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117 Hong Kong to Asia Cruise Reviews

We boarded in Hong Kong on 3rd September, we have been loyal to Royal and Voyager is our favourite ship. On boarding it became immediately obvious that something was seriously wrong. The ship was majorly understaffed and we soon ... Read More
We boarded in Hong Kong on 3rd September, we have been loyal to Royal and Voyager is our favourite ship. On boarding it became immediately obvious that something was seriously wrong. The ship was majorly understaffed and we soon discovered that this was due to Voyager going in for a refit immediately we disembarked!. We had booked the cruise as part of a package with a China Tour included and were not informed of the refit plans. I will now list the points that have made me do disappointed and would stated that we had no knowledge that the ship was going in for a major refit when we got off. We paid very handsomely for this cruise too. Stateroom - 3816 - Balcony. Old and tired. Drawers literally falling apart in your hands. Our toilet was unhygienic and we reported this several times. It was not giving enough water to flush waste away and you literally had to use your hands (covered in a shower cap) to help it on its way. Our bed linen was threadbare and not changed once in seven days, despite it being stained! There was one maintenance man, who visited our cabin twice and was unable to remedy the situation with our toilet at all. He was uncommunicative and really did not seem to care. He said he would call back - he never did. So we had to "deal"with the mess for seven days"!! Our tv - this was broken. Five calls to Guest Services over three days eventually sent us a man who said it was broken and due to be trashed once we got off! Well we wanted to use it and after three more visits we eventually got it to work - but we could see four other peoples stateroom accounts on it! Surely in breach of data rules? I told Guest Services who really did not seem to care. I have screen shots of all of these accounts too. The tv worked for one day then gave up - rather like we wanted to do!! Spa - I booked, on embarkation day - for a Fire and Ice Pedicure for 5.30 p.m. on Day 2. I arrived at the spa, which seemed extremely short staffed, at 5.20, and was kept waiting until 6.00 p.m. I noticed that the lone Pedicurist appeared to be running way behind with her client. She seemed more concerned with offering her client a hard sell on products - I could clearly see what was happening - rather than speeding up to meet her booking. At 6pm I went to the front desk and stated that I had to go. It was formal night, and there was no way that I would even have been started by 6.30, and with the treatment lasting an hour, and would therefore not have had time to get to dinner. As it was I missed the Captain's welcome! I complained to the Spa staff - who did not seem bothered. The Manager was not on duty. I then complained to the Guest Services and eventually had a call from the Spa Manager who could not offer me an appointment until the end of the cruise!! Ohh and she did offer me 20% off - I already had a Diamond discount of 30%. She said she would call back and never did!! I lost all faith in the spa. Speciality Restaurants - We booked Chops, Giovannis and Izumi. Chops was good - even though the waitress billed us for a glass of wine that we had free for Happy Hour! Not being able to view our bill on our tv - this was something that came to light later. Giovannis was chosen for our wedding anniversary and was a disaster. We were brought the wrong wine and soup and the waiter argued with us that we had ordered white wine with steak! We never do and when he checked his order he was wrong -he never apologised. He then tried to charge us for Happy Hour drinks ordered at 8.20! We had not had any all night. We were made to feel uncomfortable and hurried. Not a pleasant anniversary experience at all - and we were given a slab of brownie, not a mini cake, as promised. Waiters in Giovannis and Izumi were more interested in serving ship staff in uniform and contractors that were swarming all over the pay restaurants rather than passengers. Our wedding anniversary was spoiled. Izumi was a disaster as the waiter did not know what he was doing - he tried to bill us for the two glasses of wine we came into the restaurant with from the bar!! He then messed up the meal by taking all of the meat and giving us a long demo in how to use the hot stones. Our Speciality restaurant experience is not one that we would pay to repeat. There were little or no staff, staff in Johnny Rockets uniforms in Izumi and, on the whole, our speciality dining experience was not one we wanted to repeat. Food in the Main Dining Room was just ok. Our waiter was insistent that we order our dessert with our starter and main course. We never do this and eventually got him to relent on night two. It later became obvious that he was fetching all three courses at once - our mains were always lukewarm and ice cream always melted! The Captain, save one at muster drill, made no daily announcements at all. He was inconspicuous by his absence and did not even show