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857 Hong Kong to Asia Cruise Reviews

Not having cruised to the extent of some others, we have previously sailed with Silverseas and Oceania and so do have something to compare with. Firstly, the good: Embarking in Hong Kong it was really nice to have our luggage ... Read More
Not having cruised to the extent of some others, we have previously sailed with Silverseas and Oceania and so do have something to compare with. Firstly, the good: Embarking in Hong Kong it was really nice to have our luggage already in our cabin by the time we got there, which was less than 15 minutes from kerbside drop-off! The cabin was very spacious ( V5 grade ) with the benefit of a walk-in wardrobe and large bathroom with full-size bath and powerful shower, although with all the other storage facilities the cabinet at the foot of the bed was unnecessary and did restrict movement somewhat. The ship itself was excellent and extremely quiet. Other points...Good laundry room, very good entertainment, efficient air conditioning, comfortable bed. Now, the not so good: Seabourn never made contact beforehand to advise of a change to the itinerary with the stop in Boracay being cancelled. First impressions were that the cabin had not been adequately cleaned. There was dust apparent on the glass and work surfaces, a champagne glass had to be replaced as did a chipped soap dish. No offer of canapes, although that is mentioned in their brochure. Service was a tale of two halves. In the first week there were too many instances of almost being ignored with different crew members appearing to be non-smiling and pretty grumpy. Once, after waiting 15 minutes for a drink to materialise, the barman said "I am doing it' and abruptly turned his back. Another time, after being served a fruit juice instead of a fruit smoothie, the waitress shrugged and took the drink back without a word being spoken....needless to say a smoothie never did arrive. On other occasions we were basically ignored and twice when I stopped a passing waiter I was told someone else would serve us as we were not at one of their tables, and they then walked away. Now for whatever reason, and in all fairness, it has to be said that the service in the 2nd week was a marked improvement. People seemed happier and we encountered no issues. Carrying on: We had pre-booked once for The Keller Grill. Onboard we asked if we could have a second booking and were told we would be put on a waiting list and advised if something became available. Nothing was heard and on our last day of sailing we attended our booking and as an aside spoke to the Maitre D' who was adamant that we should have been offered 4 bookings ( 1 for each week ), and not withstanding that he had had tables available on most other days. So why didn't Guest Services get back to us?? General points....disappointing selection of desserts, especially at lunchtime when the majority of items offered in The Colonnade and Patio were cakes or cookies. Very poor selection of cheese available. The irons in the laundry room had basically given up on producing any steam. The treatments in the Spa were very expensive as were, to a lesser extent, the excursions. Wifi really should be included within the price. Finally, because of the coronavirus much of the itinerary was abandoned for reasons I fully understand.Eventually a full refund was announced, to be taken against a future cruise. However, what was lacking was the fact that only $250 per person was given towards the cost of the new flights necessary when the disembarkation point was changed from Hong Kong to Singapore. That in no way covered the additional expense other than as being a token. Overall and in comparison.....Oceania: Better food and better value. Silverseas : More personalised and better service. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We are avid cruisers (7 lines) and this is our 4th with Seabourn. This was suppose to be our 'celebratory' 40th wedding anniversary dream vacation! The corona virus situation was a fast paced, evolving situation which we ... Read More
We are avid cruisers (7 lines) and this is our 4th with Seabourn. This was suppose to be our 'celebratory' 40th wedding anniversary dream vacation! The corona virus situation was a fast paced, evolving situation which we were acutely aware of. We landed in Hong Kong, our start point on Jan 31/20. The WHO had declared the Corona Virus a "global health emergency" the day before. Seabourn had 48 hrs to advise their "valued guests" as apparently their "top priority is safety" and give us the OPTION to either cancel or rebook. Instead, they ignored our emails and on embarkment, we were told that if we didn't get on the ship (docked next to the 'Westerdam' in HK), we would be forfeiting our $40,000 vacation. Ultimately, once we set sail, we ended up being denied entry into 4 out of the 6 countries in the 'red zone' we had paid and booked to see and only saw 2 of the 13 ports of call on our original itinerary. At the 11th hour, only after most passengers had voluntarily opted to get off early in Singapore, Seabourn outright cancelled the 2nd segmont of our cruise. This was a blatant, underhanded way to mitigate their losses and be compelled to cash refund those passengers. Very bad optics!!!! Seabourn's response . . . they were following CDC guidelines. Not other cruise lines!!! Throughout our 'relaxing' ocean voyage with mystery ports, we got a total of 4 'revised' itineraries. All the while, we were anxiously watching the "Diamond Princess" sage unfold realizing full well that this could be us!! To compound the crisis, after multiple meetings on board with senior managers/captain and a sea-to-shore call to corporate office in Seattle on Feb 14, Seabourn's "goodwill gesture" was to offer us a "future cruise credit". Not at all satisfactory!! The measure of any good company is how a crisis is handled. Not 'IF' but 'WHEN' problems arise . . . deal with them. The Covid-19 was not Seabourn's doing . . . but the mishandling definitely is!!! Strong leadership with a solid moral compass was not demonstrated. Lack of PROMPT and FAIR communication!! Very much resent putting our health at risk (have had pneumonia X2) plus avoidable, unnecessary STRESS!! And then to be offered a return air on CHINA AIRLINES back to Vancouver . . . really?!?!?! Very, very unhappy!! Seabourn rolled the dice and is hoping that the mostly senior, European passengers are complacent!! Not this one!! Certainly not what one would expect from a 6 star ultra-luxury cruise line!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
The itinerary was perfect. The ships crew kept everyone safe from the Corona Virus by spraying every passenger with sanitizer at multiple checkpoints around the ship. At no time did I ever feel unsafe and unprotected from the corona ... Read More
The itinerary was perfect. The ships crew kept everyone safe from the Corona Virus by spraying every passenger with sanitizer at multiple checkpoints around the ship. At no time did I ever feel unsafe and unprotected from the corona virus. Was awarded an upgrade from an inside cabin to a mini-suite in the rear of the ship by bidding online prior to departure. The cost was a lot less than I would have ever expected. In fact, I was surprised that my bid was even accepted. The premium internet package was a bit of a joke. The internet was extremely spotty at best. In fact, if you were in the room, you could upload photos at about the same speed at the only 56K modems. If you were on the balcony of the room....there was absolutely no wi-fi service. The port of Nha Trang was the best... try the Me Trang Chon coffee at the Me Trang coffee shop right off the pier from the tender dock.. unless you have any sort of heart condition. After two cups... I felt as though I had the energy to just swim back to the boat... without the tender. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
The one star goes to the staff - very pleasant , and always try to address all issues , another star does to the entertainers. Restaurants- we mostly dined in the buffet and main restaurant- food is like a 3 star hotel buffet. Is a ... Read More
The one star goes to the staff - very pleasant , and always try to address all issues , another star does to the entertainers. Restaurants- we mostly dined in the buffet and main restaurant- food is like a 3 star hotel buffet. Is a cruise to Vietnam and there is no Vietnamese food . Even fast food items like hamburgers and grilled Panini are Poorly made . We also tried the paid teppanyaki restaurant which is another mistake ! Quality of food is not up to standard . Gym and Pool- it is a big ship but the pool and gym are both small and congested . logistics - even with reservations the waiting time can be 20 minutes ; and tables were assigned after the staff checked us in Which takes extra time . We are also concerned about security , Sea passes were left outside the room instead of giving to us in person during check in. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We cruised on the Spectrum on three consecutive itineraries: January 2, 9 and 14, 2020. Boarding in Hong Kong was well organized. Each subsequent voyage was well orchestrated for back to back passengers. We would leave and return to ... Read More
We cruised on the Spectrum on three consecutive itineraries: January 2, 9 and 14, 2020. Boarding in Hong Kong was well organized. Each subsequent voyage was well orchestrated for back to back passengers. We would leave and return to the ship through the crew line so we didn’t have to line up with the boarding passengers. Each voyage was different due to the numbers of non-mainland Chinese onboard. On January 2, they described the passengers as international. There were over 700 Australians, next came Russians and then Canadians/Americans/other but the majority were Chinese from HK and mainland China. The January 9 cruise had a lot fewer Australians, few Russians and few others. The January 14 4-day cruise from HK to its home port of Shanghai had over 5,000 mainland Chinese onboard and few others. This cruise was dramatically different from the first two cruises. There were long lines to get into the Windjammer. There were lines for the entertainment. People would talk during the entertainment or be on their cell phones checking emails, etc. People would cut in line and carry on conversations during the entertainment and let their children run down the aisle upstairs in the theater and stand at the balcony at the end of the stairs to watch the performance. It tried one’s patience. But, the staff were excellent and service was great. If we were ever to return to this ship, it would be because of the staff—however, we realize that staff move from ship to ship. We thought the Chinese food was very good, whether served in the Windjammer or the main dining room. I enjoyed the noodle bar where I had a choice of noodles and vegetables, etc. to have the cook heat up. This was a very popular destination in the Windjammer. We booked a variety of cabins on our three cruises. We started out with a balcony cabin on deck 13. Then, we moved to a Grand Suite on deck 13. On our third cruise, we were in a Golden Junior Suite on deck 15. Because we are Diamond Plus, we were able to have happy hour and dine in the Silver Lounge/Dining Room while in a balcony cabin. When we were in a (Golden) Grand Suite and a Golden Junior Suite, we were able to have happy hour and dine in the Silver Lounge/Dining Room or the Golden Lounge/Dining Room. The Gold dining room was very nice because the tables were far apart and the service was top notch. The concierge was situated in the dining room during happy hour and meal times. We also got an included North Star experience. There was a cost for everyone else. The entertainment was very, very good. The guest entertainers were wonderful. The gym was small. Maybe 6 treadmills with one out of service during our three cruises. A few bikes. But, if you were determined to get a workout in, you’d be able to do it. All in all, we enjoyed our cruises. We enjoyed the ports and the ship’s excursions. The staff were excellent. The cabins were very nice. The food was good, especially the Chinese offerings. The only negative—maybe—was the behavior of the mainland Chinese customers. They are not used to cruising and traveling with westerners. And, we are not accustomed to traveling with people who don’t understand or abide by lines, who talk loudly and even during performances. But, we were all there to enjoy ourselves—and I think that was accomplished by most. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Spent 2 days in Hong Kong at the Park hotel. Used the Big Bus to get around great value if you have not been to the area before. Getting onboard was easy no issues, very straight forward. Few things different seapass cards were are you ... Read More
