11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We were on the 15 night Far East Discovery cruise from Beijing to Hong Kong! SHIP - Brand new and very luxurious. The decor suits the Viking brand and the crowd that these ships attract. One never feels like there are 930 passengers ... Read More
We were on the 15 night Far East Discovery cruise from Beijing to Hong Kong! SHIP - Brand new and very luxurious. The decor suits the Viking brand and the crowd that these ships attract. One never feels like there are 930 passengers aboard. There is never a crowd anywhere. The longest line was when people are getting off the ship in the morning to catch buses for excursions. The 2nd longest line was at the ice cream counter in the World Cafe after lunch and dinner. (Ice cream is made fresh on board and the flavors change daily!) There are numerous sitting areas where you can go to be by yourself. The retractable roof above the main pool is a nice feature, but on some sea days the roof could not be opened due to weather or smoke from the ship's stack blowing back into the pool area. When the roof is closed, the pool area heats up and it becomes like a sauna and is almost too hot to lounge around the pool. The free launderette on every level is a great feature. Free soap is dispensed by pushing a button on the wall after starting a washing machine. I worked out on the stationary bike and washed my workout gear and did an additional load on every sea day. We only had to wait for a machine on one occasion and then for only 1/2 an hour. We had 20 ft swells for a couple of hours due to the remnants of typhoon Yutu and Viking Orion handled them very well. But, we were in the middle of the ship, so we did not feel the up and down movement that those in the very forward and aft cabins must have felt. Lots of people used the 1/4 mile walking track on level 2. Passengers are mostly retired folks from the US, UK and Canada. CABIN - Every cabin is bigger than average for a cruise ship and has its own balcony. The smallest cabins have 270 sq ft and this is the size of the majority of the cabins on the ship. We found that we had plenty of space. Closet space is well laid out and the bathroom is very spacious. Showers are plenty big enough for the average sized person. DINING - Food is excellent and there is plenty of it. Reservations are required at Manfredi's and The Chef's Table. Manfredi's is the Italian restaurant on board and it has excellent pasta and steaks. The Chef's Table has a set menu with smaller portions and the menu changes every few nights. Often after excursions, people are too tired to get dressed up, so If you don't have a reservation at either, just show up and ask if they have an available table and you will probably get seated. It helps if you are willing to share a table with others. We found some of the offerings in the Chef's Table to be a little strange for our taste. The Restaurant does not require a reservation and has great food, also. All of the above are supposed to be evening casual, but I did see a couple of people with blue jeans and one lady in tights. While a few gentleman had jackets and ties on, the vast majority did not. I brought a sports jacket and wore it only once. The World Cafe is the on board casual buffet and there is poolside dining that consists of hamburgers, hot dogs, salads, etc. We used the included room service when we had an early excursion and on sea days before going to the spa to workout. Room service always arrived within 5 minutes of the requested time.There is afternoon tea around the pool, but we were either busy or never had an appetite at the time it was offered. ENTERTAINMENT - We only attended 1 lecture on China, but it was excellent. People that we spoke to who attended other talks said they were all very good. There were two persons on board who gave lectures on Asian/Chinese culture and history and one person who was giving scientific talks. There was a Haloween party around the pool and the band played till 10 PM. A magician was on board and gave 2 really good shows. He was as much a comedian as a magician. The band and vocalists did a Beatles/Abba tribute one night. SERVICE - Every person on board the ship bends over backwards to meet all needs of the passengers.The entire crew has a smile on their face almost always. The rooms are cleaned top to bottom twice daily. PORTS - The ports that are visited are basically the ones where China has opened a cruise terminal that Viking Orion can get into. All of the cities are interesting and have their own offerings. We had to skip the Japanese islands of Okinawa and Ishigaki due to typhoon Yutu, so we had an extra sea day and an extra day in Hong Kong. Due to missing two ports, Viking gave us an on board credit while on the cruise of $150 per passenger and a $250 credit per passenger on all future Viking ocean or river cruises. The port talks were very informative. EXCURSIONS - This is where the disappointment is. While in China, be ready to visit a temple, a garden and a market in every city. The guides in Qingdao and Xiamen could barely speak English. They could answer only the simplest of questions. They had memorized a script and could really not offer much else. They are all very young and most of them tried very hard, but their inexperience at controlling a group and lack of language skills made it very difficult for them and frustrating for the people on the excursions. After the excellent guides we had on a Scenic Danube river cruise the previous year, this was a great disappointment. However, due