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6 Brisbane to Asia Cruise Reviews

We were excited to be sailing on the Majestic, given that she's the newest and biggest ship in the fleet. We'd only sailed on the Sea and Dawn Princesses before, and we enjoyed those, so we figured we'd love the Majestic. ... Read More
We were excited to be sailing on the Majestic, given that she's the newest and biggest ship in the fleet. We'd only sailed on the Sea and Dawn Princesses before, and we enjoyed those, so we figured we'd love the Majestic. However, this ship missed the mark for us. We opted for Traditional Dining initially, but the Allegro Dining Room styling was quite dark, and had many areas sectioned off, so it felt a little claustrophobic. Our table was one of the many that had a bench seat, with access on only one side, so one diner would have to slide across the seat. Not a fun prospect in formal attire! And given that Allegro was on deck 6, but could only be accessed from deck 7, we quickly switched to Any-time Dining. The theatre, although quite high tech, was nowhere near big enough, only holding 1000 people on a ship of 3500. That meant if you wanted to see the show, you had to be there AT LEAST half an hour early to have any hope of getting a seat. And if you wanted a seat in the middle section, you were looking at being forty five minutes early, minimum. We usually like to attend the ballroom and line dancing classes. However, on Majestic, these are held in the Pizza, and I certainly didn't want to be on display while I fought with my two left feet! There didn't appear to be a decent dance floor anywhere on the ship. Princess Live was one option, but wasn't utilised, as was the Vista Lounge. However, neither venues were really suitable. Pool deck was also a little disappointing. A lot of pool space is lost to the fountains, which although lovely, were only used four times on a 20 day cruise. When the band played out on deck, they were incredibly loud - to the point where you had to move if you wanted to have a conversation. The Hollywood Conservatory is, to our mind, a bit of a waste of space. I can imagine that the Chinese market like it, but to us it was a bit of a waste of space. The Hollywood Pool wasn't bad, although the smell of chlorine smacked you in the face every time you walked in there. A common comment among the people we met was that the gym was woefully inadequate. I didn't experience this myself, but hubby did, and he said there were waaaaay too many treadmills and bikes, and not enough of the weights machines to go around. There was a lot of waiting for those to be free. Now for the good stuff. Our balcony cabin was lovely, and our bed and pillows were very, very comfy. The best we've had on a ship. For the first time on a cruise, there was an abundance of deck chairs - we never had a problem finding somewhere to lie in the sun. The World Marketplace, although a little confusing at first, is actually the best buffet we've had on a ship. Because of the multiple lines, we never had to wait, and not once did we have trouble finding a seat. Would we go on Majestic again? Probably not (although I never say never!). It's a little bigger than we like, and it feels a bit like a live sheep carrier - they've crammed as many guests in as possible, sacrificing some of the common areas in the process. I'd be interested to try another ship of the same class to see if it's the ship, or the target market that is the problem. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Legend of the Seas is eldest—or second eldest (1995) of the Royal Caribbean International (RCI) fleet, and either smallest or second smallest in size. She is well-maintained given her age and is only now beginning to show the years, at ... Read More
Legend of the Seas is eldest—or second eldest (1995) of the Royal Caribbean International (RCI) fleet, and either smallest or second smallest in size. She is well-maintained given her age and is only now beginning to show the years, at least to the casual observer. Given the number of mechanics, plumbers, air-conditioning techs constantly probing and opening walls and ceilings, it likely is that her guts are in far worse shape than the visible exterior Ship scuttlebutt has it that she is on her way to dry dock next year for a major makeover, or will be put on the market to become a cruise ship for a Russian or other second- or third-tier company. If Royal is smart, they will sell her. Today’s cruise crowd wants balconies and Legend doesn’t have enough of them for a verandah-demanding public. The largest public spaces—theater, dining room, Schooner Bar, Casino, all are one deck and that deck has no public restrooms. It is a nuisance to be going either up or down a flight of stairs to do one’s business. There are only forward and mid-ships elevators, no third set of lifts aft which means passengers with cabins at the rear have to walk forward, go to the deck of their choice, and then walk aft again if they are going to a locale that is just above or below their stateroom. The fleet-wide cheapening of Royal continues. As has been remarked by many, the “little extras” continue to disappear. No chocolate on the pillow at night, no ginger or mints as you exit the dining room, no petit fours after dinner on formal nights. Things that once were free are now available at a “nominal fee.” This includes ice cream by the scoop