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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This is not our first cruise with Royal Carribean where we have always enjoyed the ships and staff but after our experience on this ship im sorry to say it could be our last. Is Royal Carribean putting quantity before quality in ... Read More
This is not our first cruise with Royal Carribean where we have always enjoyed the ships and staff but after our experience on this ship im sorry to say it could be our last. Is Royal Carribean putting quantity before quality in therecruises now? He food on this cruise was cold and un edible, we had to buy the specialists food packages to ensure a hot meal, well done jamie Olivers and Chops grill and the pub without you i wouldnt have had a hot meal. The embarking in Beijing port was utter chaos, no organisation or signage Our suitcase was ripped on delivery to our cabin but customer servce exelled in replacing it straight away The bed and sheets were perfect only little grip is why dont they put on USA size pillows insttead of silly little ones Library why is this in a entertainment venue where you couldnt read in peace, surely the library should be in a quiet room! No drink when you got back to port from excursions, and believe me we needed it, this has always happened on previous cruises. They did do this on the last two ports after my husband pointed this was not being done Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
I comment on this cruise knowing that my thoughts are comparable with many other travellers on this trip. We booked this through cruise1st which also included a pre cruise land tour of Xian and China. The tour proved to be extremely ... Read More
I comment on this cruise knowing that my thoughts are comparable with many other travellers on this trip. We booked this through cruise1st which also included a pre cruise land tour of Xian and China. The tour proved to be extremely tiring as it was non stop for five days so a poor embarkation was the last thing we wanted. The process was anything but enjoyable due to the massive queues and poor organisation. We produced all the required documents at the counter only to be told we needed 2 A4 copies of our passports. My fault as I had only one and they would not accept an A5 copy that I had. I didn’t understand either why we needed this as they already had been sent passport copies. This problem must have been foreseen as there were 2 copiers provided for the purpose of printing copies. So along with countless others who had no copies I joined the extremely long queue to collect another copy. This frustrating task was made even worst with people jumping the line, especially one very very rude German lady who refused to go to the back of the queue. I had quite a serious argument with her and imagine my horror when we were seated with her on our first nights dining and another subsequent 4 nights. The problem with the extra copies could have been easily avoided by having a simple printer at the check in desks. I know it could be avoided also if people read their documents carefully. Once onboard our cabin was ready had to wait for our luggage but no problem in that. We met our cabin attendant "Rolly" who was very pleasant and polite and kept our cabin in good order throughout the cruise. Our balcony cabin was up to RCs usual high standards very clean and tidy and plenty of storage space. I was pleased with options for plugs and the 2 USB charging points. All the service staff we came into contact with were extremely friendly and polite. The ship is well laid out with many dining, drinking options etc. One thing I did not like was the main promenade constantly filled with stalls selling overpriced bags, watches, perfumes, t-shirts etc. We were on Any Time dining which we prefer as we get to meet different people from other countries. exceptions of course with rude ladies from Germany. Always good options on the menu though some meals I had weren't too good but that was just down to me. Service was in the main very good but a few nights it was rather slow and we sometimes missed the start of the shows. The Windjammer was always packed and difficult to find a seat and very often the food was not hot. The Bistro is smaller and busy but not long to wait for a table. Less choice on the food but it was always of a good standard and hot. All the bars were busy but we never had to wait long to be served and the staff were always very pleasant. Some people thought the price of drinks was a bit expensive but I would put them no more expensive than a decent pub/ bar / restaurant back home. The robotic bar was a disappointment as when it mixed the drinks there was a bartender on hand to take the drinks in the back to finish off the process. I only watched and never tried after that. We didn’t do any ships tours as they are overpriced, too regimented and too restrictive. All the tours we did were organised privately in small groups and by far more fun and informative. The entertainment was a mixture of the good the bad and the ugly. Pixels which after superb reviews I had been looking forward to was not for me. Excellent production but just not my taste. There was an excellent band (whose name I have forgotten) that consisted of three females and a guy on the keyboard. They always had the crowd up and rocking and some of the ballads were up there with the best. We also had and INXS tribute band who were just superb. You wont find a better frontman and the lead guitarist is sensational, one of the best I have ever witnessed. The other guitarist wore a red leather suit and considering he wore it for 2 nights and he was very energetic I would not like to be the one peeling him out of that. An excellent show. The "Live Love Legs" show by RCs group was very good and RCs resident backing band / orchestra also very good but the headliner acts left a lot to be desired. The comedian was absolutely dismal. Now considering this to be an adult cruise and there were very few children onboard why did we have at the 9.30 show a guy doing tricks by blowing up and shaping balloons to distribute to a few kiddies in the audience. Another night we had a guy telling us the history of how he came to be a “yo-yo professional”. Apparently his father taught introduced him to this plaything. Questions need to be asked of the person who deemed it fit for this type of “performer” be employed to entertain adults who are on vacation. The North Star was an experience to try but not so exciting when at sea. Try to book your slot for a time in port maybe when leaving the port. I fly was very good, trainers superb at their job but time in the capsule was too short. Didn’t try the roller skating but the dodgems were good but then again only about 2 minutes in the car. We now come to guest services and never have I seen queues so long so often. For whatever reason people have to be there it was annoying to see half the desks empty with officers standing round chatting and another wiping down the desks. But the biggest annoyance for me was the misinformation I received, along with others, from members of guest services. When I researched the port of Naha on cruise critic I found that the ship was not docking at the cruise terminal but at the container terminal. My plan of walking to the tram station had to be changed due to the container terminal being too far out, but information on CC told me that taxis would be available. I asked 3 guest service personnel about the availability of taxis in the port. “ told me that they would be very limited and those few would be in great demand. The third person told me and I quote “ there will definitely be no taxis available and no-one would be allowed to leave the port unless they were on a scheduled RC tour bus or on the RC shuttle bus into the city centre. Based