I am sitting at the Hong Kong Ferry terminal waiting to get a ferry to Macau for a night after three days in Hong Kong and then we say goodbye to our wonderful travelling companions Robbie and Rod before heading back to Hong Kong for the final two days before returning home to Perth.

the cruise experience was a wonderful one and on reflection it was so great to be with a group of like minded people from around the world. Pied Piper do gay cruises well and the 40 or so of us had the most memorable time over the 15 days we were together. They organised lunches, dinners, cocktail parties and as I have said before we took over the martini bar each night before dinner for our daily catch ups with everyone to see how the day had panned for us all! whether at sea or in port we all always had stories to tell.

As we had visited all of the ports we were stopping at this was about the cruise and the chance to relax and unwind and we certainly did that. We had a fantastic time all the way and did get off the ship from time to time and as mentioned before had a great time in Hoi Ahn and Halong bay was stunning as always and on the second day we hired a cars and explored the old city and experienced the markets and wonders that were on offer.

Then it was dinner ashore at a local Vietnamese seafood restaurant with some of the guys we had connected with on the cruise and some local tastes such as squid, local fish, vegetables that were all cooked to perfection and to go with that we were up on the third floor overlooking the bay. It was the perfect end to our two day stop in Halong Bay.

Back on board for a final day at sea, the final formal night and the final dinner with all our fellow Pied Pipers before being docked in Hong Kong for a day. This last day at sea was probably a little rougher than any of the other days and we had stocked up on ginger tablets and dutifully took them in the morning and it seemed to settle me down and I had a gat final day on sea. Trevor was a little unsettled but not majorly and we gathered had cocktails, a group photograph on the grand staircase and then dinner followed by show time in the theatre and the final show for the cruise. Like with all cruises, we were told, the shows we hit and miss but this final night show was great and we all had a great time and it was a perfect way to finish the sailing time and head into Hong Kong.

We had booked the wine and cheese tasting for our final day at sea and enjoyed the chance to sit, learn and taste some great wines and some lovely cheeses from around the world…just another on board experience to add to the time on board!

We still had one night on board before we headed to our accommodation in Hong Kong and a full day to re acquaint ourselves with Hong Kong as it has been a number of years since we were last here.

We headed out early and caught the free shuttle from the bus into the city and got our Octopus cards to enable us to travel around on the impressive underground train network for the duration of our trip.

One of the wonderful aspects of the octopus cards is that you can use them for transport as well as purchases in a number of shops and restaurants and you can reload them all the time a very sensible thing to have and it makes things so much easier.

So the shops beckoned and we shopped with a vengeance and saw some sights before heading back to the ship for our final night before embarkation. then it was time to say goodbye to our new found friends from around the world. We met some great guys from Sydney, Melbourne, the Gold Coast, Holland and of course the US. They were fantastic and it was so nice to be with a group that were fun, personable and sharing. There were also two wonderful women as part of our group – Joyce and Karen were from Florida and they were sitting with us each night at dinner and they were fantastic women to get to know over the course of the cruise.

Final night drinks and then to bed early before a final restaurant breakfast and departure off the boat and into our hotel in Hong Kong…

I think for us to do another cruise it would have to be as part of a group like the one we travelled with as it made all the difference. Everyone got on well and I think we all made some great friends in our time on board. If it was just the two of us I think it would have been good but having a group made for fun! interesting experiences, the chance to make new friends and to create a different type of holiday.

but that next part of the story will have to wait as we a off to board our turbo jet for Macau.

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