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285 Asia Romantic Cruise Reviews

The ports on this cruise were fabulous. Even though it was cold for the first few weeks, it was well worth going. The crew on Westerdam are some of the best I've come across on any HAL ship. ALL of them were wonderful. The ... Read More
The ports on this cruise were fabulous. Even though it was cold for the first few weeks, it was well worth going. The crew on Westerdam are some of the best I've come across on any HAL ship. ALL of them were wonderful. The cabins however, are tired & need an upgrade. Our bath had a crack in it & poured water all over the floor every time we had a shower. We tried to get them to fix it but, in the end, we fixed it ourselves with gaff tape!! The public rooms however, had been upgraded & were excellent. Food in the MDR was great, as was the service. The Lido however, was another story. Food was usually cold or luke warm & some of the service attendants less than friendly, so we stopped eating there. The entertainment was OK. Production shows were ordinary & so were the guest entertainers. BB's Blues club band were fantastic but played VERY little blues so we stopped going!! The ports were excellent & the guest lecturer Master Kam fantastic. Also, they are now giving lots on talks with info about upcoming ports which, if you are an independent traveller, is invaluable going ashore by yourself. The ship's shore excursions that we went on were all good. Only problem, of course, is rude inconsiderate people who WON'T be back at the bus at the specified time making everyone else wait for them & losing sightseeing time at the next stop. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Chose this cruise for its itinerary as it was going to all the places we had not visited before. The new refurbished ship looks good and from recent reviews it was overdue for the upgrade. We had just come off the Celebrity Solstice and ... Read More
Chose this cruise for its itinerary as it was going to all the places we had not visited before. The new refurbished ship looks good and from recent reviews it was overdue for the upgrade. We had just come off the Celebrity Solstice and flew into Hong Kong to pick up this Ship. You can see the difference between a Solstice class and a Millenium class but all in all the Celebrity Millennium is very good. The Captain Alex is brilliant with his great sense of humour. The food in the restaurant was not as good as the Solstice even though the menus are identical. The upstairs Buffett is very good with a good variety of food available throughout the day. The highlight I think for us, was the Ships tour to the lantern festival in Taiwan this was a great experience and we were very fortunate to be there at that particular time to participate in this beautiful event. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise for it's itinerary. It started on February 15th with a 3 day cruise from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur and back, and then a second cruise from Singapore to Kota Kinabalu, 2 stops in Vietnam & 2 stops in Thailand, ... Read More
We chose this cruise for it's itinerary. It started on February 15th with a 3 day cruise from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur and back, and then a second cruise from Singapore to Kota Kinabalu, 2 stops in Vietnam & 2 stops in Thailand, then back to Singapore for a total of 13 days. The ship is very nice and the crew is awesome. Our flights were arranged through Princess and were very good flights. We got a transfer from the airport to the cruise terminal through Princess. Embarkation was very quick and easy in Singapore. We had a Mini-suite on deck 9. Our cabin steward Catherine was great and made sure we were well taken care of. Room service most every morning was very punctual. Our dining experience was really good. We did the buffet a few times, but mostly we ate in the Savoy Dining Room and requested Alexander and Katherine as they were just so much fun and very good at what they do. We went to a couple of the shows in the theater and they were very good. We ate at Sabatini's once and the food was as expected, very good! We had very ample time in the ports to get to our shore excursions. There were a couple ports where the cruise line arranged for transportation from the ship to the gates as we were very far away. We arranged tours in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore Kota Kinabalu and Koh Samui though private tours and our disembarkation tour through Princess. We would definitely go on Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We were travelling to Singapore and thought it would be a lovely idea to include a short cruise which we did. To get to the point: It took about 2 hours to check in with long disorganised lines we had to work out what had to be done as ... Read More
We were travelling to Singapore and thought it would be a lovely idea to include a short cruise which we did. To get to the point: It took about 2 hours to check in with long disorganised lines we had to work out what had to be done as there was no real information of where we go or what to do. We had to line up ( no queue area so people kept pushing in) to get bag tags then line up to check in our bags. Then we had to line up to check in the ship it was long, tiresome, hot and smelly absolute disgraceful. Once aboard we had to find our rooms once again inadequate signage, no staff to direct you so I spent 20 minutes finding the room and another one hour helping older frail people find their rooms on my floor. FOOD: Terrible, they had a large contingent of Indians on board so 60% of the food in the buffets were vegetarian Indian curries. There was one roast over the three days aboard and in general very little meat in the other dishes like the casserole and stews. They had rubbish like hamburger patties and sausages but it wasn't edible the food on average was shocking. The 'free sitting restaurant" with a menu was even worse. Nothing was fresh it was frozen foods thawed and cooked as a Chef and a caterer I know frozen foods and all of it was garbage. I told the waitress that I wouldn't even feed this to my dogs the Chefs should be ashamed of themselves. The buffet itself was disorganised, busy, people pushed into lines and we struggled to get seating until I cracked it and demanded that the waiter find my party a table which they did. We started to eat in the exclusive restaurants but that is very expensive but worth it. The café was free but once again filled to the brim with people you had no hope at any time to grab a coffee and cake. There seem to be no organisation, no one monitored the queues, no one monitored the number of guest flooding in, no one seem to direct people where to sit it was CHAOS! SHOWS - The shows were great and very entertaining but once again people were frantic and jumping the queues I had many stern discussions with people to be civil. STAFF - Average at best unfortunatley there is a built in tip for them in the price POOLS - Didnt want to get into them as many of the guest who were from one country were pretty unruly, dirty as they kept spitting and blowing thier noses in the pool. Once again no supervision or enforcement. DISEMBARKMENT - Once again large queues it took about 2 hours. On the whole dont travel on this ship or use this company it really wasnt worth it, Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
A great crew and entertainment group, made this one of the best cruises we have taken. There was plenty to do on Sea Days and the food was very good. They did have some of the same items a few times, but very good. The ships ... Read More
A great crew and entertainment group, made this one of the best cruises we have taken. There was plenty to do on Sea Days and the food was very good. They did have some of the same items a few times, but very good. The ships entertainment was very good, the people they brought on, could have been better. All our ports were what we expected and we took some very good Princess Tours. Would go again, nice mid size ship. The pizza is one of the best of any cruise lines and is open all the time. Buffet was good and there was always a place to sit. Movies at sea are always fun and the cruise had most of the latest films out. The cabin steward was very good, worked with our odd schedule. The embarkation was quite easy and getting off again quite effortless. If you want a good cabin go with the mini suite. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We are a couple in our early forties and chose this cruise for two reasons. Firstly, we had taken a cruise with P&O two years ago which was particularly average. Secondly, we felt that Princess did not actively encourage children due ... Read More
