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199 Asia Repositioning Cruise Reviews

Having previously read bad reviews before travelling, we feel it is only right to set the record straight regarding this particular sailing. Like may others reading the poor reviews regarding the ship, we were very apprehensive before ... Read More
Having previously read bad reviews before travelling, we feel it is only right to set the record straight regarding this particular sailing. Like may others reading the poor reviews regarding the ship, we were very apprehensive before travelling but these turned out to be unfounded. We started on a 9 day land tour of China with Wendy Wu tours which was fabulous. (see separate review) Upon arrival at Tianjin Cruise terminal along with 1000’s of other guests the whole process was fairly smooth and within 45 minutes we were on the ship. Sadly this cannot be said for some guests travelling on 72 hour visa’s where entry to China was refused from 2 days before up to sailing day with no valid reason given. Many flew home and some flew to the next port awaiting the arrival of the ship. This was very distressing for all concerned. To date, no explanation has been provided. Once on, what a total surprise. We have sailed on most of the different class of Royal ship’s and this was different again. It was spotlessly clean, light and airy and totally ready for 1000’s of Western cruisers. In fact the captain’s stats declared we had less than 100 Chinese travellers. Totally the opposite to the reviews we had read. Before we boarded, the ship had a total overhaul of staff, menu’s, restaurant names and Cruise Director (Ken totally nailed it) and entertainment staff. This was a 12 day repositioning cruise to Singapore before going to dry dock for 1 month then spending the winter season in this area. Many ports had not seen a ship this large and bravo to the Captain on being able to get into the ports. These included Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam (2 ports) and Singapore. Originally our time slot for Hong Kong was 7am til 2am the following morning but sadly this was cut short to 5pm due to the continuing protests. The shuttle stop provided by Royal Caribbean was at one of the MRT stations which closed at 4pm due to ongoing protest so making it back to the ship became quite hairy! We just made it with 10 mins to spare. However on the plus side, we sailed out of Hong Kong as it got dark which really was a sight to see from a ship. The best view in our opinion. The rest of the ports lived up to expectations and the excursions with Royal that we did do were well organised and fabulous. Our cabin was perfect size for the little amount of time we spent there. All the restaurants were easily booked and seemed to improve as the week went on. Mostly the entertainment was great particularly the INXS tribute band. Sun beds on sea days was difficult if you did not get up by 8am to grab one,However, crew were going around and removing towels if no-one had been back to the beds within the hour. We were lucky enough to witness a terrific storm at sea at 4am on the way to Hong Kong and we have never seen rain like it in Vietnam but this, because it was so hot, just made it more of a memory. So the moral of the story is to not believe everything you read, go with an open mind and do some research before you sail. On a final note, the icing on the cake for this sailing was our captain. Captain Sindre. What a star. He was to be seen everywhere on the ship, not shy with the cameras and spending time with all guests. The land tour and then the cruise really made this a trip of a lifetime! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We choose this cruise due to the itinerary it stopped in Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore. The ship was on its way to Australia. This ship is not ready for the Australian market. Very focused on its Asia market. Service was ... Read More
We choose this cruise due to the itinerary it stopped in Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore. The ship was on its way to Australia. This ship is not ready for the Australian market. Very focused on its Asia market. Service was terrible and slow. Very disorganised staff who didn’t know how to apologise. Had to go looking for service. Drinks took ages to be served. Took 3 hours to get on ship. Most of that in a corridor standing and given no explanation for delay. They checked our passports 4 times! Embankments and disembarkments were very slow and disorganised. In Hong Kong we took a shuttle from port and only had three quarters of an hour in a city mall. In Vietnam we had to wait 3 hours for us to get on a tender. So we cancelled next port visit which we were disappointed. Not enough chill out areas. Some of them got closed for private functions which left few options. Room bathroom had nasty smell. Reported 5 times nothing changed except the strength of the air freshener. Activities only focused on Chinese travellers. Entertainment for the 3 shows we saw was very good though. There was a contingent of Australians on board that almost everyone were moaning about the same things. Not a ship to recommend unless they can prepare better for the Australian market. Travel agents beware of sending your travellers on this cruise Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The destinations were numerous and interesting and the 14 days to relax after a 9 day tour of China was very inticing. The price was exceptional. On board the cruise staff were warm and welcoming. They did everything possible to make ... Read More
The destinations were numerous and interesting and the 14 days to relax after a 9 day tour of China was very inticing. The price was exceptional. On board the cruise staff were warm and welcoming. They did everything possible to make sure we had a happy and interesting time. Nothing was too much trouble. The dining options were numerous and varied. The food was beautifully presented and of a very high standard. The service was excellent provided by dining staff who did all they could to ensure we had a great experience. Our inside stateroom was very comfortable. We had tea and coffee making facilities along with a fridge. Our room was serviced daily and kept clean, with fresh towels and linen provided. We loved hanging out in the Palm Court, relaxing and enjoying a drink and a chat with the staff and other travellers. There were many inside and outside areas to visit and enjoy. The pool area was beautiful. We had many enjoyable experiences with cruise staff. We went to as many of the shows as possible. They were of the highest standard with world class acts. We also enjoyed the many other musical and other activities available. We had a wonderful time and would thoroughly recommend Explorer Dream to our friends and family. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Seemed like good value offer, had concern about the age of the ship (1999) but schedule fitted into ours.I don't know where the $54 million restoration was spent but all I could see for the money was the upgraded Palace Suites, there ... Read More
Seemed like good value offer, had concern about the age of the ship (1999) but schedule fitted into ours.I don't know where the $54 million restoration was spent but all I could see for the money was the upgraded Palace Suites, there was a lot of painted rust around the ship. Our holiday got off to a shaky start when were booked into a hotel in Singapore when we were really flying to Shanghai where we were to spend 3 nights before the cruise, luckily I picked up the error when I was organising tours in Shanghai. Tried to check in online with Dream Cruises but was not able to do so or book excursions before leaving home. When in transit in Singapore the company handling our transfer to hotel wanted to know where we were ,our agent had not cancelled with them after being notified of the hotel error. Embarkation in Shanghai was a shambles, 2 hours in mob of people on shore was not fun, then another hour on gangway mostly because Dream Cruise use access cards which have to be swiped like a Eftpos machine, not the latest technology as used on other lines. (My travelling companion had to replace her card 6 times during voyage). Communication with crew was difficult, especially in dining room, on one occasion it took four bottles to arrive at the table before the correct one was delivered.I believe some of the crew were replaced in Hong Kong and Ho Chi Min City and by the time we arrived in Sydney things were improving. The service desk was located in the main piazza on deck 7 right next to the entertainment area, try explaining problems to a person lacking skills in the English language with all that background noise in the room! I refused to take an internet package which started at $32 per day and picked up hot spots on shore whilst in port. The stateroom was smaller than we were used to, the wardrobe had two sliding doors which were broken and going by the damage to the door frame had been for quite a while, four small drawers a desk with a drawer but at least it had a decent shower recess with a glass sliding door. Entertainment was brilliant with state of the art technology used to great advantage in the theatre which was of a good size. After finally booking excursions on board the disembarkation procedure and the tours were very good and we enjoyed them immensely. Ate in the dining room, did not like the choice of food in the Lido buffet,mostly Asian influence where as the dining room had a good range of choice on the various menus. The eating areas closed early in the evening and after many complaints the opening hours were extended. The excuse was that the Chinese eat early and hit the casino. We did not eat at any of the speciality restaurants which specialised once again in Asian food. The ships water supply was supposed to be drinkable but after the first week the drinking signs came down and we had to use bottled water. Without any notice, whilst in port workers started repainting the ship, we suddenly had a worker on a gantry looking into our cabin, no regard to privacy for the passengers. Disembarkation was the worst I have encountered. one hour late due the fact that they allowed most of the Asian passengers off first and that caused big delays with immigration. When our turn came to go the rest of the Asians tried to bullock their way through the line, almost a mutiny from the remainder (anglo minority) of the passengers. I would not travel with this line again, it will be hard work for Dream Cruise to satisfy Australian travellers unless they up their game., big trouble if any Americans are on board, P&O have nothing to worry about. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We wanted to embark at the Port of Vancouver, Canada as it is a short flight from our home. The repositioning cruise offered a fantastic fare and gave us a chance to visit Japan. We planned to join a land tour once we disembarked in ... Read More
