Embarkation was an arrive anytime affair amongst a number of tour groups. Feel that RCI should have a special tour group check in area so they can be processed better and have less impact on independent travellers. Much prefer the policy RCI has in Sydney of staggered check-in according to deck level. Also there we did not see a priority check-in line for suites & Crown & Anchor (C&A) high tier guests.
However, stateroom was ready upon check-in, believe this may have been for all guests. We had a corner forward oceanview and as a result it is larger than a standard oceanview. The bed faced out the windows and there were two of them Bathroom was smaller than previous but had the sliding shower screens which was great. Heaps of storage as usual. The water pack was there when we arrived. unfortunately we did not receive any reminder cards about our specialty restaurant bookings but did receive our invite to the C&A welcome back drinks which was nice. Our stateroom attendant Romeo was very sweet.
We enjoyed dinner in the MDR @ My Time dining only twice. We always had a table to ourselves, Terry and our assistant (a lovely Chinese young lady from Qingdao) were nice and there were many things to enjoy on the menu. The lamb shank and duck mains were very large and delicious. We had dinner one night each in Chops Grill & Giovanni's both delicious with good service; we will definitely attend again. Due to bf being ill I had dinner in the buffet one night on my own. Took the opportunity to have sushi and would not do it again. Although there were many choices and seats and it is an easy place to get some food. I took some cheese back to the stateroom for dessert.
When drinking before/between/after shows/dinner we went to Boleros. Didn't have as much smoke coming out of the Casino and was not too busy with very friendly staff. Nice to sit by a window while the sun sets. Went to Ellington's when we left Singapore whilst they had happy hour. Happy hours were advertised esch day (don't remember this when cruised from Sydney), however it seems the staff could not do 50% off both cocktails only off one; should have questioned it but because they were so cheap to begin with (from US$7) just couldn't be bothered and then only went to one other happy hour.
Only went to a few shows. The illusionists were ok. One of the variety shows had no continuity to it. We liked the farewell show because we missed the first one and got to see the acrobatic/dance couple perform then. The Welcome party was good.
We didn't bother with Port Klang (Kuala Lumpur) because it was poring with rain in the morning and we were there last year. Lucky we didn't because the plan had been to take a long train trip from the port to Batu Caves, we later found out we were at the "other" port and would have had to take a taxi to the other port.
Penang was good. We walked to the "green" mansion and had a good look around there, amazing definitely recomend. Can not believe how many antiques fit into the property. Then walked around and had Char Kway Teow, Oyster Omelette & Chicken rice from various street vendors.
For Phuket we booked the Sea Cave Canoe shore excursion. We had looked into doing it ourselves but because it is an all day tour found only thing we could do was book through RCI. In doing so the tendering process was a bit better, although certain nationalities just can not understand the concept of a line and keeping their group together. The tour was great, the lunch had great variety and flavour plus plenty for everyone. Phang Nga Bay is beautiful and hopefully only due to the ending of the wet season was the water not that clear. Definitely recommend this tour. Because bf was ill when we got back at 5:30 we got straight back onboard, but then Patong is a lot like many other Asian tourist destinations.
Disembarkation was good.
We have booked another cruise with RCI, however we will stick to cruises 7+ days in future, 5 days is just too short. Would receommend RCI, Voyager class/Mariner OTS & our cabin.