Day 1 – Sunday
This was our 3rd cruise, 2nd with Star having done their 7N Straits of Malacca from KL on the Gemini last year. Also did a 7N Western Caribbean on the Carnival Glory last year. Boarded at Ocean terminal HK mid afternoon, went pretty well, less queues than I remember last year on the Gemini, although we were plucked a couple of times out of the line and fast tracked – I have no idea why, but wasn’t complaining. Passports are kept by Star as you board the ship.
Very happy with our room, this was our first balcony room 10538 and was lovely to have a view/chairs to ourselves. Beds were set up as single, so we asked the room stewart to put them together, which eventually happened later that night. Unfortunately he didn’t use the proper cover that zips them together, so we had the nice gap in the middle to get stuck in occasionally! Others we met on the cruise mentioned theirs were put together with the cover/no gap so we asked again, got lots of nodding and yes’s, but nothing changed. Not much of a drama, and beds were very comfy so that’s the main thing.
If you’re in a balcony room, you actually get a 30min headstart (open at 4pm) on booking the restaurant you’d like for the Gala Dinner on Tuesday. This is not well announced, you need to read the fine print on the Star Navigator (daily news sheet). So we headed down at 4pm, put our name down for Noble House, the Chinese restaurant early sitting, and 5 minutes it was announced that Noble House was fully booked. On formal night you can book the 2 main restaurants (Bella Vista & Pavillion), or balcony class can also book 2 of the speciality restaurants that would usually involve an extra cost for no charge (Noble House – Chinese & Samurai – Japanese), hence our decision to go for Noble House.
We had dinner that night in the Pavillion (Chinese), some of the dishes we really enjoyed (delicious duck and also scallop dish), but others were (as you’d expect) more traditional Chinese, but was fun to try for a night. The show that night was “Street Life” with various forms of dance performed, as well as acrobatic displays from China & Belarus. There was also a magician who was fairly lame, particularly his “robot magician” act, but show is definitely worth seeing for the acrobats.
Later that night 4 synchronised swimmers from Belarus performed in the pool, and boy were they great. Like most people, we’ve usually rubbished synchronised swimming as a sport, but when you see the athleticism, strength and timing required, it was very impressive and entertaining to watch.
Headed to bed to crash then……Day 2 in Sanya, Hainan Island, China to come….