We wanted to embark at the Port of Vancouver, Canada as it is a short flight from our home. The repositioning cruise offered a fantastic fare and gave us a chance to visit Japan. We planned to join a land tour once we disembarked in Yokohama. This was our first ocean crossing and it was surprisingly uneventful (weather-wise). Except Typhoon Hagibis was scheduled to arrive in Tokyo the same day we were scheduled to disembark at the Port of Yokohama. The crossing itself was blissful for us. We napped, we walked, we used the spa, we enjoyed the cultural talks, and the variety of entertainment on board. To outsmart the typhoon, the Captain did have to cancel one port stop in order to re-route the ship out of the path of the storm. This meant an additional day of sailing, a transit through the Kanmon Straits, and leisurely sailing to allow enough time for the storm to blow itself out of our way and arriving safely one day later than scheduled to our port for disembarkation. Holland America provided free internet time as well as free ship to shore telephone privileges for passengers who needed to re-book flights or other travel arrangements because of the delay. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I chose this cruise because of the destinations ie Vietnam and Australia. I had read some poor reviews before taking this cruise on Sun Princess but I gather it’s mostly people who like a whinge who write reviews. I believe in trying it ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the destinations ie Vietnam and Australia. I had read some poor reviews before taking this cruise on Sun Princess but I gather it’s mostly people who like a whinge who write reviews. I believe in trying it and see for yourself. Yes the ship is getting old but we loved every bit of this ship. From the atrium to the 24 hour cafe to the Marquis dining room and especially the hot dog burger bar on deck 14. The food was excellent and covered everyone’s tastes. Some people complained the evening entertainment was too short but I found 45minutes long enough especially if you were on the late sitting for your evening meal. If you want a table for two for dining you should book the fixed dining restaurant and book the table before cruising. If you are in the other restaurant you just wait for a few minutes for a table to become free. I found no one upmanship regarding ‘elite’ guests. On the contrary the two couples on our table hid the fact. We took 3 cruise organised tours and they were excellent. The Ho Chi Min city tour was rather expensive but we had no choice as there were no other means of getting there. The ship docks at a container port miles from anywhere. The stewards were excellent and went out of their way to please you. We had an amazing time. We made many friends who added to our enjoyment of the cruise. I didn’t think the drinks were expensive. Much the same price as I would pay at home. Remember when $13 dollars for a glass of wine is quoted this in Australian dollars. And yes I can buy a bottle of wine from Aldi for the same price as a glass on the ship but you’re drinking it on a beautiful ship like the Sun Princess. Loved it! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This is currently, the newest ship Princess sails - big however does not mean better. Poor food that was at best warm, inattentive staff, boring activities and No Promenade Deck! Walking around a deck on board a cruise ship is one ... Read More
This is currently, the newest ship Princess sails - big however does not mean better. Poor food that was at best warm, inattentive staff, boring activities and No Promenade Deck! Walking around a deck on board a cruise ship is one activity liked by many cruisers but not on this boat - there is nowhere to walk. We booked on this itinerary because friends asked us to go, they unfortunately had to pull out at last minute so we decided to go rather than loose cost of fare. With so many sea days and very few activities other than Bingo, Knitting, cards or just sitting around, we were counting down the days to get off. The ship outlay just doesn't flow well and deck 16 continually has water puddles making it dangerous for guests to navigate this deck to the Market Place. The Market place - though large in size, the food selections were awful, not nearly as nice as the food on the Sapphire or Emerald Princess. It was hard to get a coffee or juice - too many people - not enough staff. Had dinner at the Crown Grill one night and had planned to eat there on the four formal nights - after first experience - did not eat there again. Took ages to get served and then they rushed course after course in a hurry to get you out! Check in in Shanghai was a joke and getting off in Ports like Singapore or Vietnam meant you only ended up with a half day at most. The big shows were great and we enjoyed them very much, the other entertainers were fine as well. This boat seems geared for the Asian Market so it will be interesting to see what other Australians feel about it as it is here for an East Coast/New Zealand season. The Port lectures were so boring that we ended up just watching the bits we wanted on TV - this guy didn't have much information on the ports and his favourite saying was that he couldn't find any information on...... - wasn't it his job to find it out? We were so disappointed in this cruise that we have cancelled our Princess cruise for next year. I think, if you have a lot of sea days (13 out of 20 for this itinerary) then look for a boat that offers more on board activities. The activities on this boat are geared for the 70-90 age group. Have travelled on the Sapphire and Emerald Princess boats and enjoyed both of these cruises. The only good thing was that no tipping was applied to our room accounts however the alcohol and drinks were expensive on board. We were not big drinkers, did not gamble ahd only purchased 1 ship shore excursion and even with our $1250 free credit still had a shipboard account of over $900. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise solely to see what the Majestic Princess, was like. The itinerary did not have much bearing on our choice as we have been on many similar, over recent years. Follows are some of our observations and experience. ... Read More
We chose this cruise solely to see what the Majestic Princess, was like. The itinerary did not have much bearing on our choice as we have been on many similar, over recent years. Follows are some of our observations and experience. Design: Majestic Princess is the 3rd of the new Royal Class ships that have been launched over the past five years. Despite what some may say, the Majestic was built by Fincantieri in Italy, yes to partly service a new China/Taiwan market but also spending 6 months in the South Pacific/Australia/NZ. Apart from the bilingual signage(like Diamond), maybe a small number of dedicated karaoke rooms, a few mahjong tables(actually a card table with drink holders in each corner)in the Hollywood Pool Club/ Conservatory, noting both karaoke and mahjong have been offered on most, if not all, Princess cruises we have travelled on in the past, there is very little to justify comments that it was “designed and built” for the Chinese market. The ship has a genuine International feel about it, not, as some say, designed for the Chinese market, implying a significant bias in design. It could be at home with a multitude of cultures, without imposing one over any other. Layout on World Fresh Marketplace Bistro/Buffet D16 Lido is poorly designed/planned and confusing to most. More on that later. The Vista “Gaming” lounge does not have the same flexibly/functionality in design/usage as in other ships for similar area. It doesn't have a bar, nor overhead monitors for relaying exercise/dance lessons. Apart from Bingo/Trivia/Zumba and Tai Chi, most activities are now staged in the Piazza. There were 4 table tennis enclosures on the starboard side of D17, which had been covered with shade cloth which, I image, was to reduce the effect of prevailing wind and turbulence caused by a moving ship on an open deck. The area was only to be used on the first few days for daily table tennis comp, which was moved indoors to the Hollywood conservatory where 2 tables were set up either side of the pool bar, which would resolve the wind problem, leaving the outdoor tables with little or no use. The lack of a proper Promenade Deck was a common complaint. Sitting on deck chairs under cover, exposed to the sea or walking around a deck on a cruise ship is one of those traditional activities most cruisers enjoy. You could partially walk around D7, squeezing past survival crafts or on D17 but not a complete circuit as some outdoor areas were assigned to smokers on D17 and on D7. There was no pool at the rear of the ship like on the Regal (sister ship) but in its place, according to the on the floor plan Deck 17 aft, immediately above the Wake View Bar, was shown as “outdoor exercise circuit/area” but surprise, was a large sundeck and undercover seating that had been assigned to smokers giving then a them a grand view aft. Didn’t get to use gym this cruise but it appeared to have a good range and plenty of equipment and not to be busy (maybe because of the passenger demographic) There were only two positives, the first and most beneficial was the new complementary, adults-only Hollywood Pool Club/Conservatory at the front of the ship on deck 17. It appeared to be a popular and relaxing venue, with a good indoor pool, adequate lounges and cabanas, plus some general areas for playing cards or just lounging around. It was like a “sanctuary” area but free of charge for all passengers. It was also open at night, for a late night swim or an uncrowded area to congregate, away from the noise of the Piazza. The second new feature that was very popular, was the laser shooting range, on the sport deck. On days when it was available, you had to book in the morning, as the time (late afternoon) and numbers were limited. This activity was popular with both men and women, testing their skills on a realistic (laser)shooting system. You could shoot simulations of tin cans, balloons, clay targets, to bird, deer and charging boars, giving a brief respite from the boring alternative activities on board. Accommodation: Cabin design/décor showed slight improvements whilst maintaining continuity in the Princess décor/style. Bedding was ok with multiple pillows but the pillows were far too soft (no support) resulting in sore neck. 2 pillows was an option, if you could contort them into a more supportive position. Entertainment: Only 3 evening and one afternoon (yes) production show on a 23 day cruise. Production shows may have displayed higher technical support but cast members were only average. We only saw one new production show, which we hadn’t already seen, so we tended to avoid the theatre, too help maintain our good health, on the cruise. In addition to production shows, single entertainers prevailed, most seen before, some we avoided but the violinist Katei and singer NZ Chris Powley NZ singer were consistently good again(after seeing many times before). There was the “Voice of The Ocean” concert, with performances by fellow passengers and an “International Crew Show”. Both shows were well