Spent 2 days in Hong Kong at the Park hotel. Used the Big Bus to get around great value if you have not been to the area before. Getting onboard was easy no issues, very straight forward. Few things different seapass cards were are you room waiting for you. Seemed a little strange. Spectrum of the Seas not sure what I expected but did not seem as flash or exciting as other ships I have been on. Definitely has an Asian twist in the interior design. Lots of seating every where and no one trying to sell you packages as you board. I did not see a dining special on specialty restaurants which was a shame, I probably would have taken up that offer. The centrum was the smallest I have ever seen and the shops were spaced out all over the ship. We had a balcony room with large balcony it was better designed than most I have stayed in with 2 wardrobes and fridge and tea and coffee available in room. USB ports to charge phones and devices was a great addition. Was a little disappointed with main dining room options I would have expected the Asian food to be of better quality I was not a fan. But normal menu items were as good as always. Crew were fantastic we were travelling with family and young children and there were well taken care of. Kids club was a hit with the 6 years old and baby nursery was also great value though the ship did not have nappies for children under 2. Activities were good a good variety with the cruise director Fang also around and ready to stop for a chat. Trivia with a twist as presenter was Chinese and had problems pronouncing some English words which made these sessions more fun. Casino was a smoking venue this was not pleasant experience. Bionic bar, bumper cars. Archery and rock climbing were fun but I did miss putt putt. Okinawa was probably the worst place to get off with customs taking hours to get through the whole group. Causing tours to be rushed. Stop in Ilocos was not great as it was rendered so it took ages to get off and first in first served to get transport from the port. It was so hot and very poor where we stopped and really nothing to do. Subic bay on their other hand had plenty of cabs about 3200 pesos for 4 hours was good value driver would take you anywhere you wanted to go. Getting off at Hong kong was a breeze. No Line ups. Then we headed off to Singapore for a couple of rest days. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
The ship is new and beautiful. It holds 5 thousand passengers , so long lines everywhere, dinning, games embarkation and disembarkation. We were travelling during X'mas holiday so the ship was entirely sold out with 12 hundred kids on ... Read More
The ship is new and beautiful. It holds 5 thousand passengers , so long lines everywhere, dinning, games embarkation and disembarkation. We were travelling during X'mas holiday so the ship was entirely sold out with 12 hundred kids on board. It was impossible to find a quiet place. The ship is catered to the Asian market and there are lots of Chinese dishes in the buffet and the main dinning room. We had one lunch in Jamie's kitchen. It is quite expensive and I don't think it is much better than the main dinning room. This was our second time on RCL and really enjoyed their nightly entertainments.It was a step above HAL. Okinawa is a nice place to shop and walk around. The 2 ports in Philipines Vigan and Subic Bay is totally waste of time. The ship is catered to younger passengers with lots of activities like rock climbing, surfing bumper car. If you want to have a relaxing cruise, then this ship is not for you Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We had cabin 7238, Silver Junior Suite. It was beautiful, the ship is only six months old so our cabin was rather immaculate. Bathroom with full size bath, sink plus separate walk in shower. Opposite was a separate toilet and full size ... Read More
We had cabin 7238, Silver Junior Suite. It was beautiful, the ship is only six months old so our cabin was rather immaculate. Bathroom with full size bath, sink plus separate walk in shower. Opposite was a separate toilet and full size sink. One large double wardrobe plus another stand alone wardrobe with hanging space plus drawers. Lots of storage space. We had unused hangers and empty drawers, there was so much space. Comfortable bed, great lighting, fabulous large flat screen TV, and large desk. Balcony was large, and had the most comfortable balcony furniture I have ever had (this was my 46th cruise). Our room steward Cheng was very helpful and super friendly. We are not very demanding people but he was keen to help in any way he could. We bought a water pack of 12 bottles, which cost AUD$63, and they were in the room when we arrived. Dining - we ate lunch in the MDR on day one, it was fine, good service. We also ate one dinner in the MDR and the food quality was good. But the MDR was very busy, we had anytime dining but they took us downstairs to the traditional dining section as there was no space. As we had a Silver Junior Suite we were entitled to eat in the Silver Dining Room on deck 14. This was a great space, mainly buffet but you can also order from a small fixed menu which they bring to you. We ate here breakfast, lunch and dinner most days. Service was excellent, no wait for a table. Others told us of the huge queues for the MDR and even the buffet. The problem was we had a lot of large family groups on board who were eating together and not wanting to move on, hence no table turnover. Our friends had a booking for My Time dining and when they arrived for their table they were advised to join the long queue. They said 'we have a booking' and were advised that everyone on that huge queue had a booking as well. No tables were available. We had Diamond drinks in the Silver Lounge every evening, you go to the bar yourself, there was no table service. The bar staff were good though, it was fairly quiet most evenings, and they had a large choice of drinks. The Silver Concierge Sylvia was lovely, very friendly and helpful. We had a great time there most evenings. Shows - we saw The Silk Road in TWO70 lounge, don't miss it, it was spectacular. Really fabulous show. We also saw the production show Showgirls in the theatre, also really good. We missed a couple of special acts that we had seen on an earlier cruise. The theatre is large but get there early for a good seat. We are Diamond, embarkation around 12 noon was easy, and disembarkation at 8am was an easy walk off. We hopped into a taxi to the airport (around HKD320) and there was a huge line up of cabs waiting to take the passengers. We did a ship tour Okinawa which went to Okinawa World (a cave system, and traditional buildings/shops), the ruins of Shuri Castle and a shopping street. It was great! We had a great tour leader. In Subic Bay we did the Subic Bay Naval Base and Oceanworld tour. This was USD119 and did not deliver what was described. I complained the next day back on the ship and the shore excursion people were very apologetic and offered a 20% refund which I agreed to. It was the first time the ship had been to this port and lots of tours didn't go to plan. We did a private tour for Illocos, which took us to Vigan. Service was really good everywhere, with friendly staff. The Cruise Director Fang was fantastic! Such a great guy. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We have taken quite a few cruises - Princess for the Scandinavian cruise, Carnival for the Alaskan cruise, etc and this is by far the worst cruise we have taken. And it was a pity because Spectrum is probably the best equipped ship we ... Read More
We have taken quite a few cruises - Princess for the Scandinavian cruise, Carnival for the Alaskan cruise, etc and this is by far the worst cruise we have taken. And it was a pity because Spectrum is probably the best equipped ship we have sailed with (hardware is very very good - lots of facilities, large rooms, etc.) BUT the software is horrible to say the least. 1) the wait for first dinner was totally unacceptable - it appeared someone miscalculated the crowd? How could that happen for a professional organization when you have the number of confirmed passengers on the cruise days ahead??? 2) The Best of Okinawa excursion was a mis-selling. You did not know the main building of Shuri Castle was burned down a few months ago? Yet, your people sold it as a visit to the old palace??? And the tour guide you hire rushed us through the itinerary so we could have lunch at about 3PM? This is the way a professional is supposed to plan a trip??? 3) The 6-hour Vigan City Highlight took around 1.5 hours to get to the town and back leaving us around 4.5 hours. And of the 4.5 hours, the tour guide left us shopping at a cobblestone street for 1.5 hours with all the shop pretty much selling the same merchandise and if you add 1 hour lunch time (where a disappointing lunch was provided), we really did not do much for the USD119/pax we paid!!! 4) The Subic Bay & Ocean Adventure Combo Tour was probably the worst mis-selling I have ever seen so far in my life. For a 5-hour excursion, we arrived at 10:29am and we only managed to get through the gate at 11:10 (wasting 40/300 = 13% of our time standing in line to try and get in) to watch the 11:30 Dolphin show followed by the 12:30 Sea Lion Show followed by 1:10pm "Runner up to Philippines have talent" Acrobat Show. We paid USD119/pax for something costing USD16/pax with no lunch time planned - we had to grab a hot dog ourselves during the Acrobat Show). We left for the "just as US Navy Seals and Special Forces Units, you'll learn how to mountaineer, identify wildlife, find portable water sources and build a fire using only dried bamboo" to watch the building fire bit only!!!!! The organizer may blamed it on the rain that day but the reality was, there was no time allocated for anything else except to watch the building fire bit! Again, we paid USD119/pax essentially for a Dolphin show, a Sea Lion show, an so-so Acrobat show and to witness how to start a fire using dry bamboo!!! 5) And the attitude of the employees on board the Spectrum was just incredible - with the exception of some of the employees during dinner on main dinning room on Deck 4, the rest of the employees seemed to have forgotten they were in the service industry??? Their attitude towards their passengers leave much room for improvement!!! This is the first time we have taken a cruise onboard a Royal Caribbean and I find it very strange that a brand name like Royal Caribbean allowed such poor standard to exist amongst your fleet. Totally disappointed!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This review is only our opinion and in no way reflects the crew on the Spectrum of The Seas who were all fantastic and definitely had their work cut out. If you have ever been on a Royal Caribbean International (RCI) Oasis-class ship, I ... Read More
