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Mrs Flyer and I recently enjoyed two 5 day back-to-back cruises aboard SUPERSTAR VIRGO (1999/75,338grt) out of Singapore.
We stopped off in Sydney for a couple of days on the way and spent a very enjoyable day at the Maritime Museum where fellow member Doug Rogers acted as our personal guide. A highlight of this visit for both of us was a comprehensive tour of HMAS Vampire and HMAS Onslow - the first time either of us had been on board a submarine.
And so on to Singapore after a longer than usual flight due to quite strong head winds for the majority of the flight. After a couple of nights in a hotel, we boarded SUPERSTAR VIRGO on the 18 September. The first of the five day cruises was up the west coast of Malaysia and onto Phuket in Thailand. After sailing right on time at 1600, the first port was Penang on the 19th where the ship anchored off Georgetown with pax being tendered ashore by four of the ships tenders and Star Cruises own tender - the MARS - which is based there. We were there from 1200 to 2000, but with all aboard we actually sailed at around 1930.
Next port was Phuket in Thailand where we arrived at 0800 on the 20th. The weather was somewhat damp here for most of the day and Mrs Flyer and I elected to stay aboard and "gate-crashed" the crew's lifeboat drill. This was actually quite interesting with the boats being lowered down to Promenade Deck level on the port side. Once the drill was over, the 2nd. Officer took three cadets for a spin around the harbour in one of the boats.
Due to sail at 1800, we were once again on our way a bit earlier than this. A 25 hour sea voyage followed culminating in our arrival back at Singapore at 1900 on the 21st for a five hour stopover. This may seem somewhat strange to some, but Star Cruises split the 5 day cruise into a 3 day and a 2 day which seems to work quite well for them.
Sailing just before midnight, we anchored off Malacca at 0730 the next morning where two local ferries came out to tender ashore pax who had booked an all day bus tour from there and rejoining the ship at Port Klang. This took about an hour and then the ship continued onto Port Klang, berthing there at 1400 on the 22nd. We elected to take one of the ships tours into Kuala Lumpur which was most enjoyable and we arrived back at the ship at around 2200 with the ship sailing at 2130.
The cruise ended with our arrival at Singapore at 1400 on the 23rd. Every weekend, SUPERSTAR VIRGO sails for a two night cruise to nowhere which is essentially a gambling cruise and we were very keen to stay aboard for this, but were strongly advised not to do so, as the food served would be inedible to an un-educated western palate. To further put us off, the price quoted did not fall too far short of the cost of a 5 day cruise, so off we trotted to a hotel for two nights.
Reboarding on Sunday 25 September, sailing was once again at 1600, this time bound for Laem Chabang (for Bangkok) in Thailand. The South China Sea was in a benevolent mood and we berthed there at 0800 on Tuesday 27th. The weather can be described in one word - hot. In spite of this Mrs Flyer and I enjoyed one of the ships tours into Bangkok, a two hour drive by bus from Laem Chabang.
We sailed at midnight and arrived at anchor off Koh Samui at 1200 on the 28th. Pax were tendered ashore here by the ships tenders and a contingent of Thai ferries. The ride in took about 30 minutes and was a bit bouncy, especially on the return trip and we were quite glad to be on one of the larger Thai ferries for that. Sailing was made at 2300 and we arrived back at Singapore at 1400 on Friday 30th after a very smooth 39 hour passage.
I would recommend cruising in the SE Asia region, purely on the basis of the number of ships one can see, although Singapore these days seems to full of tankers and container ships. There are however a few surprises that can pop up.
Check in the Photo Gallery - I am adding photos of the trip as time allows.
Now all I have to look forward to is work......... (Sad)
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