received and probably would out rating some of the paid performers. The new 900 seat Princess Theatre for 3500 passengers was ridiculous. The theatre cannot accommodate the demand by passengers to attend. You either got there 30 - 45 mins prior to show if you wanted a reasonable seat or just to get in but they did provide a video link to Princess Live and Vista lounge venues, for what that was worth, for those who couldn't get a seat in the venue. Activities: With so many sea days and too few activities that you could actively participate in, other than Bingo, Trivia, Knitting, cards or just sitting around watching a handful passengers on the dance floor in the Piazza, there was very little else to do. The activities on this boat were geared toward the 70-90 age group. We were so bored, albeit saved by a reasonable selection of in cabin movies, like many others, were longing for the cruise to end. Internet Café/Library on D7: IT support staff on duty were very to helpful but someone forgot to update the floor plan to include the Internet Café on D5 in a converted Karaoke Room. I stumbled across by chance. Cabin Wifi reception was not great but much better in the Internet Café room on D5 where there were 8 workstation Desktop PCs plus one printer. One table and lounge, if you had your own laptop. Not well known as most of the time, the room was empty. The Library was a joke, with very limited shelving space and devoid of any books, for most of the cruise. Dining: Layout on World Fresh Marketplace Bistro/Buffet D16 Lido poorly planned and confusing. There was a “Bistro” serving area and “Bakery” then the Buffet, with two separate serving lines, with an interconnecting area between both, for standard self serve options but all serving areas had to be serviced by staff through one central staff entry/exit section, dividing the Bistro/Bakery and the Buffet areas. Staff would have to compete with patrons in negotiating the movement of some food items as well as used tableware. At times trolleys blocked or reduced through access in a common walkway to either area to access/ connect to a centralized internal galley operations area. Then there was the food, which to some, with simple tastes was ok, but not to others, serving up the same range of dishes every night, maybe with the odd variation. Some likened the quality of food as to what you’d find at mediocre club or shopping mall food hall at home. The menu items and quality (both traditional dining/buffet) were nothing like what we have experienced on previous Princess Cruises, where you generally had what was on offer, in the dining room plus a varied range of standard meats/ vegetables, pasta etc available in the buffet, along with an occasional themed night, German, Indian etc, with dishes to match. This was a common gripe, usually by seasoned Princess cruisers, whilst some did say it was ok, but recognized “they had very simple tastes”. We met a elderly, down to earth couple, who sat down with us, with a couple of slices of fresh crusty bread and butter (plus water), as that was all that appealed to them from what was on offer……….I could sympathise, as sometimes, my evening meal was a combination of fruit and a few scopes of ice-cream which was available from the dessert bar in the Bakery. There were some positives. Alfredo’s Pizzeria, did a roaring trade, maybe due to the poor offerings in the buffet or dining venues. It was also nice to see ice-cream back in the buffet, as it was dropped, on past cruises, in recent years. In addition, the Majestic did have new coffee ground brewing machines in the bistro, so at least, the coffee was more palatable than on previous cruises, not great but an improvement, but someone needs to taste and adjust the hot chocolate option, as it was terrible. Another source of concern was the unhygienic practice of some passengers who were admitted to the Market Place without washing their hands at the new hand washing stations. The vast majority of passengers did so but many were not stopped or requested by staff stationed to do so at the entrance, walking straight through, unchallenged. Dining service varied on this ship. In Traditional Dining rooms, you could not fault the service compared to World Fresh Marketplace Bistro/Buffet where wait staff/deck attendants appeared to be very indifferent to patrons, sometimes aimlessly wandering around, paying little attention to patrons, clearing or cleaning vacant tables. Requesting drinks was hit or miss, some would attend but disappear to return much later or to the wrong table. This indifference to service could also be seen in supervisory staff, who in general, paid little attention to patrons and issues (uncleared tables) and tended to chat amongst themselves without performing any real supervisory role. But in making such a generalisations, there were a few exceptions, where the individual staff members, did provide service in the Buffet/Bistro but again they were the exceptions, notably Andrea and Mario, both from Peru, plus Acacia from Brazil-Waiter-Pool Side always had a happy and welcoming greeting to all patrons and stood out against all others in their attitude and service, not only to us, but appeared to do so for all patrons they served. Service on our table in the Concerto Traditional dining room was exemplary with Nathanael(waiter from South Africa) and Ronald (Senior Waiter from the Philippines) displaying a positive attitude and fine service, not only to us, but to all patrons they served. Note: We did not use any of the specialty restaurants(so we won’t comment), as we had already paid for all inclusive meals in you fare. Maybe the general reduction in food standards might be intentional to encourage patronage of such venues. Embarkation and disembarkation: For us, it was extremely quick although some say it was a lengthy process. …..but I know embarkation did not go as advised. We were all told there was to be progressive embarkation, based on deck, at designated times and priority for some within those times. We were to board at 6pm. We were aimlessly killing time in the afternoon, planning to arrive at 5pm (1 hour before scheduled progressive check in time), so we thought we might wait at the terminal. On arrival at 3.30pm, large numbers were already waiting but as we had priority boarding, we were waved straight through, quickly through Princess check-in, then immigration, no problem. Question: What happened to progressive check-in. Did the majority ignore and turned up before 1pm, then the masses were partially cleared, and by the time we arrived, progressive check-in was scrapped ??? Overall: Come back new! I don’t think so, more like bored, dissatisfied and not very happy. If this is the new standard and direction of Princess Cruises is charting ……..I think there might be more than a few, abandoning this ship and cruise line, unless there is a change back to established standards of service and design. The decline in service and amenity standards is also reflected in the parent company’s stock performance over the last couple of years…..ie down the drain. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise because we were visiting China and it fitted in with our timetable. Decided it was a great way to get home instead of flying and hadn’t done a Princess Cruise before. We spent 10 days prior to the cruise ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were visiting China and it fitted in with our timetable. Decided it was a great way to get home instead of flying and hadn’t done a Princess Cruise before. We spent 10 days prior to the cruise exploring Beijing, Xi’an, Chengdu and Shanghai. The embarkation and disembarkation were a credit to Princess Cruise as was the organization for each excursion. We enjoyed the variety of ports, the food in the main dining room was good, but the food in the Lido on deck 16 was average. It was only ever lukewarm and very repetitive. The entertainment in the theatre left a lot to be desired and the continuous days at sea were long. Other cruises have run workshops, seminars and information sessions, which were replayed on the tv in your room for you to watch if the coincided with other things. Unless you were into dancing, bingo or casino there was very little to do. The crew were fantastic and it is the first cruise we have done where all the crew appeared to be genuinely happy and getting on with each other. These negatives only relate to a small part of the cruise and I would not hesitate to do another Princess Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We are experienced cruisers going back to the '80's. We prefer crossings and repositioning since most port visits are superficial at best. Substituting tour buses for luxury ship ambiance and tacky-tacky retail stops that seem ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers going back to the '80's. We prefer crossings and repositioning since most port visits are superficial at best. Substituting tour buses for luxury ship ambiance and tacky-tacky retail stops that seem to be about accommodating the local businesses rather than providing the cruiser any real opportunities. Thus the itinerary from Seward to Tokyo with stops in unusual way ports caught our fancy. Our Virtuoso Travel Agent forewarned us that Azamara was not quite up to true top notch all inclusive lines and that we would in particular find the cabin bathrooms small. All in all it sounded worth trying. We took the "unlimited package" which provided top shelf beverages, unlimited internet access (disappointingly slow and erratic). and three alternate dining experiences. Worst aspect of the experience was a feeling of overcrowded spaces. This was particularly so in the buffet area at prime lunch and dinner where seating was difficult to secure and the space between buffet lines was severely clogged. Food quality was better than you now get on mass market lines like HAL but not as good as we have had on Crystal, Windstar, or Seabourne. Really, it was only somewhat better than a recent experience on RCL. Service was slow albeit friendly and professional. My wife adheres to a rigorous low sodium diet and was very disappointed in the ship's efforts to accommodate her despite their continual protestations that they would. The enrichment speaker was a disappointment. She was overly pedantic and long winded. And, incredibly, she had a pronounced stammer. I can't imagine that anyone who took the trouble to be familiar with her speaking ability would hire her for this purpose regardless of her academic credentials. NO excuse for this management oversight. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Chose this cruise because we wanted to visit Japan, Eastern Russia and the Behring Sea. The ship was second to none, and I've sailed on many ocean cruises: 4 times on Princess (reasonably good for the money, but certainly not ... Read More
