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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We went on this cruise with some friends because we wanted to take a cruise in Asia and it had to be in a very limited 3 week time frame. Cruising out of Hong Kong to Japan was very easy because it required no special visas. ... Read More
We went on this cruise with some friends because we wanted to take a cruise in Asia and it had to be in a very limited 3 week time frame. Cruising out of Hong Kong to Japan was very easy because it required no special visas. First, the cruise itself was very enjoyable. We all enjoyed the ports of call and the cruise staff. However, the Voyager itself is in a sad state. I had seen the reviews beforehand lamenting the state of the ship, and I took them with a grain of salt. Once I got on the ship, I saw for myself that she is in a state of fairly bad disrepair, especially for a Royal Ship. I know that she is going into dry dock very soon to get 'amped' but that is no reason for the company to let the ship fall into this state. On first appearance, the ship has way more rust than any other Royal ship I have seen. When you are returning to the ship from port and look up, it is very evident and looks bad. I am not sure why they havent spent more time cleaning this up The elevators were a very bad problem. 2 of the 3 forward starboard elevators were broke all 9 days. As for the central elevator usually 1 of the 4 was out at all times on both sides. Sometimes 2 elevators would be down. Additionally, even when they were generally working, there were times that they couldnt stop at certain floors because they doors wouldnt open properly. There were also problems at many bars where equipment was malfunctioning or broken, such as with soda dispensing. They also had a lot of AV and IT issues when setting things up for events in the public rooms This was all very disappointing and I expect better from Royal. I am not sure if it is just this ship, or how things run in Asia in general. Overall, the staff was great. The Cruise Director staff was wonderful, Specialty restaurant staff was great, cabin staff was great This was also my first time on a cruise where the majority of passengers did not speak English. Most of the passengers here spoke Mandarin, so many of the events were held in Mandarin. One thing I like was they added a Hot Pot as a specialty restaurant in the Windjammer at night. It was a really good idea and we went twice Overall, I enjoyed being on the Voyager, I just hope that they can fix all her problems in dry dock and they dont let her fall into disrepair again when she is done Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This cruise is aimed at the Chinese market. Facilities on offer including food menu reflects this fact. Very limited choices and the menu’s all have pictures much like MacDonald’s. Baseball caps, shorts and general weekend wear is ... Read More
This cruise is aimed at the Chinese market. Facilities on offer including food menu reflects this fact. Very limited choices and the menu’s all have pictures much like MacDonald’s. Baseball caps, shorts and general weekend wear is accepted in the dining restaurants therefore no need to pack jacket, ties or evening gowns. Splash pools on deck are used by swimmers determined to do many lengths as possible leaving little room for those who wish to relax. Extremely difficult to find a seat in the windjammer as whole families occupy tables for hours on end, despite announcements by staff. The same applies to the casino. Disembarkation is restricted if you do not book one of the organise excursions. On the plus side the places, beaches & people in Vietnam are amazing. Unable to get into the Ice show having tried at every opportunity Overall very disappointed with this cruise. We are currently Emerald members. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We booked in March for this cruise. My father and mother-in-laws have poor walking abilities and they do not enjoy flying. But they do want to see Vietnam so we booked this cruise which visit two Vietnam ports. First of all, embarkation ... Read More
We booked in March for this cruise. My father and mother-in-laws have poor walking abilities and they do not enjoy flying. But they do want to see Vietnam so we booked this cruise which visit two Vietnam ports. First of all, embarkation in Hong Kong is not great. Kai Tak Terminal is very busy because this ship and Dream Cruises are both embarking on the same day. The queues are very long. Fortunately because we have two elderly people among us we could join the special elderly queue for check-in. Then the worst thing was the zig-zag bridge that connect the terminal with the ship. I completely fail to understand why this winding zig-zag bridge is necessary when a direct birdge (airport jet bridge) can do the same job! The ship is in good condition. It does not immediately feel like it is in need of dry dock work. (But it is going to dry dock in September.) The staterooms were not yet ready and we were told we could take lunch in the Sapphire Dining Room, so we made our way there. Lunch was buffet style and it was fine. After lunch we went to our rooms. We had a promenade view room and it was rather roomy for a cruise ship with two sofas. Our stateroom attendant was Iwayan, he was very good and he opened the connecting door between our room and my in-laws room for us as soon as we requested. The dining on the ship is okay. It is nothing to write about. Some of the food in the dining room can be found again in the Windjammer at late night snack time. The ship is consisted of a majority Hong Kong and China people and some of them seemed determined to eat back their cruise fare. Well, given the food served I think they had a hard time achieving that goal. For the ports, Chan May is really far away from Da Nang. We hired a driver for a day trip to Hoi An but he could not come into the port because our tour company is not "sponsored" by RCCL. We had to pay another driver to drive us out of the port gates to meet him. But he was not a very good driver as he could not speak much English and he took us back from Hoi An 1.5 hours earlier than agreed. The worst thing was he would not enter the gates of the port as promised. So we did not tip him and made a complaint to his company. Many RCCL "sponsored" tours came back late from their tours and the ship did not sail until 17:40, as opposed to 17:00. We were still approaching Nha Trang when we took our breakfasts. As this is a tender port we had to wait for our tender time. RCCL "sponsored" tours and group tours all went ashore before us. We only got ashore at 11am. Our tour guide and bus took us to the sights and lunch. Then we requested to visit a supermarket for souvenirs like coffees and dried mango. We got back at about 4:15pm and were back on board quite quickly. After all both ports were not great. Chan May is still under construction and very far from town while Nha Trang is a tender port which is very time consuming. Avoid. am. Our tour guide and bus took us to the sights and lunch. Then we requested to visit a supermarket for souvenirs like coffees and dried mango. We got back at about 4:15pm and were back on board quite quickly. After all both ports were not great. Chan May is still under construction and very far from town while Nha Trang is a tender port which is very time consuming. Avoid. The entertainment on board were only so-so. One night we had an American singer who performed as many Chinese songs as English songs. He was okay but I saw a Caucasian family of four looking rather bored as we boarded the lift outside the theater. The Ice Skating show Ice Odyssey was fantastic. We watched it and then strongly recommended my mother-in-law to go. She went and she was amazed as well. We had a plain sailing back to Hong Kong after Nha Trang. Nothing to report. We also got back before the Dream Cruises ship so we got away okay. Some of the things we really couldn't get our heads around were the lack of technology on the ship. I could not believe they had to write a number on our Sea Pass cards to indicate we had watched Ice Odyssey. Also in the dining room we had a waiter come to us to write down our room number every night. I mean, aren't we in the 21st century? Can you not just scan my Sea Pass card for that? Also, the in-room television had so little choice of channels. When I was on Quantum of the Seas it could receive a TVB J2 channel but here there is only one Chinese channel which recurred the same content all through the cruise. There are loads of Chinese satellite channels in the region and that's the best they can tune their tv sets to? Once again RCCL, we are in the 21st century! I wish I had downloaded a Samsung remote control app to my phone so I can plug in my mobile hard disk to the tv and watch the movies I have in it. The service provided by all the waiters, servers and room attendants were very good. They worked really hard to keep the ship clean and the service going. I applaud them because with 3,000+ guests (many are children and elderly people) on board it was no easy thing. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
The experience first started when we arrived at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal. There was a very long line of people waiting to check in and we thought we had to wait in the same line however I noticed a man holding a sign stating "The ... Read More
