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171 Hong Kong to Asia Cruise Reviews

Embarkation and cabin: We embarked in Hong Kong for a 7 night cruise via Vietnam to Singapore (after to land tour in China). We were travelling with friends who were experiencing their first cruise (we've done over 20 and this was our ... Read More
Embarkation and cabin: We embarked in Hong Kong for a 7 night cruise via Vietnam to Singapore (after to land tour in China). We were travelling with friends who were experiencing their first cruise (we've done over 20 and this was our 3rd with RC). Embarkation was very quick and easy, as Voyager was the only ship in port that day. Our 'spacious balcony cabin' was ready for us (12:45 ish I guess) and was a lovely surprise: very roomy with a 3-seater settee, space around the bed and the usual type of bathroom area and enough storage space for 7-14 nights. Balcony quite small but fine - it was very hot and humid so we only really used it early in the morning or late at night. Our cabin steward was great and kept everything immaculate - we loved the towel animals he provided too! We expected it all to be a bit worse for wear as it was gong into dry dock immediately after our cruise, but I can honestly say that it was fine - a little tired certainly but nothing too major. There was no shampoo/conditioner or body lotion provided - just the shower gel in the container in the shower area. That's a first in over 20 cruises, but we'd bought our own, so not an issue, but an unexpected omission. Dining: we chose Mytime dining and were accommodated without having to wait (there were 4 of us together), sometimes sharing with 4-6 others and sometimes as a 4. We never booked a time as that was the point of Mytime, I thought, and those who had booked had to wait in a much longer queue to get in - weird. The food was mostly good with generous main course portions, but more repetitious that we are used to and not as much choice. There seemed to be either several fish dishes or none offered (except the salmon, on every night and was very dry my friend said).They now charge a large supplement for lobster and surf and turf etc. The 3 top desserts each evening were 'new' with all the rest repeated every night and the only ice-cream on offer was the standard vanilla, strawberry or chocolate. Where was the salted caramel or stem ginger etc etc? Disappointing. The Windjammer food was fine although manic and difficult to find a seat at times, especially for breakfast when in port. It closed at 9pm each night, so nowhere for late night snacks/hot chocolate if that is your thing. Drinks: the cost was exorbitant for us , with the poor $ / £ exchange rate currently and then 18% gratuity on top of that even though we had to wait at a bar ourselves on the open deck just to get served. There were a lot of people on the drinks package so they were keen to get served to get their money's worth. This is the first time ever that we have seen a number of people worse for wear from drinking. Inevitable with the cost or availability of drinks packages we suggest, though many of you will not agree. Needless to say we enjoyed the bottles of wine we were allowed to bring on board in our cabins (1 per person) and didn't bother buying much else. Doesn't make or break our holiday fortunately and at least we weren't pestered every two minutes to buy a drink. Entertainment: the ice show was amazing; we enjoyed all of the shows in the theatre, but were confused to see it only about a third full each night, as often you have to get there early to find a seat. There was more getting up and going out for another drink than usual too, which was a bit rude and disruptive to both cast and fellow travellers. Because this ship has an inside Promenade, this had an affect on other entertainment venues - the loud music in the Promenade completely dominated the poor pianists in the Schooner bar, so they or we gave up. There was a gap in entertainment offered between about 8:30 to 9:30, which is exactly when we were looking for something after dinner and before the show: obviously it was all centred around the fixed dining times. Overall, very disappointed - not in the quality of the entertainers, but in the venues: too small, not enough seating or overwhelmed by other music. There were plenty of quizzes if that is your thing. Open decks: as usual there were a lot of sunbeds with towels/stuff on them and no-one in sight for hours, but unless the staff do something about that, so it will continue. enjoyed the pools. There were very few children on board, but those that were were great. Excursions:The ship's excursion information before boarding was disappointing: we managed to book 'Saigon on the own' for a good price a few months before we went but Halong Bay was already fully booked and there was nothing showing for Chan May in the month or so before we left and only Vin Pearl resort in Nha Trang. When contacting RC in 3 different ways to try to find out if any more excursions would be available, I had 3 conflicting answers and was still none the wiser, so we booked with local companies for Halong Bay and Da Nang and did our own thing in Nha Trang. The ports lecture therefore was a hard sell on the excursions they had managed, eventually, to provide, but too late for us (and very expensive) and no useful information for those wanting to be independent. They were, instead, saying that there was nothing there and no way of getting anywhere,but there were taxis at all ports and some excursions possibilities, but I am glad we had made prior arrangements. Ports: Halong Bay: the giant rock formations are awesome and so we took a local company boat trip. Either book beforehand (Ha Binh) or walk out of the port and there will be opportunity to book there and then (full day goes at 9:15; half day at 8:15 I think). Da Nang (from Chan May, about an hour away from anywhere you want to see): nothing at the port except some stalls for souvenirs and plenty of taxis). We joined a group from Cruise Critic to go the Ba Na Mountains by cable car (for Brits, this is a bit like a more modern and larger Isle Of Wight Black Gang Chine!). We had a great day out. Nha Trang: a tender port, so quite late getting off as those on ship's excursions had priority. Turned left and headed past the stalls towards the jetty and managed to negotiate a 2 hour boat trip for 6 of us all around the islands instead of being taken to Vin Pearl or one of the other islands where you have to pay to land / use the beaches and, I assume, the facilities. Then took a taxi ($10 for the 4 of us) to a lovely beach area the other side of the port (turn right out of the port and hail a taxi as it is much further than we'd thought). Had a very enjoyable swim before hailing another taxi back - plenty available. Another lovely day. Ho Chi Minh: took a ship's excursion so were given maps and some helpful information then left to our own devices for 6 hours. Very hot and some heavy rain, but we enjoyed exploring on our own and trying our skills at haggling in the market. This was good value as we booked and paid for it quite early on. Disappointing, Royal Caribbean, on a number of issues important to us, so it unlikely, unless the itinerary is amazing, that we would book with you again anytime soon . Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We booked in March for this cruise. My father and mother-in-laws have poor walking abilities and they do not enjoy flying. But they do want to see Vietnam so we booked this cruise which visit two Vietnam ports. First of all, embarkation ... Read More
We booked in March for this cruise. My father and mother-in-laws have poor walking abilities and they do not enjoy flying. But they do want to see Vietnam so we booked this cruise which visit two Vietnam ports. First of all, embarkation in Hong Kong is not great. Kai Tak Terminal is very busy because this ship and Dream Cruises are both embarking on the same day. The queues are very long. Fortunately because we have two elderly people among us we could join the special elderly queue for check-in. Then the worst thing was the zig-zag bridge that connect the terminal with the ship. I completely fail to understand why this winding zig-zag bridge is necessary when a direct birdge (airport jet bridge) can do the same job! The ship is in good condition. It does not immediately feel like it is in need of dry dock work. (But it is going to dry dock in September.) The staterooms were not yet ready and we were told we could take lunch in the Sapphire Dining Room, so we made our way there. Lunch was buffet style and it was fine. After lunch we went to our rooms. We had a promenade view room and it was rather roomy for a cruise ship with two sofas. Our stateroom attendant was Iwayan, he was very good and he opened the connecting door between our room and my in-laws room for us as soon as we requested. The dining on the ship is okay. It is nothing to write about. Some of the food in the dining room can be found again in the Windjammer at late night snack time. The ship is consisted of a majority Hong Kong and China people and some of them seemed determined to eat back their cruise fare. Well, given the food served I think they had a hard time achieving that goal. For the ports, Chan May is really far away from Da Nang. We hired a driver for a day trip to Hoi An but he could not come into the port because our tour company is not "sponsored" by RCCL. We had to pay another driver to drive us out of the port gates to meet him. But he was not a very good driver as he could not speak much English and he took us back from Hoi An 1.5 hours earlier than agreed. The worst thing was he would not enter the gates of the port as promised. So we did not tip him and made a complaint to his company. Many RCCL "sponsored" tours came back late from their tours and the ship did not sail until 17:40, as opposed to 17:00. We were still approaching Nha Trang when we took our breakfasts. As this is a tender port we had to wait for our tender time. RCCL "sponsored" tours and group tours all went ashore before us. We only got ashore at 11am. Our tour guide and bus took us to the sights and lunch. Then we requested to visit a supermarket for souvenirs like coffees and dried mango. We got back at about 4:15pm and were back on board quite quickly. After all both ports were not great. Chan May is still under construction and very far from town while Nha Trang is a tender port which is very time consuming. Avoid. am. Our tour guide and bus took us to the sights and lunch. Then we requested to visit a supermarket for souvenirs like coffees and dried mango. We got back at about 4:15pm and were back on board quite quickly. After all both ports were not great. Chan May is still under construction and very far from town while Nha Trang is a tender port which is very time consuming. Avoid. The entertainment on