A Festive Season Cruise around South-East Asia

This festive season, our member Pushka decided to travel to South-East Asia for a luxurious cruise aboard the Diamond Princess! Originally scheduled for 10 days, the cruise was fortuitously extended to 12 days. Departing from Singapore, it travelled around Indonesia before heading north to Malaysia and Thailand.

After a great trip to Dubai just after Christmas last year we decided the only way to chill and escape was not to stay home but go away. Of course that is a red flag to me to travel overseas and being a cruise junkie, that had to be on the Agenda.

Eventually I decided on Asia and booked the Princess Diamond departing Singapore on 27 December for 10 nights. Then we received a wonderful phone call saying that unfortunately there was a port conflict in Singapore and we would have an extra 2 days at no further cost.

Our member flew Qantas to Singapore, trying out the new Airbus A330 Business Suites from Melbourne after a quick domestic hop over from Adelaide… and a visit to Qantas’ famous First Class lounge in Melbourne, of course. The lie-flat seat on the A330 was comfortable enough for our member to enjoy several hours of shut-eye, despite being a daylight flight.

The new Business seat. Of course any seat on a plane where you are in your own world is bliss. The seats lie flat and have a topper which is in the overhead bin. Many either didn’t realise or didn’t bother with it. I did. The amenity kit is the Kate spade bag pictured earlier.

The seat can be slightly reclined on take off. The TV is excellent and very good touch screen.

On board the cruise ship, our member had a small suite. The room came with all sorts of modern conveniences, including a typically Japanese bathroom…

We have a mini suite. On deck 8 Emerald. A great size cabin with loads of storage and it is all covered on the balcony. Diamond is configured for the Japanese market and is often charted by Japanese TA’s for many cruises in a row. Half the signage is Japanese but no announcements. Our Daewon toilet: The heated toilet seat was not pleasant. The other functions – they seem to work well.

The cruise was decked with Christmas decorations, and most fellow-passengers were getting into the festive spirit. There were numerous exciting shore excursions along the way, including in Bali, Lombok and Penang. A shore excursion in Thailand was not without drama, however, with the local authorities deciding not to allow the cruise to dock.

And an announcement now from The Captain. The local authorities have just banned the ship from using their tenders contrary to their agreement. Currently 700 people waiting to disembark and many of us haven’t even joined the queue yet. Captain sounds – annoyed. Trying to hire more local boats.

This trip report is filled with photos and commentary from throughout the trip. Come along for the ride HERE.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]