Embarkation was an orderly mess. We got to the cruise terminal before 11am, but boarded the ship around 2pm. Boarding was color-coded, and we were surprised that they were calling all the colors except ours -- 10 colors were called ahead ... Read More
Embarkation was an orderly mess. We got to the cruise terminal before 11am, but boarded the ship around 2pm. Boarding was color-coded, and we were surprised that they were calling all the colors except ours -- 10 colors were called ahead of ours, although the terminal had only a few hundred people when we arrived. And Windjammer was full when we went up for lunch, so it probably wasn't FIFO from the terminal.
Debarkation was worse. Quantum wasn't sailing out the day we reached port, as they had an event at Royal Theatre with Shanghai government officials that night (so that's why we needed to get to Baoshan quickly, in spite of fog). The right thing for the hotel dept to have done was allow us to leave the rooms when they called our luggage tag numbers, and not force to crowd 4,239 guests in Royal Theatre and 270. They also closed out the food outlets an hour before we reached port, so Deck 5 public spaces were all crowded with nothing to do and standing room only for a lot of people. Upon reaching the terminal, many people who debarked ahead of us were still there. It was just fortunate that we booked our own Shanghai tour and I was able to update our guide constantly with our arrival info, so we were able to meet up at the offsite parking area in good time, in spite of private vehicles not being allowed to park near the terminal due to the Quantum event that night.
Dynamic Dining (now Dynamic Dining Choice) is good for people who booked together, such as families and friends. It's just like going to a restaurant with reservations. If travelling alone, traditional dining (or Dynamic Dining Classic, for Quantum Class) would definitely be better. All our reservations were there, so I never experienced the "missing reservations" problem that other people had. It's also so much easier to modify reservations on the Royal IQ app than on the RCCL website. Lesson learned -- dine early to get to the shows that don't need reservations, and be at Royal Theatre 15 minutes before a show to avoid pillar obstructions. Windjammer after the show if you get hungry.
The restaurants were a mixed bag. The only one we paid for was Jamie's for lunch ($15), and it was very much worth it. We usually had excellent food, a good server, and good service times, although it was rare that we got all three in one meal. The menus were changed twice -- menu A on the first 3 nights, menu B on the next 3, and back to menu A with additional Chinese dishes (but without many of the Signatures and Classics) on the last 3. One thing I was happy about was that we were able to get ice cream or sherbet at every restaurant, even when it wasn't on the dessert menu.
North Star -- long lines whenever we passed by, so we didn't go. iFly -- did it twice, because fog on the last day made the captain open up a lot of activities. It might have also been possible to fly without reservations on the second to the last full day, as iFly personnel told me to come back on that day, although I didn't. Waverider -- sister says there were times that only two people were using it alternately, but there were always a lot of people when I passed by.
Entertainment -- only Starwater was reservable, but I don't think everyone had a chance to watch because 270 was spacious, but had much fewer seats than Royal Theatre. Unlike earlier cruises where the entertainment was posted in the Royal website, we only knew the shows for the day when the Cruise Compass came out, which made it difficult to match reserved dining and going to shows. The Music Hall was a useful venue, but they seemed to have turned it into more casino space now.
Guest Services -- laundry dept lost one of my underwear, and cost to replace was a little under $10. Chinese girl at guest services kept on saying that laundry dept couldn't find it anymore, so I would be credited $80. I thought that was impossible, because I was claiming $9+, and wash & fold was only $30, so I thought maybe she was saying $18. The next day, $8 was credited. Please practice your English more. Lesson learned -- have it in writing and signed.
Now that I've been spoiled by Quantum, I'm not sure if I'll ever go on another class of ship again. Read Less