When we booked this cruise, during our Crown Princess South American cruise a year ago, we were so excited about seeing one of the trending travel destinations, that we hadn't even considered the travel times involved. Once we started looking at flight schedules, the trip seemed daunting. We had never flown that many hours (15) before on a single flight.
Flights for our 15 night Southeast Asia cruise were booked via Princess EZair.
There are several advantages to using the cruise line air, especially for a destination so far from home.
Advantages we saw to this option:
- Options presented will work with the itinerary (no hassle planning)
- Didn't have to pay for flights until final cruise payment
- Prices were locked in; could go down, but not up
- Cruise line is aware of schedule and can assist if something goes wrong
- Easily adjust schedule for pre/post cruise stay
Our journey to Southeast Asia began in Chicago with stopover / plane changes in Los Angeles and Hong Kong before we arrived in Singapore. Here are some highlights from our flights and each of the airports along our path.
This was about a four hour flight which landed about 10 or 15 minutes early. We were scheduled to arrive in Terminal 4 but arrived in Terminal 5 instead, perhaps since we were a little early.
Connecting passengers don't need to go through security, despite changing terminals. We followed signs to Terminal 4 which led us to an underground passageway. We had a couple hours between flights, so we could take our time getting to the gate. Arriving at the gate, we found a couple seats that had charging stations. Finally they started boarding by groups and we were onboard waiting for our 15 hour flight to begin.
The flight to Hong Kong was long, but wasn't as bad as expected. We watched movies, got some sleep, and had 3 meals during the flight. We got up every so often to help with circulation.
Tip: Perhaps the best things we purchased for our trip were compression socks and a comfortable wrap around neck pillow.
When we arrived in Hong Kong, around 8 am, there was no need to fill out landing cards, since we were transiting passengers. We stopped at the rest rooms and then followed the signs for transferring passengers. No water or other drinks are allowed through the checkpoint, so we finished our water before proceeding. After showing our boarding passes, we went thru security with our hand luggage.
Connecting passengers can check the monitors to find out their gate assignment, but since it was too early for our gate to be posted, we stooped at an information desk to have them look up our next gate. Currently our gate assignment was listed as gate 64, but they suggested we check around 10 AM to see if there were any changes.
We found some seats near the monitors. There was a museum exhibit of tea vessels nearby, so we checked that out while we waited for our flight to be posted on the monitors. The gate had not changed, so off we headed to gate 64.
There were several shops along the way to our gate. We sampled some cookies and stopped at the Disney Store. We made a couple purchases and then proceeded to our gate.
Nearby our gate was a charging station. Since the airport had free wi-fi we decided to make a call back home while we waited for our flight. It was a good connection over wi-fi.
The final leg of our journey was a four hour flight from Hong Kong to Singapore on Cathay Pacific Airlines. This was our first experience on them and we were quite pleased with the service.
We had an aisle and window seat on the left side of the plane, so we had a great view as we arrived in Singapore. One of the nice features of their in seat entertainment screen was the ability to switch the flight view to outside cameras. We were able to capture the landing in an image.
Flight attendants had passed out landing cards, which needed to be completed by each passenger staying in Singapore. We followed the signs to immigration, where we turned in our landing cards. Make sure to retain the stub - you will need that when you depart for home. Please note that you will also be finger printed upon entry. Next stop was baggage claim. Once again there were larger baggage carts there for use. Finally we exited through customs to the terminal.
We were staying at the Crowne Plaza located across from Terminal 2. Since we landed in Terminal 1 we asked for directions at one of the airport information desks. They suggested we follow the signs for shuttle bus to Terminal 2 / MRT station. Once we arrived there, we took the elevator to the bridge between Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 / hotel. At the hotel we learned that we could also have taken the skytrain from Terminal 1 which would have been easier.
Singapore airport and Cathay Pacific are very efficient. We landed at 3:45 PM and by 4:16 PM we had already collected our baggage. We had just missed a shuttle bus, so we had to wait a bit. By 5 PM we were checked in at our hotel.
Chicago & LA Flights
Hong Kong Airport
HGK to SIN Flight
Changi Airport Singapore
Additional photos can be found on our Southeast Asia Shutterfly page
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