on this we along with many others booked the shuttle at $20 for a 12 minute ride into town (google maps). The cost was non refundable if not used. That very same night after the show ended the entertainment manager informed the audience that taxis would be available and the walk in to town was quite easy. The following morning there was an extremely long line of taxis and several people walking (4.7 kms, I hour ). Poor training, lack of knowledge, scare tactics to make people use the shuttle, bare faced lies take your pick. On one visit to guest services I enquired about a charge of $2 on our bill. I was told it was a bar bill. When I told the lady we had a drinks package she told me we were only allowed drinks up to $12. I questioned this but she then again told me $12 was the limit. So I accepted this but when I enquired at the next bar we visited the bartender told me $14 was the limit and that is how it turned out. Lies misinformation, poor training. Take your pick. Last day and disembarkation was a bit of a disaster and organized chaos. I say this with misgivings as the cause was tragic. During the night the ship had to turn back due to a medical emergency and unfortunately the poor person died. So our little problems fade into insignificance. None the less problems were caused for people who early flights etc. as we were 5 hours late getting into Singapore. Another cruise ship docking at the same time didn’t help matters. We were informed that the easiest and quickest way to disembark would be to carry off our own luggage. We were told that taxis would be scarce and along with the other cruise ship in dock the few taxis available would be in great demand. Shuttles would be available into the city for the bargain price of $29. Due to our experience in Naha we ignored this advice and along with 2 friends who agreed to keep our luggage in their hotel until our flight later that night we decided to take a taxi. We waited maybe 5 – 10 minutes for a $25 ride into the city. The actual disembarkation was chaotic. The point for getting off the ship was absolutely jam packed solid with people lugging their suitcases etc. some people with children, some older people and some people with wheel chairs. There should have been segregation for people with disabilities etc and also a dedicated point for people who had flights to catch. Instead it was just one mad crowd. We had one lady from guest services trying to do an impossible job of extricating these people from the crowds. While most people were understanding those at the front of the queue did not know what was happening so rows broke out with accusations of queue jumping and favouritism and insults thrown at the lone officer trying to keep people calm. Overall the cruise was excellent mainly due to the itinerary and the people we shared it with. Cabin staff, bar staff, serving staff etc were excellent. Guest services absolutely hopeless. For me the ship was too big and didn’t offer the same level of service and atmosphere of the smaller ships. Royal Caribbean is probably our favourite cruise operator but this one failed to live up to the very high standard we have had on our previous cruises with them. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We choose this cruise to see some of Japan. Booked via travel agent so flights, pre-cruse stay and transfers included. Embarkation smooth, in fact as we carried our own bags we walked on board within 15 mins of arrival at terminal. ... Read More
We choose this cruise to see some of Japan. Booked via travel agent so flights, pre-cruse stay and transfers included. Embarkation smooth, in fact as we carried our own bags we walked on board within 15 mins of arrival at terminal. Service on board excellent throughout staff from room stewards, dining room waiters & bar staff. Shame in my view that the changes made to ship to accommodate the Chinese guests made the on board experience disappointing. (We sailed on the inaugural Ovation cruise and so were able to appreciate all the changes made.) Dinning : the Windjammer was always jammed - announcements made in Cantonese & English asking guests to leave when they had finished eating.... we gave up ordered room service breakfast on port days, and just got specialty coffee from Windjammer. The four main dinning rooms all had the same frankly bizarre menus, featuring that British classic “green apple soup”. We ignoring our assigned dining reservation because when we arrived at 8.30 it was chaos, so we went at 9.00 usually with friends and sat together. Entertainment: the 270 shows were spectacular but seating assignments were ignored by some guests— I observed the staff trying their best to restore order. We didn’t go to the other show venues, as mainly had karaoke and marjon competitions. Ports & Shore excursions: We booked RCI excursions in each port to try and see as much as possible ..... not sure the were all good value, but very interesting. Other changes to the ship: looked like every available space on deck 5 had been filled with retail, and tabletop sales of tacky watches, bags and face packs! The casino space doubled in size, and number of bars reduced. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We are a family of 2 adults and 2 children (16 & 8). We have taken many, many cruises and have sailed on Royal Caribbean in the past, including a two week cruise from Sydney to the South Pacific the previous year on the Voyager. We ... Read More
We are a family of 2 adults and 2 children (16 & 8). We have taken many, many cruises and have sailed on Royal Caribbean in the past, including a two week cruise from Sydney to the South Pacific the previous year on the Voyager. We selected a Family Junior Suite (Rm #10204) which was the perfect size for us. It was also less expensive then two connecting balcony rooms. A major plus was the extra half bathroom, especially when you are travelling with three females 555 ! The room was very modern, spacious, large ocean-view balcony, lots and lots of closets and storage space, and finally a room with lots of electrical outlets for charging our mobile devices. There was a over sized King bed and a Queen size sofa bed for the children. Even with the sofa bed fully extended the entire trip, the room still had lots of space to move around. Pluses about this cruise; excellent entertainment & Broadway style production shows (2), friendly staff, great service, modern decor, very good children programs - wave rider, rock climbing, zero gravity dome, bumper cars, sky crane, multi-purpose court - all free, nice pools & water park with slides. The internet and WiFi coverage was very good and stable the entire cruise. Before I get into the negatives, I should explain some background information. The Ovation is based 6 months of the year in Australia and 6 months in Asia with Beijing being its home port. There were over 5,000 passengers on this cruise, 4,500 + of which were from the country of the new home port city. The remaining passengers were mostly Western. During the 6 months the ship is based in Asia, the ship is totally revamped to accommodate the majority of its Asian guests. Negatives; Both in the 4 main dining rooms and the international buffet restaurant, there was only one main Western item on the menu each lunch and dinner. The vast majority was always Asian food. The non-Western guests lack manners and knowledge of proper travel etiquette. They were constantly pushing and cutting in lines, over loading the lifts, shouting for normal conversation, letting their children run around the main dining room and theater like it was a playground and basically disregarding most posted regulations (both in English and Mandarin) such as no eating areas, no smoking, no running, etc. Finding seating for 4 people in the buffet was next to impossible unless you went at an odd hour. Then you had to protect your table from chairs being taken away or your food being removed by other guests. Everyone at the table had to eat in shifts. God help you if you were anywhere near the section when fresh whole fruit was put out. It was like a swarm of locust descending on the area. We ate most of our dinner meals in specialty restaurants which were much more pleasant. The casino has mostly Asian card and table games. Smoking was allowed, so the atmosphere was pretty dense. No Bingo offered on the ship, even though there were 4 sea days. The lines to get on and off the ship were extremely long (hours). Luckily we had priority boarding and disembarkation with our room category. If you had cruised before, you would be highly disappointed over the meal situation. I do not think many of the Western guests onboard found the cruise enjoyable. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
