With the cruise ship portion of our trip drawing to an end I thought it fitting to post an entry about our experiences at sea. As cruise ship and world traveler novices we selected this 15-night Asian Adventure aboard the Celebrity Millennium for exactly 2 reasons. First, travel by sea seemed more simplistic than by land. The brunt of nautical miles occurred during sleeping hours and the cruise ship staff handled most of the customs paperwork. Because of this we were able to greet each new city well rested and ready to explore. Second, this trip was available through Costco Travel.
Having used the wholesale club’s travel service on past trips I can attest to the value of their vacation packages. With amazing deals on accommodations, bargain priced trip insurance, liberal cancellation policies and responsive customer service agents Costco travel is our #1 choice for overseas travel.
We quickly learned the buzz word in cruising is “enrichment” with cerebral diversions at every turn. There are opportunities to learn the tango, try acupuncture, tour the ship’s kitchen, attend a cognac tasting, participate in games of trivia, enhance your mind with lectures on Asian culture, make ceviche, practice meditation and explore Buddhism. And yes, we did them all! Needless to say by the end of our first “sea day” we were ready to join the old folks for a nap. Paul decided that this was to much like a busy day in college and asked me to choose 1 or 2 of my favorites. He then promptly grabbed a seat by the pool, ordered a mojito and closed his eyes. After that Marshall Stern’s lecture, Buddhism 101 became the only scheduled thing we attended every “sea day”. The majority of the population practices Buddhism here so we figured it wouldn’t hurt to learn more about the culture we were visiting.
Surprisingly questions about our ship accommodations topped the list of inquiries about our trip. Although travelling aboard the Millennium was very nice it certainly didn’t rise to the level of riding an elephant or exploring the Grande Palace. We did upgrade to a suite (which I highly recommend). It provides 2 distinct advantages; a sea view balcony (fresh air) and access to Blu, the ship’s luxury, no reservations needed dining room.
As with anything new, we encountered a few bumps along the way, however overall we both agree our first cruise ship experience was a positive one. Once we (I) decided to embrace the cruise culture and “go with the flow” it was smooth sailing from then on.
Lesson #1 You will be sprayed with hand sanitizer at every turn, just stick out your hands and accept it.
Lesson #2 Irons are strictly forbidden aboard the ship so pack items that don’t wrinkle or prepare to pay through the nose for dry cleaning.
Lesson #3 Not all outlets are created equal. Inadvertently plug your 110 volt rollers in the 220 volt outlet and you’ll have to contend with straight hair for the rest of your trip.
Lesson # 4 Enjoy your break from technology. Unless its a pressing matter just wait until you’re back on dry land. Internet is $0.75 a minute and the connection is slow and unpredictable.
Lesson #5 Leave Hong Kong without your custom made cashmere suit? No worries, the cruise ship will be more than happy to rent you a standard polyester tuxedo.
Next stop Singapore!