Embarkation was appalling, especially after a 12 hour flight. No indication of a separate desk for "Costa Club Members" so, arrived 1 p.m., had to wait until 3 p.m. Embarkation Time and then stood in line for over an hour. This is an older ship and is reflected in the decor throughout. Buffet area was very poorly laid out, difficult to see what was on offer. Obvious cutbacks in menus offered in Diningroom compared to previous cruises over last 12 years. "Hotel Service Charge" is "COMPULSORY" and is paid on your account so no say in the allocation. Waiting and Cabin Staff still expected Gratuities on top. Some of the Ports were inconsequential e.g. Cheju and Okinawa. Ship Excursions were expensive and Keelung was wasted because staff did not give any info apart from excursions run by the ship e.g. they did not tell people that it was possible to use nonstop bus service to Taipei(40 pence and 20 minutes) or train(45 pence and 50 minutes as it stopped at all stations. The main attraction was the 101 Tower(£8 to Viewing floors 88/89/91) in Taipei, currently tallest building in world. The ship were charging 30 Euro(£27) each for a shuttle bus to and from the 101 Tower!!!!! Public Bus/Tram/Monorail/Train Service available from Cheju, Tokyo, Nagasaki, Kobe and Keelung Piers. 200 Yen or £1.30 single////////500 Yen or £3.30 allday ticket on bus services in Japan. Taxi Line at Okinawa Pier. Motto: do your research before you go, download ship excursions and decide what you want to see. Some people missed the ship's departure as they were flying from London on Cathay Pacific and the plane was out of service. They had to make their way to Cheju without much help from Cathay Pacific. Some people travelled with Lufthansa and Finnair to Hong Kong and were quite pleased with the service. We flew Virgin Atlantic in Premier Economy and were not too happy with our experience, going or returning. Also....get your local currency before you leave home, much more expensive on the ship. If you have too much, use it as Gratuities as the ship will be sailing same itinerary again so staff can use local currency. Lastly, extremely humid in June 2009...consider May or October cruise dates.