My wife and I traveled on the Quantum of the Seas leaving Beijing and arriving at Shanghai during November, 2015. We are both experienced cruisers but first time guests on Royal Caribbean After a wonderful 3 day cultural experience in ... Read More
My wife and I traveled on the Quantum of the Seas leaving Beijing and arriving at Shanghai during November, 2015. We are both experienced cruisers but first time guests on Royal Caribbean After a wonderful 3 day cultural experience in Beijing, we were driven to Tianjin to begin our adventure at sea. Embarkation - 4500 guests made the check in challenging to say the least. The process was less than organized and language barriers only compounded the problem (90% of the guests were from China according to the Hotel Manager). The whole process seemed a bit improved since earlier reports but still not as smooth as other ports. The Ship - The Quantum of the Seas is the most beautiful cruise ship we have sailed on. The decor is elegant, the public areas very well maintained. Some of the artwork is a bit puzzling including the huge "Hope and Pray" sign which doesn't inspire warm thoughts for vacation bound passengers. There are two banks of glass elevators one toward the front and one toward the back - each bank has 12 or so elevators which move passengers around much faster than any other ship I have seen. Pool areas on the 15th floor front to back include an adult solarium, a large covered pool area, and the uncovered main pool midship. Despite the cool weather (it was snowing in Beijing), the covered pool area and toasty solarium were never full (even the 270 lounge, the Quantum’s living room away from home and host to the Starwater show was never full). Toward the back is the Seaplex area which is basically a big two story gymnasium that is used for multiple activities. At the rear is the Flowrider surfing simulator and the iFly skydiving simulator. While the sheer size of the ship makes long walks common (our cabin was at the very back), corridors appear wider than most other ships. Activities - The Quantum has some of the most enjoyable and unusual things to do on the sea. The giant Seaplex converts from sports activity sessions (basketball, volleyball, and soccer), to bumper cars and roller skating at designated times. The Seaplex also has areas for video games, air hockey, table tennis and other fun events. Outside the Seaplex is the iFly skydiving simulator - a lot of fun, but cruisers need to make free reservations well in advance of the sailing as there are more people trying to fly then there are spaces available. Next to the iFly is the Flow Rider surfing simulator. In a November Asia cruise the weather was mostly in the 50s which dissuaded most passengers from trying the Flow Rider. This is a bonus to cruisers like myself that got time on the Flow Rider without having to rotate with many other guests. The fitness center is large and well equipped but very under utilized during my cruise. The Quantum's running track is the best place to run on the seas wide without choke points and 2.91 laps per mile. The daily schedule was unique to Asia - no Bingo, limited activities requiring much talking - most of the trivia contests were in English and had very sparse turn out. The casino was quite busy with the mix of games strongly favoring Asian preferences - lots of Baccarat, little 21. The Northstar observation dome has plenty of availability - reservations can be made for time slots. We jumped on the Northstar during our initial stroll across the ship and did it one more time when we were at sea. Shopping seems to be a very popular activity on the Quantum – in the Royal Promanade, many high end shops showcase luxury goods. Presumably, they are in such demand that your typical “gift shop” selling sundries and Royal Caribbean logo items does not exist. Frequently, the promenade hosts sales which attracted large mobs of shoppers like a Black Friday event. Entertainment - The Quantum Production cast put on two of the best shows I have seen on the seas - Sequins & Feathers and Star Water. Aided by very sophisticated AV and stage effects in the venues, the shows are spectacular and appeal to all languages. The nightclub music performances were less numerous than other cruises I have been on and obviously comedy was non-existent. Despite the huge population of Chinese cruisers, I felt you always knew this was an American cruise ship and the entertainment appealed to Americans. Dining - The big challenge for this cruise ship. First, the specialty restaurants (we ate at Chops twice and Jamie Oliver's once) are great....and empty. Whether it was because of the surcharges or the lack of Chinese selections at specialty restaurants, they were not utilized. You could walk in anytime. The Chops manager went as far as to tell us it is a big challenge for the Quantum - nobody is in the specialty restaurants putting pressure on the "free" dining areas. Second, the buffet is always busy. Windjammer's, Quantum's buffet, is actually very well designed with multiple food stations spread apart and lots of duplication of dishes. Even during busy periods, it wasn't hard to get the food. Finding a place to eat your food was another story - it was pretty incredible to see virtually every seat taken during buffet hours. Maybe 1/3 of the dishes were Asian inspired, but the buffet always had the cruise staples - salad bar, fruit, carving station, dessert bar... Third, the main complementary dining restaurants (Silk, American Icon, Chic and Grande went to a two seating plan - 5:30 pm and 8 pm. You have to be "lined up" (I use the term loosely as lines were more like big mobs) before 6 and 8:30 pm in order to be seated. Here is where you need patience! Each restaurant has their typical menu, and each night there is an additional 6 or so Chinese selections which are available at each restaurant. I had a baby back ribs entree one night at American Icon - the flavor wasn't bad but the meet was very tough. At Chic I had the Prime Rib which was just disappointing. Whether it is the challenge of having the extra Chinese menu, or sourcing food from Asia, dining was not a strong point for this cruise. Crew – despite the challenges of an almost exclusive Manderin speaking sailing, the Quantum’s crew does an excellent job providing great service and a friendly atmosphere. They readily engage English speaking guests in conversation and work very hard to provide great service. The Quantum is an amazing ship and we look forward to future cruises on its sister ships. Like many other reviewers, we would not recommend flying to China for the cruise which gives one quite a cultural experience that we missed during our stay in Beijing. On the other hand, an opportunity to visit some of Beijing’s treasures makes this RCL cruise unique. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
