Sydney-Tianjin-Bangkok-Turkey-Greek Islands-Norway by cruiseship, flights and ferries.

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woodyren

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After contributing to and enquiring in a number of threads on this great forum I was encouraged many times to include a trip report. So here goes for my first attempt.

The trip plan.

Cruise.

Sydney to Singapore 14 nights, Singapore-Singapore 5 nights, Singapore-Tianjin 12 nights on Ovation of the Seas.

Tianjin to Shenyang. Bullet train.

2 weeks in Shenyang.

Fly China Southern Y Shenyang Bangkok paid fare.

3 Nights Bangkok Marriot Marquis Club room (Luxury Escapes deal). Needed to get to a location in the same circle as Singapore to get a J reward flight to Istanbul and the points for Bangkok-Istanbul were the same as Singapore-Istanbul and the flight to Bangkok from Shenyang was cheaper so we added this stopover.

Fly Singapore Airlines J points from Bangkok to Istanbul via Singapore. ( allowed plenty of lounge time in Bangkok and Singapore)

Fly Istanbul to Dalaman (Fethiye) on Turkish Airline Paid fare.

6 Nights Fethiye Jiva Beach resort all inclusive.

Ferry Fethiye to Rhodes.

3 nights Rhodes Old Town Senses hotel

Fly Aegean Airlines Rhodes to Santorini.

3 Nights Vila Lucas Santorini.

Ferry Santorini to Naxos.

4 nights Adriani hotel Rhodes.

Ferry Naxos to Athens.

1 night Sofitel hotel Athens airport.

Fly Aegean airlines Y Athens Copenhagen. Paid fare.

1 night Cabinn Metro hotel Copenhagen.

11 night Cruise Norway, Arctic Circle. Serenade of the Seas.

1 night Copenhagen hotel. ???? TBD.

Fly Finnair J Copenhagen-Beijing via Helsinki. Points.

Bullet train Beijing-Shenyang.

5 weeks in China which is still in the planning stage. May do some side trips to other SEA countries or another cruise out of China if a bargain comes up.

Fly Beijing-Sydney Singapore Airlines J. Points.

Will try to keep updates coming but will be dependent on time and internet availability.
 

woodyren

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We have now completed the cruise portion from Sydney to Tianjin. Hence why I have some time to compile the report.

The cruise was on Ovation of the Seas. We really enjoy cruising and while it is obviously not for everyone we always try to incorporate repositioning cruises and land travel into our travel plans. I am in my 60's and still work part time (a lot when I am home in fact almost 7 days a week) to allow us to travel as much as we can. Usually one 3-4 months trip a year.

We prefer Royal Caribbean and enjoy the larger ships with their multiple activities. We have loyalty status that allows us a number of perks including lounge access with complimentary drinks for 3 & 1/2 hours each day. This helps with overall cost. We also like plenty of sea days so repositioning cruises suit us fine.

Ovation of the Seas is a Quantum class ship and has been recently dividing it's time between China and Australia. This cruise is the last time it heads back to China for a while as it will reposition to Alaska next year after it's Australian season.

First cruise leg was Sydney to Singapore. It only had 3 ports.

Brisbane we stayed on board as have been there many times and the port is quite a distance away for the city.

Darwin. We just took a stroll around town.

Kuala Lumpur. Stayed on board as again a long way from port and we were there a few times in 2015, 2016.

Ovation in Sydney as we boarded.

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TBC
 

woodyren

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As I said the cruise from Sydney to Singapore mostly included sea days and apart fro a few hour walk around Darwin we stayed on board.

Our inside cabin was selected due to it's location. Due to our Crown & anchor loyalty program we have 24 hour access to the Concierge lounge. It is on deck 12 aft and has floor to ceiling windows which span the full width of the ship. Because our cabin was directly next door to the lounge access we virtually had our own huge ocean view room and only used our room for sleep and showers.

Only photo I have of the lounge. This is with Aussie Hotel Director Mike.

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Sea days were spent relaxing, reading, playing trivia, attending shows, listening to music and partaking in some of the activities that are oin the ship such as the flow rider, North Star and iFly.

I was lucky enough to be part of the team that won the progressive trivia. 30264932_10213650947845297_4056763827033735168_n.jpg

North Star observation arm..giant cherry picker. 29695019_10213631915489500_5392665619558073519_n.jpg 29790300_10213631916289520_5174577631584892388_n.jpg

One of the venues on board is the Music Hall. For this leg it had fantastic INXS and Killer Queen tribute bands along wit a great Canadian house band called Rock the Boat. As a rock fan they were far superior to the usual (still quite good) lounge bands aboard. 29543097_10213573629392384_7674036096797922388_n.jpg
I usually spend a few hours a day on the flow rider. No stand up for me as I value to old bones but the body board gives me plenty of exercise and it's fair share of bruises and scrapes.

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A few other photos from around the ship. IMG_0471.JPG IMG_0641.JPG IMG_0648.JPG mmexport1497621471672.jpg

TBC
 

woodyren

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IMG_1016.JPG 30414789_10213664487063769_1229760737275019264_n.jpg 30415472_10213664486783762_1113027812547100672_n.jpg Day 14 we arrived in Singapore. Off the ship early and a short walk to the Marina South Pier metro station.

Very easy way to reach the Singapore cruise port.

Only time to have a walk around Chinatown and enjoy a meal of Chilli Crab.

Also managed to squeeze in a Durian ice cream sandwich.

We shared the port with Mariner of the Seas. A lot of passengers disembarked Ovation to join Mariner for the cruise from Singapore to Barcelona which left the same day.

Mariner in port as we left.
 