We are a couple in our early forties and chose this cruise for two reasons. Firstly, we had taken a cruise with P&O two years ago which was particularly average. Secondly, we felt that Princess did not actively encourage children due to its lack of giant water slides and variety of kids' clubs. We do like children, but prefer a relaxing holiday in the company of adults - and this opinion was shared by many passengers that we socialised with. We were not disappointed! The demographic was predominantly adults 35-70. The ship was clean, well appointed and the staff were just fantastic. We booked a mini-suite which was spotlessly clean and spacious. There was a great choice of bars and entertainment throughout the cruise and our shore excursions were efficient and represented good value. It is worth noting that the James Bond Islands tour involves almost a four hour return bus journey and the K.L. city journey is not short either. We probably would not have booked those tours had we known the travel time. The best part of this cruise was the staff. They went out of their way to be friendly and share a joke or two. The ship is so clean and well maintained with plenty to do. The drinks package is definitely good value and there is a huge variety of included cocktails to choose from. The bed and pillows were just divine! We will absolutely sail with Princess from now on and are already looking for our next destination! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We booked this cruise over a year ago based on the Singapore, Viet Nam and Hong Kong Itinerary. Unbeknownst to us, this was going to be the first cruise after the Millenium was being refurbished in dry-dock. The ship was being ... Read More
We booked this cruise over a year ago based on the Singapore, Viet Nam and Hong Kong Itinerary. Unbeknownst to us, this was going to be the first cruise after the Millenium was being refurbished in dry-dock. The ship was being "touched up" right up to the time we sailed and throughout the sailing. We were told to arrive any time between 11:30 AM and 3:30 AM. Registration was fairly uncomplicated. Groups were seated based on cabin class. One of the ship's vocalist played as entertainment (beautiful voice), while we waited. Finally, at just after 12:30, an hour late, we were allowed to board. There was a great deal of excitement as everyone came aboard. The crew was very welcoming and went out of their way to assist. There was a nervous excitement in the air. We loved the new design and the feel of the ship. Our first constructive criticism - we were Aqua class. Blu, the Aqua class restaurant, was closed for lunch. For lunch we were told to go to the buffet. I really dislike buffets. I avoid them. Being around crowds of people fighting for food is not my idea of relaxation nor the way to begin a cruise. There was lunch at Luminae for suites. There was a private lunch for Concierge class in Metropolitan Dining Room. Blu should have been open for lunch. Our Cabin - we really liked the decor of the cabin and the design of the bathroom. The new beds are heavenly! There were some items that had been forgotten or not finished in our cabin. Celebrity was very responsive to the issues and by mid-cruise almost everything had been repaired. We weren't the only ones with room issues and from what I heard, Celebrity made every effort to make things right. The person we had dealt with in Guest Relations was excellent and checked each day until the room issues were resolved. The above issues are the only reasons I did not give our cruise 5 stars - an excellent rating. Dining - Blu was fantastic. We loved it so much we ate their exclusively. Our last Celebrity cruise we were in a suite and enjoyed Luminae - but this cruise - Blu might have been even better. The staff was truly outstanding. We enjoyed all of our meals there. Never felt rushed. Entertainment and Activities - there was so much to choose from. Truth is, this cruise we needed to unwind and just relax and that is exactly what we did. I used the spa for a whopping 7 times - the most I've ever been to a spa. Loved everyone there. We loved sitting on our veranda and staring out at the sea. The cruise was a very full one and most of the 2200 were from the UK and Australia. When we went to dance or watch a show it was packed. Excursions - We used Celebrity for our excursions with one exception. All were excellent and well worth the cost. Captain Alex - absolutely hysterical. He should be doing stand-up comedy. We looked forward to his morning addresses. To recap, the Millennium is a beautifully refurbished ship. My husband joked that it had that "new ship" smell. It was an almost perfect cruise minus a few things that were not ready or not finished in our Aqua cabin. The service we experienced was OUTSTANDING from everyone. We've only been back in the US 12 hours and miss the ship. Looking forward to our next cruise (booked on this cruise) in two years..... Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
70 th birthday celebration disasterous choice. We booked a sky suite near the very top of the range cabins. We identified a twenty point plus list of problems in the cabin some which where never solved all the time we were on board. ... Read More
70 th birthday celebration disasterous choice. We booked a sky suite near the very top of the range cabins. We identified a twenty point plus list of problems in the cabin some which where never solved all the time we were on board. Others solved/improved by the fifth day of seven. A five star luxury cruise it was not. Example electrical wiring with exposed ends hanging out of the bathroom wall. No bedside lighting switches that worked. we has to cross the cabin in the dark to get into bed. No curtains on the balcony window. Electrical supply to the cabin in consistent or not working with some sockets. Tile grout and adhesive all over the bathroom walls, the solution was to paint over it, then of course it goes away?? No covers on the ventilation shafts in the bathroom and the covers they did eventually were old and falling apart leaving deposits in the bath and the bathroom floor. The most annoying and amusing problem was the bath room door did not fit and either stuck or clattered against the wall all day and night. The solution, self engineered, was to wedge a toilet roll behind the door and the wall, this was in place for the week. The staff on the ship were sympathetic and pleasant but those who manage Celebrity have little regard for their passengers who as in our case paid a great deal of money for 5 stat luxury which frankly did did exist. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Gangies voyager 11 I will try to cover the whole time and be as honest in my experience The boat is spotlessly clean, the floors polished and the furnishings of a high and comfortable quality. There is ample room in the sun deck ... Read More