board were only so-so. One night we had an American singer who performed as many Chinese songs as English songs. He was okay but I saw a Caucasian family of four looking rather bored as we boarded the lift outside the theater. The Ice Skating show Ice Odyssey was fantastic. We watched it and then strongly recommended my mother-in-law to go. She went and she was amazed as well. We had a plain sailing back to Hong Kong after Nha Trang. Nothing to report. We also got back before the Dream Cruises ship so we got away okay. Some of the things we really couldn't get our heads around were the lack of technology on the ship. I could not believe they had to write a number on our Sea Pass cards to indicate we had watched Ice Odyssey. Also in the dining room we had a waiter come to us to write down our room number every night. I mean, aren't we in the 21st century? Can you not just scan my Sea Pass card for that? Also, the in-room television had so little choice of channels. When I was on Quantum of the Seas it could receive a TVB J2 channel but here there is only one Chinese channel which recurred the same content all through the cruise. There are loads of Chinese satellite channels in the region and that's the best they can tune their tv sets to? Once again RCCL, we are in the 21st century! I wish I had downloaded a Samsung remote control app to my phone so I can plug in my mobile hard disk to the tv and watch the movies I have in it. The service provided by all the waiters, servers and room attendants were very good. They worked really hard to keep the ship clean and the service going. I applaud them because with 3,000+ guests (many are children and elderly people) on board it was no easy thing. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose Crystal this time as it was the choice of my sister in law who had sailed with them before. Unfortunately she had not sailed with any other cruise line so thought they were fabulous without comparison. We had a balcony cabin on ... Read More
We chose Crystal this time as it was the choice of my sister in law who had sailed with them before. Unfortunately she had not sailed with any other cruise line so thought they were fabulous without comparison. We had a balcony cabin on Deck 8 and it was tiny. This was our first disappointment of the cruise. I am not sure how some of the larger passengers on the ship maneuvered themselves around the bathroom or managed to use the toilet as the bathroom was so small. The decor on the ship is quite boring and uninviting in many areas and there is a lack of artwork around the ship. However there is plenty of space on the ship and you never feel crowded anywhere. The boutiques on the ship were outrageously priced and lacked choice. What happened to passing on tax and duty free savings to the passengers? The pool area should have been a hive of activity but there is no pool bar and this area was underutilised. Seabourn and Oceania do fabulous sail away parties with drinks and entertainment. Not so on Crystal! The weather was perfect and not a drink or band in sight. The food was not fabulous and became very boring. The dining room needs a bigger menu and the market place at the back of the ship, usually one of our favourite places to eat on other ships was closed at night and replaced with a Brazilian restaurant that lacked variety. The Marketplace needs a wider range and themed offerings to relieve boredom. Yes, there are two speciality restaurants on board,but they are difficult to get into so don't rely on them as alternative choice. The Chinese was alright but not fabulous. The enrichment program was excellent and we enjoyed the speakers very much. We are not big on night time entertainment so I really can't comment on that area. Tours were only average and could have been improved. The staff were excellent and we could not fault their service and attitude at all. They were friendly and efficient so we were very happy with this aspect of the cruise. Would we sail with Crystal again? Probably not unless there was a great deal available as at this stage we do not believe value meets the current price point. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Viking have some beautiful ships. Well designed with a furnished by IKEA feeling. We'd travelled on Viking Sea previously and felt that as the line was new it needed some bedding down but that we ought to give it another chance. ... Read More
Viking have some beautiful ships. Well designed with a furnished by IKEA feeling. We'd travelled on Viking Sea previously and felt that as the line was new it needed some bedding down but that we ought to give it another chance. Little had changed. Viking pitches itself at the same customers as Azamara and Oceania so needs to stand comparison with them. The ship is larger (930 rather than 694 pax) and has a wonderful feeling of light and spaciousness in the public areas with many places to sit and read. While I can understand the World Cafe buffet being laid out like a hotel coffee shop, disappointingly The Restaurant feels much the same. It was always difficult to find an empty table in the buffet. One of the problems with inclusive tours is that most people opt for them and tend to eat at the same time. The range of dishes in the buffet was less than its two competitors. Service in the restaurant was patchy. The food was an improvement on our previous Viking cruise but still not as good as its competitors. If the itinerary had been better designed we wouldn't have had to pass through immigration in Japan twice. On one occasion it took two hours resulting in the tours running late. The quality of the tours matched what one would expect for "inclusive". Many tours returned at the same time and boarding the ship was not helped by opening only the one bag scanner. Customers should not be expected to queue on the gangway in heavy rain. A larger entrance foyer would have overcome this. To sum up, lovely ship but the customer experience still needs working on. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Just returned from a Cruise on the Orion from Hong Kong to Tokyo chosen mostly for the destinations. We wanted to travel to Japan and given the fact that Japan is EXPENSIVE, this seemed like a good choice as the ports visited were on our ... Read More
Just returned from a Cruise on the Orion from Hong Kong to Tokyo chosen mostly for the destinations. We wanted to travel to Japan and given the fact that Japan is EXPENSIVE, this seemed like a good choice as the ports visited were on our bucket list and meals and accommodation were paid for. Unfortunately unbeknown to us , and our fault it was Golden week in Japan, a 10 day holiday period as well as the crowning of a new emperor. Every place was unbelievably crowded, and on occasion difficult to walk due to the crowds at temples and other places of interest. We have been on many cruises in the luxury category on smaller ships which is our preference. We are not Brand loyal as we enjoy trying different things in life. Given this, it was difficult for us to reconcile the fact that Viking Ocean was voted #1 in many categories. We actually realised why this is the case, as many of our fellow passengers, were on the fourth of fifth Viking Cruise, and had never tried anything else to compare. The liked the Viking new ships and felt comfortable as they knew exactly what to expect. I call it "the Holiday Inn" syndrome. There are so many better cruise lines in this category. I would rate Viking 4th or 5th. in every Category. I might add that the ships are lovely and most of the staff "willing and pleasant" but need more training. Our cabin located at the rear (Deluxe Veranda) was quite comfortable with a larger balcony and the bathroom is excellent. Best shower that I have had on a Cruise ship, ony to be beaten by those that have a Bath and a shower. I like to shower and my wife prefers to bath. The Best bathroom ever is the Spa Suite on the Azamara ships. A tad more expensive, but worth it. We dis not have a great choice of cabins, even though we booked it 2 years ahead and only and a choice of 4 cabins as everything else was booked.. Our cabin was on deck 5 below the infinity pool and was plagued by noise coming from the Infinity pool pump, located across the hall in a service room. We didn't get one night of uninterrupted sleep due to this intermittent pump cycling every 10 minutes or so. Surely Viking have heard of sound insulation!!! We complained to no avail, and on the 9th night they offered to move us to a cabin on deck 3, which we rejected as we were leaving the ship for a 21/2 day trip to Kyoto and rejoining up the coast in Shimizu. I did learn something though - many passengers book and pay the $100 deposit as soon as the cruises are published and then drop out at the 120 day point where they have to empty their wallets. So many people we spoke to, booked at 120 days or less and had a greater choice of cabin. The food was very good at Manfredi's and mediocre/acceptable elsewhere, except for the pool grill. Always a great choice of items so it was easy to find something acceptable, but certainly not the quality of Seabourne or Crystal, and even the special restaurants on Oceana were a cut above those on the Orion. We have actually had our finest meals at the Chef's Table on Azamara. $$$ but well worth it. Entertainment was also mediocre as were the included tours. I am 72, but found our fellow cruisers (most of the same age group) to be a little beyond it. They booked for tours which required a a higher level of exertion (noted in the brochures), only to complain when they got to the destination. They also couldn't figure out which channel to use on the VOX, even though it was always the same # as the bus they were assigned too. And frustration with the questions they asked of the guides even after the guide had already addressed the issue. Perhaps they were hard of hearing! I paid for a couple of additional tours with a US $ credit card, only to find that Viking charged the card with additional foreign exchange charges.I am Canadian and booked in Canada. Also did not get a statement at the end of the Cruise as is customary and found that I was charged for items that were not shown on the cruise account on the monitor in our cabin, even though I disputed these with Guest Services, who had agreed to deduct those charges. Still trying to get resolution with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I was attracted by the destinations and the hype surrounding Viking Ocean Cruises. The ship is beautifully equipped with all modern facilities. Like a beautiful woman until the true character is exposed. The Ship lacked Soul. ... Read More
