Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Sign in to follow this  
TGBoss

port in Ho Chi Minh

Recommended Posts

We are sailing on the Silver Spirit in February. I am having a hard time finding out exactly where the Spirit will dock in Ho Chi Minh City. All of the details listed just show Ho Chi Minh City, but on other stops they show a different docking location for the port we are visiting. For example, our documents state we will be docking in Laem Chabang for Bangkok.

 

I asked our travel agent and all she could get was Ho Chi Minh City. Anyone know exactly? trying to set up a private excursion. thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm 99% sure the Spirit is too large to use the docks on the Saigon river like the Shadow and Whisper do.  Therefore, in all likelihood, you will be with the other large cruise ships at Phu My on the South China Sea near the beach resort of Vung Tao.  Ho Chi Minh City is roughly 80 miles away reached by an expressway that was built in 2014.  The traffic can be horrendous with one way journeys taking up to 2-1/2 hours.

It's such a shame you'll be forced to use Laem Chabang for Bangkok too as the Shadow and Whisper are able to travel up the Chao Phraya River and dock super close to the city center at Klong Toey.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

we have already booked a hotel for 1 night in Bangkok, so that we won't waste all our time going back and forth!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, TGBoss said:

we have already booked a hotel for 1 night in Bangkok, so that we won't waste all our time going back and forth!

Great move!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Silver Muse and Silver Spirit dock at ports on the Saigon River, usually Hiep Phouc port but sometimes Tang Cang port.  Heip Phouc is about 30 minutes from the city center, Tang Cang is a bit futher at about 45 minutes from the city center - although traffic can add a few minutes.  The smaller ships (Whisper/Shadow or Wind/Cloud) could go further and dock very close to the center of Ho Chi Mihn City but this is not practical with the larger vessels.  These  "River ports" also used by Seabourn, Regent, Oceana and other vessels.....say up to around 50,000 tons.  Vung Tau is used for mega ships (like Royal Caribbean vessels) and is very far, almost 3 hours with traffic, from the city.  Vung Tau is a vitally important commercial port for Viet Nam and will not tie up a position at that port for a smaller cruise ship. (There have been stories of large cruise liners getting turned away at Vung Tau, even with a confirmed slot, in order to accommodate more shipping traffic.)

 

I have been advised that the exact docking position in Ho Chi Mihn City is really not known by the cruise lines until about 24 to 48 hours in advance; that being said, SIlversea usually gets a good spot since most of their cruises have 2 overnights in port at Ho Chi Mihn City and therefore there is a lot of touring activity which makes lots of money for the port (there is a fee based system).  Private tour operators understand the situation and will determine where the ship is docked and will meet you at the appropriate port location: to be extra careful, check with the Tour Desk or Guest services the day before arrival to confirm the port position and call/text your guide with the information.  (Suggestion: download Whatsapp - everyone uses it in Asia.)

 

On our first cruise to Viet Nam in 1997 (on the Island Princess - before we became very fancy Silversea regulars), we docked literally in downtown Saigon (this location is no longer used) and it was amazing; the ship was only about 17,000 tons so navigation of the river was possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is absolutely true that these things can change at the last minute.

 

So I would not worry about this.

 

If you book the tour privately your driver will know.  They always figure it out.

 

On a related note don't be surprised if your company asks for your passport numbers, names on the passport, etc.  They require this to get into the port to meet you.  It's no big deal but people worry about it which is why I bring it up.

 

As to the location should it be a remote location these days it's not as big a deal as it used to be as they have a much better way of getting to and from the city.

 

Enjoy your time there.  There is much to do and see.  

 

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, LAL Cruiser said:

e docked literally in downtown Saigon (this location is no longer used) and it was amazing; the ship was only about 17,000 tons so navigation of the river was possible.

In February we docked where I would call downtown.  The bus ride was less than 5 minutes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To Keith 1010:

You are correct concerning private guides needing passenger passport information in Viet Nam (not just Ho Chi Mihn City) to access the port area: Viet Nam loves bureaucracy and there is lots of paperwork (and fees) connected with cruises and tourism.

 

To Hot Root:

Which ship were you on last February?  I think that the Whisper operated the Asian program last winter and the Whisper, being smaller, can go further up the river to (almost) downtown Saigon.  The Muse and Spirit cannot navigate that far up the River due to their larger size, thus, the dock on the River about 30 minutes from the Downtown area.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Regent Navigator is the ship Hot Root and  were on last February. There is a bridge over the river before arriving in downtown Saigon. Only ships low enough to go under the bridge can dock there.

