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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
This cruise and the experience was amazing. As 4 of only a limited number of English speaking guests on board, we were treated a bit differently from the other passengers. The staff from the stateroom (Ya Mei) to the Dining Room (Heri, ... Read More
This cruise and the experience was amazing. As 4 of only a limited number of English speaking guests on board, we were treated a bit differently from the other passengers. The staff from the stateroom (Ya Mei) to the Dining Room (Heri, William and others) to the bartenders and others on the ship went out of their way to make us comfortable. Given the limited number of English speakers on board, English activities such as Trivia games, Karaoke ...etc. allowed for participation whenever we wanted. The shows were not that great (kinda boring) but the talent was pretty amazing. The casino was the place for people to smoke so we didn't gamble too much. Most of the shops on board we for higher end goods. Don't expect the regular T-Shirts and such. The ports in Japan and Tianjin in China were amazing. The choice of shore excursions are limited so English speaking guests may want to do research and venture out on their own (like we did). The one exception was Kyoto. The city is 2 hours away from the port by train so you may want to consider this option. The dining was great with both Chinese and International options. A daily menu of steak, chicken, mashed and fries and french onion soup will help those who are "meat and potato eaters." Embarkation was quick and easy and debarkation was the same. As a frequent cruiser and traveler, I would advise everyone who wants to have an awesome time to do some research, watch some videos, get your visa and GO! If you understand that you are going to experience a new culture, this will be the trip of a lifetime! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Just wanted a short holiday cruise so chose this one. Ship is magnificent very large!!! Everything was carried out well. Beautiful meals in the 3 restaurants. All the little eateries were great as well. We were on a cruise with about 4000 ... Read More
Just wanted a short holiday cruise so chose this one. Ship is magnificent very large!!! Everything was carried out well. Beautiful meals in the 3 restaurants. All the little eateries were great as well. We were on a cruise with about 4000 chinese which was a little daunting but the staff treated us "internationals" very well indeed.As only 6 day cruise ports were limited Beijing Kumamoto and Hong Kong. We made some great friends who we hope to keep in contact with in the future. Probably would not go on an all asian cruise again. Would rather leave from Australia and return to Australia. I am not keen on flying so probably would stick to just flying to or from Hawaii and cruising the other way. Maybe just around Australia next time. Ovation was absolutely beautiful and I would recommend it to anyone, as I said very large and did not feel much movement from the rough seas we experienced. As I said limited Ports we had adays tour of Beijing going to Forbidden city, Jade factory, great wall and a health clinic. In Kumamoto we caught the bullet train in to see the Castle and had a bite to eat before getting normal train back to meet up with the shuttle to take us back to the ship. Hong Kong was great shopped and went sight seeing. We dined at three restaurants and found the service and the food wonderful So in all a lovely cruise> Read Less
28 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We stayed the night before departure at The Sheraton Tianjin however it would have been just as easy to catch a bullet train and taxi from Beijing to the Tianjin International Cruise Terminal. Unfortunately the cruise ship was late to ... Read More
We stayed the night before departure at The Sheraton Tianjin however it would have been just as easy to catch a bullet train and taxi from Beijing to the Tianjin International Cruise Terminal. Unfortunately the cruise ship was late to arrive due to morning weather conditions and the masses waiting to board were left in line without any announcement as to the issue. Once on board all troubles melted away. As one of only about 70 non-chinese passengers we were certainly in the minority however the RC staff were extremely sympathetic and it was never an issue. It was expected that a cruise departing and returning from the same chinese port would be heavily populated by the local residents. We did meet some lovely people however language was a major barrier. Onboard the activities were terrific, the North Star took us to amazing heights, the iFly allowed us to pretend we were falling from an airplane, the food in all restaurants was fresh and plentiful, the entertainment was exceptional. Pixels light show was unbelievable. Our room was always clean, comfortable and provided beautiful views from the balcony. I look forward to my next Royal Caribbean Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
The cruise started off with a long wait to get on the ship, but we barely had to line up for anything else afterwards, although a lot of older guests seemed to complain about lines to us. We only had to wait at Guest Services for about 10 ... Read More
The cruise started off with a long wait to get on the ship, but we barely had to line up for anything else afterwards, although a lot of older guests seemed to complain about lines to us. We only had to wait at Guest Services for about 10 minutes the entire time of the cruise and even less for our shore excursion. I guess you just have to pick the right time of day to go. This ship has been based in Asia for quite some time but the staff spoke English very well even though it was their second language, we even attempted to learn Mandarin from the Activities Manager and trying to learn a whole other language is quite difficult so I could forgive them if at times I didn't quite understand them. Many of the passengers were quite disrespectful and expected the Asian crew members to speak fluent English with no hint of an accent which was quite unfair. The food was good, probably not the best of the cruises I've been on but still enjoyable, we never went hungry. The service was fantastic in both the dinning room as well as the Windjammer. Being some of the younger guests (in our 20s) we found a lot of older passengers wouldn't let us join them during busy periods in the buffet so we sometimes had to leave and come back a bit later which did spoil some of the dinning experience. Although we did meet some fantastic people from all over the world on the ship. We only did one shore excursion because we found them to be a bit over-priced and we didn't mind catching public transport or taxis around instead. The one shore excursion we did had no wait times and every other time we got off the ship we just waited for the lines to go down so we could walk straight off but still had plenty of time to see what we wanted. We didn't see much of the entertainment but what we did see was enjoyable, especially the ice show which was fantastic. The activities on the ship were also enjoyable, we really enjoyed learning to ice skate, our Mandarin lessons and trivia. Our stateroom was a decent size and it was very well looked after by our stateroom attendant who was easily our favourite person on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
Overall, I was quite happy with the cruise. There were 2600 passengers (approx. 800 short of capacity) so nothing was too squeezy. Hate to think what it may be like if the ship was full. Embarkation was easy. Cabin - we had an inside ... Read More
