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New Cruiser: Questions about emb/debarkation, internet, visas, etc.

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Hello experienced cruisers!

My husband and I are going on a Silverseas Cruise in early April--Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, HK, Shanghai, Beijing--that lasts 14 days. I have a number of questions that I think experienced cruisers would know the answer to (by the way, this is a combo pleasure/business trip for us).

We are very experienced travelers, but this is our first foray into cruising:

1) This cruise is actually in 2 segments (i.e. 2 cruises back-to-back). Will we have to pack and disembark in the crossover day? Or can we just leave everything on the ship since we'll be going on?

2) When they say that the embarkation time is 6:00 PM, does that mean you should be there at exactly that time, or be all aboard by that time since that's when the ship leaves the dock? If it means you have to be all done by then, what time should you get to the ship?

3) Regarding internet access, the cruise line apparently gives you a Silverseas email account name to use in your room. Does that mean there is a terminal in the room, or do we bring our own computer? Should we bring our own computer anyway?

4) Do you go through immigration and/or customs at every port of call? And each time you get off the ship in the same location?

5) What do most people do during the at-sea days? Do people avail themselves of the educational opportunities (i.e., speakers)? Or are they merely window dressing? Are the culinary classes good?

6) Anything else a 1st-timer should know? You know...those things that might have surprised you the first time.

Whew! Many thanks in advance. I see that many of the questions are for experienced cruisers, and hopefully these are not too elementary.

Lisa

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