This review is only our opinion and in no way reflects the crew on the Spectrum of The Seas who were all fantastic and definitely had their work cut out. If you have ever been on a Royal Caribbean International (RCI) Oasis-class ship, I think you will be very disappointed with Spectrum of the Seas. We have been on many cruises and this was our third cruise with RCI so we thought we knew what to expect. We knew the cruise would have a lot of Asian passengers and we were actually looking forward to this new experience, what we didn’t expect was the cruise to be totally focused at the Asian and ‘Upper’ class market (my bad for not doing my research). Embarkation on RCI has always been busy but I found this occasion to be just organised chaos at its best to the point I was getting stressed out before even getting on the ship (first time I have ever felt like this). Once on the ship, we were informed our cabin wouldn’t be ready for another hour, unfortunately, we weren’t able to enjoy our drinks package until we received our key cards and we couldn’t get them until the room was ready. As we wandered around the ship, we soon realised that parts of the ship were only accessible to the ‘upper class’ passengers. This included the solarium which is usually an adult only area and where we would normally spend our time. This was also the case when we went to watch a show in the Two70 lounge, all the front lower seating areas were cordoned off and reserved for the ‘Upper class’ passengers. It reminded us of the Titanic which somebody else on these comments has also referred to. Mealtimes in the Windjammer restaurant was like feeding time at the zoo. If you were lucky enough to find a table you had to guard it with your life. The food choices were mainly Asian food with a very small poor selection of western food and regardless if you thought that you are at the front of the queue, you weren’t. We decided to use the Dining Room for the majority of our evening meals and booked tables for set times, unfortunately, these times often slipped resulting in queuing for around 30 minutes. Although this was very frustrating, we understood that these issues were caused by other passengers and was not down to the dining room staff. We were also shocked by the number of things that were not included within the cruise package such as activities and snacks. If we fancied a mid-afternoon cookie or piece of cake we had to pay for it or we could have had a free ice cream if we were able to find an open ice-cream machine. Unfortunately, we could not use the North Star when we planned to due to weather conditions and I was unable to have a go at the I Fly due to previously dislocating my shoulder. The bumper cars were only on set times resulting in large queues and we never even saw the laser quest which you also had to book for. Our biggest problem on this cruise was boredom and the obvious cruise ‘class’ discrimination, we know that there are ‘Upper class’ areas and advantages on the Oasis Class ships but they are not (or never used to be) shoved in your face. Another point is, beware that everything on board is charged in US Dollars. I clocked on to this quite early and stopped my AUS credit card as the exchange rates were ‘quite’ poor, luckily, I managed to use my TransferWise card instead. Disembarking the ship was another story. We managed to get straight off the ship but then ended up in a queue for about 1 ½ hours waiting to get out of the terminal. We thought this was due to Customs & Immigration but it appeared to be just a taxi/bus queue (we think). This was definitely the worst cruise we have been on which has resulted in us reconsidering our Caribbean cruise plans for next year. It was such a disappointment as we knew this was a new cruise ship and looked forward to the cruise so much. We could not fault the crew on the Spectrum Of The Seas who bent over backward to help and please the passengers. This is one area that we have never faulted RCI for. The ship is brand new and looks it, but sometimes it just felt like a cross channel ferry. Unfortunately, I think that once you have been on an RCI, Oasis-Class ship nothing will ever compare. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
i must admit that the Spectrum is a marvelous ship. Well designed and beautiful. However, the management is disappointing. I have tried to contact the Guest Relations team via the official website and email. Not a ripple of response ... Read More
i must admit that the Spectrum is a marvelous ship. Well designed and beautiful. However, the management is disappointing. I have tried to contact the Guest Relations team via the official website and email. Not a ripple of response in 2 months. Here is my email which will tell my frustrations with the Cruise Line. "I am astounded to notice that you charge my credit card in Hong Kong Dollar while I had explicitly chosen the opposite during my online check in procedures. The exchange rate of you is unfavorable and my bank charge me a handling fee for billing from overseas in HK dollar! Although the amount is not too big, but it appears to me that your cruise company pay not much attention in caring your customers preferences. In addition, I do like to complain a few issues. We enquired repeatedly about the dining time and we are told 2nd dining is 7:30 pm. After boarding, we find that it is 8 pm instead. Again, no big deal, but irritates your customers. Before we board, I find no way to inform the ship that it is my Wedding Anniversary, Birthday of my sister in law etc. I want to purchase flowers for the ladies, but I think the service is not provided. After boarding, we have tried to inform the ship about the important dates, but we found no hospitality, no cards, no decorations and just nothing. It is not that in other cruise lines, including your sister line, the Celebrity. For the theater show every evening, they are scheduled 7:30pm and 9:30pm. First dining is at 5:30pm and guests have 2 hours to finish their meal. But, for 2nd dining at 8pm, we have only 90min. to rush our dinner if we want to go for the show. So, no matter how we rush with our food and how hard our waiters are rushing, we never arrive the theater on time. For the shows, many, if not the majority, guests are reserving seats for their family. It is so ridiculous for 2 to 3 kids to reserve a whole row of more than 12 seats. One evening, I went for the 7:30pm show before our specialty restaurant booking at 8:30. I and my wife attempted 4 to 5 places and just to be scolded by other guests because they RESERVED those seats. Of course, it ended in quarrels and spoiling the mood of the vacation. I really like to know the policy of your cruise line or the ship. Most important, are you enforcing your policy in any way? About the 'Silk Road', we try to book before we board. But only the paid 'VIP' version can be booked. OK! we do it on board. But, every show is FULL. Fine, other guests do their booking before us. What upsets me is my enquiry at the guest relations, after queuing up for a long while. They said that only the paid version has seats. The show is for the guests. Everyone guest should have a chance to view it. Either you add more sessions to fulfill the demand, or you make every guest to pay for the show. At least, you should arrange a waiting list that unsold seats will be released for some other guests. There are lot of other issues that are unsatisfactory, but I don't want to spend my time on them. As a customer, I don't like your cruising company. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
After cruising extensively on Oceania I thought I would try Silversea. Oceania discourages children so it came as a shock to discover there were nearly 60 children on the Silversea cruise (10% of the passengers). Instead of being a ... Read More
After cruising extensively on Oceania I thought I would try Silversea. Oceania discourages children so it came as a shock to discover there were nearly 60 children on the Silversea cruise (10% of the passengers). Instead of being a sophisticated adult experience, the cruise was more like a school outing. Kids running around everywhere and a cacophony of high pitch screaming from the forest of high chairs in the dining room. That was a pity because other aspects of the cruise were very good. The ship and cabin were tastefully decorated, although sound proofing between cabins could have been better. Staff were wonderful and very willing to accommodate special requests. Food was good even thouhg the dessert menu was the same every night. Shore excursions were well organized and reasonably priced. One negative, the ship had the worst WiFi I have ever experienced on a a cruise ship. Silversea needs to decide if it wants to be a family cruise line or an adult cruise line. If they decide on the latter, I would cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We have always dreamed of an aft cabin got one one the ship. At first glance we were very disappointed because if was so small, old, and dreary but at least we had an aft view but the veranda was filthy, covered in soot. I asked the cabin ... Read More
We have always dreamed of an aft cabin got one one the ship. At first glance we were very disappointed because if was so small, old, and dreary but at least we had an aft view but the veranda was filthy, covered in soot. I asked the cabin attendant if it could be swept at least but he said they don't clean it. Although the view was beautiful I could not sit there because of the filth. I would have bought a broom myself had I known they don't sweep the verandas. We ate in the dining room one time. at the the waiter threw the tiny amount of food down and ran away. Couldn't ask for anything. The rest we ate the Lido. Much better. The whole immigration procedures from Hal were chaotic. I was told multiple times that I needed to get my own visas only to find out they were available through the ship. The busiest places on the ship were the medical unit and customer service. That tells you a lot. I have been on other HAL cruises but this one seemed like everyone was in training. You had to explain everything to them. I'm done with HAL. No recognition of Mariner status at embarkation. Hot tubs were ice cold. Dont book any overnight packages. They change them and then tell you sorry they're nonrefundable,\. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We had a 24 day cruise on Zuderdam some years back and was okay. Now HAL have add on costs for everything. Food in Lido and Dining Room all unseasoned with the chicken, pork and beef all tasting the same as it was all cooked together. ... Read More
We had a 24 day cruise on Zuderdam some years back and was okay. Now HAL have add on costs for everything. Food in Lido and Dining Room all unseasoned with the chicken, pork and beef all tasting the same as it was all cooked together. Sauces are added with a thimble measuring device and are also tastless. Entertainment mostly guest entertainers that get a free part of cruise. Hopeless. Virtually no Christmas decorations od carols compared to previous cruise on QE. Captain went into hidding from day of embarkation. Senior crew almost invisable so complaining impossible. Compared to Zuderdam and QE where the Captain or 1st officer greated you for dinner most nights. Confiscation of passports is also unnacceptable, if you have a mishap on a private tour, you have to return to port to pick up passport from agent before you can fly to catch ship. Will never book with any line in Carnival Group ever again. Next cruise Regent or Seabourn. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Cabin: poorly working A/C, dripping with water on bedding. Moisture running of walls. Overhead bed hinges broken, bed leaning forward/downward. Bathtub would backup off and on. First couple days toilet didn’t work. Used washroom off ... Read More
Cabin: poorly working A/C, dripping with water on bedding. Moisture running of walls. Overhead bed hinges broken, bed leaning forward/downward. Bathtub would backup off and on. First couple days toilet didn’t work. Used washroom off exploration cafe, only to have urinal contents flush on pants and shoes. Staff knew of problem, but didn’t correct. Didn’t offer immediate help with clothes and shoes.... 2 days later !!!!! After having complained nothing happened!! Ports: what a joke! You wake up to the smells of container harbours, thousands of containers, cranes and trucks, not exactly a luxury holiday stop, but worse... what’s not advertised is the huge amounts you have to spend to actual go to the port of call, as in at least at couple of ports we were 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hrs away. What a disappointment. Decor: there was very little Christmas decor, they couldn’t have done any less, pathetic. Entertainment: what entertainment!! It was pretty much nonexistent, and whatever little they had was so terrible. New Year’s Eve was the biggest disappointment - after a so so dinner - nothing happened... there was not one single thing going on. No entertainment in any one corner of the ship. How terrible is that. Shame on you Holland America!! Food: boring and repetitive. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
1) Background Info We chose this cruise for the itinerary and timing as this was a major-milestone birthday celebration. 2) Travel to Port / Embarkation "Our flight out of our originating city was delayed so we missed our ... Read More