Overall, I was quite happy with the cruise. There were 2600 passengers (approx. 800 short of capacity) so nothing was too squeezy. Hate to think what it may be like if the ship was full. Embarkation was easy. Cabin - we had an inside looking over the promenade on deck 8. It was wonderful if you don't like an inside cabin and so was the price. We heard very little noise from the promenade and I would book one of those cabins again. The couches in the cabin were looking a little worn but nothing else in the cabin did. Staff - dining and cabin staff were excellent. Nothing was too much trouble. Staff all around the ship were friendly including those in the cake shop. Food. I would give the food a 4 out of 5. I am vegetarian and there were plenty of options for me. I loved the cake café where one could get tea or coffee any time with a little cake. I only liked the cranola cake but it was there all the time. You could also get fruit and muffins etc. from the cake shop during breakfast time. I loved the fact that the cake shop was central and one could get a cup of tea before going to bed. There was tea/coffee making facilities in your cabin but I preferred the cake shop. Tea - it was reported the tea RCCL offered was not good but I just used 2 bags of either English breakfast or black tea and it was fine. Ship - The very expensive merchandise was a joke. Surely, goods priced for most passengers was a better option for RCCL. There were hardly ever any passengers in the watch/jewellery shops and the bag shop. Passengers went crazy over the $25 dollar watches on special but one has to wonder if they lasted. The one watch I wanted wasn't even available so why display the watches that will be on sale if only different styles are offered. The ship is beautiful and I loved the concept of the ship with the Promenade or mall on deck 5. It was just such a shame the shopping wasn't worth it because everything was too costly. I would cruise the voyager class ships again. Tours - We went on the Ship tour to Bangkok which was very good. The tour in Singapore with an airport drop off was just so so. Entertainment - the bands around the ship were excellent. The nightly entertainment was OK but not excellent. The ice skating show was good. As the ship was eventually travelling to Australia, it was good to see Australian entertainers on board. Pool deck - we enjoyed staying in the solarium which was not fully enclosed but that was OK with us. One had to have the card swiped to get towels but still there were way too many deck chairs saved with towels on them and no people for hours. I saw one attempt of the deck steward noting the time and taking towels away (late in the afternoon). He did not touch deck chairs that had other items on them. Gym - always got access to a treadmill. Disembarkation was good but I was on a tour. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
We have just returned from a thirty day cruise from Tianjin China to Sydney. Back to back. Loved the cruise, especially the ports of call on the first cruise,, Nagasaki, Fukoka , Okinawa, all in Japan, then Hong Kong ,Vietnam , Thailand ... Read More
We have just returned from a thirty day cruise from Tianjin China to Sydney. Back to back. Loved the cruise, especially the ports of call on the first cruise,, Nagasaki, Fukoka , Okinawa, all in Japan, then Hong Kong ,Vietnam , Thailand and Singapore, 2 Nd cruise was to Malaysia then to Darwin , Brisbane & Sydney. A wonderful cruise , ships staff all very helpful and friendly . The panorama coffee shop was a hit with everyone where you could go make a drink any time of the day or night, on board shops a disaster, don't cater for Australians at all and all items were very expensive. The alcohol twice and more of what you would pay in Australia. Entertainment ok except some of the magician acts a bit weak. Loved Rhonda Burchmore, she got a standing ovation, think they need more entertainers like her to suit the age group cruising. We did several ships tours which were good. The cruise directors terrible , started off with someone called Fang, he was replaced and we ended up with Luke what a rude person so full of himself, do hope our next cruise he is not on board. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
We travelled as a family of two adults and a teenager on the Voyager of the Seas. Our cruise departed Tianjin on 8th October 2013 for 16 nights arriving in Singapore. I enjoyed reading of other’s experiences on this grand ship before we ... Read More
We travelled as a family of two adults and a teenager on the Voyager of the Seas. Our cruise departed Tianjin on 8th October 2013 for 16 nights arriving in Singapore. I enjoyed reading of other’s experiences on this grand ship before we took our first ever cruise. Our choice of cruise was definitely because of the itinerary. It was a balanced compromise for our family to do a cruise (for my husband) visiting the Asian exotic ports including many we had never been to before (for me) on a ship with so much to offer for families (for the teen daughter). We travelled to Beijing and stayed for a few days prior before taking a shared minivan transfer for the two hour trip to Tianjin with 3 other couples -other Cruise Critic forum members. Check in at the port was very smooth and we were able to check out our cabin within an hour. Ports Nagasaki – Very easy disembarkation. The tram stop was an easy walk away and simple to navigate on our own for some sightseeing to the atomic bomb museum and Memorial Park.. Fukuoka – Canal city is the main shopping mall, nearby there is a couple of temples and a shopping street where you can find a Hakata doll shop. We took taxis to and from the ship port. Naha- Easy 20 minutes to walk to the monorail to go straight to the historic castle. Hong Kong – Landed at the new Kai Tak terminal. The ship organised shuttle buses to and from a central shopping centre that had a subway station. Easy to get around and a trip to the peak is a must! Wonderful food! The best Peking duck I have ever had! Hi Chi Minh – The city is a long way from the port. About 2 hours each way. We stayed over in Ho Chi Minh at the Grand Silverland hotel (fantastic hotel!) near Ben Than Market and took Vesper Tours of the city and countryside-Great fun and Highly recommended! The only downer was the long time it took to get off the ship in port. Immigration was rather sticky! Thailand – Again the city is a long way from the port. We stayed overnight in Bangkok – could not recommend the hotel this time! Singapore – Disembarkation was smooth. The Diamond Princess moored at the same time but there was not a huge wait for taxis and other transport. Food I did not really know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised. If you did not like the food then you could simply choose something else. The Windjammer was great – it really does have something for everyone! Hamburgers, sandwiches or a plate of pasta at any time. Afternoon tea with finger sandwiches, cakes and scones with jam and cream! Three course breakfasts with my favourite pancakes with blueberries and fresh cream. The sea day poolside barbecues were wonderful with fresh salads and the best char grilled beef and pork ribs! The main dining room was great for breakfast, lunch with the Tutti salad bar and dinner. We ate in there most nights and enjoyed being spoiled by our very attentive waiters Mevin and Euclid. These guys were fantastic and made sure we enjoyed the cruise experience every night. They would bring us too many extras and their recommendations were always spot on! I am surprised at criticisms about the food on other reviews as I can only say that our dining experience was excellent every night! We chose My Time dining and found that worked well for us and we had a routine and the same service most nights. We never had to wait for a table at all. Cabin We had a balcony cabin (8222) and it was very clean and functional. There was plenty of space to hang our clothes in the walk in robe and the bathroom had plenty of space in the behind mirror shelves. I used an over door hanger as per other cruisers recommendation and it was great for keeping clutter off the limited desk space. The other top tip I was thankful for was to take a whiteboard marker to leave messages for other cabin mates on the mirror. The bed was very large and our Room Steward Marc kept our room tidy and clean. He was always helpful and nothing was too much trouble to ask for. Service I enjoyed the service on the Ship. Everyone from cleaners to bar staff was friendly and helpful. The ease with which potential troubles were dealt with at Guest Services showed the professionalism of the staff at Royal Caribbean. Always a smile and help when you need it. Overall we have a fabulous time on the Voyager of the Seas. I would highly recommend a trip upon this ship and look forward to returning to this ship one day and travelling with Royal Caribbean.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