The experience first started when we arrived at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal. There was a very long line of people waiting to check in and we thought we had to wait in the same line however I noticed a man holding a sign stating "The Palace guests" and I approached him. I told him I had booked a room called the Penthouse and without delay he escorted me and my family to a waiting area specially dedicated to The Palace guests. In that waiting area they had very delectable dim sums and an assortment of finger foods, along with fresh juices and water. The food and drinks were a very nice touch while checking in. We waited in that area for about 45 minutes and after that they had made an announcement that Palace guests could board the ship first. Boarding was a breeze as we were the first to board and I had no problems getting on the ship. The room I had booked was called the Penthouse, which is the second largest cabin on World Dream (the biggest being called Villa). I found my room to be very spacious and nice. The linens were very high quality and the bathroom was honestly the best part about the cabin. It was extremely spacious and the decor was very nice. Right after we were settled in our rooms, our butler came and introduced herself and gave us a fruit basket. She explained to us she could help us make reservations and book shore excursions among other things. She then proceeded to help us set up our free internet access on the ship. The Palace guests are entitled two devices for internet connection at standard speeds however if you need faster speeds you can purchase the premium plan. For me, the standard plan was more than enough as I averaged speeds at 15-20 mbps based on my tests. It was sufficient enough to stream Netflix and YouTube at 1080p rates. After helping us with our internet, she proceeded to give us a tour of the facilities that Palace guests could access. The Palace is different in the fact that it uses a concept called a ship within a ship. These facilities are not accessible to other guests who are not Palace guests. Facilities included a pool exclusive for Palace use, a sauna, a steam room and a gym. The pool almost always never had anyone so it was very peaceful. When it comes to dining, normal guests have access to 3 restaurants. The Dream Dining Lower, Dream Dining Upper and The Lido. The Lower is mainly Western food, Upper is mainly Chinese food and The Lido is an international buffet. For the Palace guests, We have access to a restaurant called The Palace restaurant. It serves very good quality food however the main differentiating factor is the service. There are many attentive waiters and waitresses that cater to whatever you want which is the main reason why most Palace guests only come to this restaurant instead of the other 3 included ones. Another reason why most Palace guests avoid the 3 other restaurants is due to the other guests. A lot of times you can struggle to get a table because there are many people eating at the same time which causes long wait times to get a table. In the Palace restaurant, I have never seen more than 30% of the place being filled. On top of the Palace restaurant, Palace guests also get one complimentary meal per day at any specialty restaurants on the ship. Personally my most favourite one had to be Umi Uma and the special pork they served. It was simply the best pork i have ever had, period. Also to note, Palace guests are entitled to a drinks package that covers all juices, soft drinks and a wide variety of beers and wines. Now when it came to the shows, we didn't have to make a reservation. The first five rows of the seats in the theatre was reserved for Palace guests which meant most the time the seats were not really filled. If anyone that was not a Palace guest tried to sit in the Palace area, staff would ask them to leave as they aren't entitled to the seats. I was particularly relieved the staff had asked them to leave as they were talking very loudly and were a nuisance. I couldn't care less if you were a Palace guest but being annoying was not welcome. For the excursions, the Palace guests have free excursions to Naha, where they showed the sights and shopping. when we arrived, there was a huge influx of passengers and it took some time to clear security. However once we entered the ship, the staff had reserved one elevator specifically for Palace guests which in my opinion was a very nice touch as the lines for the elevator were very long. After we came back from our long excursion, we were delighted to see a wide array of chocolates, fruits and biscuits presented beautifully on a multi level tray. It came coupled with a note from our butler which just made this experience even more personal and luxurious. The next day we were supposed to go to Miyakojima however the stop was canceled as the winds were just too strong for the tender boats so we were given on board credit to be spent at the souvenir shop on the ship. For disembarkation, we waited very briefly at the Silk Road restaurant before disembarking. Other passengers had to wait at the Zodiac Theatre and so we were the first ones to disembark. In summary, this was an amazing cruise made even better by the staff I had encountered. I would pay for it again if the quality of service and product was the same. Highly satisfied with everything on the cruise. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose Crystal this time as it was the choice of my sister in law who had sailed with them before. Unfortunately she had not sailed with any other cruise line so thought they were fabulous without comparison. We had a balcony cabin on ... Read More
We chose Crystal this time as it was the choice of my sister in law who had sailed with them before. Unfortunately she had not sailed with any other cruise line so thought they were fabulous without comparison. We had a balcony cabin on Deck 8 and it was tiny. This was our first disappointment of the cruise. I am not sure how some of the larger passengers on the ship maneuvered themselves around the bathroom or managed to use the toilet as the bathroom was so small. The decor on the ship is quite boring and uninviting in many areas and there is a lack of artwork around the ship. However there is plenty of space on the ship and you never feel crowded anywhere. The boutiques on the ship were outrageously priced and lacked choice. What happened to passing on tax and duty free savings to the passengers? The pool area should have been a hive of activity but there is no pool bar and this area was underutilised. Seabourn and Oceania do fabulous sail away parties with drinks and entertainment. Not so on Crystal! The weather was perfect and not a drink or band in sight. The food was not fabulous and became very boring. The dining room needs a bigger menu and the market place at the back of the ship, usually one of our favourite places to eat on other ships was closed at night and replaced with a Brazilian restaurant that lacked variety. The Marketplace needs a wider range and themed offerings to relieve boredom. Yes, there are two speciality restaurants on board,but they are difficult to get into so don't rely on them as alternative choice. The Chinese was alright but not fabulous. The enrichment program was excellent and we enjoyed the speakers very much. We are not big on night time entertainment so I really can't comment on that area. Tours were only average and could have been improved. The staff were excellent and we could not fault their service and attitude at all. They were friendly and efficient so we were very happy with this aspect of the cruise. Would we sail with Crystal again? Probably not unless there was a great deal available as at this stage we do not believe value meets the current price point. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
The ship itself is very nice. Most of the staff are great with the exception of the sales and customer service group. I have never seen such a lack of care or give a damn. I went to the front desk and asked to speak to the ship customer ... Read More
The ship itself is very nice. Most of the staff are great with the exception of the sales and customer service group. I have never seen such a lack of care or give a damn. I went to the front desk and asked to speak to the ship customer service officer, Ms Wu who was the shift manager stated he was off duty and he would get back to me. 2 days later I returned to the desk and was told he was too busy with mainland guests and I could scan a QR code and leave any comments. This cruise is not for anyone but mainland China customers. I was shown by the staff they spend the money on the cruise casino n tours so they take first priority. Foreigners and HK people BEWARE... Several HK people I talked with said the same thing. The guests are severly rude and noisy. Which is to be expected; however, the lack of care by the staff was not and was unbelievable. The Nepal n Philippines cabin cleaning crew were amazing. I had one staff member selling items on the 7th floor push me out of the way to sell something to another guest. Find another cruise line like Star or Royal. When trying to talk to the customer service officer I was told he would see me after 2 days of waiting I went to the office and was told he (Mr XU) was too busy and I could go online with a QR code and leave comments. Unbelievable the guest is too insignificant to get 5 minutes of a customer service officers time. BEWARE DREAM CRUISE LINE or you will regret it. Read Less
36 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I have sailed forty-nine nights now on Royal Caribbean ships over the past 7 years. I guess you could say we are ‘experienced cruisers’. This past cruise was our first trip to Asia- sailing from Hong Kong to Singapore. We sailed ... Read More
I have sailed forty-nine nights now on Royal Caribbean ships over the past 7 years. I guess you could say we are ‘experienced cruisers’. This past cruise was our first trip to Asia- sailing from Hong Kong to Singapore. We sailed aboard the Voyager of the Seas. Normally we have thought Royal Caribbean lines to be a slightly better cruise line than Princess and certainly heads above Norwegian Cruise Lines. After this cruise I believe Royal Caribbean may be showing signs of a major decline. Possibly this is just a worn-out ship with poor leadership. Specifically on the Voyager this cruise, I would say there is not one specific thing, but death by 100 paper cuts. ⁃ Ship is dirty. Look at the ledges or the the hanging decorations in the main centrum. They are beyond dusty. Room service was pretty good. It is specifically the public areas that are filthy. ⁃ Ship is old and desperately needs an update; many broken items. Fridge in our room did not work. We asked them to fix but they could not. Lights out on art in stairways. Ice cream refrigerator quit working at Ben and Jerry’s resulting in soupy ice cream. Ceiling canvas in pool areas rotting. Rust on balcony of our room. On and on…. ⁃ Dining staff is way over-tasked. We waited an hour+ each night between appetizer and main course. Food is fine but not as good as other ships. What is with not passing out bread anymore or taking order of desert with the main meal and the cheesy one page menu? Or what about the sales pitch on the bottom of this cheesy menu for a steak from Chops? Seems like Corporate is looking to squeeze every bit of revenue out of everything they can. ⁃ Captain is a slug. We went to the Captain’s appreciation event. The Captain spoke and recognized the crew. One crew member in specific had five years dedicated service. The Captain attempted to pronounce her name and when he could not pronounce the name, he said, “Whatever. It does not matter” and she came to the front to have her picture taken and looked very humiliated. What kind of leader does this in front of 150 people? Why not practice the name beforehand? How would he like this public humiliation for his years of service? ⁃ Shore tender was the biggest joke I have ever seen. They promised the first tender at 9:30 AM; it did not leave until 11:00 - no announcement- just make people stand in line for 2 hours in a hot-as-hell hallway. ⁃ Windjammer sucks on this ship. NEVER were there enough seats! Not on the first day, nor subsequent cruise days. WHY? Do you want to know why??? Because the hacks at Corporate decided that since this old hulk-of-a-ship made in the 1990s did not have a “Chops” restaurant, they would take 25% of the Windjammer space and put a Chops there in it’s place. More revenue, after all. So it sits empty while we stand with a plate of food. ⁃ The staff seemed unhappy, distant (in attitude) and some I got the feeling were resentful. One man I observed appeared as if he could ‘snap’ any moment. We had a good time in Asia despite these hurdles and really, anyone who can even go on a cruise ship is a lucky dog in this world. However, at the same time, Royal Caribbean (on this trip) did not meet a high standard at all. I would give this ship at the most 2 out of 5 stars. Maybe one star. I would not book a cruise on this ship. I wonder if my days of sailing with Royal Caribbean is coming to an end. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Hello, I am in a position to be reviewed online to form service so I always ask, should I do this? And you know what, I should because telling the truth makes the world a better place. And RC needs to know and read a common experience so ... Read More
Hello, I am in a position to be reviewed online to form service so I always ask, should I do this? And you know what, I should because telling the truth makes the world a better place. And RC needs to know and read a common experience so they can there support and advertising. First the ship is amazing, food tasty, and mostly ALL good, like five stars good. I cruise a lot and will stay on RC as I know hem. But when one two or three things go wrong, it starts to leave a bad taste. My biggest gripe is: THE FALSE ADVERTISING FOR STREAM INTERNET SERVICE. Internet is horrible and we pay tooth and nail to get a weak signal. RC will eventually Get a Class Action and get sued for false advertising. Why say you can provide a service when you cannot? Be real. Say, we will charge you half as we can only get you weak signal. Instead they lure you to pay upwards of $80 a day (four devices for nothing) I know I talked to management an got the real satellite skinny on how internet works. It does not work reliable but you'll pay anyway. RC- DO NOT FALSELY ADVERTISE-IT'S WRONG. Maybe this only happens on international waters, but cruisers beware and research before you buy. RC tell the truth. Secondly, what's with standing in lines at excursions when YOU are giving the ship money. Lots of profit in these marked up excursions. I know just look at Expedia activities and you will see the mark up. If you take our money, give staff of four so there is non line. You hate our vacation that we paid for. Lastly in room service Its a ice bonus. But two of three order so far are wrong. Of you can say, well they are busy, but again this is a staff issue or a QM oversight issue. Why should we duffer and thin k we need ot our our needs last? Do you get wrong service in Las Vegas room service, usually no... then add a manager to review plates before they go out. Worse yet, they call you three time to tell you they are out of something or you have the wrong menu. Ok this might sound petty and. maybe it is. But tow for three. Oh yeah I have not send my third order. Its sitting there as breakfast to be eaten, so we will see. I get cruises are are like "zoos with lots of people,' not all of them are nice BTW. But RC beef up the service, tell the truth. Other than than that, Most RC offerings are amazing, boat is spotless, and most staff greet with smile. The other cruiser's on the other hand, I have never seen so many push there way to first in line. It's like the "girl is invisible." So now I start to push forward like them, and my kids say I am rude. I say: "do as the Romans did and claim your space." Sorry of grammar errors. I'm on my way to excursion. But you get the general pic here. Read Less
37 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was my 7th cruise with RC and up to this point I was very loyal to them and had always enjoyed my cruises. I was traveling with my parents and wife on this cruise and they are all very experienced cruisers too. All of us couldn't ... Read More
This was my 7th cruise with RC and up to this point I was very loyal to them and had always enjoyed my cruises. I was traveling with my parents and wife on this cruise and they are all very experienced cruisers too. All of us couldn't believe how bad this ship, staff and ports were and the amazing corners that RC is cutting to save costs. First, the service was awful. It seems that staff has been cut by 40% versus other cruises. Bars are packed, the windjammer is always packed and crew members just seemed overall annoyed with passengers. One of the funniest (in an awful way) anecdotes to capture how bad it is was that they don't allow you to pour your own water or coffee at the Windjammer. The problem is, half the coffee machines and ice machines are broken, so there are only ever 2 stations that are fully functioning. So this creates long lines at every station, just to get a cup of water. At times 15 people would be queued up, snaking between tables waiting for water. The staff had no urgency or worries about this. At one point I was standing there for 3-5 minutes while a crew member was watching individual cubes of ice fall into a bucket from a dis-functioning machine. So finally I went behind the station to pour my own coffee. Comically bad. The ship itself is tired and worn out. Rust everywhere, stains on the carpets and a general musty smell. Our hallway on floor 7 had a roof leak so there were buckets of water dotting the halls catching drips and huge fans running all day to try and remove the growing mold. The internet almost never worked even though we paid for the "streaming" package. One day it was down the entire day and didn't work at all. The pool chairs are nasty and outside decks have dirt and stains all over them. It just looked tired and worn out everywhere. The Vietnam ports of call were nightmares. Large container ports and if you didn't make your own plans you would be completely out of luck. The tender process was comically mismanaged. It was supposed to begin at 9am and didn't start till 11am. So there were scores of people lined up on the stairs, angry and hot. Finally they just started loading people onto the lifeboats regardless of their ticket number so people who had been waiting for 2.5 hours were passed by people who showed up 15 minutes earlier. Tempers were beyond hot. Overall, this cruise ruined RC for me. I brought a list of concerns to the Guest Service deck and the exact response was: "thank you for your concerns. Unfortunately we've heard these things from hundreds of others and there isn't anything we can do. Thank you though for not shouting at me like most other people have been. Hopefully this ship is dry docked soon because there is nothing we can do." My last comment is about the leadership. I think there is a serious concern with the Captain of this ship. It doesn't get this bad without poor leadership at the top. I was actually sad when I attended the exclusive crown and anchor night and he was giving out years of service recognition. An employee was getting their 5 year award and he butchered the pronunciation of their name. He just laughed and said "oh well, it doesn't really matter anyway." How awful....inhuman and embarrassing. I felt so sad for this crew member who had given 5 years of their life to RC and was then laughed at in front of the entire room because the Captain not only didn't know their name, but didn't even care what it was. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Viking have some beautiful ships. Well designed with a furnished by IKEA feeling. We'd travelled on Viking Sea previously and felt that as the line was new it needed some bedding down but that we ought to give it another chance. ... Read More
Viking have some beautiful ships. Well designed with a furnished by IKEA feeling. We'd travelled on Viking Sea previously and felt that as the line was new it needed some bedding down but that we ought to give it another chance. Little had changed. Viking pitches itself at the same customers as Azamara and Oceania so needs to stand comparison with them. The ship is larger (930 rather than 694 pax) and has a wonderful feeling of light and spaciousness in the public areas with many places to sit and read. While I can understand the World Cafe buffet being laid out like a hotel coffee shop, disappointingly The Restaurant feels much the same. It was always difficult to find an empty table in the buffet. One of the problems with inclusive tours is that most people opt for them and tend to eat at the same time. The range of dishes in the buffet was less than its two competitors. Service in the restaurant was patchy. The food was an improvement on our previous Viking cruise but still not as good as its competitors. If the itinerary had been better designed we wouldn't have had to pass through immigration in Japan twice. On one occasion it took two hours resulting in the tours running late. The quality of the tours matched what one would expect for "inclusive". Many tours returned at the same time and boarding the ship was not helped by opening only the one bag scanner. Customers should not be expected to queue on the gangway in heavy rain. A larger entrance foyer would have overcome this. To sum up, lovely ship but the customer experience still needs working on. Read Less
34 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Just returned from a Cruise on the Orion from Hong Kong to Tokyo chosen mostly for the destinations. We wanted to travel to Japan and given the fact that Japan is EXPENSIVE, this seemed like a good choice as the ports visited were on our ... Read More
