I chose this sailing knowing Asia would be different. Royal has gone beyond that and made a ship and experience that is unfriendly to westerners. This cruise took me from platinum to emerald status, and I am disappointed it wasn't too ... Read More
I chose this sailing knowing Asia would be different. Royal has gone beyond that and made a ship and experience that is unfriendly to westerners. This cruise took me from platinum to emerald status, and I am disappointed it wasn't too pleasant.
Check in was about the best part of the experience. The process was still chaos, as they don't tell anyone you need copies of your passport to board the ship. RCCL provides a single copy machine for 3000 guests, who are mostly 50+ year old Asians, to copy their passports. Needless to say, it is a long wait to get copies.
The staterooms were ready on time. I was booked in 6648, a single occupancy balcony stateroom. The room itself is great! I cruise solo many times, and for the price, it is well worth it. The balcony is huge on this particular room, probably bigger than the room itself. What I did not understand, is you get 2 chairs. That is it. No table, no lounger. Seems like a waste.
Food was extremely disappointing. Bland, no variety, and in some cases, downright awful. On embarkation day, went to windjammer. This was the only day they offered honey stung chicken, and it was not on the room service menu like normal. They had it in chicken tender form. As I bit into the first piece, I was shocked (painfully) to discover a bone in the chicken, I want to say it was a rib. I nearly broke my tooth. The bones were literally chopped into the chicken in all the pieces.
Beyond that, there was little variety. Both sides of the windjammer had about 3-4 entree choices that were repeated 4 times. The food needed salt, and I found the salt and pepper shakers were almost always empty on the tables.
Seating was entirely inadequate. The Asians on board would eat, then sit and occupy the table for an hour after their meal. They made announcements multiple times for people to leave their table after they were finished, but everyone would sit there and read books or drink tea for an hour after they ate.
Because of the weather, the Kung Fu noodle shop was closed most of the time. I am not sure why they made the location of it so its availability was weather dependent, but I was unable to try it.
Sorrentos was greasy pizza, the crust was soaked with grease and it dripped from every slice.
I bought some macaroons from the coffee shop. Worst 6 dollars I spent. I love macaroons, but these were stale and I am confident they were either not made fresh on the ship or were several weeks old.
As far as entertainment, don't expect much you can enjoy. There was a comedy show that was mediocre. The rest of the shows were canceled due to the weather. Not sure why they rely on so many performance type shows that are so easily canceled.
The casino is awful. Overcrowded and EXPENSIVE! $25 minimums on 3 card poker, texas holdem bonus and blackjack. Let me tell you what the biggest BS about that is... the guy sitting next to me playing texas holdem hit a royal flush. Betting $25 minimum, his payout should have been $12,500. Instead, RCCL has a policy that they payout no more than $10,000. I believe if the min is $25, the min that should be paid out is the best hand at $25 bet. He was very angry and rightfully so. I was angry for him.
They had a single $6 minimum blackjack and 3 card table that was only open during the late night hours. They instantly filled up. There were no slot or blackjack tournaments despite being advertised in the planner. I did have some good luck on the slots, hitting a $1900 handpay. BUT BEWARE! RCCL has now adopted a new policy of collecting tax on Americans and giving a W2G. This makes no sense.
Shore excursion offerings were terrible. They offered 2 options in each port. In Okinawa, they had to dock in the cargo port, so you had to be shuttled to town. RCCL instituted a meaningless ticket process where we stood in a long line to get tickets for the free shuttle. It was meaningless, because when it came time to deboard, they did not collect nor even check the tickets and it became a disorganized free-for-all. I had an excursion booked back to the airport in Hong Kong. It was canceled due to a lack of bookings. I was left stranded to find my own way back to the airport. Fortunately, Hong Kong is easy to navigate, and I highly recommend the Airport Express train.
Guest services was a constant nightmare. Not sure what everyone needed, but the line consistently stretched into the main area of the ship almost day and night. They need to staff it better, as I only ever saw 4 people up there.
-The phone in the room only speaks mandarin when checking voicemails. It is impossible to check voicemails.
-There is no kleenex tissues in the rooms. No spot for them in the bathrooms.
-North star was constantly closed for bad weather. Seems like a gimicky waste of space anyway.
-The maintenance and cleaning you normally see on ships was not happening on the Ovation. Balcony glass and rails, as well as decks had dirt and salt all over them.
-Ice cream machine by pool was consistently closed. No posted hours, and was random when it was open.
This is HUGE: The hot tubs were NOT HOT! The water was a disgusting luke warm temperature. Unusable and unpleasant. Read Less