Hi thought I would share some of my experiences as I have just returned from a 12 night cruise on the Voyager of the seas. The staff were very friendly. The food in the main dining room was ok, but not up restaurant standards. It was mass ... Read More
Hi thought I would share some of my experiences as I have just returned from a 12 night cruise on the Voyager of the seas. The staff were very friendly. The food in the main dining room was ok, but not up restaurant standards. It was mass produced food. I was surprised to see how many recipes they got wrong. I would have thought they would have a top world chef researching this. On the up side you could order as much as you like and if you didn't like your meal there was no trouble in getting a new one. The staff couldn't do enough for you. The activities on the ship in the main were good. Although I thought they didn't need a skate track and an ice rink. After all how many people can skate and to have two activities that only cater for these people seemed a bit unfair. The Amusement arcade was good, but no one used it and I think this is because it was to difficult to use as you had to have American dollars and exchange them in a machine and as the ship is a cashless society no one carries cash. The overall appearance of the ship was a little tired, seemed to have lost its sparkle. Looked like they were struggling. But on reflection the ship is going in for a refit soon and all the money is probably getting spent on their new ship. Probably the most disappointing for me was the day spa. We did the right thing we thought by booking on line before we went, only to find out that they had specials on the ship. The towel I had was so ripped that my partner said at the end my arm was through the rip, and I could feel my toes also getting caught in holes. This made me look at my partners towel which wasn't as bad but was also fraying. Then at the end they spend about 10 mins trying to sell us something. The massage wasn't that good. There was no music, no herbal tea. For $330 I expect to be made feel special. The wine package was good and you can take what you don't finish at dinner to any of the bars or to your room or they will keep it for you for the next night. The organisation for getting on and off the ship was fantastic. And the welcome we got at the ports was excellent and very well set up. There was only one port where there was few problems but they had never had a ship dock before so I am sure they will get it right next time. The ship excursion's are very expensive. We joined a group on Cruise Critic and got excursions much cheaper. Also Most ports have free transport or taxis which is much cheaper. We felt and so did others that they were trying to get money out of you where ever they could. I guess it is a business after all... Over all we had a great time. I would highly recommend a cruise if you love food, enjoy a relaxing holiday or are elderly or have trouble getting around. Tracy   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
We sailed on Oct 8th Voyager cruise from Tianjin to Singapore and truly had a wonderful cruise. It had a few negative aspects but overall we had a fabulous time. I have sailed Voyager before in 2006. Did not like the condition of the ship ... Read More
We sailed on Oct 8th Voyager cruise from Tianjin to Singapore and truly had a wonderful cruise. It had a few negative aspects but overall we had a fabulous time. I have sailed Voyager before in 2006. Did not like the condition of the ship back then (after only doing year long Caribbean cruises it was very rundown and tired in my opinion), but was pleasantly surprised this time. Our cabin 1624 was in excellent shape, with new TV, comfy bed, new sofa and a decent/clean bathroom with tub. Even the carpet was in good shape. Much much better than on Brilliance of the Seas in April. we did learn however later in the cruise, that not all cabins were in good condition. I guess we were just lucky being on deck 10. Embarkation was probably the best ever. There was so much paperwork to do, so many forms to fill out, passport copies needed, but RCL was very well prepared in my opinion. Check In staff had their act together and made sure everyone had what they needed. We sailed late due to immigration officers not being ready to leave the ship in time. No problem , we reached our next port Fukuoka in time. The demographics of this cruise probably surprised everyone, including RCL. Quiet a few cancelled the cruise months before ( as we learned here on cruisecritic ) due to the fear it will be a mostly Asian passenger dominated cruise. Well, it was not. Maybe 30% Asians, the rest from all corners of the world. A very diverse crowd. RCL was probably planning on having more Asians, the dinner menus at least reflected this the first 5 days. It was half Asian, half Western dining options. A welcomed change by all those experienced guests that are quite tired of RCL's never changing menu options. The food itself was OK. Sometimes good, sometimes less so. RCL really needs to improve their food in the dining room. We had breakfast and lunch either in the dining room ( good ) or at Windjammer ( the usual ). There was an additional BBQ at the pool every sea day, which was a nice touch. Johnny Rockets was also good. So there was a lot of variety to choose from every day. Portofinos was excellent, much better than on other RCL ships. We booked all our excursions except one through RCL before the cruise and were happy with them. They added a few options that were not available online and we had no problem changing one excursion. We received decent port information to the stateroom, there were also lectures about the ports/countries visited. I was amazed to see that many many people only booked their excursions sometimes only hours before reaching the port. The excursion desk was Always crowded, people often booked at the last minute. However as said, my experience was that RCL was very flexible and cooperative here. Guest relations was always full as well. Mostly because a lot of people have obviously not heard of banks that sell you foreign currencies for a reasonable price. SO most people seem to have come unprepared and rather used RCL as a currency exchange at a very bad rate of course, blocking guest relations mostly every day. Staff was trying hard to please everyone. I found them all very friendly and helpful, especially the Chinese ones. Our concierge was Chinese and very nice, so was our waitress and her assistant. They were brilliant! Entertainment was good to very good. Gordon our cruise director could not have been better. His humour and energy were 100% right for us. Organization in the different ports was excellent. Again kudos to the Voyager staff. The ports were all good, despite the fact that voyager had to berth in container ports nearly everywhere due to its size. That was maybe not so good in Vietnam (due to the long distance to HCM City) but also sometimes no problem at all like in Hong Kong due to the free and well organized shuttle to Ocean Terminal. However, at the end of the cruise RCL, as well as everyone involved in Singapore totally