I was attracted by the destinations and the hype surrounding Viking Ocean Cruises. The ship is beautifully equipped with all modern facilities. Like a beautiful woman until the true character is exposed. The Ship lacked Soul. Furnishings were like Ikea on steroids. There were few activities apart from some excellent speakers and an outstanding performance by 4 dancers and singers. appearing only 3 times in 15 days. Another evening a Kabuki dance by locals was fascinating. People just hung out in corners of the ship reading and relaxing. They were entertained by 2 violinists and at other times by a pianist. Some passengers looked like they had passed away. Nothing much else to do. Excursions were disappointing. The one we looked so forward to going on was cancelled due to low support and the others didn't flow particularly smoothly. Food was the redeeming feature. It was excellent. Service was friendly and almost efficient. Our cabin attendant was very good. Embarkation was smooth and well organised. It would appear that Viking may be growing too quickly since there was what appeared to be inefficient administration processes. On one of our excursions we were instructed in the Newsletter to present in the Theatre for re-direction to our Buses. We had to meet by 1.45pm. Some 50 passengers turned up. But at 2pm when our Bus was due to leave, no staff appeared. A passenger then rang Guest Services to see what was going on and was then told we were supposed to meet on the Pier. No one told us!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We booked a 10 day cruise from Hong Kong to Tokyo for some R&R and see some new Asian sights. Positives The cabin attendants were very courteous and helpful. The room was very clean and refreshed The ship was refurbished ... Read More
We booked a 10 day cruise from Hong Kong to Tokyo for some R&R and see some new Asian sights. Positives The cabin attendants were very courteous and helpful. The room was very clean and refreshed The ship was refurbished and everything is bright and current, yet somehow lacking excitement. Massage (deep tissue) was top rated. Needs Improvement Dining - Good with way too much more focus on quality at the expense of quantity/variety. I swear there’s a conveyor belt from the buffet to all the restaurants. You think you’ll get a choice steak at the Tsar’s restaurant, but it’s the same product as on the buffet. Yes, the desserts at the Tsar’s Palace are the same out of the box junk available on the buffet. Not a decent dessert to be had on board really, but the caramel sauce was delicious. With the exception of the lettuce, all fresh fruits and veggies were consistently of mediocre to good quality. I wouldn’t have eaten a tomato on that ship. Also try the buffet at the very end of the ship - keep walking back from the main buffet. Open air and very relaxing. Internet - Very Pricy but so so so slow. I had a need to log onto a secure website but never could get in as I kept getting timed out. Staff - hard working and try, but I don’t believe they’re empowered to provide customer service. I can say the staff, however, is trained to say they understand, but they can’t really do anything to address the issue. As an example, I had an urgent need to scan a signed document at 11:30 PM one night due to a legal matter. I really tried to explain the urgency of the matter at hand. The front desk advised that the staff don’t have external email accounts and only managers have external service. Again, I explained the urgency of my request and how limited I was 8,000 miles from home. “I understand, and I’m sorry.,” was the response. I asked for the manager, and the front desk was very reluctant to call. So, I gave up, took pictures of the document and sent them to a friend who cleaned them up before submitting them. Hours to send 11 pages. Did I tell you the internet was slow??? Excursion desk - We took every tour available. The tour companies were good. I put in a form to book a tour/transfer to Our hotel in Tokyo. The Excursion Desk called me at 6:30 PM to advise it was sold out and to go to the front desk to book a bus to Tokyo Station. The front desk said they stopped taking reservations for that bus at 4 PM. The excursion desk was somehow reluctant to help me with other options. . Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I was on a private charter of the Jewel from Hong Kong to Tokyo for a 10 night adventure. I had a balcony room to myself for the holiday. Boarding went smoothly but when it was announced that all the staterooms were ready, mine was still ... Read More
I was on a private charter of the Jewel from Hong Kong to Tokyo for a 10 night adventure. I had a balcony room to myself for the holiday. Boarding went smoothly but when it was announced that all the staterooms were ready, mine was still not. Even after I was allowed in, I had to call back the room attendant there was still dirt on the glass shelves in the bathroom. Not having a clean bathroom from the start was only the begining of a poorly run ship. I gave 3 stars because my state room was great and the entertainment was very good. One of our biggest complaints was the overt and racist "Washy, washy, happy, happy" in a mocking Asian accent, that were were greeted with when entering the cafeteria at every meal. How insensitive! Our Asian friends, and this cruise originated in Hong Kong so many were on board. Were horrified as we were to find out that this is a NCL saying and the crew are required to say it. I reached out to NCL on Facebook messenger and I could see they read my concerns but never responded! After a 12 million dollar restoration you expect things to work. There were so many things broken and not fixed it became was a joke. We asked every day for the lockers in the spa to work. Were told that no one had complained and they all worked, but the attendant who came to help us could not use them either because they were broken. We were told every day that no one had complained even though they took my room number every day when I said something. In the cafeteria the coffee and expresso machines were out of order most every day and when we said something were were told to go to the end of the ship for the one working machine(it did not work either). Mexican food day, there was no tortillas and asking for guacamole was like pulling teeth.. Seriously, Mexican group was very angry.. as were we..They were so stingy with tortillas we were only allowed 2 each and one teaspoon of guacamole. I made the girl angry by demanding more.. I wanted some for my tortilla chips and salsa.. which had no spice or heat. We tried the main dining rooms, but the service was so bad and the food either over cooked or just cold(cold french fries with a cold not edible steak) That was after the fish I ordered was so dry it was not edible. We had a table of 8 one night and the food came out so slow for some of us that many of our friends had finished dinner and desert by the time we were getting our main meal. It was inexcusable. We finally had a good meal at Le Bistro after the Restaurant's manager personally took us there and paid for our meal and wine as he was so embarrassed! The Brazilian restaurant was also very good, But you had to pay for that. We ate at Tapanyaki the first night and it was a joke! The "chef" did a song and dance and tapped spatulas, many of which he dropped! The rice was not edible as it was so salty and the meat was tasteless. We had to ask for salt for that! We were rushed through the meal that should have been a show. I wasn't even able to finish my food as they wanted to move on.. The entertainment was good but the drinks were a joke. They upcharged and seemed to forget what the price was inconsistent from each server and each bar. They poured premium even if you asked not and still charged your room. You asked for well drinks and they poured premium! The shore excursions were poorly run and often the guides level of English was not understandable. Mostly a waste. My bed was comfortable and the water pressure in my shower was impressive, but you could not pay me to get on another NCL ship. My whole group lost weight as often the food was terrible. We would head to get chocolate ice cream soft serve 4 times a day to keep the weight on. But even those machines didn't always work and it was not easy getting anyone to pay attention to take care of simple things. We thought the ship was a floating Denny's. Even that food would have been preferable. I paid over $5000 for my own balcony on a 10 night cruise. That works out to $500 a day, for that money we should have had good food! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I chose this cruise because it sailed to countries that I had not visited before and also went to South Korea, a place I had visited 20 years ago. Celebrity Millennium cruise ship Check in experience at Hongkong Celebrity omitted ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it sailed to countries that I had not visited before and also went to South Korea, a place I had visited 20 years ago. Celebrity Millennium cruise ship Check in experience at Hongkong Celebrity omitted to inform the prospective passengers that they would need two copies of their passport, when they checked in at the Hong Kong international cruise terminal. This caused hundreds of passengers to line up to have their passport, copied to meet the criteria.. Then when we finally made it to the check in counter, we were requested to have a visa to visit china for three days. We had already contacted the Chinese embassy prior to travelling to Hongkong to confirm if a visa was necessary. Their information was, that if we were staying less than 144 hours, we would not require a visa. We had a confirmation email from the Chinese Embassy so, after long deliberation, they let us onboard. We had only just boarded the ship when we were required to line up again and hand over our passports for the Taiwan immigration. This could easily have been done as we were boarding the ship, as we had to walk about a kilometre back and forth through the Hong Kong international terminal. They could have set up a passport station along this route, where the passengers would hand over their passport, and receive a receipt. This would have saved a lot of time and the unnecessary lining up, but they didn’t. We were supposed to be concierge passengers, which meant, we payed an additional $400aud per person for express check in and other privileges on the ship. We feel cheated as we had no special treatment other than a tray of canapés that were no larger than a twenty cent piece. When quizzed about our special privileges, we were given a bottle of Champaign. I am not convinced that the canapés and bottle of Champaign would have cost $800 Aud First stop Tiapei (Taiwan) Following a day at sea, travelling from hongkong to Tiapei, we arrived at 7.00am to a foggy morning and lots of Taiwan warships lined up along the docks. The immigration inspection went smoothly, and passengers who had not booked on the cruise ships tours, made their way 500m down the dock to the railway station