outside meal times and espresso drinks. Then again, this cruise has great value—the cabin prices are almost ridiculously low, with roomy inside staterooms available for well under $100US per day per person. Even Legend’s least expensive rooms have adequate closet space and generous number of drawers—far more storage space than some “better ships.” Don’t expect a refrigerator in lower-priced rooms. The big gripe with sea savvy cruisers that affect all “mid-range” lines such as Royal, Princess, Holland America and Celebrity is the sell, sell, sell mentality and charge for whatever you can get away with. At least six of the fifteen or so TV stations on the ship are dedicated to selling something whether future cruises, shore excursions, drink of the day, or spa treatments. (Note: on most ships there are several TV channels that are sound-only offering music to different tastes from classic rock to classical. Not so on Legend which offers no music channels) The omni-present photographers are all but underfoot, virtually blocking the entry to the dining room some nights. One improvement over my last cruise on Royal (Autumn, 2014) is that the daily program is not bulging with stuffed-in adverts and promotions. This is made up for by the morning TV show, which allegedly informs guests of the day’s activities, but consists of a one- or two- minute reading from the daily program and ten minutes of sales pitches with “special interviews” from such stellar personalities as the ship’s barber. The hosts are the cruise director and sidekick whose patter runs from funny to asinine, moreso to the latter. The latest sales gimmick is a special “backstage tours” of crew areas, the galley, the bridge and the like. You can take the Legend tour (which would have been free 5 years ago) for $150 per person. That’s right, one hundred fifty US dollars. I asked one couple who bought the tour what they thought and the not-surprising one-sentence was response was, “Not worth it.” Speaking of the daily programme: that is your sole “newspaper.” RCI has dropped the 8-page dailies that selected news, business and sports stories for British, American, and Australian/New Zealand audiences in English-language editions as well as a variety of same in other major tongues. Prices, like the constant and pestery hucksterings, have gone up: drinks (shot of vodka-no ice, no lemon is $10AUS) and drink packages, internet, and the “special” dining rooms\ fees. Unlimited internet at home costs $25AUS a month. On board Legend, I could have bought unlimited internet for two for a mere $600AUS. That’s for half a month. What a deal. I had one of the most unbelievable experiences aboard Legend in my 30-year history of cruising. All cruisers expect that on formal night one can expect the photographer to ask if you would like a picture taken of your table. This is standard and acceptable. Otherwise, you are spared sales efforts while trying to have your dinner. However, one evening, while in the midst of dinner in the Romeo and Juliet Dining Room, a waitress from the Izumi ‘specialty restaurant” went from table to table hustling up business for her chow house upstairs! Not only that, she didn’t want to go away when we politely informed her that we were having dinner (in case she couldn’t tell) and enjoying one another’s company and not interested in her pitch. Eventually she left, but not without giving us a hurt, pouty look. Now that I look back on it, of course it was not the poor woman’s fault—she was only doing what some hosehead had sent her to do. And the poor hosehead was only going on instructions from Corporate to push those specially meals. I learned the waitress is on her first contract and, because she spoke good English was sent down from a near-empty Izumi to stir up business for the joint. She was from Mainland China. So are a lot of the Legend’s 61-nation crew. As the cruise lines exhaust the shores of the Philippines and Indonesia seeking English-speaking waiters and room stewards who will work long hours for little pay and nine-month contracts, the search, akin to that of Shell and Chevron mining new corners of the world for oil, so goes the talent scouts of the cruise lines. From the looks of the crew on this voyage of Legend, China may be the new mother lode. Unlike the Filipinos and the Indonesians who come from lands occupied by European powers for four centuries, the Chinese have not grown up knowing Western expectations, standards of service and preferences, nor how persons from Europe and Europe-settled lands expect to be served. The Chinese, while hard-working and pleasant, were much less outgoing and seemed quite reserved when encountering Westerners. This cruise made stops in Bali and two in the Philippines—both nations home to hundreds of crew stewards, waiters and other crew. RCI was most generous in giving as much leave time as possible to crew members to visit home as well as inviting hundreds of crew family members to visit onboard. The main Romeo and Juliet Dining Room has been reconfigured to provide “more” window tables which actually results in fewer window tables. They have turned all the window tables for two sideways so that one diner sits facing the water and the other with back toward the sea. The result is that the one diner with back to the window has no water view at all and the other person at the table can’t see the water either as the person across