I booked this cruise back in June as I did not want to spend another Christmas in Bali. I relied heavily on this site and now wish to repay some information. It was disappointing that not too many passengers of this particular cruise were active on the boards prior to the cruise, and I was not able to get specific information as there were no reviews to read prior.
There was a lot of talk about whether this would be an immersion cruise and I can tell you that even without ever cruising before, this is NOT an immersion cruise. American food balanced with a selection for Asians. Announcements in English. Majority of staff speaking English with the proper smattering of Asian speakers as well. Still have ice cream and pizza etc. by the pools.
Right before flying to Singapore I read a "poor" review of the shorter 3 day cruise itinerary and all I can say is Royal Caribbean and Legend Of The Seas must have got their act together fast. I had a short 1 1/2 hr. flight from Bali to Singapore arriving to the cruise terminal about 12:45. There was no line (less than 10 ahead of me) and the check in process went smoothly and fast. Make sure you fill out all sides of the immigration cards they give you for the different ports. I missed the back of the Thailand card which slowed me down a couple of minutes once at the desk. But actually the agent just asked me for the rest of them with passport, seapass etc., and there was no real hold up.
I was onboard 5 minutes later and was told the cabins would not be ready until 1:00. So I had a quick 10 min. stroll thru the Centrum area and picked up a raffle card for a spa drawing at 9 pm that night. I had booked a M cabin (interior stateroom) on Deck 6 with twin beds as I was sailing solo and not planning to spend much time in my cabin. (Twin beds seemed to give room for suitcases, etc. to be spread out according to the posts). Shortly past 1:00 I made my way to 6051, peeking into cabins along the way and being pleasantly surprised at the accommodation. This might be a good time to say that I have lived a good portion of my life on a 38' sailboat so I thought the cabins were great. When I arrived at 6051 the bed was unmade, the trash can not emptied and the bed was a queen. Obviously not ready yet. I immediately stopped someone in the corridor who was busy cleaning cabins to ask how long it would be and was told that they had that particular cabin down as a "back to back". I showed him a copy of my Seapass with 6051 and he said he would go check. This being my 1st cruise I was not sure what was going on so I went to the purser's desk. June was very apologetic and disappeared behind the curtain and less than a minute later the hotel director was apologizing to me and saying they would provide me with a different cabin on the same deck. Well the cabin they provided me with was an upgrade to a F cabin (large oceanview stateroom). So YES there is a Santa Claus...I mean an upgrade fairy!
I was ecstatic, and happy that this bed was not made as twins. I am one of those people who research things thoroughly and having read about the lack of space in the cabins thought the way to go was 2 twins, but I now know, it's not in my case. I also took way too many things that were suggested in the "must pack" threads that I never used, (extra hangers, extension cord, flash light, etc.). My cabin attendant Wayan introduced himself and we immediately hit it off as he is from Bali and he couldn't believe this American woman was living in Bali. He went to 6051 and brought my luggage to me and I gave him 3 of the 4 nightlights I had packed since I would not be needing them with the oceanview cabin. He ended up with a lot of things I had brought at the end. (Insulated cup, over door hangers, extra hangers).
Next I went to the restaurant as I had booked 2nd seat dining and when I explained it was my 1st cruise and I was solo, they suggested My Time Dining which turned out to be a great suggestion. Back to the cabin where I decorated my cabin door with lots of Christmas decorations and used the red and green duct tape to make a tree on my mirror. My door was the only one decorated making it VERY easy to find for the duration of the cruise.
After un-packing and only using half of the drawers, closet, etc., I headed to Deck 9 and the Windjammer. I purchased a soda package on the way in as I drink diet Coke all day, but in retrospect I would not purchase this again as I drank mostly alcoholic drinks all day and night. (Shhhh...Don't tell.) I sat at the counter on the port side and met a fellow solo traveller and we ended up spending a lot of the cruise together. She was on her 4th cruise. I thought the food in the Windjammer gave a nice selection and was what you get at any buffet with the desserts being extra special.
