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Bangkok as a cruise excursion, some things to consider.


DavietheScot
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Having visited Bangkok from a cruise ship, it is fair to say its a long drive and there is alot to see in the city. So decided to pass on below our experience both good and bad as well as opinionsHope you find them helpful and useful.  

 

https://happytravellingwithdavie.blogspot.com/2020/10/bangkok-as-excursion-from-cruise-ship.html

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Next time you want to visit a city like Bangkok, where large ships must park many miles away, forcing you to sit in a hot bus with a 60 of your sweaty new friends for hours, think about this.

Small ships can easily sail right up to cities like Bangkok, Shanghai, Tokyo, Quebec. Big ships cannot.

You can waste your expensive trip sitting on a bus half the time, or you can be out and about, enjoying much more of what you paid so much to see.

Edited by BruceMuzz
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Absolutely agree.  We have spent five winters in Thailand/Vietnam/SE Asia. Our habit is to pick up last minute cruises while we are on land trips.  Never considered a cruise that is focused on Thailand and Vietnam for this exact reason.  Plus, in our experience, other than main cities, the cruise lines tend to stop at what we consider to be the least desirable and tourist crowded ports.

 

We have had five or six stays in Bangkok.  Each time we have seen or experienced things that we had not seen before.  So much to see and do besides the usual.

 

Sit down and determine how much real, waking time you have, ie subtract the time getting off the ship and the time needed to be back a few hours early.   Then look at how much of that time is actually spent on a bus or in a taxi getting to and from the ship.  The percentage can be quite revealing.

Edited by iancal
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  • 1 month later...

Agree with Bruce.  In fact there are many port advantages (all over the world) in being on a small vessel.  I guess we can now add Key West to the topic since the voters in that city voted on Nov 3 to ban all cruise ships with more then 1300 passengers.

 

Hank

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  • 6 months later...

No issue with small ships and yes it's obvious they can dock in smaller ports and access more places than the larger vessels but it takes all kinds to be honest I enjoy the amenities on the larger ships its good that there is choice out there at least on the larger ships you don't need to be stuck in someone's company you may have zero in common with !! All for choice and accept that all sizes of ships and all lines have something to offer a wide array of passengers.  Its good we are not all the same. 

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  • 1 month later...

  I lived in Thailand for about 8 years. The cruise port for Bangkok is nowhere near the city. It is in Chonburi, it is really the main cargo port for the area. Located 90 Km away from Bangkok.  Without traffic it is 1 hour and 10 minutes, with traffic it can take 4 hours. That is why many cruise lines do overnight in port. Bangkok traffic is some of the worst in the World. You need to allow extra time to get back to the ship, or the ship could sail without you.  Many cruise ships seem to leave late because they are waiting for cruise tour guests. But I would never count upon this. On the plus side, if you miss the ship, flying from Bangkok to most places in SE Asia is fast and cheap (Non Covid Times). So if you miss the ship you can meet it at the next port.... not recommended but an option.  

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On 7/18/2021 at 7:09 PM, DavietheScot said:

No issue with small ships and yes it's obvious they can dock in smaller ports and access more places than the larger vessels but it takes all kinds to be honest I enjoy the amenities on the larger ships its good that there is choice out there at least on the larger ships you don't need to be stuck in someone's company you may have zero in common with !! All for choice and accept that all sizes of ships and all lines have something to offer a wide array of passengers.  Its good we are not all the same. 

I think you have the wrong idea about what many now consider "small" ships.  These days many of us consider any ship with fewer then 1000 passengers relatively small.  Even when I am on a vessel with 300 passengers I have never felt "stuck" with anyone.  In fact it is on those smaller vessels that it becomes easier to make new friends.  And being on a ship without queues, tender tickets, the need for reservations, etc. is a terrific experience.  We have often pointed out that the most luxurious upscale cruise lines all have one thing in common which is relatively small vessels.    The first time we went to Saigon on a ship was many years ago on the Marco Polo (at the time it was part of Orient Lines).  We cruised up the Saigon River and docked in downtown Saigon (forgive me for not calling it Ho Chi Ming City).  DW and I simply walked off the ship and had a terrific day exploring the city.  These days most ships dock more then an hour from that same city (at an ugly port) and then have to deal with a long transfer which wastes several hours of their port day.   It was the same when we cruised the Prinsendam up the river right into the city of Bordeaux, France and we walked off the ship into the heart of the city.  There are many such ports all over the world that are accessible to smaller ships.  Consider that now, the only folks who will even have the joy of cruising into or out of Venice, Italy will be folks on smaller vessels.

