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694 Asia Family Cruise Reviews

We booked the nine day version of this cruise as a complement to a land tour of Japan. In most respects, it met our expectations, but there were definitely some aspects that were disappointing. This circumnavigation of Japan was an ... Read More
We booked the nine day version of this cruise as a complement to a land tour of Japan. In most respects, it met our expectations, but there were definitely some aspects that were disappointing. This circumnavigation of Japan was an excellent, well-balanced itinerary out of Yokohama. What impressed us the most was the number of ports (three in total) visited on the Sea of Japan coast. This is an area of the country that does not seem to see many cruise ships, so it was an appealing aspect of the itinerary. We also appreciated the opportunity to visit South Korea through the port of Busan. For future cruises, it would be nice if Princess could add a port on the island of Kyushu. We booked shore excursions through Princess for each port. Generally, these were well-organized and efficiently run. There was a good variety of offerings, with something for everyone. The process of getting off and back onto the ship was relatively painless, although we were a bit in the dark about the process of retrieving goods that were taken and held by security until the end of the cruise. More information on this procedure would have been welcome. In terms of the running of the ship and service onboard, there were positive and negative aspects. On the positive side, the Princess waiters were excellent, with outstanding service in the Savoy dining room, although the cuisine could be a bit hit-or-miss. The food was generally very good, although two evening meals were substandard due to under or over-cooking. With half of the passengers being Japanese, there were many more Asian dish choices than what one would normally see. The service in the Horizon Court buffet was equally good. We had one evening meal at the Italian premium restaurant, Sabatini’s. Again, the service was excellent, but the food was a little disappointing. For example, the lobster served in the Savoy dining room was superior to what we had in the premium restaurant. Finally, we were regulars at the afternoon tea service in the International Dining Room and really enjoyed the white glove table service and tasty goodies that one usually finds at high tea. The cabin housekeeping service was also a bit unpredictable. Our first cabin steward was sub-par, to the point that we were about to complain. However, after two days, we got a new cabin steward who was so dedicated and attentive that he made up for the first one. The entertainment was good. There were three production shows, of which two were very good. We also enjoyed the other acts, especially the rock violinist, Katei. We really appreciated the demonstration of traditional Japanese comic storytelling, rakugo. We were disappointed that Princess did not take the opportunity of being in Japan to showcase more Japanese talent, such as a J-Pop group or a Kabuki theatre performance. On the negative side, the ship appears tired, with several evident maintenance issues and some areas of the ship being downright filthy. One of the ladies' toilets near the atrium was constantly malfunctioning, and ceiling fans in the dining section of the Lido were covered with so much encrusted dirt that it would have failed a health inspection. We saw at least one instance where a wall had to be torn out to fix the plumbing, and many parts of the passageways showed damage from years of wear and tear. Some of this should certainly have been addressed by the crew, while other issues will require the resources of a full refit. Other parts of the cruise also misfired. On both occasions that we chose to catch a movie on the pool deck on the big screen, the sound system malfunctioned. We also had a total screw-up with room service delivering the wrong items to our cabin. Additionally, we were also taken aback by the way that Princess seems to be nickle-and-diming more aspects of the cruise. For example, the Japanese baths which are unique to this ship were advertised as an appealing feature, until we discovered that you had to pay for each visit, more or less like spa experiences. On the whole, we enjoyed our cruise on Diamond Princess. The itinerary was great, and the crew for the most part was excellent. Nevertheless, the ship needs a lot of work, and we were disappointed by other aspects of the cruise. As a result, only an average score was earned, with lots of room for Princess to improve this unique Japanese experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Foreign exchange conversion a rip off on ship. Exchange your currency and pay cash. The staff looking after our suite were great. Our towels were always ion a new creative shape which was amusing. We didn't like having to walk ... Read More
Foreign exchange conversion a rip off on ship. Exchange your currency and pay cash. The staff looking after our suite were great. Our towels were always ion a new creative shape which was amusing. We didn't like having to walk through the casino areas with our children. The food was hit and miss. Pretty average and then every now and then you get a good meal. Activities were fun and well managed. Other passengers would push in, but the staff couldn't cope. The pool closed a few times for 'cleaning'. The staff said probably poo or vomit in pool.....'yuk!'. Unfortunately the passengers push in at every opportunity - dinner queues, each port, embarkation etc etc. The staff try to manage them, but they just keep pushing. The staff said this is a problem on every cruise. i was left with a sour taste when they over charged my final payment balance by more than $200 (20%) because of the currency conversion. Not a good way to finish. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
You would think that a ship updated solely for the Japan market would do Japanese-related things (restaurants, food and menu, ports of call) well. No such luck. Everything was poorly done - even the extra charge sushi restaurant was ... Read More
You would think that a ship updated solely for the Japan market would do Japanese-related things (restaurants, food and menu, ports of call) well. No such luck. Everything was poorly done - even the extra charge sushi restaurant was artificial. Very disappointing. Also, we were shocked to see that there were very long lines to get into the buffet (Horizon Court). The pool side grill didn’t have or serve hot dogs or “pies” (the UK snack). The cruise itinerary was changed because of a typhoon - we skipped Ishinomaki. The stop in Busan, South Korea was not necessary. An extra day in Kyoto would have been nice - there was so much to do and see. Finally, the pre-cruise hotel in Tokyo, although a lovely hotel, was in the middle of nowhere. The Princess rep was useless and even the hotel Concierge could not suggest any sightseeing tours that we could take for a day. The key word is disappointing. All of that said, our on-board experience was fine. There were any number of onboard activities, and the port lecturer did a great job of preparing us for the different ports of call. The themed Japanese baths were a great addition, and were integrated into the rear deck pool, sauna and sun deck. The three dining rooms we visited have been updated; the furniture is modern and comfortable. We remain impressed with the level of customer service on-board. The Carnival acquisition has not been good for Princess passengers, but this critical aspect remains outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
1. The day before the cruise a Typhoon hit Tokyo. We understand that you cannot do anything when mother nature hits but there was no communication, no notifications or emails from Princess explaining that there is a delay in the cruise ... Read More
1. The day before the cruise a Typhoon hit Tokyo. We understand that you cannot do anything when mother nature hits but there was no communication, no notifications or emails from Princess explaining that there is a delay in the cruise ship coming back into port due to the Typhoon and that there was any delay in embarkation. There should have been an initial email warning of the approaching Typhoon and a subsequent email stating the delay on embankment. In this case we could have spent the day doing other things than sitting around a hot and sticky cruise terminal from 10am until 6pm waiting to embark. 2. The conditions while waiting at the cruise terminal was appalling. There was no air-conditioning. If there was, it was negated by the opened front doors as you approached being left open bringing in the hot air. There was no airflow once inside and the air was stale, hot and sticky. I nearly passed out from the heat and I even witnessed a few older people passing out. To me this is simply unacceptable. It could be likened to a scene from a war camp! 3. There was no offer of any water, wet towels or anything to help with coping in these conditions. It made the wait very uncomfortable and upsetting for everyone there. This was a cruise we were really looking forward to but so far the disappointment and state of the organisation of the cruise was the start of the cruise from hell. 4. Once we finally got onboard, we were then told that there would be a delay in departure until later that night. Then we were told that they could not organise a pilot or tug until 2am at this time we were starting to get fed up and just wanted to get back off the ship in disgust. We were then informed that we would be departing at 6am the next morning and that they were still waiting on 250 cruise passengers and 30 staff members to arrive at the port. 5. This meant that we had to miss the first stop at Ishinomaki which we were really looking forward to and it meant yet another day at sea. We were very disappointed with the way this was handled. 6. The days at sea were really long. The princess patters on the days were filled with activities that did not appeal to the majority of the Caucasians that were on the ship. My father (72 years old) who was travelling with us was so bored during the sea days that all he did was sit around the explorers lounge and drink. The only highlight of the day was the trivia and even then it was not that exciting to talk home about. 7. Our first port stay in Hakodate started off terrible. What we were not informed about is that the ship itself was docked so far away from the main attraction areas that you had to purchase a shuttle ticket of USD$15.00 per person, get in a cab or just fork out on a tour. This was the common theme for all the port stays ahead and with 4 people to pay for, it ended up being a very expensive cost which was not factored into our budget. This was really upsetting. 8. We were highly disgusted at the decline on services provided from our last cruise with the Diamond Princess which had free shuttle buses, offered bottles of water as you got off the ship to explore for the day and bottles of water on return back to the ship. The location of the ports was in walking distance of all the main attractions in Japan and you did not have to keep putting your hand in your pocket to pay for the shuttle services or cab fare. This particular cruise was a real letdown and we felt we were getting ripped off at every place we visited. 9. The most stressful part of the cruise was the time it took to get through immigration. Standing in queues in the heat for hours with no water or wet towels offered, just to get a passport stamped was not pleasant and cut majorly into the time we had at the ports. The worst locations were in Busan and Hiroshima. Hiroshima had the time scheduled from 7am until 6pm. They were late in setting up the immigration in the makeshift terminal (which looked like worn out abandoned warehouses), as such, we were unable to step onto the port to get through immigration until 10am. By the time we got through immigration it was 12pm then we had to make a mad dash to Hiroshima (which took another 20 mins via cab and train) to try and see anything before we had to turn around and be back on the ship before 5:30pm. At this point, the cruise itself felt so disorganised and we were really stressed that we just wanted to get off the ship and demand our money back. 10. In Hiroshima, there is a cruise terminal right in heart of Hiroshima that has the trams and buses just outside the cruise terminal door and access to Hiroshima and all the sight seeing is plentiful. We wondered why they parked at a port so far away from the Main station at first but we soon realised that Princess would not make any money from the Shuttle buses or ship tours if moored in the main terminal. This just made us more and more furious. 11. As previously stated, we have cruised on the same ship before and thoroughly enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and stress free cruise from Singapore to Yokohama. We never had the immigration issues that we had this time. Never had to wait in queues and had more time in ports because the process was different. On the last cruise we handed our passports to the cabin staff for immigration to be done and we simply showed our cruise card as we went off and back onto the ship. I am not too sure what has happened to change the way the immigration is done but to say I was disgusted in the current process is an understatement. I would liken the current process to Faulty Towers. 