dropped the ball. Disembarkation at the brand new terminal was rather a nightmare, mostly due to the fact that 2 big ships were in port at the same time. Singapore was not prepared for Princess and RCL at the same time. It was a total shame for everyone involved. Chaos everywhere, totally overwhelmed and unprepared tour staff, bus drivers etc. I have never seen anything like this before. RCL had warned us before, that Princess would be in port and taxis most likely at shortage. That's why we booked a city tour with airport drop off. What a mistake!!!! Not only did we have to wait for the tout to begin over 1 hour, because luggage from the ship did not arrive for some passengers booked on the tour. In the end our bus was the last one, picking up passengers from the other 2 buses that had simply left with only little delay without the booked passengers. Our luggage did not go in the same bus we were in, but was said to be transported to the airport... We had mixed feelings about this, especially after seeing them marking the luggage tags with the needed terminal number ( there are 3 in SIN !!) at the very last minute by hand amidst all the chaos in front of the terminal. Did I mention everyone in charge seemed totally unprepared ?!? To make a long story short, after an exhausting excursion through the Singapore heat, we arrived at the airport ( missing 1 hour of the e4 hour trip of course). Well, rest assured, they gave us that hour back by letting us search for our bags, which were not where they were supposed to be. Bags were just dropped curbside, unattended in front of each terminal. A lot of them in front of the wrong one. Some bags seemed to have been left behind at the port, despite having the respective luggage tag. Most passengers were really angry and in disbelief about the whole situation. A terrible ending to a fab cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
We also were on the Voyager of the Seas Asian cruise from October 8th - October 22nd. The cruise went from Tianjin,China to Fukuoka,Japan, Jeju Island, South Korea, Xiamen, China, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Bangkok,Thailand, ... Read More
We also were on the Voyager of the Seas Asian cruise from October 8th - October 22nd. The cruise went from Tianjin,China to Fukuoka,Japan, Jeju Island, South Korea, Xiamen, China, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Bangkok,Thailand, and Singapore. We, on the whole, thought it was a fabulous cruise!!!!! Yes, there were some negatives, but the positives definitely outweighed the negatives!!! The biggest negative for us, was that RCCL called us in August and told us it was going to be a "Chinese Immersion Cruise" with mostly Chinese passengers, food, entertainment, and languages. They actually implied that we would have a horrible experience. Nothing was further from the truth as there were mostly Britons, Australians, Americans, and Canadians!!! Only English was spoken. Check in was horrible and disorganized but at debarkation we walked right off the ship with no waiting and found our luggage!!! The food wasn't the greatest but the kitchen staff went out of their way to cater to my special diet. The staff all over the ship was exceptional! Most important of all, the fellow passengers were wonderful, and they made this a fantastic cruise. We met people from all over the world and formed some wonderful friendships!!! The ports were mostly amazing!!! We especially loved Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Singapore! We booked a few private excursions in Vietnam and Bangkok and did others with the cruise line. The excursions we did with the cruise line were, for the most part, great. The only port we did not think was so great was our stop in Japan. All of our tour guides were very good and informative. Yes, RCCL has to get their act together in some areas, but on the whole, it was a fabulous cruise!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
This was only our 2nd cruise with Royal Caribbean and some of the online reviews of their Asia cruises had me worried. I need not have worried as it was generally a great cruise. Food/restaurants were excellent as usual. You would need ... Read More
This was only our 2nd cruise with Royal Caribbean and some of the online reviews of their Asia cruises had me worried. I need not have worried as it was generally a great cruise. Food/restaurants were excellent as usual. You would need to be hard to please to not find something to your food tastes. Facilities were also great - we enjoyed the North Star, rock wall, whirlpools etc. Shows were very good. The mix of passengers was good - mostly German, British, Australian, New Zealanders, American and a few from various parts of Asia. I only have a couple of negatives - boarding was a very slow process (much slower than our previous Mediterranean cruise with this company). My other concern was our bed - mattress was extremely hard and pillows uncomfortable - one very thin and one bigger but both hard and unsupportive. I was surprised, to say the least, that bedding on a cruise ship of this class was not better. I did raise my concerns as the hard mattress was giving me neck problems. Our steward put some doonas on top of the mattress which helped a bit, but this problem really needs addressing. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This holiday was called the Walls & Warriors which started off with a 6 day land tour arranged by Cruise 1st during Chinese Golden week! Followed by a 12 night cruise on the Ovation of the Seas. We started our journey to Xian from ... Read More
This holiday was called the Walls & Warriors which started off with a 6 day land tour arranged by Cruise 1st during Chinese Golden week! Followed by a 12 night cruise on the Ovation of the Seas. We started our journey to Xian from Edinburgh via Frankfurt & Beijing on 1st October. After travelling for a very long time we were met at the airport by a guide from CBT holidays, arranged by Cruise 1st. There were 4 of us on the flight from Xian that arrived around 2.30pm, what we didn’t know was that we would have to wait until every other international flight arrived with all the guests before we could leave the airport & that wasn’t until around 5pm so not a great start but anyway we were on the way to the hotel until the guide informed us that we were getting taken for dinner first & not to our hotel but a buffet restaurant 40 mins drive away from the hotel which we stopped at briefly as 2 passengers demanded to be let off the bus. We were taken to a restaurant in a lovely building but so were all of the 8 coaches so it was pandemonium. We eventually got back to the hotel about 9pm & then had to listen to the guide tell us about luggage, labels, passports all stuff we really didn’t want to hear as we were all shattered. We were only 2 nights in Xian before getting the bullet train to Beijing but we asked to take out some clothes & leave our suitcase out the following morning so that it could be taken to our Beijing Hotel by courier & not on Bullet train with us. This did not go down well as all we wanted to do was get some sleep before our 6.30am alarm call. We stayed at the Mingdu int hotel in Xian which was ok, didn’t really cater for international guests. We obviously came on this trip to see the Terracotta Warriors but as we arrived during Golden week it was extremely busy & I mean thousands of people queuing to get in, pushing & shoving. It was quite dangerous but we went with the mass of crowds & eventually got to see the army so it wasn’t the big wow unfortunately as we couldn’t see right away . We then managed to make our way round & get some pictures. It was the same trying to get in to all of the pits. Lunch & dinner were provided throughout this trip but we were a bit fed up of Chinese food after 6 days. It was mostly buffets with a couple of meals served to our tables. The trip on the Bullet train was fantastic, 308km