We have just returned from a 9 night 'back-to-back' cruise, as we travelled from the UK we wanted to make the most of our time in Asia so combined a 5 night and 4 night cruise which started in Singapore and took in Kuala Lumpur (visited twice) Phuket and Langkawi.
Having read other reviews and as an experienced Royal Caribbean cruiser I was keen to see how different a cruise in Asia would be. Most noticeable were the changes to the shops along the Royal Promenade, there are now several high end retailers. The slot machines in the casino have been upgraded, this was disappointing for me as a total amateur, most of them were far too complicated! The food in the Windjammer and dining room included some delicious curries and other Asian options, we really enjoyed our curry lunches. There is plenty of choice of western food for those not keen on Asian food. Although Royal Caribbean does not provide 'haute cuisine' in the main dining areas we found the food to be hot, tasty and well presented. The service and food in Chops Grille was excellent as usual.
We went to several shows in the theatre, the Chinese Acrobat act 'Ballet on shoulders' and a marching band from Missouri were very good, the production shows were fairly average. The ice show was impressive and the cruise director Dan did a good job.
Our stateroom, a junior suite on deck 10, was well located for getting around the ship and kept spotless by our suite attendant Daniel who was always cheerful and helpful. We loved sitting out on the balcony, this proved to be a peaceful haven when the crowds in the public areas became too much. We also enjoyed going to the Concierge lounge, Marine, the concierge, was charming and so keen to help us, she is such a credit to Royal Caribbean and does a fantastic job. What really did stand out on this cruise were the wonderful crew who consistently delivered the WOW, every one of them, whether they were customer facing staff or maintenance staff, greeted us with a smile, impressive indeed.
Although these cruises are aimed at the Asian market, the Royal Caribbean product is largely the same as found in other parts of the world. At times we did feel somewhat overwhelmed by the crowds along the Royal Promenade or in the Windjammer, shopping and eating appear to be high priority and a passion for the local guests.
We enjoyed our time in Phuket and spent a few hours on Kamala beach, a quiet beach found a short taxi ride north of where the ship is located at Kalim beach. There were sun beds and umbrellas for hire and some good bars, restaurants and spas found behind the beach. In Langkawi we also went to the beach, a shuttle bus from the ship drops off at a shopping centre and the long beach is found next to it. We went on ships tours to KL and to Phang Gna Bay, both were well organised, the tour guides efficient and informative.