We are experienced cruisers and have sailed on this ship twice before in the last year. Our previous experiences have been almost entirely favorable but not this time.
The check in and embarkation were ok although the location of the berth in Hong Kong at Kennedy Town left much to be desired. The Cruise line did, however, lay on free shuttle buses into Central.
The whole cruise experience was spoiled in many ways by a severe outbreak of Novovirus which lasted the whole cruise with many passenger and crew afflicted. This had an effect on the standard of service since those of the crew who were not sick or quarantined were often diverted to disinfecting duties. There was a lack of communication from the ship's management to the passengers resulting in lots of rumors going about.
I got the impression that the food in the main dining room was not as good as it had been on our previous cruises. The food in the buffet at breakfast was fine and in Aqualina very good. The prices of the drinks are far too high ($12+18% for a glass of red wine) The bars were never busy because of this.
I am not sure that this ship is entirely suitable for cruising in this area in the winter. For the last few days as we got further North our cabin would not heat up sufficiently and the sliding door to our balcony blew off its bottom runner in a gale. We also experienced a very erratic supply of hot water to our cabin, sometimes cold or lukewarm, sometimes scalding. We reported this to our butler on several occasions but nothing was done to rectify the matter.
Disembarkation at Tienjin was a total shambles. There seemed to be a lack of communication between the ship and the local authorities regarding the illness on board. The result was that we were not let off until 11.00 am instead of 8.30. The luggage was dumped at random in a car park with no attempt to sort it by the color and number of the tags. This resulted in a very confused situation with 700 passengers milling about looking for their bags.