up at the Top Tier Event. Similarly, the Cruise Director was rarely seen. The lifts were almost all out of action or not working properly and one whole set of four was dismantled around us during the cruise. The ship was being broken down on our last night. We were very close to the Library and this was broken down overnight and kept us awake.We later found out that the ship had taken on 120 engineers who were on board to start the 'rip' out under the guise of 'repair' men. The main lifts had large green nets over them and were out of action the complete holiday - we were told they were being repaired - the engineers showed us that they were actually being ripped out...You couldn't even wait for us to get off the ship. Out of the remaining lifts, two were broken, one broke down on day three. A member of the Ents team told us that the ship was being run on a skeleton crew and that those that were on were new or coming to the end of their contracts. The bars were woefully understaffed. I reported on two occasions that food in the Windjammer at breakfast was not cooked, in fact it was still ice in the centre. This was the corned beef hash. The Chef simply muttered at me and stirred the pan up! Raw food! There are warnings all over the ship about under-cooked food and we are offered it for breakfast. Friends also had raw chicken in their chicken burgers!! It was generally felt that the ship was being wound down around our ears. We got lack-lustre shows. No welcome aboard or Farewell shows. None of the usual napkin waving in the Main Dining Room either. Service there was certainly not the usual standard.. All in all we feel that this cruise fell woefully short of what we would expect from Royal Caribbean. We did not get some cheap offer on this cruise. If you were not prepared to give us the full Royal service then there should have been concessions on the ship - there were none. I am a Group Tour Organiser here in the UK and following this cruise would not seek to book any of my groups with you or recommend you. We were considering a group cruise in the Caribbean - this is now in doubt. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This cruise is aimed at the Chinese market. Facilities on offer including food menu reflects this fact. Very limited choices and the menu’s all have pictures much like MacDonald’s. Baseball caps, shorts and general weekend wear is ... Read More
This cruise is aimed at the Chinese market. Facilities on offer including food menu reflects this fact. Very limited choices and the menu’s all have pictures much like MacDonald’s. Baseball caps, shorts and general weekend wear is accepted in the dining restaurants therefore no need to pack jacket, ties or evening gowns. Splash pools on deck are used by swimmers determined to do many lengths as possible leaving little room for those who wish to relax. Extremely difficult to find a seat in the windjammer as whole families occupy tables for hours on end, despite announcements by staff. The same applies to the casino. Disembarkation is restricted if you do not book one of the organise excursions. On the plus side the places, beaches & people in Vietnam are amazing. Unable to get into the Ice show having tried at every opportunity Overall very disappointed with this cruise. We are currently Emerald members. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
The ship itself is very nice. Most of the staff are great with the exception of the sales and customer service group. I have never seen such a lack of care or give a damn. I went to the front desk and asked to speak to the ship customer ... Read More
The ship itself is very nice. Most of the staff are great with the exception of the sales and customer service group. I have never seen such a lack of care or give a damn. I went to the front desk and asked to speak to the ship customer service officer, Ms Wu who was the shift manager stated he was off duty and he would get back to me. 2 days later I returned to the desk and was told he was too busy with mainland guests and I could scan a QR code and leave any comments. This cruise is not for anyone but mainland China customers. I was shown by the staff they spend the money on the cruise casino n tours so they take first priority. Foreigners and HK people BEWARE... Several HK people I talked with said the same thing. The guests are severly rude and noisy. Which is to be expected; however, the lack of care by the staff was not and was unbelievable. The Nepal n Philippines cabin cleaning crew were amazing. I had one staff member selling items on the 7th floor push me out of the way to sell something to another guest. Find another cruise line like Star or Royal. When trying to talk to the customer service officer I was told he would see me after 2 days of waiting I went to the office and was told he (Mr XU) was too busy and I could go online with a QR code and leave comments. Unbelievable the guest is too insignificant to get 5 minutes of a customer service officers time. BEWARE DREAM CRUISE LINE or you will regret it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I have sailed forty-nine nights now on Royal Caribbean ships over the past 7 years. I guess you could say we are ‘experienced cruisers’. This past cruise was our first trip to Asia- sailing from Hong Kong to Singapore. We sailed ... Read More