1) Background Info We chose this cruise for the itinerary and timing as this was a major-milestone birthday celebration. 2) Travel to Port / Embarkation "Our flight out of our originating city was delayed so we missed our connecting flight. We had pre-arranged and pre-paid for an airport transfer to the cruise port through Celebrity. Since we arrived so late, we missed the last transfer. Therefore, we needed to exchange money to local currency at the airport and take a taxi to the cruise port. That process was easily done and our cab driver did a great job getting us to the cruise port in a very timely manner. We arrived at the cruise port at approximately 11:00 p.m. the evening of the first Hong Kong day. There was virtually no one around the cruise port. The gangway was open 24 hrs and there were folks there to check us in with no problems. Again, since it was so late, we had to take our own luggage through the cruise port and to our cabin (no porters this time of night). The cruise port is quite large, so it was a long trek working our way through the port and finally to our cabin. Since we did miss the airport transfer (which we pre-paid to Celebrity) and had to pay for a taxi ride to port upon our arrival, I notified the front desk of our situation. She verified that we did indeed not use our transfer so she refunded our money for the pre-paid airport transfer. I'm not sure if we were refunded the money because we had booked Celebrity Air and they could see that we missed our connection - hence the missed airport transfer. In any event, I was pleasantly surprised and happy to receive the refund hassle-free." 3) Muster Drill (General Emergency Drill) The Muster Drill (or General Emergency Drill) for our cruise was actually done on the second day we were in Hong Kong.  The drill was as follows:  All Aboard on Sun. 12/8/19 at 5:00 p.m., Muster Drill at 7:30 p.m. and Departure at 8:00 p.m. So no need to worry about missing Drill on day one since it is held on day two. The drill was not held outside and life vests were not required.  We just needed to meet at our Assembly Station as indicated on our stateroom door - which is also listed on the SeaPass cards.   4) Ship Information "The Millennium was recently refurbished, and we were quite pleased with the facelift. The décor was bright and airy and the ship never felt crowded. We could always manage to find space to ourselves somewhere on the ship. We liked the outdoor rooftop movie area. However, during the day it was quite hot there. Later in the day on beautiful days it can be quite lovely. I would like to see more hand sanitizer stations set up around the ship, especially in the back of the Oceanview Cafe. When sitting Aft outside of the Oceanview Cafe, if you want to wash your hands, you have to walk through the Cafe again and to the front of the Cafe. 5) Activities The ship had the typical activities such as pool volleyball, bean bag toss, ping pong, basketball, trivia games, etc. You could do as much or as little as you desired. 6) Service All of the employees were extremely helpful, pleasant and courteous - from our room steward, dining room waiters, Guest Relations, Shorex Desk - everyone was great to work with. On the day of the milestone birthday, we received a bottle of champagne in our cabin from the ship. I thought that was very nice and unexpected." 7) Visas for Vietnam There was a lot of confusion pre-cruise about obtaining a Vietnam Visa. As soon as I got on board, I asked Guest Relations if there was any paperwork that we needed to fill out for Vietnam as we did not have a Vietnam visa. She stated that as long as we weren't spending the night in Vietnam (i.e. for example spending the night in Hanoi) or we weren't leaving the country (i.e. flying over to Cambodia) there was nothing we needed to do - the ship would take care of the paperwork. Since neither of those scenarios applied to us, the ship took care of the paperwork to obtain a Vietnam landing card for us and charged our shipboard account a one-time fee of $6.00 per person. Those folks spending the night off of the ship were charged $28.00 per person - but I'm not sure what process they had to go through. I heard there were a few folks that did the Cambodia trip from our cruise, so most folks didn't spend the night off the ship in Vietnam. 8) Port & Shore Excursions Hong Kong - We took a Celebrity Shorex via motorcoach. We took the tram to Victoria Peak for truly beautiful views of the city, visited the fishing village of Aberdeen for a sampan cruise ride and lastly visited Stanley Market. We still had some Hong Kong dollars from our taxi trip to the cruise port, so we used that for a little souvenir as US dollars aren't widely accepted. At sail away, go to the top decks and just take in the harbor views. Everything is lit up and is really pretty. We were docked at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminals, which is the former runway of the Hong Kong airport. There is a laser light show at 8 p.m. nightly. However, it is located at the foot of the Kowloon Peninsula and is better seen from the Ocean terminal. You won't be able to see much of the laser light show from Kai Tak, but the harbor views are beautiful nonetheless." "Hanoi / Halong Bay Day 1 - We did an all-day Halong Bay Excursion with Authenticasia. We put down a deposit of $25 USD. Dong was our guide and did a great job. He was very knowledgeable and personable. This was a very, very enjoyable day. The weather and scenery were gorgeous and loved that we went to a part of the bay away from tourist crowds. Loved the rustic row-boat ride rowed by a local - the area was very quiet and peaceful. Lunch was delicious and there was plenty of it. There were 16 of us on the junk boat so there was plenty of room to move around. USD is widely accepted throughout Vietnam, so we paid for the tour in USD at the beginning of the tour. This tour was very well organized, the company sent very good and detailed instructions and I would highly recommend. Day 2 - Did a Panoramic Halong Bay by bus through Celebrity Shorex. Visited Quang Ninh Museum, visited Long Tien Pagoda then stopped at Hon Gai market. Did not really care for this shorex. Although the museum was ok, the Pagoda was not really worth it and I didn't care for this market. I wouldn't recommend it. "Hue / DaNang (Chan May) A group we met on the cruise invited us to join their group. No deposit was required. Payment was required at beginning of the tour. The highlights of the tour included Hai Van Pass which is claimed to be the most scenic hillside roads in Vietnam, a stop at Marble Mountain and Monkey Mountain and Hoi An Old Town. The town was approximately 1.5 hours from the cruise port. The tour van was not very comfortable, and I felt very unsafe with this driver. He drove very, very fast, was always over the center yellow line, passing traffic in no-passing zones on these wet mountain roads. I was not impressed with the tour guide either. She did not keep the group together and just didn't take command of the group. She took us to some local shops (I'm sure for commissions) keeping us there for an inordinately long amount of time until someone in the group got on her to get our tour moving. Lunch was included in this tour but was so anemic we all left hungry. We didn't want to order add'l food as we had already spent too much time on lunch. When talking to the guide to ensure we got back to port in time, she made a comment that it wasn't really up to her, it was up to the driver to get us back in time. That was an inappropriate comment and not reassuring. We really enjoyed Hoi An and would have liked to spend more time there. I was so glad when this tour ended and we were safely back on ship. If I had this port to do over again, I would book the Celebrity Shorex Hoi An On Your Own where Celebrity provides transportation to/from Hoi An and you can explore the town on your own." "Ho Chi Minh / Saigon (Phu My) We did a Saigon Highlights Tour with Smile Tours. This too was a very enjoyable and organized tour. No deposit was required. Payment due day of tour. There were 16 of us on the tour that contacted the tour operator individually. This tour was very well organized, the company sent very good and detailed instructions. The provided bus was very comfortable, the driver was very safe, the tour guide Tam was very knowledgeable and organized. He did a good job facilitating our tour and giving us precise instructions throughout the tour. He kept the group moving and kept us on time and according to the itinerary. We visited China Town and participated in a Trishaw ride through the hustle and bustle of the city. That was a hoot! We all loved this! We visited the Reunification Hall, Notre Dame Cathedral, Old Post Office and City Hall. Lunch (not included) was at Pho 2000. It is a very small and busy restaurant but the food was good and we left stuffed. I would highly recommend this tour company." "Bangkok We used Thai Tour Guide for a private tour of Bangkok for both days for just the two of us. No deposit was required. They did an outstanding job for our two-days. This was a very well organized tour. Tour operator Mr. Chob was great to work with in setting up the tour details prior to the cruise and provided great detail of the tour. Tour must be paid in Thai Baht at the end of each tour day. USD is not widely accepted. The van was very clean and very comfortable. Our tour guide was Ms. Pookie who was excellent at keeping us informed, comfortable and kept our needs first. She held her umbrella over me to keep the sun off of me, and would use the umbrella to shield my camera from the sun when taking pictures. The driver was "Mr. Happy" who did a great job driving safely through the hectic Bangkok traffic. They were very prompt both days in picking us up at the Laem Chabang port and again at our hotel on Day 2. We requested a change to our itinerary and they were very accommodating in our request and went out of their way to accommodate us. It was very hot and they kept plenty of water on hand and each time we visited a location and returned to the van, Mr. Happy always had clean wet towelettes for us which was much appreciated. Ms. Pookie knew all of the spots for great pictures as well as knew where to stand for pics and keeping us safe at the railway track. The ship cleared immigration and we disembarked at 8:35 a.m. Ms. Pookie was waiting for us when we exited the cruise terminal, we were off to Bangkok at 8:40 a.m. and arrived in Bangkok at 10:55 a.m. (2 hrs 15 mins). We visited the Royal Grand Palace & Royal Temple, and Wat Pho (Reclining Buddha) in the morning. In the afternoon, we had a Private long tail boat canal tour (Chao Phraya River) which was really something to experience. We passed on the Flowers & Vegetable Market and instead went to Siam Paragon mall which was all high-end shops and interesting to experience. We were dropped at our hotel at 5:00 p.m. We stayed at the LeMeridien hotel which was quite lovely and elegant. Ms. Pookie and Mr. Happy were very prompt on day 2 in picking us up at the hotel at 7:00 a.m. We arrived at the Maeklong Railway market at 8:20 a.m. (which is even further from the cruise port than Bangkok). From Maeklong, we experienced the Damnern Saduak Floating Market which was very interesting to experience. Since we were so far from port and the traffic is so heavy, we headed back to port at 11:15 a.m. and arrived safely back at port at 2:40 p.m. (3.5 hours). When staying overnight at a Bangkok hotel on your own, you must have your original passport with you or you will not be able to check in to your hotel. One last nice touch was when we pulled into the cruise port on our return, Ms. Pookie and Mr. Happy stopped and brought out birthday cake and a candle from the back of the van and sang happy birthday to our milestone birthday. I suppose after hearing us talk about the birthday, they went out and got the cake and candle which we felt was so sweet and thoughtful. Ms. Pookie and Mr. Happy did an outstanding job of facilitating our tour, keeping us comfortable and safe, and getting us back to port on time. I would highly recommend this company and wouldn't hesitate to use their services again if ever in Bangkok. "Singapore We booked the Celebrity Ultimate Singapore and Airport Drop-off. Water was not provided on this tour. Since it was an all day tour, it would have been nice if water had been provided since it was quite warm. Fortunately, though, we did have water on us. Lunch was not included which we felt probably should have been included for the price. We visited the Botanical Gardens, drove by Little India and colonial-style buildings, ate lunch in China Town, took a bumboat ride on the Singapore River and spent time at the Marina Bay Sands complex which was interesting to see in and of itself. Take the elevator to level 2 of the Casino to overlook the Casino floor - HUGE. Overall, a way to spend the day sightseeing instead of sitting at the airport for 10 hours. On our last overnight stay on the ship in Singapore, from the top deck we watched the light show at the Gardens by the Bay about 7:45 p.m. If you're on the ship at that time and not out and about, you might enjoy it. Although you can see the light show, it is a little ways away. 9) Cabin "We were in an outside cabin on Deck 2 Forward. We were a little apprehensive initially about noise and motion due to our location on the ship. However, it was unbelievably quiet and smooth. Granted we did have smooth seas during our trip, but I still expected to hear ship noises and hear the waves pound the bow. There were numerous times throughout the cruise that I looked out the window to ensure we were still moving because it was that quiet and smooth. Our cabin was brightly decorated with plenty of storage for us. The bathroom was very nicely done with a nice sink and shower. Liked the automatic night light in the bathroom - really helped in the middle of the night. The provided shower gel seemed watered down and we didn't really care for it. We used the hand soap in the shower as it seemed to do a better job at cleaning. The provided shampoo seemed watered down as well. The cabin had a nice flat-screen TV in our room. However, there were times at sea (due to the location of the ship) that there was no signal. So catching the news was a hit and miss at times between Vietnam and Bangkok. We had a great room steward who took really good care of us and helped with all of our needs. 