where the train took us into Taipei. The station was directly under the Taipei101 building the highest building in Asia and the world, until 2012. The ships tour groups, along with the passengers doing their own thing, all travelled to the top of this building in the fastest lift in the world .Taipei 101 has 2 lifts that only takes 37 seconds to travel from the 5th floor to the 89th floor of the skyscraper. The train trip cost around $12Aud return and the building entry fee was $ 27 AUD. The tour organised by the ship was $175US to visit the same location. Admittedly, the ship tour was on a bus, and took a different route to the building, and included a lunch. Speaking to other passengers who took the ships tour, they informed us that they spent a couple of hours looking for 4 passengers who got separated from the tour, and held everybody up so their day was ruined. Next stop Busan Following another day at sea during which time the ship had some electrical equipment problems between Taiwan and Busan South Korea, which meant that they lost power to most of the ship. The ship limped along at about 2 knots and we were 4hours late arriving at Busan. There were major problems for the crew, who tried to arrange shore excursions and get passengers through the Korean immigration system. The ship blamed the immigration dept, but when we went through the system, it was working like clockwork, and there were no hold ups at all. Most passengers had been held up waiting to get off the ship for over 90 minutes only to find the immigration dept officers, waiting for passengers to come through. The ship was the hold up, not the immigration dept. During the power shortage, the kitchens were unable to cook meals, wash dishes, provide air-conditioning to the dining rooms, or boil water in the urns for tea and coffee. The staff did the best they could, but it was a major problem across the whole ship. There wasn’t any compensation offered to the passengers who had less than 2 hours of daylight to look around the city, and had endured long waiting times trying to get off the ship. Some free drinks would have gone a long way to compensate the passengers, but nothing was offered. The ship was only designated to be at Busan for 6 hours but when it did not arrive until 4 pm in the afternoon this became 2 hours to have a look around during daylight hours. I admit the electrical breakdown could not have been foreseen, but given that passengers had paid good money for the cruise, some compensation should have been offered. The ship delayed its departure until 11pm to allow the tour groups to complete their tours.This was the only concession made by the cruise line. Next stop Incheon Korea The port at Incheon is about 1.5 hours from Seoul (the advertised port of call on the itinerary) and the train stops at all stations along the way. The town of Incheon is 30 minutes from the dock. There were no money exchange establishments at the dock and as the ship only changed passengers money into US dollars, passengers ,were forced to find banks that were open ,and would change foreign currency, into Korean won.. There were no arrangements made for the passengers who found the shore excursions too expensive. The cruise line arranged a shuttle bus into Incheon and that was it. The shuttle bus dropped passengers off in the street in Incheon, and with no guide or Korean speaking interpreter available, passengers were once again left to their own devices trying to negotiate with Korean Taxi drivers, who struggled with the English language. The ship could have had a Korean interpreter available to help people, but chose to leave them all to their struggle by themselves. The ships attitude was that, if you wanted organised tours, then pay the exorbitant fees for their tours, or fend for yourself. The ship had no money changing facilities for passengers to change money for any of the countries that we were visiting. All tours arranged by the ship were charged in US dollars which were meant that Australian passengers were out of pocket by 30%, before they started. All tours were in excess of $250 US per person. Entry into china During the days at sea between Busan and Incheon the ship informed all passengers that, if you don’t have a Visa to enter china, then you won’t be allowed to leave the ship. This left over 200 passengers at the mercy of the ship, who demanded $350us for a visa that could be purchased in Australia for $169. There were passengers from Germany, Switzerland, Canada, and America as well as the Australians who had all been informed that they did not require a Visa. Following lengthy and heated discussions with all of these nationalities the guest relations Leader was called in to explain the exact meaning of the transit visa. The Guest relation leader was able to explain the Visa requirements that the Chinese embassy could not. In simple terms, to be eligible for the 144 hr visa, you must be a transit passenger, travelling from one country into China, and leaving to a third country, which cannot be the same country, that you entered from. For example when we left Jeju island, which is part of Korea and entered China at Shanghai, we had an airline ticket to a third country, being Thailand, which meant that the 144hr visa would cover this visit The visit to Beijing china coming from Incheon Korea and then returning to Jeju island Korea, meant that we did not meet the transit passenger criteria. If the Chinese embassy had have explained this rule, and passed this information on, then the 200 passengers who thought that they had checked out the visa requirements, would not have been put in this position. For many, the massive fee being charged was too much, and they chose to stay on the ship for the 3 days that we were in port. The Port of Tainjin is 1.5 hrs from the town of Tainjin which is 1.5 hrs from Beijing. Once again the ship had made no arrangements to transport passengers from the port to available public transport and they were left to negotiate with Chinese taxi drivers who had upped their fees because there were two ships in port at the same time. In contrast, the other ship, from Holland America, had 10 shuttle busses available for their passengers waiting on the dock. The ship organised tours to Beijing, visiting the great wall, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and Chairmen Mao’s house. These tours started at $275us per person and depending on the tour selected, the price went upwards from there ,so when converted into Australian dollars, a family of three would be up for over a thousand dollars to take the cheapest tour being offered. The tours took over twelve hours and included 8 hours of travel on a tour bus. The Port of Tainjin is too far away from Beijing making tours expensive and tiresome. If China intends for this to be their main Beijing Port for all visiting cruise ships, it will need to extend the bullet train tracks to the Port. Currently the bullet train runs from Tainjin and takes 40 minutes to reach Beijing. The battle is getting from the Tainjin port to the Tainjin station which is 1.5hrs away. Next port of call was Jeju South Korea Because the ship chose to go from Busan to Incheon, and then Beijing , passing Jeju island, along the way, and then back to Jeju island, they caused 2500 passengers to pay for a visa, that would not have been required if they had called in at Jeju island on the way to Incheon. They also have used twice as much fuel crossing the East China Sea, three times instead of once. The island of Jeju was a little bit more organised with a hop on hop off bus provided at the port to take passengers around the island. The ship had its tours available as well, but passengers were able to see most of the island for a very modest price of $16 AUD on the hop on hop off bus, instead of the $175US charged by the ship. There were many cherry blossom trees out in flower around the island and they made a great display. The bus took passengers past the international airport and around the coast rd to the far side of the island. There were 16 stops where passengers could get off or on the bus. Final port of call, back across the east China sea again, to Shanghai. The ship arrived at Shanghai at 6.00am and passengers disembarked in groups as designated by the ship. Shanghai was about an hour’s drive from the port and the taxi drivers were a much better group to deal with. There were booking agents, who organised limousine van drivers, to take passengers and their luggage to their hotels at reasonable prices. This of course was not organised by the cruise line. Entertainment The ship provided nightly shows in their theatre, many of which were very good. One group calling themselves the Aussie boys were excellent, singing songs from the 70’s 80’s and 90’s. The soul singers were also quite good and the mime duo was excellent. There ship had 6 days at sea during which time passengers had to amuse themselves. Other cruises that I have been on have had nonstop Karaoke, cooking classes for women and interested men, shuttle board courts, golf driving ranges, rock climbing walls and basket ball courts. Celebrity has very little to offer, and use art auctions, and Jewellery sales trying to make up for their lack of foresight. Conclusion Celebrity cruises appear to have one major objective. Once they have enticed you onto one of their cruises, by offering a reasonable price for your fare to get you onto their ship, then they do everything in their power, to up sell you to spend more and more money, on beverage packages, soft drink packages, tours that have hugely inflated prices, and are all charged in US dollars, photograph packages, art auctions, watch sales, jewellery sales, and the list goes on. One lady bought a painting at one of their auctions for $50us and when she went to pick it up, was told that they only had a copy for sale purposes, and that her copy would need to be posted to her, at a cost of $65us . They take your photo when you get on the ship and then want to take your photo as many times as possible at every port, charging $25US per photo. They even offer to put it in a small frame for an additional $75US. The ship has 5 additional restaurants that are not included in the price for the cruise. The crew spend every available minute during meal times in the buffet café, trying to entice you to visit these other restaurants, which cost $125US per head to eat at them. Celebrity could make their cruises much more enjoyable for their passengers, if they provided options for them to access public transport. They could have an interpreter at each Port, who would be one of their crew members, that could help passengers to negotiate with the foreign taxi drivers, overcome language barriers, and show them how to get to public transport. They could provide shuttle busses at every port to get passengers to the nearest public transport. Passengers