12. Another sticking point was the length of time at each port. Some of the port stops had very little to do with long port stops while other ports had heaps to do but very limited time to do it. The length of stay in Hakodate was from 10am until 11pm which was far too long to stay in the township which you can complete in half a day. As we had already been at this location before we can attest to that. 13. Maizuru is also a port that has nothing to do unless you fork out a tonne of money to travel or go on a tour. We were struggling to find something interesting to do at the port for the 10 hours we were there but in the end we ended up looking through a red brick museum telling us the history of how red bricks are made and looking through a few odd shops and returning really early to the ship. Really, really boring port. It would be better if the port stay was somewhere like Kanazawa where you have more interesting things to see and do. 14. The one good part of the trip was the port stay in Busan. We chose to go on a ship tour here and went to the UN cemetery and Museum. 15. The letdown about the ship tour in Busan was the length of the tour. It was too short. We would have liked to spend more time in the museum to learn about the wars and conflicts that South Korea went through but instead the tour guide was only interested on telling us about how the country was formed and what they are doing now. When I asked about seeing the war history. The guide stated that they “do not talk about that” and purposely walked us past all the rooms that contained the war history. We were stunned at the response and upset that we could not see what we came to see. The guide also took us to the Lotte Shopping Centre which was not what we wanted to do and we sat around for an hour and a half waiting to get back on the bus to return to the ship. We were informed the next day from other passengers that the shuttle bus was free. This is the only port where there was a free shuttle bus but no one was informed of this at the time and knowing that we could have re-visited the museum later in the day at no extra cost made us very angry as there was no communication and no proper direction given from staff at the time we were in port. 16. We were also rather unimpressed by the food selection available on the ship. It appeared to be roughly the same menu everyday with minor adjustments here and there. Not very appetizing and the taste was lacking. Our family went to the Steakhouse one night for dinner which made a pleasant change but everywhere else the food just did not rate. We were bitterly disappointed with the food on this cruise compared to the previous princess cruise which was 100 times better, with tastier food and more food selection. 17. On the final day we were so happy to be finally off the cruise from hell that we had our bags packed the night before and was excited to leave the ship for good. Because we were so distraught, stressed and disappointed with the whole cruise we are now reluctant to go back on a princess cruise again. The whole experience was so horrific and it is a cruise we will never forget and not in a good way. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
With a Typhoon to deal with which made the transfer to the ship difficult, a missed first port due to logistical issues we still will say that this cruise became one of the best we have ever experienced! The captain and the crew pulled out ... Read More
With a Typhoon to deal with which made the transfer to the ship difficult, a missed first port due to logistical issues we still will say that this cruise became one of the best we have ever experienced! The captain and the crew pulled out all stops to make it so. Their friendly visibility, extra cocktail party put on by the captain went a long way to creating an enjoyable atmosphere, thank you Captain Arma. Our dining experience was perfect and we dined at sabatini and the Japanese restaurant and both were very impressive in service and quality of food almost to a level of very fine dining category, the cocktail party was fun and very enjoyable we have been to many of these parties but this one was special and the captain and his executive officers made the difference Chris and Trent were very friendly and courteous, thanks for your wonderful company. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Very nice ship. Service and food at restaurants below average. Full wine list was not available from day one. Ripped-off having to pay 18% service fee on all drinks etc. Cost of shuttle bus expensive. A number of crew members trying to ... Read More
Very nice ship. Service and food at restaurants below average. Full wine list was not available from day one. Ripped-off having to pay 18% service fee on all drinks etc. Cost of shuttle bus expensive. A number of crew members trying to gouge money by inviting to attend paid activities etc. Due to the late arrival of the ship there was total chaos and incompetency by staff at embarkation. Very little or no information as to why it was taking so long to embark while passengers were sweating under 35 degree temperatures in the waiting lounge without air-conditioning. Although it was no fault of the staff for the late arrival, staff were absolutely hopeless in organisation embarkation. Only received notification of the late arrival of the ship 2 hours before we were due to embarkation. Many passengers were complaining about the poor quality of food in restaurants and the 18% service fee. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
After cruising with Royal Caribbean for several years to obtain Platinum level and after enjoying our last cruise on the Harmony of the Sea, we were excited to explore Vietnam with Royal Caribbean. Keep in mind that my wife and I have ... Read More
After cruising with Royal Caribbean for several years to obtain Platinum level and after enjoying our last cruise on the Harmony of the Sea, we were excited to explore Vietnam with Royal Caribbean. Keep in mind that my wife and I have cruised over 840 days at sea and now made cruising a family affair as we cruise with our minor and adult children and their families. On this 3 week holiday we had a great experience beginning at the Ocean Park Marriott Resort in Hong Kong before boarding Voyager of the Seas and was very excited to sail. However, we are sick with disappoint on our most recent Royal Caribbean sailing. We expected the smaller class ship would not have all the amenities we enjoyed on the Harmony, but we did expect the same level of food quality and service. In 30 years having cruised budget to exclusive lines we have never seen food prepared so poorly. Much of the food served on Voyager was very tasteless and served cold in both the main dining room and the buffet. When we payed for meals at Johnny Rockets and Chops the food was flavorful and served at an edible temperature. My husband began eating burgers in the hope of getting a quality tasty meal. He changed to ordering a hamburger from the main dining room as they were better than the burgers served in the Windjammer which appeared to contain filler and certainly not the quality of Johnny Rockets burgers. We tried being the first in line for the buffet, but the pork chop and pancakes were cold even at the start of the mealtime. We were also disappointed that the Windjammer buffet closed so early in the evening leaving only 1 after 9pm dining option which only had complimentary water, coffee, hot tea and milk. Being a non coffee drinker and lactose intolerance water and or basic hot tea was my only choice. In addition small things like sweeteners and the selection of tea flavors was half of what was offered on the Harmony. As for complimentary beverages, we don't believe fruit punch beverages which mimic Koolaid is acceptable. There often was debris clinging to our glass after consuming the drink. Our cabin steward provided wonderful service, as did Mr. XXXXX at the front desk. However, the rest of the staff provided substandard service and we found most staff were focused and commenting on what they would be doing once the guest were off the boat and the renovation of the ship begins. The children's activity center discouraged us from dropping our 8 year old son off. We did not understand why they would not take a child during published open hours even if other children would not be there. When we have someone watch our son at home when we are out, there are not other children present. Entertaining a ward when the parents are at the shows or casino should be the goal of the activity center, instead we had to limited our casino and bar experiences as those are not family friendly activities. Our first excursion was Halong Bay by Boat. The bay and caverns were beautiful; however, the guide provided limited or virtually no details of what we were seeing. He was very personable, but unable to answer several of our questions regarding the formation of the caverns. The Shore Excursion team tried to address our dissatisfaction of the tour of Halong Bay, but that too was several hoops to go through. The initial Shore desk agent we expressed our disappointment to made us feel like the inept guide was our fault as no one else had complained. She implied by her comments that we were lying. She was supposed to get the manager to talk to us, but it took following up with the front desk twice before we received a call back from the Shore Desk manager 36 hours later who was unfamiliar with what happened even after we had filed a complaint. We had to relive the experience again. Eventually Ms. XXXX refunded 50% of the tour cost. Great news but we were saddened that the tour did provide the learning content required of his school needed to complete his trip report. In all it did not provide a learning experience for us or our son. Although the cruise was not going well our goal was to book another with the onboarding Next travel team. This attempted booking was also a new disappointing experience. Even though we were not excited to be on the Voyager, we thought we would plan our 2020 cruise. Wow, booking early offered little incentive and the Next Cruise booking manager did not seem very concerned that we will be expanding our travel search to competitive cruise providers. Basically he was of little service and did not live up to the hype that we experienced during the frequent cruiser reception. Once aboard we understood from the crew that the Voyager would be going out of service for renovations and modernization after this cruise. However for this cruise we had to endure elevators which were non functional and some partially functional contributing to my husband discomfort as he is under the care of a sports medicine physician and was advised to avoid stairs during the trip. Modernization is definitely needed for this ship as many baseboard tiles were falling off the wall, water for hand washing was unavailable in some washrooms, and stairwell tiles/lighting leading to the casino were broken. Casino display lights were partially functional. As we have stated we encountered numerous other maintenance issues we do not normally encounter on a cruise ship. Tiles were missing or loose, the bed shade was cracked but taped together and the exterior seemed to have rust stains everywhere. RC cruises have always raised the bar for food, entertainment and experiences. However this cruise has recalibrated our RC experience to the level of experience similar to more budget cruises but for a higher price. And end the end not only were gratuities automatically added to our shipboard account now envelopes are being left for additional gratuities for cabin/dining staff. Leaving additional gratuities is a good thing but for first time cruisers they may not understand that the envelopes are not mandatory. In addition, we found that some tours had a $100.00 per person markup when compared to walking 100 yards off the ship and getting the same tour from the local provider. Right now we'd not recommend RC mid level ships for a family cruise nor do we believe our last experience lived up to RC's reputation of service, support, and guest appreciation. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Our holiday was for myself, my husband and my three sons (17, 22 and 25) in two parts booked through cruise.co.uk. The first part was a 10 day, all inclusive tour around China. Our second part of the holiday was a seven day cruise ... Read More
