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MJN1

“Live“ from the S.Wind (SIN-Thailand-Vietnam-HGK)

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To get maximum use of the new internet packages :D, a “running commentary” on this cruise. We returned with some trepidation to the Wind as we “jumped ship” last year - frustrated with the continuous “penny-pinching” on SS - and enjoyed Seabourn nine months ago. However, so-far, all smooth and enjoyable sailing!

DAY 1

We boarded around around 1pm , no lines, but the luggage took about 3h to make it through the screening and loading process. There are 382 people on board, 220 crew and 162 pax, i.e. the ship is

just 55% full! Captain Palmieri is in command, Colin Brown is CD, Gianni Dotti the hotel director and Hedi Maitre`D. So everything in good hands. Rather strong vibrations as the Wind sails at full speed with the stabilizers out, north along the Malaysian Coast. Restaurant is (obviously given the occupancy rate) half empty. Initial food impression is good, although the cheeses are a bit on the old side... Marilyn is heading the bar at the Panorama Lounge so drinks appear like magic.

DAY 2 - Lazy Day at Sea

Three couples for breakfast in the restaurant, and similar number at lunch. Afternoon Tea (Viennese Coffee them today) is served in La Terrazza (instead of the Panorama Lounge we are used too), and a pretty empty affair, also in terms of pastry choices. But we are eating too much anyway... :eek: Formal night has an about even split between tuxedos and suits and tonight´s show are British songs from the 60s & 70s.

DAY 3 – Koh Samui

We anchor pretty far off shore, We decided to forego the usual elephant, monkeys and temple tour and as the tender ride is30min each way spend the half day here on board. The weather is sunny and hot, the sea very calm as the Wind sails again. Only one person at the afternoon Yoga class, free machines at the gym and Colin does a nice job at Sunday service for four.

DAY 4 – Bangkok

We arrive under cloudy skies and now it is raining. The Whisper sails up the river behind us, both ships turn in the midst of the river and dock right next to the terminal building. Off to the Spa at the Oriental now...

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Enjoy y'alls Wind voyage! If time, next time you see Gianni pls pass Ida and my warm regards along. Yesterday, we had three folks in our Yoga class on board the Spirit.

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I will be boarding her in two weeks time in Singapore. Reading earlier threads the HD was Helmut and the Maitre D Sergio. So a change of staffing since Hong Kong. do you know who is behind the bar on deck 5 and on pool deck? Head waiter in La Terrazza?

Also has the always available choice changed in the evenings in the MDR? And does dinner still start at 7pm? Will have to start packing soon as spending a few days in lovely Singapore prior to boarding. Have read with interest Jeff UK input on Singapore recently on a different thread. If you pick this thread up JeffUK are the taxis reliable/safe in Singapore for a lady on her own? It is a number of years since I last visited, loved the experience, people etc, but alas that was when my husband was alive. Have read that the red Hoppa bus is not very reliable. Staying again at the shangrila valley wing, so just a gentle stroll to Orachard Rd

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Have read with interest Jeff UK input on Singapore recently on a different thread. If you pick this thread up JeffUK are the taxis reliable/safe in Singapore for a lady on her own? It is a number of years since I last visited, loved the experience, people etc, but alas that was when my husband was alive. Have read that the red Hoppa bus is not very reliable. Staying again at the shangrila valley wing, so just a gentle stroll to Orachard Rd

 

Hi LH, happy to help.

 

Taxis in Singapore are very safe and reliable and very cheap. I am so sorry to hear that this will be a visit without your late husband, but I am sure his spirit and memory will be with you during this trip.

 

If you have any specific questions that you think I can help with by all means ask them on the cooler which is more of a free for all.

 

Jeff

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DAY 5 - Bangkok

Had dinner at the Hot Stones last night. Great steak, both size- and quality wise. We are really impressed by the staff. They seem to be more involved than usual and we have seen (for us new) nice little touches (adding a splash of Olive oil on the hot stone before putting the shrimps on for example).

One could complain that the Wind is in dire need of a dry dock. All areas look freshly painted, but when you look closely (e.g. the iron-wires outside La Terrazza) they are close to bursting from rust hidden under several layers of paint. Maybe a thorough sandblasting of all surfaces and a new coat on steel could remove several tons of rust and paint from the ship. The wooden decks all look cleanly scrubbed, but once you look closer missing wooden disk reveal the metal screws below. And, yes the lace curtain in the cabin needs replacing and the bathtub some repairs. But none of this is so obvious that it interferes with the enjoyment of the cruise.