would not mind paying a small fee for the shuttle bus, if it took them to the train stations etc. Celebrity cruises need to provide money changing services at their concierge desk, so that passengers can change money into the currency of the country that they are about to visit. Most passengers would not mind receiving a little less than the going rate for the convenience of being able to do this, in a calm organised way while the ship is at sea . The rooms on the ship were comfortable and the cabin stewards do a wonderful job. Our steward was excellent and nothing was too much trouble for him. The stateroom that I was in had an adjoining door between my room and the one next door, for a family. This door was kept locked, but the wind whistled in through the gap around the door and kept me awake at night until the cabin steward had it repaired. This is the first cruise that I have been on, that didn’t supply free bottled water in the stateroom. It was available, but at $5US per bottle. Ships such as Holland America and Royal Caribbean supply two bottles per day to each cabin, free of charge. There was no kettle, cup and saucers, or tea and coffee supplied in the room. This was provided, after requesting it from the cabin steward. We managed to have our stateroom steward arrange a jug of ice water, delivered to our stateroom each day ,to have clean, cool, drinking water available. One of the biggest complaints that I have, is the lack of security for your passport, on Celebrity cruises. The guest assistance desk made many bad mistakes regarding passports, sending messages to our room, requesting us to deliver our passports to them, while all the while they were holding our passports, in their office. They had even issued us with a receipt when we handed over our passport but they were unable to understand their own system. It was a clear that the right hand did not know, what the left hand was doing The Visa that we have paid $750US for was taken by the ship and we had nothing to show that we even had a Visa. We threatened to have our bank stop payment on the credit card if they didn’t provide us with copies of the expensive visas Celebrity appear to go out of their way to make it as hard as possible for passengers to go their own way, trying to force you to use their tours, which do not suit everybody, as they may not want to look at temples in every port. The activities on the boat leave a lot to be desired as they only have a few trivia quizzes and a few board games, plus the occasional skill completion with bow and arrow. There is the Casino when the ship is in open waters, but it is not everybody’s cup of tea. The intercom system only broadcasts into the corridors, unless there is an emergency. Most of the announcements are more than half over, by the time passengers can get their door open and get out into the corridor. The ship should have a switch in each cabin so the passengers can decide if they want the messages broadcast into their cabin or not. The emergency messages would come through, regardless of whether the switch is on or off. There is also no communication phone in the bathrooms on the ship, and should a passenger take a turn or a fall, they have no way of obtaining assistance, until the steward comes in to make their room up for the night. The ocean view café staff were excellent, and I could not speak highly enough of them. They worked long hours, always with a smile on their face, even though some passengers would have been very hard to deal with. The food was excellent, and there was plenty of variety, from Pizza and hot dogs through to roast lamb, roast beef, steak sausages, chops and a variety of vegetables. There was a salad bar and a seafood section, there was an Indian food section, and there was an Asian food section. There was fresh fruit and sweets including icecream and soft serve. The ala carte dining room was well utilised but most passengers then came down to the ocean view café, to make up for the tiny portions offered in ala carte. The beauty of the oceanview café was you had no time restrictions placed on you, and you had all the food you could eat, and all the variety you could wish for. I did not enjoy the problems endured on this cruise and would not cruise on Celebrity cruises again Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I have "lurked" on CC often in preparation for this cruise and others so decided to attempt to share my (and my husband's) latest experience in the hopes that it will provide some info for others. We were 6 travellers (2 ... Read More
I have "lurked" on CC often in preparation for this cruise and others so decided to attempt to share my (and my husband's) latest experience in the hopes that it will provide some info for others. We were 6 travellers (2 have sailed Celebrity often) but for 4 of us, it was our first time on Celebrity although we have all cruised many many times over the past years. We have more often spent time on RCI, MSC, Princess, Celebrity (often for 2 of us) ships and enjoyed an Oceania Transatlantic crossing in October. After spending a week or so in fabulous Hong Kong, we reached the port on Saturday,March 16th about 3 or so hours before departure. Perhaps we should have boarded earlier as it was not an especially good first impression for me - few staff to direct passengers and a confusing process to follow to get checked in at port and on board-not the usual warm welcome on board I expected. However, things did look up as our Aqua class balcony was newly refurbished and we met our friendly and hard-working steward Efren who took wonderful care of us. As noted by others, the new decor is a bit bland but it was very clean and storage was ample although I am not sure how well it will keep up over the longer term. Luckily, there were no issues with the bathroom-the shower had strong pressure, there was lots of hot water and shelving was fine. The sofa was too really small for 2 persons to sit comfortably and one of us had to use the bed to read or relax or sit on the cold balcony! I'm hoping too that Celebrity will address the issue of not being able to hear any announcements in the room-I had to open the door and stick my head out to hear. Otherwise all good. Breakfast was A+ and dinner service in Blu was very nice (hard-working,pleasant staff) and it was great to have a smaller private dining venue. However, the menu was definitely not as exciting as expected given the hype heard from Celebrity and others. Perhaps it was just not to our taste but some combinations were just not appealing and servings were small-I counted 2 smallish scallops once on my plate. We often turned to the buffet for breakfast/lunch and even dinner. The buffet had ample choice (although sometimes repetitive and bland) but you had to search hard for veggies if you did not want salad fixings. Seats were often hard to find but the servers bustled about clearing tables and we never waited long for a drink server to find us. I realise that feeding so many people is difficult but it was often hit and miss on the serving temperature side in the buffet and even in Blu - it was more often than not just "warmish" and you were very happy when you struck a hot dish. I did send a dish back once but as we all know, sometimes it is just too much bother. And where was the exotic fruit hiding when in Asia? Dragon fruit/watermelon/cantaloupe/apples/oranges were mostly it. One final thing-the canapes offered daily to Aqua class passengers were not good to say the least-2 x 4 tiny types of cheese bites etc. I tried to stop them but they kept coming - not a great use of resources. Entertainment was ok-after all,it has to appeal to lots of people and the in-house players were enthusiastic and put on excellent shows. Lecture subjects were not at all appealing-old subjects without much fun. Wi-fi was ok - often slow but better late at night or very early. Staff were the best part of the experience as they were 100% friendly, ready to greet you with a smile or hello and very hard-working. Celebrity is fortunate to have them all. Ports were fine as travel is all about exploring although Jeju island would not be a "have-to-see again" port although to be fair, we just wandered around and shopped a bit in the city using the free short shuttle bus ride to get there. We used a private tour to spend 2 nights in Beijing - it was a packed experience and much better value even for a group of 4 persons. The other 3 ship tours which we did were predictably less fun due to group size and pace but were fine especially as we took advantage of a promotion and did not pay full-price. Visit to Busan was interesting especially the temple and fish market. Museum visit in Taipei was too crowded to really enjoy but buffet lunch at Grand Hotel was fabulous with seafood and Asian offerings. It was very fortunate that we were on a refurbished Millennium which is a good sized ship with nice public spaces and amenities. All in all, I feel it was an average cruise ship experience as my expectations were higher on food and entertainment. Celebrity offerings did not "Wow" me any more than other cruise lines such as RCI and Oceania although it may not be 100% fair to compare the latter. China and Korea were great visit experiences especially with a sea day between ports to recover. My husband and I are not sure if we would try Celebrity again as there are so many options available but remain open-minded. Hope this helped and I would be happy to answer any questions. Happy next cruising to all! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise based primarily on the itinerary. In summary we had a good vacation despite a few notable shortcomings with Norwegian. We found the ship to be very relaxing with a good mix of entertainment options, public spaces like ... Read More