blocks the view! Sorry to say, but dining room food disappointed. This is my third Royal Cruise in as many years and previouslyI have found the dining room preparations equal to or better than other lines such as sister-company Celebrity and competitors Princess and, even, Cunard. I don’t know if the step-down in quality is Royal-wide or just this ship or this particular cruise. In this 18-day journey there was perhaps one “Wow!” meal. The rest were ordinary hotel food quality or hit-and-miss. Ingredients have cheapened. Many fewer prime cuts of meat or premium fish. Much more chopped up stuff in starchy sauces. As with most mid-range companies, the selection continues to shrink. Both main course offerings and appetizers are fewer and often repetitive. At lunch the “pasta special” was linguine with marina sauce about three days out of five. Remember when everyone waited for “lobster night”—usually the last formal night of the cruise? On Legend you don’t have to wait. You can have lobster at dinner for a “nominal fee” of $35. But wait! One night it is offered as a “special “ for a mere twenty bucks. Never for free. The effort to chase people away from the dining room and into the upstairs buffets continues. This is another industry-wide unhappy trend. Dining room serving hours shrink at both breakfast and lunch. The dining room isn’t open at all for breakfast and lunch on port days, a practice that is becoming common except for the premium lines. Just because it is the new “standard” doesn’t mean it is right. The dining room has become less so a “dining room” at breakfast and lunch and is now a quasi-buffet with the center of the dining room turned over to the buffet concept as a “granola bar” which has all the other cereals, fruits, juices and the most popular hot dishes such as bacon, oatmeal, scrambled eggs. Your waiter all but nudges you to go get your own leaving him to bring you only the custom-cooked dishes such as omelets or eggs benedict. If you stick to your guns, the waiters will get the other things for you from the buffet, but you gotta be tough! Speaking of the eggs benedict, I had them four times (they were the daily breakfast special about every other day) and they ran everything from snotty runny to perfection, to tire-grade rubbery. Lunch in the dining room is a repeat. Another “buffet bar” this time with salads—in effect the upstairs buffet moved downstairs. Luncheon to-order dishes from the small menu went from so-so to inedible. The BLT was cardboard posing as bacon with orange-hue “tomatoes”. Somehow they managed what I thought was impossible—toast made up of nothing but tooth-breaking hard crust. In over fifty cruises on at least a dozen different cruise lines I have perhaps sent back a half dozen meals or walked out leaving them barely touched. On this cruise I returned three meals—two lunches and one dinner—and feel justified in doing so. One problem, other than what goes on in the galley, is that the dining room wait staff is unevenly trained. There are a handful of old salts who have been at sea for years, but a lot of first-contract waiters whose restaurant experience perhaps was at some third-world McDonalds. As most who labor at sea, they are overworked. At times they take this out on the passengers. If one arrives in the dining room shortly before the closing time at breakfast or lunch, you might get hustled with the “hurry up.” A favorite at lunch is, after taking your order, to ask, “And for dessert?” The correct answer—and they know it—is for the guest to say, “I’ll decide on dessert after my meal,” but that doesn’t stop waiters from trying to pull it on you hoping you’re a first-timer or just intimidated. Another technique, nearly perfected by Legend waiters, is to bring plates you have ordered as separate items at the same time. The headwaiters should be catching these things, however they spend most of their time on loud, squawky walky-talkies they carry on their belts like John Wayne packed his six-shooter. You can imagine how this looks on formal nights with a tuxedo. Upstairs in the buffet things are somewhat better. As mentioned above this is intentional, trying to drive business out of the labor- and linen-intensive dining room. As to be expected, the variety is far greater. Each lunch one of the numerous food bars offers ethnic foods that change daily—one day Mexican, the next Chinese or Indian. Hint: Avoid the pizza if you’re one of those gourmands who thinks crust should be made with flour and not concrete. The carvery offers a different roast each day—again not premium cuts such as prime rib or rack of lamb, but serviceable. Most days they run out of the roast about half-way through lunchtime and replace it with pre-made sandwiches. All cruisers know to avoid the buffet at high-tide times for breakfast and lunch, that is, if they want a place to sit. Legend is no exception. it is hard to find waiters to help those who are infirm or who have not yet gotten their sea legs to get their dishes to the table. In what is becoming yet another industry “standard”, there are no trays for buffet patrons, although rails remain where once trays were used. This results in passengers having to make several trips to the various parts of the buffet to get a meal as they cannot hold all the dishes, cups and flatware for their meal in their hands. No doubt this results in a great savings on food and trays are one less