Just returned from a Cruise on the Orion from Hong Kong to Tokyo chosen mostly for the destinations. We wanted to travel to Japan and given the fact that Japan is EXPENSIVE, this seemed like a good choice as the ports visited were on our bucket list and meals and accommodation were paid for. Unfortunately unbeknown to us , and our fault it was Golden week in Japan, a 10 day holiday period as well as the crowning of a new emperor. Every place was unbelievably crowded, and on occasion difficult to walk due to the crowds at temples and other places of interest. We have been on many cruises in the luxury category on smaller ships which is our preference. We are not Brand loyal as we enjoy trying different things in life. Given this, it was difficult for us to reconcile the fact that Viking Ocean was voted #1 in many categories. We actually realised why this is the case, as many of our fellow passengers, were on the fourth of fifth Viking Cruise, and had never tried anything else to compare. The liked the Viking new ships and felt comfortable as they knew exactly what to expect. I call it "the Holiday Inn" syndrome. There are so many better cruise lines in this category. I would rate Viking 4th or 5th. in every Category. I might add that the ships are lovely and most of the staff "willing and pleasant" but need more training. Our cabin located at the rear (Deluxe Veranda) was quite comfortable with a larger balcony and the bathroom is excellent. Best shower that I have had on a Cruise ship, ony to be beaten by those that have a Bath and a shower. I like to shower and my wife prefers to bath. The Best bathroom ever is the Spa Suite on the Azamara ships. A tad more expensive, but worth it. We dis not have a great choice of cabins, even though we booked it 2 years ahead and only and a choice of 4 cabins as everything else was booked.. Our cabin was on deck 5 below the infinity pool and was plagued by noise coming from the Infinity pool pump, located across the hall in a service room. We didn't get one night of uninterrupted sleep due to this intermittent pump cycling every 10 minutes or so. Surely Viking have heard of sound insulation!!! We complained to no avail, and on the 9th night they offered to move us to a cabin on deck 3, which we rejected as we were leaving the ship for a 21/2 day trip to Kyoto and rejoining up the coast in Shimizu. I did learn something though - many passengers book and pay the $100 deposit as soon as the cruises are published and then drop out at the 120 day point where they have to empty their wallets. So many people we spoke to, booked at 120 days or less and had a greater choice of cabin. The food was very good at Manfredi's and mediocre/acceptable elsewhere, except for the pool grill. Always a great choice of items so it was easy to find something acceptable, but certainly not the quality of Seabourne or Crystal, and even the special restaurants on Oceana were a cut above those on the Orion. We have actually had our finest meals at the Chef's Table on Azamara. $$$ but well worth it. Entertainment was also mediocre as were the included tours. I am 72, but found our fellow cruisers (most of the same age group) to be a little beyond it. They booked for tours which required a a higher level of exertion (noted in the brochures), only to complain when they got to the destination. They also couldn't figure out which channel to use on the VOX, even though it was always the same # as the bus they were assigned too. And frustration with the questions they asked of the guides even after the guide had already addressed the issue. Perhaps they were hard of hearing! I paid for a couple of additional tours with a US $ credit card, only to find that Viking charged the card with additional foreign exchange charges.I am Canadian and booked in Canada. Also did not get a statement at the end of the Cruise as is customary and found that I was charged for items that were not shown on the cruise account on the monitor in our cabin, even though I disputed these with Guest Services, who had agreed to deduct those charges. Still trying to get resolution with Viking. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We have cruised on numerous ocean cruises over the past ten years including Princess, Regent, Oceania, and National Geographic. Viking Ocean will now be our "go to" cruise line unless we are seeking an expedition cruise. ... Read More
We have cruised on numerous ocean cruises over the past ten years including Princess, Regent, Oceania, and National Geographic. Viking Ocean will now be our "go to" cruise line unless we are seeking an expedition cruise. Everyone's cruising style is different, but Viking is perfect for us. Our reasons include what they don't have, no children, no casino, no Vegas style shows, no butlers, and no formal nights, to what they do have - sleek, Scandinavian design with room for everyone, focus on educational lectures, focus on classical music, the most amazing spa and fitness center at sea, fabulous food with no charge speciality restaurants, and wine and beer with lunch and dinner. We had a penthouse veranda and it was wonderful. Maybe a bit more closet space would have been nice. The bathroom was our favorite ever with it's roomy shower and heated floor. I would chose the same cabin when we cruise with them again. As mentioned by others, Viking needs to work on their shore excursions. We were on a new itinerary so maybe that was part of the problem. They definitely need to invest in new listening devices. But overall, we have found our new favorite cruise line and can't wait to sail with Viking again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Started with this 2-week cruise from Hong Kong to Tokyo, then a week in Japan on our own. We did a Viking River (Grand European) last year so wanted to try one of their ocean cruises. Loved the Orion. Beautifully designed public spaces ... Read More
Started with this 2-week cruise from Hong Kong to Tokyo, then a week in Japan on our own. We did a Viking River (Grand European) last year so wanted to try one of their ocean cruises. Loved the Orion. Beautifully designed public spaces without over the top, trying too hard of some of the other, bigger ships. True casual elegance. All very spacious, comfortable AND at the same time cozy. We liked this ship much better than the full size ships we have taken. Great space for passenger count. Sometimes felt almost empty. But not at meal times! Service was great. Except occasionally (again) not at meal times. A couple of "flubs" in main dining room when all passengers hit at once. Overall very good food and wine selection. Our two specialty restaurant meals were lovely. And buffet always a good alternative, fresh and appetizing, sometimes hard to find a seat though. Disappointed specialty restaurants and excursions so hard to book into beforehand. Because we were "only" DV category, things often sold out before we could book. Very frustrating. If we'd been regular veranda, even worse? Viking needs to adjust capacity or ...? Staff really did work hard to please. Pleasant, personable, and efficient. Appreciated enrichment and port talks before excursions. Learned lots. Some excursions were great. A few could be improved. I'd suggest more time AT points of interest, once bus gets you there. And info in description about travel/visit time ratio, (not everyone thinks to research maps.Google when selecting). Entertainment varied. Local dance group fantastic, musicians very good, some onboard singers excellent, others OK. But TURN DOWN the volume please!! Mics or control room? cranked up to excruciating levels sometimes. Didn't use spa but fitness suite exceeded expectations. Nice to keep up routines and offset some of those calories. Planetarium didn't do it for me. over hyped, with awkward viewing angle. And see more under cabin review about my "big" gripe: no pressure balance in shower. Read Less
31 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I was attracted by the destinations and the hype surrounding Viking Ocean Cruises. The ship is beautifully equipped with all modern facilities. Like a beautiful woman until the true character is exposed. The Ship lacked Soul. ... Read More
I was attracted by the destinations and the hype surrounding Viking Ocean Cruises. The ship is beautifully equipped with all modern facilities. Like a beautiful woman until the true character is exposed. The Ship lacked Soul. Furnishings were like Ikea on steroids. There were few activities apart from some excellent speakers and an outstanding performance by 4 dancers and singers. appearing only 3 times in 15 days. Another evening a Kabuki dance by locals was fascinating. People just hung out in corners of the ship reading and relaxing. They were entertained by 2 violinists and at other times by a pianist. Some passengers looked like they had passed away. Nothing much else to do. Excursions were disappointing. The one we looked so forward to going on was cancelled due to low support and the others didn't flow particularly smoothly. Food was the redeeming feature. It was excellent. Service was friendly and almost efficient. Our cabin attendant was very good. Embarkation was smooth and well organised. It would appear that Viking may be growing too quickly since there was what appeared to be inefficient administration processes. On one of our excursions we were instructed in the Newsletter to present in the Theatre for re-direction to our Buses. We had to meet by 1.45pm. Some 50 passengers turned up. But at 2pm when our Bus was due to leave, no staff appeared. A passenger then rang Guest Services to see what was going on and was then told we were supposed to meet on the Pier. No one told us!!! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Hong Kong to Tokyo 16 days. This was are Second Viking cruise as previously sailed on V.Sea. We found Orion to be a better experience this time around. Orion did not seem so bland as Sea, certainly more pop of colour around the ship. ... Read More
Hong Kong to Tokyo 16 days. This was are Second Viking cruise as previously sailed on V.Sea. We found Orion to be a better experience this time around. Orion did not seem so bland as Sea, certainly more pop of colour around the ship. We had a Penthouse Verandah on Deck 5. The room was bright clean and well looked after by our cabin stewards who were very friendly and always had a smile on their faces. Always plenty of places to sit and relax on this ship, never felt crowded except for the World Cafe where at times it was just ridiculous trying to find a free table. There just didn’t seem to be sufficient staff to cope with clearing away dirty plates and resetting the tables. I also got rather annoyed watching one particular wait person chatting away to a couple of passengers for far too long while his colleagues were run off their feet. Food was OK, some really good dishes and then again some very average ones. Manfredi’s was OK just a different venue from the Restaurant, same for The Chef’s Table. Shore excursions were not over priced with one included excursion in each port. Bar prices I thought were reasonable and compare to what I would pay back home. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We wanted to visit Japan and thought this Viking cruise best suited our requirements. We had used Viking several times before without any major problems.In the end wished we had used another company. Problems started on the first day ... Read More
