I’ll never forget the first time I sailed through Halong Bay, Vietnam. I had no idea what to expect. Sadly, I don’t do as much research as I should when I come out for a new contract. I never want to get too excited in case I can’t get off the ship. Fast forward to New Year’s Day, I walked up to the office, and couldn’t believe the beautiful limestone mountains that grew out of the water. On that particular day, I wasn’t able to get to my porthole to see the view from there, and we ended up docking in Cai Lan, which is in the bay itself. So sadly, no ‘view from the porthole.’ However, on our next two visits into Halong Bay, we anchored – and used the ship’s tenders to get over to Cai Lan – providing me with a great view. I grabbed this one just the other day. I had planned to go ashore, however…one of the ship’s tenders broke down so the Captain said: “no shore leave for crew.” I was pretty bummed, just one of many little examples of why it’s not always glamorous to work on a ship! I have to say though….the view’s not too bad!
Archive for the ‘Asia’ Category
One of the great things about working on a ship is the opportunity to see some amazing places. One of those places has definitely been Vietnam. A few years ago, I never would have imagined the opportunity to travel to this country that I’ve only read about in my Political Science books and seen images on the History Channel. Ho Chi Minh City (formally Saigon – still called Saigon by many locals) is a city that has a deep history of French Colonialism, but yet today has western flairs, American influences, and growth of infrastructure such as the beautiful bridge as seen through the Porthole! This bridge is very familiar to the one we pass under in Bangkok as we sail away. As we leave Ho Chi Minh, we sail down the river for about 2 and a half hours before we reach the South China Sea. It’s usually a great opportunity to see bustling river traffic, and as the sun sets, all the fishermen’s boats with their green lights casting a glow across the water.
Christmas in Bangkok can be summed up in one word: Traffic! Bangkok was a great city, with lots to discover – unfortunately too much for just the day and a half that we were there. We have an absolutely fabulous Tour Agency that we deal with in Thailand, who was kind enough to invite some of the officers to a private club for Christmas lunch. It was a set Thai menu, and it was amazing! I was glad we went and it was good to get to meet him and his family – they are real Seabourn fans and very gracious people!
The port in Bangkok is in a location southeast of most of the sights, and there are quite a bit of security personnel that are along the dock area, including this man who I think enjoyed the lights from my Christmas tree. So blessed and happy to have my husband with me here this year – it was a very special Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in so many ways, and I couldn’t have imagined it without him! I’ll try and hit some of the sights we didn’t have a chance to see the next cruise, and send him all the pictures – maybe one day we can come back together when we have more time to explore the city and the countryside more in depth!
After our “Southern Repositioning” we have finally made it to Singapore – after offloading all guests, embarking approx 200 contractors, at 10 AM we left the cruise terminal and started cruising around the island to the northern end where the Sembawang Shipyard is located. There was a very detailed plan launched, including releasing our lifeboats, tenders and zodiacs before entering the bay where the water was slowly released until the ship was placed on blocks and sat in a dry bay for 7 days. It was nice to not have to put on make up, a uniform, and memorize guest names, yet at the same time – it was harder than actually cruising! All the extra pieces and duties that we performed really stretched our energies to the max! I think in many ways, I’m still recovering. The sounds and noises that happened throughout the evening echoes down the steel hull of the vessel, without the water we normally have to “buffer” such sounds, coupled with the shutting down of the A/C and toilet system at random times, really made for a challenging dry dock. I was so so happy to finally greet the next set of guests, even though I had to put on the make-up and uniform! Here we are….Asia!
A shot of the ship …. lifted from the water to paint, repair, and inspect the belly of our vessel! You can see some of the blue plastic on the railing that was used to protect the interior of the ship – making it very blue and smurf-like!