Firstly we are very seasoned cruisers and usually do not make comments on cruises however we found this cruise as being run mainly for a specific market which left it lacking. The trip to Tianjin from Beijing was organised by our travel ... Read More
Firstly we are very seasoned cruisers and usually do not make comments on cruises however we found this cruise as being run mainly for a specific market which left it lacking. The trip to Tianjin from Beijing was organised by our travel agent and was a joke with insufficient buses for the number of passengers and also no organisation, with some buses turning up and others not. We left from Tianjin where the terminal has insufficient seating for the number of passengers and the announcements of what was going on were impossible to understand. It is accepted that we are in foreign countries however when a large number of passengers spoke mainly english then a better attempt should have been made for the announcements to be understood. Boarding commenced late and was a fairly disorganised 'free for all' with pushing and shoving the norm which continued for all of the cruise. Once on board we went to our cabin and able to put our things in. Cabin clean and up to normal RCI standards and our cabin steward was great. Then up to deck 11 where we were hit by the sound system which was of an unbelievable volume that actually hurt your ears, this meant getting off that deck. The volume was continually high for at least 3/4 of the cruise (morning, afternoon, evening and into the night) despite many people making complaints of this it seemed to fall on to deaf ears (no wonder). Food in the Windjammer was the basic bistro type meals, just warm, reasonably varied however mostly aimed at one section of the passengers. There was issues with the running out of basic food items like butter, jams and other things, which we were told was due to not getting supplies in Tianjin The dining room food and service was fairly good with a reasonable variety on the menu. Some of the meat dishes were of low quality either tough or very fatty and were perhaps the last of the supplies As is the case on most cruises alcohol and drinks are overpriced and it was noticed that the gratuity on drinks has increased to 18% from the advertised 15%. We like to relax on the promonade deck and in this case deck 4 however we found a small number of chairs only and no lounges. Another problem was the PA system which again was way too loud and made you jump when the 'bing bong" was used. In most cases the announcements were unintelligable especially the ones announcing bingo and the art auction. This problem remained on all the outside deck areas. The entertainment in the Savoy was very hit or miss with them mainly being misses especially the comedian, illusionist and some singers. With this quality of acts many people walked out. The entertainment in the bars etc were also of a poor quality. Shore excursions are overpriced, not varied and in most cases very rushed and not enjoyable. There was a major problem in the organisation for bus number issue at Vietnam with us having to line up for well over an hour to get numbers and then had to wait at busses again. Also if you book a timed departure tour the numbers are given out as people arrive and not as per the time of tour, so had to wait for those who got tickets early for later tours. Even the disembarkation was a mess with stairwells blocked off so as to guide passengers one way but still having lifts operating to send passengers other ways. Overall a very disappointing cruise which we feel was aimed for a certain market which maybe we did not fall into. We have two more RCI cruises booked and hope that our experiences on these will be better than on Mariner Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
The holiday started well with a good stay in Beijing, we were ready to get onto the ship after several hard days touring but unfortunately this cruise wasn't up to RCI's usual standard. The embarkation was slow and ... Read More
The holiday started well with a good stay in Beijing, we were ready to get onto the ship after several hard days touring but unfortunately this cruise wasn't up to RCI's usual standard. The embarkation was slow and disorganised, when we eventually found some one to help we were given incorrect information and queued for a long time eventually realising that we were in the wrong place altogether. The cabin was clean but in need of some refurbishment, our cabin steward was pleasant and efficent and always helpful. Dining on deck 3 was ok, we were the only couple on a table for 10 which was disappointing, and even though we were only 2 the service was slow, but both waiters very pleasant but seemed inexperienced. The shows were in the main well below standard, and we walked out of two of them, the juggler was embarrasing to watch, ice show as usual was excellent. The queues at guest relations and the shore excursion desks were horrendous, there were 9 computers on the guest relation desk and only 2 members of staff. This must be the most disorganised ship that I have ever sailed on, at our first call in Vietnam the queue to go into the theatre for our excursion went all the way back through the casino and there was no one overseeing the situation, it was a shambles. The only saving grace on this cruise was the diamond lounge, which was as excellent as ever Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
The food was mainly Asian and considering there were 2600 guests, of whom 600 were Asian, we couldn't understand why the food was mainly Asian. On formal nights there were many people in colourful polo shirts and when we mentioned ... Read More
The food was mainly Asian and considering there were 2600 guests, of whom 600 were Asian, we couldn't understand why the food was mainly Asian. On formal nights there were many people in colourful polo shirts and when we mentioned this to the Restaurant Manager, he replied with "Royal Caribbean change their policy for the Asian market". Pity no one bothered to tell us, we had carried all our formal clothes from England. Also when we went on the trips booked with RC, it was chaos in the theatre, queueing up to get our coach numbers and then we waited for over an hour on the coach for some passengers to get on. The queues at reception on sea days were very long, all day, with people waiting to complain. The evening entertainment was the worst we have ever known and we have cruised about 20 times. After the first few visits to the theatre we gave up and went to bed early. The only good thing was the two waiters were brilliant and couldn't do enough for us. We shan't be rushing to book with Royal Caribbean again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
We have cruised 16 times, 4 of those on RCL and the first on VOTS. We flew from Sydney to Beijing and spent 4 nights at Kempinski Hotel which was excellent. It was national holidays so Beijing was very crowded but we enjoyed what we did, ... Read More