to Hong Kong's association with England, the guides in Hong Kong were more mature and they spoke fluent English. Most of the included excursions had a market as one of the stops. There was NEVER enough time included in the schedule to really see these markets. In Xiamen, there is a pedestrian shopping area that we were only given 20 minutes to visit. It had hundreds of shops and stalls. I think the included excursions with market stops should be extended by an hour each to give passengers more time if they desire. On two excursions, meals were provided. On the included Great Wall excursion, the meal was in a hotel exhibition hall and was very 2nd rate. On the last night in Hong Kong, the meal was in a restaurant in a large shopping mall and again the food and service was only 2nd rate. The Peking duck was fatty and all our table got was pieces of skin. Both meals were similar to a cheap Chinese restaurant in the states. In Hong Kong, we were each allowed only 1 glass of wine or 1 beer or 1 soft drink with the meal. Not what you would expect on a 'luxury' cruise. BUSINESS DEALINGS - When we called to inquire about the cruise, the telephone sales rep informed us that since the port terminal in Dalian was not ready, Dalian had been removed from the itinerary and we would get a $150 on board credit per passenger due to this. After booking and receiving an email from Viking with our booking info, we logged into MyVikingJourney web site and immediately we got an alert telling us about the Dalian situation and again promising $150 on board credits. After we were on the ship for one week, the $150 credits had not shown up on our account, so I visited Guest Services and the young lady stated to me that since Dalian had been taken off the itinerary before we booked, we were not eligible for the credits. I informed her that we SHOULD get the credits since the sales rep had promised it to us AND we got an alert on MyVikingJourney that confirmed what he had said. It was apparent that she wanted me to just go away, but I stood my ground until she said she would look into the matter. A day later the credits did show up on our on board account, so I did not have to make a 2nd visit to guest services. Although this is advertised as a Beijing to Hong Kong trip, you won't see Beijing unless you do the extension. Upon arrival at Beijing airport, there is a 3 hour drive straight to the cruise ship terminal, which is actually in Tianjin. You never go into Beijing itself. We would definitely do another Viking ocean cruise. This was our first luxury cruise and I don't think the on board experience could be any better. I can only guess that the poor quality of the excursions is due to 1) Chinese ports just being opened up to western cruise lines, 2) these are the initial visits to these ports for Viking, and 3) experienced tour guides are non-existent since in most cities, only the youngest Chinese speak any English at all. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We specifically chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We were expecting a wonderful experience but from the first night on board our expectations which started very high soon went downhill fast. I was in the middle of cleaning my ... Read More
We specifically chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We were expecting a wonderful experience but from the first night on board our expectations which started very high soon went downhill fast. I was in the middle of cleaning my teeth when the water went off, no prior warning, it just stopped! After about 10 minutes it eventually came back but it was not clear and looked like coffee. I left the water running but it continued to be coffee coloured so eventually gave up and used the bottled water left in the room. Now this has happened in the past on other ships but usually a notification that the water is going to be turned off at a certain time is given. Just glad I was not in the shower! I pulled the plug from the sink and the water came flooding out from the drain hole in the bathroom floor, this happened on quite a few occasions. The ship broke down twice on the voyage but we did only miss one port of call due to being unable to tender. Our cabin (or stateroom) was very comfortable and we did spend a lot of time in our cabin but the loungers on the balcony were very old and broken and not what I would have expected from this cruise line. Once you start to look around you get the impression that money is not being spent on updating certain items like the loungers on deck, these were in desperate need of replacement and what you would find in a 2* hotel in Spain not a luxury cruise line. The food in the Grand Dining room was also disappointing. The appetiser, soup and dessert usually were ok but the main course never seemed to come as you would expect and if you were vegetarian, the choice was very limited and sometimes absolutely disgraceful, even the waiter said “I would not recommend that you have the vegetarian option”! The ship never arrived in port on time which meant that time ashore was shortened and on one occasion we lost three hours from our day ashore. The shore excursions were not always that good and were very, very expensive. The entertainment is very repetitive, there were not enough guest speakers, we had two, one absolutely brilliant but the other one was a bit boring. All in all if it was not for the very friendly and helpful staff which made our experience bearable we might have jumped ship early. I could say more but I think you get the picture that we were very disappointed and I do not think we were the only ones. A comment made from a lady due to embark the ship at the last port of call was to look around the shops “if it keeps me from having to get on board that ship”! We have no intention of going with this cruise line again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