thing that need to be stocked and washed. It also is a nuisance to guests. Speaking of “guests” (anyone old enough to remember when we were people on a passage called “passengers”?) the Guest Services staff is excellent. They deal with a lot of anger, confusion and misunderstanding and are the ones who get yelled at when some other department messes up. The pursers’ staff aboard Legend is top drawer—the calibre one finds on premium lines such as Oceania, Seaborne or Crystal. The Shore Excursion staff also is very knowledgeable and helpful. This cruise went to a lot of off-the-beaten-path ports not often visited in the cruise world such as Bali, Borneo and the Philippines which means dealing with locals not accustomed to having a cruiseship full of half-drunk Australians (about 75% of the guests, with 10% Brits and maybe as many Americans) dumped on their shores. The shore excursions were of good quality considering where we were and the excursions got off and back on time. Royal Caribbean has over twenty ships in service and over three decades of cruising experience. How Legend could engage in one of the biggest gaffs in my many voyages baffles me. The Philippine government requires each visitor to have a “Shore Pass” while in the country.. The Shore Pass is issued by the ship the day before arriving in the Islands. For Legend, that means several thousand pieces of paper issued to as many souls aboard. After receiving the shore pass your “Sea Pass” (room key) is scanned to make sure you passed through the “inspection.” There are many ways any of us could think of how to do this. One would be to have the room stewards leave your Shore Pass on your bed with an instruction to appear for the inspection at a given hour. Another might be to ask persons on Deck 2 come to a given lounge between 4:00 and 4:30, Deck 3 a half hour later, etc. so that the whole ship is done in an orderly manner. Royal is oblivious to such a system as this. Instead, as passengers were drying out from an equatorial downpour in Borneo upon returning to the ship, announcements started blaring that EVERYONE was to come NOW to the Deck 5 Centrum (the midships elevator lobby) and line up to receive a Shore Pass and to be inspected. Absolute CHAOS followed. Nearly two thousand passengers tried to gather in a space that comfortably holds fifty. Those dripping wet who had just come from shore were elbowing in with old people on walkers and crutches who waited up to an hour as lines crept along. Naturally all sorts of persons were sent to the wrong line, the wrong table, the wrong inspection point. As I have mentioned earlier, I am a veteran of over fifty cruises since the mid-1980’s. I have witnessed nearly every kind of delay and mix-up imaginable from baggage worker strikes to having to move a ship from one announced arrival dock to a different one. But never anything self-inflicted as this Shore Pass disaster on Legend. Often the company cannot be faulted (after all, they didn’t call the dockworkers’ strike), and sometimes government regulations create situations about which the cruise line can do nothing. But that was not the case here. No Philippine officials were involved. The shore passes were handed out by Legend Crew and the scanning of the Sea Pass done by them. All the “traffic control” in the entire mess was engineered by them. This is shameful for a company that calls itself a world class line. For decades Royal has been known for the best entertainment at sea. Period. No other line comes close. Legend, being the old bag that she is, does not have the glitzy venues of the newer and bigger ships on the line. However, the quality of entertainment, given the constraints, is excellent. The ship’s own singers, dancers and musicians are tops. The guest performers, mostly Australian for the 75% Australian audience, were a hit with the locals. The around-the-ship entertainment seemed just fine for the clientele. The ship’s “heart” called the Centrum, is the Deck 4 mid-lobby activity center. The combo played dance music pleasing to the crowd, and, at drink time, Dave, the Centrum pianist, offered up good renditions of old favorites of Sinatra and ilk, emphasizing the songs of Gershwin, Porter, Berlin, Kern and other composers of standards. Dave, the combo and almost all the other small-group entertainers are Filipino but well acquainted with Australian and American tastes. The port lecturers had a big job for an 18-day cruise and were informative providing good visuals. For an exotic and lengthy cruise such as this, there should have been, however, even more lecturers and lectures, The chief lecturer was a cartographer who spoke, naturally, on geography, and his wife who gave the “what-to-see-in-port” talks. Having these duties shared with a second, or even tired, expert such as an historian, naturalist, cultural anthropologist or other specializing in the lore and life of the region would have been welcome. As has become “standard,” the few travel programs on stateroom television had nothing to do with where our ship was taking us. Having some of the fine shows available about Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia and the other places we were going would have bee a real boon. The History Channel, National Geographic, Travel Channel and others have a library of such programs. Instead, we were treated to travel films on Jamaica and Colonial Williamsburg! Maps and