Booked 2 back to back cruises plus 4 days in Beijing 20 days through Thomas Cook. Having been stuck for extra days thanks to Icelandic eruption can only say BA, Royal Caribbean and Crowes Plaza were all brilliant but Thomas Cook were absolutely rubbish didn't want to know and basically left us stranded.
Arrived Shanghai smooth pick up and first night in the Equatorial Hotel excellent hotel and room first class. Pick up and check in at port very very quick. Ship compact really good condition. Guests mainly Asian and RC did excellent job catering for everyone.
Food we were on second sitting a table for 10 service, food and company really good, 2 starters and two pudding most night because I couldn't make my mind up. Windjammer catered for all tastes but the Asian food was wonderful I've never eaten so much in my life. Breakfast main dining room and Windjammer both good. Pool bar good.
Entertainment. This was the only let down the shows could have been better however with 3 interpreters every night that was entertainment by itself. Quizzes were good, golf and shuffle board were all enjoyable. On several night there was entertainment in the centrum which was excellent.
Ports of Call. Miyazaki The first time RC had visited this port. Chaos at dockside not enough taxis or buses so we did our own thing walked for a while then asked a shop keeper what we should see. This resulted in him getting his car out and taking us to a temple where he handed us over to some locals who showed us around. They then handed us over to a taxi driver who took us on a private tour. Upon returning to the boat we were treated to a ceremony and open air concert on the quay side. A brilliant day. Kobe A lovely city with plenty of help from the locals. Easy to get around with tourist bus. European colonial area with its houses well worth visiting Fukuoka. Another lovely city with underground shopping street.Once again locals falling over themselves to help. Visited Fukuoka Tower and local park A large built up city but easy to get around once you get your bearings hop on green tourist bus which visits the major sites. Pusan Korea. Visited Pusan Tower and fish market and tasted my first honey and orange latte at Starbucks yummy yummy. Shanghai When we arrived back in Shanghai several of our ship mates couldn't get off because they only had double entry visas luckily I had spoke to the embassy who advised me that we needed multi entry visas before leaving the UK. This is very important a number of people only had single entry visas and they were not allowed to board the ship in the first place because they would not be allowed back into China. Here we visited Yu Gardens what an amazing place. Nagasaki For us both the highlight of the cruise, what a beautiful city. Here we visited the Atomic Bomb Museum and Peace Garden both really make you think. Kagoshima Another once in a lifetime experience when the volcano which dominates the skyline had a minor eruption.
When we arrived back in Shanghai we had a Suite at the Majestic Plaza Hotel right in the city centre excellent location for further sight seeing and shopping. (We booked this hotel ourselves through Booking.com when we discovered that Thomas cook had forgot to book a hotel for us) The next morning RC picked us up and took us to the airport for our flight to Beijing.
When we arrived in Beijing Thomas Cook had booked us a hotel which was billed as 3 star but which was a nightmare. The hotel was basically no stars so we looked for another hotel a 3 star Holiday Inn which you couldn't compare in anyway to the Beijing Perfect Inn (Thomas Cooks choice) This wasted for us 1 day which at that time we could ill afford. Over the next few days we visited The Forbidden Palace, The Great Wall and others. One tip if you visit The forbidden Palace go in by the back door to avoid lengthy queues. The one place we had missed at this stage was the Summer Palace.
When we were due to leave Beijing we were sitting on our airplane when we were told that British Airspace was closed. BA put us up in the Crowes Plaza and told us to contact our travel agents for further advice and help. At this stage I rang Thomas Cook who didn't want to know. The rep kept asking me how I was enjoying myself. They were a nightmare. BA re booked us on a flight 3 weeks later but fortunately phoned us to tell us we were on the first fight out of there. During our enforced stay we had time to visit the Summer Palace a place you shouldn't miss.
Points out of 10 Royal Caribbean 10 BA 10 Thomas Cook 1 (Oops and I'm a Thomas Cook share holder)