Gangies voyager 11 I will try to cover the whole time and be as honest in my experience The boat is spotlessly clean, the floors polished and the furnishings of a high and comfortable quality. There is ample room in the sun deck or lounge for everyone so it never feels busy or full. The dining hall was light airy and the range of food was of a high standard. The chef was a really great guy. He walked around the tables, offering his advice and offered to personally cook what ever you fancied. There was a full breakfast. The obligatory egg station, along with the continental style cuisine of cheese, meats and pastries and one part that I personally loved which was the healthy station. Here were local smoothies, juices and yogurt. The coffee was sublime, proper coffee and great sized cups to. English breakfast tea along with all the India teas were also on offer. Lunch was a buffet, many hot local dishes and by hot I mean cooked. The curries were all mild and the wok fried vegetables were one of my favourite. The India people love sweet things so the deserts were rich in cream and sugar. Free flowing wine, red or white, or beers and the staff always knew when your glass was nearly empty. You really never needed to ask. Afternoon tea was almost another meal with sandwiches and cake. Evening dinner was wonderful. Lots of choices from several starters, several mains too. We had scallops, lobster and the chef did us proud in his recommendations. Again the free flowing wine or beer. The wine was local to India but palatable and if you really wanted a premium bottle they were available to purchase. But personally I don’t think you needed to. The bar staff were very quick to make sure your glass was never empty, and each day was a Uniworld cocktail to try. The waiting on staff were cheerful and happy. When I spoke to them I asked if they were looked after and they all loved working for Uniworld which was a comfort. We had a suite mentioned separately. The other rooms were still very spacious, this were the colonial or the signature rooms. These still had the wonderful sliding windows and a walk in shower. On board activities ranged from yoga which was twice a day, cookng classes, history of the Ganges river and sari wearing. Then we were all given henna tattoos, I chose simple design on my leg and hand I loved the thought I could be daring even if just for a few days. Most days began early with yoga, then breakfast and we were split into two or three groups to visit temples and walk around the local markets. This splitting us up meant we had a large bus to 12 of us. All could have the window seat and easily to keep together. We were given small walk handsets so we could listen to our guide without disturbing other holiday makers. Our first 5 nights Were in the tune of the infamous golden Triangle of India New Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. were on land so we visited the Taj Mahal and New Delhi with it’s bustling streets and chaotic road system then off to see the Agra fort. I loved seeing the Taj Mahal so awe inspiring and definitely a catch at the back of your throat moment. We had ample time to explore on our own. But if I’m honest the hotels were a treat in themselves so we chose to stay in the grounds, lie by the pools and enjoy the rest bite before the cruise. We were on this cruise the only British. But never let this be a negative, often there are more British, It had Canadians, Americans and Australians. All over 50 years as far as I could tell. Mostly couples but mums & daughters and 2 solo travellers. We all mixed well after the welcome dinner. Which gave us a chance to chat and start our new friendships. Which we did, and hoping we continue our new friendship in more years to come. People ask me did I enjoy India. I totally fell in love with the people and the place. Uniworld river cruise Ganges 2 was the icing on the cake. The staff bought the experience on board with turban and sari lessons, cooking lessons and talks about life on the Ganges. Jane Mac Donald came on board so I knew it was going to be on the TV....and I watched the episode with pride and fond smiles of my perfect holiday. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
At embarkation we had to show our passports about four times and then they took them off us!!! The ship was in excellent condition following a recent re-fit but more attention should have been given to the outstanding snags. The food ... Read More
At embarkation we had to show our passports about four times and then they took them off us!!! The ship was in excellent condition following a recent re-fit but more attention should have been given to the outstanding snags. The food was very good in the standard restaurants but the world class dining (extra £35 per head) was certainly not world class and bore no resemblance to the menu shown on the Celebrity website (very underhanded by Celebrity), it even had pizza on the it. I didn't even turn up for the second booking and was prepared to lose the £70 paid. Although i took out the beverage package it was very confusing understanding what was and what was not included. I found the staff very polite. Two out of the three places where the ship stopped were disappointing as they were miles from any form of tourist attraction and therefore cost a lot of money in taxis getting anywhere, although this was still much, much cheaper than booking through Celebrity. Getting on and off the ship was well managed. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Went on a far east cruise on the Celebrity Constellation. Firstly, our taxi didn't turn up to take us to the hotel for our overnight stay. When asking anyone from Celebrity Cruises they couldn't help us as they couldn't ... Read More
Went on a far east cruise on the Celebrity Constellation. Firstly, our taxi didn't turn up to take us to the hotel for our overnight stay. When asking anyone from Celebrity Cruises they couldn't help us as they couldn't speak English. (we werent the only ones this happened to) While waiting to check in and board ship in Shanghai, we was shunted from place to place with no where warm to sit. (it was very cold) The staff was amazing so no issues there what so ever !!! But the price on board ship was so extortionate. The WIFI and Excursions was so overpriced. If we hadn't got a drinks package in place, I have no idea what we would have done. The ship docked in cargo type docks in the middle of nowhere. So, if you didn't have an excursion booked then you had nowhere to go. We ended up taking two trips just to get of ship. $49 just take us to Danang for a 4-hr trip which got cut to 3hrs which was not good enough for the amount they were charging. We complained and got a 30% refund. The second one was Singapore night at a glance, which most of it was done on foot and cost a grand total of $99 each for 3.5 hrs long trip. They only had American dollars on boardship. They should have had the relevant monies needed for each port docked at. The food on board was mainly rice type dishes and stir fry, very little of anything English. And you need very long arms to get the things from the back in the buffet. Ridiculous to have to pay to go in speciality restaurants. ( Just my opinion) To top it off we had to wait in airport for our flight home for over 12hrs because of turn around. All in all, very disappointing as this was for our 30th wedding Anniversary and my Husbands 60th Birthday. we saved long and hard for it. A big let down !! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Fabulous. Started a two week, back-to-back from Phuket - Northern route first week, then Southern. We had done similar cruises in the Caribbean on the old Windjammer Barefoot Cruise ships back in the early noughties, before they went bust, ... Read More
Fabulous. Started a two week, back-to-back from Phuket - Northern route first week, then Southern. We had done similar cruises in the Caribbean on the old Windjammer Barefoot Cruise ships back in the early noughties, before they went bust, and on the SV Mandalay twice over the past few years. This time, for a number of reasons, we wanted a bit more luxury and fancied a different route so the South East Asia sailings appealed. We were concerned that the ship can take 170 when we were used to fewer than 50 on board. In fact, during both weeks on the Star Clipper there were around 130 passengers on board. So, the ship. Stunning to look at and plenty of room to be on. Cabin size, layout, cleanliness, service all great. Plenty of deck space for us sun lovers and seemed to be just enough shade for all those who wanted it. Food, as everyone else has said, high quality, plenty of choice, loads of it, but with only one truly Thai option at dinner time,no problem for us. Dining room spacious, well airconned, sociable but not overpowerlng. Crew: Amazing, friendly, efficient - keeping the ship in top shape all the time. Peter was an excellent cruise director, Captain friendly and approachable, Anita, the hotel manager must really take credit for how smoothly everything runs. The sports team really shone, Hugo and Mathius were outstanding in looking after guests at all times, keeping us safe and entertained. Ports of call: lots of beaches (sadly a few over-run with swimming in life jackets :-) but all still very beautiful, as was the scenery, and the 'city stops' in Malaysia interesting - Langkowi one week and Penang the other. We did the island tour in Langkowi which was worthwhile and the Orangutang sanctuary in Penang which we would highly recommend. The sailing: we were solely under sail for around 65% of the time and it was as wonderful experience as we had hoped. Up on deck during the day and especially in the evenings it was an amazing, peaceful and beautiful sight. So, overall an excellent trip and we will certainly do the Star Clipper ships again on different routes. If you're just thinking of it, do it - we were not alone in loving this trip and heard absolutely no complaints from the lovely fellow guests (half Brits, some German, French, Swiss, Candian and Americans. Oh, and no signs of sea sickness whatsoever from the quite sea-sickly person! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise based on a couple of the cities that were on the itinerary that we had never been to before. Unfortunately, when we arrived onboard to our stateroom, there was a letter stating that Koh Samui had been removed from the ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on a couple of the cities that were on the itinerary that we had never been to before. Unfortunately, when we arrived onboard to our stateroom, there was a letter stating that Koh Samui had been removed from the itinerary and they had replaced it with Sihanoukville in Cambodia. This was not a huge issue, considering we had not been to Sihanoukville before, so we were looking forward to going there instead, as an alternative. In relation to the shore excursion, we opted for the free shuttle that was offered. After waiting 1.5 hours in the baking sun on the port in a huge line, we were informed that the shuttle buses were stuck in traffic and they didn't know how long it would be till they arrived. A guest suggested that a drink of cold water and some umbrellas for shade would be a good idea for the elderly and the children stuck in the line (this was after waiting for over an hour) and finally we received them. When one shuttle bus finally arrived back in port, the passengers who got off it said they had been on the bus for 3 hours. They had been stuck in traffic in the one spot for 2 hours going nowhere and then the bus turned around and brought them back to port. They didn't get to the market at all. Another passenger who had gotten a private taxi to the market said that it wasn't even worth going to. Very busy, crowded and only items relevant to the locals were being sold there. We had been keen to go to the market and then get a tuk-tuk down to the beach for a few hours. We thought they should have found out beforehand how many people were interested in going on the free shuttle so they could have had an idea of numbers instead of just waiting to see how many people lined up to get off. We were very disappointed to have missed out on this opportunity, especially after the disappointment of missing out on Koh Samui. The reason they had given us for bypassing Koh Samui was that there would be too many ships in port on the day of our arrival. These itineraries are arranged a year in advance. This did not seem like a very valid or viable reason, given that if Koh Samui were going to turn away a ship, it not likely be 3,000 cashed passengers. The tv advertisements for the cruises always show just a couple of people enjoying privacy and space on the ship and on the shore excursions. this is not the reality. But if you go with that in mind, you wont be too shocked at how busy it is and the shore excursions are always a bit of a rush and expensive. The food is very good and I loved having the formal nights. It is lovely to get dressed up and have a fancy dinner. It was also really good that everyone else was dressed up too. It wasn't just a few people, nearly everyone joined in on the formal nights. We were also pleased that once a movie had been shown on the outdoor cinema that it was then available to watch again in your stateroom on your tv. There was a great variety of movies and shows available in your stateroom. We purchased the soft drink package before we left. We had a note in our stateroom that the complimentary tumblers that came with the package were all gone and more would be arriving soon. In the meantime, they gave us a bottle of water each for our room as a thank you for our patience whilst we waited for them to arrive. A few days into the cruise, we went to the reception desk to enquire about the tumblers only to be told that the bottle of water was all we were being given. The card we had stating that we would be receiving the tumblers was wrong and there was nothing we could do about it. Again, a bit disappointing, but it didn't detract from our overall relaxing holiday that we enjoyed. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We wanted to try a new cruise line after sailing with NCL for several years. This cruise was a great Back Friday deal and we could make flights work so we went for it. Yikes. We should have guessed this wouldn’t be a great experience ... Read More
We wanted to try a new cruise line after sailing with NCL for several years. This cruise was a great Back Friday deal and we could make flights work so we went for it. Yikes. We should have guessed this wouldn’t be a great experience from dealing with RC’s terrible website right away. The communication prior to and at the time of boarding is abismal. Once we got on board, it got worse. This ship is ready for a major overhaul... everything was so tired and dated. Just about every aspect of this cruise was so underwhelming - except for the service. Everyone we talked to was so nice and friendly - our waiter in the main dining room, Alwin, was so sweet, and our room attendant was fantastic. The food in the main dining room, Izumi, and Chops was great as well. The buffet is a buffet so we didn’t expect anything above average there, but their pork breakfast sausages had to be yesterday’s hot dogs. We ended up staying off the ship when we overnighted in Phuket and, as amazing as it was, it made going back to the miserably uncomfortable bed on the ship very very difficult. I wouldn’t recommend this ship to anyone until it has had a SERIOUS overhaul top to bottom. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
The January 5th Southeast Asia Cruise from Shanghai to Singapore aboard the Sapphire Princess began with the worst boarding fiasco I have ever experienced, and I expect that holds true for most the other 2600+ arriving passengers as well ... Read More
The January 5th Southeast Asia Cruise from Shanghai to Singapore aboard the Sapphire Princess began with the worst boarding fiasco I have ever experienced, and I expect that holds true for most the other 2600+ arriving passengers as well as an untold number of those trying to disembark and catch a flight home. I started to get the impression that this was not going to be a ‘smooth’ embarkation while checking the whereabouts of the Sapphire Princess on the MarineTraffic.com website the morning of our scheduled boarding. Though it was originally due dockside by 7:00 AM, it was listed as ‘at sea’ with a speed of 3 knots. Around 10 AM I received an email from Princess advising of a ‘delayed’ boarding time by two and a half hours. Fortunately, I was able to extend our hotel checkout by two hours along with our scheduled private transfer to port. I consider ourselves lucky, as it was Saturday and the hotel was fully booked for the night. Right towards the end of our ‘extension’ I received an ‘update’ informing us that the boarding time had been ‘pushed back’ by another hour or two depending on cabin location. By that time our room keys did not work and it was too late to reschedule our re-scheduled transfer, so down to the lobby we went. As luck would have it, our driver was 15 minutes early. Weekend traffic was light and we arrived at the terminal at about 4 PM for wat was an original 2 PM boarding that was now pushed out to 5:30 PM. The Sapphire Princess was the only ship docked at the International Cruise Terminal, but our driver was directed to another terminal at the other end of this huge complex. Once inside, we found ourselves amidst hundreds of people waiting in row after row of ‘banquet’ chairs. As we were ‘Elite’ level passengers we were directed to a designated area near the other end of the terminal. Trouble was, there was no one overseeing this area, so there were very