This was our 3rd cruise on the Spirit. The first was for an anniversary 10 years ago - October 2006. We have made Oct 2016-Oct 2017 and anniversary year. The cruise was from Hong Kong to Beijing with stops in Japan and Korea. We ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise on the Spirit. The first was for an anniversary 10 years ago - October 2006. We have made Oct 2016-Oct 2017 and anniversary year. The cruise was from Hong Kong to Beijing with stops in Japan and Korea. We had booked our own Air to Hong Kong but had problems finding a reasonable Business Class fare for the return. We checked with Regent and they were able to come up with a great fare and a much better routing then we were able to find. As we had booked a post cruise tour in Beijing Regent supplied the transfers to the airport on our day of departure. My preference has been to handle our air arrangements but this experience will have me checking with the cruise line for their airfares and schedules. Although , like many people who have cruised on Regent before its sales, the ship and the service is not quite like on our first cruise. However, Regent is still a 5 star cruise line with excellent service. Embarking or debarking in Hong Kong is an experience like no other. The cruise ship terminal is connected to a very, very upscale mall (Harbor Mall). You can not board or leave the ship without going through this mall. Keep hold of you wallets as the stores are extremely expensive. Keep in mind that this is a small ship - about 640 passengers, so getting around the ship, disembarking and accessing the dining venues about is fairly easy. From overheard conversations plus our own experience, the excursions were enjoyed by most of those who went. Regent, like many cruise lines, indicates the fitness level for each excursion. Note however that in some cases these were incorrect. One stop had many steps which made it difficult for a number of those with mobility issues. The had difficulty or could not manage the steps. This is not necessarily the fault of Regent, but those with mobility problems should keep in mind that they mnay have unexpected problems. One friend, on another cruise, was ashore with his walker and broke a wheel on the cobble stone street he was walking on. He had to purchase a new walker as no one had a replacement wheel. Excursions are included in Regent's rates. Note: we did not make use of the fitness center. If one includes the daily Trivia contest as recreation, the it was better then the listing below. this site should allow for a N/A-Not applicable One thing that is important to my wife is a bathtub. All of the ships accept the recently launched Muse have tubs. Looks like we will not be sailing on the Muse. We have sailed with Regent a number of times and itinerary permitting, will do so again. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We did the Beijing to Hong Kong cruise. Absolute chaos at the start when our ship could not dock in Tianjin and some 600 passengers had arrived at the port. There was no one from the shipping company or the port authority who could tell us ... Read More
We did the Beijing to Hong Kong cruise. Absolute chaos at the start when our ship could not dock in Tianjin and some 600 passengers had arrived at the port. There was no one from the shipping company or the port authority who could tell us what was going on. Had we been able to have some communication explaining that fog had delayed the docking of the vessel and we would board the following morning it would have made the situation much better. Food on board was excellent, the wait staff were outstanding and nothing was too much bother, As we were in cooler climes we were confined to indoors, with the exception of one sunny morning. Do not travel on this cruise ship if you are looking for great entertainment. Singers and dancers number four, the magician and the comedian we had were sub-standard. We chose a cabin without balcony as we knew that we would not be able to sit outside because of the cooler weather. Our cabin, although small had adequate storage for all our belongings. Cabins were clean and no shortage of towels. With two days before disembarkation my wife had a persistent cough. She went to the medical facility saw the nurse and doctor. In the opinion of two doctor friends of ours on board she was over-serviced, with totally unnecessary tests and unnecessary medication. In fact some of the medication was contra-indicated for her diabetes. Total cost USD$1781. We felt ripped off. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
The entire Roof of the World tour included a land package that started in Beijing, then we flew to Xian, Lhasa Tibet, and Chongqing, where we boarded the Viking Emerald and sailed down the Yangtze River to Wuhan; then flew to Shanghai, ... Read More