We chose this cruise based primarily on the itinerary. In summary we had a good vacation despite a few notable shortcomings with Norwegian. We found the ship to be very relaxing with a good mix of entertainment options, public spaces like casino, bars, pool, etc; and nice private spaces - our stateroom was the perfect size for our family of 3 (larger than the Celebrity cruise we took a few years back). Service onboard was generally adequate. Many guest facing folks were nice, and enthusiastic. However, there was a higher proportion of staff on this cruise who simply weren't as friendly as they should have been. Specialty restaurant waitstaff were generally underwhelming. Front desk / reception was a challenge (they were not able to help on really the only 2 issues that came up for us). Not only could they not help, but they definitely did not display empathy nor the desire to go out of their way to come up with creative solutions. Check-in in Hong Kong was not as described - we arrived around 12:30 and were issued a queue number, ended up waiting about 2 hours to get checked in and onboard. Once we were called to check in, the process was quick and efficient. I was surprised and uncomfortable with the fact that they collected our passports (and kept them) at the boarding door. I don't think this was communicated ahead of time, and in general was not something I felt good about. When I asked why this was happening, the woman literally laughed at me - perhaps a language/culture barrier problem but off-putting nonetheless. Food - was OK, definitely a mixed bag. Leathery bacon at the buffet - consistently. Ice cream machines that couldn't keep up with demand (serving liquidy soft serve). Chin Chin's was in general not tasty (we ordered 5 different entrees among 4 adults) and the only one that tasted good was the sweet/sour pork. Cagney's steak was supremely disappointing - meat quality was mid-market grocery store level (think safeway or albertson's "choice" cuts). The silver lining in this cloud was the notion that since the food wasn't great, we didn't overeat. Ever. I overheard other adults making similar statements. With about 3 days remaining onboard, we found there were some things they were running out of. No pineapple at the buffet. No lemons for iced tea. No sprinkles for ice cream. These seem like small things, but they are the little things that make a vacation great or less-than-great. Excursions - the selection was a bit thin. Too many similar outings to temples across the various ports. Would have been nice to have a few more cultural viewpoints that were more diversified. Also, our experience in Cambodia was not good - a beach with no amenities and a market with no amenities. Other tours were too limited in availability and we did not get our reservation in on time. The brightest shining stars on this cruise: 1) The cabin was large (we had a mini suite balcony - essentially one room with a curtain divider between the bed and the pull-out sofabed). Much nicer than our previous experience on Celebrity. The fact that it has recently been renewed I think helped. 2) Our 6-year old absolutely loved the Kids Club. We literally couldn't pull her away. The staff were all amazing, engaging, fun. Lots of great activities. This was our first Norwegian cruise and while we didn't hate it, they also didn't make a good enough impression on us to convince us to stop trying new cruise lines. Our next cruise likely won't be with Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise because of its itinerary and our last experience with Celebrity. Also the ship had just had a refurbishment (Revolutionised) To be frank we found the ship along with its entertainment rather bland bordering on ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of its itinerary and our last experience with Celebrity. Also the ship had just had a refurbishment (Revolutionised) To be frank we found the ship along with its entertainment rather bland bordering on dull. The refurbishment of the cabins were welcoming, better showers and use of space in the cabin,new flat screen tvs (although poor selection of material, also in the worst resolution i have experienced on a cruise ship,only the ships own hd cameras selling all of their products was properly watchable hmm.) The cabins were kit out in beige and autumn colours,which were fine, unfortunately the whole ship followed this trend (The exception being Al Bacio which is unchanged) which only added to the blandness. I know entertainment can be subjective but in my humble opinion cruise lines have a duty to provide modern and interesting acts not just churning out the same or tired old acts,speakers etc.Celebrity are well behind in this and need to freshen up their talent spotters. Food in the M.D.R. was poor,the menu names sounded good but when the food was served it was not the best presented or tasty, also on the warm side instead of hot.(one stringy steak dinner was served with four (yes 4) chips (french fries for our American cousins). The ocean view provided a better selection, tastier and of course a faster service. We had drink packages (I upgraded to top shelf spirits as i enjoy a makers mark bourbon) After 3-4 days (on a fourteen night cruise) the selection of cider was down to strongbow which is the cheapest, also you had to search the ship for a can of boddingtons ale. Also the pour of drinks with mixers is dreadful you have to tell virtually every bar person how to mix a drink, otherwise your glass would be full to the brim with ice an indiscriminate amount of spirit would be sloshed in and then a mixer (coke,tonic etc) from an open can or bottle would be added, this would normally would be flat from sitting for a long period.Please celebrity invest in mixer machines that keeps your drink lively and train every bar person to pour a 25 ml shot in a single, it is not rocket science. The ship in general is clean and tidy but it is boring and needs a new outlook if it is going to compete in this industry it is not enough to replace carpets and beds and chairs.It has stood still in a market that has moved forward in every aspect and i fear that there is not enough cruisers out there to sustain it. Jazz Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We started as a cruise of a lifetime and ended as a demotivated disaster. This once great international liner is now a British floating holiday park, There is a ghost like senior management team only ever to be seen fraternising ... Read More
We started as a cruise of a lifetime and ended as a demotivated disaster. This once great international liner is now a British floating holiday park, There is a ghost like senior management team only ever to be seen fraternising with Grills guests and drinking wine. With the distinct exception of Captain Wells who seems now to do the job of Cruise Director and Hotel Manager as well as his own. In 34 Nights I only saw 4 Shows and 2 bumpers involving the singers and dancers. The rest of the evenings were guest entertainers of which only 3 were of a standard expected of QM2 ,the rest were not even suitable for my local village hall. I suppose not surprising as the whole feel of the entertainment was that of a holiday park. Who is booking this holiday park drivvle. No entertainment outside the sailaway party was more of a wake than a party with the so called band finishing their set before the ship had gone anywhere. The cruise staff who were not even upto holiday park standard spent most of their time chatting to each other and photographers rather than guests.Once again no senior management to be seen ALL SAID THIS IS THE WORST CRUISE I HAVE EVER BEEN ON. This once great elegant liner is now Haven holidays at sea. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Considering the ship had just come from a massive refurb we expected to have a cruise of a lifetime having cruised most parts of the world it was our first time in the far east, so onboard we got to our cabin which we found to be very good ... Read More
Considering the ship had just come from a massive refurb we expected to have a cruise of a lifetime having cruised most parts of the world it was our first time in the far east, so onboard we got to our cabin which we found to be very good met our cabin boy who was very nice and polite. Then things went downhill at dinner that evening the service was very ship sod and the food which took a long time to appear was cold. the next day we complained about this and expected to go to dinner that night with something different to happen but no exactly the same it did get a bit better as the cruise went on but what was supposed to be managers sorting it out didn't seem to have any control over it. Breakfast was even worse most things were cleared away well before the time advertised so a lot were not available later on, also most tables were left with empty dishes for quite awhile so people coming in to the restaurant did not know if the tables were vacant or no,t so not good at all this did not get better at all and I blame the so called managers who had no idea at all how to manage it. Show seen a lot better on other ships. Overall I would not recommend Celebrity and will not be back myself. Thank goodness we had two nights in Singapore to look forward to which was by the way exceptionally otherwise it would have been disastrous. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted to tour South East Asia with the comfort of travelling on a cruise. We knew it would only be a snapshot of the places but we like our creature comforts. Embarkation in Hong Kong was the worst we ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to tour South East Asia with the comfort of travelling on a cruise. We knew it would only be a snapshot of the places but we like our creature comforts. Embarkation in Hong Kong was the worst we have ever endured. We had supposedly been given “priority“ embarkation but this did not materialize and we were forced to queue for some 45 minutes in baking hot corridors in the line to be photographed for security passes. When we were disembarked in Singapore the corridors had fans to keep the temperature down and it was quick and efficient. We had been on Celebrity Eclipse before and rated it highly. We chose to upgrade to aqua class as we did not enjoy the proximity of tables in the dining room. In Blu we were on the same table each night and were pleasantly spaced from other diners, which was not the case for couples who were cheek by jowl with their neighbours. The ship had just been in dock for a refit and consequently there were several glitches. Our shower did not have hot water for the first three days and the climate control was stuck on cold for the same few days. However these were remedied and we were given a bottle of wine in compensation. Our friends suffered from a very unpleasant smell in their cabin which was not removed despite many efforts and were eventually moved to a cabin two decks higher.. The staff on board were excellent in every department Our cabin steward was most attentive and the staff in Blu were likewise attentive and did their utmost to remedy the mistakes made by kitchen staff. The Customer Relations staff were very courteous and helpful in spite of having to fend off complaints from every side. The captain was charming, always amusing in his daily updates and friendly and available when met on the decks. Our principal complaint was the quality of the food. We found there were obvious discrepancies between menu description and what was actually on the plate. For example; there was soup in a pastry basket…. which was soup in a china bowl accompanied by a wafer of pastry, and a Waldorf salad which said toasted walnuts but in fact contained no nuts. The waiter hurried to get some but of course they were not toasted as the menu said. These may seem trivial points but cumulatively they troubled us after our precious happy experience. Blu was only open for breakfast and dinner. We ate