Peggy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the info on this.  I'm on the Spirit in December -- first time on Silversea (or any luxury line), or on a ship this small, or on an Asian cruise (although we travelled between Taiwan, HK, Thailand, and Singapore the same time last year).  I always thought my first Asian cruise would be on one of the mega-liners and that a 3+ hour trip from a container port was inevitable, so it's nice to hear that there is a closer port (even if it's not quite downtown).  Any chance it's the same in Bangkok, i.e. a middle-ground docking location for the Spirit?

 

I also wanted to ask anyone who sailed to Vietnam in the past year, if Silversea absolutely handles the visa requirement for all passengers on board?  I assume it's a non-issue for my group anyway because we're taking their excursions each day (to blow through the OBC); I just don't want to be blindsided when we set sail and find out it was expected we should have gotten them ourselves beforehand!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, cityguy300 said:

Any chance it's the same in Bangkok, i.e. a middle-ground docking location for the Spirit?

 

I also wanted to ask anyone who sailed to Vietnam in the past year, if Silversea absolutely handles the visa requirement for all passengers on board?

To your first question, I'm 99% positive that you'll dock in Laem Chabang.

 

To your second question, SS handled all Vietnam visa requirements when on board just six months ago.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Stumblefoot said:

To your first question, I'm 99% positive that you'll dock in Laem Chabang.

 

To your second question, SS handled all Vietnam visa requirements when on board just six months ago.

 

Thanks for the confirmation on both counts.  Do you happen to remember what they charged for the Vietnam visa?

 

Too bad about Laem Chabang, but luckily I was already in Bangkok for five days last December.  If I wasn't already taking a ship's excursion each day I'd probably DIY it south to Pattaya (which I think is closer?), but as it stands I look forward to some easy-going group tours, even if it does takes a couple of hours in each direction (maybe less so on the second day ☺️).

Edited by cityguy300

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, cityguy300 said:

Do you happen to remember what they charged for the Vietnam visa?

Unfortunately, I don't remember the exact amount, but it seems like it may have been $50/pp.  Now, keep in mind, we did a mid-voyage land adventure, so our cost may have been higher than those doing day tours since we spent multiple nights in the country.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Stumblefoot said:

Unfortunately, I don't remember the exact amount, but it seems like it may have been $50/pp.  Now, keep in mind, we did a mid-voyage land adventure, so our cost may have been higher than those doing day tours since we spent multiple nights in the country.

 

Yeah, I was afraid Silversea might charge the "gouging" rate instead of the $6 or so I'd heard some mainstream lines used to charge (I assume if the e-visa currently costs $25, they're not charging less than that today).  Oh well, it'll just come off the OBC!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If we dock at Hiep Pouc is it possible to schedule one tour that includes Cu Chi Tunnels and Mekong Delta?  Silversea offers two full day tours. But TripAdvisor has a tour that includes both. Any recommendations?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Kentuckysharon said:

If we dock at Hiep Pouc is it possible to schedule one tour that includes Cu Chi Tunnels and Mekong?


Personally, I think it would be a brutal day if you did.  I couldn’t imagine trying to undertake both in a single day as they are over 130 miles apart.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Kentuckysharon said:

If we dock at Hiep Pouc is it possible to schedule one tour that includes Cu Chi Tunnels and Mekong Delta?  Silversea offers two full day tours. But TripAdvisor has a tour that includes both. Any recommendations?

 

One tour that includes both destinations would be a very long day indeed.  To be sure, why not email with a private tour operator and see what they can realistically come up with:  we are doing the Singapore to Hong Kong itinerary in December and are using Maika Tours out of Saigon - while we have not toured yet they have been wonderful to work with.  Shoot off an email and ask for a proposal. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/16/2019 at 9:54 PM, cityguy300 said:

 

Yeah, I was afraid Silversea might charge the "gouging" rate instead of the $6 or so I'd heard some mainstream lines used to charge (I assume if the e-visa currently costs $25, they're not charging less than that today).  Oh well, it'll just come off the OBC!

 

Silversea don't charge for that visa. The $6 one you mention is for day time entry at any port, multiple stops and entries and unescorted.

 

The one stumblefoot is referring to allowed him to stay overnight in Hanoi. That's only needed if you are not staying overnight on the ship.

 

I just mooched around Saigon, Danang and Harlong City and it cost me nothing for visa.

 

Like most things, it may be different depending on your passport.

 

Just thought it best to clarify as Silversea were not guilty of that unlike some other CL who most definitely do charge.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, les37b said:

 

Silversea don't charge for that visa. The $6 one you mention is for day time entry at any port, multiple stops and entries and unescorted.

 

The one stumblefoot is referring to allowed him to stay overnight in Hanoi. That's only needed if you are not staying overnight on the ship.

 

I just mooched around Saigon, Danang and Harlong City and it cost me nothing for visa.