Our holiday was for myself, my husband and my three sons (17, 22 and 25) in two parts booked through cruise.co.uk. The first part was a 10 day, all inclusive tour around China. Our second part of the holiday was a seven day cruise aboard the Voyager of the Seas which we boarded at Hong Kong. I have cruised many times with Royal Caribbean and have, in fact, been on this actual ship. All previous cruises have been excellent and of an equally great standard that I have come to expect from Royal Caribbean. On this part of the holiday we were joined by my parents who had travelled separately to Hong Kong in order to enjoy the cruise with my family. At no time were we informed that this ship was about to go into dry dock for a major refurbishment and serious repairs STATE ROOMS When booking this holiday with cruise.co.uk, we explained that while we were happy for my three sons to share a room, they were adults and, putting it bluntly, quite large! Adam understood our requirements and sold us a balcony grade cabin for myself and my husband and a panoramic suite that could sleep 6 for my three sons to share. At the time of booking Adam explained that he could not get a room number for the panoramic suite although he guided us to the ‘deck plans’ and explained it would either be state room number 1804 or 1814 on deck 12, just a few doors down from our state room. He explained that although room 1814 was officially a disabled cabin, it had much larger floor space so would accommodate my three sons. On our invoice, we were never provided with a room number for this room. We paid more for this room as it was so much larger. Upon arrival on the ship, my sons were allocated room 1852 which while panoramic, was not a suite that slept 6. The staff told me it could sleep 4 although we soon found out that with only two beds and one small sofa that could only be converted into a single bed, it only could sleep 3. The floor space was exactly the same size as our balcony grade cabin. The staff were very unhelpful explaining that there were no other rooms available as the ship was full to capacity. We later found out that there were actually 400 rooms unallocated on that ship that week. We believe we were miss sold this room under the pretence it was bigger than the balcony grade cabin and could sleep 6 people. We most definitely paid more money than our balcony grade cabin which was the same size. We expect to be reimbursed for this. LIFTS We were on the 12th deck so obviously lifts were a necessity. On day one, all of the panoramic central view lifts were suddenly covered in a green netting that stretched from the top deck to the bottom. We were informed that they were being repaired. We established, by talking to the engineers and taking photos and videos that these lifts were NOT under repair but were actually being ripped out in readiness for the ship to go into dry dock in a week’s time. Two of the other lifts didn’t work at all and one of those broke down completely within a couple of days. One lift wouldn’t go passed deck 10. Being on deck 12, I’m sure you can understand the inconvenience this caused not to mention the sight and noise of workmen carrying out a complete rip out right in the middle of your holiday FOOD - Windjammer There are many areas where food can be obtained and the Windjammer Restaurant is the self service restaurant on deck 11. The food looked plentiful and nicely presented however, it was nearly all cold and on occasions, undercooked. We were told that hot plates were no longer working and some of the ovens were soon to be replaced. This response did not help us in any way at all. My husband was continually frustrated to get a plate full of food, find a seat to sit and eat it, only to find it cold and disgusting. It was then that we noticed the lack of staff in the restaurant. Plates were not getting cleared away from tables, spillages were having warning signs placed over them but not getting cleared up and the water/tea station was continually unmanned. FOOD - Johnny Rockets We decided the only way to get a decent hot meal would be to pay the additional price in order to visit one of the 4 speciality restaurants on board. Unfortunately, this was also a disaster! We visited Johnny Rockets - a burger bar restaurant with a $10 surcharge. The place had few customers, the waitress spoke very little English and the chef was busy fussing over one beef burger when we walked in. We sat at the counter and tried to order - the waitress could not understand why we would want our fries WITH our burger - surely we would want them as a starter? We looked around and could see other guests munching on just chips and overheard them all complaining about when their burger was going to be served. This restaurant was advertised as an authentic, American burger joint yet the staff had absolutely no idea how burger and fries were meant to be served and consumed! We waited 25 minutes for the chef to cook the burger - we watched as he used his spatular to scoop up a raw chicken breast, slap it on the griddle next to our burger and then proceed to turn our burger with the same spatular. I don’t think any more needs to be said about Johnny Rockets other than it was a total let down. Again, staffing seemed to be the issue. FOOD - Sapphire Restaurant We had booked my time dining. This means that you can reserve a table the day before. This is a practice that I have often used and has always worked efficiently in the passed. On this cruise however, the queues of guests outside the restaurant all waiting to be taken to their pre-booked table was ridiculous!. You expect queues outside the other restaurants when there are allotted seated times - often a hundred or more guests would be waiting for the 6pm sitting and would then all be let in at once. But you do not expect this in the ‘my time’ dining room. Yet again, lack of staff was the issue. Once shown to our table we again experienced a lack of staff - no wine waiter or water waiter. I got up twice to get my own water. The one waiter we had was very over worked. When food arrived after a long wait it was often cold and inedible. We complained several times and eventually the restaurant manager, Ellen came to our table and listened carefully to our grievances. We told her we would be unable to risk eating in the restaurant again and would have to purchase the food package which enabled us to eat at the speciality restaurants at an additional surcharge. Ellen almost begged us to give her another chance to prove the restaurant was worth another visit so two days later we tried again. Firstly, the seven of us were showed to a table that could only sit five people comfortably yet they had squeezed seven place settings on. We complained and were moved to a table that could comfortably seat 12 guests although was only partially laid up for eight. Again, we had to serve ourselves water and again the wine waiter had to be called and called and when he finally arrived asked US to write what we wanted on his pad as he couldn’t understand English!!! Our meal was late and the starters were cold. We complained again but was told this time there was a severe shortage of staff and that everyone was doing their best. This was really not acceptable and made our complete dining experience on the ship appalling. FOOD - CHOPS GRILLE As the food and service was so appalling on the ship, we had no option other than to pay (at a considerable cost of £380 - invoice enclosed) for a ‘food package’. This entitled us to eat at the three main speciality restaurants over three nights. Unfortunately it appeared that most guests had the same idea so Chops restaurant was so busy we were only able to book the whole family in for one of the nights. We wanted to book for our last night but they had already filled their books by day two of the cruise!. Our experience in Chops was what we would expect from Royal Caribbean - food was beautiful, staff attentive and service fast. What a shame the rest of the ship couldn’t be like this and what a shame they were so booked up that we couldn’t enjoy good food on our last night FOOD - IZUMI Another of the three specialist restaurants was Izumi, a Japanese restaurant. Food here was very good - we noticed most of the staff from the Captain’s Bridge were in there. Unfortunately service was appalling. It took ages to get a drink and even longer to get the food. We wouldn’t have eaten in there at all had we been able to get a table at Chops FOOD - GIOVANNI’S TABLE The last on the list of the three specialist restaurants. Menu seemed limited and again service was far too slow. Our booking was for 8.30pm but we were left standing for 15minutes while the maitre d took someone’s order. Again, short staffed. STAFFING After realising that most problems encountered on our ship were due to staffing, we decided to complain at the main desk. Queues here were always long but after a 30 minute wait we were finally seen. It was established that the ship was seriously understaffed due to another cruise liner enlisting the more experienced staff in order to ensure their maiden voyage did not receive any criticism! We were assured that the staffon board were qualified although some were new to their positions. When we started speaking to staff, it came to light that a large proportion of staff had originally been ‘cleaning staff’ who had been bumped up recently to fill in for the short fall in serving staff. This would account for the amount of staff unable to communicate with us due to their lack of English. It would also account for the poor service being received in every area of the ship. In the spa area there was only one hairdresser working and he informed us that he had originally been contracted to work until December but had only recently been told that the ship was going into dry dock so would be leaving his position then. He said that the other hairdressers and spa consultants (there was only one who could give pedicures) had all left the ship back in Hong Kong SHORE EXCURSIONS One of the most important aspects of a cruise is the shore excursions. These excursions are advertised a few weeks prior to the cruise departing via an online brochure. The information available is fairly minimal. It should be noted that most excursions were marked as ‘booked’ before we even boarded the ship. It was established, once on board, that this wasn’t the case but unfortunately led to unreasonably long queues of guests trying to book tours at the tour desk. As it was unclear which tours would be the best to choose, we decided to attend the one hour meeting held on the first day in the ship’s theatre. This meeting is normally held by the cruise director where they explain in detail the different tours available, show a video of passed tours and generally help sell the excursions. If you are unable to attend this meeting, there is always a video on loop on your state room television. Ufnfortuanlaty, our tv didn’t work at first and once it did there was absolutely no mention of any of the tours on any of the channels - we complained at guest services but they were unsure what we were talking about. I assumed that possibly cruising to Vietnam was quite a new thing for Royal Caribbean and they were yet to produce a promotional video (?). Whilst still unsure what tours to book, we decided to attend the meeting in the theatre - this was a total waste of time as the cruise director was not on board. As a replacement, we were presented on a stage with a gentleman that spoke very little English. He embarrassingly read through the information brochure we had been given and showed some photographs that were also already in the brochure. He could provide no additional information and was unable to sell any tours. We complained to guest services who explained that the main tour manager was not on board the ship. All of the tours were very expensive so we wanted to choose the right ones. There were five of us (seven including my parents) so this could prove to be a costly mistake. We queued at the ‘shore excursions desk’ but was greeted with another member of staff, who while friendly, really didn’t have a clue about the difference between the excursions. It was quite apparent that Royal Caribbean were also using the cheap option when it came to docking the ship and rather than dock at the more expensive ports, were docking at the cheaper more industrial sites. This in turn pushed the price of the tours up as buses had to be taken with at least a two hour journey to get to any destination. To add salt to the wound, on our final day at sea, once we had sailed well away from Vietnam, the tv in our state room started to show videos of the trips we could have gone on! It was such unnecessary incompetence and due totally to a lack of staff CLEANLINESS OF THE SHIP When a ship docks and guests disembark for a day’s tour, it is normal practise to clean the boat and carry out necessary repairs whilst all is fairly quiet on board. This did not happen once during our whole cruise. It became quite obvious that no one gave a damn about the condition the boat was in or the cleanliness of the boat. Windows were left filthy and rust was evident everywhere. The ceilings in the main dining room were damp and stained and gave a general impression of a very unhygienic area to eat. Plates, cups and old food was constantly being left lying around and tables were rarely wiped. As well as the lifts being out of action there was also a problem with the air conditioning and constantly we would be tripping over portable air conditioning units placed around the ship. The outside of the ship was a total mess too and not once was the pully system lowered to clean the outside windows or ship. It was also very noticeable, as a previous guest with Royal Caribbean, that no effort was being made on the ship. No speciality events were on offer or any of the little extras that are normally available to guests. Small things like changing the ‘day of the week’ plate within the lifts was never done - each lift had a different day in it! It was made so very apparent that all the staff just couldn’t wait to get off the ship as they were feeling very overworked and harassed. We frequently heard guests being rude to bar staff simply out of frustration at not getting served. We had purchased the drinks package at a total cost of £1200 but it was useless trying to get a drink within half an hour. Where a bar would normally have at least four or five working, there would be only one. All the above is understandable for a ship about to go into dry dock but totally unacceptable to guests on board who have paid full price and expect the best attention, top quality food and comfortable and beautiful surroundings. What was most certainly not expected nor acceptable was shabby, poorly maintained surroundings, substandard food and poorly trained, inattentive staff. I ensured that I followed the complaints procedure and at every chance made my grievances known. A member of Royal Caribbean staff, on my very last day of cruising, offered to send me and my family a voucher off a future cruise. This offer was declined as I felt it was insufficient compensation. Regardless, the vouchers have been sent through to my email address and I, in turn, have returned the email rejecting these vouchers. I find the offer of the vouchers particularly insulting as one of them was for £1. I believe I did not receive the holiday I paid for so I have made an official complaint. I am seeking full compensation for loss of enjoyment, inconvenience, disappointment, loss of value and out of pocket expenses. I included photographic and video evidence in support of my claim and also some of the receipts for out of pocket expenses. I am hoping they respond within 7 days....we shall see Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I thought the destinations were interesting and had enjoyed previous princess cruises. This ship was not as pleasant. Bed was too narrow, pillows dreadful & music deafeningly loud. Comedians crude and rude. Not many shows mainly ... Read More