10) Dining "We liked the open concept layout of the Oceanview Café and really liked the bar seating at some of the Café windows. It gives more people a chance to sit at a window. We always went to breakfast early so we didn't have any problems with seating. Findng seats at lunch time from approx 12 noon to 1 p.m. could sometimes be challenging. I felt the service staff kept the tables cleared in a very timely manner. Lights are dimmed in several areas of the Cafe at dinner time, which I thought was a nice touch if you want more of an intimate atmosphere in the Cafe for dinner. Although we ate most of our meals at the Oceanview Cafe, there weren't as many vegetables as I was expecting, and it seemed like a lot of the food was fried. The soups were mostly broths as opposed to hearty soups. Loved their breads in the Bakery and they had a nice selection of ice creams - sometimes offering sorbets and frozen yogurt along with the ice cream. Although I didn't eat any of the desserts, they did look really good. Hamburgers at the Pool Grill were just ok. We've been on other cruises where the burgers at the pool were made to order. These burger patties were pre-made and the servers just put the patties/cheese on the bun. There were condiments that you could add yourself to your burger (i.e. lettuce, tomato, onion, etc). These burgers just didn't have the same flavor as made to order burgers. We did eat at the Tuscan Grille, and my dinner was delicious. Ordered the filet with plenty of vegetables and the lobster pasta and enjoyed it immensely. The meat was very tender and cooked to perfection, and the service was excellent." 11) Dress Code / Formal Wear (Evening Chic) "The dress code per night for our cruise was as follows::  1=Smart Casual; 2=Smart Casual; 3=Evening Chic (day at Sea); 4=Smart Casual; 5=Smart Casual; 6=Smart Casual; 7=Evening Chic (day at Sea); 8=Smart Casual; 9=Smart Casual; 10=Smart Casual; 11=Smart Casual; 12=Evening Chic (day at Sea); 13=Smart Casual; 14=Smart Casual Below are the dress code guidelines per Celebrity: The Code: Celebrity's website states that you'll need two types of evening clothes for a cruise. Most nights are "Smart Casual and Above," meaning sport shirts and slacks for men, while women will be comfortable in skirts or pants and blouses, or casual dresses. On "evening chic" nights, both men and women may prefer more dressy attire, though it is not required. Nor are jackets and ties required for men. Number of Evening Chic nights: Cruises of four to six nights have one evening chic night, those of seven- to 11-night cruises have two, and those with 12 or more nights have three. Written Restrictions and Jeans: T-shirts, swimsuits, robes, tank tops, caps and pool wear are not allowed in the main or specialty restaurants. Shorts and flip-flops are not allowed during evening hours. As long as jeans don't have holes, rips or tears, they are permitted in the main dining room. 12) Entertainment The entertainment was average. There wasn't really any one performance that wowed us. But we do appreciate the effort put forth to provide the entertainment. 13) Disembarkation "We took an all day Singapore tour with airport drop-off Shorex through Celebrity. We got our envelope with disembarkation instructions a couple of days prior to disembarkation. The envelope had a letter with disembarkation instructions but did not include our tickets. I went to Guest Relations right away (since the Shorex Desk wasn't open at that time) and they provided me with tickets with no issues. I'm just glad I caught this prior to disembarkation so that we wouldn't have any potential issues and/or delays at disembarkation. Day of disembarkation went smooth and we had no issues. We found our luggage in the terminal immediately and got to our assigned bus in plenty of time. " 14) Summary Overall, we had a safe and fun cruise. Everything turned out great and we had a very enjoyable journey with many amazing memories. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My husband and I were on Celebrity Millennium’s Dec 7th cruise, going from Hong Kong to Singapore. We’ve always wanted to take this itinerary and it did not disappoint! Celebrity took care of all our visa requirements. You need to ... Read More
My husband and I were on Celebrity Millennium’s Dec 7th cruise, going from Hong Kong to Singapore. We’ve always wanted to take this itinerary and it did not disappoint! Celebrity took care of all our visa requirements. You need to bring with you 2 passport size photos and 2 photocopies of your passport. Make sure your passport’s expiration date is at least 6-month from the last date of your trip. GETTING THERE: Celebrity arranged our flights. It took over 25 hours to get from New York to Hong Kong, with two stopovers. They also booked our airport transfer from HK Airport to Kai Tak Cruise Terminal. We shared a van with another couple. There were no visible signs of unrest throughout our 40-minute drive to the pier. THE SHIP: Millennium is a beautiful ship and perfect size for us – not too big, not too small. Check-in was the fastest we have ever experienced -- we just walked to our stateroom! (We checked online prior to leaving home.) Our room was an Aqua category on the 11th deck. We found a couple of Celebrity freebies on our bed and a bottle of bubbly (perks for being past guests!) Our room steward was Jimmy who was very friendly and efficient. Bathroom no longer had small amenity bottles. Everything was in large, eco-friendly refillable bottles. Shower had a holding bar that was awkwardly placed. Every time I showered, I bumped my elbow to it. TV has limited channels, but it shows your onboard account so you can check it daily. Every day Steve (the cruise director) and Tim (the activity director) appeared on TV to guide the passengers on the day’s activities. Captain Theo gave daily update on the weather and the condition of the water. Laundry service is offered the 2nd week and it’s charged by the bag. The trick to stuffing laundry bag to its max is to fold each piece of clothing and rolling it into a tight burrito. You’ll be very surprised at how much you can stuff into that little bag! ENTERTAINMENT: The nightly show is at 7PM and 9PM --- all very well done! We didn’t go to every show, however. Some evenings, we just took our time over dinner. There are many talented musicians scattered throughout the ship, including the ship’s very own band. Every single person in that band is an accomplished musician! There are lectures on the culture and religion of the cities we will be visiting – all interesting and informative. SPA & GYM: Aqua category passengers have access Persian Garden, which has the fewest spa amenities we have ever seen on any cruise ships! The steam room was very dark. When we went in, we didn't know if there was anybody else in there. Sauna and salt room are the size of closet. We only went to Persian Garden twice. Right outside the Persian Garden is the Solarium. The pool had so much chlorine in it that we spent more time rubbing our eyes than swimming! We only went there once. Gym is always crowded on the sea days (as expected) but has plenty of other equipments to keep you fit. FOODS & DRINKS: The advantage of booking the Aqua category is the exclusive dining at the Blu restaurant. We enjoyed eating there for quality of foods & services. They only served breakfast and dinner. Alex was the Maitre D and he was very attentive to his customers' needs. For lunch, we ate at Oceanview Café, which was always crowded. But our stateroom was conveniently located right above, so if we couldn’t find a table, we could easily take our plate back to our room and eat it there. Luckily, we never have to do that because we always found a table somewhere. We ate at several specialty restaurants. Our favorites were Sushi on 5 (fresh fish!) and Le Petit Chef (a unique entertaining dining experience!) Our least favorite was the Chef’s Table, not because the food was bad, but because we didn’t get to enjoy it. We were forewarned to have light lunch when we booked this dinner. They changed our reservation at the last minute to the very day when we had LATE and HEAVY lunch! With sincere apology to the many chefs who meticulously prepared each dish, we left a lot of food on the plate. We were simply not hungry that night. (In hindsight, we should’ve cancelled our reservation because it was the most expensive meal of our trip!) Dining at Chef’s Table came with Daniel Boulud’s cookbook that weighs 5-lb. It was a miracle that I was able to fit it into my over-stuffed suitcase! Our booking included Premium Drinking Package. Be advised that the drinks in your room’s fridge are not included in the package. We asked Jimmy to remove everything so we could put our own drinks in there. The best part of this drinking package is the specialty coffee, tea, and fresh pastries at the Café al Bacio! We always get our morning coffee from there and bring it to Blu for breakfast. The coffee there is so much better than anywhere else on the ship! PORTS: We docked at every port, so there was no need for tender. HONG KONG (2 days): Embarkation was from here. Having the ship docked here for two days mean we don’t have to worry about arriving late. There are plenty of taxis at the pier. There is also Forex counter nearby but it’s expensive. It’s cheaper to get HKD at the airport ATM. We were jetlagged the first day so did not venture out. But on the second day, we took a taxi to Kowloon and had breakfast at One Dim Sum. Afterwards, we took the MTR to Lantau Island to see the Big Buddha. The weather was perfect and the day was perfect! On the second day, everybody must go through the HK Immigration Inspection on the ship. It started with Deck 2 for the 3 PM inspection. For Deck 10 & 11, it was at 6 PM. The line moved fast and it was well organized. After the inspection came the Emergency Drill at 7:30 PM. Our assembly station was very crowded and noisy. We couldn’t hear any of the emergency instructions, but since we’ve been to so many cruise already, we knew it by heart. HA LONG BAY (2 days): This is the Millennium's first port in Vietnam and you will receive a pink “Passenger’s Landing Card” from Celebrity. You will need this card to visit all the ports in Vietnam. The visa fee is $6 pp if you booked any shore excursions with Celebrity. It’s $28 pp if you are going independently. You need a visa even if you are staying onboard. Our stateroom was on the port side and we saw beautiful sunrise from our balcony. The cruise ship docked in Halong Int’l Cruise Port in Bai Chay. The Bai Chay Bridge (an impressive multi-lane cable bridge) connects Bai Chay to Quang Ninh Province. Passengers are provided with complimentary shuttles to go to the main terminal. If you need Vietnamese currency, walk through the terminal and go outside. You’ll find the ATM kiosk on your left. December weather in northern Vietnam was chilly in the morning but warmer in the afternoon. We booked o/n cruise on our own and our driver was waiting for us. Ha Long Bay and its neighbor, Bai Tu Long Bay (less touristy and just as beautiful), are both accessible by small boats. Overnight stay is highly recommended to experience the sunrise and sunset over hundreds of limestone karsts and isles up close. This place is sublime! CHAN MAY: This port is to go to Hue, Da Nang, and/or Hoi An. We booked “Hoi An on Your Own” with Celebrity. The weather was warmer here than in Ha Long Bay. It took almost 3 hours to get there because we got stuck in heavy traffic just before entering a long tunnel. The ancient city of Hoi An was worth the trip and our excursion included a city pass which allowed us to enter five historical sights. It drizzled most of the day. Our guide gave us poncho and a bottle of water before setting us free to explore Hoi An. This town is small; you can walk around on your own. You don’t need a guide, but have a map and some knowledge of the history will make this visit more interesting. The iconic Japanese covered bridge is the main attraction of Hoi An. It’s a small 16th century stone bridge (rebuilt multiple times) that span over small murky river. It’s free to view from outside, but if you want to go inside, you need a city pass. Have some small local currency handy. I paid 2,000 VND ($.10) to use the bathroom. Another tourist did not have any and was charged $1 (23,150 VND). Not having to worry about transportation was very convenient and stress-free. PHU MY (pronounced “FOO MEE”): This port is to go to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon and still called by this name by many people. This port is very industrial. We booked “Ho Chi Minh on Your Own” and it took a little over two hours to get to the city. The bus dropped us off in front of the Bitexco Financiall Tower. This city is very congested with motorcycles everywhere – including sidewalks! Crossing the street in Ho Chi Minh City is not for the faint of heart. The trick is to keep walking straight and don’t make any sudden, unpredictable movements. The motorcyclists and cars will see you and go around you. Followed the flow of traffic and you’ll be fine. We came back early to the BItexco building because we wanted to visit the Skydeck on the 49th floor. You need a ticket to go up. Let the cashier know that you are with Celebrity and you’ll get 10% off. We paid 360,000 VND ($15.50) for two tickets. They will take a photo of you in the lobby, and when you get to the top, you can buy it for $5. The Skydeck has panoramic view of the city and there is gift shop and restroom and benches to sit. The best part of staying here is that it has A/C -- because outside was HOT HOT HOT! This was our last port in Vietnam. When we returned to the ship, we are required to drop our Landing Card in a box by the gangway. LAEMCHABANG (2 days): This port is to go to Bangkok. We booked Celebrity’s “Overnight Bangkok on your own (Hotel Not Included)”. The bus ride took almost 3 hours and we were dropped off at the Central World Plaza, a large shopping complex in the city. We booked our o/n hotel with Millennium Hilton, which was conveniently located on the bank of Chao Phraya River where the Grand Palace and Wat Pho are located. Unfortunately, the Grand Place close at 3:30 PM, so we went to Wat Pho (home of the Reclining Buddha), which close at 6:30 PM. That evening, we had authentic Thai dinner at Thara Thong Restaurant, conveniently located across the river from our hotel. The following morning, we had a FANTASTIC Thai Massage at the Health Land Spa & Massage that our guide recommended! We had a couple’s massage and it only costs 1,200 Baht ($39) for TWO HOURS for BOTH of us! We left the place feeling very relaxed. My husband’s masseuse even fixed his backache (caused by sitting on the long bus ride to Hoi An.) Next time we come to Bangkok, we will make this place our destination. We took the skytrain (Bangkok’s public transportation) back to the shopping plaza for our 2:00 PM departure from the city. The time spent in Bangkok was definitely too short. SINGAPORE (2 days): This was our last port and we were scheduled to disembark the following day. We knew we had a lot to do here, so we decided to check out a day early when we were planning our trip. For tech-savvy city like Singapore, we were surprised they had computer glitch the morning we arrived. No one can get off the ship until it was fixed and it took a long time. After we got the green light to get off, we walked some distance to take the MRT (Singapore’s public transportation) to our hotel. There were some people walking to the train station ahead of us, so we followed them with our luggage. We stayed o/n at the Conrad Centennial. The MRT station is conveniently located two blocks from the hotel. We did a lot of sightseeing and eating that day and got back to our hotel close to midnight, but we got to sleep late the following morning. (Had we stayed on Millennium, we would have to get up early to disembark.) After our leisurely breakfast the following morning, we took the train to the Changi Airport for our flight home. We paid 5 SGD ($3.70) for two tickets and it took about 45 minutes to get there. The airport has several places to store your luggage so you can walk around JEWEL, Singapore’s newest nature-themed retail complex, and home to the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. (It’s free to enter but the attractions have fees.) There are a lot of restaurants here, but it’s cheaper to go to the basement for their Hawker-style dining. Just be prepared for the crowd (think Grand Central Station at rush hour!) SOME FINAL THOUGHTS: This SE Asia trip was rather expensive when you add the cruise, the flights, and the excursions. To minimize our costs, I only booked the transportation with Celebrity and did the sightseeing on our own. (This required a lot of research on our part.) I also booked our excursions when Celebrity was running a sale -- a total of 15-20% saving. Our stay at Hilton Millennium in Bangkok, and Conrad Centennial in Singapore were both free because we are Hilton Honors members and we used our points. We used public transportation wherever we could. It was not only cheap and efficient, but also a lot of fun to ride with the locals! All the cities we visited are safe and people are friendly, but do use your common sense and be aware of your surrounding. Have fun sightseeing but don’t miss your meeting time with your guide. It’s a long way back to the port by taxi. Be careful of where you eat and what you eat. If the place has a lot of people, chances are food there is fresher. Drink from bottled beverages. Bring a lot of wet towels and napkins because these commodities are lacking in many places we ate. (If the wet towel packets are on the table, ask if they are free; a lot of times they are not.) Lastly, I bought travel health insurance for both of us, which is good anywhere in the world (except Afghanistan and Yemen.) It covers doctor and hospital visit and medical evacuation and repatriation. It’s affordable – an extra expense to be sure, but a small price to pay for peace of mind. (I bought my insurance from Squaremouth.com and no, I don’t work for the company!) CONCLUSION: We’ve never been to SE Asia before and enjoyed each city for its culture and food. We loved the extra day’s stay in ports that allowed us more time to explore. Even when our flight home was delayed by 4.5 hours, it didn’t ruin our vacation. We arrived home a few days before Christmas and shared our AMAZING memories with our family and friends! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My son and I took the Celebrity Cruise to Southeast Asia on Dec 7th. I would like to share my horrible experience with everyone, hoping it will not happen to anyone anymore. After I came back, I literally had nightmares about ... Read More
My son and I took the Celebrity Cruise to Southeast Asia on Dec 7th. I would like to share my horrible experience with everyone, hoping it will not happen to anyone anymore. After I came back, I literally had nightmares about Celebrity's deceptive behavior and dishonest business practices. Excursions All of my friends who took cruises to Southeast Asia from other cruise ship companies informed me that I did not need to schedule any tours in advance because there would be plenty of taxis  and tour buses at the port looking for business and they would be happy to drive anyone to their destination. Therefore, I did not book any tours in advance. After we got on the ship, they kept announcing everyday that there were not going to be any taxis or tour buses at any of the ports we stopped at, so we would be stuck on the ship if we did not book any excursions with them. After hearing this alarming announcement, a lot of people  started to schedule an excursion. Though, we found out it was not true and there were in fact plenty of taxis and tour buses waiting for us at each port. Luckily, we overheard this information from some other guests who signed up for an excursion which they scheduled through Trip Advisor's recommendation to Ho Chi Minh City , Bangkok and Pattaya and we later joined the same tour and we were very happy with those tour companies' service. A lot of people on our cruise were not happy with  their shore excursions from Celebrity because they were charged five times more than if they were to plan their own excursion and they went to fewer places. Since, I did not find any guests who already booked a tour at the Chiang Mai port, so afterward I was scared by their announcement in the morning. I rushed to purchase an excursion because I did not want to be stuck on the ship for the whole day. I had originally wanted to visit Da Nang or Hue, but the bus had already left . For that reason, I paid $69.00 to book the tour" Hoi Ann on our own". Unfortunately, we missed the bus, and the check-in lady said that we could not get refund, but she could book another tour for us since we missed the last bus even though we did not want to go to that place, and I did not want to waste $69, so we got on that bus with another couple who also missed the original bus. The only activities we did from that tour was to take a 15 minutes cable car ride to a small village to eat a self-paid buffet. After I came back, the other guests told me that they wanted to take a risk to walk out from the port even they heard that threatening announcement again. After they walked one minute from the port, they found a lot of tour buses there. The bus they took even came with a tour guide, which took them( five people) to the two main cities, where I had intended to go for that day and each person was only charged $30. I felt horrible that I missed the chance to visit the two main cities which I wanted to go to just because I fell for celebrity’s misleading announcement. Moreover, I found out that instead of charging the tour price we paid of $69, they charged us $159 ( the total price for two of us was $318). I told the shore excursions department that we were not told that tour will cost $159 for each person and we would  be charged the additional difference, otherwise, we would rather give up the $69. We requested that they refund us for the additional charge ($159 - $69 = $90); even though they knew that they did not inform us of any additional charges. Instead, they insisted that we should be charged the full amount of $159 because we agreed to get on that bus.  Afterwards, I argued with them several times, but there was no result, so I almost gave up.The short excursion manager finally agreed to refund the additional charge but with a very unhappy attitude. I don’t think I should have to go through such an unpleasant process in order to get my refund.  Hidden charges for water bottles Another issue I had was with the room service attendant who put two water bottles on our table almost everyday and I did not know that we would be charged for those two water bottles, so I even said thanks to the attendant for providing us two water bottles everyday, but she did not tell us that we would be charged $13.20 for the two water bottles. That was, until I requested the bill from guest relationships on the last day, that I found out that I was charged $13.20 for two water bottles each day. I asked our room service attendant about it. She apologized that she did not tell us that we would be charged for two bottles ( even though we met her everyday and said thanks to her for her kindness by giving us the two water bottles). Then she showed us that there was a small slip against the back of the wall with the itemized prices. We did not see it since the paper was put out of view and we did not bother to look for that paper since we did not plan to drink any wine or coke from the refrigerator. On the last day, even though we read through the list, we could not find the price for the water bottles. We only noticed Evian on the bottom of the list, and we had no clue what Evian meant. Then we suddenly recalled Evian is the brand name of the water company.  Even if we had seen the price slip on the first day,  we would have not realized Evian was the water bottle. Why they did not write “water bottle” on the price list, but wrote “Evian” instead? All in all,  I think Celebrity intentionally meant to mislead us, so we could pay $13.20  for two water bottles each time. I requested the refund because of this deception, but my request was denied. How are people who are not familiar with that brand of water, supposed to know that they were going to be charged for water in their room? In addition, when my son was in the buffet area, a waitress  came by and asked my son if he wanted to order any drinks and my son asked her if he could have water. He asked if it was free; and she said it was. Although, after she brought the water to my son, she presented him with the bill, and he found out the water was in fact not free.  This is unethical and unacceptable business practice. Shortchanged when exchanging currency Upon arriving in Singapore, I exchanged 58.20 USD in cash for 70 Singaporean dollars at the guest relations counter. Instead of counting the money out to us, the representative gave us the money altogether. I trusted that the amount was correct, but right afterwards when I purchased the MRT ticket, I found out that I only had 40 Singaporean dollars. I am willing to let it go and not question it. But to top it all off, I found that they charged my credit card $58.20 for the currency exchange, even though I had already given them the $58.20 USD in cash!( I have the printed summary) They also charged me $70 USD which matched the amount of the Singaporean Dollar I was supposed to get in full. I really could not believe my eyes when I saw I was charged $58.20 and $70 on my credit card after I came home.  Spurious credit card charges Besides that, I also found that they charged many other unknown items to my credit card besides of charging me the total amount from the invoice they emailed to me.  Even though the mandatory daily gratuity was already included in the overall invoice, they charged the gratuity again to my card, thereby double-counting the gratuity. I cannot tolerate people who are deceptive and who only think of themselves and not others. I do not blame the employees personally for their behavior, since I believe they were told by the company to act in such a way. I hope they will not deny that they engaged in these business practices, and in writing this review, I hope others can see this and be forewarned about Celebrity's dishonest behavior. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was my second HAL cruise, and I have to say from the top my biggest disappointment was that there were no Educational lectures like I had my first cruise. If this is not a regular HAL experience, I apologize, but my first cruise had ... Read More