few chairs available. We stood. While standing we noticed what appeared to be an impromptu ‘check-in’ area near us consisting of a bunch of folding tables lined up near the escalators at our end of the terminal. They were staffed, but no one was being processed. We wait. As we chatted with fellow passengers, we found out that some had been in this otherwise closed terminal since early morning. Remember we are in China. Our phones don’t work. (who buys a sim-card expecting to be in the country for a day or so?). Google products (gMail, Google Search, youTube) as well as Facebook and Twitter are all banned and blocked in China. Unless you have made prior arrangements through a private VPN, land communication (especially if you have an Android phone) is limited. Your ‘Smart Phone’ is little more than a camera and a calculator. There were a couple of Princess staffers doing their best, wandering the crowd giving any update status they could, but by now there were well over a thousand passengers in queue and the bottom level of the terminal was overflowing. Somewhere around 6:30 or so, they began the ‘check-in’ processing. Mind you, we were merely processed, not boarded. A cruise card was issued, but we were instructed to return to the terminal floor and wait. When we tried to return to the area where we were previously, we quickly noticed there were no open chairs, so Cruise Card in hand we stood and chatted with others in a similar situation. While standing, an official looking gentleman approached us an said it would probably be awhile. It turns out he was one of the Chinese officials in charge of coordinating this chaos. We asked what the problem was, and he related that, though we would probably hear different from Princess, the delay was primarily due to passengers boarded on the arriving Sapphire Princess that did not meet the strict (and somewhat confusing) `144 hour’ Chinese Visa requirements and were not being allowed to disembark in Shanghai. OK, I must admit, we had some difficulty boarding our flight from LA to Shanghai at LAX, but the United Airlines Rep. called the Chinese embassy and made sure our documents and travel plans met the somewhat complicated Chinese criteria before issuing our boarding passes. I guess Princess missed that step. (As it turned out, dozens of passengers were unable to disembark in Shanghai and had to stay onboard for two more days, disembarking at our first port of call, Nagasaki, Japan.) Since the ship was full, I wonder where they slept… Somewhere around 8:00 PM we noticed some passengers being escorted through a door behind the ‘check-in’ area. Though no one had made any announcement, we grabbed our carry-ons and joined in because it looked like they might be headed towards the other terminal where the Sapphire Princess was docked. They were! It was a long trek in the rain to the other terminal, but we were a bit more agile than many and wound up being among the first handful of passengers through Chinese Customs. The queues at that time were minimal and we were on-board before 8:30 PM. Once on-board our first thought was a warm meal, but we were told by our Cabin Steward that there would be a required Muster at 9:00 PM. We wait… Even though we knew that there was no way the passengers would be boarded by then. As we stood on our balcony and watched as the boarding queue on the gangway grew ever longer. 9 PM came and went as the line continued to grow. When the ship was finally boarded, they called for us to report to our Muster Stations. After which, we went to the only venue available for a warm meal… The Horizon Court. As our Muster Station was the Princess Theater (Deck 7, Forward) and the Horizon Court is Deck 14, Aft. When we got there, we joined about 2,000+ other passengers (some of which hadn’t eaten a real meal all day). It was chaos! Lines four wide, out the doors, winding around and past the pool. Once you were able to get to something, there were no open tables or cutlery available to go elsewhere (room?) and find a spot to sit. Things could certainly have been worse. After all, we were inside and there were occasional trays of cookies, plain cheese sandwiches and the random boxes of potato chips, but it certainly was far from ideal or what one would expect from a world renowned international travel corporation and/or a ‘First World’ country trying to promote international tourism. I have waited until near the end of this cruise to submit this recap of an Epic Fail, hoping (expecting?) Princess to offer some sort of ‘compensation’ to offset or appease our ‘day of discomfort’, but none has been offered. I went to the Passenger Services desk to find out the status of the situation and was told ‘It has been reported to the Main Office and we are awaiting a response’. Well, I guess 12 days of no response is a response… Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
The good A very nice new vessel with a very good navigation crew. Our room care (stewardess) was exceptional. The bad The food on board was boring, repetitive, bland, of high-salt content, and medioce in preparation. The Japanese ... Read More
The good A very nice new vessel with a very good navigation crew. Our room care (stewardess) was exceptional. The bad The food on board was boring, repetitive, bland, of high-salt content, and medioce in preparation. The Japanese cuisine was notably poor, e.g. old proteins. The vessels hotel staff was often overwhelmed during high service intervals, e.g. luncheon. The ratio of hotel staff to guest seems too low for proper service. We were disappointed with Seabourn’s handling of their booking credit and AMEX credit, Seabourn only allowed the higher value. The ugly Seabourn shore tours are expensive, the vessel was often ported far away from salient activities (long commutes) and in the case of the Vietnam north unsafe junk tours, e.g. our junk was literally lost in the fog without proper safety procedures. The Cambodia shore excursion was terrible. Seabourn and Silver Sea could have coordinated debark at Singapore much better, both simultaneously. The pool was small and poorly maintained, e.g. corrosion and detritus. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose the Westerdam because we had sailed on this ship before and were familiar with it. We stayed in a Neptune Suite Aft, level 7, corner suite with a verandah....which was very nice. Our room stewards were wonderful and met every ... Read More
We chose the Westerdam because we had sailed on this ship before and were familiar with it. We stayed in a Neptune Suite Aft, level 7, corner suite with a verandah....which was very nice. Our room stewards were wonderful and met every one of our needs! The Itinerary was great, except Sihanoukville in Cambodia. This port is in it's infancy as far as tourists go, but we joined the ship that day they docked after leaving from the Bangkok excursion to go off on our own to visit Siem Reap and Angor Wat. We planned the excursion on our own (way less expensive than what was offered through Holland America) and found that city in Cambodia to be delightful. If Cambodia is judged by a traveler, only on this port, Cambodia is getting the short end of the stick....Siem Reap was wonderful. The food was good on board and plentiful, especially the Asian themed on the Lido deck, and in the Dining Room. We ate at the Specialty Dining three times....Rudy's Fish (not to our liking at all...probably what we ordered, versus the quality) and at the Pinnacle Grill Twice (food was excellent). We only went to one show, and it was only MEH, in our opinion. Very talented kids doing the same or similar shows we had seen before five years ago. We heard the comic/impersonator was awesome, but he missed that. As a Neptune Suite, we had the use of the Neptune Suite Lounge which was awesome...they had juices, coffees, light snacks, treats, small plates all day long for our consumption, and a wonderful staff (Gabrielle, Paolo) who answered any questions we had. Very kind. Also had unlimited use of the laundry services, which were done in one day, and nice to have (I would've packed way less and had more room for the huge amounts of stuff I bought in ports!) We also had priorty tendering, embarkation, and disembark. Avoiding lines was a positive to that benefit. The cabin was nice, large and suited our needs. HA probably needs to look at refurbishing