 

DW and I have been blessed to have cruised on many vessels of all sizes (from 20 passenger to over 4000 passenger) and they have all been wonderful.  But all things being equal we would generally opt for ships with no more then 800 passengers.

 

Hank

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On 9/4/2021 at 3:16 PM, Hlitner said:

I think you have the wrong idea about what many now consider "small" ships.  These days many of us consider any ship with fewer then 1000 passengers relatively small.  Even when I am on a vessel with 300 passengers I have never felt "stuck" with anyone.  In fact it is on those smaller vessels that it becomes easier to make new friends.  And being on a ship without queues, tender tickets, the need for reservations, etc. is a terrific experience.  We have often pointed out that the most luxurious upscale cruise lines all have one thing in common which is relatively small vessels.    The first time we went to Saigon on a ship was many years ago on the Marco Polo (at the time it was part of Orient Lines).  We cruised up the Saigon River and docked in downtown Saigon (forgive me for not calling it Ho Chi Ming City).  DW and I simply walked off the ship and had a terrific day exploring the city.  These days most ships dock more then an hour from that same city (at an ugly port) and then have to deal with a long transfer which wastes several hours of their port day.   It was the same when we cruised the Prinsendam up the river right into the city of Bordeaux, France and we walked off the ship into the heart of the city.  There are many such ports all over the world that are accessible to smaller ships.  Consider that now, the only folks who will even have the joy of cruising into or out of Venice, Italy will be folks on smaller vessels.

 

DW and I have been blessed to have cruised on many vessels of all sizes (from 20 passenger to over 4000 passenger) and they have all been wonderful.  But all things being equal we would generally opt for ships with no more then 800 passengers.

 

Hank

Take your point Hank and yes it would be ideal to get off in the heart of any city / location but not everyone can afford the smaller ships which can be much more expensive than the larger ones. As I said I actually enjoy the larger ships and all there e tra restaurants and amenities so accept that will mean like in Bangkok and Vietnam you will have longer journeys into the cities etc. It really boils down to personal choice. The one thing I would say is the larger ships do open up the cruise market to a wider audience and that can only be good for the future of cruiseing,  as some of these passengers will move on to other lines and types of ships. 

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I did a 14 day trip to Thailand in Feb. 2020. The timing couldn't have been better. Covid was just starting to raise its ugly head so Chinese were banned resulting in no crowds. Spent 4 days in Bangkok which still wasn't enough. Traveled to Northern cities and also went to Mynnamar ( Burma}.

Have done a fair amount of travel and this is on the top of my Best Trips list. Can't wait for things to settle down to travel again!!!

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On 9/16/2021 at 3:28 PM, diesel1973 said:

I did a 14 day trip to Thailand in Feb. 2020. The timing couldn't have been better. Covid was just starting to raise its ugly head so Chinese were banned resulting in no crowds. Spent 4 days in Bangkok which still wasn't enough. Traveled to Northern cities and also went to Mynnamar ( Burma}.

Have done a fair amount of travel and this is on the top of my Best Trips list. Can't wait for things to settle down to travel again!!!

Agree.  We booked Thailand on a whim one winter and found ourselves in Bangkok nine days later.   We always enjoy a fews days in Bangkok.  We invariably see or go somewhere that we have not seen on prior trips.

 

Liked Thailand/Vietnam/Malaysia so much we spent the next five winters there.  The flights are a killer but a small price to pay for 2 months or so of wonderful experiences.  And it is on top of our list for our next post covid winter trip.

Edited by iancal
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We were to go to Eastern Europe last month on a land tour which was cancelled. Hope to get there some day. When we went to Thailand we were to stop in Shangai but changed and went the opposite direction and stopped in Munich. Coming home we stopped in Vienna. Breaking up that long flight really helps. 5 years ago when I went to China it was nonstop both ways. Going wasn't bad as I was excited to get there but when I arrived home I didn't know if I should eat, sleep, or wind my watch! After E. Europe I want to hit Hong Kong, Singapore, and maybe Macau. We'll see.

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