This was my second HAL cruise, and I have to say from the top my biggest disappointment was that there were no Educational lectures like I had my first cruise. If this is not a regular HAL experience, I apologize, but my first cruise had college professors in Geology and History that packed the theater with their amazing quality. We also had short language classes before ports to practice how to say hello and thank you. I started to tell people that HAL was "cruising for smart people". I asked several HAL veterans on board and they told me that what I experienced the first time is the norm. When asking the crew on the Westerdam about this, I had several different responses. One was that "HAL has changed", another said, "We had professors booked but because of the holidays they cancelled". I was really disappointed to find out that I would not be learning much history or language basics which would have been awesome for this itinerary. I was on the Westerdam for 28 nights- Hong Kong north to China/ Japan/ Taiwan then from Hong Kong to Singapore via Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand. This itinerary is fascinating, though it became tiresome toward the end, mostly because these ports are often far from the main sites and involved a daily haggling with taxi drivers that is perpetually a pain in the butt. In the few ports that we could walk off the ship into an actual town, they became most people's favorites. Independence and simplicity leads to more exploration and happiness. My favorite part of the ship would be the people. The "Cruise Director" now called "EXC something", was a very friendly and informative host named Jeremy who gave the port talks to a packed audience and was great at this. He also hosted a book club which was nice, but HAL has screwed this up by calling it "Oprah's Reading Room" which is not at all obvious that it is a book club discussion. My first 2 weeks I just happened to see it because I wanted a quiet place to read, and so I joined for the 2nd 2 weeks and only 2 passengers showed up for the discussion. The other gem is Phil the "EXC Port Specialist". He does not sell tours, he knows nothing about them, but if you want to know the cost of a taxi, or the walking distance to a temple, this guy knows it all. He had a desk that people would gather around, and it was awesome just to stand around listening to the questions so you could make your own plans. Thanks to Jeremy and Phil, I did all of my port excursions on my own except for 1 tour (and that was a disappointment and waste of money). Julie, was another stand out for me, I am not sure of her title, but she was there for each ports disembarkation and was the organizer and boss, I really liked someone taking control and making sure people were in the correct queue, had their ID ready. We needed that. The captain, Vincent Smit was present in a good way- not just social but if there seemed to be a problem he made his presence made. One example I have- in Nga Trang we had to tender to our port. He was concerned about possible winds and made that very clear the day before, and he was by the tenders making sure of the weather. Unfortunately I was on the first tender to shore and the tide was low, making the departing step extremely high (imagine doing a lunge to the step and then limbo your head under the roof of the tender). Every person was able to make this step with assistance but because I have a disability, it seemed very dangerous for me to attempt it with crew who did not know my strength. I went back to ship, not angry because my disability always leaves a possibility for me to miss out, but when the captain saw I had returned he seemed upset and asked me what happened. He explained that the port is responsible for the dock and he has asked for a floating dock which would not change with the tides, but it has not happened. He then showed me the tidal charts and explained the best time to go (waiting 3 hours), but I decided not to risk it. The entertainment for this cruise was just so-so. I think it is because there are not as many options in Asia and there isn't the chance of new blood at each port. We did have an amazing female pianist that was so good that I cried to think she was wasting her talent on cruise ships. But, we also had a "mentalist" so bad that I groaned when I saw he was returning another night! Overall, this is the first cruise I've been on that I skipped the theater a few nights- not just the poor entertainment but also the crowd who thought that heavy perfume and talking the entire show was acceptable. I know companies don't want to upset people, but for health reasons we could ban perfume just like public smoking. All that coughing in the theater would decrease. I loved BB Blues Club- the talent on that stage was incredible. I guess if there was one complaint it was that the songs get repeated less- I went as often as I could in 28 days, and the same songs would repeat every 2 days or so. Loved Billboard's Dueling Pianos- super talented duo that put on a great show. The Lincoln Center was nice, but I was not overwhelmed with their talent. America's Test Kitchen I never went- seems like you could just watch food network with your time. Food- the dining room was above and beyond for me. Great staff, lots of options, and quality. I am a foodie and was impressed, and also happy that it was not overly salted like some cruises. The burger place by the pool was also very good. The Lido was disappointing as far as quality and compared to my last Rotterdam experience, but it was fine because I rarely went, and must have been good enough for the general hoardes because it was often packed. Tours. I took one and was not happy. First, the tour desk people were not very educated about what they were selling. They had not taken the tours themselves so they would call a guide for questions. I booked my one tour online, it was listed as "Easy", but later I happened to be at their desk and saw that the tour was listed as "moderate". When I asked, they said, "Oh, always look at the book, it is the most accurate." They then clarified with the guide that the tour was listed as moderate because it was 7 hours long (lots of bus time), and we would have to get on and off the bus 4 times, but the total walking was less than 1 mile. So, I went, but had 2 falls. I have been to Cambodia before and I am aware of the primitive conditions, but I did not expect a HAL tour to go into a market with uneven tiles that flipped when you walked on them or to walk us along the shoulder of a highway as trucks zoomed by inches away. The tour was chaotic with 1 guide for a bus load of people as we navigated the busy market and later a little village. We had a nice lunch but paid $270 for this day. Holidays- this was a Christmas and NYE cruise and I was really impressed with these events. There was a Santa day for the kids, we sang Carols by the tree one day, decorations throughout the ship were very festive, and the dinners and special treats were great. I know one person here complained about New Years. NYE was a port day- overnight in Bangkok which a lot of people took advantage of. I was back on the ship for dinner- a very nice one- and I will admit that after dinner there was a slight lack of entertainment. But, that is all understandable given that the entire ship was involved in a show that started at 11 and went well into the early morning. Up on the top deck the BB King Blues Band played an excellent set. The captain, officers, and their families were there and the crew put a great effort into making an ice display, handed out free champagne, and there was a special buffet in the Lido. I was impressed! I expected a 1/2 glass of free champagne but was instead offered several refills. The music, the decor, the happiness of everyone around was very special. If anyone says there wasn't entertainment, it was because they went to bed early! Overall the ship was nice, though a little old. My inside cabin was one of the smaller cabins I have been in for a while. But, the Westerdam makes it up with such pleasant crew and cleanliness. I know I made a choice in choosing the cheapest cabin, and I guess I have been a bit spoiled by getting upgraded by other cruise lines, so I can't complain. Overall, I would choose this ship for sure- mostly because of the live music options. But, I would only choose HAL over other lines in the future if I am sure that the educational component is back. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We have been to Bangkok, Viet Nam and Hong Kong before but we wanted a chance to visit Singapore. Celebrity has always been good for us so we decided to use Celebrity for this cruise. It did not start well, as the Hong Kong hotel ... Read More
We have been to Bangkok, Viet Nam and Hong Kong before but we wanted a chance to visit Singapore. Celebrity has always been good for us so we decided to use Celebrity for this cruise. It did not start well, as the Hong Kong hotel provided by Celebrity was close to the HK cruise terminal, but it was located in a very plain neighborhood that was basically a large local area of small store, cafes but nothing very attractive. It was a good 15 minute cab or shuttle to the main shopping areas and luckily the hotel provided a shuttle bus that ran regularly. The hotel itself was very plain but clean. It would be a place for a one-night stay before a cruise but a two-day stay would have been painful. We had a Concierge class cabin that was large and very comfortable. There was plenty of storage space and the bath room was plenty large. The room was very nice and we had plenty of space to spread out our papers, computers, etc. The food on the first two or three days of the cruise in the buffet was good but repetitive. By the fourth day or so more variety was added and things got better. We ate in the Metropolitan about four times for dinner and the staff was wonderful and we want to give Chiang (spelling?) and her crew were terrific and the food was just fine. Entertainment in the main theater was excellent with a very good line up of entertainers and an excellent shipboard musical company of a very good house band and some great dancers and singers. The cruise director, Steve, was the best we have ever had on any ship on our 30+ cruises. There were not enough exercise activities like workout classes although the gym was very nice. There was a port lecturer but perhaps one more would have made things more interesting especially if it was one relating to the local economies, history and biology of the regions we visited. I thought they should have put the main theater to use by running movies in that room rather in a more distant venue. Service was uniformly excellent everywhere from the room stewards, restaurants, passenger services and excursions and things were planned very well for the excursions and pre-excursions and boarding and exiting the ship when on excursions. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was our first time in a Neptune Suite. We loved the convenience of the concierge just down the hall, the priority dining seating, and breakfast in the Pinnacle Restaurant. We originally signed up for a Signature Suite, but were ... Read More
