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

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Jan 30th, 2004, 06:22 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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New Cruiser: Questions about emb/debarkation, internet, visas, etc.

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


LisaG is offline  
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Jan 30th, 2004, 07:05 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,336
Your cruise sounds wonderful! I hope to cruise SE Asia someday soon.

You need to be on the ship BEFORE sailing time. I would not suggest waiting until the last minute. Typically, the ship is open for boarding in the early afternoon. People board, explore the ship, unpack IF bags arrive very quickly, eat (they usually serve a buffet on the top deck), check out the spa facilities, make your spa appointments, etc. Then there is the mandatory safety drill before you sail; everyone dons their life jacket and goes to their appointed meeting place.

Ships get clearance for disembarkation at ports so you need not go through customs at each port (in my experience) but be sure to take your passport and ship ID with you when you go ashore.

I've not done back to back cruises, but I would guess they will have you leave WITH your belongings and then reboard after re-checking in!

I've not cruised on a ship with internet ports in the cabin. I've always just used their "internet cafe" (which is quite expensive!!).

I happen to enjoy those days at sea. Some people don't. There are always activities going on.. yes, possibly some interesting classes about your ports of call; also time for a good book in a shady spot; sometimes tours of the ship, including the bridge; sea days are good for spa time too.

Enjoy your cruise! Arrive early!! Enjoy the experience. And be sure to report back when you return home.

Carol
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Jan 30th, 2004, 07:14 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 8,175
Although I've only done back-to-back cruises on Princess in the Caribbean, we did not have to take our belongings off the ship. We just treated the day when most people were ending or beginning their cruises as an ordinary port day.
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Jan 31st, 2004, 07:08 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hi Lisa:
Are you in the same cabin for your back to back? If so, you will NOT have to pack up. I have done several B2Bs and it is wonderful.

Sleep in later that morning, stroll around bidding farewell to newly made friends that are departing, enjoy an almost empty ship for a few hours until the new group embarks. Sometimes they even offer the B2Bers a meal in the dining room on that day (instead of buffet upstairs).

Have a great cruise!!
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