The entire Roof of the World tour included a land package that started in Beijing, then we flew to Xian, Lhasa Tibet, and Chongqing, where we boarded the Viking Emerald and sailed down the Yangtze River to Wuhan; then flew to Shanghai, where the main tour ended (but we also took the post-extension tour to Guilin and Hong Kong). I will not give a full review of the entire trip, as this posting is primarily about the 'cruise' portion, but for more details on the rest of the trip, I recommend you read the review by terran_explr, 'Perfect way to visit China', although that trip (Imperial Jewels of China) did not include Tibet. I will also note to you that if you take the tour the first week in October, be prepared for massive crowds at all the tourist spots, because this is their national holiday week, and the Chinese are also on vacation! First, I will say that the tour escorts Viking provides are first rate. And our guide, Arnold, was the best of the best! You will be very lucky, indeed, if you get him for your tour. And I must also say that all the hotels we stayed at were first rate (4/5 stars). We stayed at a couple of Fairmont Hotels and the rest were Shangri-La Hotels; all were fabulous and luxuriously appointed. Dining in the hotels was usually buffet style, so lots of choices, and good food. Other restaurants during the day's tours were sometimes 'uneven' in quality; most just okay. Although I will say that the restaurant we went to for Peking Duck was exceptionally good! I found the Viking Emerald to be a lovely ship (yes, it is actually owned by a Chinese company, Century, and leased by Viking...just part of doing business in China, I guess). But the ship itself is in very good condition, especially compared to some other tourist ships there, I've heard. We had no problems with anything not functioning the way it should, except the loudspeaker system was not always very clear, and the wifi was very uneven or absent. But our room (Veranda A428) was lovely and well kept, as were all the public areas. The restaurant was part buffet, part table service. Seating was completely open, which was a very nice option, in that you could join a new group of people, or meet up with friends, at any table at each meal. Food was quite good, too, and they would always offer the usual 'western' items, as well as featuring specialties from whatever area in China you were at for the day. And they were always very generous with beer and wine at lunch and dinner (included)! There were also gift shops for jewelry, jade, art, tea, and silks onboard. There was a modest library, gym and salon/spa, internet room and coffee (& other refreshments) station. There were also 2 bars/lounges, and open deck area on the top deck. Programs and entertainment shows were presented in the lounges. The ship is usually in port during the day, when shore excursions are underway. I will say that one of our favorites was the trip up the Goddess Stream area...wild and beautiful scenery! The tour of the Wu Dam was also very impressive. Some parts of the Yangtze are quite scenic, although we were sad to see so much trash and pollution in the water, especially above the dam. Hopefully the government (?) will try to address this, as it will impact the tourist trade, if it gets too bad. Onboard, there is always something to do, even when not in port...I learned how to play Chinese mahjong and make Chinese dumplings! There are also several programs offered on Chinese history and customs, etc. But I will also say that there is time to relax and take a nap, just visit with friends, or have a facial, if you like. The land portion of this trip is so filled with so many things to see and do, that by the time you get on board the ship, you're ready to slow down and catch your breathe. And the cruise down the river is like having a vacation from your vacation! I quite enjoyed it. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
Our whole Viking Experience was first cl ass. Starting in Beijing and ending in Hon Kong our guide Patrick was with us every step of the way. The wonderful knowledge he had made our China experience very memorable and fun. The shore ... Read More
Our whole Viking Experience was first cl ass. Starting in Beijing and ending in Hon Kong our guide Patrick was with us every step of the way. The wonderful knowledge he had made our China experience very memorable and fun. The shore excursions were well organized. Our cabin on board was great except for the couple of cockroaches but staff were quick to take care of them. Meals were wonderful as well as the on board staff. Everyone made us feel cared for and we became very good friends with the people in our group. Entertainment by the staff was well appreciated by us and we admire the young men and women who put so much into their routines as well as work all day at their various jobs. We would definitely recommend Viking to our family and friends. In fact we are taking your Viking River Cruise in September 2016 , from Budapest to Amsterdam. Looking forward to it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
We just spent 10 nights aboard the Crystal Symphony. We have traveled on Disney, Celebrity, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian so we have a lot to compare Crystal to. After experiencing the high level of service and great food it will ... Read More
