We boarded our cruise in Hong Kong after a wonderful 3 night stay at the MetroPark Hotel, Kowloon. We visited Victoria Peak, rode the famous Star Ferry and dined at the floating Jumbo Restaurant among many other interesting adventures. I had not been in Hong Kong since 1968 and like everywhere it had changed significantly. However, it is still a beautiful and interesting city.
We arrived at the pier about 11:30 am and boarded after about a 30 minutes wait in line. We were greeted with smiles, champagne and directions to the lunch buffet. Rooms would not be ready until 1:30.
After lunch our room was ready and we left the dinning room to explore our new home for the next two weeks. We had a balcony room that was not the largest we have experienced but certainly adequate for the two of us. The bathroom was small but functional.
First let me comment on the service. The entire staff was the most friendly and accommodating of any ship we have been own. All requests were met immediately and with a smile. We had more officers stop and have lengthy conversations with us than all our other cruises combined. Shoes were even shined on request. We loved the free water, soft drinks, and fruit restocked daily.
We felt all the dinning options were a step above our previous cruises with the NCL Jewel being the worst and probably Princess or RCL being best. However, Carnival, for the money, is quite good. We enjoyed the two speciality restaurants ($15 per person)that were a bargain at that price. The Cowboy rib eye (bone-in) at Prime C was superb. The Aqualina had great Foie Gras as an appetizer. This dish alone would cost more than the $15 surcharge. The lobster and Sea Bass were also enjoyed as entrees. Make your reservations when you first get on ship to ensure your preferences for time and date.
We thought lunch at Windows offered a good variety and was tasty. My wife loves to try foods different than those we normally eat at home and she was never disappointed. Service was generally prompt and cheerful. However,the service when Windows first opened was somewhat slow at lunch and dinner. Breakfast could also be a little slow at peak times. We learned to postpone our dinner visit until about 30 minutes after they opened. We enjoyed dinning outside for lunch on most days with a rail table.
The main dinning room menu was generally interesting. However, after two weeks it started looking the same. I have this problem on all long cruises. The food was very good. Service was attentive and the wine flowed freely. Wine being included for lunch and dinner is a nice touch that seemed to be greatly enjoyed by most. Room service was good and promptly delivered. Being able to order a full breakfast was appreciated.
The Vietnamese entertainment that was brought on ship for the evening deck buffet while in Saigon was wonderful. They were truly talented. Several members of the crew "fell in love" with the local beauties that put on the show! We regretted missing the performance of the Thai entertainers in Bangkok because we were getting our custon suits refitted! This was a dissapointment, and another story.
This was truly a wonderful cruise and we will be sailing Azamara in the near future. Now back to the real world. Yes, dear.