I thought the destinations were interesting and had enjoyed previous princess cruises. This ship was not as pleasant. Bed was too narrow, pillows dreadful & music deafeningly loud. Comedians crude and rude. Not many shows mainly single entertainers catering to one nationality not everyone. Excellent violinist Katei and singer Chris Powey were the standouts. Entertainment in theatre generally poor Evening trivia fun. Trivia in general pretty good. Library was devoid of books some people took out 8 not one at a time, others struggled to find one. Food was sometimes cold on delivery in dining room. Layout on Lido was confusing. Staff generally helpful and pleasant but under pressure from full ship 3500 persons Music around the ship was deafening especially drums. Hard to have a conversation at times. Plenty of dancing at others. Improved cafe service in that food is no longer extra charge and a good selections available. Good in that there was in general plenty of seating. Great area on deck 17 for relaxing tho not big enough so be quick! Great gym, plenty of good equipment. Good massages in spa, watch out for added gratuity even if you didn’t agree to it. Added charges and instant credit card charges plus extra tax on the use of ship card every purchase. Felt as if herded into an environment where folk were pressured to buy and a forced gaiety required. I’ve cruised many times this was the least enjoyed one. The shore excursion for Crazy Rich Asian fans was disappointing One other excursion was cancelled due to lack of numbers. Health was a priority but people not always careful, bad chesty coughs prevalent, some unwell guests thro that. I would not choose this ship to cruise on if I could avoid it. Chosen because it was new and offered destinations of interest. Renee@NZ Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We embarked on this cruise in Shanghai, and the embarkation was a fiasco (even with priority boarding) but the Chinese authorities do seen to be able to make every simple process more complicated ( we had the same when entering the country ... Read More
We embarked on this cruise in Shanghai, and the embarkation was a fiasco (even with priority boarding) but the Chinese authorities do seen to be able to make every simple process more complicated ( we had the same when entering the country via the airport) Now to the ship and cruise, firstly these mega liners from the princess fleet are very ugly, no classic lines to them just like a floating tenement block from the 1960''s, only not grey concrete in colour., they are well appointed inside and we have no issue in this respect. The ship is big and this means a hike ( and a packed lunch) every time you wish to visit a new venue, not a problem for us but people with mobility problems should be aware of this, also with this amount of passengers expect crowded venues, we did not see any shows due to a lack of seating in the theater, and us not being prepared to stand in queue for an hour before each performance. Food was acceptable, but nowhere near as good as two or three years ago, seems as though you have to pay extra for what was the norm then. We hate the way they try to up-sell. The cruise its self was as we expected, no trouble with the destinations (there could have been more) but on the whole OK. In general we left felling a bit disenfranchised with Princess this time, and this is after a long time cruising with them, it is sorry to say making us now look to other cruise lines for the experience that we now find lacking with princess Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted somewhere different to the Pacific Islands and it suited our timeline. We flew to Singapore and had a few days there before embarking on the Dawn which was an easy process except for the “Taking” ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted somewhere different to the Pacific Islands and it suited our timeline. We flew to Singapore and had a few days there before embarking on the Dawn which was an easy process except for the “Taking” of our passports, with no receipt of SUCH. Wasn’t impressed by this. Our cabin was OK. Plenty of room for 2 people. I think it went downhill from there. Went to the Pantry to have a look, well if you call it a look. We could not see out of the very dirty windows. Can’t take decent photos through windows as they are all almost opaque, we were told it is because the ship is old and it’s on the inside of the double windows and can’t be cleaned. Just terrible. The whole ship is like this. Have to go on deck to see clearly, and not on the smoking deck or you almost suffocate in the smoke. Air conditioning, or lack of it in our room from day 1. Was eventually fixed albiet, could not adjust it at all, till the second last day when it died again and then we were offered a fan as a replacement!!!!! A couple of days in and our sink plug would not unplug. Their solution to this was to pull it right out and sit it on the side of sink which left a gaping hole, we could not fill and heaven help if anything fell down the hole. Then our toilet would not flush, first thing in the morning, both busting to go. It really was a nightmare with the plumbing. The rest of ship had many, many problems with toilets not working in public area and cabins, air conditioning only worked overtime in the Marqui area where it was freezing cold every day for activities and entertainment. No wonder everyone was coughing by the end. Apparently this virus has been on this ship for years as per other reviews. Now for the food, was fabulous the first night in the Waterfront restaurant, but it went downhill from there. Very strange combination of described flavours. Mostly you could not taste any of these. Fresh basil was described on one, well one miniscule flake of green was probably basil? Meat is also inedible. Veal saltimboka was full of gristle and unchewable. Orange, marzipan bread & butter pudding had no orange at all and not sure on the marzipan, I couldn’t tell. And, their signature “crispy cream puff” with passion fruit. What a joke. Dense, doughnut like ball with no passion fruit in sight, just maybe a touch of orange colour with no flavour is on the menu every night. YUK!!! The Pantry has a wide selection of different cultures of food but usually it is cold. All the food is out by 5 o’clock to feed the under 15 kids, but is there for the rest of us. It sits for hours if not popular. I had Indian food on the last night and when I tried it the rice was dead cold, the curried veggies were tepid and the curry almost cold. Could not eat it. So much waste. The bacon at breakfast is almost unchewable, the toast is cold and you have to go two or three stations down to get rock hard butter for your toast. Ridiculous!!!!! Now to the swimming pool. Postage size pool. Over 6 foot deep with vertical ladders at the sides. People could not stand in it, kids who could not swim could not use it. Very, very difficult to get out of it. There is a kids water play area next to it that used to be a pool. I think I only saw kids playing in it about 3 times. What a waste, could have been a shallow pool for the kids. Activities, they had lots of trivia but was so hard to get a seat or join in as there just isn’t enough seating areas except for the Marquis which they only used for bingo and night entertainment. Only had 1 movie in the Marquis area and it was packed. Should have used this area more but it was always freezing in there. Shore excursions are very expensive, but did one in Bali and the Komodo tour. Very well organised and enjoyed them both. Only got off ship yesterday morning so this is very fresh, had to be out of cabin by 6-30, what is with that?? Needless to say I will never ever do a P&O cruise again if this is there standard of service. Oh, almost forgot, on the morning of disembarkation we had our onboard account in our box outside door. There was a $30 onboard credit stated on there. I queried this and it was for compensation for aircon, toilet issues. I asked for it in cash, but no they said I could spend it onboard. On what, nothing is open when in dock. Laughable!!!!!!!! NEVER AGAIN Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We spent 3 days in Japan before the cruise started. The staff and service boarding and disembarking the ship were excellent and efficient. The ship was in good condition and very clean and the entertainment was of a good standard. ... Read More
We spent 3 days in Japan before the cruise started. The staff and service boarding and disembarking the ship were excellent and efficient. The ship was in good condition and very clean and the entertainment was of a good standard. There was very little activities organised while onboard which was disappointing. Some were advertised as 'unhosted'. Would have loved some pool volleyball, basketball or table tennis organised fun events to promote involvement and connections. Pools, bars and lounges were excellent. Unfortunately the shore excursions were rushed and the english tour guides spoke little english and seemed very unprofessional. Holding small maps and family photos up where only first 5-6 rows could see. We travelled with my parents and enjoyed the adults only pool areas were a great idea. I would defiantly cruise again, as a great way to holiday but have learnt better ways to approach aspects. With some refinement it would be an excellent way to holiday. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Our balcony cabin with of a sofabed on deck 15 in a nice quiet location which we choose diliberatly had been given to someone else. We only found this out onboard and not at checkin. We were given a mini suite instead but sadly the ... Read More
Our balcony cabin with of a sofabed on deck 15 in a nice quiet location which we choose diliberatly had been given to someone else. We only found this out onboard and not at checkin. We were given a mini suite instead but sadly the location was so bad we spent most of our cruise sleep deprived from the noise the crew made dragging tables and chairs around from midnight till 1am and then again at 4am. Complaints fell on deaf ears. Cabin wasn't ready, shelves were dirty, floor dirty, not enough toiletries for 3 in a room. We had to find our own luggage as it went to the wrong cabin. Buffet food - mostly Chinese food & same nearly every evening. Main dining rooms was pretty poor quality food so we choses not to dine there. Speciality restaurant: Harmony (Chinese) was average and not worth the extra cost. La Mer main menu not great but we ate Chef Darren Maclean's own menu 2 nights running and this was the only decent food onboard. staff took our drinks away whilst we had a photo with chef after the nine course & wine paring evening. pool deck Free ice-cream worst I've ever had. Buffet area has Plastic plates & bowls which is terrible. Buffet staff could not manage and tables sat dirty unless you asked staff to clean them. Gym area is poor, stretching area always used for seminars, Kareoke mostly Chinese songs. Ports: Shimizu isn't a great port but credit to the people of this small town who went out of their way to be helpful. Also Kochi isn't worth stopping at. Osaka should be an overnight stop there is so much to do and no time to do it. Took 3 excursions with Princess, they were good but expensive, I do question the time wasted on lunch which is included in the full day excursions. The ship is CROWDED. Everyone I met on the ship said it was ridiculous how many people are squeezed into rooms onboard. 6+ in small balcony rooms. Staff told us 4000 Chinese passengers were onboard when it should have been 3000. Apparently the ship just added more beds to cabins, shocking, is that allowed?. This is a cruise for the China Chinese only, it does not work for anyone else. The cultural differences will defiantly impact on you. Spitting in the pool, spitting on plates in buffet, shouting, pushing in, children in the adults only area throughout the whole cruise. I met several Chinese passengers from Singapore and Hong Kong who felt very uncomfortable with the behaviour of the majority passengers. There were 2 good shows at the theatre and thats about it. The language issues made most entertainment difficult. This cruise felt budget, unsafe, lawless and to be honest insulting. Disembarkation was chaotic, no crew around to help, passengers missed flights as they were unable to get off the ship in time, we just made it to the airport for our flight but we had to make a lot of noise to get off. Shameful. This is not how you say goodbye to customers, get some training. I do NOT recommend this cruise to customers outside of China. This cruises is totally aimed at China Chinese only. This cruise was certainly no Princess. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