I have sailed forty-nine nights now on Royal Caribbean ships over the past 7 years. I guess you could say we are ‘experienced cruisers’. This past cruise was our first trip to Asia- sailing from Hong Kong to Singapore. We sailed aboard the Voyager of the Seas. Normally we have thought Royal Caribbean lines to be a slightly better cruise line than Princess and certainly heads above Norwegian Cruise Lines. After this cruise I believe Royal Caribbean may be showing signs of a major decline. Possibly this is just a worn-out ship with poor leadership. Specifically on the Voyager this cruise, I would say there is not one specific thing, but death by 100 paper cuts. ⁃ Ship is dirty. Look at the ledges or the the hanging decorations in the main centrum. They are beyond dusty. Room service was pretty good. It is specifically the public areas that are filthy. ⁃ Ship is old and desperately needs an update; many broken items. Fridge in our room did not work. We asked them to fix but they could not. Lights out on art in stairways. Ice cream refrigerator quit working at Ben and Jerry’s resulting in soupy ice cream. Ceiling canvas in pool areas rotting. Rust on balcony of our room. On and on…. ⁃ Dining staff is way over-tasked. We waited an hour+ each night between appetizer and main course. Food is fine but not as good as other ships. What is with not passing out bread anymore or taking order of desert with the main meal and the cheesy one page menu? Or what about the sales pitch on the bottom of this cheesy menu for a steak from Chops? Seems like Corporate is looking to squeeze every bit of revenue out of everything they can. ⁃ Captain is a slug. We went to the Captain’s appreciation event. The Captain spoke and recognized the crew. One crew member in specific had five years dedicated service. The Captain attempted to pronounce her name and when he could not pronounce the name, he said, “Whatever. It does not matter” and she came to the front to have her picture taken and looked very humiliated. What kind of leader does this in front of 150 people? Why not practice the name beforehand? How would he like this public humiliation for his years of service? ⁃ Shore tender was the biggest joke I have ever seen. They promised the first tender at 9:30 AM; it did not leave until 11:00 - no announcement- just make people stand in line for 2 hours in a hot-as-hell hallway. ⁃ Windjammer sucks on this ship. NEVER were there enough seats! Not on the first day, nor subsequent cruise days. WHY? Do you want to know why??? Because the hacks at Corporate decided that since this old hulk-of-a-ship made in the 1990s did not have a “Chops” restaurant, they would take 25% of the Windjammer space and put a Chops there in it’s place. More revenue, after all. So it sits empty while we stand with a plate of food. ⁃ The staff seemed unhappy, distant (in attitude) and some I got the feeling were resentful. One man I observed appeared as if he could ‘snap’ any moment. We had a good time in Asia despite these hurdles and really, anyone who can even go on a cruise ship is a lucky dog in this world. However, at the same time, Royal Caribbean (on this trip) did not meet a high standard at all. I would give this ship at the most 2 out of 5 stars. Maybe one star. I would not book a cruise on this ship. I wonder if my days of sailing with Royal Caribbean is coming to an end. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We wanted to visit Japan and thought this Viking cruise best suited our requirements. We had used Viking several times before without any major problems.In the end wished we had used another company. Problems started on the first day ... Read More
We wanted to visit Japan and thought this Viking cruise best suited our requirements. We had used Viking several times before without any major problems.In the end wished we had used another company. Problems started on the first day when they delivered one of our cases to another cabin. Only found out when the fellow passenger delivered it to our cabin later in the day The staff I reported missing case to did not seemed bothered when I complained. Other problems experienced included : - being sent reminders several times to attend safety briefings when we actually attended and ship cards scanned. We had to point out they had a system problem and they eventually admitted several of the handheld scanners were out of order. Do not know what would have happened in a real emergency. -delivering our copy passports ( needed for Japan apparently) to wrong cabin. Not in envelopes so the fellow passenger could see all our details - fortunately do not think he was a money launderer. - wrong order for food at restaurant - but the staff seemed to blame me for the waiter inputting wrong information into their machine. - timing of leaving Hiroshima had to change by 6 hours to an earlier time - I think because the initial plan got timing of length of cruise to next port wrong but staff blamed issues at the port. - electronic information on app and TV screens