We just spent 10 nights aboard the Crystal Symphony. We have traveled on Disney, Celebrity, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian so we have a lot to compare Crystal to. After experiencing the high level of service and great food it will be hard to go back to any other line. It started at check in, swift, easy and no line, NO HASSLES. The Symphony strikes a nice balance between size and intimacy, just right, with immaculate public areas and nice lounges. Our balcony room was as expected size wise with a WAY above average sized balcony. Food was 5 star, I do not equate a lot with great, just because you can eat all day does't make it great, Crystal's food was great. Only little complaints were I would have liked to see consistent items on the appetizer menu, like shrimp cocktail. The buffet hours were somewhat constrained, IE lunch from 12-2. Service was OUTSTANDING, servers asked your name on the first day and remembered them, not just some servers, MOST servers did! They couldn't help enough. It is so nice being all inclusive and not having to dig out your cruise card every time you want something. Yes you do pay for it up front as Crystal is not cheap, but you definitely get what you pay for. Crystal is not for kids as the ships have kids rooms but I doubt would have enough to keep most kids happy, if you want a rock wall better look elsewhere. Great experience overall!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
First Crystal cruise. Relevant previous cruises 21 days on Regent. Beijing to Hong Kong. This might be my favorite cruise. Never a wait for anything on board. OK, Regent cabins are 300sf and Crystal Sympony 200 sf, both plus balcony, ... Read More
First Crystal cruise. Relevant previous cruises 21 days on Regent. Beijing to Hong Kong. This might be my favorite cruise. Never a wait for anything on board. OK, Regent cabins are 300sf and Crystal Sympony 200 sf, both plus balcony, but otherwise Crystal gets the nod, for service, especially drink service, and a bit better food. Service great for both. I really prefered the main dining room, no advantage to the (fake) Italian restaurant, Prego. Waiter mispronounced "limone." Regarding food, seafood on board arrives frozen, like on all ships. Salmon and lobster tails survive freezing well. Whole lobster, and crab legs, not so much, IMHO. Entertainment was pretty good. Nice that the lead singer/dancer was seasoned and not just another kid. So cabin was bit cramped but the ship was first class in great shape, and we would cruise on Crystal (which recently changed hands) again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
Just got back from our curise on Nautica, it is always the best in yachting one can experience. You feel like you are at your home away from home. We are been on serveral cruises with Oceania on Nautica. The service is always top ... Read More
Just got back from our curise on Nautica, it is always the best in yachting one can experience. You feel like you are at your home away from home. We are been on serveral cruises with Oceania on Nautica. The service is always top notch!!! The food is amazing and never disappoints especially Polo and Toscana. We have always taken the private tours which are also wonderful with the most amazing guides/drivers. We love this ship so much while on board we booked another cruise with them. We have tried other cruise lines and always come back to Oceania!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
This was a first class tour of China. I would rate the 4 hotels we stayed in as 5 star. The Viking Emerald was modern and well maintained. The food on board was excellent. We had one guide who accompanied our group of 30 during the entire ... Read More
This was a first class tour of China. I would rate the 4 hotels we stayed in as 5 star. The Viking Emerald was modern and well maintained. The food on board was excellent. We had one guide who accompanied our group of 30 during the entire trip (she was excellent) and local guides joined us at each new city (they were very good and had expert knowledge of the local area). The entire trip was interesting and Tibet was most unusual and enjoyable. We had a wonderful time. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2014
There are two deal breakers for Crystal. The first is the fixed dining times. They do offer dining by reservation but we found this a rather annoying fudge. We threw our toys out the pram the first night as we not only were allocated a ... Read More
There are two deal breakers for Crystal. The first is the fixed dining times. They do offer dining by reservation but we found this a rather annoying fudge. We threw our toys out the pram the first night as we not only were allocated a table in the central area which meant that during the transition between main and late dining we were in the centre of a whirlwind of table set ups but to add insult to injury there were loads of empty window seats. We were initially denied but after further moans were allocated a nice (we suspect the ‘naughty’) table for the remainder of the cruise. This was with conditions that meant it really wasn’t dining by reservation and guessing if the ship was full it might not have been attainable. No matter what a 7.30 dining time which would be our preference did not work as the atmosphere due to the changeover was weird. The second is that in order to achieve a similar space and standard of stateroom as I would have in a veranda suite with Silversea or Seabourn I had to pay for a Penthouse – lovely but way more expensive per square foot. The normal room seemed very cramped by comparison (we looked). Because of the fixed dining times the bar areas are empty and too large for the ship – particularly for pre dinner drinks (arguably at times Seabourn’s and Silversea’s are too small!). This (coupled with fixed dining times and tables) means spontaneous social interaction is tricky. We are quite social but don’t like to be forced and are happy in our own company. An ideal cruise for us is 4/5 evenings as two, 3/4 with another couple and 1 or 2 nights at a large