We wanted to visit Japan and thought this Viking cruise best suited our requirements. We had used Viking several times before without any major problems.In the end wished we had used another company. Problems started on the first day when they delivered one of our cases to another cabin. Only found out when the fellow passenger delivered it to our cabin later in the day The staff I reported missing case to did not seemed bothered when I complained. Other problems experienced included : - being sent reminders several times to attend safety briefings when we actually attended and ship cards scanned. We had to point out they had a system problem and they eventually admitted several of the handheld scanners were out of order. Do not know what would have happened in a real emergency. -delivering our copy passports ( needed for Japan apparently) to wrong cabin. Not in envelopes so the fellow passenger could see all our details - fortunately do not think he was a money launderer. - wrong order for food at restaurant - but the staff seemed to blame me for the waiter inputting wrong information into their machine. - timing of leaving Hiroshima had to change by 6 hours to an earlier time - I think because the initial plan got timing of length of cruise to next port wrong but staff blamed issues at the port. - electronic information on app and TV screens said we were calling at Kiel ( Germany) not Keelung (Taiwan) - staff kept blaming IT staff at head office. - no diet Sprite ( or similar) available on this cruise -only diet coke which I do not drink. Drink menu caters to the alcohol drinkers and non drinkers and diabetics are second class customers .No real alternatives were offered. So basically kept to water . Beverage manager blamed problems with getting supplies.However he did not ask for suggestions of alternatives or come up with other ideas. No imagination! No wonder people put on weight on a cruise with so many high sugar drinks with no alternatives.. - very poor Wi-fi. Not a patch on Princess's latest offering. I would prefer to pay a little more rather than have an included rubbish service.We found people taking their laptops etc to be nearer to routers but not sure it made much difference. - the maintenance of some of the equipment on board fell short of what would be expected of a fairly new ship. One lift was out of order throughout the cruise, the 3D movie feature in the Explorers dome did not work, one coffee machine in the pool bar did not work , one passenger told us her air conditioning unit was leaking water, one laundry room was closed for part of the cruise putting pressure on the other laundry rooms. - the quality of waiting staff was very patchy. Sometimes waited ages to be served drinks, some staff were not happy and showed it and you felt they wanted to be elsewhere. - customer services staff not very interested in problems - one told me to take it up with head office and gave me a card with detail on and did not even try to refer me to her manager. So I e-mailed the London address and it was only then that customer services manager on board spoke to me and we ended up speaking most days about some problem or other. - attitude of Viking staff seems to be that they are always right and the customer is always in the wrong. This has been re-inforced by the response I got from customer services in UK after submitting an 8 page report. No offer of any gesture to try and keep me as a customer. Given the problems Viking have had recently with their ocean and river cruises I would have thought they would be trying harder. Our experience this time will mean that our future cruises will be with other companies. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We booked a 10 day cruise from Hong Kong to Tokyo for some R&R and see some new Asian sights. Positives The cabin attendants were very courteous and helpful. The room was very clean and refreshed The ship was refurbished ... Read More
We booked a 10 day cruise from Hong Kong to Tokyo for some R&R and see some new Asian sights. Positives The cabin attendants were very courteous and helpful. The room was very clean and refreshed The ship was refurbished and everything is bright and current, yet somehow lacking excitement. Massage (deep tissue) was top rated. Needs Improvement Dining - Good with way too much more focus on quality at the expense of quantity/variety. I swear there’s a conveyor belt from the buffet to all the restaurants. You think you’ll get a choice steak at the Tsar’s restaurant, but it’s the same product as on the buffet. Yes, the desserts at the Tsar’s Palace are the same out of the box junk available on the buffet. Not a decent dessert to be had on board really, but the caramel sauce was delicious. With the exception of the lettuce, all fresh fruits and veggies were consistently of mediocre to good quality. I wouldn’t have eaten a tomato on that ship. Also try the buffet at the very end of the ship - keep walking back from the main buffet. Open air and very relaxing. Internet - Very Pricy but so so so slow. I had a need to log onto a secure website but never could get in as I kept getting timed out. Staff - hard working and try, but I don’t believe they’re empowered to provide customer service. I can say the staff, however, is trained to say they understand, but they can’t really do anything to address the issue. As an example, I had an urgent need to scan a signed document at 11:30 PM one night due to a legal matter. I really tried to explain the urgency of the matter at hand. The front desk advised that the staff don’t have external email accounts and only managers have external service. Again, I explained the urgency of my request and how limited I was 8,000 miles from home. “I understand, and I’m sorry.,” was the response. I asked for the manager, and the front desk was very reluctant to call. So, I gave up, took pictures of the document and sent them to a friend who cleaned them up before submitting them. Hours to send 11 pages. Did I tell you the internet was slow??? Excursion desk - We took every tour available. The tour companies were good. I put in a form to book a tour/transfer to Our hotel in Tokyo. The Excursion Desk called me at 6:30 PM to advise it was sold out and to go to the front desk to book a bus to Tokyo Station. The front desk said they stopped taking reservations for that bus at 4 PM. The excursion desk was somehow reluctant to help me with other options. . Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I was on a private charter of the Jewel from Hong Kong to Tokyo for a 10 night adventure. I had a balcony room to myself for the holiday. Boarding went smoothly but when it was announced that all the staterooms were ready, mine was still ... Read More
I was on a private charter of the Jewel from Hong Kong to Tokyo for a 10 night adventure. I had a balcony room to myself for the holiday. Boarding went smoothly but when it was announced that all the staterooms were ready, mine was still not. Even after I was allowed in, I had to call back the room attendant there was still dirt on the glass shelves in the bathroom. Not having a clean bathroom from the start was only the begining of a poorly run ship. I gave 3 stars because my state room was great and the entertainment was very good. One of our biggest complaints was the overt and racist "Washy, washy, happy, happy" in a mocking Asian accent, that were were greeted with when entering the cafeteria at every meal. How insensitive! Our Asian friends, and this cruise originated in Hong Kong so many were on board. Were horrified as we were to find out that this is a NCL saying and the crew are required to say it. I reached out to NCL on Facebook messenger and I could see they read my concerns but never responded! After a 12 million dollar restoration you expect things to work. There were so many things broken and not fixed it became was a joke. We asked every day for the lockers in the spa to work. Were told that no one had complained and they all worked, but the attendant who came to help us could not use them either because they were broken. We were told every day that no one had complained even though they took my room number every day when I said something. In the cafeteria the coffee and expresso machines were out of order most every day and when we said something were were told to go to the end of the ship for the one working machine(it did not work either). Mexican food day, there was no tortillas and asking for guacamole was like pulling teeth.. Seriously, Mexican group was very angry.. as were we..They were so stingy with tortillas we were only allowed 2 each and one teaspoon of guacamole. I made the girl angry by demanding more.. I wanted some for my tortilla chips and salsa.. which had no spice or heat. We tried the main dining rooms, but the service was so bad and the food either over cooked or just cold(cold french fries with a cold not edible steak) That was after the fish I ordered was so dry it was not edible. We had a table of 8 one night and the food came out so slow for some of us that many of our friends had finished dinner and desert by the time we were getting our main meal. It was inexcusable. We finally had a good meal at Le Bistro after the Restaurant's manager personally took us there and paid for our meal and wine as he was so embarrassed! The Brazilian restaurant was also very good, But you had to pay for that. We ate at Tapanyaki the first night and it was a joke! The "chef" did a song and dance and tapped spatulas, many of which he dropped! The rice was not edible as it was so salty and the meat was tasteless. We had to ask for salt for that! We were rushed through the meal that should have been a show. I wasn't even able to finish my food as they wanted to move on.. The entertainment was good but the drinks were a joke. They upcharged and seemed to forget what the price was inconsistent from each server and each bar. They poured premium even if you asked not and still charged your room. You asked for well drinks and they poured premium! The shore excursions were poorly run and often the guides level of English was not understandable. Mostly a waste. My bed was comfortable and the water pressure in my shower was impressive, but you could not pay me to get on another NCL ship. My whole group lost weight as often the food was terrible. We would head to get chocolate ice cream soft serve 4 times a day to keep the weight on. But even those machines didn't always work and it was not easy getting anyone to pay attention to take care of simple things. We thought the ship was a floating Denny's. Even that food would have been preferable. I paid over $5000 for my own balcony on a 10 night cruise. That works out to $500 a day, for that money we should have had good food! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Silversea markets itself as a high end luxury liner and for the most part it meets its hype. People joining Grand Voyages part way through, hoping on and off after a few days and discount cruisers tend to bring down the luxury experience. ... Read More
