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Guest Solent Richard

Ship or Shore - comparing two holidays

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Guest Solent Richard

My wife and I recently took a break from cruising and embarked on a shore based holiday to Thailand. In the main we wanted a relaxing break, sun, sea and sand and to be free of the everyday 'pressures' wink.png   of cruising.

 

Having checked in to our hotel room at the Southern Thai resort of Khao Lak the first thing I noticed was that the en-suite bathroom was one  of so-called 'natural light' ones and i was reminded of having a similar 'natural light' ensuite the previous September when we cruised on Hapag Lloyd's Europa 2...

 

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Later that morning, while lazing on a poolside sunbed (yes, we checked in at 10.30 am), I was again tempted to draw a comparison with a cruise ship's pool. And so it went on.

 

At the risk of being accused of heresy for opening a discussion between the merits of a cruise holiday vis-a-vis a foreign shore based holiday, on a dedicated cruise forum, here goes.

 

Firstly, our holiday to Thailand was a last minute deal - little difference there then - and, due to the time of year, was heavily discounted - again, no discernible difference.

 

It was advertised as a basic package, flights and hotel on a B&B basis.

 

I've already mentioned the early check-in but we were also upgraded on arrival to a Deluxe Ocean View Room ...

 

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So still no relative difference to cruising.

 

(to be continued)

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Guest Solent Richard

Ah, I hear the cry. No On Board Credit?

 

Well I have to confess we have stayed in a Centara Hotel in Thailand on previous occasions and they have a system in their hotels to encourage guest to stay within the hotel/resort.

 

It's called the Baht Bonanza...

 

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Effectively, add an amount of credit to your 'onboard' account and they will add a bonus percentage, that percentage depending on how much you initially deposit. The minimum amount at this hotel was 10,000 Thai baht and on that figure they would add 50%...

 

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We're in business folks.

 

(to be continued)

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Guest Solent Richard

Of course I have used the pools on board cruise ships but let's face it, they aren't exactly that great for swimming, not even on my favourite QM2...

 

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So when it comes to taking a dip I'm afraid the Centara (and most resort hotels I stay in) come out tops...

 

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(to be continued)

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Guest Solent Richard

Now to the tricky subject of food.

 

Yes, one's food on a cruise ship is included in the price: that is as long as a passenger doesn't venture into the speciality restaurants.

 

Breakfasts in the Centara were pretty standard affairs when compared to cruise ships. They had a dedicated breakfast restaurant, called The Orchid...

 

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...with full buffet facilities...

 

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...including the ubiquitous 'egg station'...

 

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But this wasn't the 'Horizon' on Britannia...

 

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...and I'd be the first to confess that turkey sausage and crispy 'American' bacon wears a bit thin after a couple of days.

 

Breakfast then has to be a great cruising institution.

 

Talking of breakfast...(to be continued)

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Guest Solent Richard

Good afternoon and now for the 'touchy' subject on holidays - Gratuities.

 

Like all good major hotels abroad there is a ' + + ' sting in the tail so there isn't a lot to choose between ship and shore.

 

Centara's ++ was 10% for Gratuities and 7% for Tax. ..

 

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I'd roughly say that's a draw thins on most accounts one cannot escape it.

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Guest Solent Richard

Talking of the Spa - well most cruise ships I'v been on have then and this hotel did also...

 

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Why not indulge oneself, after all, you're on holiday? 

 

One range of Spa treatments I've not encountered at sea was a 'Honeymooner's celebration package'...

 

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Something for him and her even when one doesn't happen to be on honeymoon..

 

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5000 Baht ++ for two and a half hours of sheer bliss.

 

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Cheers

 

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Guest Solent Richard

I'd better continue with food because this can be a game changer for some folk.

 

I'd mentioned we'd booked on a B&B package so we had the option to dine when and where we liked. Kind of a Freedom Dining on a grand scale.

 

There was some delightful food to be had in the hotel's main restaurant...

 

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But, for the true taste of Thailand and its seafood, there were just so many choices in the 'speciality' restaurants on our doorstep...

 

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...and our favourite, MoJo's...

 

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Just a sample...

 

Thai Fishcakes...

 

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Steamed Red Snapper...

 

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and this local speciality, Prawn Hot Plate...

 

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So on balance, food and the options to freedom dine as and when, shoreside got our  vote.

 

Well it had to really...

 

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Guest Solent Richard

Finally for today, no holiday or cruise would be complete without the excursion.

 

We did two, One booked and one kind of DIY.

 

The booked one was a full day on a Siamese Junk sailing to the Phang Nga National park which just happens to be the home of 'James Bond Island'...

 

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The DIY day was very different.

 

Khao lak was one of the worst affected resorts when the 2004 Tsunami hit Thailand and other coastal areas in the region.