This was our first time in a Neptune Suite. We loved the convenience of the concierge just down the hall, the priority dining seating, and breakfast in the Pinnacle Restaurant. We originally signed up for a Signature Suite, but were offered an upgrade to a Neptune for just $250 each on a 15 day cruise. It was well worth it. It will be hard to cruise in anything less next time. My wife loved the make-up table off the bathroom, though it was a little difficult for me to access the bathroom while she was seated there. Still a nice feature. One complaint was the size of the shower. Sure, we could have taken showers or baths in the tub, but I much prefer a walk-in shower. This one was tiny, and had only a curtain. It was hard to turn around, and we had to be very careful to prevent water from leaking past the curtain. Holland America's WiFi package is unreasonably expensive at $15/day for just texting capability and $30/day for higher speed. Many cruise companies include texting for free, especially in a higher level suite. Dining was excellent. We had a reserved table each evening, and got to know our server pretty well. He was friendly, funny and efficient, though it took quite a while sometimes for the food to come out of the kitchen. When it arrived, it was invariably delicious. This was probably the best dining I have had on a cruise ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Overall this was a great cruise. We learned a lot about Asian culture in all of the ports. We were shocked at the pollution and wondered why Viking did not provide masks for those who wanted them as we went ashore. For the most part the ... Read More
Overall this was a great cruise. We learned a lot about Asian culture in all of the ports. We were shocked at the pollution and wondered why Viking did not provide masks for those who wanted them as we went ashore. For the most part the excursions, both included and those we paid for were enjoyable. We do think Viking could do a better job with the excursion descriptions. For instance, we thought we’d be able to get very to the Statue of Jesus at Vung Tau in Vietnam. However we could only see it from across the street. It was our most expensive and greatest disappointment. The cabin was very adequate and our stewards all over the ship were great. Some of the entertainment was good but we do think Viking could improve in this area. The lectures were very informative. Viking is not our ship of choice but overall we do enjoy the sailing. We will be on aRiver Cruise in late August to Germany, Austria and Hungary. We’ve never sailed on such a small ship so we are another adventure! We were particularly impressed with Brian Rodriguez, the cruise director. And his worship service on both Sundays was great. We saw him all over the ship and loved to just chat with him. He is a gem. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We cruised from Hong Kong to Bangkok. The ship (Viking Orion) is fabulous, the ports are quite a mix, and the passengers are generally not very nice people. We enjoyed the ship, especially the Explorer's Dome and the gym/spa. ... Read More
We cruised from Hong Kong to Bangkok. The ship (Viking Orion) is fabulous, the ports are quite a mix, and the passengers are generally not very nice people. We enjoyed the ship, especially the Explorer's Dome and the gym/spa. The food and entertainment/ cultural series were mostly excellent. We especially enjoyed the Chef's Table, Manfredi's is also excellent. In this region of the world, many of the ports are far from the cities of interest, so most of the excursions involve bus trips with groups of people that are just too large, especially for the included tours. Also, many of the passengers are not physically fit enough to keep up with the large groups, and the tour guides were sometimes insensitive to this. Viking does not do a very good job of grouping people together based on physical ability or interests. I'm not talking about any kind of strenuous hiking or anything like that. These bus tours require sufficient mobility to climb onto and off the buses with some efficiency, and some walking through crowded places with a lot of hustle and bustle. Sometimes the only toilet was upstairs with no elevator, and some participants were unable to climb stairs. Needless to say, this created difficult situations.... Also, some of the passengers in the groups were quite inconsiderate of the rest in the group, not returning to meeting points on time, wandering off to shop while the tour guide is trying to explain the location's culture and history. While we did meet a some kind and interesting people on the ship and on excursions who were genuinely interested in learning about the cultures of SE Asia, many were just simply not very nice people at all. Very self-absorbed, often quite rude to others, and uninterested in the kind of cultural exchange experience that Viking tries to offer. They also were not very kind to their fellow shipmates who were physically not able to keep up with the tours. We did several tours through Viking that were extra, and those tended to be much better, albeit a bit spendy. The port of Sihanoukville in Cambodia is not much of a port. As you may know, Cambodia has a difficult history, and this part of Cambodia is trying to re-develop via investments from China. Simple infrastructure like trash disposal, sanitary sewers, modern roadways are lacking. I hope that the fact that Viking stops there is a way to provide some resources to assist in their development as a way to balance the Chinese investments. We highly recommend taking the overnight excursion to Phnom Penh. Yes, it looks expensive, but it was soooo much better than trying to explore Sihanoukville, which is not a very nice place. The thought of an included excursion in the kind of sad place that Sihanoukville is with the selfish and self-absorbed typical Viking passenger that we ran into is just not appealing to me. Also, Viking was clear about the trip to Phnom Penh being a physically demanding tour, and the passengers who participated in it were able to keep up. The tour guide was also fantastic, and the participants were interested in the cultural exchange, so this was an excellent experience. The port close to Bangkok was another real letdown, along with our excursion to Bangkok - we did the included tour, and it was especially bad. Lots of time on a bus, very limited time actually in Bangkok, and very inconsiderate fellow passengers who gave the poor tour guide a really hard time. The passengers should be ashamed of how they acted, and I was quite embarrassed for them. Of course, they were clueless about how they behaved. We signed up for the post-cruise extension to Angkor Wat and Siem Reap, and this was truly a highlight. Fantastic tour guide, excellent hotel in Siem Reap, group size was OK, and the participants could mostly keep up. For those that were unable physically, the tour guide was experienced enough to give them options that didn't interfere with those of us who were able to take full advantage of the excursion. In summary, we are going to wait about 10-15 years before we try another Viking Ocean cruise. Then we might better fit into the overall age demographics and physical abilities. Not sure what Viking can do about rude and inconsiderate passengers - I guess this is one of the downsides to doing a cruise. Overall, we had a nice trip, but this was the first time after doing multiple cruises on Viking and other cruise lines that we experienced so many unpleasant fellow passengers. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I went on this trip to get a sense of SE Asia first hand. We have been on many Viking ocean and River cruises, so the ship, cuisine, level of service and accommodation and amenities were as usual -excellent. Our required VISA ... Read More
I went on this trip to get a sense of SE Asia first hand. We have been on many Viking ocean and River cruises, so the ship, cuisine, level of service and accommodation and amenities were as usual -excellent. Our required VISA expenses $350 per person for short stops in Vietnam and Cambodia were a unpleasant experience. We had to send in our passports to a third party and pray they came back before our trip. After 25 days of waiting- our passports and VISA documents came back. If you travel a lot, then that may be inconvenient. Our Viking Free Air package was a long haul from Dulles in Washington to Japan. From Japan to Hong Kong arriving on time 10PM. Traffic was very light at that time of night. a Excursions were available there, but we were too tired. The excursion staff helped us add TUK TUK (four person carts pulled by a motorcycle) in our Cambodian port city. Due to heavy construction everywhere, of Chinese owned Hotels and Casinos, in Sihanoukville my husband said 'it was like being in a paint shaker'... Our guides gave us a neck lanyard with an emergency number which made us thankful (or concerned) for our safety as we navigated the motorbike congested streets of central Saigon, Hanoi and Sihanoukville. The planetarium shows were very different and the at Sea Days a nice change from some long excursion days. The humidity in SE Asia did keep us more inclined to not use the balcony or main uncovered pool area. Check out the many longer excursions and overnight stays offered which seem well worth if , but may mean that you downsize your cabin . I find that local travel agents are not familiar with Asian cruise ports. Docking was in a less than scenic -container laden area. City center was at least one hour by bus. Smog and humidity made balcony use minimal. We love Viking and want to try Iceland or Med cruising again. SE Asia is probably not our first choice. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We had taken several trips to Europe and felt that we wanted to experience the Asian culture for a change. The cruise allowed us that experience. The ship provided us with very comfortable living quarters while learning on the several ... Read More
We had taken several trips to Europe and felt that we wanted to experience the Asian culture for a change. The cruise allowed us that experience. The ship provided us with very comfortable living quarters while learning on the several shore excursions we took. We began in Hong Kong with a brief tour of our own and then took a provided tour which was an excellent overview of the city. The demonstrations were occurring during that time, but we were not exposed to any of it. The tour director did a good job of taking us to areas away from them. Our embarkation was seamless. The ship was docked in the center of Hong Kong and the bus took us directly from the airport to the ship with no problems. Our cabin was ready when we arrived and was just as we expected---clean and homey as it could be. The dining areas were quite nice. Manfredi's was our favorite restaurant, but the Restaurant was more than adequate. It provided a good mix of offerings each night. We were able to be seated with other couples most nights which allowed us time to meet people form other parts. Breakfast was always wonderful. They had plenty of variety and fresh offerings. We had been on another Viking cruise (the No. Europe). We felt that the entertainment on this one (Orion) was superior to the one in Europe. The quality was more professional . On this cruise we spent more time in the lectures than before. This allowed us to learn the culture even more. The free shore excursions gave a good overview of the city/area we stopped. We took one excursion---the water puppets---in Vietnam that we felt was a waste of time---too long of travel to get there for the value we received. But, most of the excursions were good. We took private excursions in Saigon and in Hoi An. The problem with the ports where we stopped was that they were far from the city. For example, in Saigon, we had to travel an hour to get to the city. We were there three days. I wish we could have gone to Chu Lai (near Da Nang), the area I served in when I was in the Army in Vietnam. But, it didn't seem plausible. The trip/stop at Sihanoukville Cambodia was somewhat of a low point in the Cambodian stop. We had fairly long drive and didn't see much when we finally got to our destination. It didn't seem well organized. I am thinking they could have arranged a better stop or tour for Cambodia. Fortunately, for us, we elected to do the extension to Angkor Wat after the cruise. This took us to Siem Reap for 3 days. It was an excellent experience in Cambodia. I think the trip could have included more time in Bangkok. In Bangkok, the ship docked 1-1.5 hours away from Bangkok.. We had just one day in Bangkok, and it seemed that much of it was taken up with travel to get there. I would recommend more time in Bangkok and less time in Cambodia. In all, we wanted to experience the Asian culture. We did. We had not been exposed to third-world countries like we did on this trip. It was very enlightening. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019

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