Many have not the experience to share about being on a cruise.
It was very fortunate of us to have been given the opportunity by Eye Society and Star Cruises to experience a trip as glamorous as a 3 city cruise.
Let’s get some things out of the way. No, it’s not the best means of being able to exprience and explore a foreign country as it only give about 7-9 hours of stay per visit. Enough to get the photos you’ve always wanted, enough to purchase things not originally nor easily available in your country, in our case, the Philippines.
Think of it as a 5 day hotel stay that miraculously opens up to another country after every night.
The experience is something to share all on its own, provided that you have the financial capacity to spend.
The package alone provides all the essentials and then some of serviced cabins, three meals a day, and the standard amenities like that of the pool, the gym, entertainment and the tranquil call of the sea.
The first stop was a little bit of a stretch, almost literally, as the province is not easily accessible through sea aside from the liner anchoring from afar and ferry the passengers onboard a smaller craft.
There was not much to experience apart from the scenic shots with the bell tower, streets and alleys that preserved the Spanish era feels and the best carrot cake ever!
After last minute check on boat needs, it’s back to the ferry to board the ship and off to the next stop for us.
It wasn’t the capital of Taiwan, far from it but Kaoshiung was more than enough for another 8 hours allotted to go buy things not readily available back home, street food, and ootd shots at specific points of the countryside.
Fortunately Taiwan’s MRT system is more than effiicient in bringing us around Kaohsiung. Without any research, we happened on the shopping district that, unfortunately comes alive from late in the afternoon. Everything before the night market comes alive, closes down like the noodle place we had breakfast with.
It was interesting, easily affordable, and not enough to immerse yourself in the culture, sadly. Next stop: Hong Kong.
The main goal in Hong Kong was to eat. Eat whatever we come accross with that’s not readily available in the Philippines or was originally available in Hong Kong. Eat we did but we focused on Mongkok since the Sunday market closes down and entire street just to sell goods to those looking to strike a great deal through a specific set of steps that will only work if you follow it to a tee.
Here’s the tip:
Never ask for how much anything is unless you’re sure you want to buy it.
You may touch and test out items but never ask how much it is unless you’ve set your heart on it.
The moment you decide, ask “how much?”
The salesperson will almost always use a calculator to show you the value even if you spoke it in Chinese since Cantonese may be difficult to understand.
If you have a good grasp of math, ask for 3/4 of half the price.
keep adding smaller increments until you reach half and stay there.
If the salesperson doesn’t budge, walk away. Like seriously, walk away.
The salesperson will start running after you and tell you “ok, ok. (your price)”
Don’t be offended when they call you “cheap.”
The Cruise Ship
After the 3-day mini city tours you get to spend an entire day in the ship and immerse in the in-cruise entertainement ranging from dance and magic performances, the lounge area decked with PS4s and Xboxes, the pool, the library, the jacuzzi, the gym, the salon, the mini basketball court, and the mini driving range among many others.
A serviced stay with excellent staff, good food, and the prospect of showing up in a different country every morning works well for those that want to fit in as much experience they want crammed in a few days. Yes, it’s not enough time to take the whole country in, but it’s enough for a glimpse of what you can come back to the moment you do decide to go back.
It’s definitely not for everyone, no. But it’s an experience all together packed in one full complete package.