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18 Royal Caribbean Beijing Cruise Reviews

After a considerable wait in the lounge at the Cruise Port where we were subjected to pushing and shoving in queues to board the ship with no public announcements in English to tell us where to stand we eventfully boarded the ship at ... Read More
After a considerable wait in the lounge at the Cruise Port where we were subjected to pushing and shoving in queues to board the ship with no public announcements in English to tell us where to stand we eventfully boarded the ship at around 6 pm. Dinner that evening on the ship was a 'free for all' affair. The menu for this and subsequent evening meals was not like the traditional menu where a set menu on one side and a varied menu on the other side would be offered. Dining on a cruise is one of the highlights of any cruise in our book and this fell well short of our expectations. The food when presented was poor in quality. Entertainment 'variety' on the cruise was of poor quality and only one show at the theatre each evening. The acts at the evening performances were repeatedly performed by the same crew members unlike previous cruises where star acts would be brought onto the ship at various ports to perform. We could not enjoy the shows as the other guests talked the whole time through the show, came and went as they pleased throughout the show, and walked slowly in front of you instead of going around you as the show was on. I think Royal Caribbean kept guests who chose this cruise very much uninformed and should have made them aware that this was not the normal Royal Caribbean standard to be expected and as a result has seriously damaged its reputation amongst foreign guests on the cruise. We have not cruised with Royal Caribbean in the past and are diamond members of their Crown and Anchor Society and doubt that we would be cruising again with the Royal Caribbean cruise company or recommending them to friends or family. What food we could get to at the Windjammer was marginal at best with most food being cold, and the quality was rather poor, the soup each day was always the same egg drop soup or white fungus. This cruise should never, ever be offered to westerners at all. It is geared entirely to the Chinese market. Interestingly, when we did our survey through RC, they never even as much as contacted us to find out why we were so disappointed in our trip! The ports were good, and the scenery lovely in Japan. The ice show was outstanding; the cast on board performed a wonderful show together and was very entertaining. The ship was very clean, and the staff could not have been friendlier. This was a high point of the cruise. There is a strict "no smoking" rule in cabins and balconies that many passengers overlooked. The casino was the most popular destination of the cruise for the Chinese. If you are a non-smoker, this was not the place for you. This included the lounges surrounding, and above and below the casino. The Diamond/Concierge lounge in the Viking Crown was overrun with young children that were staying with their parents in suites. This made for not the best experience. We did have the choice to go to any lounge on the ship for our "Happy Hour", since three drinks were loaded on our card every day. The vast majority of the passengers were in tour groups that had chartered their shore excursions. These trip leaders were no help either, they all wanted to be the first group off. Returning to the ship was the same experience, all 80 chartered tour busses returned at the same time, at the final time for "all on board". Not a big deal, but we left late out of each port. If we had known that we would stay two hours late, we could have done more exploring of the ports. Shore excursions for the independent passengers were limited to about two choices at each port. We chose to do things on our own which worked out well for us. Overall, this was a great learning experience but not the best cruise we have had. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We booked this cruise for a special anniversary having been on several cruise holidays before. The cruise was very disappointing despite the ship being very well equipped and well maintained. We encountered problems from the first day ... Read More
We booked this cruise for a special anniversary having been on several cruise holidays before. The cruise was very disappointing despite the ship being very well equipped and well maintained. We encountered problems from the first day re embarkation- having to stand in queues for two hours plus, in a crowded area where there was poor communication and organisation by those people in charge of the situation. Once on board the ship there were long queues at guest services by people trying to resolve a range of issues. We had problems with the drinks package we had already paid for. It was not showing on the sea pass cards and despite having an email from Royal Caribbean stating that we did have this package the staff would not or could not sort it out for us. The food on board ship was plentiful but unfortunately it was not delicious! It lacked variety and taste. It is the first cruise we have been on where we did not gain any weight! Every cloud has a silver lining. We only had one evening meal in the formal dining room and the main waiter was rather rude and abrupt having given our allocated table to other guests. The food was not very good and we waited 45 minutes before the starter was even served. We usually ate in the Windjammer buffet restaurant so that we could at least choose what we wanted to eat. The friendliest crew member on board was the young lady at the entrance to the Windjammer - she always had a lovely smile and genuine greeting for guests entering and leaving the restaurant. The facilities on board the ship are very good-we enjoyed the ice show- the performers put on a first class show. The theatre shows were not that good. We had two juggling acts during the cruise and magician and comedian, alongwith singers. Most were mediocre in terms of their performance. The 'game shows' were fun and events in studio B enjoyable. The reason we booked this cruise was the ports of call. We wanted to get a flavour of the far east, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Vietnam. They are amazing places to visit but we do not feel that we really sampled the true cultures and architecture of the countries. This is often a drawback with cruise holidays as there are limits to time spent in places and so on. The cabin we had was spacious enough for two people, even though the bathroom area is quite small. We only saw our steward 3 or 4 times during the cruise. This is quite unusual as they are often keen to build up some rappport with guests to ensure a decent tip. The organisation during shore excursions was often poor- having lots of people crowded into the Savoy theatre waiting to get tour stickers or even worse crowded on the stairs outside the theatre! I did expect disembarkation to be quite disorganised too but surprisingly this went very smoothly. We did meet some lovely people on board the ship and enjoyed many new experiences but compared to other cruises we have been on this was disappointing and many of the problems can be addressed quite easily by having better organisation skills, communication skills and tastier food. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We joined the Mariner of the Seas in Taijing and the queues were awful, there was no organisation or control, it was complete and utter chaos. There was rumours that half of its staff had walked out on RCC including Senior Management.My ... Read More
We joined the Mariner of the Seas in Taijing and the queues were awful, there was no organisation or control, it was complete and utter chaos. There was rumours that half of its staff had walked out on RCC including Senior Management.My case with all my medicnes had been confiscated by RCC because it had 2 bottles of "contraband" which caused great distress but was released after one god almighty row. RCC were citing some International Law which made this legal (in their own made up law minds) but no such law exists.The reality was the confiscation of alcohol was to ensure sales on board of their very expensive booze packages which nearly all passengers boycotted. Passengers also boycotted a very hefty $20 per day wifi package . All these packages had to be purchased for the entire length of the cruise, even for my wife who didnt drink. The shortage of staff and shortages of ice cream, various types of beers at $5 a bottle and numerous other food shortages. This was more evident on board with queues for customer services always very lengthy and an average wait of 2-3 hours to be attended to. Excursions were very expensive and I would recommend anyone to book and plan their own.Also I complained that I had prepaid gratuities when booking only to find that because I boycotted their booze packages that I was charged 18.5% extra on all my on board purchases. Overall impression was of a business trying every trick on the book to get into the wallets of its customers. The food was generally poor with very small portions and the Windjammer was frequently a free for all. Again food was poor and catered for the Asian market. RCC also held onto our passports for the entire cruise and again massive queues for getting on and of the boat, again poor organisation and lack of staff who were not trained on what to do. We were on cabin 6912 which was good , clean but again queues and waiting for the on board lifts seemed to be a everyday theme.But I did get the impression thatmy cabin attendant was stalking me always shouting Hello Mr Bob...... The entrainment was patchy some excellent shows like the Aussie Beatles and juggling and other singers , but it very Butlins and Jamie always hyping how good it was . The Ice Show was excellent one of the very rare 10/10 items. As for other sideline trivia quizs etc poor, very poor with prizes fir the winners a RCC keyring.Also the lovely presenter from Malaysia who was good seemed to have disappeared after Japan and was replaced with Bonnie a Chinese girl who barely spoke English . We never did find out what happened her , last sightings of her was helping a blow op penguin get inflated while wearing a Pinoccanio nose. Overall the cruise was Poor and badly managed by RCC. Another real concern is , did RCC sail without its complete crew from China as the muster was chaotic and seemed to take forever with some passengers having to leave the muster and sit down in the lounges. Would I travel with RCC again ..a definite NO and this seemed to be the genreral consensus. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was to be a special cruise for our 40th anniversary and as such we chose to go somewhere far away we may never visit again. This was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean (15 in all) and to be honest probably the last. Although other ... Read More
This was to be a special cruise for our 40th anniversary and as such we chose to go somewhere far away we may never visit again. This was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean (15 in all) and to be honest probably the last. Although other experienced RC passengers did say this was nothing like normal. This was a repositioning cruise moving the ship from Beijing to Singapore for 6 months. Before going into details it must be said that we found the ship very pleasant and most of the staff really good. Embarkation in Tianjin was farcical. Massive queues, no movement, no organisation and people shouting at you in Chinese in a militaristic manner. The absolute worst in our experience. Disembarkation on the other hand in Singapore was fine. We had some issues caused by our cruise agent and we spent around 91/2 hours queuing and trying to get a resolution as Guest services. We didn't manage to book any excursions at the Excursions desk as the queues were huge at all times it was open. The on screen booking in the cabin didn't work, ever Musical entertainment around the ship in the lounges was OK but the main theatre shows in general were the worst we had experienced. I have never seen half full theatres before or such quantities of people getting up and walking out. We had general quizzes led by staff who could not read, write nor pronounce English. Pathetic organisation. In cabin entertainment was equally pathetic with endless loops of children's and a few other films. One friend saw 'Skyfall' 12 times as an example. The films on deck were the same ones in the cabin as were the cinema presentations in Studio B. Only near the end did some new films begin to appear. Who wants to watch a repeat of Shrek, or Cinderella as the movie under the stars at night. BBC world service appeared just before the end of the cruise. Prior to that on standard fare US news programs were available together with a multitude of Chinese / Asian channels. It would appear that nobody bothered to look at the passenger demographics. Announcements were generally unintelligible except for the Captain's The cabin 1603 (inside) was OK but it is difficult for an inside cabin to get much better