per hour but you wouldn’t think it. A subway lunch was provided for us for the train trip so that was welcomed- no boiled rice in sight! In Beijing we visited the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Sq, The summer palace & Ming tombs & the Great Wall over 3 days with 5.30-6am alarm calls. One thing to note if you are going to do this trip, what we wore in the morning we were in for the day & night, not once did we get the chance to return to the hotel to change or freshen up .This trip is extremely tiring but as the guide said we were only there for 6 days & could sleep when we got home! One point which caused a lot of complaints that were advised by Cruise 1st only a couple of weeks before that it was suggested that we pay the guide £7 per person per day as a tip, this was then spoken about by the guide manager on the first night saying he would collect the next day & this would cover everyone, guides, drivers etc for the 6 days so that totalled £42pp but he would take £40pp. Well this didn’t go down well at all, some paid all, some paid part & some paid nothing. We weren’t happy about it but paid & will be letting cruise 1st know. The guide manager told us this was their wages; there were 8 coaches so it worked out between £8-9000. This trip was advertised as an escorted tour, everything included so this was really cheeky to throw this in just before we left. We would obviously have tipped the guides & drivers but as a result of this they got nothing further from anyone. This did put a dampener on things & was a hot topic which Cruise 1st could have sorted out at the booking stage & added it into the overall cost of the holiday. We enjoyed the tour, albeit tiring & the guides from CBT Holidays were very good, our guide Michael was fabulous on bus no 6. THE CRUISE- arrived a Tianjin port at 11.30am & the terminal was absolutely packed with people, queues everywhere, I had read prior that you needed 2 photo copies of your passport on A4 paper (not enlarged to A4 size), a lot of people didn’t seem to know this so there were a couple of photo copiers & literally hundreds of people waiting to use them. We had to go up an escalator to get departure cards , fill them out & then come back down to wait in a check in queue, the queues were that big they were all merging , not a good start but all in it took us 1.5 hours & we were on the ship at 1pm. We needed to get a Chinese visa prior to travelling at the Chinese Visa centre in Edinburgh £151 pp but the people with the 144 hour free visa were taken aside at the last customs point to have paperwork checked, you had to tell them hotel details were you had been staying before the cruise so have all that info ready if you get the free visa. Our balcony cabin on deck 7 was ready as soon as we stepped onboard & luggage was in the corridor, always look around as sometimes not right outside your cabin. The ship is huge but easy to navigate. As this ship was built for the Asian market the shops are very high end, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Cartier etc. With the usual sales? In the Royal Esplanade most days. 2 days at sea greatly welcomed to recover from our hectic 6 day trip & get used to our new surroundings. We had pre booked drinks package, North Star (complimentary on this cruise) & Ifly also complimentary. The bar staff were amazing & would make you any cocktail, not pre made like some cruise lines. We enjoyed the food, ate in Windjammer a couple of times, such a vast selection of food if you can’t find something you like in there well there is something wrong with you. Also ate in American Icon & Silk both my time dining restaurants. We had also bought the 5 night dining package so ate in Wonderland (strange but worth a try) Chops Grille, Izumi & twice in Jamie’s as that is the best restaurant on the ship! Two 70 lounge was good for breakfast & lunch & Sorrento’s for late night pizza. We visited Okinawa, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam & Singapore. Okinawa- shuttle bus into town then walked to the market. We then got a taxi for $8 to the former hq of the Japanese Navy- Underground tunnels. We also rode on the Monorail to Shuri Castle then back to the main street to get the shuttle bus, plenty of shops here & easy to get around by yourself. Taiwan- shuttle bus into Keelung then we shared a cab to Taipei as we had pre booked tickets for Taipei 101. One thing I will say is why do Royal Caribbean take you to container ports then charge you to get off the ship? $10 or $20 for a shuttle bus to the nearest town i.e. Keelung which is still half an hour from Taipei. Shuttles from these ports should be included, felt a bit ripped off. Taxi to Taipei actually was $20 for 4 of us so we should have just got a taxi from the port, we got the train back & it cost a couple of pounds. Hong Kong - free shuttle to nearest mall (Diamond Hill i think) then easy to get underground over to Hong Kong & star ferry back, went to ladies market before returning to mall to get shuttle to ship. Ho Chi Minh- RC tour - Panoramic bus tour- good value. We had a fabulous private tour in Chan May with Andy Hoi an tours to Ba Na Hills & the golden bridge. The ship didn’t even offer this as an excursion although the bridge is only months old so that is maybe why. On the ship we enjoyed Martin the singer in the Amber & Oak pub, he had us partying every night, there was a good band called Kinetic in the Music Hall. Other acts like the comedian & the balloon guy didn’t go down too well & we are not big INXS fans so 4 nights of that wasn’t our cup of tea. There was a 70’s party in 270 1 night, the place was packed then they stopped the music at 11.40pm & told us to go to other venues that were playing slow music! I was disappointed that there were no deck parties even on the beautiful night we were leaving Hong Kong & the deck was packed they had a film on which was so inappropriate, Jurassic world I think with dinosaurs roaring spoiled the beautiful sail away. Pixels was the only show we had to book & I loved the Vegas style show in the theatre, Live,love,legs. Unfortunately we had 2 medical emergencies on the 2nd last night & one of our passengers passed away. The other had to be taken off the ship which meant we had to turn back to Vietnam & we were 5 hours late in getting to Singapore, this was ok for us as we were going to a hotel but the queues were enormous at guest services trying to sort passengers out. The last night actually ended up like a proper party night as we were told we could stay in our cabin until 11am on departure day & all venues were open for breakfast & lunch. Lots of people stayed up late because of this & we had a thoroughly enjoyable last night (sorry for the man who took ill). As a result lots of passengers decided to self disembark with luggage at 12 noon. This wasn’t handled well by the staff & the queues to get off the ship were not managed at all until it was brought to their attention before a fight broke out! We had a fabulous trip& met some fabulous people, the ship is very modern & some people in our group did not like it, said it was like living in a shopping centre, I missed the theme nights & deck parties (didn’t get to wear the Hawaiian frock!) but overall the staff & food were very good.In fact the staff were excellent. We enjoyed the bionic bar that was included in the drinks package as were the coffees in Two70 lounge & the cafe on the esplanade. Sorry for the long review but this trip is happening again next year on Quantum so maybe help some people. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
this cruise allowed us to discover part of asia with stops in japan at taiwan in hong kong vietnam 3 stops aet in singapore. the boat is huge. Lack of entertainment during the day and shows not supoer except one which was beautiful. ... Read More