lunch and breakfast in the self service café sometimes which had abundant choice but often it was very difficult to find a table for four. The coffee shop was excellent with very pleasant staff. The ports were on two occasions many miles from the sights and this was a very real down -side for us as the three and a half hour trip to Bangkok was very unpleasant even in a taxi. The port in Chang may was really not a cruise terminal at all as there were no public buses or taxis available to transport us out of the area. We do not use ship excursions as we think they are expensive and we don’t like travelling in coaches. The cabin was fine as was the bathroom. The entertainment on board was of the highest standard and we particularly enjoyed the ship’s singers, dancers and band. The entertainments director was friendly and accomplished. There were six sea days and we found there was not much available to keep us entertained. The speaker was concentrating on aspects of Buddhism and there was little other than the informal quizzes to help the day flow. On Cunard ships there is always a variety of speakers and topics and we have always found their port lectures much more informative. We did not think the TV channel was kept up to date with interesting facts such as wave height, ship’s position and weather up dates. In summary we were very disappointed by this cruise. We are quite particular about food and we thought the standard was poor. We did eat in the Tuscan restaurant and this was good but frankly not worth the extra money. It represented what we received last time in celebrity in the main dining room. We had the classic drink package was very good value except that it did not allow us to enjoy sparkling water like Perrier with our meals, which seemed like a nickel and dime way of penny pinching. We were most unimpressed to find there was no library on board. We will not be seeking to cruise again with Celebrity in spite of a generous gift-voucher which they gave us in compensation for one very unpleasant meal which I was served one lunch time. However it was only generous if you wish to cruise with celebrity again. Competition is fierce between cruise lines but Celebrity need to up their game in their chefs and presentation if they want to stay in the game at all. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
To begin, yes this was our first Celebrity cruise but it was my 47th cruise overall. I had fairly high expectations for this ship and wanted to compare it with NCL although we tend to cruise on Silversea & Crystal. Definitely did not ... Read More
To begin, yes this was our first Celebrity cruise but it was my 47th cruise overall. I had fairly high expectations for this ship and wanted to compare it with NCL although we tend to cruise on Silversea & Crystal. Definitely did not live up to my expectations. We were on the 2nd cruise since the ship was refurbished and the ship still was not 100% complete. When we arrived in our cabin the first day, the fan was so loud it sounded like an airplane taking off and the bathroom door was rattling (and we weren't even at sea). We found our cabin steward (he was excellent throughout) who called the engineer to fix the issues. We soon realized that our thermostat didn't work - whenever we wanted to adjust the temperature, the engineer had to be called. He would set it at either the warmest temperature or the coldest temperature. After the 4th time, we told the cabin steward that we would live with the cold. There was a "sofa" in the cabin that was enough for just one person - ridiculous! There were no gaskets around the doors so you could hear noise around you. We had an adjoining cabin and we heard every cough, sneeze, conversation and each time our neighbours went into their safe. When a gasket was installed around our cabin door, they broke the lock - we returned from an all-day excursion to find our door not latched. When we were in the cabin, we were able to push it closed to latch it but the lock didn't work. Again, the cabin steward had to be contacted and he had the issue fixed but as far as I'm concerned, it should not have happened in the first place. Who leaves someone's cabin door open? Thankfully nothing was missing. Dining was another issue. In the buffet, you could not have breakfast without being interrupted by a crew member trying to sell dining packages. This is not appropriate and intrusive. The buffet was dull and uninspired with nothing memorable. The main dining room wasn't much better - the water tasted of chlorine (only this dining venue) so I depended on bottled water (good thing I had the drink package) and the food was so salty that it was unappetizing (maybe to try and sell more drink packages). The only good meals were in the specialty dining rooms - Sushi on 5 was delicious, Tuscan Grille was pretty good and Qzine was a great experience. The itinerary was great which is what drew us to this cruise. The 2 shore excursions that we did through the ship were good. Usually on cruises, I don't think much about the end of the cruise but I honestly can say that I couldn't wait to get off this ship. When we arrived in Singapore the day before disembarkation, we contacted the hotel that we were staying in for one night and we were able to add an additional night so we got off the ship a day early. The funny thing is when we went to Guest Relations to advise that we were disembarking, no one asked us why. I would have gladly told them why and I was sure to be detailed in my survey, Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We are Platinum members and our last Seabourn Cruise was 2 years ago. We wanted to try their new larger ship and booked Hong Kong to Hong Kong, a BTB 28 day cruise. The ship is beautifully decorated. Our cabin was the same size as on ... Read More
We are Platinum members and our last Seabourn Cruise was 2 years ago. We wanted to try their new larger ship and booked Hong Kong to Hong Kong, a BTB 28 day cruise. The ship is beautifully decorated. Our cabin was the same size as on the Sojourn and Odyssey. One problem was that the drawers in the furniture across from the bed were very hard to access and the space there has only enough room for one person to stand. The pool area was the same as the smaller ships and getting a place on sea days was difficult. The chairs are the same and not comfortable. Our one peeve was that now bartenders are instructed to measure out the amount of liquor for each drink. This on a ship that touts itself as all inclusive. We would have to tell them to pour doubles so we wouldn't have to come back. In the lounge outside The Keller Grill there was only one waitress and one bartender and it took 25 minutes for our drink to come. The comedians were all from Wales or UK and as Americans we could not understand them. Most of the musical shows were good and the singers and dancers were exceptionally good. The even sang opera at the pool and that was a real treat. We had a problem on one of the ship's excursions and it was not handled well. We were only told it would be reported and then never heard back. We agree with others that Seabourn, now having staff hired by Holland America, has gone downhill in service. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We sailed in 2017 on the Sojourn to Alaska and it couldn't have been better - even with departing chefs in the middle of the cruise. Last year we sailed on the Encore to the Med and there was a huge difference in the experience, for ... Read More
We sailed in 2017 on the Sojourn to Alaska and it couldn't have been better - even with departing chefs in the middle of the cruise. Last year we sailed on the Encore to the Med and there was a huge difference in the experience, for the worse. Now in Asia, the Ovation is a bit better than the Encore but sorely lacking for an ultra luxury cruise line. The ship is beautiful and the cabins and housekeeping are great; that's about where it ends. Food and service keep getting worse each day. We had sushi for lunch one day and it was ok; they had a special omakase dinner one night which was completely inedible. The fish was old and smelled, even the salmon roe. Keller-food is ok albeit very boring; Service is terrible. They shouldn't include this as a dining option because you are only allowed to go twice per cruise. We ended up having room service 3 nights because it was the only way to best ensure a decent meal. Breakfast in the Colonnade was the same each day-marginal fruit, canned corned beef hash and the usual array of eggs, bacon, etc. Cooked to order omelets were lacking in filling and dry. We were trying to figure out the problem; I think they are making food for old American and British guests. It is completely lacking in flavor and variety; someone mentioned that they weren't allowed to make it spicy. Salt seems to be the key ingredient, rendering the food inedible at times. Not a good idea to try to get service at lunch time on the patio; they have a shift change at 12 and often there is no one around for drinks or the bar. Apparently they cannot take food orders if they work for the bar and vice versa. The best food and service was at Earth and Ocean (the patio transformed at night); portions are small though and it means you will be eating outside in often unpleasant weather. The best food we had the entire time was off the ship. They have an Italian chef, who didn't have an Italian night and there was very little Asian food, although the entirety of the cruise was in Asia. Be very careful of their shore excursions. They seem to be docking quite far from some cities, leaving you with a 3 hour drive each way to see a city like Bangkok; it isn't really worth getting off the ship as there isn't enough time in the cities. Also, their excursions are almost double of what you can find with Viator or Tours by Locals. We ran into the Silver Seas a few times and they docked in a much better location. Price perhaps? The stop in Cambodia was horrific. If I had know what we would encounter, we never would have left the ship. I don't think they are vetting the tour operators very well. Their descriptions of the tours paint a lovely picture, which often isn't the case, especially for people with mobility issues - getting into small boats, climbing over ropes, etc. Entertainment was below par-a magician and a cello. Boring. The show the singers and dancers did the last night was pretty good -Push the Button. We won't be sailing on Seabourn again; It isn't even the price that is the issue, it's the disappointment with the food, service and entertainment, which should all be top notch. They will say no, but I think this is a result of their purchase by Carnival. You can really see it in the cheapening of things like less crew, poorly trained crew, poor wines (like Sebastiani Chardonnay), and the quality of the food. This isn't the luxury experience you were anticipating. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