We have cruised 16 times, 4 of those on RCL and the first on VOTS. We flew from Sydney to Beijing and spent 4 nights at Kempinski Hotel which was excellent. It was national holidays so Beijing was very crowded but we enjoyed what we did, although dealing with local customs and manners was a challenge!! We arranged a private car transfer to Tianjin which was a good option as it when well. The terminal is fairly new and well organised so after filling out all the paperwork we were on board within an hour. We went direct to our cabin, 6668 dropped our gear and headed off for a look around and have some lunch. The ship is large but fairly easy to get around and looking closely it is in need of an upgrade which I believe is happening in May 2014, that will make this a very nice and modern ship. Our cabin on deck 6 was very average as it was aft and the corridor always seemed musty and there was regular very nasty smells out on the balcony and our neighbours had the same experience. We left Beijing on time and off to 3 ports in Japan and all of these were excellent, very clean cities and well organised ship tours although you could do your own thing. Then to Hong Kong at the new terminal which is very new and not finished yet. Getting to the city from is here is easy and cheap on your own. Then to Saigon but that is over 2 hours away from where we docked so a challenge for many. This was an overnight stay so many stayed overnight in the city. Then to Bangkok again an overnight stay so many stayed there overnight as it is over 2 hours from the ship. Next to Singapore and the end for us and many others. In summary a wonderful cruise with great ports and smooth sailing. There are always some negatives on cruises so for balance I will state what they were in our opinion and from feedback on board many other people. We changed cruise directors from a chinese guy to a british guy after a few days and he said the entertainment for the whole cruise had been prebooked so he couldn't change much and that was a big problem as the programs and standard was terrible. The cruise visited some very interesting and I particularly enjoy destination talks regarding the history of these places plus general lectures on interesting world history. The presenters here struggled with English and just read from notes, very disappointing and I did feel sorry for these people as they were doing their best but the delivery was terrible and of no interest. The new cruise director did a couple of these himself and that was much better but as he said that is not his job these should be presented by professional speakers and/or historians. The entertainment overall was very poor as were daily activities and clearly poor planning was the reason for this. The Captain told us there were 55 nationalities on board and very few chinese so they should have know what to plan for. Food in the restaurant was always very good as was the service. The buffet was always average to good but not to HAL or Celebrity standard. Staff as usual were excellent in all areas, the casino was dated and poorly laid out. I believe this will be an excellent ship after the upgrade so we will give it another go the. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
My wife and I have rececently returned from a 12 night cruise around Japan embarking from Tianjin in China. This was our first cruise and we did all the research and read the all reviews about this, and other big ships, along with Asian ... Read More
My wife and I have rececently returned from a 12 night cruise around Japan embarking from Tianjin in China. This was our first cruise and we did all the research and read the all reviews about this, and other big ships, along with Asian Cruising pros and cons. Before heading off we were excited and thought we were prepared for all we might encounter on this cruise. How wrong we were. Embarkation at Tianjin was realative seamless and we were on board and in our cabin by 1.00pm. Our Balcony Suite was spacious and well maintained for its age. Our cabin attendant Rodger was awsome. Invisible in his service but always available if we needed him, mainly for advice. Our first two sailing days were spent aquainting ouselves with the ship and its facilities and we were pleasantly surprised that the recreation facilities were mostly uncrowded. We chose My Time dining and our first meal in the dining room was below our expectations. Advertised options were not available and food quality was average at best. The next night we tried the Windjammer, but trying to find a seat was difficult and remained so for the remainder of the cruise. We had four more meals in the Dining Room (including formal nights) which did not improve with most of our meals served either cold, or dried out from spending an excessive amount of time under the heat lamps. Wait staff in the dining room were mostly overbearing in their attempts to seek our favour and upsell us for drinks. For docked days, we ate lunch at traditional Japanese restaurants so as not to rely on the ship for dinner. Often we left the dining room hungry and went to Johhny Rockets for a burger, or Cafe Promenade for a snack afterwards. Organisation at ports of call was non existant (unless your were booked on an RCCL Tour) . We requested exact port details from RCCL so we could plan to self explore. We docked at different ports in Toyama & Tokyo. The queues for Customs clearance, Guest Relations and Disembarkation were lenghty (often over an hour standing) as passengers largely disregarded crew instructions. Port transport options in Muroran and Busan were sadly lacking resulting in limited available time to explore these ports. The one shore excursion we did book with RCCL to Noribetsu Historical Village was overbooked, overcrowded and overpriced. Professional entertainment was average. Entertainment and shows by the crew singers and musicians was far better. Disembarkation at Tianjin at the end of the cruise was also chaotic. We waited for 2 hours at our designated muster point only to find out that the delays were not caused by customs clearance as advised by the crew, but again by wayward passengers disregarding crew instructions. Then a further 1 hour wait standing in a queue on deck to disembark. Our port transfer was subsequently 3 hours late. Numerous seasoned cruisers advised as not to be disillusioned by our experience on this cruise as it was not representative of a normal cruising experience. We are beginning to explore another cruise option for the future, but I don't think it will be on another large ship or with this cruise line, and certainly another experience like this will turn us off spending our holiday dollars on cruising in future. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
My wife and I have finished our cruise from the 7th to 19th September 2013, on the Voyager of the Seas, a 12 night cruise around Japan and South Korea, leaving and returning to Tianjin in China. We have cruised before and this was our 10th ... Read More
My wife and I have finished our cruise from the 7th to 19th September 2013, on the Voyager of the Seas, a 12 night cruise around Japan and South Korea, leaving and returning to Tianjin in China. We have cruised before and this was our 10th cruise. We have sailed on Rhapsody of the seas twice before and other cruise lines, Carnival, Princess, Norwegian and Celebrity, so we can compare. We were very excited about the ports in Japan and South Korea. We have cruised Asia before in Vietnam and Cambodia. Sadly this cruise did not stand up to ROYAL CARIBBEAN standards in many areas. We did have a good cruise and a good time, but there were many things that we felt let down by. We may have obtained the cruise at a very good price, but it was never mentioned there would be poor food, poor shows and poor organisation at the ports. Embarkation at Tianjin was good and we were on board and in our cabin by early afternoon. We had a Balcony Suite, which was great and all we expected. Our cabin attendant was fantastic and did everything at a high standard. We spent the first two sailing days exploring the ship and had a good time. Sadly though the entertainment was scarce to non existent to what we expected and have experienced before. The Disney shows were great, but mainly aimed at children. There would only have been about 40 to 50 children on the ship. Very limited passenger participation activbities and the ones they did have were poorly run. At times it felt like it was the activities staff first day on the job. A big disappointment was the evening shows. We have come to expect great shows, but were sadly let down. When every announcement has to be said in 4 different languages, it makes for a very boring setting. On one evening when there was a medical