table. This would be hard to manage on Crystal but so easy on the other two. Where Crystal won out over all our other cruises was on the food which was pretty much universally excellent. In fact in all honesty the best we have had. The butler service on the Penthouse deck was exceptional and charming – thank you Sebastian for lending great character to our holiday and enhancing everything you could. The Trident Grill indoor / outdoor space is also a great facility and if this could be added to Seabourn ships would make IMHO the perfect cruise liner! The Silk Road restaurant would be exceptional on land. There were a few children on this trip. They were very charming but the fact of the matter is they were there. Some were quite young - toddlers. We have not found this with Seabourn. The Kids' Club is next to the Palm Court so sitting with a post dinner drink one night was like being next to a school yard. Bad location if it is going to be used in the evening. Hard to give the entertainment a star rating as some was excellent and some not so. The show 'Diva' was great, the show 'Maestro' was dire. The cruise itself was a good balance. Dalian was a great start – possibly due to it being a gorgeous day and so unexpected. Shanghai rocked and having three days meant you felt you had actually given some time to this absolutely amazing city. We did Xian and Beijing before joining the cruise so weren’t under any pressure to tick more boxes and I would recommend this. Seeing Japan from a cruise ship is possibly not the best way but we stayed on afterwards so were able to dispel the industrial edges of the islands with some of the more pastoral parts (and the amazing bullet train). Good cruise and would definitely go with Crystal again but only if it offers an itinerary or timing where Seabourn wouldn’t work.   Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2014
My wife and I just completed your Ode To The Emperors cruise 3/10 to 3/31 on the Nautica. Cabin 4049. We have taken earlier cruises with Oceania and Nautica which were great experiences. Needless to say the disappointments on this 3 week ... Read More
My wife and I just completed your Ode To The Emperors cruise 3/10 to 3/31 on the Nautica. Cabin 4049. We have taken earlier cruises with Oceania and Nautica which were great experiences. Needless to say the disappointments on this 3 week cruise needed to be addressed as we are not sure all the problems were documented by the crew and staff. I don’t mean this letter to be picky as we all know everything doesn’t go right all the time but when the problems repeat themselves they need to be addressed. I’m sure your aware we boarded the Nautica with a note on our bed that the ship had docked with a major case of N. virus on board. This problem was spread through out the ship for the first 10 days. For sure you did not plan this but knowing this at time of sailing made the experience very uncomfortable. However, the condition of the room could be avoided. Many of the doors on the closets were falling off their hinges and generally a very tired room. (the fact that you were going to refurbish the Nautica after our cruise did not make it right.) One of the best things Oceania does (till now) is give their guests a wine and dining experience to be proud of. On this cruise something happened that again you must be aware of as many of the guests had similar experiences. It started off with the first days (re Virus) where a decision was made ,(and guests were not advised) to over cook all food. Rather than remove some items from the menu that should not be over cooked we order Aahi Tuna in Polo and was served well done Tuna. All the meals that were bad I documented with your head of restaurant services Morresimo. At least a third of the dinners we had warranted comments to the chief. Example sliced duck so badly prepared you could not cut it with a knife. I called the chief out of the kitchen to slice the duck , he could not, picked up the dish and left. Grizzly steak and pork chops so bad I had to remove food from my mouth and put on my plate. How embarrassing with other guests at the table. To be sure the staff was very apologetic and tried to correct the situation but in most cases they made it worse. Example there was Coq Au Vin on the menu one evening (I love Coq Au Vin) so I convinced all the guests at our shared table to order it. The dish was served room temperature. I call the head waiter over explained the problem , he apologized took all the servings back to the kitchen , returned with a new order in very hot dishes but alas the food was still room temperature. Rack of lamb turned out to be 2 baby chops not a reasonable serving. I think I’ve made my point cold food bad preparation etc. Just a word about your tours. Example highlights of Nagasaki $135 a person turned out to be a bus ride to the peace park (15 minutes) 2 hours their and back to the ship. What highlights? Tours over priced surly leaves a bad taste. In closing, the sailing was nice (captain knew his way) ports of call get thumbs up. Staff adequate, earlier cruises we thought seemed better trained. We have cruised enough to know a difference and surely Oceania has their opinion as well. If you think we are much to picky for Oceania we would like know that as well. Hope there will be a next time.   Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2013
We started a our cruise in Beijing.China. Not a good start the night before when Regent was hosting our free night in the Peninsula Hotel Beijing with a social dinner in a special room where we could meet other guest s who would be ... Read More
