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Westiesheepie

14 day Singapore to Hong Kong Ovation

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Would love to hear from anyone who has done this itinerary this year. Im thinking of booking this cruise but heard some of the ports are really out of the way and hard to get to the sites on your own. Our previous Seabourn cruise was on the Odyssey which we love and wonder how the larger Ovation can deliver the same high level of service.

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hmm. You didn't say which one but all the ones I can find have similar itineraries, Singapore, Laem Chaebang (Bangkok),  Ko Kood, Sihanoukville, Ho Chi Minh, Da Nang, Halong Bay and then HK. 

 

Bangkok. It would be a LOT better if the ship overnighted in Bangkok because the port is 2 hours away and the traffic can be simply dreadful. Or even docked in the city up the Chao Praya as we have done in years past. Bangkok is great but yes it's a long trip and I'd take a ship tour incase you get stuck in traffic, and it happens. 

Ko Kood, not a lot there

Sihanoukville. As far as I can tell the only reason they stop here is to let people going on the overnight Angkor Wat trip off sort of close to the airport. You can find trip reports of the town on this board and they are very uncomplimentary. 

Ho Chi Minh. The reason to do this trip. The ship docks in the middle of town, it's a short walk everywhere or a shuttle bus in, it's a great city and we absolutely LOVED IT. And you get an overnight here. 

Da Nang. Hmm. You dock at a container port, we took the shuttle into town and .. came back pretty quickly. You really want to get to Hoi An or similar and the ships tour again is the easiest for that, you can book something on your own to pick up at the port but we never did manage to get it organised. 

Halong Bay we've not been to

 

So overall I'd have to say .. on balance .. kind of .. yes the ports are a bit remote and it's a lot less easy to do things on your own than you might want. It's nothing like the med where you can fix things ahead or even just get off and do what you want easily. Ho Chi Minh is the shining exception to that. On the trip we did we continued after HK and the overnight we spent there was also fantastic. And some of the ports (Shianokville I'm looking at you and casting an eye in the direction of Da Nang town) are not very good. 

 

The ovation vs odyssey class ships discussion is had often here, opinions divide greatly. We found Ovation lacking on a med cruise we did when it was mid summer and packed full. Perhaps on an Asian cruise if not so full it will be closer to the service levels we're used to. We look for odyssey class cruises if at all possible at this point, prefer those ships by a margin. 

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We agree with Rols, it is a great part of the world to visit however as you say a little difficult for tours in day.

We have cruised this itinerary or similar a few times. On some ocasions for Vietnam we have engaged a local tour guide for some Ports which has been good. It is especially pleasing if you do not want or cannot manage a 10 hour tour. We still feel we have had a taste of the local culture and seen a little of the countryside.

However Ports for Bangok (Laem Chabang) and (Halong Bay) for Hanoi are huge distances from Port.

Saigon as the locals refer to Ho Chi Min is wonderful we always enjoy visiting and the docking is very convenient.

We remember the days of Klong Toey being the Port for Bangkok and with an over night stay it was amazing.

Edited by koalapanda
...

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Ko Kood is where SB hold the Beach Day so totally worth it just for that!

 

Also agree about Ho Chi Minh, you dock right in the centre of this enormous city.

 

Hoi An (from Da Nang port) is worth visiting in my book.  

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I have also been looking at these itineraries.   Not sure if its worth the trip for a 14 day cruise.

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Thanks for the replies! Yes this is exactly the one I’m looking at. The distance of the ports sound disappointing but having been to Bangkok and Angkor Wat before, it’s not a dealbreaker. Would do this cruise for Vietnam and to get back on a Seabourn ship.

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Do we have to get the Cambodia and Vietnam visas through Seabourn? Or can we get them on our own? We have US passports.

Edited by Westiesheepie

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9 minutes ago, Westiesheepie said:

Do we have to get the Cambodia and Vietnam visas through Seabourn? Or can we get them on our own? We have US passports.

 

We did the same cruise on Ovation during the holiday season December '18 to January '19. Seabourn arranged visas onboard. We're UK passport holders but it was the same for our US friends.

 

We really like this itinerary, in fact we did it on Sojourn in 2014 too.