Chose this cruise because we wanted to visit Japan, Eastern Russia and the Behring Sea. The ship was second to none, and I've sailed on many ocean cruises: 4 times on Princess (reasonably good for the money, but certainly not great), 1 time on Celebrity (very good cruise line!), 1 time on Orient (now out of business - and with good reason), and 3 times on Oceania (also a very good cruise line -- but with several negatives which makes me wonder if I'll ever sail with Oceania again). But the best, by far, was Viking's Ocean ship - the Orion. Here's why: OLDER TRAVELERS. I'm a senior citizen (age 67 at the time) and this ship was great for older folks -- which is not to say that it's not also great for folks from about 35 years and older. But no children are permitted, so there was no crying children to cope with. My wife and I interacted with many others on this cruise and everyone was pleasant or nicer. I can't, of course, control who can sail on this cruise line, and one small group bothered me. I overheard them in the buffet restaurant complaining about a long delay to sail away from an Alaskan port -- and they were correct; it was a long delay. But they unanimously and loudly decided it was those "lazy union workers" at the port who were responsible even though there was no way for them to know. I've never been a union worker but to accuse anyone of something without evidence is just ignorant. I guess it takes all types to make a passenger list. SHIP. The ship is very well laid out. I love libraries on ships and on Viking there were little libraries all over the ship -- all with comfortable chairs and loungers, and friendly, attentive, unobtrusive drink service. Besides great libraries the décor was expensive but very tasteful. So many interesting pieces of art all over the ship, and great photos too. The interior of the ship was done in very warm, cozy colors. The gym was fantastic with just about any kind of machine you can want -- European style. I loved the fact that there was NEVER a line at the elevators! The stairs are right there, but if you want the ride, the elevators are fast and readily available -- even at meal time. FOOD. This is always of interest to travelers. I found that the food in the main dining room ranged from superb to rotten. Of course if you don't like your menu choice you can always get something else from that menu -- so you always have something at least "pretty good" to eat if not superb. The specialty restaurants were superb every time we went, and they don't cost extra to get in. But you do need reservations and at least BEORE the cruise you are limited in the number of reservations you can make in those specialty restaurants. After you're on the trip you can get extra reservations if available at the time you want. Another thing I liked about Viking Ocean cruises is the fact that in the restaurants (but not the buffet) if you're an anti-social sort (like me) you can always get a table for just you and your traveling companion. You can always opt to dine as part of a larger group, and if you want to dine with specific friends, that's always possible (if your friends like you enough). One other thing about the main dining room: it is NOT one large room; it is divided into five (or was it seven?) separate seating areas, so you never felt like you are eating in an airplane hangar or, ugh, a barn. The main dining rooms always felt cozy and service was great. CABIN: This was our first cruise with Viking, so I can't say much about the other cabins on the ship, but ours was enormous. Wasn't quite big enough for a full basketball game with referees and such, but very spacious and well-appointed. Of course the cabin steward and helper were so very pleasant, respectful (he wouldn't call me by my first name even though I insisted) and efficient. However, since my wife and I were in a large suite it was strange (after cruising on Oceania) that there was no "butler" service. I'm not a butler-type guy; I'm sweet and gentle and never demanding. But butler service on Oceania was so wonderful, and I missed it on Viking -- especially in our pricey cabin suite. But the cabin steward and his helper were great, and when we had laundry to do -- it always came back within 24 hours even though the schedule said it would take 48 hours. Go figure. POOL. I never went in the pool, but I loved the fact that the pool had a retractable roof so that when it was closed it was comfortable for swimming even in cold climates. As always on this ship, a library was right nearby and I did sit at poolside very content to read in peace and quiet. (Yes, fellow travelers did use the pool in every climate we visited.) ENTERTAINMENT. I can't say enough about the entertainment! I tend to choose lectures and science-oriented movies and there were 3 (count 'em, THREE) auditoriums (auditoria?). One very large one and there were always seats available for whatever was going on there, and two smaller ones for movies and lectures. Again, never a problem getting seats in these smaller places. The two smaller ones were closed off from the very large auditorium by a moveable wall - so during very popular entertainment presentations the seats in the small auditoriums became part of the already-large largest auditorium. FUTURE CRUISES. There is a "future cruises" office available (on a rather limited time schedule, unfortunately), and the discounts for those wanting to book future Viking cruises (both Ocean and River, I think) while on a current cruise are great! My wife and I were so impressed with Viking Ocean cruises that we booked another cruise at this "future cruises" office. The fellow who worked there could have been a little better informed on certain matters, but he was knowledgeable enough. Maybe he was filling-in for somebody else. But, as I said, his schedule in that office was very limited and you really needed to make a reservation in advance. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I did choose because of the itinerary as not many cruises have port of calls in India. I have cruised on Ovation of the seas before , same Quantum class , and i like the Spectrum of the seas choice of colours and furniture a lot more. ... Read More
I did choose because of the itinerary as not many cruises have port of calls in India. I have cruised on Ovation of the seas before , same Quantum class , and i like the Spectrum of the seas choice of colours and furniture a lot more. The one Big Restaurant choice instead of four is a great idea , a lot less waiting time at dinner . The decision of creating a Silver Lounge for Silver Suites guests is a great idea , even if when I booked it 8 months ago it was advertised that they were going to allow all suites guests to go in the Gold Lounge and Gold Restaurant on decks 15th and 16th forward , but looks like they changed their minds and restricted the access to those decks only to Gold Suites and Gold Balcony Staterooms and they created on deck 14th forward a Silver Lounge . Nice a spacious, with excellent service , but that closes at 8:30 pm so it is not possible to have dinner there . So Silver suites guests must use the Main dining Room. The only terrible think of the Ship is the gym facility. I understand that Chinese customers are not using gyms very often, but the space that has been designed on this Ship for Gym and changing rooms is totally inadequate . I guess no more than 600 square feet with very little equipment , and waiting times to use an equipment are incredibly long , so people just decide not to use the facilities. And the changing rooms are even worse , in the men one there are just 6 lockers so you have to wait to have a locker key . There is no physical space to undress or dress unless you choose to do it near the entrance door where people can see you naked from outside when the door opens. But the worst part is that there is only one shower , so you have to queue to get one. And what i don't understand is that on the contrary the Reception area of the SPA is huge: a lot of that space could have been used to make the changing areas and the gym bigger. So avoid this Ship if you are a frequent Gym user. As already mentioned by other guests , the entertainment is poor in terms of variety. The few shows are outstanding but limited in quantity. And the Lectures as well, not enough. First excursion in Muscat was nice . But today in Mumbai a real rip off. The Guide was really bad, and the bus old and filthy . I Hope next ports of call its going to be better. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this cruise because of the incredible places it visited. The ports of call and most excursions were awesome and well worth the time and money. However, the ship was a completely disgusting place to have to spend time on. Our ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the incredible places it visited. The ports of call and most excursions were awesome and well worth the time and money. However, the ship was a completely disgusting place to have to spend time on. Our first cabin constantly filled with smoke fumes from the exhaust stacks above. For some reason, the exhaust found its way into our cabin via the air conditioning unit as well as from the balcony door while it was open. Not only did we endure exhaust fumes day and night, but we also had to deal with the smell of sewage coming in the door when we tried to clear out the polluted air from our cabin. We also smelled sewage gas fumes while out on our balcony and around the ship. As a result of the exhaust fumes, my asthma/bronchitis flared up and I was (and still am) in dire distress throughout the cruise. Paid over $300 to see the doctor on board only to be told that I needed a cough suppressant. Waited over 2 hours with multiple other passengers who were suffering various forms of breathing distress. We reported the exhaust fumes that filled our cabin to customer service. They had a young lady come to the door of the cabin to ask us what our problem was. She said she'd let maintenance know. Maintenance came to the door and asked us, once again, what our problem was. They said they'd let their supervisor know. That was the last time anyone on the ship responded to our breathing issues. When we mentioned it to one of the head waiters, she asked about it for us. She was informed that the maintenance staff considered us to be liers. She was upset on our behalf, but there was nothing she could do. So, the management of Royal Caribbean, Spectrum of the Seas determined without further investigation that WE were LIERS and there were no exhaust fumes in our cabin! The entertainment was hit and miss. Some of the shows were amazing, others were so-so. Most of the so-so shows were repeated throughout the cruise. The ship's band was excellent, however, it always played so loudly that earplugs were necessary. The gymnasium was small with limited equipment. Lots of entertainment for younger passengers - bumper cars, climbing wall, surfing, etc. Quite amazing, actually. The food was great during the first half of the cruise and went downhill as the second half of the cruise progressed. We found that we ate very little of what was served to us. Coughing, loud, tortured, and constant by well over three-quarters of the passengers was heard throughout the ship. Lots of sick people to spend time with while living on the ship. The many people we spoke with also complained about exhaust-like fumes throughout the ship. Staff were absolutely AMAZING! Courteous, friendly, helpful (except maintenance, of course). Can't write enough good things about each of the staff members. They did an incredible job doing what they could to cheer up all of the passengers. EVERYTHING was expensive on the ship. There were charges for everything. Nowhere to purchase toiletries except at the Japanese Pharmacy. One had to purchase three large containers of a product at exorbitant prices. Nowhere could we find simple products like cold suppressant supplies, toothpaste, hairspray, etc. ALL of the shops were high-end and extremely expensive. Nowhere to purchase simple, inexpensive souvenirs to bring home. We were personally aware of three elevator incidents. Two times where people were trapped in the elevator and couldn't get out. Ten people suffered multiple injuries when the elevator they were in fell three floors. I overhead the meeting those people had with management and I was appalled at how rudely they were treated! No compensation was given other than a discount off their next cruise with Royal Caribbean. They were even told that they were lying about what took place. One woman that I had come to know started crying and one of the ship's management people told her to "settle down'. No empathy whatsoever. Even when they were removed from the elevator it was done in an unsafe manner. If the elevator had fallen (it was slowly going down at the time) they would have been severed - beheaded. All in all, we will not be travelling with Royal Caribean again. Mostly because of the lack of follow up with so many disasters and health-compromising issues. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this cruise purely for the reason it departed from Barcelona at the time we wished to travel. This ship was not ready to launch. Our trip was truncated as we had our passports stolen in Barcelona and as a result, we had to ... Read More
We chose this cruise purely for the reason it departed from Barcelona at the time we wished to travel. This ship was not ready to launch. Our trip was truncated as we had our passports stolen in Barcelona and as a result, we had to disembark in Athens because we could not travel further with temporary passports. On an inaugural cruise, one must expect irregularities but this cruise was an exception - in the negative. A) Workmen were regularly encountered all over the ship trying to repair malfunctioning equipment, including the elevators, electrical issues in the hallways, etc. The outdoor speakers did not work for movies....AC could not be used for the gym...etc.etc. The casino seemed to work perfectly though... B). The entertainment was subpar. That is not to say that what we did get wasn’t excellent, but there just wasn’t enough of it. After a wonderful opening performance by Mo5aic we were treated to two evenings of movies in the main theatre....really? That was the evening show offering? To be honest, there just wasn’t enough to do on board throughout the day, especially considering that the adventure deck had such limited hours. C) Staff training. At the start of the cruise the Captain announced that we were in for an extraordinary experience as the crew was all hand picked from other ships. Conversations with crew members and our own experience quickly punched huge liar holes in that claim. It was obvious that many crew members were brand new and had no idea about how to perform their jobs. Nobody likes to be lied to. It was gratifying to see that cafeteria supervisors gradually got a grip on staff and service improved over the five days. For a ship designed for the Asian market, there were a few major design misses. I think that the biggest miss was in the lack of a games room. Every ship I have travelled on has had a big mahjong playing component and have had a place to play. This wasn’t so on Spectrum as the cafeteria was walled off much of the time. The library was tiny and poorly equipped with books, lined with locked cabinets containing inaccessible board games - but no place to play. As well, it was open to the theatre area adjoining the library, so no quiet space. The gym space was totally inadequate from a Western perspective. There was a small space forward on Deck 13 with machines placed too closely together and the space was not adequately cooled. This ship was a curiosity to me. I thought it was beautiful and the cabin spaces were some of the best I have encountered. The recreational facilities were wonderful - except for the very limited access. I am curious to find out how other people experienced this ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Our first cruise with Holland America was to South America and Antarctica on Zaandam in January 2017. We were very happy with life on board and were particularly impressed by the Lido Market, the informal food outlet, where food is often ... Read More
Our first cruise with Holland America was to South America and Antarctica on Zaandam in January 2017. We were very happy with life on board and were particularly impressed by the Lido Market, the informal food outlet, where food is often cooked to order. Therefore, we were pleased to come across back-to-back cruises, including a Pacific crossing, on Westerdam in April and May this year. The first cruise took us around the Japanese Islands, a location we would not normally have considered, while the second, repositioning, cruise completed the Japanese itinerary before crossing the sea to Alaska, a place we have visited on two previous occasions and were very happy to revisit. We flew into Narita Airport directly from Manchester and stayed overnight in the Hilton Tokyo Narita Airport hotel before a private taxi took us into Yokohama the next day to commence our cruise. Embarkation was swift and easy. Lunch was first on the agenda because our room was not ready until early afternoon. As before, we only used the Lido Market for our meals and we were very impressed by the friendliness of the staff there and throughout the ship. Our individual preferences were remembered from the start, which was remarkable. One point of concern was that the use of hand sanitizers was not promoted as on other ships, which we did discuss with the Hotel Manager. There is less self service on HAL than on other cruise lines, but there are common utensils and other opportunities for contamination. We had chosen a Signature Suite, a larger room than normal because of the length of the cruise and it certainly offered all the space we could wish for. We had selected the Starboard side and we were amused that at almost every port we were against the dock and our views ranged from enormous scrap heaps to piles of sand or coal, covered by flapping tarpaulin and old tyres! The ship docked in rather industrial areas because of its size, requiring the use of shuttle buses at several ports. However, public transport was easy to use and allowed us to venture further afield, as the places of interest were not all conveniently within walking distance. We don't attend the evening entertainment (or use the fitness facilities, so I have scored both as average below) because we prefer to look outside as much as possible, from the open deck or the shelter and convenience of our balcony. We had managed a very hazy glimpse of Mount Fuji in Yokohama, but Shimizu on Day 2 allowed us to watch her unveil from behind cloud as the sky cleared in the afternoon. Osaka on Day 3 and Kochi on Day 4 had castles and their gardens to explore. Osaka Castle has a lift, but also extremely long queues to use it, so we climbed the stairs, but Kochi Castle had no lift and we were unfortunate to visit at the same time as a large group, meaning that we shuffled slowly from floor to floor, negotiating extremely steep, narrow stairs with two-way traffic, which was dangerous. Coming down backwards or sideways was safest! This rather spoiled our visit but the gardens, with their emerging Cherry blossom, made up for it. Being over 65, we had free entry into some places we visited. On Day 5, we cruised the Kanmon Strait, perhaps not exactly scenic, but interesting nevertheless.The next day, Good Friday, was spent in Sakaiminato. We had expected there to be little to see independently, as the Yuushien Garden we wanted to visit appeared to be a complicated bus journey away, confirmed by information from the ship, but fortunately we called into the local Tourist Office before leaving, after enjoying the many fascinating bronze statues of cartoon characters created by a resident of the town. There we were told about a free shuttle bus to and from the Gardens, including a ride over the famous “Wonky” Bridge, the Eshima Ohashi Bridge. The Garden is very small but is what we think of as a typical Japanese garden, with raked gravel and moss gardens. The two other, much larger, gardens we visited were, to us, far less typical. Kenrokuen Garden, in Kanazawa on Day 7, is considered to be one of the top three gardens in Japan and the darker Cherry blossom was in flower. There is also another castle to visit, with views of snow-capped hills. Day 8, Easter Sunday, was spent at sea, before an obligatory non-Japanese port, Vladivostok, on Day 9. To avoid the need for independent Visas, we booked a walking tour with the ship, which was enjoyable, with the advantage of a sunny day as we were shown the town. Unfortunately, the result of this visit caused considerable delays on our return to Japan after another sea day, on Day 11, because we had to go through Immigration before disembarking, which took several hours. We did no more than visit the town on foot, involving a longer walk than expected, so a shuttle bus might have been useful. The best part for us was a Steam Clock, similar to the one in Vancouver, but otherwise there was little of interest. Hakodate, on Day 12, was another matter, with a viewing tower and a star-shaped fort and garden with hundreds of the paler Cherry blossom trees just about coming into flower. We had intended to take the Rope Way, or cable car, to the top of Mount Hakodate, but it was closed because of strong winds. Instead, we walked part of the way through the woodland, until we found a viewpoint over the town. We could see that the Ropeway had reopened after we returned to the ship, but our alternative walk was very enjoyable. Day 13, in Aomori, offered little to do before another sea day on the way back to Yokohama. We like to look out for wildlife while at sea, but there was remarkably little on this cruise, other than welcome Leysan Albatross and the smaller Short Legged Shearwaters, which were migrating. Oriental Turtle Doves heading for Alaska were also seen circling the ship occasionally and once perched for a while on wires in front of the large windows in the Crow’s Nest lounge. Black Kites were common in the ports and were interesting to watch and attempt to photograph. Day 15, the change-over day in Yokohama, was spent visiting the Sankeien Gardens, where we found another good view of Mount Fuji. The garden is obviously a popular place for wedding photographs and we enjoyed the beautiful traditional dress of brides and grooms. The Garden