Nothing better in Bangkok than sitting on the terrace at the Oriental, a balcony of the Shangri-La or in our case today the balcony of our suite and watching the river (traffic) flow by. :) Thus no excursion today, but lunch “next door” on the Silver Whisper. Interestingly, the menu – apart from the soup – is identical to the one on the Wind today. Run into Fernando (why does not SS publish on which cruises he will be next year?!) and then have coffee with Anita. Many other familiar faces on board.

Excellent dinner with shrimp filled ravioli and thinly sliced duck-breast at LT. Half-portions are a standard option on the electronic ordering pads, so the meal does not become excessive. Colin on the Piano and two of the singers perform a delightful show of classical music love songs.

To answer some of the questions: Helmut is on the Whisper now. Tayfun Zor is Headwater at LT. Still need to check Bar on 5. Dinner at LT starts at 7pm, at 7:30pm in the Restaurant. The “always available choice” does rotate (e.g. Beef carpaccio, onion soup or back ribs on one day, beef tartare, lobster bisque and pork chop on another), but the steak selection is always there.

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Thanks, MJN1 for taking the time to post your experiences. The rest of us appreciate your efforts during your vacation time! It is great to hear about the Wind and staff - my husband and I will be boarding in about 2 weeks in Singapore.

 

Hard to think that we will be leaving this cold cold NorthEast and to then be sweating in Singapore in just mere days!

 

Again, thanks - and enjoy the rest of your cruise!

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MJN1, the rumour is that Fernando will only do the World Cruise next year, and that will be his last.

 

Interesting to see that Helmut is on the Whisper at present. Does anyone know if he will be there until the end of this year's World Cruise?

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DAY 6 – at Sea ColWes – greetings delivered and returned

Pool Bar – Oxeno

The latest SS “experience”: a Hongkong tailor is now on board to take your measures and will deliver your order in HGK...:rolleyes:

Otherwise smooth sailing on calm and sunny seas in the Gulf of Thailand en-route to Saigon.

We are not much into entertainment, but the shift from hiring aspiring dancers via a USA agency to qualified singers via one from UK has resulted – IMHO – better performances.

We are less enthusiastic about some of the breakfast offerings at LT: the Muesli is a rather watery affair and the scrambled eggs looked, tasted and felt like using a pre-mix (we were assured they are using fresh eggs). If you want mango or papaya, they are available if you ask.

SilverSpectre - we better book a leg of the 2016 world cruise...

Looks like Helmut just moved from Wind to Whisper based on earlier postings about the Wind in this region. Guess only, but with this year´s WC ending in less than 2 months (May 1), he may stay untill then.

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MJN1, the rumour is that Fernando will only do the World Cruise next year, and that will be his last.

 

Interesting to see that Helmut is on the Whisper at present. Does anyone know if he will be there until the end of this year's World Cruise?

 

If Helmet is on the Whisper he must be hiding since we left LA in January on the World Cruise! Norman is Hotel Director as usual.

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MJN1, the rumour is that Fernando will only do the World Cruise next year, and that will be his last.

 

Interesting to see that Helmut is on the Whisper at present. Does anyone know if he will be there until the end of this year's World Cruise?

 

If Helmut is on the Whisper he must be hiding since we left LA in January on the World Cruise! Norman is Hotel Director as usual.

Edited by Capt.F
Typo

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If Helmut is on the Whisper he must be hiding since we left LA in January on the World Cruise! Norman is Hotel Director as usual.

 

Apologies - looks like I am mixing up names and faces... (never one of my strenghts :mad:)

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DAY 7 – Saigon (HoChiMinhCity)

We arrived at the pilot station at 7:30 am and the Wind curved up the river like a giant slalom skier, without stabilizers the ship rolled nicely left and right. Heavy river traffic delayed our arrival by about 15min and we docked right at the small port terminal in the middle of the city. Really HOT today. After nearly a week of leisure we have four intensive excursion days ahead of us.