the overall ship decor sometime soon however as it's a little dated in my opinion. Our dressing mirror was cracked and the tub and shower couldve used a little caulking update, but I'd give the room an A-. Now, the only real negative I have is the smoking issue. My husband and I both smoke. Before we booked this cruise, we most surely asked our cruise consultant about the availability of smoking areas. We were given six or seven spots as smoking areas, plus we were told we could smoke in the Casino. Imagine our surprise when we got on the ship and were told there was only one area to smoke....Lido Deck 9, aft. Thats it. No smoking in or anywhere near the Casino. (sorry Holland America but you lost a ton of money I would've spent had I not gotten up to go for a ten minute walk to smoke every few hours). I am fine with no indoor smoking totally, I get it, but the smoking area consisted of four tables that seated maybe 8 people, and they were hard as hell...no cushions, HARD, SLATTED TEAKWOOD BENCHES & SEATS. Considering the fact that we paid 4k plus each to be there, we were pretty annoyed. You had nowhere to layout where you could smoke. Obviously it took us a few days to kind of work through the annoyance of the misinformation we were given by our HA cruise consultant. Apparently there has been NO SMOKING in the casino and other spots for over 2 years on this ship. (Can't wait to review our cruise consultant on that one.) I think Holland is missing the boat (pun intended) by not having a reasonable accommodation for Casino players closer to the Casino. Another negative, was the fact that they decreased the size of the casino and put the Dueling Piano guys (who had a great show by the way) RIGHT NEXT TO THE BLACKJACK and POKER tables. I swear....it was a pretty popular show, and pretty crowded, but for GOD's SAKE...put a wall up between the two venues. I didn't mind hearing them, but I also liked hearing what the dealer had to say, or delight in the witty banter between players....not possible with two guys pounding out Piano Man just ten feet away! By the way, the casino staff were awesome....very service oriented and fun as well! One of the best choices we made was to come to SIngapore for a few days before the cruise, and to stay for an additional day the day before we flew home. SIngapore was lovely, had tons to do, was clean, great food, great shopping, etc. I loved all of the ports we visited, and we used Tours By Locals and Trip Advisor to find local guides so we could avoid the herds of folks on the busses to the touristy stuff. On each ofour excursions, we got a local flavor, and a real feeling of the culture and people we went to see. HaLong Bay was wonderful, loved Bangkok, my favorte spot was the visit to Da Nang- Hoi An Might Market (Amazing). Would we go again? Hmmmm.....I would go with Holland again, but not this ship...I, for personal reasons, would like to be able to smoke in a Casino, and have a reasonable accommodation and comfort when I do. At the end of the day, we met great people, saw wonderful things, and the vacation was a B+ in my book. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Mingalabar!! We finally decided to pay Myanmar a visit and we have included the cruise as part of the lists of things to try, and boy did we make the right choice! The Strand cruise made our whole Myanmar experience more memorable. We ... Read More
Mingalabar!! We finally decided to pay Myanmar a visit and we have included the cruise as part of the lists of things to try, and boy did we make the right choice! The Strand cruise made our whole Myanmar experience more memorable. We spent my husband’s birthday and New year celebration on the cruise. From day 1 of pick up in Mandalay, we were greeted with friendly staff and had a quick tour with an agent Hubert around Ubein bridge. Hubert was very friendly and knowledgeable with very good English command. Light Breakfast was served too while waiting for our ride to the port. The cruise has definitely exceeded our expectations. Amenities were great. The cabin we were given was superb with a good bathroom and a nice view. Service was excellent! Food provided while on the cruise were all very tasty and presented very well. The dinner at the sandbank was awesome. Food served were fresh and delivered by friendly staff. Thanking the whole crew for taking good care of our needs. Special mention to Barth, Neville, Win (hope I remember his name right, the hairless guy at f&b), the Thai chef and his crew for making my husband’s birthday celebration memorable and for the delicious food on board. The port in Bagan was average but everyday we were taken out for tours at Pagodas and temples with a tour guide. We did the horse ride and met some locals. We celebrated New Year’s Eve on the boat where there was some live cultural show and a band. We got to mingle with other guest while waiting for the new year countdown. It was a lot of fun! On our last day before checking out, we went for the hot air balloon ride which we booked separately. It was an awesome experience! Everything was just perfect! Encouraging and inviting those planning to visit Myanmar to include a cruise with The Strand for a much special trip. Kyay Zuu Par (Thank You!). We hope to be back! Bernard and Venus from Bangkok Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Supposedly a 21 day cruise…….. My wife and I have just returned from our cruise together with another couple that we invited to come along. When we planned this trip it was supposed to be a gift from me to my wife and from her ... Read More
Supposedly a 21 day cruise…….. My wife and I have just returned from our cruise together with another couple that we invited to come along. When we planned this trip it was supposed to be a gift from me to my wife and from her to me as a 55th anniversary present and our mutual 75th Birthday present. It turned out to be anything but pleasant. Princess has lost all consideration from us for any future trips as their status in our eyes have dropped by at least 50%. This is not only our viewpoint but also from many people we have talked to during the cruise. After our last email to Princess they did some good as they cleaned up a few things that were wrong including a new shower head and the leak under our bathroom console which they did not admit to, but my wife’s make up bags were completely soaked and her make up was damaged. We found most of the staff throughout the ship not pleasant as they normally are with the exception of our room stewart and our waiters. To get someone at the main desk we either had to line up for an hour since they never answered any calls, and if they did they were very unfriendly and hard to understand their English and one that identified herself as May was very rude. When we booked this cruise it was advertised as a 21 day cruise. Well it wasn’t. It was a 10 day and 11 day cruise which meant that after the first cruise was completed we all had to leave the ship in Singapore and re-board even though we didn’t want to go through the hastle in Singapore for Immigration and Customs. As well as that all our records were deleted from their files on the ship after the first segment which they called it and we had to start again such as in the Doctors office. The second segment they wanted to charge another $ 200.00 fee for checking us out which we had already paid on the first segment. The casino cashed out and cleared our points from our cards etc. etc. etc. The menu’s in the restaurants were the same as the first leg of the cruise and just repeated. Even some of the entertainment was repeated. So Princess’s sales pitch was not factually and they deceived people including us. The noise from over our cabins was never fixed. We were told that the sound insulation was very poor and there was nothing they could do to fix it. I told them that does a lot for my sleeping of which I got very little over the entire trip. Adding to this was the fact that I had a bad cough which once awake did not help me go back to sleep. They gave us a $ 250.00 on board credit but this was no appeasement whatsoever for the lack of sleep we had on this long 21 day journey. The second segment we were upgraded from Ruby status to Platinum status because of our mileage. No one explained to us what was included. We finally found out and tried to use our free internet