People spitting on floor whilst sitting in spa, people spitting on carpet in marketplace buffet, people blowing snot from nose and spitting in hand basin that you are expected to wash hands in prior to entering food court, Casino door ... Read More
People spitting on floor whilst sitting in spa, people spitting on carpet in marketplace buffet, people blowing snot from nose and spitting in hand basin that you are expected to wash hands in prior to entering food court, Casino door continually left open and smoke streaming out into main atrium, children allowed to run riot on dance floor after 10pm. Princess usually has dress standards for dining rooms. None applied on this cruise, you could wear singlet top basket ball shorts and slip on sandals, jeans T-shirt’s and you’d be allowed in. We ended up staying away from pool and spa as we couldn’t stomach the snorting and spitting, it made our stomach turn. We spent majority of time in our cabin watching movies. We ate in the dining rooms onboard 5 times and each time the food was luke warm/cold. The staff were doing the best they could with the circumstances they had to deal with. Marketplace Buffet had a huge variety of food choices but trying to get a seat after you had selected your food was a challenge. Some passengers refused to share tables and made it very had for the staff. The amount of food left on peoples plates was terrible to see. We were in cabin E416, our Steward Rommel was amazing, he actually made our cruise. Princess is very lucky to have him he went over and above in every aspect of looking after us. We had evening room service twice as we couldn't face the thought of the catastrophe that was the dining rooms. It was excellent, best meals on the ship. The coffee shop on level 5 was very good, the food was always hot and the staff were exceptional in their service and care. Come back new??? Not us we came back discussed, frustrated, angry, annoyed, disappointed, mortified and concerned, as we’d already booked and paid for cruise with Princess in December. Fingers crossed, with saying that we must say that in the many cruises we have done with Princess we have never had one complaint or issue, service standards have always been well beyond our expectations. . Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
First impression for this ship was not good. Boarding in Singapore was horrendous. Our boarding time was 8pm, we arrived at the terminal at 7 as we had checked out of our hotel and had no where to go. Upon arrival, lots of ... Read More
First impression for this ship was not good. Boarding in Singapore was horrendous. Our boarding time was 8pm, we arrived at the terminal at 7 as we had checked out of our hotel and had no where to go. Upon arrival, lots of people had already started checking in. We dropped our bags and checked in and was given a boarding number. We were then moved upstairs to wait for our boarding number. 2 1/2 hours finally pass and our boarding number is called. Being from Australia, we are not used to pushing to get our way, so we had a rude awakening! There was no such thing as lines, and we had people quite literally push us out of the way to get in front. It was a hot mess getting down to customs. After passing custom, we had to once again line up to get onto the boat. Another hour later, and we are finally on. We had booked a Balcony Cabin but it was always my intention to see about an upgrade once onboard as I heard palace suite was worth it. Once on the ship, we went right to customer service and upgraded to the Palace Suite for about $670SGD per person. By this time, it was past 11pm and the restaurants were closed, but the buffet was open till midnight. We quickly ran to the buffet for dinner, then check out our rooms. Rooms were massive, bathroom was huge and balcony was narrow. The benefit is of booking a palace suite was deluxe drinks package, specialty restaurants, palace suite pool, restaurant etc. We mainly wanted to upgrade for the drinks package and the pool, as we know the main pool can get very crowded. The first night, ordering drinks at the palace bar, we realised that the drinks package wasn’t as inclusive as we thought. We were given a menu on what drinks were included, and for us cocktail drinkers, there wasn’t much to choose from. We seen drinks coming up on the TV that looked amazing, and we asked to have one, but was told it would cost. What we couldn’t understand is that this drink was $8, and some of the drinks on our menu were $13, so we couldn’t understand how we couldn’t get a $8 drink in our package. It also took about 20mins each time to get a drink. For breakfast the next morning we ate in the palace resultant. We could only order eggs pancakes etc of the menu, and the rest like bacon and bread, we had to fetch ourselves from the buffet. I ordered pancakes and they were cold, my dad ordered a omelet with everything included and it was plain. After breakfast we went to the palace suite pool. We were pleasantly surprised that there was no one there!! In Australia, this area would have been packed. We wanted to order drinks, but there was no bar man in site. We had to ask the life guard to call someone and then about 15mins later, the bar man arrived. On any other cruise, we would be served our by the pool from the spa or our day beds, but here, we had to go to the bar to order a drink. We also weren’t allowed our drinks with us at the spa, which is strange as no other cruise I have ever been on has this rule. Drinks again, look at very long time. Tonight we were booked in to the steak house for dinner. We were all pretty keen for some meat!! Once we arrived, we realised that it was a set menu.. we weren’t told that there would be a set menu for the specialty restaurants so this was very disappointing. The options were either seafood, or ribs. None of us eat seafood, so ribs it was. The entree was great, but the main mean, ribs, was bad.. no meat in site. Pure fat and nothing to serve with it. This mean was very disappointing, we contributed after this to the buffet for food as we were all very hungry. The show tonight was amazing!! By bar one of the best cruise shows I have been to. Day 3 we were docking in Koh Samui, our butler organised for a private’s transfer into the main area, Chaweng beach. This was complimentary. We had priority disembarking which was a plus. We were transferred by bus to Chaweng beach and spent the afternoon at a resort. When we arrived back at the port to re-board at about 3pm, the lime was enormous. Last render was for 3:30, so this was to be expected however there was no shade. They did hand out water and cold towels. As we were palace, we were expecting to have priority embarking. After asking around, we were told we had to join the long line. There was one shaded area which a lot of people were pushing wash security gates to get to. We were told this was for children or elderly only so that they didn’t need to line up. Luckily, one crew member seen our frustration and let us in, but quickly closed the gate and said that he shouldn’t be doing this. After some people seen us get let in, people stormed the gate and ignored the staff and pushed and shoved to get onto the tender . I am so thankful this young crew member let us past, as I assume we would have been lining up in the hot sun for over an hour. Tonight we were booked in for Chinese specialty. We went down prior to our booking to check the menu and were disappointed to find that there was only one choice, and that choice was Seafood for the set menu. We told the staff that none of us eat seafood, and asked if we could just order meat and rice, but they advised no, only set menu for palace suite. So, we cancelled the booking. We instead went to dinner at the main dining room, it was loud and busy, but the food was good! Again, not a lot of option, but I had lamb shanks and the meal was much better then the night before at the steak house. Again, the show tonight was great. Day 4: Redang island. We were hesitant about getting off the boat as we didn’t want to be stuck lining up in the heat to get back onboard. Our butler advised it was a beautiful Island, so we decided to get off and have a look around. The beach is Beautiful and I hear the snorkeling is good. We spent about an hour on land to have a look around and returned to the ship. Spent the afternoon by the quiet pool until some noisy young kids with no Parents inside interrupted us. This area really should be a adults only area, or at least ask the kids to stop slashing and jumping in and out of the pool. Dinner tonight was japense tepenyaki. We checked the menu and were very happy with what we seen. The food was amazing, meat was so soft and probably the best steak I have ever had. This experience was the best and I would highly recommend it. It was my partners birthday, so our butler organised to have a cake delivered to the restaurant, which was lovely. Last night onboard and we were expecting another fantastic show. There was advertisements everywhere to watch dream girls, so we asked our butler but she advised this show was chargeable at 98SGD as it was adults only and the girls would be topless. We kindly declined, so no show for the last night. One thing I forgot to mention, being palace, you don’t need to book for the show. The first 3 rows are reserved for palace guest, so you only get to get there about 10mins before to get a good seat. The seats are released to public about 5mins before the show starts. On our last night we thought we would Play some pool, but were surprised to find you had to buy $20SGD worth of drinks to play. And being we had a drinks package, we didn’t need to buy drinks, so we weren’t able to play. Day 5: Our last day, the ship docked around 1 and we had priority disembarking. We could have stayed as late as 3, but our butler advised that custom would be very very busy with long lines, so we disembarked as soon as we arrived at port. If you want nice cocktails, visit the tributes bar. The bar tenders in there made us almost anything we wanted, even if it wasn’t on the palace menu. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This cruise and the experience was amazing. As 4 of only a limited number of English speaking guests on board, we were treated a bit differently from the other passengers. The staff from the stateroom (Ya Mei) to the Dining Room (Heri, ... Read More
This cruise and the experience was amazing. As 4 of only a limited number of English speaking guests on board, we were treated a bit differently from the other passengers. The staff from the stateroom (Ya Mei) to the Dining Room (Heri, William and others) to the bartenders and others on the ship went out of their way to make us comfortable. Given the limited number of English speakers on board, English activities such as Trivia games, Karaoke ...etc. allowed for participation whenever we wanted. The shows were not that great (kinda boring) but the talent was pretty amazing. The casino was the place for people to smoke so we didn't gamble too much. Most of the shops on board we for higher end goods. Don't expect the regular T-Shirts and such. The ports in Japan and Tianjin in China were amazing. The choice of shore excursions are limited so English speaking guests may want to do research and venture out on their own (like we did). The one exception was Kyoto. The city is 2 hours away from the port by train so you may want to consider this option. The dining was great with both Chinese and International options. A daily menu of steak, chicken, mashed and fries and french onion soup will help those who are "meat and potato eaters." Embarkation was quick and easy and debarkation was the same. As a frequent cruiser and traveler, I would advise everyone who wants to have an awesome time to do some research, watch some videos, get your visa and GO! If you understand that you are going to experience a new culture, this will be the trip of a lifetime! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This cruise on the Maasdam has managed to achieve what no other HAL cruise has managed to achieve, make us regret booking it. With well over 75 cruises under our belt, this cruise scores the highest in its ability to underachieve and show ... Read More
