We took a cruise on Azamara Club Cruises from Hong Kong to Singapore in January 2013. We arrived in Hong Kong a few days early to have a chance to enjoy many of the sights and smells of that special city.
After we boarded the Azamara Journey for the cruise, we were delighted to have spectacular views of the Hong Kong Harbor with its special night light show. The location of the ship, and being docked overnight gave us a very special opportunity to enjoy “the show” from the ship.
We cruised from Hong Kong to Halong Bay Viet Nam. Halong Bay is especially dramatic with the thousands of karsts rising from the water and the many houseboats and caves in the bay. The small ship allowed us to cruise among the karsts and enjoy the views from many angles. A multiple day stay allowed time to visit Hanoi, a city with a special French charm, and historic sites along its broad boulevards.
Next we visited Da Nang, which was dressed up for the Tet celebrations. The location of the ship in the harbor gave us special views of the lights on the bridges into downtown. There were special excursions to learn about the history of the Cham people and see the special mountains in the area as well as China Beach.
We had visited Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) before. Other cruise ships always docked at Phu My, about and hour and a half drive away from downtown. Azamara came up the Saigon River and docked at the heart of downtown. We were there overnight and had two full days to see the city and the nearby sights. During Tet the area along Nguyen Hue Boulevard from the river up to City Hall was filled to overflowing with a mile long display of floral arrangements in celebration of the lunar new year. The opportunity to walk among those displays on the way back to the ship– yes, it was in walking distance of the center of the city–greatly increased the chance to feel the energy and spirit; to experience the sights, smells and sounds of the city. That was very special, thanks to the location of the Azamara ship.
We then cruised to Bangkok for a three day stay. We were there for Valentines’ Day which had large and enthusiastic festivities. When we had visited Bangkok on a different cruise line, the port was about two hours away from Bangkok, and usually the stay was for one day. Azamara was docked near downtown so we were able to join in the St. Valentines’ activities with the locals. Then we had time to visit the traditional Bangkok sites of the glorious temples and a lunch cruise on the river. The next day we had time to go to the floating market outside of Bangkok, something we had heard of but never had enough time to visit before. It was interesting, dynamic and fun.
After Bangkok we visited the resort island of Ko Samui. This was our first visit and we enjoyed many opportunities to visit a giant buddah, ride elephants, see monkeys harvest coconuts, and even eat a hamburger with a bun made of rice.
The cruise arrived in Singapore and stayed overnight before we disembarked. Singapore is a very convenient city to travel in. Public transportation was accessible from the ship’s terminal. We stayed a few extra days to enjoy many of the special locales of a very distinctive city.
The sea days had as many activities as you wanted to enjoy. The passengers and crew were fun people. The small ship ambiance was relaxed and comfortable. The food was superb. There was a selection of several flavors of gelato available every day. Did I mention the wine? The entire experience had all the normal advantages of cruising plus extra time in very special ports that multiplied the tourist experience, while reducing the time on the bus getting there.
Azamara is special. Try them. I’m glad we did.
Paul Richards, long time client of Wanda Frecks. Travel Specialist in our Eastlake office.
To reserve your Azamara Club Cruise, contact:
Wanda Frecks, Vacation Specialist
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