First impressions of the internal deco of the cruise was slightly dissapointing - the clashes of funky carpets and strange geometric shards of metal strung together over the 'Centrum' proved to be a bit of an eye-sore.The staff are very nice and welcoming overall. Most of them are from the Phillipines and some are from China. I cant say the staff from China were not helpful but they were not warm either. One Chinese staff, I believe he was the house keeping manager, was very defensive when I pointed out to him that two female passengers jumped the queue when going through the face-to-face interview with the Japenses immigration procedure.
The most frustrating part of the trip was that we were cut short for the on-shore time. We rushed to meet the "All aboard" time for both ports in Japan, only to spend the next 2 hours sitting around waiting for the people who joined the group excursions to come back.
We also experienced a very rough day at sea as we sailed from Xia Men to Kagoshima. Many people were sea sick and the whole ship smelt off dull vinegar and sweat. Many waiters and performers could not work since they got sea sickness too! We were all eagerly waiting for an announcement or two from the Captain to reassure us of the rough ride, or perhaps to tell us how to deal with the sea sickness but we waited in vain. In fact, the Captain seemed quite distant throughout the whole trip - not only were his announcements rare, we didn't even get a speech out of him at the Captain's Welcome formal dinner!
The itinerary was a let down, especially during sea days. I found that there was not enough to do and I spent more time than I would have liked in my stateroom not doing much. Activities mainly included napkin folding and jewelry making classes, dancing classes, music performances and game shows. Unfortunately, things like enrinchement talks were not to be seen. There were two movie nights, both quite late at night, as well as parties on the top floor were people we're allowed to smoke. There was one cooking class on how to decorate a cake, however it was not much fun since you couldn't see much through the crowds of mainland Chinese tourists who insisted on standing right next to the chefs and drooling down their necks.
On a brighter note, as mentioned earlier on, the staff were very friendly - especially the waiters who worked in the dining hall. We had some good conversation with our assigned waiter and got some bonus napkin folding classes out of him during dinner. The entertainment was quite good as well. We had a big production every night starring named performers such as Marsha Volgji ( dancer) and Metro (acapella singing group). There was also a famous chinese singer which stirred up a lot of excitement in the crowd of a thousand mainland Chinese tourists ( who made up the majority of the people on the cruise). We often had singers and instrumentalists performing in the Centrum, from classical pianists to Jamaican party-rockers, so there was a good range of music to satisfy most peoples tastes.
Our room was also quite big for a regular stateroom on a ship. The three of us could fit comfortably in our stateroom. There was enough room to walk around without having to navigate our way around our suitcases. There were also some relatively new movies playing on loop on our tiny ancient television. The whole ship was very clean and our rooms were made twice a day. Their 'save the seas' project to be a more environmentally friendly ship was reassuring and I appreciated that.
At the end of the day, when I came home, I was more tired than I began with. To be honest, I was looking forward to leaving the cruise which is not how one should feel at the end of a cruising holiday.