Taking this cruise was a big mistake as in February both China & Japan are very cold at this time of the year, also there were 6 continuous sea days from Japan to the next port of call and warmer climate.
The ship itself is beautiful, including the balcony cabin, but there is little else to commend.
Lots of empty bars, containing bored waiters, and a few sleeping passengers.
It was nice to drink some English beers once again instead of the ozzie stuff.
Most of the ports of call were a waste of time. Apart from Hong Kong & the 2 Japanese ports which were well located, the remaining ports were in the middle of nowhere and involved long ques for long bus rides to out of the way retail outlets. 3 hours each to Beijing, 1 hour each way to Shanghai. The Shanghai trip dropped us in a side street outside one retail outlet. On the return journey, we saw from the bus windows, what a beautiful city we had missed.
The chargeable trips were expensive and badly organised. 10 or more coaches simultaneously at the same point of interest resulted in chaos and long ques yet again.
Second sitting dining is only for insomniacs. 8.30pm dinner means first course around 9pm; so we did not frequent this very often. The food was reasonable except for the under cooked vegetables, but this is a feature of cruise dining it would seem. What you expected on your plate was not always what you got.
Food in "The Belvedere" self serve restaurant was just disgusting.
Same old stuff every day, mostly dubious curry. Nothing fresh, everything over stewed, green potatoes, black bananas, stale ex-frozen bread, and very surly staff. On several days we failed to have an evening meal.
Those who cruise will be aware of "THE SHIPS COUGH". On this cruise was of epidemic proportions.
This trip was a sector of a world cruise and many people on board had spent a fortune to go "all the way round" on the trip of a lifetime in relative luxury. Many were angry and disappointed and one can hardly blame them. P & O (uk) should be ashamed.
The standards have plumbeted, the little things and courtesy's of the past have gone.
The best event of our trip was disembarking in Sydney and we felt sorry for those who remained on board with another 50+ days to endure.