than that. Size was smallish, facilities were adequate, storage was adequate and the cabin service was good. Service around the ship was always friendly in particular Rosalio in the dining room and Abel in the Wig and Gavel were outstanding. It has to be said that we found most of the crew to be very friendly and helpful. The food in the Main Dining Room was initially very Asian oriented, this only changed for the last few days. The food in the Windjammer appeared to be a reasonable selection but very repetitive. Disembarkation at the ports of call was very badly organised with very long queues. Often caused by the crew having to change the location of the gangway up or down. These are mariners for crying out loud, surely they realise by now that water in the sea is tidal and have the ability to choose the correct disembarkation deck first time? There were continuous shortages of food and beverage caused simply by terrible organisation. They (Royal Caribbean)are an international company and surely have changed ports and clientele before. Prior to this cruise, this ship had been used in the China market with around 97% Chinese guests. This cruise was roughly reversed. I can appreciate that to some of the crew members this was a major cultural change. Drinks on board are ridiculously priced and only by drinking more than usual of the most expensive items did we make a package pay. Even so the packages are roughly double the price of say Costa and even more than that of Fred Olsen. Nice ship, nice staff, appalling entertainment, average food, pathetic organisation, high prices, missed demographics in the planning structure. In all, we visited places we may never again get to which was good, unfortunately it was on this ship. A real let down and we could not recommend RC to anybody based on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
I have to agree with other comments regarding mariner of the seas , the scene was set from embarkation to disembarkation queuing what a way to spend a holiday either at customer services or for tours. appalling logistics ,organisation, ... Read More
I have to agree with other comments regarding mariner of the seas , the scene was set from embarkation to disembarkation queuing what a way to spend a holiday either at customer services or for tours. appalling logistics ,organisation, management skills. I have never been on a cruise where after only 3days basic food and beverages had run out ie no butter. entertainment diabolical very poor quality people walking out saving grace ice show was excellent. differing prices advertised throughout ship for drinks packages and gratuities.No drinks package when we boarded which was prepaid after waiting at customer services for apron 1hr told to purchase another then it would be refunded had no record of many guests packages. Food Asian orientated even though majority of guests westerners will never look at rice noodles or stir fry again this was even served western dishes in main dining rooms. windjammer a free for all mainly catering for Asian tastes barely warm tasteless and lacking in variety. Sound system to loud and on deck 11 cruise director talking drivel for hours. This cruise was to celebrate our golden wedding the itinerary and the people we met made the cruise not through any of Royal Caribbean efforts.Would I recommend definitely not Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This is the second time we have sailed with RCI and before this trip it was considered our first choice, but after this it is most probably, the last. From basic organisation and communication the cruise failed in most aspects, as ... Read More
This is the second time we have sailed with RCI and before this trip it was considered our first choice, but after this it is most probably, the last. From basic organisation and communication the cruise failed in most aspects, as follows: 1. We had paid for "My Time Dining" which entailed paying gratuities in advance, only to be initially told it was unavailable. Then after considerable pressure from many customers it was re.instated. We were then told we were on a waiting list and after saying that, in which case we would like the gratuities returned, they miraculously said we were allocated a place! 2. Extortionate price of shore excursions.Other than Ho Chi Minh, you could do the main attractions yourself at a fraction of the cost and without the very limited time constraint. We did visit the latter and the excursion was over one hour late leaving, due to the chaotic organisation, and the guide made this up by cutting our time down. To highlight this the one feature involved a climb to a statue of Christ, which was over 800 steps high. To do this we were given about 20 minutes in 80+ degrees with 90% plus humidity. Needless to say most decided not to attempt. 3. Food quality and variety. This can only be described as average, with the same menu choices on most days. The quality also varied accordingly. 4. Staff and Service. Although in many case the staff tried hard, it was obvious that many were new to the ship and had not been trained in customer service, and hence stood back waiting for you to either do things yourself or wait to be asked. The latter then became quite an ordeal. The one exception we had was the Cabin Steward, who was excellent in all aspects. 5. Entertainment. The main point for the evening shows was the Savoy Theatre, and the quality of the shows varied from very good (Violinist, Beatles lookalike and Jamaican Singer) to very poor (Juggler and Magician). The Ice Spectacular was excellent, and is highly recommended. 6.Layout and facilities. The ship caters for over 3000 passengers and the design is well laid out with the central atrium being the place around which the bars and shopping areas emanate. A great area to visit before or after your evening Dinner/Show. 7. Guest Relations. Due to the number of customers and the issues arising, this became a very congested area and if you wanted to perform some simple tasks, such as replacing a Key Card that didn't work, frustratingly you had in most cases to join a lengthy queue. To finish, the above issues are "fixable" with some basic organisation, as they are not fundamental design issues, but they seriously detracted, from what was a fabulous itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We have taken 10 cruises in total and from a dining and entertainment viewpoint this was the worst. Our previous Royal Caribbean cruise was excellent. This was worse even than the cheaper cruises like Costa and Carnival. The dining room ... Read More