which apparently was included but it was so slow as Princess already had over a hundred contractors on board for refurbishing this ship which was old in many respects. So your paying customers ended up having to suffer because of contractors Princess hired to refurbish this old ship. Some passengers could not even get their flight boarding passes because the system was over loaded. Our last excursion was also changed since apparently to many ships were in the harbour at Ko Samui Thailand and we ended up in Cambodia which was the dirtiest place that we ever seen. One of our friends told the Captain that if he ever stopped there again he might have a mutiny on his hands. Not much fun at all. You would have thought that a large liner like Princess could have foreseen such a change in the first place much earlier and stuck to its planned voyage. Our friends were extremely sick on board and saw the Doctor as well. They were stuck in the immigration line at San Francisco airport in Custom and Immigration line for 3 hours only to miss their flight home. United rebooked them but they had to pay an extra $1,000.00 for this re-booking. Whether this was charged to them still has to be verified. They did not offer them accommodation but as sick as both of them were they had to stay at the airport. I was under the impression the since Princess booked their flight this was Princess’s liability. And all of us carried the Princess Platinum insurance policy. Great help that turned out to be. We also want to send our medical bills in for repayment. Both our rooms had substantial medical costs. We were given a form of the policy and no other form to fill out or policy number etc.for Canadians. As far as we are concerned we will not book any future trips with Princess and we will let everyone we know about our experience in this cruise. We loved Princess but that love affair is over. I am a member of Trip Advisor and will post this letter on their website. We have been contacted by Princess customer service with a lot of apologies for what we went through. They were gracious enough to offer us $ 250.00 Credit towards our next cruise. What does that do n for the lack of sleep and besides I was very emphatic that we would no longer book anything on Princess. I think there are plenty of cruise lines out there that would appreciate our business in future. The Doctor aboard this ship also told one of the passengers that this is not a hospital ship and that they were to old to cruise. One year older than I am. WOW. To all Princess customers be aware, cautious. It is obvious Princess is not trying to solve any of these issues with sincerity. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this cruise because we wanted an Asian experience and it fitted the dates we could travel. Overall the ship is tired, but in saying that it is clean and well presented. Before we booked I read that the ship had had a make over ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted an Asian experience and it fitted the dates we could travel. Overall the ship is tired, but in saying that it is clean and well presented. Before we booked I read that the ship had had a make over recently. This is not true. Only one place had been done up and that is what used to be the Crows Nest Bar. It is now a coffee lounge and the EXC tours are run from there. According to the crew (spoke to many) it used to be the best place on the ship. Its now just a boring coffee lounge. The whole ship is badly designed from other cruise ships we have been on. There is lots of wasted space, and the ship is a rabbit warren. It took us until day three to work out our way to navigate around the ship (usually only takes a couple of hours). The Food was really really bad. The Lido was badly organized and unless you walked in there at opening, it really did just look like a pig trough. We had open seating in the dining room, but never got a chance to use it. The reason for this, is that every time we went down to the dining room, there was over an hour wait for a table, so in the end we just gave up and went back to the pig trough. We are fully aware that this was an Asian cruise, but we were not expecting the amount of Chinese that there were to be on board. The ships holds approx 1900 passengers. 1400 were Chinese. HAL is traditionally a cruise line that supports the western market so it was a shock. The cultural divide was immense. Even the crew really really struggled with it. The Chinese don't drink alcohol, so the bars were always empty. So there was no atmosphere at all. The Chinese didn't understand the traditional activities and entertainment on board provided by HAL, so didn't go or would walk out half way through a performance spoiling the show. Also the Chinese do not believe in queues or lining up. It was just barge on through. Probably why the Lido looked like a pig trough most the time. It was also a nightmare getting off the ship. Once again the Chinese would just barge on through. There is a huge cultural divide there. HAL has every right as a company to target the Chinese market, but they should not do it at the expense of their traditional market. The first 4 ports we went to were great, Japan and Taiwan, but Manila was a hell hole. I really cant understand why any cruise ship company would want to go there. On the tour we did, it took us 2 1/2 hours to travel 8 miles through the traffic. There was no toilet on the bus and my partner was seriously considering using a bottle at the back of the bus. The only major positive from the ship was our state room. Though dated, it was comfortable and had all the facilities we needed with our state room attendants being fantastic. Maybe on a different cruise it would have been better, but I do not think I will sail again on HAL in the future. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We have cruises in this area twice already now with an alternative line, and have also been on NCL Jade twice over the years Post dry dock the new look and feel of the ship is excellent. It feels fresh and really like the “toned ... Read More
We have cruises in this area twice already now with an alternative line, and have also been on NCL Jade twice over the years Post dry dock the new look and feel of the ship is excellent. It feels fresh and really like the “toned down” decor. The introduction of the Irish bar in particular is a great thing, and was a good central hub of activity right above the atrium We found the food to be excellent in Main Dining Room, such that we didn’t use specialty restaurants at all (we usually would do several times in a week). Generally service from the staff was excellent Smooth weeks sailing too.... so all very positive HOWEVER, there were some issues 1. Boarding at Singapore was a fiasco. We got off lightly with 2 hours of waiting and queuing, but some fared worse than we did. I’d have expected some niggles maybe as it was first run since dry dock, but the embarkation staff clearly didn’t have a clue how to process passengers and this created a huge backlog. 2. I suspect there were some “niggles” post dry dock. Our Air Condifioning wasn’t really working on arrival, it took 4 contacts including a late night (1am) rant at Guest Services to get any improvement. It did improve eventually but given the climate in that region I’d hardly call the cabin a sanctuary to rest and cool down as it usually is on board 3. MASSIVE failure in Kuala Lumpur. I’ve no idea what or why but literally just before getting off on day 1 we were told due to “operational issues with immigration in Singapore” our departure on day 2 had to be brought forward from 14:00 to 09:00. We had booked a hotel to stay off board that night, that plan was totally ruined given the distance from city to port made it to pressured in the morning. When we did depart on day 2 the ship limped along at barely any speed, so I am not sure why we couldn’t have stayed longer - I really suspect something undisclosed was the issue that forced us to leave early on the highlight stop of the trip Overall we had a good time (British couple, mid 30s). The demographic on board was older and far more British than we are used to with NCL, and this affected the atmosphere on board. The “white hot party” was rubbish basically compared to others we have done, and the Cruise Director and his staff were rarely seen in the week (we didn’t do any shows, guess he was hiding there) So overall NCL severly let themselves down with this one. Great refreshed ship, food and service - but cruising is a huge experience holiday where logistics matter, and NCL failed completely throughout the week with this Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
