I recently returned from a cruise in South East Asia on Sapphire Princess. Sapphire Princess is sister ship to Diamond Princess who is currently cruising around New Zealand and Australia. She is a large ship with gross tonnage of almost 116,000 and can carry over 2670 passengers. Although she can carry a large number of passengers Sapphire Princess has plenty of space onboard so you can always find somewhere to sit back and relax in peace.
Our cruise started in Singapore which is one of my favourite cities. Singapore is extremely clean, well organised and a great destination if you love shopping. I would also recommend visiting Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands Skypark and the iconic Raffles Hotel.
After spending time in Singapore our first Port of Call was Port Kelang, Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur). As we only had limited time in each destination and they were all new to us we decided to do a shore excursion in each port. For Kuala Lumpur our excursion included the Petronas Twin Towers and the Skybridge which were definitely worth seeing. It also included Independence Square, National Monument and some free time at the huge shopping mall Suria KLCC.
The next morning we called into Penang, Malaysia. In Penang we chose to do the Temple of Ten Thousand Buddha's tour. This was a great experience and we visited a number of temples including the Reclining Buddha Temple and Kek Lok Si Temple which is the largest Buddhist temple in South East Asia.
Our final port was Phuket, Thailand. We spent an amazing day here visiting Phi Phi Island. The speed boat trip to get there definitely isn't for the faint hearted as it can take 45-60 minutes and it is extremely bumpy (even on a good day!). We visited Maya Beach, the location for the movie "The Beach", did some snorkelling, had a lovely lunch at an eco resort before spending some time in Phuket town.
We then had one relaxing day at sea before returning to Singapore where we spent our last day on Sentosa Island. There is plenty to do on Sentosa and it is a great choice for families. The island's attractions include Universal Studio's, Singapore Cable Car, Zipline and Aerial Adventure Park, the iconic Merlion, Underwater world plus plenty of restaurants just to name a few.
We flew home on Singapore Airlines in their new Premium Economy Class. It was a great experience with comfortable seats and great service. Singapore Airlines have a new service called Book the Cook which is available on some flights for Premium Economy and Business Class passengers. This allows you to pre-book your meals before you leave giving you a larger selection to choose from (including some local South East Asian dishes such as Nasi Lomak and Nasi Biryani). We ordered Dinner and Breakfast and would highly recommend trying it.
A cruise is a great way to see South East Asia and we were able to experience a mix of cities, shopping, beaches, temples and culture all in 5 days. Although our trip was brief it gave us a great taster of the region and we will definitely go back for longer.