breakfast and some shopping. We spent day one taking a longboat trip, cocktails and dinner with friends, breakfast, shopping with friends and back to shuttle stop. I think we arrived in time for lunch and the shuttle back left around 1 or 2 PM. Does that help?

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1 minute ago, suzeluvscruz said:

 

When we did it. We took the shuttle into Bangkok on day one and out on day two. We had time for lunch, dinner, breakfast and some shopping. We spent day one taking a longboat trip, cocktails and dinner with friends, breakfast, shopping with friends and back to shuttle stop. I think we arrived in time for lunch and the shuttle back left around 1 or 2 PM. Does that help?

Yes, I was wondering if we booked the shuttle both days if we could utilize it for our transportation to and from Bangkok.  It may be be more economical than arranging private transportation, and it is nice to have Crystal responsible for getting us back to the ship in time.  This is another good option to consider.  Thank you!

 

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Some of us just don’t want to do group bus tours and prefer private and book through a good company/reputation and pad in enough time to get back to the ship.  We hate following other tours converging on the same sites. Crystal charges much more and you are able to conduct the tour with your driver or guide with so much more flexibility.  Also, you are not forced to sto at tourist traps and you can dine in highly recommend restaurants for lunch.  No busses for us unless it’s the only way to get from port to ship. Also, you don’t have to wait for late arrivals to a bus.

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The shuttle to and from Bangkok was nothing like a group tour. It was basic transportation and more economical than a private car. The Peninsula arranged a private long boat trip for us. Our friends, who were very familiar with the city, took us to dinner at their favorite restaurant which no one would ever find! After breakfast we all went shopping at the Oriental and after lunch we took a taxi back to the shuttle stop. It was definitely not a "group tour". This was our second time in Bangkok, the first was a "private" tour with 6 friends. Surely the hotel concierge could arrange a private tour for you.

Edited by suzeluvscruz

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5 hours ago, RLMSLL said:

Yes, I was wondering if we booked the shuttle both days if we could utilize it for our transportation to and from Bangkok.  It may be be more economical than arranging private transportation, and it is nice to have Crystal responsible for getting us back to the ship in time.  This is another good option to consider.  Thank you!

 

 

I did exactly the same as suzesluvcruz when the ship was overnight in Laem Chabang however, I feel certain overnight on your own was an excursion option then but that was 10 years ago!!!  When I did it I stayed at the Shangri-la as I had previously stayed there on a land trip and knew that apart from direct river access for long boat tours or the hotel courtesy boat to the Riverside shopping centre, if you walk through the grounds of the hotel you also have access to the Skytrain metro system as there is a station immediately outside....

 

Anne.. 

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32 minutes ago, Jayayeff said:

 

I did exactly the same as suzesluvcruz when the ship was overnight in Laem Chabang however, I feel certain overnight on your own was an excursion option then but that was 10 years ago!!!  When I did it I stayed at the Shangri-la as I had previously stayed there on a land trip and knew that apart from direct river access for long boat tours or the hotel courtesy boat to the Riverside shopping centre, if you walk through the grounds of the hotel you also have access to the Skytrain metro system as there is a station immediately outside....

 

Anne.. 

I was looking at the shore excursions for Crystal’s 2019 itinerary, which I now reallze doesn’t have an overnight in Bangkok.  You may be right that Crystal may offer an independent overnight option for their 2020 Bangkok itineraries.  Thanks for the information about the Shangri-La.

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Yes, this was strictly a Crystal shuttle to and from, no tour, it was not an overnight shorex. We did it all on our own and it was easy.

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6 minutes ago, suzeluvscruz said:

Yes, this was strictly a Crystal shuttle to and from, no tour, it was not an overnight shorex. We did it all on our own and it was easy.

 

Correct.  I just paid for the roundtrip transport and everything else I arranged and paid for  myself however, I’m sure I had to sign up for the return transport as an ‘on your own’ excursion option and needed a ticket for it.....🤔

 

Anne...

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I think they gave us a little ticket when we got off the bus that was our return voucher. We were billed just for the roundtrip shuttle. I think they also had a one way fare for people who were returning a different way.

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4 hours ago, suzeluvscruz said:

I think they gave us a little ticket when we got off the bus that was our return voucher. We were billed just for the roundtrip shuttle. I think they also had a one way fare for people who were returning a different way.

This is a great option offered by Crystal.  Hopefully they will do something similar in 2020.  Thank you and Anne for your help!

 

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Rhonda, my advice is to keep all options in mind and look at all possibilities and figure out which one will work for you both.

 

If you look at a shuttle only transfer option ahead of time have your TA find out where the drop off will be because that is something you might need to factor into the selection of your hotel or certainly how you will get between shuttle and hotel.  Remember drop off points often change year over year and Crystal had dropped Bangkok for several years as a port stop.

 

Keep in mind that it can be quite hot in Bangkok and also depending on where you are sidewalks can be wide, narrow or non-existent.  I would not try to pull luggage on your own regardless of what you do.

 

On some voyages we have been on Crystal offered the shuttle only program, sometimes they offered a package of a hotel and transport (breakfast included) with everything else on your own and sometimes they offered a hotel, transfer and touring package.  The latter two are pricier than if you do it on your own but certainly can be considered.  I would also explore hotel and transfer on your own.

 

Once you have all the facts and costs you can make a wise decision that works for. you both.

 

If you want to see a lot of things in a short amount of time consider a formal tour (Crystal or Private).  

 

We have used the SkyTrain that Anne Mentioned as well.

 

I would try to get on the River and also consider a restaurant that includes nice views of river or city, etc.

 

Two final items.  I would avoid the Tuk-Tuk's as some of them are scams.  You want to get from point A to point B some will take you only part of way, dump you to another Tuk-Tuk, who, in turn, might take you part of the way and dump you to another Tuk-Tuk.

 

The other thing is there are lots of wonderful and friendly people in the city but like many cities there are people to be on the outlook for.  Coincidentally, before we arrived there we went to a lecture on board the ship. The lecturer said be careful of men who are in suits who might come up to you if you are on the street and look like you need help such as directions.  Their goal is to learn your name, and the hotel you are staying at and the scam is that with inside help they might get into your room with that information and break into your safe. Sure enough Anne Marie and I were out on the street looking at a map to get to the Sky Train when we were approached by a man in a suit.  He said he could help but he started to ask where are we staying and that is when I said thank you but we know where we are going.  In short, be street smart.  With so little time I would do a tour though and as I mentioned stay overnight.

 

Keith

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Your TA can also book you a private guide from your which their are many reputable ones. Bangkok is fabulous but other parts of Thailand are far more beautiful.  If you have a private guide/driver you will be safe and keep you out of harms way.  Thai people for the most part are very nice and the restaurants are authentic and usually have English menus and many Thai people do speak English.

 

Many great hotels as well if you overnight.

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