We have taken 10 cruises in total and from a dining and entertainment viewpoint this was the worst. Our previous Royal Caribbean cruise was excellent. This was worse even than the cheaper cruises like Costa and Carnival. The dining room food was at times inedible and the service was second rate . We have never seen so many people abandon the dining room after a few days in favour of the Buffet. One of the delights of previous cruises was that in the evening you felt you had been out for a great meal . Not on this ship! The entertainment ranged from 2 excellent shows to others where 60 people walked out of the theatre in the first 10 minutes and there was no shortage of seats in the theatre . It was obvious that the acts had not been vetted at all. Finally the excursions were a fiasco. On one occasion they oversold the coach by at least 10 seats and on another we were delayed by 2 hours getting off the ship.. Appologies.....not likely. The good parts were a nice stateroom but as the cruise cost us £3000 each for a junior suite it was expected to be good. This was our last cruise ever with Royal Carribbean. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was my first cruise ever, after many years of my sisters trying to convince me they were brill.well not the case on r/c.never again. It started at the Beijing port with very long queues, so you think oh well just a queue, ,,,,, ... Read More
This was my first cruise ever, after many years of my sisters trying to convince me they were brill.well not the case on r/c.never again. It started at the Beijing port with very long queues, so you think oh well just a queue, ,,,,, But those queues continued right throughout the cruise and I'm talking about a couple of hours sometimes, with lot of frustration and arguing between passengers,,,, not good at all, even at reception the people who we're queuing with complaints stood for ages talking about there complaints and recurring problems. The entertainment was shocking',,,, you could see better at butlins, it was so embarrassing watching the theatre empty. There were about 2 good shows, we expected to be entertained not having to walk around the ship looking for seats in other bars which were full up. ( dressed up and no we're to go). But I have to say the ice show was fab. The food!!!!! Well that was shocking in the windjammer, no presention at all, it was presented worse than a car very and just in the same way,food dumped in stainless steel bowls,,,,and plastic plates what's that about, but the food was horrible, not a lot on for British. Also they kept running out of things like English tea bags, jam and cream for coffee also wine and cans of beer. I was looking forward to high tea in the afternoon which my sister said was always yummy on cruises, well not on this one, there was no such thing, oh there was sandwiches on deck 5 all day every day, but they never changed. The fine dinning was ok to me,but I am told that was not as it should have been. But the staff we had were fab. Oh there are loads of things I have not mentioned but I have to tell you about the queue for the free shuttle bus out of busan back to ship, well we stood over an hr and it was red hot no cover and the queue kept getting parted by cars crossing the pavement going into hotels, and the people kept fighting with each other, well when a bus did come a car had parked in its place so it was like a stamped (which would have happened any way cause people were so hot and fed up)people parted from who ever they were with and 2 young girls trying to control the queue.(never). It was just a shambles. This was my most expensive holiday ever, and I think we should all be compensated. A very disappointed passenger Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Flew from Australia with 5 others and spent a few days touring around Beijing , seeing Lost City and Great Wall. Fast train down to Tanguu station in 2nd class was easy $18 Aus,then Taxi to cruise port on the day was easy enough as well ... Read More
Flew from Australia with 5 others and spent a few days touring around Beijing , seeing Lost City and Great Wall. Fast train down to Tanguu station in 2nd class was easy $18 Aus,then Taxi to cruise port on the day was easy enough as well $100 Yuan. Get on the Boat through the initial check in wasn't organized that well from the Non-Chinese side anyway, very slow, with little instruction or desk attendants. The Boat itself was in great condition and the Balcony room 11246 was a nice size and enough room for clothing. Mr Jimmy was very helpful we when needed anything during the voyage of 6 days Entertainment was on most nights of a good standard with some only so so but that the luck of the draw No self laundry. Casino just smelled of smoke even though non smoking. No Bar staff service away from Bar area like on other cruises. Four different free restaurants served same menu through whole cruise, seemed to based on Chinese cuisine until a lot of people complained then more variety became available. Breakfast was a mad house, survival of the fittest/ or biggest elbows Very little common courtesy shown by majority of passengers which made cruise a bad experience. I know Aussies can be loud and sometimes rude, like all nations but i would never do a cruise out of Asian/Beijing again and wouldn't recommend it to anyone either. Couldn't fault staff on boat as they tried to satisfy all passengers Dis-Embarkment was a breeze and we took own bags of at Hong Kong Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We found this cruise to be well below standard unfortunately. We were expecting things to be a little different to other cruises due to most guests being from Asia and we were right, it was different. Even the Australian Cruise Director ... Read More