this cruise allowed us to discover part of asia with stops in japan at taiwan in hong kong vietnam 3 stops aet in singapore. the boat is huge. Lack of entertainment during the day and shows not supoer except one which was beautiful. the staff was great though. Liliana, Alex at the reception desk and Marjen one of the restaurant managers were very professional and knowledgeable. we avouns take advantage of all the activities on the boat namely bumper car, simulation of parachute jump, surfing wave against the current and climbing in a bubble at 100 meters from the ground with panoramic view of the boat from above and on the sea ​​. all these activities are free but ask to register not to queue and it was great . so we recommand to cruoise with royal carribean . this ship must be very great for alaska trip since a glass panorama is offfered in the front ot the ship in the adult pool corner . Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
On August 25 I embarked Ovation of the Seas on one of the ship’s last trips in China. The ship is newly built and sent to China immediately. It is returning to the US but this does not mean RCI is quitting the area, as they will deploy ... Read More
On August 25 I embarked Ovation of the Seas on one of the ship’s last trips in China. The ship is newly built and sent to China immediately. It is returning to the US but this does not mean RCI is quitting the area, as they will deploy an even newer ship of the same class to the China seas next year, while Princess and Norwegian are retreating (it is a joke that NCL took away the 160000-ton Norwegian Joy and replaces it with the very old and practically un-refurbished Norwegian Spirit, well-known to this market as the former SuperStar Leo (particularly this old ship suffered a 24-hour power loss recently). I have of course cruised on RCI before but too long ago, and the brand has not been my favorite. But what a pleasant surprise, and what a proof why RCI is the most successful operator while Princess and NCL failed in this region. Immediately I notice good things: (1) It is not fully localized and retains elements of a real international cruise, and it is the first time I saw many Australian joining a China cruise. (2) It is quiet, stateroom well-insulated and no unnecessary announcement as on MOST big ship soliciting your business (3) Hospitality was generally good and the local Chinese recruits were professional, unlike on other ships. (4) The ship sails full load at 4700 but it still feels spacious enough (5) There are photographers but not the intrusive kind. (6) Most passengers are Chinese so most announcement are for them, but there is always a statement that “the following announcement are for Chinese passengers only”, showing respect for the minority. Shopping is a highlight, high street type shops usually seen in RCI ships are changed to Cartier, Prada, Omega. The shopping was tremendous to the extent that even I bought something (I almost never buy anything on a ship). Wonder how they will deal with the luxury shops aimed at the Chinese on return to Alaska. The stateroom was small but well-designed, and it is equipped with tea making facilities (hope this remain in the US). It had a fridge, slippers, and bath robes not to be seen in most ships of a simple balcony cabin. There are more than 5 inclusive eating places in the dinner time in addition to the most popular buffet. The main restaurants open in slightly different time and operate in a free seating system, but there are plenty of tables for me to enjoy solo dining. Dining food was not impressive but it is the buffet that scores! I intend to vote it the Best Buffet of any big ship I have been on. Food is plentiful and in many varieties, and well-cooked. The Chinese food is Chinese-Chinese, not American-Chinese as on NCL and Princess. There are other dining outlets that charge. The steak house and Italian are not bad, but the Japanese is entirely American-Japanese. RCCL excels in shows and here they have a show on a specially designed lounge of some technical innovation. The productions shows are big but just many people moving on the stage, without impressive choreography and good singers. However it was good to see the very attractive and sexy Taiwan violinist Venus Tsai again as headliner show host, after seeing her only months ago on Princess. So I was happy with the show time offer as well. If my expectation was not high, the real impression far exceeds my expectation and this cruise brings me back to RCCL, to compete with and to beat NCL and Princess and Costa. RCCL may probably win my patronage, along with MSC. The 7-night trip is considered long for China but it pays off with full attendance. The call to Fukuoka was good and convenient for shoppers, the other two ports caters for excursionists. But it took too long to go to Kyoto, as it was a real disaster to embark in Tienjin allegedly Beijing. But as a whole the cruise was enjoyable and it was almost a blessing that despite very strong winds the sail was smooth. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Actually we did 3 B2B cruises. Enjoyed the itinerary. Savio the guest services manager and Chen our cabin steward on deck 7 were the best we have encountered on any cruise and we cruise extensively. Don’t miss meeting Mike the hotel ... Read More
Actually we did 3 B2B cruises. Enjoyed the itinerary. Savio the guest services manager and Chen our cabin steward on deck 7 were the best we have encountered on any cruise and we cruise extensively. Don’t miss meeting Mike the hotel manager he should also be the cruise director. 95% of passengers on first cruise were from mainland China thus the cuisine was appropriate for them but we did find offerings for us “international” passengers as we were termed.. Many of the crew knew we were B2B cruisers and treated us like rock stars.. If you do a cruise leaving from mainland China prepare yourself for the Chinese passenengers whom seem to lack a knowledge of the “social graces” and personal space..The Quantum class ship is spectacular with many great features but the crew and service was the biggest bonus on the ship. Don”t miss the Pixels show in 270theatre and the iFly Ripcord. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
After we booked this cruise there were lots of rumours about how the ship was changing e.g. No Mamma Mia, extended shopping and casino, smaller music hall (now we know why - see below). We contacted RC who denied that anything was ... Read More
After we booked this cruise there were lots of rumours about how the ship was changing e.g. No Mamma Mia, extended shopping and casino, smaller music hall (now we know why - see below). We contacted RC who denied that anything was changing. However, all the rumours turned out to be true. First - embarkation. We had been told the ship arrived in port at 7 am. We booked boarding time of 11:45. Unfortunately, out taxi driver got very lost and we arrived an hour after this, in a bit of a panic that we were late. There were no signs for baggage drop and it was unclear even which door of the terminal to go in. We found the baggage drop where it was only just setting up and the staff were only just being trained! Once inside Katy was helpful in explaining that the ship only arrived at midday and we would start boarding til 2 pm. This eventually slipped by degrees to 3:30 as we watched previous passengers disembarking. Very smiley but totally inexperienced Booking in staff, in matching school uniforms were also being trained and Katy told us this was only the 2nd time RC was using Tianjin. The delay enabled us to meet our fellow western passengers - about a dozen in total. We were confused where the rest of the passengers were. Once on board, we walked through the deserted ship for a welcome and delicious lunch at 270. The 'deserted ship' was to become a feature of our holiday. Checking into our room slightly late, due to the delay we found it clean and comfortable and were helped out during our stay by Eduardo. All the staff, and there were plenty of