First cruise with HAL after 3 RCCL we were wanting : 1. Fewer to no kids - more than we expected 2. Better service- good but no better than RCCL 3. Iternerary south east Asia - Awsome 4. Dinner guests - the best company ... Read More
First cruise with HAL after 3 RCCL we were wanting : 1. Fewer to no kids - more than we expected 2. Better service- good but no better than RCCL 3. Iternerary south east Asia - Awsome 4. Dinner guests - the best company ever. 5. Decor - a bit outdated in places but others were good like the exploration cafe the old crows nest. 6. Entertainment- average compared to RCCL but enjoyed BB. Kings 7.. Room attendants were attentive with the usual towel animals and lots of smiles but finding black hairs in the bath on arrival. 8. Food in main dinning was ok each night but the wording on the menu was not very clear. Some nights there was lots of differing flavours in each dish but the actual taste was a lttle bland. Many dishes could have been warmer. 9. Efforts for Christmas and new year were a little under whelming with no wow factor it was all ok but seems things had been tempered back compared to previous years after talking to regular cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We had travelled as a family with HAL on 4 previous occasions. Always loving it however HAL lost some of their shine for us with this cruise. There appear to have been service / facility reductions compared to previous cruises. I am not ... Read More
We had travelled as a family with HAL on 4 previous occasions. Always loving it however HAL lost some of their shine for us with this cruise. There appear to have been service / facility reductions compared to previous cruises. I am not sure if this is peculiar to the Westerdam or a trend for HAL. 1) No self service laundry any more - only valet service. 2) No separate disco anymore; has been converted into a games / TV area. 3) New Years Eve celebrations had been confined to Lido instead of multiple options across the ship. 4) The number of hand sanitizers around the ship were far fewer. 5) No prizes anymore for daily activities. 6) Trivia and happy hour no longer located on Observation Deck. No reason to go there any more. 7) Entertainers had far less interaction with the guests than previous cruises. I still rated the service aspect very highly for our cabin staff and waiters in the Main Dining Room. The food was excellent too. Embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth and efficient. The Visa costs for Vietnam and Cambodia added a lot to the cost of our trip. This was handled well by HAL but guests need to be aware of these charges before booking the cruise. On previous HAL cruises we have felt like Royalty. On this one, we felt like a number. I hope these reductions are only on the Westerdam but I fear it might be across the fleet? Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this cruise because we had not been to Japan or China - we generally enjoy celebrity. This Cruise was Ok with little wow. And with Celebrity I expect some wow. Our Cabin was nice enough however the bed was just OK. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had not been to Japan or China - we generally enjoy celebrity. This Cruise was Ok with little wow. And with Celebrity I expect some wow. Our Cabin was nice enough however the bed was just OK. The Service from the waiters and room stewarts was exceptional. The entertainment was spotty at best. In some cases at least 1/4 of the audience left the show. The comics really werent funny or entertaining. The Production shows were good to outstanding. The port lectures were good however there were too few. Communication about the ports was almost non existant and the excursions were not as good as you can get on viator. Celebrity could do more to communicate especially in Japan and China. The food was just good. I come to celebrity for excellent food. It was just good. The Coffee Bar was a high spot although the to go was all latte regardless of your order. I guess they felt the need to fill the cups. The Millenium is headed into dry dock for a refurb so I won't go into detail about the need for an upgrade. It was clean and tidy and showing some wear. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This is the first ship to get the full refurbishment (a massive overhaul after 2 more voyages.) It shows. The were many broken and "slapped together" fixes in the staterooms and around the ship. Broken fixtures, wobbly furniture, ... Read More
This is the first ship to get the full refurbishment (a massive overhaul after 2 more voyages.) It shows. The were many broken and "slapped together" fixes in the staterooms and around the ship. Broken fixtures, wobbly furniture, poor mattresses, stains, puddles... The skylight over the Cosmos Lounge had a tarp over it - probably from leaks they were giving up on repairing. Our bathroom had black mildew, patched of grout, and broken tiles- and this was a Sky Suite. I bring this up as you should be aware of the schedule and avoid ships about to go to dry doc. It was obvious Celebrity is putting little effort into maintenance when they're about to refurbish the ship. Our experiences in the Luminae Restaurant were fabulous. The maitre'd, wait and bus staff, and sommelier were very professional/accommodating/fun. This made our vacation. Micheal's Club (lounge for suites) was also a highlight. The buffet and specialty restaurants were good enough. We just had to keep from eating too much. The itinerary (Hong Kong to Singapore) was the reason for picking the cruise. We'd go again - just on the refurbished ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Pros: 1. Butler that looks after your needs 2. They clean the cabins twice a day so you always feel your room is fresh 3. You can get room service anytime if you are hungry 4. Cabins are good size Cons: 1. There is ... Read More
Pros: 1. Butler that looks after your needs 2. They clean the cabins twice a day so you always feel your room is fresh 3. You can get room service anytime if you are hungry 4. Cabins are good size Cons: 1. There is limited choices of deserts/ candy 2. Not much entertainment offered to guests. We tried to play bingo and it took only 15 min from the start to finish. 3. The gym is very small. 10 people make it really crowded 4. Our booking agent never told us that we have free shore excursions with silver sea that come with our package. We discovered it accidently 2 days before the end of the cruise. 5. I had a problem to log in to the internet. I went to the reception desk and asked for help. The girl at the reception took my phone and erased the full history and website data from my phone! The internet connection has nothing to do with website data so i really dont know why did she do such a horrible thing. I was devastated as i kept very important information there that i was collecting for over 1year and its all gone now. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Being no stranger to Cruising I booked this cruise as a special birthday treat. Flew all the way from Scotland to Hong Kong to board the ship. Ship itself was good . Stateroom was well kept and the facilities onboard were good. Staff ... Read More
Being no stranger to Cruising I booked this cruise as a special birthday treat. Flew all the way from Scotland to Hong Kong to board the ship. Ship itself was good . Stateroom was well kept and the facilities onboard were good. Staff were wonderful in every department. I enjoyed the entertainment although most of the passengers I spoke to thought it was not up to standard. I think this was mainly due to the age difference as I was certainly one of the younger passengers. My only gripe is the Lido deck and the self service restaurant. I say self service but we were asked to point out which foods we would like and it was plated by a member of staff. This meant standing in queues and being painfully aware that on seeing a dish which I didn't know, I wouldn't ask about it as it would hold up the service. The result was that I missed out on a variety of dishes as I always felt rushed to choose. It also meant that at breakfast times the crew were under pressure to supply eggs and half the time they were undercooked and the rest of the food was already plated and by the time the eggs were added the meal was lukewarm. On the other hand breakfast in the main dining room service was very slow. As food is a huge part of any cruise I was left underwhelmed. Such a pity as it was a wonderful cruise otherwise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Previously cruised the Med on New Amsterdam and had a great cruise. Sadly this did not meet our expectations. We spent 2 days in Hong Kong before sailing as my husband wanted to sail around Hong Kong harbour on a Star ferry. ... Read More
Previously cruised the Med on New Amsterdam and had a great cruise. Sadly this did not meet our expectations. We spent 2 days in Hong Kong before sailing as my husband wanted to sail around Hong Kong harbour on a Star ferry. Embarkation was very smooth and quick though we weren't asked to fill in a health questionnaire which was unusual. The hygiene on board left a lot to be desired. We have been on many cruises with different cruise lines. This is the only one where passengers were able to enter the dining areas and return on board without sanitising their hands. I mentioned this to the nurse who said they would increase sanitation if there was an outbreak! Entertainment in the theatre was very poor. We left and didn't return when a pianist, supposedly having played on Broadway, started playing 'Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head' on a ukulele and singing out of tune! The Port talks were excellent and it was good to be able to go to deck 10 for more 1st hand info. Our restaurant waiter was not the happiest person and on a couple of occasions quite rude. He quickly took plates away and brought the next course before everyone on the table had finished. I pointed this out which he did not like. The food was average. Lido food was ok but a bit repetitive. A disappointment after the New Amsterdam 3 yrs ago. Despite booking a disabled cabin and giving all details to HAL stating that my husband was a full time wheelchair user, unable to walk, not 1 port had accessible transport or shuttle and many no taxis available. He travelled to Asia for the 1st time on a special holiday and couldn't go on any tours. He should have been told this when he booked. The ship was so quiet in the evening. After dinner, unless you went to the Blues Band (limited wheelchair space) or pianists which were next to the noisy casino, it was like the Marie Celeste. Sadly I don't think we will cruise with Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018

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