emergency the Captain continued to give updates on the persons condition, but this interrupted the shows and the band ended up stopping the show altogether. You would think the passengers do not need a running commentary on a person’s medical evacuation. One announcement at the end is sufficient. We chose the early dinner sitting and did so every night. The meals were way below our expectations. On 4 of the evenings they did not have what is mentioned on the mebnu, and had to have an alternative. I have never had this on a cruise ship before and was VERY POOR. The meals were average to good, but not up to the Royal Caribbean standard. It is POOR when the advertised meals on the menu are not available. We only tried the Windjammer twice for lunch and found it O.K. but trying to find a seat was difficult, but that can be expected. The formal nights were good, but again the food let it down as nothing special for these formal nights. There was also no special shos around the ship for these nights. The staff in the dining room were very good ano in particular our table waiters were excellent. Organisation at ports of call was VERY VERY POOR and I could se a number of arguments between passengers waiting for shuttle busses as people pushed into the very lengthy lines. BUSAN, TOKYO, AND SUPPORO were very badly organised. As shuttles and taxis were random and no ship staff were there to organise queues and orderly conduct. We requested exact port details from RCCL so we could plan to self explore. We docked at different ports in Toyama & Tokyo. The queues for Customs clearance, Guest Relations and Disembarkation were lenghty (often over an hour standing) as passengers largely disregarded crew instructions. Port transport options in Muroran and Busan were sadly lacking resulting in limited available time to explore these ports. The professional entertainment on the cruise was at best average. On many nights there was only one show and on one occasion the show ws cancelled and the dancers did an extra show. No where near the expected standard. One exception was the ICE SKATING SHOW. This was FIRST CLASS and easily the best sho on the cruise, and I may even say one of the best shows we have seen on any cruise. Ell done for this show as it saved the cruise. Disembarkation at Tianjin at the end of the cruise was also chaotic. We waited for 2 hours at our designated muster point only to find out that the delays were not caused by customs clearance as advised by the crew, but again by wayward passengers disregarding crew instructions. Then a further 1 hour wait standing in a queue on deck to disembark. Our port transfer was subsequently 3 hours late. One passenger either had their luggage stolen whilst waiting for the shuttle bus back to Beijing or it was placed on the wring bus by a very disorganised and chaotic staff outside the terminal. I would say this POOR CRUISE was an exception to Royal Caribbean cruises and I would like an explanation from Royal Caribbean as to why this cruise was below standard. Tony and Mary. Sydney Australia. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
We were excited by the ports of call on this cruise, Japan and Korea are places we always wanted to see. We were not disappointed with the ports themselves but the cruise (our 4th) was well below par. Stateroom We had a balcony, on edge ... Read More
We were excited by the ports of call on this cruise, Japan and Korea are places we always wanted to see. We were not disappointed with the ports themselves but the cruise (our 4th) was well below par. Stateroom We had a balcony, on edge of the hump on the 6th level. Very comfortable. Lots of storAge and an excellent shower with plenty of hot water. Our room steward was great, pleasant and friendly without being too in your face, he did a great job. There was a kettle in the room. Entertainment Not very much and the quality was questionable. The ice show was excellent. There was one production show, with dancers, quite good but we would expect at least one more on a 12 day cruise. There were "cultural experiences" but they were scheduled only at 9am, and altogether ( origami and a talk on kimonos in Japan on at the same time) the rest was occasional trivia, a table tennis comp etc. there were four formal nights presumably to allow for new passengers boarding in Tokyo. Formal nights seemed to be mainly about allowing an opportunity for photos, food was nothing special, no shows on formal nights. Ship The ship is a central atrium design which we quite liked, some parts looking a little tired, mainly furniture, with one exception. The aquarium lounge just looked unloved to us, the glass has been taken out of the aquariums, the "decorations" look like faded old carnival attractions, nota pleasant place to relax and certainly not somewhere to spend a fun evening, the other lounges were fine. Curtain throughout were a bit faded, tired. The shore excursion office was incredibly busy, mainly because of the mess on the web site and the port changes. At the beginning of the cruise we got someone else's tickets, unable to contact them, we waited in line for 2 HOURS to get our tickets. If they had staff working the line to answer simple questions the problem would have solved itself. Food This was a major problem, menus were mixed but half was not available. We had my time dining, usually ate at about 7.30. Service was fine, although one waiter told us in great detail about his lack of tips for room service work. The kng po chicken was the worst thing I've had on ANY cruise, deserts were ok, nothing exciting. Fruit in the Windjammer was hard to find at anytime, just melon and pineapple, the Asian section of the buffet was ok, but sushi ran out early, soups were always barely warm (I'm not sure there's an excuse for not being able to heat soup) prime rib was fine the first night but that was the only time a jacket potato appeared, even when on the menu it was replaced witha very uninteresting mash. Salad I the MDR for lunch was good. In general it was the worse dining I've ever encountered on any cruise. The speciality venues,Portofinos and Johnny Rockets were very good. Excursions and ports We only did three ship excursions, one in Toyama, one in Murano, one in Busan. Murano was added to the schedule on the ship and was an excellent tour to the Ainu village at night. Toyama was a trip to Kanazawa, left over an hour late, at11am, no food stops or even and opportunity to grab anything from a machine( it is Japan) far too rushed, 30 minutes at each stop, and at all of them the walk from the bus was at least 10 minutes, at a trot. Therefore we had 10minutes in the Samuri house, including taking off and putting on shoes, 15 minutes to walk around the geisha district, 1 hour in the gardens, including. 