Thursday, 15 October 2009

Venturing Forth On Virgo

Cashew Factory - Phuket Roger Smith

Two days ago we returned from a four day cruise aboard the Superstar Virgo, on of the Star Cruises vessels and the largest of its fleet.

Having cruised on Superstar Leo several years ago our expectations were high. The newer ship did not disappoint. I would strongly recommend going Balcony Class as we did; it may cost a little more but one receives preferential treatment including boarding and disembarkation as well as seating in the Lido Theatre.

The cabin on deck 11 was clean, tidy and comfortable and the service we received from the cabin crew was very good. They consisted in main of stewards and stewardesses from the Philippines and China with a few Korean and Indian staff also in the contingent.

Our fellow passengers came from Asia and Australia. Quite naturally there were a large proportion of Singaporeans many of whom had cruised with Star Cruises more than twenty times.
Of the more than a thousand passengers on board about a quarter were from India. The latter were consistently late in boarding and returning to coaches during the day excursions in Penang and Phuket.

One matriarch whom we encountered on our Phuket day trip was exceedingly demanding and arrogant. She remained cast like a sari-ed whale in the bus instead of getting down at several of the stops, spoke loudly to her two spinster daughters when the tour guide was attempting to speak to passengers and did not endear herself to her fellow passengers in any way, shape or form.

Food - As with all cruises life consists of endless eating! We had our breakfasts and lunches in Bella Vista restaurant on deck six. The first lunch and dinner we had in this restaurant were excellent and set our expectations for the trip. Unfortunately the Gala night fare at Bella Vista and the subsequent lunches and dinners were not up to the same standard as our first experience; rock-hard profiteroles, less than warm fish dishes did not impress.

The highlight was using up our free $200 credit for food and beverage which one receives as a balcony class member. We chose to have an Italian meal in the Palazzo restaurant which was superb.

Entertainment in the Lido Theatre was of a high standard with the most impressive being the Brazilian dancers and a troupe of Chinese acrobats who performed atop a white grand piano. A classy production all round.

We would not bother with the day trips again in either Penang or Phuket and many of the 'regulars' stayed aboard the ship. The cashew factory in Phuket was of interest but Patong Beach, which received the brunt of the Boxing Day tsunami, was a typical Thai beach resort full of tatooed Expats and massage joints.

A selection of images from the trip can be seen in this online flip book.

Click on the flipbook to view

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