contains many ancient buildings, removed from their original locations and preserved in the Gardens by the founder. Another sea day took us to Muroran on Day 17. We took a tour of the town on a Hop On, Hop Off bus, with an interesting view point at Cape Chikyu, but not much else. Day 18, our last Japanese port, was spent at Kushiro, the only wet day of the cruise. A bus took us to the amusingly named MOO (Marine Our Ocean) and EGG (Ever Green Garden) buildings, where at last we found local craft for souvenirs, including that of the local Ainu people. The EGG building held craft sessions and an archery demonstration involving local school students, although the day was part of an extended public holiday for the start of a New Era in Japan. The Nusamai Bridge is famous for its statues of the Seasons, the first bridge to be so decorated in Japan. However, they all look as though they should represent Summer! The next six days were spent at sea, as we crossed the Pacific Ocean. Stormy weather at the beginning meant that the Promenade Deck was closed, during which time an Albatross took refuge in a corner of the deck for several days. Its presence and the reopening of the deck were not publicized and we did not see it. We also missed a pod of Orca which passed the ship, observed by people sitting in the bar in the warm. We were told about them several times, after the event, as we braved the Promenade deck on a wildlife watch. A significant part of the voyage for me was crossing the IDL. To see the beginning of a day in the far East, among the first to do so, then see its ending two days later in the far West, among the last to witness it, is special. The International Date Line diverts from the 180° line of longitude, the Antimeridian, to avoid dividing the Aleutian Island from the rest of Alaska, so knowing when we would cross it was not easy. The itinerary initially named it as our first day at sea, then our second, but both were clearly wrong. Even so, Day 21, the second after leaving Japan, was indeed selected as the day to be repeated and this is probably explained by the fact that the correct day, Day 22, was May 4th and Holland’s Remembrance Day. We decided to go by the ship’s position instead. We were advised that we would cross the IDL at around 04.00 on Sunday morning by our calendar and, by following the ship on a tracking web site, we could see it approach the Antimeridian. We did wake at 04.00 to photograph the changing morning light, but there was no sunrise, unfortunately. We crossed the 180° line of longitude at approximately 10.00 and took photographs of the view in front of us as we approached, which was for us, still in the East, yesterday in the West, Saturday; the view to the side which was briefly today, Sunday and the view behind, the East, which would soon become for us as we reached the West, a day in the past, Sunday. One of my favourite hymns sums it up beautifully as it describes the day passing from evening in the West to morning in the East, “The Day Thou Gavest, Lord is Ended.” https://library.timelesstruths.org/music/The_Day_Thou_Gavest_Lord_Is_Ended/ So, Sunday became Saturday once again and we agreed with the ship’s calendar as we crossed into the Western Hemisphere. We had been given a certificate to mark the incorrect crossing, but we returned it and asked for a correct one, which we received. We marked our second Sunday evening the next day with photographs as the light faded and the day was finally complete around the globe. Our days at sea provided the occasional evidence of a whale from its blow, but little else. Each day had included losing an hour as we worked towards Alaskan time, with a second hour being necessary on the last day. Japan does not have Daylight Saving Time, so it was dark very early there and it was pleasant to have longer light evenings as we moved further towards Alaska. We arrived at Kodiak, a new port for us, on Day 25. We were delayed getting into the port, through a narrow channel because of the rocky coastline, by strong winds, but we were able to dock about two hours later. The Captain added two hours to the departure time in compensation. We spent the day walking around the small town, visiting the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Centre and the Russian Orthodox Cathedral. Although the famous bears are usually not in the town, we did have a welcome opportunity to watch a Sea Otter having a wash-and-brush-up in the harbour, close enough to see clearly and Bald Eagles on a slope directly opposite our balcony. One more sea day took us to Icy Strait Point on Day 27, another new port. We had booked a whale watching trip, which was good but very misty and chilly. After exploring the Visitor Centre, we returned to the ship and enjoyed several whales which were using the bay, from the comfort and warmth of the now sunny, outside deck. As we sailed away from Icy Strait Point, on a beautiful evening, an NCL ship was about an hour ahead of us and her exhaust seemed to hang on one side of the valley as ours filled the other side. Legal, but unpleasant and also a matter of concern. Day 28 was spent at Ketchikan, which we have visited several times before, so we used the time to shop for family souvenirs. There were three other ships in port in the morning, but two left surprisingly early and the town was much quieter in the afternoon. Our departure was delayed because the Captain had to go to hospital with appendicitis; luckily for him it had not happened in the middle of the Pacific. Day 29 saw us cruising through the Inside Passage, on a beautiful day to enjoy the scenery, logs being hauled on the water and fishing lodges being towed to their Summer location, before arriving at our final destination, Vancouver. We had chosen to spend a night there before flying home, so disembarkation was not rushed and we could enjoy a final breakfast in the Lido Market before leaving the ship after a long and interesting journey. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Hmmn. The good - Great service by the crew who work hard to keep us all happy. Good food overall in the main restaruant, though I think Carnival do a far better job at the bistro. Chops Grill was fantastic at breakfast. No passnegrs ... Read More
Hmmn. The good - Great service by the crew who work hard to keep us all happy. Good food overall in the main restaruant, though I think Carnival do a far better job at the bistro. Chops Grill was fantastic at breakfast. No passnegrs were to be seen at Johnny Rockets. Those who went reported back on bad food. The pools were great.. This is one thing RC have all over Carnival. The pools are bigger, cleaner and the life guards ensure the kids are behaving well at all times. The not so good - The ship is looking increasingly old and tired. Quite a few rust spots on her. The cabins are worse than a 2 star hotel. The crew works hard to keep her clean, mind you. The lifts were particuarly slow and not well programmed. The evening shows were better than expected. The ice rink shows were fantastic. While the crew works hard to reinforce the message of "wash your hands," for some, the message will never get through. Time and time again we saw quite a few other passengers disregard good hygene standards, particuarly at the bistro. e.g picking up food with their bare hands instead of using the tongs. Sure enough, there was an outbreak of cold and flu on the cruise. The whole process of disembarking for shore excersions was average at best. At The first port) Penang, it took over an hour to get us off the ship once the ship was cleared. That had a negative flow on affect for the shore excersion which was cut short. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the chaos of embarkation should of forewarned us of what was to come. We pre booked an all inclusive drinks package and this was printed on our cabin card which was already in our cabin. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the chaos of embarkation should of forewarned us of what was to come. We pre booked an all inclusive drinks package and this was printed on our cabin card which was already in our cabin. Unfortunately every time we ordered a drink the package did not work so after 2 days and several trips to guest services the card was replaced. I was told "you will have to pay for your drinks tonight but the card will work tomorrow" We were told that it was because we booked it before we went onboard. Although it was printed on the card I had to provide an email which proved I had bought and paid for it. It was also suppose to cover the mini bar in our cabin except there wasn't one. Not even a fridge. Our balcony cabin was standard and disappointing for a brand new ship. As it was built for the chinese market there was only 1 european plug socket in the cabin however there were plenty of usb sockets. The cabin steward was excellent and kept the cabin spotless. We were very disappointed with the standard of food. It was served cold and mostly tasteless. Our waiters were very helpful but they did tell us that there were lots of complaints about the food being cold. The buffet restaurant was best avoided. Watching people carrying off huge trays of fresh fruit to wherever. I think certain passengers must have kept it in their cabin. The queues were huge especially at sea days when they provided an outdoor buffet with a theme. The swimming pools were very small and not adequate for the amount of people onboard. We took 2 trips, both of them in Vietnam. The organisation for getting people off the ship was non existent with queues blocking stairs and exits. On both trips we stopped at places to buy local handcrafts and this wasn't on the itinerary and caused us to be rushed at places that were. We went to the theatre for 1 show and decided not to bother as it was not brilliant and most shows were then shown on the large screen on the lido deck afterwards. The television channels were limited and the only English speaking one was a Chinese news channel although we didnt go on holiday to watch TV. The day in Hong Kong was cut short as we stayed longer in China. Unfortunately it was decided to add an extra couple of hours to our visit but quite a few people had already left the ship when this was announced so they rushed back to find they could have stayed longer. Not good organisation. I questioned both Iglu Cruises and Costa about the need for a Chinese Visa. I was informed that I had to have one to board the ship in Singapore. I then found out that there was a waiver form we could have signed and stayed on the ship. All in all most of the crew were polite, there was a language barrier with the newly recruited Chinese. As the ship is now based in China and wont enter the European market again I dont think Costa are particularly bothered by the poor reviews left by Europeans but I certainly wont use Costa again. I have cruised with Carnival previously, their parent Company and had no complaints. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Like the itinerary with lots of Sea days to rest and recharge. Also got to see Darwin Australia, Kaohsiung(Taiwan) besides the usual Sydney, Brisbane, Singapore, Phu My(Vietnam) and Hong Kong. Ship was big, and nice. Room was a mini ... Read More