As a starter we had a private tour to the Cu Chi Tunnel complex, which is really worth seeing. Thanks to all CCposters who recommended Ann Tours! Back after 5pm for beer and canapees. :) Princess our Philippine butler us doing a great job spoiling us. Restaurant was quite empty tonight, we were lucky to fill a table of six, as many went on an evening dinner tour. The menu sofar was the “usual” SS fare, but tonight there were primarily Vietnamese dishes on the menu (and the spring-rolls frankly not very good, rather thick dough than crisp pastry).

 

 

DAY 8 – Saigon

Citytour with Ann Tours started at 7:15 :eek:. Thanks for in-room dining and Princess serving an outstanding breakfast! Visited the Palace (opens 7:30am), the War Museum, Cathedral, Post Office, Market – a great sightseeing tour. Returned to ship just before “All onboard”. At 1pm the Wind set sail downriver (minus 10pax who are taking a two nights trip to Angkor Wat), while we enjoy Nasi Goreng in the Restaurant. Now off to the Gym and catching up with yesterday´s lecture – much better on TV working out than sitting in the dark Parisian Lounge.:rolleyes:

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DAY 9 – Nha Trang

Dinner at La Champagne last night. Food OK, a bit too “heavy” for us. The menu was a la carte (two appetizers, soup, main, dessert – with a selection of three to four for each). Personally, we preferred the “theme” nights (French, Spanish, North American, etc.) they had before. Occupancy: three tables of two and a boisterous group of eight USA/Aussies (sorry), so loud we had to change to a more secluded table to be able to have a conversation ourselves.:rolleyes:

Docked today at Nha Trang around 7:30. The city is basically skyscraper hotels along a very long sandy beach. We had signed up for the Silver Shore Expedition Biking Tour, advertised as “explore the beautiful Vietnamese country side and village lifestyles” and taking us to the same sights as the usual bus tour. We knew it was going to be hot and sunny and that we had to pedal a bike for four hours incl. stops. We did not know that the tour would start in the city, the “safety briefing” for a group of twenty was one sentence (“Follow me and stay in one single file”) and that the “equipment” did NOT include a bike-helmet! :eek: So we navigated through the throng of Vietnamese motorbikes and cars (turning left against incoming traffic) until we finally reached (a bit) less crowded village roads. Unfortunately the visit to the famous towers was only a 2min photo stop through the fence. It was fun for some, but outright scary for others and the lack of any helmets completely irresponsible from a safety POV. We did mention this to the shore excursion desk, but sofar no response...:mad:

 

 

DAY 10 – Chan May

This port is truly in the middle of nowhere. A long day with Ann Tours to the old imperial city of Hue with its many sights. Definitely a must see! Captain´s farewell part tonight. Guess we start packing tomorrow...:cool:

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DAY 11 & 12 Day at Sea & Disembarkation HGK

We came off the Wind yesterday so time to sum it up: it was a great cruise! Yes, the ship is in dire need of a dry-dock. The food was a bit bland overall and one had to really push to get another wine offered besides the one being designated for that lunch/dinner. Given the quality of some of the food (e.g. cold cuts, cheeses or the Muesli at La Terrazza) it looks like that the prevailing cost cutting has now reached what can be spend on food ingredients.:rolleyes: And one of our (Silversea) dinner hosts summed it up succinctly one evening: “Unfortunately, there are so many new people at Headquarters who have no idea what Silversea was all about”....

So despite of all this, why was this a “great” cruise? First, the itinerary and the split between relaxing days at sea /in port and great (privately arranged) sight seeing opportunities. Second, the crew truly made one feel special. We have never seen the value of the butler system before, but having this time (and what comes may be called sexist, racist and politically incorrect) the service mindset of a female Filipino butler(ess) :Dcompared to the nose-high attitude of her male colleagues from a previously British ruled subcontinent (apologies to everyone who is now offended) made a world of difference. Last, at the last dinner at La Terrazza wife asked “would it be possible that...” and the immediate answer was “Everything is possible, Mrs. Name, let me go and check”.

Thus – despite all shortcomings and our waning hope that someday the folks at HQ will understand what an Italian luxury line was and can be – we will be back and booked on board.

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Delighted to hear your final comments as we have 40/50 days confirmed on the Wind.The views expressed by your SS dinner host coincide with our experience over the last 2 years.Lets hope the owners and top management start listening to clients valid criticisms as well as the voices of their own excellent officers and staff aboard the SS fleet,so we can all continue to enjoy the SS experience.

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