Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas : 8D7N from Singapore to Laem Chabang (Thailand) and Phu My (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)!

Royal Caribbean Cruise to Laem Chabang Thailand and Phu My Vietnam

In this section, we’ll talk about some of the essential information that you’ll need when visiting the ports of Laem Chabang (Thailand) and Phu My (Vietnam) via the Royal Caribbean Cruise

Laem Chabang – Gateway to Bangkok and Pattaya Thailand

 Port of Laem Chabang (C0) where Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas Berthed
Port of Laem Chabang (C0) where Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas Berthed

This excellent shot taken by Kate shows the port of Laem Chabang as we entered C0 (thats Charlie Zero) at the terminal. As you can see, the excursion buses are already waiting to take the guests out and there are also private transportation ready to take you out as well. Small tents with stalls are also setup to sell souvenirs to you upon arrival. Now to the most important part – the transportation.

**Note : We headed to Pattaya because of the unrests in Bangkok during our cruise with Royal Caribbean

During our overnight stay at Laem Chabang, we stayed a night at the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel Pattaya. If you go through the hotel to make transport arrangement, it costs about 2000 baht (80sgd) for one way (WHAAAAAT?!). If you go through the internet, there are one way transportation from Laem Chabang port to Pattaya for 1000 baht (smaller WHAAAT?!). But if you go for the private transportation at the wharf, it costs only 600 one-way and 1200 for return. We took the complimentary transport arranged by Royal Cliff Hotels (thanks Maria!) and returned via taxi for 700 baht. Transport time takes between 30 to 45 minutes depending on traffic conditions.

So what’s there to do at Pattaya?

Things to do in Pattaya

 Infini Pool (aka Infinity Pool) at the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel Pattaya
Infini Pool (aka Infinity Pool) at the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel Pattaya

 Beautiful sunset over the Gulf of Thailand
Beautiful sunset over the Gulf of Thailand

 Walking Street Pattaya
Walking Street Pattaya

 Walking Street Pattaya Pubs, Restaurants, Massage parlours
Walking Street Pattaya Pubs, Restaurants, Massage parlours

Beach Activities - Island Hopping at Pattaya
Beach Activities – Island Hopping at Pattaya

 Soaking up the sun in Pattaya
Soaking up the sun in Pattaya

 Royal Garden Plaza Pattaya
Shopping at Royal Garden Plaza Pattaya – Right in Front of the Beach!

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Enjoying a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato at the top of Royal Garden Plaza

 Central Festival right next to Hilton Pattaya
Central Festival right next to Hilton Pattaya

 Best mango sticky rice at only 80 baht!
Best mango sticky rice at only 80 baht! Look inside the supermarket of Central Festival downstairs

In addition, we also did a massage for a mere price of 200 baht (8SGD) for 1 hour! Although it was cheap, the skill of the masseuse was pretty good and we thoroughly enjoyed the massage. The other thing you ought to try are the Thai food. We tried the fried rice and coconut chicken Tom Yum soup at the hotel while we had beef noodles and fried shrimp flat noodles at the food court of Central Festival Pattaya. Not to be missed is the mango sticky rice! Best we’ve ever had! The mango was sweet and juicy while the sticky rice was firm, chewy and fragrant. Yum!

Phu My – Gateway to Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam

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Port of Phu My where Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas Berthed

Another excellent shot taken by Kate at the port of Phu My when we arrived in Vietnam. When we tried to google to find out whether we could catch private rides out of Phu My to Ho Chi Minh City, we could not really find much information, except that the port was out of bounds to private taxis. Hence, we decided to go for the Ho Chi Minh City On Your Own – essentially a bus transportation arranged by Royal Caribbean Cruise. The ride was 40USD per person for two ways and the ride takes 1.5 hours. Originally, the ride takes 2.5 hours but because there’s a new expressway that just opened in February 2014 from Long Thanh to HCMC, the ride is faster. According to Mr Ng, he says the rides could be as fast as 45 minutes if the drivers were willing to push a little.

As for taxi rides from the port, if you notice the building at the top right hand corner of the picture, you would have to walk out of the port for transportation to Ho Chi Minh City from Phu My port. We asked around and the starting price is about 50USD one way per car. We think that you can bargain a little further. This option is suitable for parties of 4. Great for those who have also made friends onboard and are willing to travel together. Otherwise, the bus arranged by Royal Caribbean from Phu My to Ho Chi Minh is a good option in Vietnam.

 royal caribbean cruise phu my
Our transport tickets at Phu My in our stateroom when we entered on the first day

When we reached Ho Chi Minh City, it was about 9:30am and we had to be back at the drop off point (Rex Hotel) by 4:20pm. It was sufficient time for us but if you’re travelling on your own, don’t forget to check the “All aboard” timing. This time it was 7:30pm. We arrived back at the ship at 6pm sharp.