guide sheets for upcoming ports sometimes were available—but one had to seek them out. Thank goodness, Royal seems to have dropped the list of “approved shopping” while ashore. The “approved shopping” racket is another moneymaker for the cruise company and no bargain for passengers. The other lecturer was a “brain expert” from Arizona (I guess to help the old people with their memory) who seemed to have a following, that is, when people remembered to go to her talks. There was a rabbi on board (as it was Passover) and a Catholic priest who said Mass on sea days and presided over an interdenominational Sunday service. Religious services were very heavily attended. Many passengers appreciated having religious services on board such a lengthy voyage and asked why clergy—once a staple feature aboard almost any ship— have become almost a rarity on many cruise lines. The reader who has stuck with me this long sees that this is not a terribly positive review. This is the first time that I have given Royal less than “good” to “excellent” marks. It could be me. The future cruise desk where repeat customers can sign up for one, two or more cruises in advance was always busy. Two salespersons were at the Deck 8 location every day and I never passed by that they were not both taking a booking. Obviously, there were many passengers satisfied enough with Legend to sign up for yet more Royal cruises. In the past I have given Royal very high marks, especially for its new and biggest ships. Maybe the reason this review is not so positive is because the ship is old and without the amenities expected today. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Royal Caribbean Legend of the Seas feedback from our trip on April-May 2016 from Brisbane to HongKong. Food at Windjammer Café Buffet: Extremely boring and monotonous. It looks like the leftovers were turned into quiches or curry. ... Read More
Royal Caribbean Legend of the Seas feedback from our trip on April-May 2016 from Brisbane to HongKong. Food at Windjammer Café Buffet: Extremely boring and monotonous. It looks like the leftovers were turned into quiches or curry. Did not see any prawns/shrimp for lunch or dinner. Very plain hard crust pizzas with a few slices of sausages or none on top. American bacon – but tough and not crunchy. The desserts have no taste ‘cuz almost all the desserts are either sugar-free or gluten free and they never changed for the 18 days we were sailing. Desserts are either mousse or jellies or very plain cake full of icings. Special Dining Room: Food is better but you will suffer from indigestion due to the service of waiters. As soon as I sat on the chair and I haven’t put my bag on the floor and the waiter is already shaking the napkin on my face and shoving the big menu board (bigger than A3 size). Then, my poor husband was given the list of drinks and 2 waiters are hard on sell – forcing him to buy a bottle of wine according to their recommendations. My husband wanted to see what wine he likes and was not left alone to enjoy a relax moment in this so-called Special Dining Room. We were assigned to this big table for 8-10 people and we were alone. There were a lot of tables with vacancies. So, we spoke to this Head Waiter (black guy in red coat) and requested nicely to put us on another table with people. He instantly shot our request down with a “No it cannot be done”. Not very diplomatic and not even trying to check if it is possible. Once you order your food, all 3 (entrée, main, and dessert) comes 1-minute apart. We feel being rushed and hurried that we’re not allowed to savour and enjoy the meals and socialised with other people. A few nights, we just went to the buffet because of the treatment by waiters shoving the food one after another in a rush manner. Rating out of 10: ZERO Land Tour Desk: I think the Manager Oliver is the only friendly one here. A fat short guy who served me even raised his voice on me when I just nicely inquired about something. Most of them will not elaborate or give me reason why – they will just answer my query with a harsh “No” with a face that looked like Ms Trunchbull on the movie Matilda. Land Tours: The tour desk staff were so disorganised. People have to wait inside the theatre. They have to go up to the front next to the stage to collect their stickers for their trip and then just sit anywhere. It was chaotic and totally not as organised as I saw on a Princess cruise. Our friends were so disappointed with their land tour because the bus waited and waited for missing people, and so the tour was rushed and cut short so that it will finish on time. They did not see much and paid so much for it. Cancelled tour: We booked and paid a land tour while still in Australia, and it was cancelled and we got a refund that is less than what we paid for because it was based on the tour prices on the ship. Service/Front Desk: This is manned by all nice Chinese staff and a tall guy who doesn’t smile. They should put a Filipino who can speak better English. I asked one Chinese staff if they have a postcard of the ship and she couldn’t understand me. So I said “a picture of the ship” and still didn’t understand. So, after queueing for 30minutes to get served, I left frustrated and my query not answered. The tall guy who served me has no friendly emotion in his face when he said “No” and that’s it. Philippine Health Check Passes: This was the worst nightmare