Talking to fellow cruisers as we were transferred from the airport in Hong Kong we felt that the ship was going to be sparkly and exciting, a big step up from our previous cruises (that were both excellent) with Thompsons. Embarkation was fast and efficient, but the initial impression of the ship was poor. We were due to sail at 11pm on the following evening, nothing happened till about 12:30 am as some Russians had not cleared customs. Then an extra port charge was added to everyone's onboard account!!! Was this because we had overstayed our time in Hong Kong because of the Russians? I wonder!!
Other people have mentioned the cold - we were too hot, obviously the heating had been turned up too far by the time the ship was back in Hong Kong. Others have also mentioned the drabness and overall run down appearance of the ship, I totally agree. They have also mentioned the unexciting menus. I will add that I had always thought you were able to eat whenever you wanted 24 hours a day on a cruise. Not so on this ship. Unless you wanted burgers, cake or ice cream you had no chance as the main dining room closed at 9:30 in the evening for anytime diners, and the Lido closed its hot buffet section at 8pm. Also if you came back onto the ship mid afternoon expecting to get a late lunch the same limited choice was all that was available. The menu changed little from day to day and meat was often well undercooked even if requested as well done.
We felt that entertainment could and should have been of a far higher standard. Guest entertainers were excellent, but only performed for about 3/4 of an hour at most so really should have been part of the night's show not the only act. The ship's own singer/dance troupe were very poor, often seeming to mime and when they appeared to be really singing were very out of tune. There was no glamour or glitz to these shows. The best shows were by the Vietnamese artists and the Indonesian staff.
Entertainment during the day, even on days at sea was too specialised and had to be hunted down. The band playing on the Lido deck were good, but it was far too hot and humid to sit in there for long.
We enjoyed the destinations though many excursions were badly organized as far as getting off the ship to the coach was concerned.
The staff at the Front Office did not seem to care or want to help anyone in any way, and there was often a queue of people complaining about something.
On the final day our transfer from the port in Singapore to the hotel room we had at the airport was unbelievably bad. We had pink 1 labels, our cases went in the truck labeled pink 1. We were going to The Crown Plaza Hotel at TERMINAL 3. We found the coach with the label for this hotel, sat on it for over half an hour as those in charge rushed around aimlessly. We were then told it was not our coach. The coach we were on was in fact blue 2 (no label to tell us that) so we had to get off and eventually found the right coach(that had no label at al) We were then dropped at Terminal 1 and had to pick up our own cases and get ourselves to the hotel in Terminal 3!!! Such wonderful service and organization has made us decide never to even think about Holland America Cruise Line ever again.