So what’s there to do in Ho Chi Minh City?

Things to do in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam

To thoroughly enjoy Ho Chi Minh City, just follow this small little map that we used. Attractions are circled and they are all within walking distance although taxi in Ho Chi Minh is quite cheap. Remember to use metered taxis of Vinasun or Mai Linh while travelling in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam.

 Ho Chi Minh City Attractions and Things to do Map
Ho Chi Minh City Attractions and Things to do Map

 Rex Hotel Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam
Rex Hotel – Drop off point of transport by Royal Caribbean Cruise

 City Hall Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam
City Hall Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam

 Opera House Ho Chi Minh City
Opera House Ho Chi Minh City

 Saigon Square Ho Chi Minh City
Saigon Square Ho Chi Minh City

 Inside Saigon Square Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam
Inside Saigon Square Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam

 Ben Thanh Market Ho Chi Minh City
Ben Thanh Market Ho Chi Minh City

 Inside Ben Thanh Market Vietnam
Inside Ben Thanh Market Vietnam

 Lunch at this stall inside Ben Thanh Market Ho Chi Minh City
Lunch at this stall inside Ben Thanh Market Ho Chi Minh City

 Vietnam Coffee and Grilled Pork / Spring Roll Vermicelli for a total of 100,000 dong about 5USD
Vietnam Coffee and Grilled Pork / Spring Roll Vermicelli for a total of 100,000 dong about 5USD

 Notre Dame Ho Chi Minh City
Notre Dame Ho Chi Minh City

 The Post Office Ho Chi Minh City
The Post Office Ho Chi Minh City

 Reunification Palace also known as Independence Palace Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam
Reunification Palace also known as Independence Palace Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam

 Prawn and chicken spring roll Saigon Centre Cafe Terrace
Prawn and chicken spring roll Saigon Centre Cafe Terrace

 Pork Vermicelli Saigon Centre Cafe Terrace
Pork Vermicelli Saigon Centre Cafe Terrace

In Ho Chi Minh, we recommend shopping at the Saigon Square. Here you can get good quality bags and jackets at a fraction of the prices back home. But do remember to bargain. If you’re unsure of the prices, you can check out the items at a few other stalls before deciding. This is because, we have ever encountered one of the stalls quoting double the prices of other stalls and if you buy from a stall like this without bargaining or checking, you’ll be buying at a much higher price.

Getting to and fro Marina Bay Cruise Centre to board Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas

Embarking the Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise

 Marina Bay Cruise Centre Visitor Centre
Marina Bay Cruise Centre Visitor Centre

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Bag drop off at the entrance of Marina Bay Cruise Centre

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Queue to clear immigration inside Marina Bay Cruise Centre

 Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
First look at the Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise – HUGE!

Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
Crossing the gangway to enter into the ship

We took a cab and if you’re coming from AYE (West) via MCE, take exit 2 at Central Boulevard. If you’re coming from ECP (East) via MCE, take exit 3 at Marina Coastal Drive. Do note that you are going to the Marina Bay Cruise Centre. As it was our first time there, we almost alighted at the ferry terminal instead. Look out for the HUGE Mariner of the Seas, you wont miss it!

As we were Crown and Anchor members, we skipped some of the queue and got our sea pass card rather quickly. The entire immigration took about 30 minutes.

Random thought : The Sea Pass Card is the most important card you’ll need on the cruise. It pays for everything onboard and is also your form of identification to disembark and embark the ship.

Disembarking the Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise

 Taxi stand upon disembarking from Royal Caribbean Cruise
Taxi stand upon disembarking from Royal Caribbean Cruise

Disembarking took a rather long time. We took approximately 1.5 hours in total to leave the ship, clear customs and get to our taxi. One tip would be to leave slightly later (10am would be perfect) and once everyone clears from the ship, you’ll be able to clear customs and get your cab rather quickly as well ๐Ÿ˜‰

Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise

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Phew…we actually took more than 10 hours to complete this post! (see how much we love you all? ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) We hope that you have enjoyed reading this post as much as we have writing it and hopefully, it will be the comprehensive guide to your next Royal Caribbean Cruise aboard the Mariner of the Seas!






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21 Comments on Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas : 8D7N from Singapore to Laem Chabang (Thailand) and Phu My (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)!