Silversea markets itself as a high end luxury liner and for the most part it meets its hype. People joining Grand Voyages part way through, hoping on and off after a few days and discount cruisers tend to bring down the luxury experience. The Muse is a well-designed ship for intimate cruising with nicely designed suites, multiple restaurants, bars and open spaces to relax. The suites are spacious, nicely decorated and kept spotless by well-trained attendants. With eight restaurants, serving a variety of foods; Japanese, Indochine fusion, Italian, Grill, Atlantide seafood & steaks, pizzeria, Silver Note night club. Atlantide best for seafood, Grill for steaks there are always good dishes on the menu at whichever location you chose. La Dame has two sittings, neither time acceptable to us . Atlantide is compact and intimate conversation impossible. Overall food was good with attentive service. Arts cafe is a delightful coffee boutique offering coffees, alcohol and a varying selection of food offerings during the day. Late night chocolate was always good. Sommeliers offer good variety of global house wines to meet personal choice. Six bars, two main Dolce Vita and Panorama offer a good selection of premium liquor, wines and champagne. The Servers are friendly and know your drink choice without asking after a few days. The Pool bar is good during the day and evening for drinks and coffee. Other bars in Atlantide, Silver Note, and Indochine. The Pool area is the hub of daily activities on two decks. Shade is at a premium as sitting area for the Grill occupy much of the shade. Plenty of quiet spots away from the pool area. The Entertainment is not a strength of Silversea, except Trivia with Jimmy. Enrichment lecturers were variable but David Horner was excellent, Mark Elovitz and Bill Miller good. We had a great voyage and have booked for next year. Silversea continues to be our first choice for cruising. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We had AFT suite which had the perfect outlook as a panoramic view including the side. Vibration can take a little getting used to during the night but this only occurred when we were making up time or docking. Steward service was hit ... Read More
We had AFT suite which had the perfect outlook as a panoramic view including the side. Vibration can take a little getting used to during the night but this only occurred when we were making up time or docking. Steward service was hit and miss for a suite as we were surrounded by non suite staterooms and the allocation to each steward would be higher. Rarely did we see a child(I think there were 2 on board), most passengers were American Australian UK then South African average age 65. Loved the free laundry and staff in Neptune lounge were fantastic. Shows were nothing like the big ships so were a bit hit and miss. Pinnacle restaurant was great especially their degustation but MDR food was also great and service perfect. Always hard to compare different ships particularly of different size. Suite benefits vary dramatically in different cruise lines so check what suites you. As a 1900 passenger ship it is less crowded with fast elevators less queuing but the trade off is less shops and activities and shows of a lower standard. Tours in china and Japan were poor value with communication issues with the guides but they were well organised. Internet even on the premium package was hit and miss. Would definitely recommend this ship. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because of the 2 day stop in Shanghai and Beijing and ending in Japan. This was our first time cruising on HAL. It was just the 2 of us cruising and we stayed in a balcony cabin, which was very nice. We arrived at ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the 2 day stop in Shanghai and Beijing and ending in Japan. This was our first time cruising on HAL. It was just the 2 of us cruising and we stayed in a balcony cabin, which was very nice. We arrived at embarkation to find out we needed copies of our Passports and Visas on separate sheets of paper. We waiting in a line for 15 minutes + to have this done. If we knew prior to arriving, everyone would have these copies available. There were numerous agents to check us in and was quick. Unlike other cruise lines we've been on, the ship does not have a bright center atrium. It's quite small and dark. The ship as a whole in the interior is dark, the evening entertainment is just so-so, MANY people walk around with their bathrobes on visiting the pool/spa/buffet which we found strange and their were limited activities on sea days, All our tours were private with 8 people so can't comment on the ship's tours. We did attend several information sessions about ports, culture and various topics and found them well done and interesting. The service and food options in the Lido Marketplace, buffet, was very good. We ate our meals here for the variety and did not participate in the formal nights. We met friendly people since most times you share a table in the Lido Marketplace. For the first time ever, we took our luggage off by ourselves since we had reserved tickets for the bullet train. This worked well since we each only had 1 suitcase. Depending on the ports/cost, we would consider going again on HAL. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise based on its itinerary and it was very enjoyable. It was a first cruise for us (well, I had been on a cruise 28 years ago with a girlfriend but that was a long time ago) so we were not sure how we would enjoy this type ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on its itinerary and it was very enjoyable. It was a first cruise for us (well, I had been on a cruise 28 years ago with a girlfriend but that was a long time ago) so we were not sure how we would enjoy this type of travel. We did a lot of research and it paid off (mostly). FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO SEEMED SURPRISED BY ADDITIONAL COSTS, TENDERS AND OTHER MATTERS, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE SPEND SOME TIME ON RESEARCH! For example, by reading other reviews of cruisers, we knew that getting to Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) and back in time would be difficult because of traffic and the timing of the ship's arrival and departure, so we took the NCL excursion. We were Haven Guests and were very grateful for the extra service (such as embarkation and disembarkation priority along with a reserved area for meals at breakfast and lunch) making our trip experience much better than many others, I am sure. What we didn't fully understand, though, was that being on deck 9 instead of 14 meant that we sometimes missed the true benefits of the Haven experience (such as having a butler and concierge ready to make things easier for us). Our butler and concierge were generally MIA unless we called and they both seem surprised that we hadn't asked to have something when we thought it would just be done (they only discovered that we were first time cruisers at the end of the trip and things might have been easier if we had volunteered that up front). There were a few other blips but we figured out what we needed to do in the first few days (and I did express my concerns to them) and we did get in tune with them after that. However, if you want to experience the full benefits of the Haven, I would recommend that you find a cabin/suite on Deck 14. Our cabin was right up front and the benefits of two balconies was wonderful, allowing us to have the best of both views and, while the noise of the anchor going up and down was clearly evident, it really didn't disturb us. Also, I am very prone to motion sickness and didn't feel the least bit queasy for the entire trip. We took mostly independent tours and they were, overall, excellent. There was one dud excursion which had more to do with the lack of English by the tour guide but we did hit all the sights. The tour into Bangkok using NCL was excellent, given that the guide was herding 32 people around but I cannot recommend the tour at the end of our trip into Singapore. We took the 4 hour tour ending at the airport and it was very expensive and certainly unimpressive. Dining was very hit and miss; Chin Chin was dreadful and La Cucina wasn't far behind. I would certainly not waste my money on La Cucina! Both service and the food was way below average. The first week seemed generally off for most of the entire dining areas - it was as if the waiters did not know what they were doing or where they should be at any one time. We were left waiting for several minutes without so much as a glass of water on a number of occasions and sometimes the food was not very warm when it arrived. A couple of very nice meals were had at Cagney's and Teppanyaki (go for the show, although the food was very good) but none of the meals made me feel that I had to go back. I admit I had expected better prepared food and the quality of the raw ingredients seemed lacking sometimes. The meal at Azura was very good and I would highly recommend going to the free sit down venues over the buffet (where a couple of times when we ventured in, we were horrified by the noise and people eating right beside the food - presumably so they could go back for more immediately. The fitness facility was good although I'm sure that it would have benefitted from some extra space. The free classes were generally well attended (or, on sea days, over attended) but the paid classes were almost empty. Internet was very poor but the guy at the Internet cafe was very helpful to get the most out of it. I must admit that I didn't pay enough attention to the small print and it was annoying that the service we had only applied to one device at a time! We had one unlimited service and two 250 minute services (that came as part of our package) so it was okay but I saved any big work on my computer for our days on shore when we could get 4G wifi service. Overall, we were very happy with our first cruise with Norwegian. They do seem to have worked out most of the problems with embarkation and disembarkation and tendering (at Koh Samui, for example, the ship was using commercial tender operations along with its own lifeboats) on this particular routing. This allowed for at least triple the numbers to get on the tender and the lineups were greatly reduced. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Chosen for the timing, stops, and convenience from Taiwan. The problems started with embarkation. 4 huge seating areas. A few wandering workers. You get a number for the 15 service desks. Turns out 50 people have the same number. Worse, ... Read More