 

This is a Photograph I took when returning to Khao Lak Marina,on a Scuba Dive boat, 7 days after the Tsunami hit...

 

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I saw first hand the devastation to the area and so on this trip I took my wife to one of the local memorials and museum to the Tsunami victims...

 

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The grounded warship I had pictured was close to the sea. This smaller police boat was washed some quarter of a mile inland...

 

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...and is an iconic local reminder to the power of nature.

 

(To be continued)

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Hi SR,

 

Superb post, as per.

 

Just love the look of that Tuna starter.

 

We've always viewed cruises as a way of finding those places we'd like to spend more time.

 

Only problem is, we seem to be rapidly running out of time to see 'em all!!

 

Thanks again.

 

DavidH

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Guest 132LK132

A number of observations from the rather unobservant:

 

As a high end luxury cruiser I am surprised that you post such a topic with such a focus on financial matters.

 

Hope you enjoyed your budget spa day, apart from the tax and service charges, its entire cost seems to have been covered by your 'free money'. For the complete picture what did you spend the last 1200 odd THBs on?

 

Also noted the bill is issued to your dear wife. Did she treat you? Who's decision was that you sleep in separate beds? Of course you were in Thailand, you may have been  expecting company?  After such activities  you certainly would be in the Land of Smiles or would that be in your case the Land of Nod?

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I visited Thailand the Easter after the Tsunami hit and the devastation of the Tsunami was very clear to see. I am travelling to thailand again inMarch and will be going to Khao Lak which ive never been to before, is the Tsunami Memorial Museum in Khao Lak?

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Guest Solent Richard

Great post with some amazing photos Richard! The Siamese junk sailing looked amazing... What would you say was the best of your holiday?

 

Thanks for the kind comments everyone.

 

The best day of the holiday was the Siamese Junk ride. 

 

The company have now added me to their 'June Bahtra Facebook'  page

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Guest Solent Richard

Lol..just like my dear old dad..any excuse to show off his holiday snaps..

Visitors made excuses to leave when he got the slide projector out.

 

 

A number of observations from the rather unobservant:

 

As a high end luxury cruiser I am surprised that you post such a topic with such a focus on financial matters.

 

Hope you enjoyed your budget spa day, apart from the tax and service charges, its entire cost seems to have been covered by your 'free money'. For the complete picture what did you spend the last 1200 odd THBs on?

 

Also noted the bill is issued to your dear wife. Did she treat you? Who's decision was that you sleep in separate beds? Of course you were in Thailand, you may have been  expecting company?  After such activities  you certainly would be in the Land of Smiles or would that be in your case the Land of Nod?

 

Good Morning Terminator.

Credit where credit is due and that wasn't  a bad first stab. Unfortunately somewhat short of the mark.

As always my aim is to get forum members involved, some in particular: and as now  illustrated that was very easily achieved.

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Guest Solent Richard

 Who's decision was that you sleep in separate beds? Of course you were in Thailand, you may have been  expecting company?  After such activities  you certainly would be in the Land of Smiles or would that be in your case the Land of Nod?

 

Good morning Les.

 

Not up to your usual observant self I'm afraid. 

 

Two beds in the room, yes, but each were doubles - spot the pillows?

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Guest Solent Richard

A number of observations from the rather unobservant:

 

 

Also noted the bill is issued to your dear wife. Did she treat you? 

 

 

Good morning again. 

 

Purely chronologically based. My dear wife's Amex card's statement date falls 14 days after mine thus meaning that with the later payment date the whole holiday charge was easily met out of pension cashflow as opposed to drawing on savings.

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Guest Solent Richard

A number of observations from the rather unobservant:

 

As a high end luxury cruiser I am surprised that you post such a topic with such a focus on financial matters.

 

 

And finally from me before breakfast.

 

Having returned yesterday from a Viking River Cruise in the South of France...

 

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...may I warmly suggest you avoid reading the review for fear of hitting financial apoplexy.

 

However, if you do then I would advise a double dose of the old Ramipril. 

 

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Guest Solent Richard

Now back to the Ship or Shore debate.

 

The next subject has to be 'the shops'. All cruise lines have them, some more than others and they generate a variety of comments from cruisers. Both my wife and I enjoy a little retail therapy onboard but generally avoid the 'tat' found on the sale day tables.

 

Shoreside in Thailand is a different matter entirely. One of my greatest pleasures is visiting the local tailor shops where made to measure clothes of every description can be made and purchased in days...

 

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Anybody recognise a similar Tux that i spotted outside one tailor?...

 

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The other shopping phenomena in Thailand now is spectacles and trust me, they have some superb sets on sale and all come with an eye test on some of the late equipment...

 

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So on balance I'd say that shoreside wins hands down in this category.

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