 

I agree with Rols, koalapanda and Mauzac as far as ports are concerned.

 

This was our first cruise on one of the big ships. Ovation is beautiful, but we felt she is too large, sun deck crowded on sea days. Als, we were turned away from the MDR on formal night, Christmas Eve, as no tables were available. 

 

We absolutely prefer the intimacy of the O class ships but would cruise on Ovation again if the cruise didn't have any sea days and there were no special calendar dates when we really want to have a formal dinner in MDR.

We love the TK bar on Ovation and will miss it on our next cruise which is on Sojourn.

 

I would definitely suggest you give Ovation a try.

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1 hour ago, Isklaar said:

We really like this itinerary, in fact we did it on Sojourn in 2014 too.

 

 

That’s great to hear! Would you mind sharing what excursions you recommend, or avoid? Did you use any private tours?  Thanks.

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We did this itinerary in February and had a great trip. Recommend a pre-cruise stay in Singapore if you haven't been there (If you have, you're probably already planning it). Too many things to see and do to list but a little research will give you some great ideas.

 

Laem Chaebang (Bangkok) - We had a group of 10 and rented a minibus through Seabourn to go into Bangkok. Comfortable way to deal with the trip and customize our itinerary. Cost was US$150pp. No worries about traffic and late return since we rented the van through Seabourn. One of our original couples had to cancel but we easily found several folks aboard who were eager to take the space.

 

Ko Kood - Caviar in the Surf with the attendant "barbeque" and water activities. Great day to hang out at the beach.

 

Sihanoukville - If you're not getting off to go to Angkor Wat, make it a "sea day." The Chinese are building about 100 casinos in what used to be a quaint "backpackers' port" but right now it's a very ugly, filthy town. As I told someone after my quick bus trip through the town to the small, dirty beach and back, "The last time I was in Cambodia, I got shot. This visit was only slightly less unpleasant."

 

Ho Chi Minh/Saigon - Great port call. We docked on the Saigon River near the Bến Nghé River (near the old customs house - now the Ho Chi Minh Museum). About a 20-minute walk into the heart of Saigon (Bến Thành Market). Many of the street names have changed and there's been a lot of renovation but the city is still recognizable and a great place to wander around in.  I had a car & driver one day to explore the area and walked around downtown the second day. Didn't really need a guided tour and didn't see any that were all that worthwhile. The most popular day trip seemed to be to the tunnels at Cu Chi but most folks who went weren't all that impressed and would have been better off exploring Saigon. OBTW, most people still refer to the former city of Saigon by its original name; Ho Chi Minh City is more often used to describe the combination of Saigon and the surrounding province (now officially all one municipality).

 

Da Nang - As recommended, take the day trip to Hoi An. Not a super big deal but interesting and gives you a chance to see some of the countryside as well as scenic & historic Hoi An itself.

 

Halong Bay  - We didn't see the point of spending 3 hours each way in a bus to spend 4-5 hours in Hanoi. The Donald and the Korean guy were there and we figured that might complicate the itinerary even more. The people I talked to who made the trip enjoyed it, however - not the first time I've ever been wrong.  We did cruise Halong Bay on an excursion and thoroughly enjoyed it (so my reputation wasn't totally trashed).

 

Hong Kong - I love Hong Kong but this may not be the time to plan a post-cruise visit. Jus' sayin'...

 

All in all, it was an excellent cruise. Ovation and Encore have both gone through growing pains but we'd sail on them any time.

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6 hours ago, Westiesheepie said:

That’s great to hear! Would you mind sharing what excursions you recommend, or avoid? Did you use any private tours?  Thanks.

 

As far as Ho Chi Minh I can really recommend a 'back of the bike' tour round the city.  Huge fun.  There are over 7 million bikes in Ho Chi Minh city.... well.... that day there were 7 million and 2 !

 

The company are very professional, your weight and height is checked for which scooter you ride, and who drives your scooter, and you are whizzed round the different districts of Ho Chi Minh stopping at various landmarks and going to places you would never have a chance to go to in a car or on a tour.  Driving through the narrow markets, with stalls either side and negotiating crossroads with thousands of bikes going in every direction is pretty unforgettable.  We loved every minute.  