Like the itinerary with lots of Sea days to rest and recharge. Also got to see Darwin Australia, Kaohsiung(Taiwan) besides the usual Sydney, Brisbane, Singapore, Phu My(Vietnam) and Hong Kong. Ship was big, and nice. Room was a mini suite(upgraded from a premium balcony), very comfortable, Excellent room service. Sea was calm until South China sea. Mostly Australian on the ship with lots of Asian from Australia. US pax are the minority. Lots of Fancy, high end stores, on board. Too expensive! Piazza was large, busy daily with all kinds of activities. Casino was fun on the Penny machines, not much table activities throughout the cruise(except for Black Jack Tournament), feel sorry for the casino attendants standing at their table side all morning, afternoon and waiting for table players to play! Love the Asian exercise equipment at the aft of the ship for stretching and muscle toning, very simple but effective! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We were excited to be sailing on the Majestic, given that she's the newest and biggest ship in the fleet. We'd only sailed on the Sea and Dawn Princesses before, and we enjoyed those, so we figured we'd love the Majestic. ... Read More
We were excited to be sailing on the Majestic, given that she's the newest and biggest ship in the fleet. We'd only sailed on the Sea and Dawn Princesses before, and we enjoyed those, so we figured we'd love the Majestic. However, this ship missed the mark for us. We opted for Traditional Dining initially, but the Allegro Dining Room styling was quite dark, and had many areas sectioned off, so it felt a little claustrophobic. Our table was one of the many that had a bench seat, with access on only one side, so one diner would have to slide across the seat. Not a fun prospect in formal attire! And given that Allegro was on deck 6, but could only be accessed from deck 7, we quickly switched to Any-time Dining. The theatre, although quite high tech, was nowhere near big enough, only holding 1000 people on a ship of 3500. That meant if you wanted to see the show, you had to be there AT LEAST half an hour early to have any hope of getting a seat. And if you wanted a seat in the middle section, you were looking at being forty five minutes early, minimum. We usually like to attend the ballroom and line dancing classes. However, on Majestic, these are held in the Pizza, and I certainly didn't want to be on display while I fought with my two left feet! There didn't appear to be a decent dance floor anywhere on the ship. Princess Live was one option, but wasn't utilised, as was the Vista Lounge. However, neither venues were really suitable. Pool deck was also a little disappointing. A lot of pool space is lost to the fountains, which although lovely, were only used four times on a 20 day cruise. When the band played out on deck, they were incredibly loud - to the point where you had to move if you wanted to have a conversation. The Hollywood Conservatory is, to our mind, a bit of a waste of space. I can imagine that the Chinese market like it, but to us it was a bit of a waste of space. The Hollywood Pool wasn't bad, although the smell of chlorine smacked you in the face every time you walked in there. A common comment among the people we met was that the gym was woefully inadequate. I didn't experience this myself, but hubby did, and he said there were waaaaay too many treadmills and bikes, and not enough of the weights machines to go around. There was a lot of waiting for those to be free. Now for the good stuff. Our balcony cabin was lovely, and our bed and pillows were very, very comfy. The best we've had on a ship. For the first time on a cruise, there was an abundance of deck chairs - we never had a problem finding somewhere to lie in the sun. The World Marketplace, although a little confusing at first, is actually the best buffet we've had on a ship. Because of the multiple lines, we never had to wait, and not once did we have trouble finding a seat. Would we go on Majestic again? Probably not (although I never say never!). It's a little bigger than we like, and it feels a bit like a live sheep carrier - they've crammed as many guests in as possible, sacrificing some of the common areas in the process. I'd be interested to try another ship of the same class to see if it's the ship, or the target market that is the problem. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was my second repositioning cruise on the Majestc. The first one was from Shanghai to Sydney in Aug/Sep 2018. Cabin: On this current occasion I traveled with friends (a couple). We had adjacent balcony cabins on deck 14. We ... Read More
This was my second repositioning cruise on the Majestc. The first one was from Shanghai to Sydney in Aug/Sep 2018. Cabin: On this current occasion I traveled with friends (a couple). We had adjacent balcony cabins on deck 14. We chose this cruise because we wanted a cruise that terminated in Hong Kong. My cabin was comfortable except for the very soft pillows that Princess now has. Also, there was a strong smell of stale urine in the bathroom. This was also the case on the earlier cruise when I had an inside cabin. Despite several attempts on both occasions by the cabin stewards to remove the smell, it lingered. Dining: The food overall was very good. We had anytime dining, and ate in the dining room sometimes. We also ate at the International Marketplace, Harmony Restaurant, Crown Grill, Alfredo's, La Mer, and the Noodle Bar, and we did the Chef's Table dining. I thought the Crown Grill on this ship was the best of any ship. The food was excellent and cooked to perfection. I didn't care for the food in the Harmony Restaurant. One of the dishes was very nice but the others were rather bland. La Mer was OK. We ate at Alfredo's quite a few times. Like the food there. Had quite a few lunches at the Noodle Bar. The Chef's Table was not as good as some I've had in the past; more emphasis on presentation rather than flavour. And the food in both the dining rooms and the International Marketplace was pretty good. Ship: I don't particularly like its design which I understand was tailored to the Chinese market. The ship lacks the bar/lounge areas which Australians, including me, seem to like, such as Wheelhouse, Explorers, Skywalkers and Crooners. There was a Crooners on the Majestic but it was the casino's high rollers room converted. Not a crowd-friendly space and tucked away in a corner next to the casino. This was also the nightclub but it didn't really work as that either. The ship has a space called Princess Live on Deck 7 midship. It's like a small theatre. It doesn't really work well for most of the events that it's used for. The seating is quite uncomfortable; there is no bar and wait staff from the nearest bar up the passage have difficulty taking orders and delivering drinks. Apart from a bench across the back of the room, there are no tables so activities like trivia and bingo are difficult there. Also, the Promenade deck walking area does not go right around the ship. It does run up both sides of the ship but it's very narrow in parts and walking is very difficult if there's anyone else in the area. The Princess Theatre has 800 seats for 3500 passengers. This meant that you'd need to get there more than half an hour before a show to have any chance of getting a seat. Most of the activities were held in the Piazza as there was really nowhere much else to have them. A couple of times when we were dining at Alfredo's (on Deck 6 in the Piazza), the music in the Piazza was so loud that we couldn't have a conversation. The Majestic has an adults area on Deck 17 called the Hollywood Observatory. It's an indoor area that has a good sized pool, a bar, lots of lounges and other seating, include cabanas which can be closed off for privacy. A lovely area except for two things - some recorded birdsong which is really unnecessary and gets on your nerves after a while; and the fact that the whole area is air conditioned. That's OK if you've gone there just to read or play games, etc, but it makes it very cold when you come out of the pool! Entertainment: The entertainment was very good overall. Some excellent performers, and the production shows were great. Lots of activities. We never had trouble finding something enjoyable to do. Service: The service on the ship, as always, was excellent, although I noticed that there seemed to be less wait staff than usual in some areas. This meant that there were sometimes delays in getting vacated tables cleared, or getting a drink. This was my fourth cruise with Captain Dino Sagani at the helm. While his daily noon navigation reports were always informative, I've never seen him or his officers out and about the ship other than at official functions. Ports: While the number of ports was small (only 6 including Hong Kong), there was plenty to do at each. I found the destination presentation for Kaohsiung to be very helpful in getting a feel for the logistics of the place. The only Princess shore excursion I did was to Long Tan and Nui Dat in Vietnam. So much Australian military history in that part of the world. We were privileged to participate in a short memorial service while at the Long Tan Memorial. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. Would I go again on the Majestic? Probably not. I don't care for that class of ship. I much prefer the Grand or Gem class. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I agree with nearly all the comments made in the reviews regarding the 1st leg. We felt like 2nd class citizens. Most staff were under trained but about half were smiling and friendly. Only watchable TV in English was News and ... Read More
I agree with nearly all the comments made in the reviews regarding the 1st leg. We felt like 2nd class citizens. Most staff were under trained but about half were smiling and friendly. Only watchable TV in English was News and documentaries on China's CGTN network. Entertainment was quite poor with the best act being a comedy magician on the night before disembarkation. No milk or fridge in our cabin. We could only use our balcony when at sea since there was always cleaning, painting & maintenance being done while in port and the balconies on deck 2 were used as a through way for staff so the extra cost for the balcony was not good value. Why does a brand new ship need painting? Mandatory €10 per person per day (including disembarkation day) for "Service Charge" plus another service charge on any drinks and food purchased. Mixing cultures and too many languages really doesn't work for me. Every announcement was repeated in about 5 languages and the behaviour of some passengers in the buffet restaurant beggars belief with pushing and piling plates to overflowing with one type of food and thus quickly depleting amount left for other people. We've sailed with a fair number of cruise lines and therefore we have something to judge Costa against. One gets the impression that Costa's aim was to relieve passengers of as much money as possible. This was the worst cruise we have been on and no way will be sail with Costa again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