for 1900 passengers who assembled at the Centrum as per written on the newsletter Compass. It was chaotic as people were queueing/lining up on wrong places; we could not find where to line-up and staff/crew who didn’t know what was going on – they were not informed. People on wheelchairs, walking sticks and old people getting so confused. Whoever is in-charge of this mess did not have a brain. Common sense is needed. Confiscated Items: My husband has a CPAP machine (which is a medical equipment) and he carries with it an extension cord. They confiscated the extension cord as passengers’ cords might cause fire in the ship. It was another chaotic exercise. Luckily, the cabin attendant provided him with an extension cord. The worst part here is when we were about to disembark in HongKong. We were told that we can collect the confiscated extension cord on the day of disembarkment and after we exited the ship. This sent my blood pressure up. The suitcases were being collected the night before reaching the port – this means that we have packed all our luggages and now have to leave a spare room in our hand carry for the bulky extension cord. Why can’t they give it back to us the night before so we can put them inside the big suitcases. Rating: ZERO Laundry: Inconsistency of rules. Legend promoted this “special deal” of $30 per bag of laundry but with a list that stated items are socks, underwear, Tshirt, shorts, swimwear, pj. The Service/Front Desk confirmed that items like blouse/pants are to be charged by item and are excluded in the special $30 bag. Other couple told me that they put those big items (blouse) in the bag and were not charged separately. So, you won’t know where you stand in terms of charges and it is in US dollars. Activity – Dutch Language: I don’t know why they wasted teaching “Dutch” to the passengers when what they needed is to at least greet in Indonesian or Malaysian language. So irrelevant – whoever planned this is so smart??? Disinfectant Girl at Windjammer Café: Sooooooo annoying 3 times a day to hear this little voice saying the same thing again and again….. “wishy washy yummy yummy happy happy….” With a tiny squirt of disinfectant that won’t kill the germs. They sounded like robots and they don’t know any other words except that annoying wishy washy…. Cabin Attendants: Our cabin attendant was very nice and very helpful. He even helped me translate things into Indonesian. Rating: 10/10 Summary: I am not a whinger but above are correct assessment of the Royal Caribbean Legend. It’s a real Legend for being Bad. We did not get sick at the Princess, but were sick on this ship. The staff on desks don’t seem to enjoy their job and it is reflected on the service they give passengers. No laundry machine for passenger and no fridge in cabin – we’ll be back at Princess. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We chose this cruise mainly to visit China and Japan. Breakdowns with a thruster meant our China time was mostly in the dark. The Sea Princess is a tired old ship with leaky air conditioning, poor internet and cabin presentation. Many of ... Read More
We chose this cruise mainly to visit China and Japan. Breakdowns with a thruster meant our China time was mostly in the dark. The Sea Princess is a tired old ship with leaky air conditioning, poor internet and cabin presentation. Many of the common areas have worn out furniture. Princess cares less about value for money excursions and charges whatever they wish for beverages. Try looking at the price of beverage packages on furore cruises that you have booked. They increase them for every cruise even though worldwide inflation is zero or minus. They are experiencing diminished fuel costs as well yet they keep increasing prices. We are treated as though we are travelling wallets. They appear incapable of providing an expenditure based rewards scheme which would be way better than Princess Circle. Management are very slow to respond or adapt to changes in consumer demands. We experienced many issues with organisation, meal delivery, breakdowns, and coordination of activities. All were poorly responded to and it seems that on,board staff care less. The face to face room attendants, bar staff, wait staff and so on always provided the best that they could but it seems that they were working under very heavy constraints. Overseeing staff are superfluous. They appeared to over react to any situation, yet offered scant real resolution. Our most strident criticism is reserved for the excursions that were offered. We paid excessive prices for every single one, yet many were untried and certainly not coordinated with any professional standards being applied. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
I have been on Pacific Dawn 3 times before and once when she was originally Regal Princess in 1991. I chose this cruise due to it's interesting itinerary and the fact that it had been a long time since I have visited PNG. My cabin ... Read More