  1. Just got back it was GREAT again thanks for your tips we had a grand suite , you have to do that next time , you get concierge club and all sorts of extras , very nice , I have pics of that if you want them for your excellent article, thanks again , your review made it so much easier.

  2. First time cruiser and off in January on the same cruise, so I was very pleased to read your post about Mariner of the Seas. Many thanks for taking the time (10 hours!!!) to put this together, it is the most comprehensive and insightful post on cruising I have read.

    • Thanks for the compliments Emma! Remember to try the various entrees and desserts during fine dining (Rhapsody in Blue). Yes, you can have more than 1 option! Have a fantastic cruise ahead!

  3. What a cruise! Everything sounds and looks amazing! I’ve never been on a cruise before. Well yes in Halong bay Vietnam. But those are never as huge and luxurious as this!

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Hi Tom

    Great helpful review of the trip, will be going with family in Jan 17. BTW, any chance of doing laundry when ship docks at Thailand or Vietnam? Any tips? Hope not to pack so much clothing for a family of 3.

    Cheers

    • Hi Francis,

      Laundry can be done aboard the ship. So no worries there. Have an amazing trip and enjoy the entire experience!

      Tom,
      2bearbear.com

  5. Thank you Tom and Kate for putting together this excellent review. I’m so glad I stumbled upon this as I’m off with my brother on a 5 night cruise encompassing the new year on the Mariner of the Seas very soon. We were both excited before and have never been on a cruise either so your excellent work in putting this together has answered so many more questions I had. I’m even more excited now and I just know I wouldn’t normally be attending an art auction. But hey, I’m sold!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so much guys and I had to google the word “shiok” I like it.
    Cheers

    Mark

    • Hey Mark,

      So glad that we’re able to assist in planning for the upcoming cruise. We’re sure it’ll be a blast! If you’re attending the auction, remember to read our post on our experience there and learn all the “insider tips” ๐Ÿ˜‰

      http://2bearbear.com/art-on-royal-art-scam-on-royal-caribbean-c/

      Lastly, we’re so glad that you’ve learn a new Singlish word as well! If you’re having a meal with a Singaporean and the meal tastes good, remember to say “shiok!” and we’re sure they’ll be an instant connection!

      Happy Cruising Mark!

      Tom & Kate,
      2bearbear.com

      P.S. We didn’t get our painting in the end but did eventually get a refund. Tread with caution… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Hi, we are doing this same cruise in January 2017. You mention picking up private transportation at Laem Chabang, is this readily available at the port? Do you need to walk somewhere to get it, or are they on the wharf area waiting to get customers?

    • Hey Ian,

      During our visit, the private transportation were available at the wharf area waiting to pick up tourists from the ship. We took transportation with the ship as we did not know about the private transportation then. The pros of transportation with the ship is that you’ll usually leave earlier than passengers who did not take the ship’s transportation. Also, you do not need to haggle the prices with the locals. However, from discussions with fellow passengers who took the private transportation, they mentioned that the return leg (especially shared among a group of 4) was cheaper than that of the ship.

      Hope this helps! Enjoy the upcoming cruise!

      Tom,
      2bearbear.com

      • Hi Tom, thanks for the info. I suppose when negotiating the private transport you’d make sure the return cost was covered/sorted. We are also looking at a tour through Travel Hub Bangkok, who have a pickup/dropoff at Laem Chabang for a Pattaya or Bangkok day tour, but we need others on the cruise to be involved…wish me luck.

  7. Hi when the ship docks at laem Chabang, did they provide over night accommodation or did you book it yourself!

    Are we allowed to go back to sleep on the ship?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Lim,

      You have to make your own arrangements for overnight accommodation. Depending on the length of time at the port. It may be more worth it to book your own accommodation (~20 hours) or to stay onboard (~12 hours).

      Have fun at Laem Chabang for your cruise!

      Tom,
      2bearbear.com

  8. Do we need visa in thaland when we get off ship if we are getting private transfer to pattaya. If so how do we sort it out thanks . We are going on the 13 June .

    • Hi Patricia,

      If you are a Singaporean, you will not need a visa when you call at Pattaya. Information from MFA website says

      No (for stay not exceeding 30 days for each entry and a cumulative duration of stay not exceeding 90 days within any six months).
      Note: With effect from 31 December 2016, travellers entering Thailand through land border checkpoints are eligible to do so without visa only twice in a calendar year (for each stay not exceeding 15 days).

      Hope this helps!

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