We found this cruise to be well below standard unfortunately. We were expecting things to be a little different to other cruises due to most guests being from Asia and we were right, it was different. Even the Australian Cruise Director openly said that things were different on this cruise. But, despite the differences, the management team could have organised things much better to help. It felt almost as though the management and staff had given up on it all. There was already a bit of pre cruise tarnish in that the itinerary had been changed and the lack of shore excursions available was really poor. Here’s a list of the problems we experienced on board for any one who is interested. I’m not sure how much of it was entirely Royal Caribbean’s fault but at the end of day it’s them who we paid for a good experience after booking direct with them. (For demographics - as I know when I look at these reviews it’s helpful to know how old the reviewers are, if they have children etc - I’m 26 and was travelling with my wife who is 23. No children and our first time with Riyal Caribbean. Have cruised twice before, both with NCL, both brilliant experiences.) 1) Embarkation. Too long and incredibly disorganised. After queuing for hours to check in, despite pre checking in online and providing all information including photos and card details, we just had to do it all again. Staff member checking us in couldn’t understand us enough to answer our questions. No one advised whilst booking or checking in that our passports would be retained by staff and that we’d need a copy. 2) Obtaing copies of passports whilst on board. After realising we would need a copy we spent a day trying to call guest services as the queues were long. No answer. In the end we queue up around midnight as there was a shorter queue. Halfway through queuing 3 of the 4 staff left so just 1 person serving. Despite on being around 10 people when joining the queue it took over an hour to be served. When served I was told they didn’t know for sure what they could do. The man serving me said he’d put a request in and I should try to come back tomorrow evening for them to be printed. Couldn’t confirm would be done, couldn’t get anyone else for me to speak to, couldn’t have them delivered to cabin. 3) We has the soda package. Accross the ship there were 5 freestyle machines I could find. 1 was constantly our of service and the other 4 constantly empty. Throughout the entire cruise we got half a cup of plain coke from one. That was it. The bars served us coke when we asked but it did mean it was less convinient than it should have been and that we were limited to coke. 4) Shore ex wrote to our cabin on the Saturday, day before day 1 of Okinawa to say your excursion time has changed to 9.30 (was originally 8.30). This was booked for the Monday, day 2 in Okinawa as we had our own plans booked for the Sunday. Got back Sunday night and got the shore ex tickets out to check meeting location only to find they say 9.30 Sunday. So Shorex had changed both time and date. Checked letter again, letter did say the Sunday date next to the time BUT, did not say ‘Sunday’ nor did it say the ‘date’ had changed. Just the time. I’m on holiday Royal Caribbean I don’t know the date! Be clearer! So we missed it and only found out when it was too late to plan something else. So ended up with another hour at guest services and stayed on the ship on Monday. 5) Over inflated prices all over the ship. 6) Very poor selections in free dining. Picture menus poor. 7) Buffet awful to be in and usually we actually really enjoy buffets because of how convinient they are. 8) Sprentos pizza place only place for food outside meal times and felt like eating at a children’s restaurant. Nothing like the online description for the place. 9) Menus on the tv in cabin and online pre cruise completely different to restaurant menus. For example Amber and Oak food. 10) Staff generally didn’t know what was going on. Directed to buffet for food got there to find it closed. So many staff assured me freestyle machines would be topped up, never topped up. Events happening in venues which were not compass, asked staff what they were and they couldn’t say. 11) The pushing in, spitting, rudeness and lack of hand washing generally was unpleasant. However, we found the ship itself to be very nice, our balcony cabin was great. Pixels was good. Enjoyed Jamie’s Italian one night. It was also nice to be able to get a seat when and where you wanted and use the pools / hot tubs with no problem. Wouldn’t sail in Asia again. Would also be reluctant to use Royal Caribbean again. We already have another pre booked for November but this is from Florida and on Oasis so I’m sure it will be a step up. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
I have had some great cruises on Royal Caribbean but the one I got off last week left me disappointed. I would not recommend taking a cruise from Beijing on Ovation of the seas. The food was lousy and the service not much better. ... Read More
I have had some great cruises on Royal Caribbean but the one I got off last week left me disappointed. I would not recommend taking a cruise from Beijing on Ovation of the seas. The food was lousy and the service not much better. Some of the entertainers were good but the shows could be better. There was a lack of things to do in comparison with other RC cruises. This cruise was catering for the Chinese market and not westerners. I think it absurd that if they were not going to be interested in their western guests then why advertise to the Australian market? We didn't pay a lot for this cruise but felt that RC have a standard that they generally stick to, unfortunately not on this occassion. My advice would be if you are thinking about a cruise on RC out of China don't expect too much, and perhaps think again! , Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
I chose this cruise as part of a tour to China Warriors and Walls experience. Embarkation at Tianjin was utter chaos, queues to check-in were chaotic, unorganised, and very very long. The immigration process was equally bad taking hours ... Read More
I chose this cruise as part of a tour to China Warriors and Walls experience. Embarkation at Tianjin was utter chaos, queues to check-in were chaotic, unorganised, and very very long. The immigration process was equally bad taking hours queuing. Our luggage was taken at 11.15am but was not delivered to the cabin until 8.20pm. The food in the main restaurants was poor. Mashed potato, undercooked carrot and broccoli served with every main meal. Service disorganised and waiters very defensive when complaints made about food being cold. We abandoned the main restaurants and went to the self service where at least the food was hot even though finding a table was a struggle. Drinks were very expensive with 18% tax and gratuity added approximately $22 for 2 drinks. The specialty restaurants were excelkent. Wonderlad was a fabulous experience and Chops Grill superb. Entertainment was poor. Insufficient shore excursions for the number of passengers on board. There are very classy shops in the Royal Promenade, but the sales items sold each night on stalls down the centre are complete rubbish, cheap tat that would not be sold in any if the shops on board. Debarkation at Singapore was horrendous. The ship was 5 hours delayed into port due to a medical incident which meant transfer times to airports etc were disrupted greatly. Passengers were told to join the express exit carrying their own luggage which resulted in hundreds of people queuing for over 2 hours to debark. Unfortunately the Ovation of the Seas is not on my favourites list and I cannot recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