Chosen for the timing, stops, and convenience from Taiwan. The problems started with embarkation. 4 huge seating areas. A few wandering workers. You get a number for the 15 service desks. Turns out 50 people have the same number. Worse, the announcement of the number is called out by someone walking the aisles amid the din. The cabin was the tiniest ever encountered, with stool angled from the wall but not enough to put a leg over. Supplies would run out, and no morning service until after noon. There was not a decent steak on board, not at the buffet, not at the dining room, not at the steakhouse. No lobster. I was informed they stopped serving libster 10 years ago, though the NCL booking agent assured mre there would be a lobster night. In contrast, Holland America has at least 1 lobster night on every cruise we've been on, as well as great steak every night. Very few activities on board, and no happy hour at all. That's enough. My wife said never again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We were very happy with this cruise and pleased that we were able to do it on Celebrity because most of their itineraries are pretty boring (that is the only thing they should learn from MSC!). We were lucky that we were on one of the ... Read More
We were very happy with this cruise and pleased that we were able to do it on Celebrity because most of their itineraries are pretty boring (that is the only thing they should learn from MSC!). We were lucky that we were on one of the first cruises after the dry dock "Celebrity Revolution" makeover. The ship - like all M class ships - was in bad need of a renovation and we were overall quite pleased with the results. One exception: the Retreat Lounge had horrible seating and no atmosphere at all. They really have to change the seatbacks of the sofas and the far to uncozy lighting, bring the frosted glass enclosure towards the "Art" Gallery back and kick those ridiculous toddler stools out, not even Kelly Hoppen MBE will be able to get her behind in. Staff was the best we ever had: everyone was greeting and cheerful. Food was good as always. Service at Luminae very personal and top notch. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I chose this cruise because it sailed to countries that I had not visited before and also went to South Korea, a place I had visited 20 years ago. Celebrity Millennium cruise ship Check in experience at Hongkong Celebrity omitted ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it sailed to countries that I had not visited before and also went to South Korea, a place I had visited 20 years ago. Celebrity Millennium cruise ship Check in experience at Hongkong Celebrity omitted to inform the prospective passengers that they would need two copies of their passport, when they checked in at the Hong Kong international cruise terminal. This caused hundreds of passengers to line up to have their passport, copied to meet the criteria.. Then when we finally made it to the check in counter, we were requested to have a visa to visit china for three days. We had already contacted the Chinese embassy prior to travelling to Hongkong to confirm if a visa was necessary. Their information was, that if we were staying less than 144 hours, we would not require a visa. We had a confirmation email from the Chinese Embassy so, after long deliberation, they let us onboard. We had only just boarded the ship when we were required to line up again and hand over our passports for the Taiwan immigration. This could easily have been done as we were boarding the ship, as we had to walk about a kilometre back and forth through the Hong Kong international terminal. They could have set up a passport station along this route, where the passengers would hand over their passport, and receive a receipt. This would have saved a lot of time and the unnecessary lining up, but they didn’t. We were supposed to be concierge passengers, which meant, we payed an additional $400aud per person for express check in and other privileges on the ship. We feel cheated as we had no special treatment other than a tray of canapés that were no larger than a twenty cent piece. When quizzed about our special privileges, we were given a bottle of Champaign. I am not convinced that the canapés and bottle of Champaign would have cost $800 Aud First stop Tiapei (Taiwan) Following a day at sea, travelling from hongkong to Tiapei, we arrived at 7.00am to a foggy morning and lots of Taiwan warships lined up along the docks. The immigration inspection went smoothly, and passengers who had not booked on the cruise ships tours, made their way 500m down the dock to the railway station where the train took us into Taipei. The station was directly under the Taipei101 building the highest building in Asia and the world, until 2012. The ships tour groups, along with the passengers doing their own thing, all travelled to the top of this building in the fastest lift in the world .Taipei 101 has 2 lifts that only takes 37 seconds to travel from the 5th floor to the 89th floor of the skyscraper. The train trip cost around $12Aud return and the building entry fee was $ 27 AUD. The tour organised by the ship was $175US to visit the same location. Admittedly, the ship tour was on a bus, and took a different route to the building, and included a lunch. Speaking to other passengers who took the ships tour, they informed us that they spent a couple of hours looking for 4 passengers who got separated from the tour, and held everybody up so their day was ruined. Next stop Busan Following another day at sea during which time the ship had some electrical equipment problems between Taiwan and Busan South Korea, which meant that they lost power to most of the ship. The ship limped along at about 2 knots and we were 4hours late arriving at Busan. There were major problems for the crew, who tried to arrange shore excursions and get passengers through the Korean immigration system. The ship blamed the immigration dept, but when we went through the system, it was working like clockwork, and there were no hold ups at all. Most passengers had been held up waiting to get off the ship for over 90 minutes only to find the immigration dept officers, waiting for passengers to come through. The ship was the hold up, not the immigration dept. During the power shortage, the kitchens were unable to cook meals, wash dishes, provide air-conditioning to the dining rooms, or boil water in the urns for tea and coffee. The staff did the best they could, but it was a major problem across the whole ship. There wasn’t any compensation offered to the passengers who had less than 2 hours of daylight to look around the city, and had endured long waiting times trying to get off the ship. Some free drinks would have gone a long way to compensate the passengers, but nothing was offered. The ship was only designated to be at Busan for 6 hours but when it did not arrive until 4 pm in the afternoon this became 2 hours to have a look around during daylight hours. I admit the electrical breakdown could not have been foreseen, but given that passengers had paid good money for the cruise, some compensation should have been offered. The ship delayed its departure until 11pm to allow the tour groups to complete their tours.This was the only concession made by the cruise line. Next stop Incheon Korea The port at Incheon is about 1.5 hours from Seoul (the advertised port of call on the itinerary) and the train stops at all stations along the way. The town of Incheon is 30 minutes from the dock. There were no money exchange establishments at the dock and as the ship only changed passengers money into US dollars, passengers ,were forced to find banks that were open ,and would change foreign currency, into Korean won.. There were no arrangements made for the passengers who found the shore excursions too expensive. The cruise line arranged a shuttle bus into Incheon and that was it. The shuttle bus dropped passengers off in the street in Incheon, and with no guide or Korean speaking interpreter available, passengers were once again left to their own devices trying to negotiate with Korean Taxi drivers, who struggled with the English language. The ship could have had a Korean interpreter available to help people, but chose to leave them all to their struggle by themselves. The ships attitude was that, if you wanted organised tours, then pay the exorbitant fees for their tours, or fend for yourself. The ship had no money changing facilities for passengers to change money for any of the countries that we were visiting. All tours arranged by the ship were charged in US dollars which were meant that Australian passengers were out of pocket by 30%, before they started. All tours were in excess of $250 US per person. Entry into china During the days at sea between Busan and Incheon the ship informed all passengers that, if you don’t have a Visa to enter china, then you won’t be allowed to leave the ship. This left over 200 passengers at the mercy of the ship, who demanded $350us for a visa that could be purchased in Australia for $169. There were passengers from Germany, Switzerland, Canada, and America as well as the Australians who had all been informed that they did not require a Visa. Following lengthy and heated discussions with all of these