the staff on sapphire seemed to just be going through the motions there were many we spoke to and they were just looking forward to getting off in Athens and Rome (contract finishing) , the onboard entertaiment was boring to say the least ... Read More
the staff on sapphire seemed to just be going through the motions there were many we spoke to and they were just looking forward to getting off in Athens and Rome (contract finishing) , the onboard entertaiment was boring to say the least there is only so much violins that a person can listen to (37 days) thats all that seemed to be on in the piazza area (boring) the cruise director and manager had no idea how to entertain the whole ships demograghpics as they just caterted for the oldies there were plenty of youthful passagers looking for some real entetainment but it just never happened. get rid of these fools, there was no free coffee avalible midship (piazza) or any of the down stairs café/bars except in the horizons buffet and the resturants which meant you had to go to the back of the ship just to get a brew, another way princess makes a buck if your not that mobile then your forced to pay at all other locations (the only other free coffee was in plastic jugs by the smokers area) real smart. the harassment from the photo shop staff was constant and very annoying as they would always deliberately cut you off when disembarking for their stupid photo's this was very tacky, I had to firmly tell them several times that I was not interested,(it felt like they were preying on the vulnerable for a quick buck) the pizza in alfredos is very good but they will not allow you to take it away if you want to then there is a $3 us room service fee. the outside area mid ship to aft often stuck of a strong sewage/ methane smell in fact I spoke directly with captain H L on deck and he stated that there was a problem with a vent pipe midship this smell was present off and on for a least 10 days (even called customer service to let them know) the Indian visa fiasco was a joke as we like nearly all passengers paid a minimum of $80us per person for an 8 hours visit to cochin, we wrote to princess months prior to the cruise and advised them that we were not interested in getting off in India, only to be told that we would still require a visa to board the ship.Only to find out that some 70 odd passengers that did not turn up at Singapore with it and were allowed to sail, they only had to sign a waiver that they would not get off in India , we wrote a written complaint to quest services on the ship but did not receive any response (once again poor service) the platinum / elite club is not worth obtaining as there are not free drinks offered in this club ,why would you bother spending more money to become elite ,we will stick with royal Caribbean from now on as they give over 3 hours of free drinks to the diamond club members and it only takes 80 days to reach this level (not 150 with princess) the only plus thing was our stateroom attendant who was very good and plenty of in room movies. almost forgot don't bother with the internet it is very slow and not worth the money Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We had always wanted to see Australia and New Zealand. Originally we thought we'd do this as a mostly land tour with another company, but my wife floated the option of doing this, plus Sydney to Auckland (which we will do the end of ... Read More
We had always wanted to see Australia and New Zealand. Originally we thought we'd do this as a mostly land tour with another company, but my wife floated the option of doing this, plus Sydney to Auckland (which we will do the end of this year). Viking could not have done a better job! This was a relatively new itinerary for the ship and crew, so this was especially impressive because they were still ironing out details with excursions. Some of our fellow guests did have some complaints such as not getting the ones they wanted, or did not like the free included excursions. Most of the free ones were okay, although 1 or 2 did not have great tour guides, but if people chose their paid excursions when Viking first made them available (before trip), there should not have been a problem. The crew on the ship were wonderful, from the captain who gave us daily updates (even on a storm that was chasing us) to the cabin stewards to the dining staff. They all would go out of their way to accommodate any request. I also greatly enjoyed the musical performances in the atrium as well as the shows and the planetarium. My wife (and obviously many others onboard) really appreciated the free laundry room. The itinerary and the excursions made this one the best trips I ever had. Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef was just spectacular. My wife tells everyone this was her dream trip (and we've done quite a few!) because she loves animals. Holding a koala at Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo near Brisbane, feeding wallabies, even feeding crocodiles at Crocodylus Park were experiences she'll treasure forever. There were certainly many opportunities to see wildlife we don't see here in the states, but there are also many options for other things to see and do, like the views at Castle Hill in Townsville. When we got to see the Komodo dragons, that was quite spectacular, but an added plus there was the nature walk around the island (of course with the guides to keep an eye on us!) I understand that due to poaching Indonesia may restrict this particular island, but hopefully there are other islands Viking can use for this excursion. The temples on Lombok and Bali were unbelievably beautiful and unique. As difficult as it was to believe, some on the tour criticized seeing them, but I think these were probably the same people who complain about the beautiful cathedrals in Europe. The Laguna Luxury Resort and Spa in Nusa Dua is a spectacular complex with unbelievable views from our rooms, 7 swimming pools, restaurants, nature walks, a beautiful beach, spa treatments in thatch-covered beach-front rooms and many other amenities, with many types of colorful birds. Although we gravitated towards zoos and nature parks, Viking has other tours that should appeal to almost anyone. Although some excursions may seem a bit expensive, when you take into account the extremely affordable cruise rates (compared with land and air travel by other companies) it's a great deal. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise to escape the late winter early spring weather and on price and the ships itinerary. The beginning, after being picked up at our Venice hotel we were dropped at Venice airport to wait around for two hours without ... Read More
We chose this cruise to escape the late winter early spring weather and on price and the ships itinerary. The beginning, after being picked up at our Venice hotel we were dropped at Venice airport to wait around for two hours without any information before being herded on to a fleet of buses for a 90 minute journey to Trieste. This is where the confused disorderly nightmare got worse we where dumped with thousands of other passengers in a massive car park with no queuing system in place no queue marshals no Costa staff to organize fair queuing, it just became a very unpleasant fight to retain a place in the queue with many people just pushing in. It took us three and a half hours of queuing to check in without being offered a drink or toilets being available, we were lucky that it was not raining nor hot and sunny, otherwise the experience could have been much worse. When we did manage to board the ship the chaos continued, we were instructed to go to our muster stations at least 4 times only for the exercise to be repeatedly cancelled, eventually we tried to attend the evacuation procedure, however the stair wells were blocked with other passengers on each occasion and this made it impossible for many passengers to get to the correct muster stations. like many other passengers we missed the emergency drill completely. The Cabin, ours was internal with a big comfortable bed otherwise the cabin was small and lacked storage, one small wardrobe with 8 coat hangers , the shower was good plenty of hot water. Dining, Poor quality food mainly cold, plenty of Queuing. Entertainment, Second rate. Shore Excursions,poor and a total rip off. Service, our cabin steward was excellent (Berco), some of the bar staff were very good. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
The main purpose of the trip was to visit Hong Kong as my wife had connections there when she was a child. We did not get off at any of the ports en route as we had visited all of them previously and we enjoy the ship on the quiet port ... Read More
The main purpose of the trip was to visit Hong Kong as my wife had connections there when she was a child. We did not get off at any of the ports en route as we had visited all of them previously and we enjoy the ship on the quiet port days. The following are my opinion of good and bad aspects. GOODx—- Sydney embarcation was fast and faultless The ship was in good order with paint being refreshed continually The cabin was clean and well kept by the steward, Joseph The evening entertainment was generally good. The cruise director and staff were also good. Best production show “Bravo” The waiters and bar staff were all fantastic being the best part of the voyage. The Filipino, Balinese and other Asian staff make the cruise with their friendliness and all round abilities. AVERAGEx—x The food in the MDR and Horizons was generally uninteresting, sometimes poorly cooked with root vegetables generally undercooked. BAD——x Our interior cabin was so narrow it was difficult to get in and out of bed. We had our double configuration altered to singles. About the first time in married lives we have done this. Princess cabins are the smallest we have ever been in but this was the narrowest! The officers are rarely seen. The new red loungers on deck 12 look nice. Toget two together, go to deck 12 early, spread out towels and leave a book or an old hat. Then go to breakfast for an hour or two. They are then “booked” for the day. Drinks are generally expensive and bar staff advise happy hour just a memory. The passengers were the oldest demographic ever encountered and general conversation was how many cruises done, to where and how good a price they had got. It would have been nice to have met young or even middle-aged people. The highest class is ELITE (synonym for snobbish) but the benefits are poor compared to Royal Caribbean. The disembarkation in Hong Kong was the worst ever encountered, even beating Honolulu. Off the ship was easy but the Terminal processing was awful with long queues. The final line to get a taxi took at least 90 minutes and the whole process 2and 1/4 hours. AVOID any cruise terminating in HK. Tender processes looked long and tedious. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019

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