The cruise could also be called 'the queue that never moved' cruise. The ship felt very enclosed at times as the main routes around the ship were internal and often led to dead ends - perhaps they wanted to funnel us all through ... Read More
The cruise could also be called 'the queue that never moved' cruise. The ship felt very enclosed at times as the main routes around the ship were internal and often led to dead ends - perhaps they wanted to funnel us all through the shopping area regularly. To get from the Deck 3 main dining room to the theatre you had to walk through the cabin corridor. The embarkation was dreadful with no information and even when we asked the few staff visible they didn't know what all the queues were for. We had upgraded to a suite as a big retirement treat but only got a small advantage to boarding once we asked someone whether we were queuing in the right place (we weren't). The luggage arrived at our room at 7.30pm - too late to change for evening meal. We feel our cabin was very good (bearing in kind we had paid a lot extra) but we didn't get the service we would normally expect, having to ask for shampoo, etc. to be replenished, no ice in the room. The Concierge lounge was good but again we got very little extra service. The Coastal Kitchen suite-only dining room was excellent and made the main dining room seem even poorer in comparison. We wanted to eat our evening meal in the main dining room to be with friends we had made on the trip. The second night in the main Chic dining room was appalling for service and meal quality - the only lamb shank I've ever had that wouldn't fall off the bone for 3 people over an hour after sitting down. We all complained and saw the chef and dining room manager. It did improve the next night and onwards, but no real explanation for that bad night. We decided it was either understaffing or illness on board that was never fully (openly) acknowledged. The Windjammer was always full and finding a table was very difficult. This is the first cruise we have been on where you needed to keep the daily planner on us to find out where and when you could eat (only one small café was 24 hours). Trip organisation was very poor with yet more interminable queuing, first to get into the Theatre, then for stickers and then usually an hour wait to disembark. Most of the trips were over-priced and poor itineraries. Okinawa should NOT be used as a port stop. Entertainment was poor other than the main cast shows and some resident musicians. In general there were less than usual activities. Some positives are included in the fur coat reference, the robot bar, the North star viewing sphere, the bumper cars (if you were prepared to queue) and individuals like Virgil and his cocktail classes. There did seem to be a lot more extra payment dining rooms. It felt as if there were too few staff for too many clients. There was also a problem with sickness on board that was not admitted. We are aware of 1 cabin needing to be put ashore, another with 7 days of sickness and 2 medical emergencies on the last sea day meaning the ship turned round to the last port and we arrived 5 hours late. There were several cabins with Do Not Disturb signs for many hours and deep cleans being done. The captain's daily reminders to wash our hands might also have been a clue. Overall we would not want to use this ship again, and feel the extra glitz did not equate to glamour and certainly not luxury. After our cruise the ship was repositioning to Australia but we felt they had started to change over during our cruise and we had not had the advantage of lower repositioning prices. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
I had to wait for six months before I could write down this review more objectively. Meaning without the disbelief or all the other first negative reactions. So in short - everything the others have already written here is completely ... Read More
I had to wait for six months before I could write down this review more objectively. Meaning without the disbelief or all the other first negative reactions. So in short - everything the others have already written here is completely accurate. However, after telling the stories after half a year, it all feels quite entertaining. Not ever on our nine RCI cruises before have we felt like being in a candid camera. Or in a sitcom, not in the audience but on the stage before cameras. Because why and where else would all those silly things take place. You have the basic setup: A slightly unconfident captain that gets a totally inexperienced crew who probably was supposed to be somewhere else. Like repairing cars, milking cows, studying in high school ... who knows. Then they are given this brand new amazing shiny ship with all the features and gimmicks nobody has heard of and obviously have no idea how to use them. Then, the ones who have ever held a spoon are made chefs, etc. Train the ”crew” for an hour. Bring in the customers. Let the hell break loose. All the rubber cheese jokes, misunderstandings, arguments and mass fights will follow inevitably. No screenwriting needed. I particurally liked the calling for tender tickets scene, by a Jamaican crew member. ”A3!” - ”Was it E3 or I3?” - ”Yes!” Why am I writing this now is that we are thinking to go back on Ovation soon (19 Nights - Honolulu to Sydney). You have to believe in good and give everybody another chance. If things are still failing after one year from this review, they are never going to improve. Dining: We have eaten dinners on nine other RCI ships. I would rate the previous ones quite high, like 4/5 stars or so. However, the experience on Ovation was 2/5 at it's best. The waiters were pretty clueless in general, but the biggest disappointment were the ingredients of the meals. In Asia, particularly in China the dairy products are far from western standards. So the "rubber or cheese" was not really a joke but a real situation. However, after Hong Kong things improved a bit. Eventually we kept going to 270° for breakfast and Windjammer for the rest of the day. Entertainment: Not quite on par with other RCI ships either. The "Pixels" was only okay, you couldn't avoid feeling that that the crew was barely walking through the show but wanted to be somewhere else instead. Onboarding / arriving / departing: Pure chaos, lucky that not more people got hurt. Activities: Not so bad! All the latest gadgets were entertaining and even the queues were not bad. Maybe because there were not so many children on a transfer cruise. As a 30-40 yrs couple we drove more bumper cars than all in our lives before combined. Stateroom: The only safe haven where you felt like "home". The stateroom waiter was luckily of the normal RCI standard, which is awesome. Excursions: Didn't take. Ports of call were really intriguing, but usually all the action happened 1-2 hrs from the port itself. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Firstly I chose this cruise for the itinerary going to the Philippines but it was changed to Vietnam This was also a place I wanted to see so didn’t cancel Not sure that was a good idea I have been on many cruises and many Royal ... Read More