them, were friendly and attentive, though not informed very well about the overall running of the ship. Over the next few days we were given 4 different explanations for the late departure: weather, sea traffic, longer distance than expected from last port(!) and finally, from the Hotel Manager on the 4th day, that the ships arrival had always been scheduled for midday - so why were we given a boarding time of 11:45? All the other westerners we met had the same problem. We were very concerned about our arrival time back in Tianjin as we had booked flights home the same day and needed to be able to rely on RCs info. Internal communication needs looking at RC please. The restaurants were lovely and we enjoyed the food in American, Chops Grill, Chic though not so much Jamie's, which is same old menu as at home, and just felt slightly below par compared to the other restaurants. I would question whether they really need to source and boast about chicken from the USA. That really is a lot of food miles! It was full most nights though, so others enjoyed it. Service in the restaurants was over the top with half a dozen staff greeting us on entry, and sometimes more than one waiter competing to fill up our drinks. We were confused about the reservations which we had made at home, Only to be told they were not necessary. It transpired that the ship was only 2/3 full with approx 3000 passengers so this may explain why. Bars. We had all the bars to ourselves apart from the other few Europeans. They were totally deserted. It was like a ghost ship! The other passengers, mostly Chinese, just do not do bars. They were to be found shopping or in the casino where they drank endless tea. We felt really sorry for the musicians and performers who were often playing to empty rooms. The bar staff were really happy to chat - I suppose it passed the time a bit for them. They made me some delicious cocktails - I preferred humans to robot bar, though we tried this too and I loved the music. Entertainment. I really enjoyed the ships orchestra jazz night, Starwater was bizarre and unconnected, the Chinese illusionist was incomprehensible - trying to do 'close up magic' on a big stage. Some of the bands C-wind quartet were really good - Chinese band playing western rock music. They could have done with a better audience. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We are first time cruisers on this type of boat, having done European river cruises and small boat cruising in Prince William Sound, Alaska. It is true the boarding experience in Tianjin was an absolute shambles. No information, queues ... Read More
We are first time cruisers on this type of boat, having done European river cruises and small boat cruising in Prince William Sound, Alaska. It is true the boarding experience in Tianjin was an absolute shambles. No information, queues going in every direction, everybody there at the one time as travel from Beijing was not co-ordinated. A really bad impression much commented on by regular cruise folk. Our disembarkation in Singapore was little better as we had contracted RCI to transport us to Changi Airport. Once in the terminal they left us for dead. Critical question , would we do another cruise, Only if it was to a different destination as we are not cruisers who love sea days, want to encourage skin cancers by becoming walruses by the pool or even refrigerate in the library or 'card room'. We had a D1 cabin 7356 which was quite adequate and serviced twice daily by Fabian with great courtesy and care. Our meals in the L3 Dining Room were pleasantly served by Harold and Tiu Lin, always ready with appropriate drinks and a friendly approach. Food quality was passable but not anything exciting. On one night the steak was not served to the second sitting! Prawns were always watery. Only did one formal night as our table companions deserted us. The alternatives, the Windjammer food hall crowded often and of poor quality (except the fries) or the paid venues were not that swish. We paid $105 US extra for half cooked lobster of good size on our only venture. We had bought the Ultimate Drinks Package as the only means to cover our wants. Converting US to AUD plus the 18.5% loading allowed the flexibility to cover anything we drank, within reason. Ellingtons or the Wig and Gavel were regular haunts. Wifi is a disaster, pricey and only worked on Deck 5, again at the Wig and Gavel. This was only established after more than one approach to Guest Services. Entertainment, liked the Ice Show. Watched one singer who was just a 'belter'. We chose half day tours, and were reasonably satisfied with our Asian sampler. It is in each individual's choice whether private touring is cheaper and more satisfying. To summarise, you make the most of what you get in life; our adventure on the Mariner had many good moments but as many when we felt let down. Overall it was a great experience but not something that would become habitual!!! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
For starters, the main let down was the ship stunk of sewage, as you go at the back/side of the ship, it stunk really bad. In some other areas I could get whiffs of the same stench here and there. The cruise was ok. Plenty of food choices ... Read More
For starters, the main let down was the ship stunk of sewage, as you go at the back/side of the ship, it stunk really bad. In some other areas I could get whiffs of the same stench here and there. The cruise was ok. Plenty of food choices at the Windjammer. I didn't like their Main Dining food options, they stated the meat wasnt tender, very chewy, and they advised us to choose something else which there wasnt else much to choose from. The people were amazing, friendly people. I loved their service so much I miss them already! They all seem very happy to serve and greet everybody. Plenty of cocktail options! It was so easy to just want to go through the list and taste all their cocktails! And good price for the amount of each alcohol content that goes in each glass! The Ice show was fantastic, however they had no musical stories. They had good, single entertainers on at the La Scala every night, but they had no "wow" factor to the entertainment, except the ice show. The activities were rather sparse. Lots of trivia games were fun, but they also featured many bingo games and casino games to pay for. The other activities that were available were live music, health spa seminars and fitness seminars that did not appeal to us. We spent most of the time playing mini golf and rock climbing. The ice skating was fun too, but were only open for 1/2hr at a time, and when it stated on their activity list the ice skating was open, half the time it wasn't open to the public. I reckon I will definately sail on another Royal Caribbean cruise, but maybe not the Voyager. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2012
We had looked forward with excitement to this cruise in view of the ports of call, all places we had not been before. We had a cabin with a balcony on deck six which was well laid out, comfortable and well attended by our Cabin ... Read More