nationalities the guest relations Leader was called in to explain the exact meaning of the transit visa. The Guest relation leader was able to explain the Visa requirements that the Chinese embassy could not. In simple terms, to be eligible for the 144 hr visa, you must be a transit passenger, travelling from one country into China, and leaving to a third country, which cannot be the same country, that you entered from. For example when we left Jeju island, which is part of Korea and entered China at Shanghai, we had an airline ticket to a third country, being Thailand, which meant that the 144hr visa would cover this visit The visit to Beijing china coming from Incheon Korea and then returning to Jeju island Korea, meant that we did not meet the transit passenger criteria. If the Chinese embassy had have explained this rule, and passed this information on, then the 200 passengers who thought that they had checked out the visa requirements, would not have been put in this position. For many, the massive fee being charged was too much, and they chose to stay on the ship for the 3 days that we were in port. The Port of Tainjin is 1.5 hrs from the town of Tainjin which is 1.5 hrs from Beijing. Once again the ship had made no arrangements to transport passengers from the port to available public transport and they were left to negotiate with Chinese taxi drivers who had upped their fees because there were two ships in port at the same time. In contrast, the other ship, from Holland America, had 10 shuttle busses available for their passengers waiting on the dock. The ship organised tours to Beijing, visiting the great wall, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and Chairmen Mao’s house. These tours started at $275us per person and depending on the tour selected, the price went upwards from there ,so when converted into Australian dollars, a family of three would be up for over a thousand dollars to take the cheapest tour being offered. The tours took over twelve hours and included 8 hours of travel on a tour bus. The Port of Tainjin is too far away from Beijing making tours expensive and tiresome. If China intends for this to be their main Beijing Port for all visiting cruise ships, it will need to extend the bullet train tracks to the Port. Currently the bullet train runs from Tainjin and takes 40 minutes to reach Beijing. The battle is getting from the Tainjin port to the Tainjin station which is 1.5hrs away. Next port of call was Jeju South Korea Because the ship chose to go from Busan to Incheon, and then Beijing , passing Jeju island, along the way, and then back to Jeju island, they caused 2500 passengers to pay for a visa, that would not have been required if they had called in at Jeju island on the way to Incheon. They also have used twice as much fuel crossing the East China Sea, three times instead of once. The island of Jeju was a little bit more organised with a hop on hop off bus provided at the port to take passengers around the island. The ship had its tours available as well, but passengers were able to see most of the island for a very modest price of $16 AUD on the hop on hop off bus, instead of the $175US charged by the ship. There were many cherry blossom trees out in flower around the island and they made a great display. The bus took passengers past the international airport and around the coast rd to the far side of the island. There were 16 stops where passengers could get off or on the bus. Final port of call, back across the east China sea again, to Shanghai. The ship arrived at Shanghai at 6.00am and passengers disembarked in groups as designated by the ship. Shanghai was about an hour’s drive from the port and the taxi drivers were a much better group to deal with. There were booking agents, who organised limousine van drivers, to take passengers and their luggage to their hotels at reasonable prices. This of course was not organised by the cruise line. Entertainment The ship provided nightly shows in their theatre, many of which were very good. One group calling themselves the Aussie boys were excellent, singing songs from the 70’s 80’s and 90’s. The soul singers were also quite good and the mime duo was excellent. There ship had 6 days at sea during which time passengers had to amuse themselves. Other cruises that I have been on have had nonstop Karaoke, cooking classes for women and interested men, shuttle board courts, golf driving ranges, rock climbing walls and basket ball courts. Celebrity has very little to offer, and use art auctions, and Jewellery sales trying to make up for their lack of foresight. Conclusion Celebrity cruises appear to have one major objective. Once they have enticed you onto one of their cruises, by offering a reasonable price for your fare to get you onto their ship, then they do everything in their power, to up sell you to spend more and more money, on beverage packages, soft drink packages, tours that have hugely inflated prices, and are all charged in US dollars, photograph packages, art auctions, watch sales, jewellery sales, and the list goes on. One lady bought a painting at one of their auctions for $50us and when she went to pick it up, was told that they only had a copy for sale purposes, and that her copy would need to be posted to her, at a cost of $65us . They take your photo when you get on the ship and then want to take your photo as many times as possible at every port, charging $25US per photo. They even offer to put it in a small frame for an additional $75US. The ship has 5 additional restaurants that are not included in the price for the cruise. The crew spend every available minute during meal times in the buffet café, trying to entice you to visit these other restaurants, which cost $125US per head to eat at them. Celebrity could make their cruises much more enjoyable for their passengers, if they provided options for them to access public transport. They could have an interpreter at each Port, who would be one of their crew members, that could help passengers to negotiate with the foreign taxi drivers, overcome language barriers, and show them how to get to public transport. They could provide shuttle busses at every port to get passengers to the nearest public transport. Passengers would not mind paying a small fee for the shuttle bus, if it took them to the train stations etc. Celebrity cruises need to provide money changing services at their concierge desk, so that passengers can change money into the currency of the country that they are about to visit. Most passengers would not mind receiving a little less than the going rate for the convenience of being able to do this, in a calm organised way while the ship is at sea . The rooms on the ship were comfortable and the cabin stewards do a wonderful job. Our steward was excellent and nothing was too much trouble for him. The stateroom that I was in had an adjoining door between my room and the one next door, for a family. This door was kept locked, but the wind whistled in through the gap around the door and kept me awake at night until the cabin steward had it repaired. This is the first cruise that I have been on, that didn’t supply free bottled water in the stateroom. It was available, but at $5US per bottle. Ships such as Holland America and Royal Caribbean supply two bottles per day to each cabin, free of charge. There was no kettle, cup and saucers, or tea and coffee supplied in the room. This was provided, after requesting it from the cabin steward. We managed to have our stateroom steward arrange a jug of ice water, delivered to our stateroom each day ,to have clean, cool, drinking water available. One of the biggest complaints that I have, is the lack of security for your passport, on Celebrity cruises. The guest assistance desk made many bad mistakes regarding passports, sending messages to our room, requesting us to deliver our passports to them, while all the while they were holding our passports, in their office. They had even issued us with a receipt when we handed over our passport but they were unable to understand their own system. It was a clear that the right hand did not know, what the left hand was doing The Visa that we have paid $750US for was taken by the ship and we had nothing to show that we even had a Visa. We threatened to have our bank stop payment on the credit card if they didn’t provide us with copies of the expensive visas Celebrity appear to go out of their way to make it as hard as possible for passengers to go their own way, trying to force you to use their tours, which do not suit everybody, as they may not want to look at temples in every port. The activities on the boat leave a lot to be desired as they only have a few trivia quizzes and a few board games, plus the occasional skill completion with bow and arrow. There is the Casino when the ship is in open waters, but it is not everybody’s cup of tea. The intercom system only broadcasts into the corridors, unless there is an emergency. Most of the announcements are more than half over, by the time passengers can get their door open and get out into the corridor. The ship should have a switch in each cabin so the passengers can decide if they want the messages broadcast into their cabin or not. The emergency messages would come through, regardless of whether the switch is on or off. There is also no communication phone in the bathrooms on the ship, and should a passenger take a turn or a fall, they have no way of obtaining assistance, until the steward comes in to make their room up for the night. The ocean view café staff were excellent, and I could not speak highly enough of them. They worked long hours, always with a smile on their face, even though some passengers would have been very hard to deal with. The food was excellent, and there was plenty of variety, from Pizza and hot dogs through to roast lamb, roast beef, steak sausages, chops and a variety of vegetables. There was a salad bar and a seafood section, there was an Indian food section, and there was an Asian food section. There was fresh fruit and sweets including icecream and soft serve. The ala carte dining room was well utilised but most passengers then came down to the ocean view café, to make up for the tiny portions offered in ala carte. The beauty of the oceanview café was you had no time restrictions placed on you, and you had all the food you could eat, and all the variety you could wish for. I did not enjoy the problems endured on this cruise and would not cruise on Celebrity cruises again Read Less

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