I have been on Pacific Dawn 3 times before and once when she was originally Regal Princess in 1991. I chose this cruise due to it's interesting itinerary and the fact that it had been a long time since I have visited PNG. My cabin was 11143 a minsuite on deck 11. It was midship so convenient for accessing the pools and entertainment area above. The room was reasonably sized and had a sitting area and a long bench that substituted for a desk and a place to plonk my stuff on. The bathroom was weird. The shower was situated over the long side of the bath (the wall where the taps are not!) meaning I had to turn sideways to have a shower.. Very difficult when you're tall like me. Eldy my cabin steward was fantastic. Probably the saving grace of the cruise. He was polite, efficient and looked after me superbly. Congrats to Eldy! never had to ask for anything, and laundry was returned quickly and without any fuss. So, Pacific Dawn has had a refit since I last went on her. The pools, although small were adequate and benefited from what I call " Bath taps" spurting water and refilling the pool, it reminded me of the bath taps you see on modern baths and hence that's what I call them. The area that needs most modernisation are the cabins. P&O Tend to spend lots of money doing up the passenger areas, but spend nothing on the cabins (except new carpet.. not a huge upgrade!) I've travelled in a balcony cabin recently on the sister ship Pacific Jewel, and they aren't the largest. The walls are still from the Regal Princess era, and the wood is chipped and warn out. The balcony railings were disgusting, no varnish on them and wood flaking off. The rust is evident everywhere, even the painting over the rust now looks stupid and has built up over time. The minsuite had a nice area for dressing.. Wider than the standard cabin, and was nice to have a bit of space to hang clothes and change in the evenings. The other thing with the mini suite is the priority embarkation, and priority tender passes. A very useful commodity when it can take a couple of hours to get on and off the ship (you can only use them to get off, not get back on again). Food had to be the most disappointing aspect of the cruise. 3 notable exceptions... 1) Chef's table, 2) Salt Grill and 3) La Luna. I didn't even bother eating anything from the buffet. In order to eat anything decent, you'll have to pay for it. Ice creams, pizza, hot dogs etc are available for a snack and are $3.00 for most and $9 for the pizza. I had to eat at the "Grill" twice, as the food was so bad I couldn't eat what they served in the Waterfront, so only had a small amount to eat. I do highly recommend the Chef's table and the other pay for dine options. Entertainment was horrid.. vile.. the DJ would play a song for 40 seconds and everyone would get up to dance, instead of mixing it nearer the end, he would mix it about half way through. This meant people got up and down a lot. The only songs he played through till nearly the end was his own choosing. The other entertainment options were very poor, I tried listening to one or two musicians, but had to get up and leave. Normally the average age on P&O Australia is around 40. This cruise it was higher, due to a large number of older clients. Respect to them for though, and a lot of retired servicemen and women (keep up the good work!). Also at this point, I should mention the Captain. He made some really good decisions regarding tendering. It was really windy on most of the tender ports. He gave his all to make sure that we were able to tender safely. They had to keep the ship from swinging in the wind by using the thrusters. Most captains would have cancelled the ports because it was a lot of hard work for the crew. Respect to him for operating in such conditions. I choose P&O knowing the food is going to be terrible, the cabins lousy because it's VALUE FOR MONEY. You can eat nicely by alternating your dining venue, and there are nice sized mini-suites and suites available. It's value for money for families as well. On this cruise, they were trailing two drinks packages. The first was a soft drinks (only coke brand and not mineral water or coffee!) which was $7 per day, and a all in package for $69 per day (per person for both). The all inclusive package allowed purchases up to $10 per drink (excluding coffee) which left only two cocktails out, the Long Island Iced Tea and the Pacific Island Iced Tea. Most cocktails were around the $10.00 mark. Service for the bars was slow and frustrating. They need more staff to take drinks. Some of the staff were good at remembering you, but mostly poor service in the bar areas. Disembarkation was easy and done with tags. Off the ship and out the other side in around 20 mins from deciding to leave the ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We're first time cruisers and really looked forward to QM2, even after reading some of the more critical reviews here. That said our embarkation was relatively painless. No problems with photo's or credit card details, but a ... Read More
