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Sapphire Princess

Sapphire Princess

Postby Wanderingsascent » 23 Jan 2019 14:28

Shanghai to Singapore. Nagasaki, Busan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Thailand (Bangkok & Koh Samui).
I booked this holiday on the spur of the moment when I saw a seductive ad in the Saturday paper. Little did I realise the angst I would have pre cruise with regard to a visa and the cost of transfers. (Company wanted £400 door transfers).
We travelled 144 twov to Shanghai (no visa required but nobody would actually confirm this was okay). If you do this be prepared to queue through immigration for 1hr and maybe 3 hr. Since December they require fingerprints and there is a machine for aliens to do this. We queued for just over an hour and thankfully we were admitted into China.
The next step was to dodge the scam taxi drivers waiting in the terminal, some people didn't and paid 10 times over the odds. Luckily I had done my research and read about them. We took took the fast train 144km per hour, two subway trains and a 5 minute walk to our hotel, some feat with two large cases. We stayed at the Four Points Hotel, they allowed us to check in at 10.30 am. After a 22 hour journey from home this was welcome, we had a shower and then went straight into Shanghai.
Rain did slightly mar the day but we managed to,see the sights and make a day of it.
Next morning we went for an interesting walk in the local vicinity before taking a taxi to the port. (Organised by the concierge ).
Google. This does not work in China so I didn't receive the message that the ship was,delayed due to fog and the immigration not allowing some passengers to,disembark. We waited in the hangar for 6 hours. Anyway these things happen and not to make a drama out of it.
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Re: Sapphire Princess

Postby Wanderingsascent » 23 Jan 2019 14:40

We were very happy with our cabin, E425 OV, we often have a balcony but decided it would be cold for the first week and we would put the money to the shore excursions. This was our first Princess cruise and it was very enjoyable, very good entertainment, we danced at the deck party too. I noticed it was quite an informal cruise, only 2 black tie nights although they said 3, but passengers were well turned out.
Our second time freedom dining and it worked out well, we did join people for breakfast and lunch when we took it. Needless to say there were a few moans and groans over nothing but we also met some really interesting people.
A strange thing, my husband was an 'elite' passenger and I was classed as a new one. We have been married 48 years and taken all our cruises together. Anyway we did have priority boarding, free,laundry and internet and drinks in the cabin. I didn't ask about the difference in status because I didn't want to lose the privelages! Now we are home I have asked about my status for next time.
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Sapphire Princess

Postby judgegeoff » 23 Jan 2019 18:50

Wanderingsascent wrote:Shanghai to Singapore. Nagasaki, Busan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Thailand (Bangkok & Koh Samui).
I booked this holiday on the spur of the moment when I saw a seductive ad in the Saturday paper. Little did I realise the angst I would have pre cruise with regard to a visa and the cost of transfers. (Company wanted £400 door transfers).
We travelled 144 twov to Shanghai (no visa required but nobody would actually confirm this was okay). If you do this be prepared to queue through immigration for 1hr and maybe 3 hr. Since December they require fingerprints and there is a machine for aliens to do this. We queued for just over an hour and thankfully we were admitted into China.
The next step was to dodge the scam taxi drivers waiting in the terminal, some people didn't and paid 10 times over the odds. Luckily I had done my research and read about them. We took took the fast train 144km per hour, two subway trains and a 5 minute walk to our hotel, some feat with two large cases. We stayed at the Four Points Hotel, they allowed us to check in at 10.30 am. After a 22 hour journey from home this was welcome, we had a shower and then went straight into Shanghai.
Rain did slightly mar the day but we managed to,see the sights and make a day of it.
Next morning we went for an interesting walk in the local vicinity before taking a taxi to the port. (Organised by the concierge ).
Google. This does not work in China so I didn't receive the message that the ship was,delayed due to fog and the immigration not allowing some passengers to,disembark. We waited in the hangar for 6 hours. Anyway these things happen and not to make a drama out of it.


When my wife Chris and I flew to Beijing last September we had no negotiate the fingerprint machines before we went through Chinese Immigration at the Airport. Chris went first and, after inserting her passport, the machine instructed her to put her left hand on the pad to record her fingerprints. Now Chris' fingers are tiny and the machine would not accept them and so a lady security person tried to help by pulling her fingers in an attempt to lengthen them (?!!!). Eventually it accepted her print, then the other hand and then the thumbs, after which it printed a ticket and she was told to produce it at Immigration. Now it was my turn but, as soon as I put my passport in the machine it printed a ticket. I decided to try again and the same thing happened. By now I am assuming that the machine is faulty and so I try another machine - with the same result - I now have 3 tickets!

