Friday, December 21, 2012

December Holiday - Thursday (At Sea) and Friday (Hong Kong)

Thursday was spent at sea which gave us plenty of time to conquer the re-packing of the suitcases! With that chore out of the way, we spent most of the day catching up on our reading. We ate in the Lido in the evening and that was a surprisingly good experience!

Friday started as a very misty/foggy day as we sailed into Hong Kong. We’d arranged to take the short ‘morning’ tour of HK as it would also include dropping us off at the airport where we could get rid of our bags. Ann had thoughtfully booked us into the new Novotel about ten minutes from the airport, so we had somewhere to freshen-up and rest before the long flight home via Doha.

Leaving a cruise-ship is always a somewhat chaotic affair, as the passengers (in spite of being given specific times to depart) all try and get off at the same time. This however, was a reasonably well organised affair and we soon had all our luggage and were ready for the Tour.

We don’t normally do Tours, but we made an exception - and it was surprisingly good, and although the weather didn’t improve much, our Tour Guide, ‘Patrick’ (the most un-Irish Chinaman, we’d ever seen) made it all worthwhile with his very lively banter and encyclopaedic knowledge of the area. We took in the Victoria Peak Tram, a tour round the Harbour, a visit to a jewellery manufacturers and also time for shopping - perfect! 

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Waiting for the Tram

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Kids performing Christmas Carols

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The view from the top

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A trip round the Harbour

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Just like Singapore - the only way is up!

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Jewellery Manufacturers in Hong Kong

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The view from Room 1028, Novotel, Citygate, Hong Kong

A good holiday? Yes, of course. Although, having experienced Holland America Cruise line for the first time, we probably wouldn’t go with them again. Although the staff were friendly enough, there were too many mistakes during the Cruise that just shouldn’t happen on a trip that bills itself as ‘five-star’ - we’ve certainly experienced better levels of service and more professional waiting-staff on our Cruises in the past. Ports and Venues? We loved Singapore (we always do!) and Saigon was a treat for us, not knowing much about it, and having never been before. It was also good to see Hong Kong again after so many years. The rest of the Ports, as far as we were concerned, (and others will have different views of course) just had nothing to offer, which was a great shame, given all the hype by the Cruise - we’re glad we’ve done them, but we wouldn’t go rushing back!

Now, back to reality as we psyche ourselves up for the 19 hours flight home!!