At dinner the first night we were 2 couples and 3 solo cruisers and all but my friend I met earlier were first time cruisers. I felt the service the first night was the best. The Head Waiter never introduced himself at any seating, and thru out the cruise I had the same waiter 3 out of 5 nights. But one night no one asked if we wanted a cocktail. Another night bread was never offered after the first time. I had to request refills of water. Just small things that should have been handled better. I am not a foodie. So fine dining and multiple courses are not impressive to me so I will leave it to others to praise or criticize the food. I thought it the same more or less that you get in a 3 to 4 star restaurant. I had Prime Rib, Salmon, Steak and of course Turkey on various nights, and almost always the waiter made a recommendation that I or my seat mates of the night were happy with.
After dinner I went to the spa for the raffle where you had to be present to win. They gave out about 10+ treatments and there were only about 15 present so I won a 20 minute hot stone therapy with a $50+ value. Merry Christmas to me. I ended up with 3 separate treatments and I am now certain that I will take advantage of more cruise/spa treatments in the future. Remember...I live in spa central (Bali) and I rarely visit spas here as I find them lacking.
As for entertainment, I would not rate the shows highly although the magician one night and the Cirque du Soliel couple another night were worth the time to see them. My favorite was Anselmo the piano player in the Schooner Bar. I was happy to spend my evenings there meeting the same crowd each night. We were obviously not the "casino" crowd, although I could see the casino right next door and it appeared very busy. As far as Deck 9, I never found the pool crowded or experienced problems with chair hogs. This could be attributed to the high number of Asians on-board, who in general, avoid the sun.
We had two formal nights and for the most part, everybody dressed up. There was the odd one who wore the same t-shirt and shorts that had been worn all day. I am of the old school and still think people should dress for the theatre, the First Class Cabin of the plane, etc.
As my ports are not listed below I will review them here. All ports and shore excursions were handled by a number system (a sticky for your shirt) and follow the lollipop and they all went smooth. I opted for the Phang Nga Bay tour in Phuket and was not disappointed. Get in the front of the boat to stay dry and nice lunch at the end as well. However in Langkawi it was another story. I will give you the short version and just warn you NOT to book the cable car as they made up some story about it being closed due to high winds which turned out to be a lie as those who went on their own had no problems. The Excursion desk offered 25% refunds to those who complained. There were 3 busses that experienced this but not nearly that number complained.
I work in the hospitality industry and I still feel that the refund should have been 50 to 75% as the cable car was the main attraction on this tour and the Underwater World was a poor substitute. 25% would have been fine it it had been true that they were closed, but that was a purposeful lie as they just hadn't anticipated the long lines which would have run the tours long.
As for KL, it was 1 1/2 hrs. away and just another big city for shopping so I stayed onboard that day after staying up all night until 5 am playing shuffleboard, mini golf, etc. One thing they can easily leave out of ALL of their excursions is the mandatory stop at the local handicrafts shops. In Phuket, they rushed us thru the Muslim Village where we had NO time to stop and they appeared to have some nice items, but took us to their spot later that had nothing.
Disembarkation was orderly and timely, however I now know that as a solo cruiser I could have gotten off much sooner and not had to wait for the lollipop brigade. Unfortunately my cruise ended on a sour note as they broke the telescoping handle on my suitcase which was only a small carry on size and since the case had 2 other handles there was no need for them to even pull it up. The case was not even heavy. So now I will see how they handle making this good as I have filed a report but the chance of me getting it fixed here in Bali are slim to none.
I hope I have given a good idea of my experience for this particular cruise. I know it's different from what I have read of Caribbean cruises for example (chair hogs, must bring items), but it would have been a great assistance to me and as LOS is planning on being permanently in Asia after one more European summer, hopefully this will assist others in the future as all of these threads assisted me.
Lastly, a MUST is the fact that the cable car in Singapore runs directly above the ship when in port. If you have time after disembarking and before your flight, it's a great opportunity to snap some bird's eye view photos of your ship. I have posted some under "Unique Photo Op in Singapore" as I couldn't get them to upload to the Photo Gallery.
As for me, I will be leaving Bali in the next 90 days to return home to Florida and I can guarantee that Royal Caribbean will be seeing more of me. What took me 50 years to discover cruising????