Firstly I chose this cruise for the itinerary going to the Philippines but it was changed to Vietnam This was also a place I wanted to see so didn’t cancel Not sure that was a good idea I have been on many cruises and many Royal Caribbean I am quite loyal to them but not sure after this cruise The organisation was bad from start to finish from boarding to disembarking The food was the worst I have ever had ranging from cold to inedible I have to say the staff were all amazing and did their best The entertainment was the worst I have seen I have never seen so many walk out of performances It seemed all the entertainers were from Australia and the standard was not the usual Royal Caribbean produced I don’t know what has happened to Royal Caribbean I spent the whole cruise trying to convince other passengers that this was not the normal way a cruise holiday should be and to convince them to give R C another chance but I fear they have already made up their minds If this is the way R C is going to continue I fear I may even jump ship Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Chose the cruise as part of a package sold by Planet Cruise. Royal Caribbean website made the cruise experience sound fantastic for 'tasting' a little of several countries in the luxury of a modern ship with up to date ... Read More
Chose the cruise as part of a package sold by Planet Cruise. Royal Caribbean website made the cruise experience sound fantastic for 'tasting' a little of several countries in the luxury of a modern ship with up to date facilities. Planet Cruise package also added 3 days in Beijing prior to sailing and followed by 5 days in Bali. Sounded wonderful. Very poor information beforehand from Planet Cruise or Roya Caribbean about immigration rules, particularly for China. Problems in Manchester airport as Cathay Pacific airline staff knew nothing about the Chinese 144 day visa free pass. It took 30 minutes before we were allowed to fly as staff trawlled their data bases and phoned for advice before letting us board. Beuracracy of the 144 day pass form filling in China meant an hour or so before we finally picked up our cases. Despite the problems we were aware of others who had paid over £250 each for visas which were not needed. We found out about the pass ourselves. No advice from Royal Catibbean or Planet Cruise. Embarkation - shambles. Arrived at the cruise terminal at midday to the sight of thousands of people queing. We were pleased that we had checked in online as advised by Royal Caribbean - wrong! It was 4.30pm before we finally boarded the ship not having had anything to eat or drink since leaving Beijing at 9.30am. We were handed a piece of paper with boarding instructions as we dropped off our cases. Very poor signage as we entered the terminal, very few staff, and those staff available had poor English. We queued like cattle with others all not knowing if this was the correct queue and didnt know what we were queueing for. After finally compketing additional forms we neared the front of the check-in desk only to find we needed 2 A4 copies of our passports. Some people knew this, the majority didnt. I have checked our information from Royal Caribbean and cannot find any reference to this. Conveniently (!!!!) Royal Caribbean had two photocopiers in the terminal for this purpose and a small coffee shop had seen a market in using their photocopier for 1 yuan for this purpose. Slight problem - the photocopier queues were horrendous and added another 45 minutes to our wait to get on the ship. Finally, after jumping through these hoops we felt we could relax as we got on an escalator with our boarding passes only to find we then had Chinese immigration to go through again. The 144 hour pass bureaucracy added another hour to our boarding experience. There is a lot I could write about the lovely, modern ship, with a wonderful balcony cabin, fantastic underpaid cabin staff, lovely restaurants with excellent food. However, our experience was spoiled by the terrible customer service experience from boarding, onboard, and disembarkation. Onboard the Guest Services desk and Excursion desks were poorly staffed. Guest services queues were an average of 30 minutes for minor issues. Eg cabin key did not work after boarding. Usually, only about 5 staff available at Guest Services for 4500 passengers. Likewise, Excursion desk and 2 or 3 staff and very poor knowledge about the excursions. Disembarkation - due to an unfortunate medical emergency the ship was 5 hours late arriving in Singapore. So many people needed information and help with changing their ongoing travel plans that Guest Services could not cope. After queuing for 30 minutes I was told that I could use the cabin phone to contact my taxi company and the cost would be reimbursed. However, the phone line didn't work. I was then told there were too many people dialling at the same time. We kept listening out for updates on arrival times, tips for ongoing travel, etc. Very, vety few announcements were made which would have been helpful as many people queued at Guest Services with the same questions. General announcements would have helped us and staff. Annoyingly, there were regular announcements about Bingo and other activities despite the common topic of conversation amongst passengers were their ongoing travel concerns. Further queuing at Guest Services gave the advice that we would disembark quicker if we took our own cases off the ship. The next morning we went to the disembarkation point only to find thousands of others had obvioysly been given the same advice! Staff were nowhere to be seen and as passengers eventually started to disembark arguments broke out as passengers tried to jump the queue or push forward. It was bedlam at the cruise terminal with evetyone ring to catch rearranged taxis. After didembarking at 11.30am oyr taxi took us to the airport at 2.45 and we checked in for our flight to Bali with 8 minutes to spare before check in closed. Royal Caribbean put profits before people. We were treated as commodities and not people. Several services on the ship involved additional charges. Cabin staff and restaurant staff were plentiful and helpful. Guest services staff were far to few for the numbers of passengers. Entertainment was ofva poor standard. More like Butlins. Audiences often walked out of shows. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Chose this cruise because if the Japan itinerary. Having been on a total of five RCCL/Celebrity cruises in the past, we felt comfortable knowing that seeing a completely different part of the world would be met by the familiarity of a ... Read More
