It has taken me some time before deciding to write this review because I wanted to think long and hard about my experience and try and be as fair as possible.
We booked a Grand Suite on Legend of the Seas some 10 months in advance and were so looking forward to it. Our previous cruises had been Balcony and AD suite classes on NCL/Starcruises ships with the service in the suites being exceptional so we were really looking forward to 6 nights of being pampered. We made the discussion not to join the ship early and had lunch in Hong Kong and wandered down to the ship after 3pm.
Having been to Hong Kong on numerous occasions we knew where Ocean Terminal was and had no problem locating it and were met at the front door by staff who tagged and took our baggage to the ship. We got to check in and there would have been 100 people waiting to get served and the same amount waiting to go through customs. We were asked for our set sail documents and directed to a counter where we picked up our sea passes. We were then directed to the rear of the customs line and had approximately a 30 minute wait to get on the ship. This was very different to Star Cruises when cruising in a suite, who sat us down with a drink and did all the running around for us, and we had our own private desk for customs. After customs we walked onboard the ship and were directed to the Atrium and that was it. No further staff, no welcome drink, no directions, no nothing. We decided to search out our cabin and found it easily having study deck plans long before getting onboard, our baggage had not arrived so we decided to walk around the ship. To cut a long story short we found the standard cruise ship amenities with most people eating and drinking and swimming in the pool.
We returned to our cabin at around 5pm to find our bags and unpacked. The phone rang with a person at the other end asking what time we wanted dinner. We had elected MTD and said we had no idea when we would want to eat that’s why we chose MTD. The caller stated he would be down directly to see us. The knock at the door produced a crewman who had at best poor English who then went on to explain to us that MTD means that I tell them when I will be dining for the whole cruise. Now my wife and I are very casual when on holidays, our lives are so rigid in our working life we just wish to do what we want on holidays, unfortunately this did not fit with RCCL idea of MTD. We booked a table for 8:30 on the formal night and the same time on the last night and left the rest. We wanted to book for 9pm but were told this was too late.
The crewman then proceeded to tell us about the cabin explaining that there are a few faults such as a permanently flowing shower but you can’t hear it when the door is closed. He also laughed when telling me I would have to duck to get into the shower because of my 190cm height. He also told us to take care on the balcony due to a broken pane of glass that had not been fixed. The cabin struck us as old and tired with a huge balcony that was under utilised with just two chairs and a small round rickety table that you could not fit breakfast on. I must say that after our first 4 hours on the ship we knew that the cruise would be a lot different to previous ones.
The evening was spent investigating all the entertainment venues and enjoying the sail away through one of the most beautiful harbours in the world. We watch the 8pm light show from the upper deck but unfortunately a lot of others missed it because they didn’t know it was on. Had a light snack at the Windjammer and went to bed around midnight.
We were up too late for breakfast in the dining room we found out and went back to the Windjammer which was packed full so we decide to get some odds and ends and go back to the cabin and eat on the balcony. Entertainment during the sea day was normal, trivia, Asian arts and crafts, Putt Putt competitions; the rock wall was interesting, two good pools and lazing in the sun. We found out all about the formal night from other passengers and went to get ready at around 7pm. Arriving in one of the formal lounges for pre dinner drinks it seem like most of the ship was there. A drop of champagne, a speech from the Captain with the mandatory officer introduction and then we were off to dinner. We arrived at the upper level to be told there would be a delay, the time 8:30pm, the time we were asked to be there. I accepted this, it was formal night and they are obviously busy. We watched as other passangers arrived and proceeded to be, in my opinion, rude to the staff about the wait. Bored with this sort of behaviour we informed the staff member that we would be in the bar and he could find us there when our table was ready. At 8:55 a staff member came up to us and said, “follow me”. With a raise of the eyebroughs we grabbed our drinks and were led to our table. Service was great at the table, food good but unfortunately you have to eat to a schedule and because we were so late we were rushed through our meal in our opinion.
The ports were not why we were on the ship, we had been to them before, we were there to be pampered and laze away the days unfortunately by day 3 we knew that it was not going to be what we hoped for. Over the next 3 days we attended 2 of the shows that were in short terrible. I will not get up and walk out on an entertainer because I believe that this is rude, but I can say that the two nights we went, many many people did. The casino was obviously doing something wrong being very slow every time I passed through and in Asia that’s not normal.
Disembarkation was disappointing because we felt that we were “kicked off” the ship. We were informed the night before to meet at 9am so that we could be first off the ship. This was the last thing we wanted to do, we were not interested in being first we just wanted a lazy breakfast and to get off around 11am at the earliest if possible. This we were told was not possible and on arrival at the meeting place at approximately 8:50 we were told we were late and whisked off the ship to the luggage area.
This was our first experience with RCCL and was something my wife and I were looking forward to after doing so much research. We were well aware that the ship was older than most in the fleet but our research had told us it was well run and well maintained, in fact during the cruise, the Captain announce that the ship had won an award within RCCL that made it Ship of the Year. I remember my wife looking at me and saying “This is the best they have?” We came off the ship with a feeling of disappointment and that of being let down. Maybe our expectations were too high, maybe we expected too much, either way our first RCCL experience did not match in anyway our previous experiences with NCL/Starcruises. RCCL are not new to Asia, they have been here with the same ship for many years so they should know there way around by now. While my experience will not stop me from ever booking a RCCL ship again it will be awhile before we do.