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woodyren

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Day 14 - day 19. Cruise Ovation of the Seas. Balcony cabin.

Ports Penang & coughet.

Bid farewell to many friends from the first cruise. On the first Sydney-Singapore leg the passengers were in the majority Australian with a wide mixture of other nationalities. On this leg the numbers of passengers from Asia grew significantly. Had some interesting conversations with a couple of guys from Toyota Pakistan, who we happened to share a table with in the buffet a few times, about cricket and the world in general.

While the extra "hustle and bustle" on board may not be to every cruiser liking on Asian cruises I enjoy the difference from the norm.

First port of call was Penang. We have previously visited Penang but it's a very convenient port. Georgetown is situated a short walk from the terminal so we spent hours just walking and snacking.


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Local staple char kway teow from open air food centre in Penang.
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Mrs woodyren checking some cooking.
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TBC
 

woodyren

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Day 14-19 cont.

Second port was coughet which is a tender port. Another day of walking around exploring as the tender pier is right in Patong Beach.

It was also Songkran the day we arrived so we copped a soaking.

Nice lunch followed by a massage made for a full enjoyable day in port.


Tender pier
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Songkran soaking.
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Grilled squid and Pad Thai inside an omelette.
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Boca68

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It all sounds pretty amazing!

Not a big cruise fan, but from Tianjin onwards is more my style. Looking forward to what you think of the Chinese high speed trains and on of my favourite cities, Istanbul.
 

woodyren

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Day 19-31.

Third leg of our 3 cruises on Ovation. Singapore - Tianjin 12 nights.

Ports of call were scheduled to be Phu My (port for Ho Chi Minh city), Chan May (port for Hoi An, Da Nang, Hue area), Hong Kong overnight and Incheon.

We were greeted by an announcement on day one stating that due to port congestion Ovations berth at Phu My had been cancelled. RCL organised a visit to Nha Trang instead. They provided a refund of half of one days cruise fare per person and free internet for day 1 and until 5.00pm on day 2 so that passengers could organise alternative tours. We talked to a couple of people on an MSC cruise that was berthed next to us later in Hong Kong and they had the same problem. MSC offered them zero and they just had another sea day. Great work Royal.

Nha Trang worked out a much better option for us as the ship tenders very close to the beach and city. Ho Chi Minh is a long trip up to 2 hours from the port. We had never visited the area before and spent most of the day walking the town and beach.



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The second port of call was Chan May. We had spent time in Hoi An previously so we remained on the ship. Flow rider lines are short on port days.
 

woodyren

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Third port stop was Hong Kong. Overnight stop which allowed those who wished to have a late night in town.

Hong Kong another place we have previously visited. It is a destination we enjoy and the easy access of a free shuttle bus from the ship to a choice of two metro stations makes it a simple place to explore.

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TBC
 

woodyren

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Last port on the third cruise leg was Incheon. We had originally planned on staying in Incheon as there wasn't a lot of time to check out much of Seoul. The ship provided a free shuttle for the 20 minute drive from the port to the Chinatown and station area of Incheon. After meeting a guy on board from Florida who had spent a few years in Korea we were persuaded to take the local train into Seoul. All the metro trains are all station trains and the trip was around an hour each way. Very easy and far less expensive than the ships excursion bus into Seoul.

We got off the train at his recommendation Myeong-dong station as Mrs woodyren needed some retail therapy and I was happy to wander the streets people watching and snacking. We walked from there to City Hall station and caught the train back to Incheon. Probably spent about 3-4 hours in the area.

Local metro with 3 of our friends from the cruise.
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Enjoyed the tastes of all the food we tried.
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Supermarket food.
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A few anti nuke protesters.
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I have no idea???
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TBC
 
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woodyren

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Arrived back at Incheon station with a few hours up our sleeve before the last shuttle back to the ship. Spent that time walking around Chinatown and about a klm and a half through the streets to the local market area. Enough interesting things to do from what we experienced and other places we didn't get to time see that would make Incheon a worthwhile place to spend a day if anyone on a cruise has already been to Seoul.


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Interesting character on the train. Reminded me of the "smiley man" who frequents Sydney with his signs.


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These were one of the better streets snacks I have eaten and believe me I am a sucker for street food. The one I sampled combined two of the essential food groups (squid and bacon) with some egg onion, garlic etc deep fried into these round patties. They then slice them up and add some white sauce and some other chili sauce across the chopped up pieces on a plate. Also prawn, egg, crab I think from looking at them.
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The street scene between Incheon Chinatown and central market. Lots of restaurants and bars. Quite quiet in the day but I think it would be a very vibrant place on a warm evening.
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?????
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TBC
 
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craven morehead

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Arrived back at Incheon station with a few hours up our sleeve before the last shuttle back to the ship. Spent that time walking around Chinatown and about a klm and a half through the streets to the local market area. Enough interesting things to do from what we experienced and other places we didn't get to time see that would make Incheon a worthwhile place to spend a day if anyone on a cruise has already been to Seoul.


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Interesting character on the train. Reminded me of the "smiley man" who frequents Sydney with his signs.


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These were one of the better streets snacks I have eaten and believe me I am a sucker for street food. The one I sampled combined two of the essential food groups (squid and bacon) with some egg onion, garlic etc deep fried into these round patties. They then slice them up and add some white sauce and some other chili sauce across the chopped up pieces on a plate. Also prawn, egg, crab I think from looking at them.
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The street scene between Incheon Chinatown and central market. Lots of restaurants and bars. Quite quiet in the day but I think it would be a very vibrant place on a warm evening.
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?????
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TBC

The food looks fantastic so far :)
 
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