Chose this cruise because if the Japan itinerary. Having been on a total of five RCCL/Celebrity cruises in the past, we felt comfortable knowing that seeing a completely different part of the world would be met by the familiarity of a brand we knew well. Boy were we wrong! These ships should be branded for the Chinese market and western cruisers should be notified that certain things are unavailable on these cruises. We had absolutely zero problem with the cultural nuances, this is partly why we chose this cruise, but when things like the Solarium are unavailable to adults and only reserved for suite guests I have a problem... there was absolutely no escaping little kids anywhere on the ship. Of course an inquiry to officers on the ship basically amounted to a “too bad it was buried somewhere in the fine print.” Also normal food and beverage was unavailable. Things like an Aperol, a very basic beverage was nowhere to be found and met a “sorry the market doesn’t support it” even though many others were requesting the same... the ports were all great even though there were basically zero excursions offered by RCCL. Total joke. What saved the cruise from being a complete disaster was the service from the line level staff; it was the best we’ve ever received on a RCCL cruise. Overall condition and cleanliness of the ship - No issue here whatsoever. The ship actually felt cleaner and better maintained than the newer Anthem of the Seas despite being an older ship! I can't comment on the Solarium because we weren't allowed in as previously stated. Stateroom - perfect!!! Service - Absolutely spectacular from the line-level staff. We were greeted by absolutely everyone! We have never received friendlier service from any ship on any line. The officer staff was absolutely not present anywhere on the ship. The one leader who was wonderful was Bing in the main dining rooms. She deserves a huge shout-out! Bartenders, servers and our stateroom attendant were absolutely fantastic and salvaged this cruise for us. Food Quality - poor. There were very, very few western selections on the main dining room menus and were prepared with zero imagination. Onion soup was watery, steaks were overcooked and cold, etc. One day we were four minutes late for lunch in the main dining room and the maitre d' would't let us in. Elevators were slow and packed and the clocks on the ship were wrong but that didn't seem to matter. At this point the only option was the Windjammer (not an option - see other reviews of this ship and you'll know why) or options with a surcharge. Poor, poor, poor... Bars - hard to find one that was open at times and liquor selections were completely unacceptable. They basically cleared the shelves because "the Chinese market doesn't drink." The robot bar was an option but I wonder how the robots spend the automatically assessed gratuity? Ports and Shore Excursions - We did our own thing because there were basically no shore excursions offered. I think just one in each port. We did do the disembarkation excursion to the Great Wall and it was awesome! Great tour guide who made the long bus ride enjoyable. As I mentioned previously we had absolutely no issue with all the cultural nuances associated with this cruise. We expected it and actually learned a bit of Mandarin along the way. We engaged with the other passengers whenever possible and truly enjoyed learning more about this wonderful culture. Our issue is with RCCL and their dismissive attitude about the lack of Solarium access and the bars and restaurants. Basically told us "too bad it was in the fine print." Will never again sail with RCCL and just cancelled a Celebrity Summit cruise we were booked on in February, 2020. It was that bad... Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
If you and read this, this cruise is probably not for you. We take Royal for their brand consistency and attention to detail. This one fails. IF YOU PLAN AN EXCURSION IN ENGLISH it will be cancelled and you wont find out until you ... Read More
If you and read this, this cruise is probably not for you. We take Royal for their brand consistency and attention to detail. This one fails. IF YOU PLAN AN EXCURSION IN ENGLISH it will be cancelled and you wont find out until you get there. After questioning staff we are told most are cancelled as there is insufficient English speaking passengers on the ship signing up. On ours there were probably no more than 3 or 4 passengers on the ship with English as a primary language. If we knew we had zero chance of an excursion we could have found something else. They call this a "Cultural Cruise" but who knows what that means. Royal needs to be up front that this cruise is not your normal cruise (even staff admit it). The bars are empty. I do mean empty. One bartender could not even make a rum and coke. I had to tell her what bottles were rum. The ship is for a Chinese audience. Even the Irish Bar serves Chinese food. The specialty restaurants were good but expect nothing but Chinese food in the rest of the dinning areas. The food is nowhere near as good as any other Royal cruise we have been on. Staff is nice but the normal Royal International staff is much less prevalent and Chinese staff seem a bit untrained. All staff is polite and mostly helpful so nor problems with the staff and as for the excursion desk, their hands are tied by Royal Corporate. Do yourself a favor and save your money. Royal should not be offering this cruise to an English speaking market. Its not up to their brand expectations and you will be left frustrated. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
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