We're first time cruisers and really looked forward to QM2, even after reading some of the more critical reviews here. That said our embarkation was relatively painless. No problems with photo's or credit card details, but a number of other passengers who embarked in Brisbane did have those problems. Plenty to do onboard, the presentations that we attended between Brisbane and Hong Kong were superb and well delivered. Entertainment at night was less so, with shows only lasting 45 minutes being held at 8.30pm and 10.30pm. The formal night balls it was necessary to eat at Kings Court (Pigs in a Trough is the only description for this place) early so you could attend the ball that started at 9.45pm. Had to get to the Queens Room early (at least 30 minutes) in order to get a table/seat. Waiter service patchy with the balls, some waiters were really good, some seemed to hide in the shadows. Brittania Restaurant, the food was good. We got the 2nd sitting for Brisbane to Hong Kong and again between Hong Kong to Singapore, however our table mates made for excellent conversion. Our table mates were so good, we'd meet up in the Commodore Club for pre dinner drinks most nights. The service in Brittania was good be it breakfast, lunch or dinner however at times it felt very rushed and the menu's were nothing outstanding in terms of fine dining. The Commodore Club was an absolute gem, the diamond in the mud so to speak. It was a great spot to rest up during the day just reading a book or watching the world go by whilst sipping a coffee or something stronger if desired. The only complaint about the CC was the lack of dress standards after 6pm, jacket or jacket tie were required not shorts and t shirt as we saw on occasion. The staff did not pull up the passengers either. Cabin was an inside stateroom, that was quite adequate given we had it for 25 nights. Enough storage space provided (we had 4 large suitcases with us), the beds were okay, the air conditioning blows on your heads however and we both got head colds from this. The shower space in the ensuite could be slightly bigger which would make showering that little more pleasant, plus a good power point there would also help. We had no problems with the internal plumbing of our ensuite, but other passengers on our deck, deck 4 and 6 had to go without their toilets for a whole day due to plumbing issues (perhaps caused by passengers that do not understand English and therefore put things down the toilet that resulted in having the plumbing for half the ship out of action). Service by staff on the ship was very hit and miss. In Canyon Ranch Spa, it was UPSALE UPSALE by the staff. The photographery staff were pushy in getting photos of you taken in order to sell them at USD $30 a shot to you. Again in the photo gallery it was UP SELL UP SELL, the attitudes of the staff if you didn't take an UP SELL fell accordingly. Waiting staff in Brittania Restaurant were in general good. That said my partner asked 4 times for spinnach to be served with her eggs and 4 times she was told it was not available (it was when we spoke to a 5th waiter who was very surprised that she had not been able to get spinnach daily with her meal). The less that is said about Kings Court Restaurant the better. It was where the pigs came to eat and the shit began to fly. Menu wise was bland and the menu was repeated after 10 days. Waiter service was either pathetic or barely there with lots of junior waiters running around with absolutely no idea. Drinks service was pretty thin too. Fellow passengers, some were quite old and mobile others were clearly not so mobile. A number of passengers seemed to think it was okay to leave half empty coffee cups lying around all parts of the ship and on occasion we found half eaten meal plates left near the elevators by whomever had grabbed a meal from Kings Court. Some of the passengers clearly had "I'm King" attitude and lorded it over all the staff. Some of the staff had a "don't give a toss" attitude as well, which made us wonder just why they were on the ship in the first place. Some of the Ships Officers were not in my mind even Officer material, if they could find an excuse or disappear they would do so, they would certainly not be proactive. Our stateroom steward had to be asked repeatedly for soap, shampoo, slippers, fresh towels and oh yes to change the bed linen (done only twice in 25 days accordingly to my partner). The ships library is a highlight, very enjoyable with an excellent selection of books, the only drawback was the significant number of people talking to each other (libraries are supposed to be quiet but not here). The other plus was the library was just one deck directly below the Commodore Club, so you could easily grab a book/magazine and head for the Commodore Club for a read and drink. The ship itself is grand and in places stunning to look at. Its well maintained as it should be. Using the tenders to go ashore proved to be "interesting" at best and "woeful" at worst, whilst disembarkation in the 6 ports we visited (aside from Hong Kong) was at best "woeful". It could take a hour or longer to get off the ship (granted not always the fault of QM2), but when you are only in port for a day, losing an hour is not much fun. Ships tours in general were okay but do your homework before signing up. Not much point in doing a "active" tour if you have mobility issues and have to remain in the bus for most of the tour. In fact getting to the tour buses by our less active cruisers must have been difficult given the distances they had to cover in getting off QM2 and to the bus (again not QM2's fault). Overall, as first time cruisers we found the cruise "okay". That said we would not recommend QM2 or Cunard for cruising, as Carnival Cruises who now own Cunard have got their "cost cutters" into Cunard and its been reflected in all of the above comments. Its cut cut cut and if that means service gets cut or something is not available for a passenger too bad so be it, seems to be the current prevailing attitude of Cunard towards the paying passengers of QM2 today. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014

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