20 minute walk each way to get there. Busan was the same, the run through the fish market (which was supposed to be a highlight) was less than 30minites even though we parked 10 minutes awAy. The other ports I organised privately, but there was a lot of talk about the disorganisation and lack of transport. General weirdness I was told that RCI was a well organised cruise line, medium range but there were things on this cruise that made me doubt this. Our daughter bought us the romance package, everything great lovely roses and champagne, bathrobes waiting for us thanks to our great room steward. Canapés the first formal night were lovely, delivered on time. The second formal night there was a knock on the door and a room service steward handed over a giant silver plate of canapés, about 12 salmon mousse , two smoked salmon, a couple of falling over cheese canapés, all on a soiled doily, and all totally soggy. Obviously left over from a function much earlier in the day. The room service breakfast with the package had the normal menu, I assumed the the items above the line which did not have a check box were automatic, unfortunately that is not the case so there was no bread and pastry basket, no fruit platter but there was butter and assorted jams. We had scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, with no toast or anything else and tea . Prior to departure I booked and paid for a "premium wine experience" scheduled for the second day at 2 pm. We rolled up to the dining room, nothing, down to the desk, they had no idea but tried to find out, said it would be on later the next day, waited the next day at the dining room, nothing, back to guest services, just to arrange a reimbursement to be told it will be on and in the Compass. Second last day , behold there's a wine tasting advertised in the Compass so down we go again, only to be told its $10 ( we had paid $25 each) and that anyway it was cancelled due to lack of interest. Back to guest services to arrange a refund which this time was promptly organised. As previously stAted I organised tours privately in Tokyo, Nagasaki and Hokkaido. My contact in Tokyo informed me that our ship was not docking at Yokohama but at the the Oi terminal in Tokyo city, a considerable change. After 6 phone calls to various people who should have known this, including one to the US office, I decided that my contact probably knew more than RCCL about where their ships docked, including one rep who told me we must be docking at Yokohama cos it said on Google that this port is the Only one big enough for Voyager!? We docked at the Oi terminal and in a news article that day there were photos of the Captain and representatives of the mayor at a function on the ship announcing the future cruises from Tokyo (and NO ONE at RCCL seemed to have the slightest idea! ) On three occasions the Promadade Cafe was stocked with only Brie and cranberry bagels, heaps of them, but nothing else. The English pub didn't have English beer on tap. The Sportbar had the cruise DVD on continuous loop for the final four days of the cruise. ( on about 14 screens) needless to say the bar was totally empty. In general we both agreed that this cruise had somewhat put us off cruising as a vacation, which is sad because both MSC and Princess have given me very memorable holidays. I would need to be very reassured that RCCL had lifted its game before I even considered travelling with them again.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
My wife and I cruised from the 7th to 19th September 2013, on the Voyager of the Seas, a 12 night cruise around Japan and South Korea, leaving and returning to Tianjin in China. We have cruised before and this was our 10th cruise. We have ... Read More
My wife and I cruised from the 7th to 19th September 2013, on the Voyager of the Seas, a 12 night cruise around Japan and South Korea, leaving and returning to Tianjin in China. We have cruised before and this was our 10th cruise. We have sailed on Rhapsody of the seas twice before and other cruise lines, Carnival, Princess, Norwegian and Celebrity, so we can compare ships and lines. We were very excited about the ports in Japan and South Korea. We have cruised Asia before in Vietnam and Cambodia. Sadly this cruise did not stand up to ROYAL CARIBBEAN standards in many areas. We did have a good cruise and a good time, but there were many things that we felt let down by. We may have obtained the cruise at a good price, but it was never mentioned there would be poor food, poor shows and poor organisation at the ports. Embarkation at Tianjin was good and we were on board and in our cabin by early afternoon. We had a Balcony Suite, which was great and all we expected. Our cabin attendant was fantastic and did everything at a high standard. We spent the first two sailing days exploring the ship and had a good time. Sadly though the daytime entertainment was scarce to nonexistent to what we expected and have experienced before such as games, events and trivia. The Disney shows were great, but mainly aimed at children. There would only have been about 40 to 50 children on the ship. Very limited passenger participation activities and the ones they did have were poorly run. At times it felt like it was the activities staff first day on the job. A big disappointment was the evening shows. We have come to expect great shows, but were sadly let down. When every announcement has to be said in 4 different languages, it makes for a very boring setting. On one evening when there was a medical emergency the Captain continued to give updates on the persons condition, but this interrupted the shows and the band ended up stopping the show altogether. You would think the passengers do not need a running commentary on a person’s medical evacuation. One announcement at the end is sufficient. We chose the early dinner sitting and did so every night. The meals were way below our expectations. On 4 of the evenings they did not have what is mentioned on the menu, and had to have an alternative. I have never had this on a cruise ship before and was VERY POOR. The meals were average to good, but not up to the Royal Caribbean standard. It is POOR when the advertised meals on the menu are not available. We only tried the Windjammer twice for lunch and found it O.K. but trying to find a seat was difficult, but I do understand that can be expected. The formal nights were O.K, but again the food let it down as nothing special for these formal nights. There was also no special shows or events around the ship for these nights. The staff in the dining room were very good and in particular our table waiters were excellent. Organisation at ports of call was VERY VERY POOR and I could see a number of arguments between passengers waiting for shuttle busses as people pushed into the very lengthy lines, due to no ROYAL CARIBBEAN staff on hand. BUSAN, TOKYO, AND SUPPORO were very badly organised. As shuttles and taxis were random and no ship staff were there to organise queues and orderly conduct. We requested exact port details from RCCL so we could plan to self explore. We docked at different ports in Toyama & Tokyo. The queues for Customs clearance, Guest Relations and Disembarkation were lengthy (often over an hour standing) as passengers largely disregarded crew instructions. Port transport options in Muroran and Busan were sadly lacking resulting in limited available time to explore these ports. There was very limited information prior to the ports’, as we normally expect pamphlets or tourist information onboard prior to arriving at the Port. This was POOR. The professional entertainment on the cruise was at best average. On many nights there was only one show and on one occasion the show was cancelled and the dancers did an extra show. Nowhere near the expected standard. One exception was the ICE SKATING SHOW. This was FIRST CLASS and easily the best show on the cruise, and I may even say one of the best shows we have seen on any cruise. Well done for this show as it saved the cruise. Disembarkation at Tianjin at the end of the cruise was also chaotic. We waited for 2 hours at our designated muster point only to find out that the delays were not caused by customs clearance as advised by the crew, but again by wayward passengers disregarding crew instructions. Then a further 1 hour wait standing in a queue on deck to disembark. Our port transfer was subsequently 3 hours late. One passenger either had their luggage stolen whilst waiting for the shuttle bus back to Beijing or it was placed on the wrong bus by a very disorganised and chaotic staff outside the terminal. I would say this POOR CRUISE was an exception to Royal Caribbean cruises and I would like an explanation from Royal Caribbean as to why this cruise was below standard. This ship arrives in Australia in late 2013 and we were considering a cruise to New Zealand, but will now look at other ships.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
