I was not planning to post a review until I read a recent 3 star review which I felt was inaccurate. We recently spent 5 weeks on a Sydney to Hong Kong cruise that was initially plagued by problems but then turned into exactly the experience we had hoped for despite the issues caused by local problems--traffic.
We boarded Voyager in Sydney and it was a breeze; the sail out from the harbor was as advertised, fabulous. We spent 3 days in Sydney, courtesy of Regent-no longer available-which allowed us to begin to understand the national culture. The commentary as we sailed out therefore helped.
No sooner had we left the harbor than the captain announced we would be sailing into inclement weather. Boy was he right. Within 4 hours we were in the beginnings of a cyclone which worsened over the next day. We arrived in Brisbane reasonably on time but our wonderful shore excursion was cancelled because of the weather. After a much less attractive bus tour we were told we must leave Brisbane the next morning and then head for a protected anchorage for a 24 hr wait. Having sailed through a worse hurricane in Chile on SS I was surprised by this decision and it proved to be costly.
Many passengers had come on this cruise, us included, to see the Great Barrier Reef. After this pause a terrible decision was made in Miami to skip both Whitsunday Island and Cairns eliminating any chance to visit the GBR. The mood on board changed dramatically as most passengers could do the math and understand that one miss was necessary but not both.
We then proceeded to Cooktown a port that should never be included on any cruise. We assume we had to stop there to prevent too many consecutive sea days, but it sure had nothing to offer. Miami should visit it.
After this disappointment the mood was bad and Miami announced they would be on board in Bali to answer complaints; things, however, got worse.
A lovely young lady, the lead singer of the entertainment group, fell while rehearsing, banged her head, performed, went to sleep and then did not wake up. The same injury sustained by Natasha Richardson, with the same result, subdural hematoma. The Darwin police, understandably held us for an extra 24 hrs while the investigated
The end result of this delay was one day in Bali instead of two. RSSC management at this point made a wise decision as they were losing their constituents,they announced a 50% refund on the fare from Sydney to Singapore. While this did not satisfy all, as some wanted cash upfront and this was a credit to future cruises, we felt it was generous and appropriate.
The mood from this point forward improved dramatically
On to the ship:
The service was impeccable and friendly.
We love the physical design of the cabins and ours was in perfect condition.
Our butler, Irfan, was outstanding, our stewards Ronalyn and Carlo also above and beyond. Needless to say we tipped them generously despite the no tipping guidelines. We also rewarded Adorable, Milly and Deva our servers in CR, after a long a trip and such good service we felt it was the right thing to do.
Destinations did a good job getting a full ship off to tours efficiently. Unfortunately several passengers-they know who they are, totally ignored instructions by trying to be the first on buses, rather than waiting until called. Very annoying.
The food: A disappointment. My wife said the fish in general was excellent. I'm not a fish person. The meat was very disappointing. I make a much better coq au vin than was served-tough and dry, the short ribs indonesian style were inedible; unless you focused on the beef there was a problem.
Signatures was excellent, Setti Mari good and Prime 7 ok.
The excursions were in general medium. Destinations was fine, but some of the local contractors had not been properly vetted by home office.
We also felt there should be a RSSC rep on every bus, Silversea does!
Major disappointments: No interaction with the officers; no bridge tour; lack of transparency during the difficuly start.
Major plusses: Ray Solaire; the entertainment in general; Sandra Bowern-the lecturer; the overall effort by the crew. This was not an unmotivated group.
We will definitely sail with RSSC again. They are not our favorite-SS-is but they will still be able to proudly call themselves a luxury line; not because of Miami, but in spite of it.