 

Like most things, it may be different depending on your passport.

 

Just thought it best to clarify as Silversea were not guilty of that unlike some other CL who most definitely do charge.

 

 

 

Thanks for clarifying that!  If you're also a North American passport, I assume my experience will be the same in December.  I've signed up for their excursions on each of the port days there (first time I've ever done ship excursions en masse, to blow through the OBC), so hopefully that will doubly ensure the visa is "free".  Now here's hoping I picked the right excursions. 🙂

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, cityguy300 said:

 

Thanks for clarifying that!  If you're also a North American passport, I assume my experience will be the same in December.  I've signed up for their excursions on each of the port days there (first time I've ever done ship excursions en masse, to blow through the OBC), so hopefully that will doubly ensure the visa is "free".  Now here's hoping I picked the right excursions. 🙂

 

No I'm from the UK and yes I do think it's correct to say there was a variation in cost for US / UK visas on the overnighter.

 

I'm 99% sure this $6 visa to enter is the same for UK and US as I'm confident I had this discussion with some Americans and it was zero cost for them.

 

I'm sure this will be verified for you. This is only the case if you are not staying on land overnight. You are issued with a slip of paper you must carry with you and show getting back on ship. It's collected on departure from Vietnam.

 

Ask away if you have any questions on the excursions and ports.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, les37b said:

 

No I'm from the UK and yes I do think it's correct to say there was a variation in cost for US / UK visas on the overnighter.

 

I'm 99% sure this $6 visa to enter is the same for UK and US as I'm confident I had this discussion with some Americans and it was zero cost for them.

 

I'm sure this will be verified for you. This is only the case if you are not staying on land overnight. You are issued with a slip of paper you must carry with you and show getting back on ship. It's collected on departure from Vietnam.

 

Ask away if you have any questions on the excursions and ports.

 

But as a UK citizen, aren't you exempt from needing a visa for Vietnam anyway?  I'm not even sure you'd require one for the overnight off-ship excursions, since you're supposedly exempt for visits up to 15 days.

 

I wouldn't be surprised if any minor visa costs are absorbed or partially offset when taking the ship's excursions.  But I also wouldn't be surprised if Silversea gouges us for the full price plus a service charge, "six star" line or no. :)

 

For the excursions themselves, I'm unsure about my choice of day trip in Chan May.  I'm currently signed up for one to Hue, but I'm also considering one to Hoi An (which, I can't help notice, is listed/coded first -- as in, it's the most popular pick?).  Any thoughts?

 

For anyone who has done the foodie sampler half-day trips in Saigon, is food actually included or do they just take you around to the hot spots and you pay out of pocket if you want to try anything?  Do they drive you around town, or are they more like walking tours?

  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, cityguy300 said:

 

But as a UK citizen, aren't you exempt from needing a visa for Vietnam anyway?  I'm not even sure you'd require one for the overnight off-ship excursions, since you're supposedly exempt for visits up to 15 days

  

Correct, we are.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Being from the US, we're not exempt and need at least forms and photos for Vietnam. The person from Canada may also need the form and photo for Vietnam, providing it to the ship on boarding. I would definitely not expect a visa to be included as part of an excursion. If you need a visa, you need it to enter the port. That's when immigration papers are checked, and the cruise line won't let you onboard without the ability to enter every port on your cruise.

We took a Silversea cruise to Brazil last November, and we needed to show our visas for Brazil before we boarded the ship in Barbados. Silversea let us know this before our cruise, and offered a service to obtain it, and there was a fee.

I can't imagine why anyone sailing on Silversea is worried about whether they will need to pay 25 dollars, or 6 dollars; or whether they can find an excursion that will include a visa. That's nothing compared to the cost of your cruise. Personally, I would never trust an excursion vendor to provide a valid visa in any country.

 

Edited by SWFLAOK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/29/2019 at 7:30 PM, SWFLAOK said:

I can't imagine why anyone sailing on Silversea is worried about whether they will need to pay 25 dollars, or 6 dollars; or whether they can find an excursion that will include a visa. That's nothing compared to the cost of your cruise. Personally, I would never trust an excursion vendor to provide a valid visa in any country.

 

 

Agreed that it's a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of the cruise, and with the amount of OBC I have it won't cost me anything regardless.  I'm more put off by the fact that with a month to go until I leave, I never got a straight answer on this from my TA or the cruise line, and even get mixed responses here on CruiseCritic.

 

I definitely don't want to show up on boarding day and be told I should have filled out some form or brought along some extra photos that were never mentioned in any prior correspondence.  I'm hopeful if there is anything like that needed, it can be resolved quickly at the terminal -- this must be a very common thing among their passengers.

Edited by cityguy300

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...