We started a our cruise in Beijing.China. Not a good start the night before when Regent was hosting our free night in the Peninsula Hotel Beijing with a social dinner in a special room where we could meet other guest s who would be travelling with. Well, No Host from the ship turned up !!! Food was like a sub par meal you could get in a bad restaurant!!! Next we get on ship which was fine, suites always comfortable and clean and service there second to none. Staff wonderful. Restaurants on ship overall very disappointing . standard of food not good, when I spoke to the chef, was told that Head Office dictate the quality of food, steaks on the ship were uneatable sent back to the kitchen many times. Know for a fact, was not the best of quality having been in the Restaurant Business many years before. Fish was always overcooked, had to make sure they knew what to ask for when we wanted anything in the dining rooms!!!. Service in restaurants had been cut back staff had too many tables to cope with. Very often we had to wait 10/15 minutes to remove our dinner plates, we ended up walking out of the restaurants. We found having travelled before on both the sister ships that after they were sold, standards dropped and now after hearing the CEO of the company all they are looking for is the bottom line= meaning money money money. They do not care for the discerning traveller. how sad.!!!! We were on the ship for 78 nights.Think again about making a long travels with this line. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2009
Azamara Quest Asia - Feb 14 - 28, 2009 Full Disclosure: This was the worst travel experience of my life. I've sailed with RCCL and Celebrity 11 times before this, my first trip on Azamara.  I heard from many fellow passengers on ... Read More
Azamara Quest Asia - Feb 14 - 28, 2009 Full Disclosure: This was the worst travel experience of my life. I've sailed with RCCL and Celebrity 11 times before this, my first trip on Azamara.  I heard from many fellow passengers on the Quest that they'd had excellent experiences on the Azamara Journey. I have personally been on all four M-class Celebrity ships and several RCCL ships, and will continue to cruise with them, based on good to great experiences on all of them. I am soured on the ship, not on the brand. Air-Sea Arrangements: Air-sea arrangements (roundtrip air and an included night in Beijing) were included in my cruise fare. Things went wrong from the very beginning. My first flight was cancelled (mechanical failure before boarding), and I confirmed new arrangements with the emergency number provided in my cruise documents. Even though I would arrive a day late, I was assured by their staff that I would get there in time to join the ship and that I would be met and escorted in plenty of time. When I arrived in Beijing, there was no one to meet me.  I started to look through and call the emergency numbers in my cruise documents.  Out of five "emergency" numbers provided in my cruise documents, I found that two were closed until the next business day (Monday - 48 hours away). Two didn't work at all. One worked, and (calling from the airport on my AmEx card) cost me $17 each. For the one number that worked, the first call said they'd be there; the second call said that I was on my own. After the third call, they picked me up, put me up overnight at the Shangri-La hotel, and put me on the flight the next morning to the ship's next stop, Dalian. The young lady handled ticketing, luggage and escorted me all the way to security to be sure I got to the next stop without incident. I felt well taken care of on my way out of Beijing. However, on arrival in Dalian, there was, AGAIN, no one there to meet me. (Did I mention how inadequate shoreside support was?) After getting some attention from Chinese security officers, and help from my Beijing contact, I arranged (and paid for) a taxi to a local hotel where the ship's local agent took care of getting me to the ship. On arrival at the ship, I was told the key-making machine was down, and I'd need to wait in the lobby until they could let me in my room. So, after more than 3 days in transit, my welcome on the Quest was a young women at the guest services desk who offered no sympathy, no key, and made clear I was a hassle. After a half hour, I insisted on being let into my room by whoever else on board might have a key. While freshening up, the toilet seat split into two pieces. At that point I realized it was going to be a long couple of weeks. The Cabin: There's nothing special about the cabin. It's attractive, but every M-class ship has a similar layout and a bigger bathroom. The dark wood is nice, there is lots of storage, and the bed is comfortable. But, really, nothing special. On arrival I found that my stateroom hadn't been completely cleaned from the prior guest, even though the steward (oops = the butler) had an extra day. When unpacking I found small items from the previous occupant in three different places - bobby pins on the alarm clock, a map tucked in between the sofa cushions, and lotion on the shelf over the TV. If you have any illusions about a complete cleaning job, rid yourself of them now. The balcony was nice for the extra daylight but this was a cold weather cruise. There was a table and chairs outside that I never used. The flooring looked like basic vinyl, with coloring to look like ship's decking, and glue colored footprints to remind you of the installation crew. It didn't extend under