This cruise on the Maasdam has managed to achieve what no other HAL cruise has managed to achieve, make us regret booking it. With well over 75 cruises under our belt, this cruise scores the highest in its ability to underachieve and show indifference to guests. What more can I say other than when we got to Yokohama after the first segment, if we could have changed our air ticket we would have left the ship two weeks early and prepared for our September voyage on the RTDM. Aside from our DR steward Jaka, wine stewards Dave and Von, Lido manager Budi and his staff, Assistant Maitre'D Yudi, coffee gal Amee, our cabin stewards Roby, his assistant, Yusuf and Nicks and all of the other Indonesian, Filipino and Thai servers and stewards who were all terrific, serviceable, friendly and a delight to be around like most HAL crews we have experienced, I can honestly say the management, especially officers, have been the most uninterested, least receptive, least hospitable, unresponsive and aloof that we have ever had. Following is a review that I sent on one of the “Let us know how we are doing” (sic) cards": We just had the second of our complimentary dinners at the Pinnacle Grill, after which we decided the food was so below the level of the main dining room, we are choosing to give up our complimentary Pinnacle dinners to eat in the main dining room. On our first dinner, notwithstanding the salads which any mediocre cook can prepare, I ordered a petite filet, medium rare and fries, my wife ordered the Cioppino, almost two hours later I received a charred and grossly overdone, cold, flavorless steak and my wife received a Cioppino who’s broth was nothing more than hot water flavored with ketchup with a few measly pieces of seafood. Today’s dinner was as appalling, salad again, lamb chops medium rare for me with a side of hashed potatoes and my wife not wanting to risk it ordered a double portion of crab cakes for her entree, I received two lamb chops, grossly overdone again, tough as nails, grisly, cold and no flavor, the hashed potatoes were soggy and cold, my wife’s baked potato was half baked and inedible (because baking a potato takes real chef artistry maybe), the “crab cakes”, well, they were really bread crumb cakes, you would be hard pressed to find any crab, imitation or otherwise. If these dinners had not been free, it would have been catastrophic, the fact that you have the courage to charge $39 per person for food that is not as good as the Lido Market is outrageous. You would think that a restaurant that has “grill” in it’s name would have a cook that can cook a steak. Apparently you took a third level tier cook from the Lido and have him as a cook at the Pinnacle Grill hoping that the razzmatazz and glamour of the room would fool people into thinking they are eating something good. Perhaps this works for a few who really have no idea what decent food is, but from hearing people talk about their dinners there, perhaps not. Let’s not lose sight that a trained monkey could cook a steak medium rare, hot grill, two minutes per side, hot oven for one or two minutes and serve, tough huh? We will never attend the Pinnacle again even though it’s free. If possible, change our two complimentary Pinnacle Grill dinners on our next segment to two complimentary Canaletto dinners, otherwise we will just eat in the main dining room. The Pinnacle Grill is an embarrassment. You chose to raise the prices in all premium dining rooms and lowered the quality drastically, REALLY? Amazingly, You would think that such a review from a five star gold mariner would elicit some comment, any comment!, maybe a defense for such poor dinners or a response from somebody on board, anybody, maybe a cleaning person, perhaps Thomas the F&B manager, Sylvie the ROM or some Maitre'D, how about the PGM who sat there staring blankly at my plate with all the food remaining uneaten? As I show him the disastrous meal to which he acknowledged was prepared horribly. Perhaps: “ bury my head in the sand and pretend it did not happen and it will go away” is a poor management strategy. Clearly nobody could have cared less. Management (anybody with more than one stripe who is not Indonesian or Filipino ) shows an incredible arrogance, aloofness, invisibility and air of superiority. The food quality and prep in general on the entire ship was nothing short of terrible. The food was of poor quality, ill prepared and tasteless. How much more proof would you need than to realizie that while we get two complimentary Pinnacle dinners per cruise, we did not exercise that right because the food is so poorly prepared in that venue, and quite frankly not better than the main dining room and cannot hold a candle to the Canaletto food. To add insult to injury, on the 15th of August, most food stations were close to empty, apparently Thomas didn’t think he needed to think about food for the day after he left the ship. Interesting since we were docked in Yokohama on the 14th for almost 24 hours and then anchored in the bay for two days due to the Typhoon. Further, I would venture to bet that other than the executive chef all the chefs were apprentices or close to it. Aside from the inability to properly cook a simple piece of meat, we had braised short rib Stroganoff on buttered noodles which was nothing more than greasy brisket tossed with regular boxed spaghetti all doused in the same fake jarred stroganoff sauce, Caesar Salad made with Iceberg instead of Romaine lettuce, on the 14th the only greens in the salad bar at lunch were Iceberg, on the 15th and 16th no greens at all ( a salad bar with no greens whatsoever), Thomas leaves this mess for Ali and Ali continues on the same program. French Onion soup with no onions and a broth that is just salted warm water, mashed potatoes which were clearly instant potatoes prepared with water, always undercooked veggies as sides to all dishes, stuffed cabbage leaves served with raw (blood red) beef, Chef Rudy’s special roasted chicken was basically a dried hockey puck, roasted beet salad served with basically raw beets, advertised morel mushrooms when you serve button mushrooms, not even criminis, baked potatoes that are hard as bricks because they are grossly undercooked, If you would like I can keep going, honestly, I can fill a book with how bad the food and this cruise was. Your only saving grace was Budi in the Lido Market/Canaletto, he tried his butt off. Budi does a great job of managing The Lido Market and Canaletto. Budi is jovial, efficient and very hard working. As is true of all companies, the staff takes on the attitude of management. His staff works hard, are very friendly and highly efficient. Continuing with management principles, this addresses the Hotel management in general. From Florin on down, all officers on the Hotel side are aloof, arrogant and invisible especially the new F&B manager Ali and the new ROM Tony, I know for a fact that Tony was left a note from Sylvie to offer us a complimentary dinner (Sel de Mer) for the night of August 18 (Kochi) sent to us by an HD from another ship (Colin Jacob on the WEDM). we never heard from him. We could not accept this offer from Sylvie on our first segment (she insinuated she would be dining with us and said sadly she would not be there on the next segment since she was going home) because we were booked at various places already and the only dates left were on special dinners nights which were not part of the offer so she had to leave it for the second segment. Sylvie called our cabin on or about August 3 and told us that the offer would be forthcoming from Tony, for the night of the 18th when he came aboard, she would leave him a note to that effect. We never heard from him, or anyone else so we had dinner in the main dining room that evening. By some miracle on August 24, while at lunch, the PGM walked by us, waved and said “see you tonight”. I asked what he meant? He mentioned that tonight we had a complimentary dinner for Sel de Mer sent to us by our friend Colin Jacob, HD on the WEDM. We were dumbfounded, nobody had mentioned it or sent us an invitation. This is not a big deal except that for a chance meeting, with three days to go on the cruise, we would have never known about this very kind offer from a wonderful man who we have the pleasure to call friend. This is yet one more example of the right hand not having a clue what the left is doing on this ship. The HD is unresponsive and indifferent, we tried with three letters sent to him placed in his box by us, no response from him or anyone on his behalf, maybe 28 days is not enough time. Leaving the food situation, our cabin’s interior temperature measured 80 degrees (by guest services measure with digital thermometers) for five days! Exterior temperature was 107 with the heat index. I begged the guest relations desk every day, many times a day for help, the excuse was that the ship just came from Alaska and was set up for cold weather. Really? So you have 20 engineers on board scratching their butts, weather radars blinking everywhere, direct connection to NOAA and yet nobody knew we were going into oppressively hot weather which has been the case at this time of the year for several hundred years? Or maybe this was everyone’s maiden voyage and knew nothing! The geniuses at guest relations offered us a fan! How about we put Orlando Ashford and Stein Cruse in a cabin that has an interior temperature of 80 degrees and offer them a fan to keep them comfortable? Any bets on how many people would still have jobs? The immigration situation on our return to Otaru from our second Russian port was handled like beginners were doing it. We docked at 8:00 a.m. and all aboard was 5:00. Some people did not disembark until 2:30! We received a number 3 for disembarkation. For the second round. I approached “Guest Services”, which should actually be named the “Go to Hell Department”. The gal with the shaved head and the little blond with braids on both sides of the head are both nasty and condescending. I was informed that as a five star gold Mariner I had no priority in disembarkation, only in tendering. Priority was given for other reasons ( many to people who never intended to go ashore or just wanted off in the afternoon to use the internet had number one) I was told Disembarkation is when you leave a ship. Nowhere does that benefit get qualified, disembarkation is anytime you leave the ship there should be some benefit for supporting HAL for 15 years and spending almost 700 days cruising on HAL ships. At the very least, I should expect to not walk away from “guest services” feeling like some little girl told me to F off. Due to the Typhoon we had to anchor in the bay for two days (August 14 docked, 15 & 16 anchored) Did anybody think to politically maneuver with the Japanese government so that we could stay in the Yokohama mooring since other ships could not come in, allowing us to at least go ashore since we were going to be “at sea” for three unscheduled days? How about reversing the itinerary where the Typhoon had no impact? How about maybe going to an alternative port Northeast since the typhoon was tracking northwest? I am not questioning the Captain‘s call on safety, God bless him, but there had to be alternatives. You only need to look on Cruise Mapper and see all of the other ports schedules where weather was not impacting them and no other or at most one other ship was there on any alternative day. On the second round in Korsakov we know for a fact that the captain put on a show by lowering a tender into the water and announced that it was too rough and we would not be tendering there. I know he had a meeting the night before and announced to upper management that he had no intention of tendering but he would put on a show so as to justify his decision. Liar! On the 16th of August we departed our anchorage in Tokyo Bay and made our way to Kobe. As we left Tokyo Bay we received the tail end of the Typhoon experiencing 40 knot winds, driving rain and 5 meters seas. Apparently, some brainless wonder thought that this would be a good time to have a crew of Filipino workers go out to scrape and paint deck railings and some of the ladders going up to the tenders. So let’s see, let’s take a guy that weighs 85 pounds, give him a bucket filled with tools and have him climb up a wet metal ladder while wearing rubber soled shoes during a rainy, howling wind while the ship feels like you are on a roller coaster. Humm.. you certainly didn’t see that officer out there supervising or climbing the ladder in those conditions! You couldn’t wait until tomorrow, when we are docked, so that if the poor bastard falls into the sea he can at least swim to a dock instead of dying? On the 20th of August, they decided to repair the rails and various sections of the railings and exit gates to the tenders (in case of emergency, deck 6) along the starboard side. This was an area about 40 yards long. The wood rails were taken off, as were the gates in order to sand, zinc oxide, prime and paint. Everything was left off unattended for about four hours. You have wet decks (raining), three meters swells and large gaps left open along the railings for a few hours (I have photos if you care to see them, they are date stamped and obviously not shopped). You must admit, under the kindest of opinions the supervisor who ordered this and then did not have a watch person there while whoever was working on this and leaving it unattended is a moron. The old paint scrapings, rust and debris was hosed off into the sea! Having just paid a huge fine for polluting Glacier Bay, can you imagine the reaction of the environmental agencies if they were aware of this!. “Sea of Japan polluted by Holland America Line” reads the headlines. Future cruises? That was something. We tried to book three cruises, 54 days in total. We had received a private sale offer and wanted to take advantage of it. We approached Joanne to book it for us wanting to take advantage of the price and the onboard booking credits. Joanne could not make the offer discount code work or “see” the price we could see on the internet so we left her with all the information and trusted it would suffice, after all, she is a HAL corporate employee. Five days later, not hearing anything, we went to future cruises to find out what was going on. Joanne said that she was unable to book it. Mind you, these offers do not last long. She could have called and let us know what was happening. My wife said “How is that possible? I can do it on my iPad, why can’t you?” No response. My wife asked if she called Seattle (right in front of her at her desk) and was able to book it would she (Joanne), be able to get us the onboard booking credits? She said she should be able to was the reply. My wife called Seattle FROM THE SEA OF JAPAN! She booked the cruises in ten minutes and emailed Joanne the confirmations to try to get us the onboard credits and her commission. The incredibly helpful gal who helped us in Seattle is named Lisa Mayette who actually should get the commission, she was friendly, realized the problem and solved it with great efficiency and speed. Put her on a ship if she is willing. Except for a couple, most onboard future cruise consultants are generally not very efficient and uninterested in getting the job done, if it works, great, if it doesn’t, great. For basically being order takers within a target rich environment, you would think that their ability to book a cruise would match a guest’s ability since they have direct access to HAL and we go through the internet site. In addition to the three cruises we booked, three days prior to leaving we submitted a request for future cruise deposits (3). Having not heard anything, we stopped by as we were preparing to disembark and asked Joanne if she had processed them. Her reply was she didn’t recall ever receiving our request. We then waited while she sorted through about 50 unprocessed forms until she found ours - hopefully it will get processed sometime. I could go on but it would be beating a dead horse, I am sure you get the feel of how unimpressive this cruise was! No question, this was the worst managed cruise we have ever been on. We like to think that they transplanted the ms Jakarta or ms Manila (the training schools) and put it out to sea and we are the guinea pigs for the students. Apparently this must be your worst rated, lowest scoring, least revenue producing ship. WORST CRUISE EVER!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Chose this cruise because it was going to Singapore , what a mistake , smell of sewerage everywhere , our toilet kept blocking up .Over crowded ,swimming pool was more like a bath tub .Had to wait hours to get on and off ship by tender ... Read More