By this time there are horrendous queues at Immigration but the kind lady that had tried to stretch Chris' fingers took pity on us (we both have walking sticks) and told us to go through the 'Diplomatic' channel. We presented our tickets to the Immigration Officer (mine being 3!) and he quickly processed us and stamped our passports. We later learned that finger and thumb prints are only required by persons between 14 and 70 years old - younger and older people were not deemed to be a threat to the State. It really amused me that Chris was seen as a possible threat to China but I was not!!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:
Geoff

Booked cruise :-
"Marella Dream" - Turkey, Greece and Israel 2019
"MSC Orchestra" - Cape Town to Venice 2020
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Sapphire Princess

Postby Mungo » 24 Jan 2019 08:37

Thanks for sharing. :thumbup:

Sounds like researching is definitely worth it! Visas and transfers can add lots to a good deal!

Those fingerprint machines seem to cause chaos across the world! Hubby was stopped in Orlando one year and taken aside as his apparently didn’t match! He was travelling alone and staying with friends out there. The good part was his was the lone suitcase going round and round the conveyor belt when he was finally allowed to leave. :lol: :lol: :lol:
Aurora and Ventura October 2019
Britannia March 2020
Iona July 2020
Arcadia December 2020
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Re: Sapphire Princess

Postby Wanderingsascent » 24 Jan 2019 09:19

Nagasaki was our first port of call following one sea day which we mostly spent asleep. We were met with a glorious if cold sunny day, that makes all the difference. First we climbed up to Glover Garden, this provides good views towards the ship and to the bridge we sailed under. I found it not so much a garden but a lot of historic buildings, maybe it was the time of year. Interesting was the Japanese toilet, well I had to try the all singing dancing version, heated seat etc. I spent a few minutes longer than necessary because I wasn't sure how to stop the wash cycle! Following this we walked to the peace garden/museum, we had been told this was a 30 minute level walk....1 hour later we were still on our way. Luckily we are used to walking and took in the sights along the way. 1 hour 20 mins approx later we arrived at the peace park and museum. This is quite moving as you can imagine with graphic details of the devastation following the atomic bomb and the human cost. Yes we did walk back to the ship, well it does help keep our figure in trim.
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Re: Sapphire Princess

Postby Wanderingsascent » 24 Jan 2019 09:25

Busan, South Korea. Here we took a ship's tour to a temple followed by a folklore show and tour of Busan. This is a huge modern place and was much different than expected. The temperature at the temple was minus 5 but again it was sunny. I had been determined to see one temple during my travels, little did I realise how many I would actually see without a tour. However I did enjoy the overall view of the city and the guide was interesting.
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Sapphire Princess

Postby Gillzajoker » 24 Jan 2019 16:11

Thanks for the interesting posts. Been to Nagasaki twice and found that there was
a tram from Glover Gardens to the Peace Park at a cost of $1 (obviously I am not as
fit as you!). But I thoroughly enjoyed both sites (missed the toiler, though!) :D
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Sapphire Princess

Postby grannyM » 24 Jan 2019 18:30

I too am enjoying reading your posts about your cruise and ports. Thank you for sharing them with us. :)
Marie
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Re: Sapphire Princess

Postby Wanderingsascent » 24 Jan 2019 18:45

Hong Kong. It was my original intention to go our own way here but eventually decided to take a full day tour. This gave us a good overall view by land and water and covered everything I had hoped to do. Sadly I had the most awful sickly headache, during our lunch stop I retired to a sofa I spotted and had a sleep. .We queued for the funichular railway to the top of Victoria peak, spectacular views. Stanley market was another stop, not so busy during ourvisit because we were quite early, not really my scene but I did find a small beach behind it much to my surprise. We too a sampan ride to the huge floating restaurant and then another boat trip from there. A harbour cruise was taken too. I was pleased to spot the jockey club/race track, we often have the horse racing on our tv at home. We did look for the light show from the ship but I think the cruise terminal is just that bit too far away.
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Re: Sapphire Princess

Postby Wanderingsascent » 24 Jan 2019 18:59

Vietnam. We docked at Phu My and took the Princess 'On Your Own' to Ho Chi Minh City. I think the coach took about an hour and a half but it was a fascinating journey and the time flew by. We had a guide on the coach who gave us all a map and answered any questions individually and where to meet up. It was daunting when we arrived, so big and so busy. With so much traffic we thought we would never cross the roads. Once we gained our nerve it was great, just have a steady nerve and follow the locals where possible! We did walk quite a distance to the botanical garden only to find it closed but you do see so much on foot. The Reunification Hall was fascinating and we spent quite a lot of time there. We also went to a coffee shop just opposite and had the best cup of black coffee during our holiday, I had no idea they export such a lot of beans. This was one of my favourite ports of call.
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