Will it be my last trip with RCI , I've yet to make my mind up on that one. My trip from Tianjin to Singapore began well , with three magnificent days in Beijing. Every preconception that I had had of China vanished in an instant. ... Read More
Will it be my last trip with RCI , I've yet to make my mind up on that one. My trip from Tianjin to Singapore began well , with three magnificent days in Beijing. Every preconception that I had had of China vanished in an instant. The city was alive, virtually pulsating with life . From the great wall at Mityanu to the Forbidden City and Tianamin Square I was mesmerised! The city has approx M 22 inhabitants and is populated by more than M5 vehicles , each which makes its way across the metropolis ignoring all the rules of the road ( assuming they exist) People are extremely polite and everyone seems to be in possession of the latest technology. The underground is ultra modern, thronging with people and it, like the streets, spotless . Shopping is to die for with all the latest high fashion and luxury goods in abundance. If this is communism , then where did we go wrong! I booked all of my transfers to and from Beijing together with my trips to the Ming Tombs and The Great Wall via the Internet through Chinese official tourism sites . Dealing with the Chinese was a delight. They were incredibly efficient and polite even providing guest" pay pal " links to enable me to use my credit card. My tour guides arrived , bang on time , spoke perfect English and couldn't do enough for me. I can recommend China Highlights and Tour-Beijing. Com. I would certainly use them again. Anyway back to the Voyager of the Seas and the trip round the south china seas. Call me cynical but neither I nor most of the passengers were too happy at the ship docking so far out from some of the ports of call! Hong Kong was 30 minutes by courtesy coach but Bangkok was two hours away, as was Ho Ch Minh city. This meant that when factoring in a tour then you could finish up spending more time on the coach than you actually spent at your destination. I chose to travel to the tunnels of Cu Chi and spent two and a half hours getting there and another three and a half on the return journey. Result-- shattered! I don't know whether it was the sheer size of the ship which prevented it from docking closer to the cities or did RCI chose not to pay the high docking fees , preferring the cheaper option of the container ports? I leave the readers to ponder this one. On the whole I enjoyed the ports of call although I feel that I've seen every temple in the far east. Every tour seemed to feature a number of temples, albeit they were really beautiful. Japan was exactly what I expected, very orderly with incredibly polite people . Jeju in SouthKorea was a waste of time. Stay on the ship! Hong Kong - amazing. Ho Ch Minh - teeming with people and bikes. Bankok- only saw the temples before returning to the ship. Xiamen in China- amazing- modern - spotless- a true delight. Singapore- the highlight of the trip- do yourself a big favour and add a few days on at the end of the trip to enjoy the sheer delight and beauty of this modern , spotlessly clean Garden of Eden. Now to the ship. The crew were amongst the friendliest I have ever encountered , they couldn't do enough for you. This however is where the compliments end! The food was the worst that I have ever encountered on many of the ships I have travelled on over many years. Main courses were overcooked and dry and I found myself having to ask for vegetables, otherwise they might never have appeared! When they did appear however they consisted of broccoli and carrots.! That was the choice! Drinks were expensive as was the wine at dinner. The presentation was no better than one would expect of a poorly presented school dinner. The main dining experience was , in my opinion, so poor that I found myself eating on several occasions in the buffet dining room. To be fair to RCI however , when I complained to the dining manager , he did say that this had been a learning curve for them also and that they had had to cater for eastern tastes! He also stated that a lot of food had been rejected at Beijing as being below quality and other food had been taken on with Chinese script that they had difficulty in deciphering. I don't know if I can swallow that one! On one evening however we chose to dine at the Portofino restaurant which levied a twenty dollar surcharge. This was worth every penny and reminded me just how good the food should have been and undoubtedly could be if RCI got their act together. Other areas of the ship that needed improving included the theatre acts, where again I've seen better entertainment at my child's school. The skating on ice show however was superb. The library- the worst I've ever experienced at sea! Get a grip on this RCI, it doesn't take a lot of cash to sort this one out! Hardly any books and virtually no non fiction. Don't Americans read? The cinema was also an excuse for entertainment. It was tiny and the viewing experience ruined by the bright blue light shining on to the centre of the screen. The door to the small cinema was propped ajar and no one bothered to check that everything was in order before the film began. Poor show! The art auction- this was so loud as to be uncomfortable . Many people walked out and this in spite of the fact that I and others had asked for the microphone volume to be turned down-- alas to no avail. Having spoken to many fellow passengers , many of whom had travelled withRCI in the past , it seemed that there were obvious signs of cutbacks in a number of areas. Normally when you board a ship you are presented with a small fold up credit card sized plan of the ship- not in this instance- a sheet of A 4 was the proffered method. Likewise with the en suite toiletries-- where had they gone? Port maps provided were virtually useless and one got the distinct feeling that when you elected not to take a ship tour but rather do it on your own , then as far as RCI was concerned then you really were on your own! They did virtually nothing for the independent traveller. If travelling with RCI and if you plan to do your own thing then make sure you arm yourself in advance with street plans timetables etc. Be warned! The powers that be also failed miserably at giving out valuable information re local taxis, costs of fares , buses , where to pick them up etc. At the purser's desk they also gave out high denomination notes and refused to take back coins. If choosing to take a local taxi then the equivalent of a $20 or £20 pound note is about as is useful as a hole in the head! The port information lectures were invariably delivered at 10 am and were not filmed for the on board tv, so if you missed them, tough! What would it have taken to film them and put them on later during the day? On this ship , unlike others I struggled to find things to do during the day. Little or no interesting lectures, lots of tutorials on cake icing , ice carving, paper folding, origami, etc! Yawn!! The ship does however have lots of pool space , areas for sunbathing, mini golf, climbing wall, ice skating, many bars, cinema and art collection. Shopping on board was poor and most disappointing . A few expensive high end jewellery shops , some selling watches at £30'000. !! What was most obviously missing however was a general store. The "general" section amounted to a couple of shelves located in a fashion area. If you needed baby wipes, aspirin, elastoplasts etc then tough! I will not write off RCI just yet , but I will chose very carefully when comparing what they have to offer with Princess, Holland America etc. On this particular occasion let's just say I was most disappointed . Read Less
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