From the time we lined up to get on the ship for over 2 hours we knew we were in trouble. Then they took our passports everyone was freaking out not to be returned till end of cruise. We splurged and got a mini suite aft what a waste of ... Read More
From the time we lined up to get on the ship for over 2 hours we knew we were in trouble. Then they took our passports everyone was freaking out not to be returned till end of cruise. We splurged and got a mini suite aft what a waste of money. The bathroom has a bath but its very high and narrow i have bad knees and it was a struggle my husband is 6'6 and he had to bend over to wash his hair. Bed was big very firm no extras at all . Food was fantastic we ate in Cagneys, Teppanyaki and La Bistro all amazing food and staff. Buffet was excellent great selection, lovely out door area at the back to have breakfast. Drinks good get a food and drink package we did. Water very expensive, coffee ok and cheap. We were on 7 days and only had 2 shows they were spectacular but you need that every night. Bingo big rip off costs double the other companies. Nothing ever runs on time and there was very little to do during the day. Staff had there moments and some didn't understand or didnt want to. Will never go near Norwegian again . No gluten free desserts or food only bread in dining room. Specialty restaurants offered g/f options. On this cruise everything was a fair distance no assistance offered from jewel. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We were suppose to visit our nephew and his wife in Okinawa, Japan. She was pregnant and he would eventually be deployed. She decided to go to Seattle to have their baby and be with family. So, my wife and I wanted to see Okinawa and ... Read More
We were suppose to visit our nephew and his wife in Okinawa, Japan. She was pregnant and he would eventually be deployed. She decided to go to Seattle to have their baby and be with family. So, my wife and I wanted to see Okinawa and found out there was a cruise company whose itinerary would include Okinawa. One of Princess Cruises Asia routes met our needs with a 15 day cruise This would be my wife’s first time to Asia. My second. I lived in Okinawa 32 years ago. We originally booked a club class mini suite and were upgraded to a Premium Suite with Balcony. Spacious room and balcony. Walk-in closet with lots of storage space was nice. Chocolate covered strawberry’s and fresh fruit were a nice added touch. Our steward, Rodrigo, couldn’t be more accommodating and made us feel like royalty. Service at the Explorer’s Lounge and Sante fe dining room were excellent. The ships exterior and interior were well maintained and clean. The only negative was a strange smell on the starboard side of the ship. My wife suggested a pedicure, manicure and massages. I was reluctant at first but glad we did them. Fantastic service. We had seven ports of call and did six excursions. We wished the port of calls layover time could’ve been longer. A little disappointed in our time in Okinawa. We docked at 1:00 pm and didn’t clear customs until 3:00 pm and were to leave port at 11:00 pm. The excursions were well planned and had friendly and knowledgeable guides. Looking forward to cruising with Princess Cruises again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We have only done 2 Princess Cruises with the first being on the Star Princess in Alaska. We rated that cruise 9.5/10 where the Autumn Cruise in Japan is 7/10. Be aware...the autumn colors are not until the end of October so we only saw ... Read More
We have only done 2 Princess Cruises with the first being on the Star Princess in Alaska. We rated that cruise 9.5/10 where the Autumn Cruise in Japan is 7/10. Be aware...the autumn colors are not until the end of October so we only saw some glimpses ...Everyone told us "come back in 2 to 3 weeks! The cabin and our steward was really good. The entertainment was middle of the road and would not suit all people with juggling, opera, blues/soul. The is no choice with evening dining. You are allocated a restaurant and table for the whole trip...We prefer anytime dining. The ship was low on supplies and we ordered four different wines before getting one that was available. I have never before had a MaitreD who was derogatory and defensive but I did on this trip. The port stops are fine with plenty to explore on your own or with a tour. Our stop in Nagoya was a complete waste of a day because they processed us for immigration and it took over 2 hours in line then we ran out if time because the ship was leaving port at 3pm. The crew generally seemed a bit tired and the ship lacked the verve and energy of our Star Princess experience. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
I had to wait for six months before I could write down this review more objectively. Meaning without the disbelief or all the other first negative reactions. So in short - everything the others have already written here is completely ... Read More
I had to wait for six months before I could write down this review more objectively. Meaning without the disbelief or all the other first negative reactions. So in short - everything the others have already written here is completely accurate. However, after telling the stories after half a year, it all feels quite entertaining. Not ever on our nine RCI cruises before have we felt like being in a candid camera. Or in a sitcom, not in the audience but on the stage before cameras. Because why and where else would all those silly things take place. You have the basic setup: A slightly unconfident captain that gets a totally inexperienced crew who probably was supposed to be somewhere else. Like repairing cars, milking cows, studying in high school ... who knows. Then they are given this brand new amazing shiny ship with all the features and gimmicks nobody has heard of and obviously have no idea how to use them. Then, the ones who have ever held a spoon are made chefs, etc. Train the ”crew” for an hour. Bring in the customers. Let the hell break loose. All the rubber cheese jokes, misunderstandings, arguments and mass fights will follow inevitably. No screenwriting needed. I particurally liked the calling for tender tickets scene, by a Jamaican crew member. ”A3!” - ”Was it E3 or I3?” - ”Yes!” Why am I writing this now is that we are thinking to go back on Ovation soon (19 Nights - Honolulu to Sydney). You have to believe in good and give everybody another chance. If things are still failing after one year from this review, they are never going to improve. Dining: We have eaten dinners on nine other RCI ships. I would rate the previous ones quite high, like 4/5 stars or so. However, the experience on Ovation was 2/5 at it's best. The waiters were pretty clueless in general, but the biggest disappointment were the ingredients of the meals. In Asia, particularly in China the dairy products are far from western standards. So the "rubber or cheese" was not really a joke but a real situation. However, after Hong Kong things improved a bit. Eventually we kept going to 270° for breakfast and Windjammer for the rest of the day. Entertainment: Not quite on par with other RCI ships either. The "Pixels" was only okay, you couldn't avoid feeling that that the crew was barely walking through the show but wanted to be somewhere else instead. Onboarding / arriving / departing: Pure chaos, lucky that not more people got hurt. Activities: Not so bad! All the latest gadgets were entertaining and even the queues were not bad. Maybe because there were not so many children on a transfer cruise. As a 30-40 yrs couple we drove more bumper cars than all in our lives before combined. Stateroom: The only safe haven where you felt like "home". The stateroom waiter was luckily of the normal RCI standard, which is awesome. Excursions: Didn't take. Ports of call were really intriguing, but usually all the action happened 1-2 hrs from the port itself. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018

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