Chose this cruise because it was going to Singapore , what a mistake , smell of sewerage everywhere , our toilet kept blocking up .Over crowded ,swimming pool was more like a bath tub .Had to wait hours to get on and off ship by tender .Staff as usual were excellent hpwever management treated everyone lime cattle .Never again ,got charge for visa to Timor , only out about the day before we arrived there , then price went up 33 1/3 % overnight . Lined up everywhere for food , half the time couldn't get a seat when dining or for shows . Found most ot the staff who were higher up in rank rude and arogant . The ship itself is old , there is rust everywhere and bits were actually falling off .A lot of the facilities were out of order and were never fixed the whole time we were on the cruise . Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We booked in March for this cruise. My father and mother-in-laws have poor walking abilities and they do not enjoy flying. But they do want to see Vietnam so we booked this cruise which visit two Vietnam ports. First of all, embarkation ... Read More
We booked in March for this cruise. My father and mother-in-laws have poor walking abilities and they do not enjoy flying. But they do want to see Vietnam so we booked this cruise which visit two Vietnam ports. First of all, embarkation in Hong Kong is not great. Kai Tak Terminal is very busy because this ship and Dream Cruises are both embarking on the same day. The queues are very long. Fortunately because we have two elderly people among us we could join the special elderly queue for check-in. Then the worst thing was the zig-zag bridge that connect the terminal with the ship. I completely fail to understand why this winding zig-zag bridge is necessary when a direct birdge (airport jet bridge) can do the same job! The ship is in good condition. It does not immediately feel like it is in need of dry dock work. (But it is going to dry dock in September.) The staterooms were not yet ready and we were told we could take lunch in the Sapphire Dining Room, so we made our way there. Lunch was buffet style and it was fine. After lunch we went to our rooms. We had a promenade view room and it was rather roomy for a cruise ship with two sofas. Our stateroom attendant was Iwayan, he was very good and he opened the connecting door between our room and my in-laws room for us as soon as we requested. The dining on the ship is okay. It is nothing to write about. Some of the food in the dining room can be found again in the Windjammer at late night snack time. The ship is consisted of a majority Hong Kong and China people and some of them seemed determined to eat back their cruise fare. Well, given the food served I think they had a hard time achieving that goal. For the ports, Chan May is really far away from Da Nang. We hired a driver for a day trip to Hoi An but he could not come into the port because our tour company is not "sponsored" by RCCL. We had to pay another driver to drive us out of the port gates to meet him. But he was not a very good driver as he could not speak much English and he took us back from Hoi An 1.5 hours earlier than agreed. The worst thing was he would not enter the gates of the port as promised. So we did not tip him and made a complaint to his company. Many RCCL "sponsored" tours came back late from their tours and the ship did not sail until 17:40, as opposed to 17:00. We were still approaching Nha Trang when we took our breakfasts. As this is a tender port we had to wait for our tender time. RCCL "sponsored" tours and group tours all went ashore before us. We only got ashore at 11am. Our tour guide and bus took us to the sights and lunch. Then we requested to visit a supermarket for souvenirs like coffees and dried mango. We got back at about 4:15pm and were back on board quite quickly. After all both ports were not great. Chan May is still under construction and very far from town while Nha Trang is a tender port which is very time consuming. Avoid. am. Our tour guide and bus took us to the sights and lunch. Then we requested to visit a supermarket for souvenirs like coffees and dried mango. We got back at about 4:15pm and were back on board quite quickly. After all both ports were not great. Chan May is still under construction and very far from town while Nha Trang is a tender port which is very time consuming. Avoid. The entertainment on board were only so-so. One night we had an American singer who performed as many Chinese songs as English songs. He was okay but I saw a Caucasian family of four looking rather bored as we boarded the lift outside the theater. The Ice Skating show Ice Odyssey was fantastic. We watched it and then strongly recommended my mother-in-law to go. She went and she was amazed as well. We had a plain sailing back to Hong Kong after Nha Trang. Nothing to report. We also got back before the Dream Cruises ship so we got away okay. Some of the things we really couldn't get our heads around were the lack of technology on the ship. I could not believe they had to write a number on our Sea Pass cards to indicate we had watched Ice Odyssey. Also in the dining room we had a waiter come to us to write down our room number every night. I mean, aren't we in the 21st century? Can you not just scan my Sea Pass card for that? Also, the in-room television had so little choice of channels. When I was on Quantum of the Seas it could receive a TVB J2 channel but here there is only one Chinese channel which recurred the same content all through the cruise. There are loads of Chinese satellite channels in the region and that's the best they can tune their tv sets to? Once again RCCL, we are in the 21st century! I wish I had downloaded a Samsung remote control app to my phone so I can plug in my mobile hard disk to the tv and watch the movies I have in it. The service provided by all the waiters, servers and room attendants were very good. They worked really hard to keep the ship clean and the service going. I applaud them because with 3,000+ guests (many are children and elderly people) on board it was no easy thing. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We had 4 days to Thailand from Singapore. 'Palace' Package is sadly not 100% as advertised. Our too high expectation might disappoint us in few areas. The team in Singapore before boarding is catastrophic. Told us to wait and sit ... Read More
We had 4 days to Thailand from Singapore. 'Palace' Package is sadly not 100% as advertised. Our too high expectation might disappoint us in few areas. The team in Singapore before boarding is catastrophic. Told us to wait and sit somewhere, where no sit available! They must train the people better. The team leader came to us and apologized and brought us directly to the Lounge. The Lounge can't be compared with Business Lounge at airport, really below those from airports. The Cruise including every thing was built in Meyer Werft, 2016, proud as German to see the quality. The Suite is worth the money, almost 40 sqm. The accuracy of every join, tiles, wall, ceiling is perfect as we know this kind of quality in Germany. If you see the gap between doors and body of Mercedes or BMW, you will understand. Can use credit card and find out that the gap always same, not getting bigger or smaller. Faucet from HansGrohe as well many other built in components are those I know from Germany concerning quality and perfection. 5* for the ship and cabins. 'Mark Best' Australian restaurant was so disappointing, became 'Mark Worst' for me. I lived 3 years in Rosebay Sydney and never experienced that. Couldn't eat the Wagyu meat because was marinated so sweet, although done perfectly concerning tenderness. A waste of expensive Wagyu meat. They could use cheaper meat, you will not find the difference if marinated like that, 2* for it. All waiters and waitresses are well trained and accepted the critics. They told us its first time they tried to do that way. The waiters get 5* in Mark 'Best'. We're afraid to try here again. The crews, waiters and waitresses in the cruise are very polite and helpful, 5*. The Teppanyaki as always. Nice to see the performance of the chef, all depends at the end of the quality of the meat, 5* for chef acrobatic and meat. Silk Road First class Chinese Restaurant has good Ambient, but the food below many high class Chinese restaurants around the world. 3-4* for food and 5* for waitresses. I missed also the 'decor' of food on the plate for all those 'First Class' restaurants. Restaurants above 3-4* we know presenting the food on the plate much better. We are actually 'minimalist' concerning design in house, but those 'decor' too 'minimalist'. The 'Palace' guests have a total separated area of around 2400 sqm, own jacuzzi, pool, gyms, restaurants and bars, so not crowded at all. 'Normal' passengers are not allowed to use the facilities from 'Palace'. They separated us from Taxi Drop from others, including first Embark and first Disembark. We had two 'butlers' whom we can call 24h a day in case we need assistance or help. But they were same time responsible for few other 'Palace' guests, not just for us. We could see how nervous they were sometimes trying to answer calls and pleased the other 'Palace' guests same time. Genting dream cruise tried here to save money on cost of the employees. They brought us new fruits and chocolates everyday. If you like to have privacy and avoid crowd, worth the money to get 'Palace' package. You can drink as much as you can, wine, whiskey, cocktails and so on. We didn't do it because of our baby. They served us better buffet in the 'Palace' restaurant than the 'Normal' restaurants and important for us, we have more privacy and not crowded. The chef is a humble person and came always to us asking our opinion about the buffet he is offering during the 4 days. Good Sashimi as entrée always there for every meal. I would give as average 4.5*, but it doesn't have this option. 4* is too low in relation to what we get for the money. Our baby of 10 months old must pay 30% (all below 2Years), but we couldn't make use of their 'panda' program (above 2). We might do it again next year with friend to other destination. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This cruise is aimed at the Chinese market. Facilities on offer including food menu reflects this fact. Very limited choices and the menu’s all have pictures much like MacDonald’s. Baseball caps, shorts and general weekend wear is ... Read More
This cruise is aimed at the Chinese market. Facilities on offer including food menu reflects this fact. Very limited choices and the menu’s all have pictures much like MacDonald’s. Baseball caps, shorts and general weekend wear is accepted in the dining restaurants therefore no need to pack jacket, ties or evening gowns. Splash pools on deck are used by swimmers determined to do many lengths as possible leaving little room for those who wish to relax. Extremely difficult to find a seat in the windjammer as whole families occupy tables for hours on end, despite announcements by staff. The same applies to the casino. Disembarkation is restricted if you do not book one of the organise excursions. On the plus side the places, beaches & people in Vietnam are amazing. Unable to get into the Ice show having tried at every opportunity Overall very disappointed with this cruise. We are currently Emerald members. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
If Royal Caribbean cared about their passengers, they would've made it clear that this cruise if for Mandarin speaking guests ONLY. AND with children 5 and younger. This was the least relaxing and enjoyable vacation that ... Read More
