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Today Koh Samui was a port of call for over two thousand passengers who have been enjoying the sights and sounds of South East Asia from the luxury cruise liner the Diamond Princess.
The Diamond Princess is owned and operated by Princess Cruises. She became operational in March 2004 and primarily cruises in Alaska during the summer and Asia during the winter. This impressive ship has a tonnage of 115,875, is 952 feet long, 205 feet tall, travels at a speed of 22 knots, has eighteen decks and can carry up to 2,670 passengers.
She has five main dining rooms, a theatre, a five bars/lounges and a nightclub. Passenger services include an outdoor movie theatre, a spa, a fitness centre, four swimming pools, eight spa whirlpools, teens center, casino, wedding chapel, cafes, a nine hole putting course, duty free boutiques, a library and writing room, an art gallery, a video arcade and a medical centre. There are 1,100 staff on board to make sure the passengers are comfortable and a tour and excursion desk for those who do not want to find their own way around the fabulous places the ship visits.
The Diamond Princess docked two and a half miles off Nathon at 8-30 am this morning and the Samui Times caught up with four of her passengers from the UK, Allan, Vicky, Tim and Sue. This was the last port of call for these passengers who boarded in Singapore and had enjoyed visits to Begawan in Brunei, Nha Trang and Ving Tau in Vietnam, Sihanoukville in Cambodio and Pattaya before arriving in Koh Samui.
While many of the passengers set off on organized tours Allan and Co, having holidayed in Samui nine years ago, decided to take a taxi to the Bophut Fishermans village to find out how much it had changed, and while they noticed that it had certainly developed, they all agreed it has not lost its charm.
From there it was off to the Jungle Club for a spot of lunch and to take in the spectacular views. During lunch parakeet Lady got up close and personal and after spending some time on Allan’s shoulder decided to help Tim with his French Fries. After enjoying the amazing atmosphere on top of the mountain the four made their way back down to the ship to set sail back to Singapore from where they will fly back to the UK.
How have you enjoyed your day in Koh Samui?
It’s been really good. It was fantastic to see Bophut’s Fisherman’s Village again. We stayed in the Smile House nine years ago, and as much as we enjoyed our trip, it rained almost every day so it has been great to finally see it in the sun. The village, like the rest of the island, has clearly seen a lot of development, but the village has really kept its charm and it was great to see that our old watering hole The Billabong has not changed a bit.
We loved being at the Jungle Club, we know about it from a friend back home who spends a lot of time in Koh Samui, I don’t think we would have found it otherwise. As we didn’t get long in port it was great to be able to find the best spot and enjoy the spectacular views and a great lunch. We think the Jungle Club would make an amazing spot for the other passengers on the cruise, who have clearly missed out, but we were very glad that they did not know about it so we could enjoy it almost to ourselves.
How does Samui compare to your other ports of call?
Vicky and Sue
Well having visited Samui before we knew what to expect. The other stops have been good but as we tend not to go on the very overpriced organized shore excursions, we were disappointed in the lack of information provided for those that like to go at their own pace and find their own way around. We got very little information about the places on our itinerary and I think this was a guinea pig tour of ports that perhaps they have not visited before.
Where do the passengers onboard the Diamond Princess come from in general?
Allan and Tim
There are a lot of British passengers on board, as well as a lot of Australians, there are some from New Zealand, a few from Germany and France and some from India.
How is the food onboard?
It’s really good, we have had some amazing meals. The menus in the restaurants are really good and you can have anything on them as a main course or starter size, so if there are two things you really like on the main course, you don’t have to choose between them. One night we could not decide between the lobster and the wagyu beef so we had lobster for starter and wagyu for main. But I have to admit that now we are coming to the end of our trip I am looking forward to having something a bit more basic. Other than specialized restaurants the food is all inclusive so it’s quite easy to overeat.
Do you have any plans to visit Samui again?
We certainly do, we are thinking of coming back next year for a visit and spend some more time in and around Bophut and explore more of the island.
Had our travelers elected to go on one of those expensive organized tours they would have had the option to visit Big Buddha, Chaweng Beach, a monkey show, Wat Plai Leam, go elephant trekking, visit the Na Muang Waterfall or take a cooking class at Nora Beach.
Do they regret not taking that option?
Not at all said Allan, we had a great day and to be honest, with so little time on the island it was great to chill out and relax.
Although this is the end of the vacation for our visitors, many will be staying on board and heading to Phuket, Penang and Kuala Lumpur before disembarking back in Singapore.