the small divider between balconies, so get used to the look of plain or painted concrete between your balconies. Not my idea of "attention to detail." Temperature control is a problem. Reportedly, the ship got "chilled to the superstructure" from the luggage and provisions loading that happened in Beijing. It took three days for it to recover. As for the shower, approach it cautiously. Sometimes it took more than a minute to get up to operating temperature. Then, it would vary tremendously, from hot spikes to cold freezes. The number on the dial is NOT related to the experience you'll have in the shower. The towels are thick and thirsty, but about half of those delivered to my had obvious frayed edges, as though they had been around far too long and treated way too harshly  Fraying towels are not my idea of luxury. The Staff: I really enjoyed the ship staff and officers. The Captain is one of the most sociable, visible, and earnest officers I've met on any ship. This was my 24th cruise, and he's the first one I looked forward to hearing from at noon each day. He is so into ships, navigation and details of the ports. I found him charming and engaging. He is also honest. At the debarkation talk, he said this was the "hardest cruise of" his entire life. That was true for many of the guests as well. John, the cruise director, was great and really did everything he could to make sure we had a good time. There were lots of other folks - in the dining room, at the coffee shop, in the theater, who did everything they could to make the experience a good one. The guest lecturers, especially Jon Fleming (the port lecturer), were excellent. Guest Relations: An exception to the "great staff" comment would be guest relations and whoever handles guest communications. There's a sense of sloppiness in the documents and timing that was a clear pattern on the ship. The daily program arrived - sometimes when the room was madeup for the night, sometimes later. Even on day two, some of the times were wrong, so I showed up at the spa for session that wasn't going on at the time, even though it was in writing. Small forms - immigration papers for the next countries - arrived without clear instructions for what we should do with them, turn them in or hold onto them. Sometimes they arrived a day early, sometimes a day late. The Guest Relations supervisor (Denise) and the International Host (Andre) were very nice and accommodating. But their commitments for compensation (i.e. an upgrade on my next cruise) were rejected by the home office.  If you ever have someone offer you an upgrade or any compensation for a mess, be sure to get it in writing. Tours: The quality of tour guides was uneven. We were running a couple hours behind in Seoul, so that felt rushed, and the guide in Kyoto didn't have sufficient mastery of English to do a really good job. However, the guides in Shanghai and Hong Kong were superb. Worth every penny. The Ship: This was my first Azamara trip, and I was concerned that such a small ship (30,000 tons) might not be as comfortable as the much-larger M-Class ships. (I've done 6 cruises on M-class ships, so they're familiar.) The best surprise of the voyage was how stable the ship is. I don't know what the builders did, but in 8' seas and whitecaps, it was every bit as comfortable as 90,000 ton ships I've been on. Amazing. The main dining room served terrific food. I think the quality of the food and service declined slightly over the two week trip, but it's far superior to almost every other ship I've been on. It is a small ship, though. There aren't a lot of options for "where to go for drinks" or "where to meet before the show." To be honest, it's so small that each staircase holds one person at a time - no passing - and if you get four people standing in the elevator lobby chatting, you'll have to move them to get past.  It might be better for a warm weather itinerary, but for cold weather, there isn't enough space to feel uncrowded. It's also the most "unfriendly to singles" ship I've been on. I signed up on the belief that it was "single seating."  To me, that means single seating, like the grills on QM2, or Caronia class on the old QE2 - you have an assigned table and can show up whenever you like. In fact, it's "open seating" - which is the same as Freestyle Dining. There are 370 seats in the dining room, and 700 guests. No seating assignments, so on days when tours run late, there is a line to get into the dining room. And, there is no arrangement for sharing tables with others, except the good will of the maitre d'. Under Siege: Shortly after arrival, I heard the ship had an outbreak of G/I sickness (norovirus) on the prior trip, and that 70 passengers were affected. After getting home, I heard the numbers for our trip had gotten up to 170. I was one of them. For the entire voyage, the smell of bleach was everywhere. To the point where we became cautious about letting our clothing touch handrails, door handles, etc. Over the course of the two weeks, all the extras - that make a luxury trip a  luxury - were removed from service. No Captain's club party, no flowers in the room, no canapEs, no afternoon tea in the cabins. Somehow, they managed to keep the casino open during the whole trip, in spite of the obvious infection risk.  Overall: High marks for food, high marks for comfort onboard, but lower marks for everything else I care about on a cruise. I was very glad that it wasn't my only cruise of the year. Not recommended. Read Less

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