We had looked forward with excitement to this cruise in view of the ports of call, all places we had not been before. We had a cabin with a balcony on deck six which was well laid out, comfortable and well attended by our Cabin Steward. The facilities on board ship were good with plenty to see and do whilst not ashore or on sea days. All staff throughout the ship were friendly and helpful and quick to learn your name. The main downside of the ship was the evening dining. Having cruised before with other cruise lines we were disappointed to find that the standard of fixed seated dining was not up to their standard. We always enjoy the experience of fine dining whilst cruising but on the Voyager of the Seas the evening meals were average at best. The was only three courses provided and the variety available poor, they ran out of certain foods such as mussels and blue cheese despite having them on the daily menu. The excuse for this was that supplies had failed to arrive in Hong Kong, this also resulted in several beers running out in the bars. Due to the size of the ship the ports we called in were often Container ports, often miles from shops or restaurants. This did not bother us as we had booked excursions in most countries. The only port we did not have an excursion at was Fukuoka in Japan, we walked off the ship there and toured the city but in all honesty there was little to see and perhaps missing this port out of the itinerary and providing a extra day in Hong Kong would be preferable The excursions we did go on we're good value and enjoyable, I would recommend the Cu Chi tunnels in Vietnam and the elephant village Pattaya, Thailand amongst others. The entertainment in the theatre was mediocre but the ice show in the ice rink was fantastic. Our only other real gripe was with disembarkation. We were due to get off in Singapore at 9.30 am but were delayed until 12.00 and even then when we did get off the hotel transfers we had booked though the ship were not there and we had to wait around in total confusion until space on other buses could be found. The reason for the delay became apparent when I passed the staff member responsible for our disembarkation meeting area and heard him speaking on his walkie talkie. He had let groups disembark without authority and the expletives from his colleague ashore made it clear that this had resulted in the suspension of disembarkation. This particularly annoying or us as we only had one day in Singapore with our flight leaving at 2am so it restricted our sightseeing. Overall we enjoyed our cruise and will have many memories to look back on. everybody looks for different things in a cruise and as the dining is important to our overall enjoyment this did devalue the experience. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
China Sea Royal Caribbean cruise last October, booked with ROL on the 'Voyager of the Seas'. Flew off with Qatar Airways - absolutely first class operators. Vastly overpriced Regal Hotel in polluted Beijing. Typical of Eastern ... Read More
China Sea Royal Caribbean cruise last October, booked with ROL on the 'Voyager of the Seas'. Flew off with Qatar Airways - absolutely first class operators. Vastly overpriced Regal Hotel in polluted Beijing. Typical of Eastern China the infrastructure was superb. Sailed to Fukohara, Japan; Jeju island South Korea,Xiamen China; Hong Kong; Saigon; Bangkok; Singapore. Including Beijing port that makes 9 but your box only allows for 8. Further cavils are that I was in the cheapest interior room but don't remember the code number and I may be slightly out on the number of nights. Great itinerary of visits but I'm crossing off Beijing and Singapore for being vastly overpriced. Fantastic, immaculate ship with a service aimed at patricians rather than backpackers - although I did appreciate the best gym I have ever seen and the most splendid food offerings. I should mention I dropped out of the set dinner as I was not prepared to dress up or tolerate fussy waiter service. On the latter point, their seemed much redundancy of staff and labour - I thought it was extravagant/wasteful. Great entertainment and I especially loved the karaoke and ice skating. Film fare could have been better and more varied (John Carter was srange choice). Didn't understand all the dressing up, gambling or expensive luxury offerings. Delectable staff - esp the Polish gym instructor and Land Dyak service lass from Sarawak. However, the cruise wasn't geared up to service lone, red-blooded, tho' rather ancient males. Room was superb and TV OK but repetitious. I objected to the persistent request over gratuities - as I hadn't noticed anyone providing any specially valued service worth extra remuneration. If they'd offered a massage I could afford, then that might well qualify but I wasn't going to pay over £100 just for the basic. These gratuities could well amount to more than £1M - so what about CTT, witholding tax just for starters! Quite a conundrum. At least all this was optional unlike the clipjoint capers in other cultural milieus where one can arrive to face unexpected surcharges/penalties! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
this was our first RCCL cruise. ( previously cruised Carnival ). the ship was huge, and with over 3000 passengers and crew on board, most would think crowded.. NOT THE CASE! there always seemed to be plenty of areas to find a quiet place ... Read More
this was our first RCCL cruise. ( previously cruised Carnival ). the ship was huge, and with over 3000 passengers and crew on board, most would think crowded.. NOT THE CASE! there always seemed to be plenty of areas to find a quiet place to just sit, enjoy the scenery, or just people watch. there are plenty of activities on board if you really want things to do.. Karaoke, card games, trivia, mini golf, inline skating, golf driving simulator, bingo, ice skating, indoor movie theatre, poolside music, and on sea days, a poolside barbecue and live bands.. the list could go on and on.. on the same token, plenty of bars, and a couple of café spots, just to sit and relax.. the promenade is lovely, but can get a bit crowded on show nights.. there is a true English pub, and a lovely little where you could find pastries, pizza , small sandwiches, and tea or coffee almost all night( all included in the cruise cost )great spot for those with late night munchies. there is also, what at first glance appears to be just a tobacconist / bottle shop.. however in this little gem you will also find everything from hairbands, to headache pills, Band-Aids and sunscreen.. I didn't know this til the last night.. (too late then :) there is a lovely looking coach ( handbag ) store.. a bit expensive for me, but they do have sale days.. heaps of bargains to be had here , so look out for them.. we cruised from Beijing to Singapore, and while I wont bore you with the individual tours that we did, I will tell you that there are so many options.. do your research on the individual ports before you go.. this makes the choice of tour much easier to make. we found with RCCL that there were more tour choices available on board, than was listed on their website, and although with 3000 people on board, some did sell out quickly, there were often similar tours still available. the lines at the tour desk could be long at times, but this is to be expected.. we were told that we could book tours on out in cabin TVs, but each time we tried, an error came up, and we had to go to the desk anyway.. we weren't the only ones, and were eventually told that this was an IT problem on the ship that they could not fix at sea.. oh well what could we do but go with the flow,.. this cruise is sponsored by Pixar I think.. had Madagascar characters making appearances all the time, so you would have thought that it was directed towards young families, however I found that more than 70% of passengers on our particular cruise would have been over 35...so I don't think that this was well thought out, but most found it amusing all the same. we ate at the buffet every lunch on board, most nights. we found it more relaxing, as we would come and go when we wanted, with all of the activities on board this suited us more.. we did eat in the main dining room twice on formal nights, and once in the Italian restaurant to join a friends 50th birthday dinner celebrations.. they were lovely for a treat, but not us every night.. I cannot fault the food or the service anywhere, but we are not on any special diets, nor are we fussy eaters.. probably the best advise I could give on this ship is ..BE PATIENT.. long lines come with the territory when you chose to go on such a large ship.. Read Less
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
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