Edited by Mauzac

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We are doing this itinerary in reverse in January so reading others’ comments with interest. On a related note can anyone tell me what water activities are available at Ko Kood, which I’m assuming will be our beach day with caviar in the surf etc etc?  For example will they provide snorkelling gear? 

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My wife and I are taking the December 21st leg from Singapore to Hong Kong.

 

The information shared from your experiences and recommendations on this forum is invaluable for us.

 

Very much appreciated!

 

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, expattraveler said:

My wife and I are taking the December 21st leg from Singapore to Hong Kong.

 

The information shared from your experiences and recommendations on this forum is invaluable for us.

 

Very much appreciated!

 

Thank you.

 

 

Would you mind posting a review after your cruise? Would be very interested to hear about your experience with the ship and the ports and which excursions you took. 

Edited by Westiesheepie

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20 hours ago, CruiserfaeFife said:

... what water activities are available at Ko Kood...? 

 

As I recall they had kayaks, water skis, stand-up paddleboards, snorkeling gear, small sailboats, banana boat float rides, and windsurfing boards.

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Have a look at this as it explains what should happen

To us this day was worth the price of the cruise

 

Edited by Thecat123

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Would you mind posting a review after your cruise? Would be very interested to hear about your experience with the ship and the ports and which excursions you took. 

Report post

 

Will do!

 

 

 

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We had an amazing trip on the Ovation during February, beginning and ending in Hong Kong.  I think the description of Sihanoukville is accurate.  We visited an interesting temple and then a very large market, but the town in general is poor.  Interestingly, it was just named one of the five cheapest coastal towns in which Americans can retire.

Koh Kood was just an amazing day of relaxation; very decadent.  There were sail and kayak boats, motor boats and banana boats, snorkel equipment, massage tables, a small local boutique, great food and of course caviar and champagne in the water.  The setting was idyllic, and everyone had a great time.  Towards the end of the day, the crew were taken out on all of the equipment.

In Thailand, we took the bus into Bangkok, and traveled on our own, visiting temples on the river.  The roundtrip bus ride was about four hours, so there wasn't much time in the city.  We really wished this had been an overnight stop.

The day we visited HoiAn, we also visited an elementary school and a local Buddhist shrine.  HoiAn is very walkable, and I don't think you need to take a tour.  There are many shops that will make any clothes for you, especially if you bring a sample.  There are fabrics galore but little time to have a fitting.  They will mail anything to you.  The town is also known for its lanterns.  There are shops and shops and more shops along with some very beautiful spots.  DaNang seemed much more conservative than HoChiMinh City, which was bustling and vibrant.  We took the chef's tour, which I highly recommend.  The seafood he purchased was served the next day in the buffet.

In Halong Bay, we took the bus into the town and walked around the market and harbor.  There wasn't much there, but it was most interesting, and included a bride and groom on a junque.  The boat tour on the bay was remarkable, and there were many boats.  There necklaces and silk yukatas sold on board.  The caverns were quite interesting but you do need to be mobile to get through them. 

We enjoyed our Seabourn experience so much that we've signed on for another in 2020!

 

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9 hours ago, PlumeriaLover said:

We enjoyed our Seabourn experience so much that we've signed on for another in 2020!

 

Thanks so much PlumeriaLover for your wonderful review! I am so excited for our Feb 15 sailing.

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Great feedback and advice everyone. First time Seabourn SIN-HKG Ovation Dec 21Thank you.

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On 10/25/2019 at 11:43 PM, expattraveler said:

My wife and I are taking the December 21st leg from Singapore to Hong Kong.

 

The information shared from your experiences and recommendations on this forum is invaluable for us.

 

Very much appreciated!

 

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We will be on this cruise also, 

Reading these comments is a great source of information :)

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Greetings expattraveler and 2aussiegolfers.
I shall be on board also for the Singapore/Hong Kong leaving on 21st December.
I posted a roll call for the cruise (unfortunately I made a mistake in the date of the first roll call so I re-posted).

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2708793-seabourn-ovation-december-21-2019-january-04-2020-singapore-to-hong-kong/

Feel free to contribute.
It would be great to meet up.

Brian from Paris, France

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