If Royal Caribbean cared about their passengers, they would've made it clear that this cruise if for Mandarin speaking guests ONLY. AND with children 5 and younger. This was the least relaxing and enjoyable vacation that I've ever had. All activities (aside from shows) were in Mandarin. All announcements would preface "This announcement is for Mandarin speaking guests only" - can you imagine how does it feel to all other passengers??? My daughter could not participate in any activity as everything costs arm-and-a-leg (I would've expected for some free activities, considering how much we paid for the cruise), nor that she could participate in teen-club, as they were all in Mandarin. This was a cruise that I managed to use pool once! it was completely filled with kids in their life jackets. There was no place to stand. Food in a dining hall was not good. We ended up either just ordering only appetizers or going to the Buffet instead,. I do have to say that English-speaking crew tried to go out of their way to make us a bit more comfortable, and I am very grateful for that!!! But in overall - I do NOT recommend this trip to anyone who does not speak Mandarin, as you would feel incredibly uncomfortable (kids literally would point fingers at us!) Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
First let's talk about the ship: It's old and tired and doing a make over in September of 2019. Boy did RCCL wait longer than it should!. It's not only dated (a peachy pink in many areas. Why RCCL uses trendy colors ... Read More
First let's talk about the ship: It's old and tired and doing a make over in September of 2019. Boy did RCCL wait longer than it should!. It's not only dated (a peachy pink in many areas. Why RCCL uses trendy colors instead of neutrals that will not get so tired so fast is beyond me), but certain areas (like the ladies bathroom by Giovanni's) are falling apart. The layout of the ship is done well and the activities are plentiful. Note: US residents do not need to arrange their own Visas. The ship does the Vietnam one for $6 each and the Thailand one is also arranged and provided (not really a Visa, but some kind of travel card). I believe it is the same for the UK, but do check. We stayed in a suite and bought the unlimited dining package, so we never ate at the regular restaurant (except day 1 at the windjammer, which was just OK). Frankly, on other RCCL ships we have been disappointed with the regular restaurants so we avoided that and just did the specialty restaurants instead. For breakfast, Giovanni's is where suite guests eat and for days at sea lunches, specialty restaurants are included in the dining package. My biggest complaint is that the menu stays stagnant in the specialty restaurants. It would be great, especially on cruises over 7 days, if they would have an A and B menu (switching 1/2 way through). I think they would have more action in them that way too. Giovanni's: Great service and good food, family style. The bad: They had no fresh (or even seemingly dry) basil, as it "turned black" days before the sailing ended. As an Italian, I can say this is really bad. They should have at least had dried basil. The tomato sauce would have been far better with traditional basil added and how the chef allowed the sailing without it is beyond me. I had the cannoli once and it was so bad, I did not try again, as the shell was soggy. The lasagna was loaded with a heap of ground beef, so much it overpowered the dish. The caprese salad was bland (lack of basil and low quality tomatoes were to blame). The good: The lamb chops, ceasar and chicken were favorites. Chops: Great service and good food. The Bad: The filet has a weird flavor. I suspected Mexican beef (slightly gamely), but they said no. Giovanni's Filet has the same flavor. The Rib Eye was amazing. Chicken also excellent. Izumi: Great service and good food. The hot stone filet was amazing.The mochi was fantastic, but they ran out of 1/2 of the flavors by the time the cruise was 1/2 over. Poor planing on the chef's part. Johnny Rockets: Great burgers, fries and shakes; however, I wish they had asked how I want it prepared, as it was a bit overcooked for my liking. The service was terribly slow. Room service: Did a good job except for one day, where they screwed up almost everything, but they made it right and sent us chocolate covered strawberries as an I'm sorry that evening. Spa: Good, typical sales game. We had one therapist for a deep tissue that could not go deep at all, even with a lot of direction. Makes me think they do not have top trailed therapists, which is unexcusable based on what they charge. They gave a discount and switched therapists for our other services. We use the spa a lot on cruises, so we get to know them pretty well. I give this one a B. Shows: We saw a few of the shows. They were all pretty good. Ports: On board in Singapore: Truly a highlight. We went in 2 days early and regretted we did not have more time. Having 3-5 days would be perfect. The Malay, Little India, China town, the Civic district (go at both night and day, light show each night) and Gardens by the Bay (also night light show that is free) were all highlights. We hired a private guide (tours by locals) for a 1/2 day tour and that was perfect. We added a drive/air conditioned van, which allowed us to see everything in the 1/2 day and not be as hot. Unbelievable restaurants. Bangkok, Thailand (overnight): Spectacular! This is 2-3 hours from port, so we got a hotel room (Asanti Riverside, which was amazing). Arrival time was 11 am (but you will not get off of the ship until between 11:30-noon, as it was very slow getting cleared and always is), this was a real bummer and I have no idea why RCCL is so short sighted on this. It should also be on a Saturday and at 6am (or Friday if you have 2 days like we did) so you can see the best floating market (the one available during the week is either in Pattaya (not real, more of a tourist trap) or way out of the way and 3 star at best). We hired a guide who provided a driver (tours by locals) for both days and it was worth every penny. So much to see and it is very hot so an air conditioned van really helped. We also saw way more than we could otherwise with a local. We saw the Grand Palace, Golden Buddah, Emerald Buddah, Reclining Buddah, Canal Ride and some other temples/shrines. Ho Chi Min City (Saigon): Amazing day! 1.5 hours from port: We hired Saigon Adventures and did a food tour with city highlights. They picked us up in a van and scooters met us in Saigon. A local driver was assigned each in our group and off we went. It was our best day and a blast. The food was amazing. The sites were good, the main tour guide was wonderful and our drivers made it stress free and fun (I would not want to drive one of those myself in the city, as it is really crazy). They dealt with all of our food issues and we genuinely enjoyed every food stop (Soup, coffee, baguette sandwiches, and BBQ pork). Nha Trang: beach city port, quick to get to. The town itself is touristy and there is a decent beach so you could stay local and just use a taxi to get where you want to go. We hired Nhatrangadventures for a jeep countryside with city highlights tour (5-6 hours). They picked us up outside of the port (a quick 5 minute walk). We got to see the countryside and how they really lived, making rice patties and traditional hats and also saw the city highlights. It was a great time and unique view of the Vietnamese and the lunch provide was amazing.. Hue: a bit more than an hour outside of the port AND you have to take a tender, so allow for an hour to get off of the ship (30 minutes if you are one of the first and all goes perfectly). We hired stopandgocafetours for a tour of the old city and highlights with a private van. My only complaint is that the owner emailed me the day prior to confirm. I had fully paid for the tour and it was a day at sea so we had no service and got a later start since he didn't hear from me until we were at port. The guide did a wonderful job. It was a sweltering hot day, so the van was a godsend between sites. We saw the lost city of Hue. Hue itself was the most pretty of the Vietnamese cites we saw and is a not to miss place. They also took us to a very nice lunch and the food was wonderful. We enjoyed the day less only because of the heat, as that was a real challenge for all of us. Hong Kong: Close to port. We hired a private guide for a 1/2 day tour (toursbylocals). We saw Victoria's Peak, the markets and different areas of Hong Kong. It's a big city and was nice, but not anything amazing. We stayed one night at the Marriott by the airport, which is a wonderful property. They have an 10 minute shuttle to the small city nearby (and and 8 minute shuttle every 30 minutes to the airport). We took it to the cable car and went to the giant buddah. This was a real highlight for us. The cable car ride provided amazing views,the giant buddah was beautiful and there is the very unique city that was part of it with amazing shopping and things to do. Very much recommend!!! Embarkation: not so good. They kept my passport cover and I had to run back to get it and the initial keys did not work and were not the gold suite keys, which you need to use the suite services. The second copy worked, but were also not golden. 3rd time was a charm. Concierge fixed it all for us and arranged dining times and helped with what we needed. Debarkation: smooth and easy. We left at 8:30 so the crowds were gone. Big Tip: Arrange a driver ahead of time or a private tour guide. The taxi line took 2 hours and was insane. There are no signs to let you know you do not have to stand in the line unless you need a taxi, so make a note. Customs was a breeze and done by the ship ahead of time. Never been happier to have a private tour as I was that morning. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Don't believe the bad reviews. U read them and was very concerned. However, we were very pleasantly surprised. Boat was lovely - yes a little old but very clean and we'll maintained. Lifeguards on all pools. Food was great ... Read More
Don't believe the bad reviews. U read them and was very concerned. However, we were very pleasantly surprised. Boat was lovely - yes a little old but very clean and we'll maintained. Lifeguards on all pools. Food was great in the main dining room and in the Windjammer buffet restaurant. Staff were great - our room attendant was fantastic and they are a great source of info for first time cruisers. Things that weren't as great - communication for boarding and final checking off the boat. We were a little confused. On boarding go to the Windjammer, get yourself lunch room check in is 1.30ish. Seating is hard to get at the Windjammer but queues weren't as bad as I had read. Don't take power boards - they hold your suitcase and it adds extra drama. Lifts waiting time is massive so if you don't have a disability take the stairs or you'll waste lots of time. The drinks package thing was interesting. We took the Sosa package which did work out cost effective cause we got great coffees at the promenade cafe and lots of soft drinks by the pool. It also meant a very small bill at the end. Definitely a great cruise! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This was the worst cruise I have ever been on. There was no formal nights, no theme nights, no special fun things, horrible entertainment and horrible food. There were three ship days and nothing to do! It was a low budget, poor ... Read More
This was the worst cruise I have ever been on. There was no formal nights, no theme nights, no special fun things, horrible entertainment and horrible food. There were three ship days and nothing to do! It was a low budget, poor entertainment and option cruise and we didn't have to fly around the world for this experience. My family planned this trip all year and flew from the US to China for this cruise. I always cruise Norwegian and Disney and heard amazing things about Royal Caribbean. I have never left a bad review in my life, but this was a horrible shame and an experience that I can't get back for my family. The worst part was that my family spent over $400 on an excursion "Kyoto On Your Own." We were dropped off at the Kyoto Station (insanely huge) and we couldn't find the bus returning from our day. We were supposed to be back at 2:30pm. At 2:09pm, went to the police station at Kyoto Station when we couldn't locate the bus. We found three other English-speaking families that couldn't find their buses! We all stuck together and called Royal Caribbean. We were told that our tour would be contacted and would come to get us. We were told that we wouldn't be left behind. We called three or four more times checking in over the next two hours! The bus never was contacted or came to get us. Other families on the bus were worried about us and told us that the tour was told to LEAVE WITHOUT US!!!!! We didn't even have our passports as Royal Caribbean took them from us when we first boarded and held them until the last day. This has never been our experience on an international cruise. We were in a country with our two kids and no passports! Shame on them for lying to us and telling us they would get us. After two hours of waiting, someone holding a Royal Caribbean sign came to meet our family and the other two families and didn't bring transportation!!!! They told us we had to take the public train about two hour to our ship and pay ourselves (over $100 more!) Also, we had 15 minutes to catch the last train to the ship!!! This was unprofessional and cruel. Shame on them. A bunch of families met and talked to the excursion department on the cruise ship. Even families who found the buses had struggles and frustration as there was POOR INFORMATION given for us to find the buses and NO PHONE NUMBER given to us for emergencies. We were told by the cruise staff that they would contact us and leave a message at our stateroom. No surprises that they still haven't contacted us. This was a horrible and scary situation and handled so poorly by this company. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019

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