said we were calling at Kiel ( Germany) not Keelung (Taiwan) - staff kept blaming IT staff at head office. - no diet Sprite ( or similar) available on this cruise -only diet coke which I do not drink. Drink menu caters to the alcohol drinkers and non drinkers and diabetics are second class customers .No real alternatives were offered. So basically kept to water . Beverage manager blamed problems with getting supplies.However he did not ask for suggestions of alternatives or come up with other ideas. No imagination! No wonder people put on weight on a cruise with so many high sugar drinks with no alternatives.. - very poor Wi-fi. Not a patch on Princess's latest offering. I would prefer to pay a little more rather than have an included rubbish service.We found people taking their laptops etc to be nearer to routers but not sure it made much difference. - the maintenance of some of the equipment on board fell short of what would be expected of a fairly new ship. One lift was out of order throughout the cruise, the 3D movie feature in the Explorers dome did not work, one coffee machine in the pool bar did not work , one passenger told us her air conditioning unit was leaking water, one laundry room was closed for part of the cruise putting pressure on the other laundry rooms. - the quality of waiting staff was very patchy. Sometimes waited ages to be served drinks, some staff were not happy and showed it and you felt they wanted to be elsewhere. - customer services staff not very interested in problems - one told me to take it up with head office and gave me a card with detail on and did not even try to refer me to her manager. So I e-mailed the London address and it was only then that customer services manager on board spoke to me and we ended up speaking most days about some problem or other. - attitude of Viking staff seems to be that they are always right and the customer is always in the wrong. This has been re-inforced by the response I got from customer services in UK after submitting an 8 page report. No offer of any gesture to try and keep me as a customer. Given the problems Viking have had recently with their ocean and river cruises I would have thought they would be trying harder. Our experience this time will mean that our future cruises will be with other companies. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Chosen for the timing, stops, and convenience from Taiwan. The problems started with embarkation. 4 huge seating areas. A few wandering workers. You get a number for the 15 service desks. Turns out 50 people have the same number. Worse, ... Read More
Chosen for the timing, stops, and convenience from Taiwan. The problems started with embarkation. 4 huge seating areas. A few wandering workers. You get a number for the 15 service desks. Turns out 50 people have the same number. Worse, the announcement of the number is called out by someone walking the aisles amid the din. The cabin was the tiniest ever encountered, with stool angled from the wall but not enough to put a leg over. Supplies would run out, and no morning service until after noon. There was not a decent steak on board, not at the buffet, not at the dining room, not at the steakhouse. No lobster. I was informed they stopped serving libster 10 years ago, though the NCL booking agent assured mre there would be a lobster night. In contrast, Holland America has at least 1 lobster night on every cruise we've been on, as well as great steak every night. Very few activities on board, and no happy hour at all. That's enough. My wife said never again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We joined a group of friends who had selected this cruise. The food in the dining room at dinner time was inconsistent, ranging from very good to inedible (eg steaks). Our server Marie was excellent. Breakfast and lunch in the ... Read More
We joined a group of friends who had selected this cruise. The food in the dining room at dinner time was inconsistent, ranging from very good to inedible (eg steaks). Our server Marie was excellent. Breakfast and lunch in the dining room was consistently very good. Our cabin midship on the fourth deck by the tender gangway should not be used for guests. There was consistent irritating noises day and night from ship operations. The on-board entertainment and musicians were excellent. We particularly enjoyed listening to the Love Brothers and Lira. Other than the Tsar’s Palace main dining room we ate in O’Sheehan’s which we found quite good. We did not eat at the Garden Cafe buffet or any of the specialty restaurants. The alcohol prices were more than we were willing to pay even though we enjoy a glass of wine at dinner time. The majority of our alcohol consumption was while we were in port. We chose private shore excursions with our group of twelve rather than ship excursions. We prefer the chance to customize our own tours at a cost savings. For example the Ancient Temples Tour in Ko Samui, Thailand listed at $149.00 per person from the ship was done by our group by private tour arranged on shore for $20.00 per person for basically the same tour. Activities listed in the daily schedule were mostly money making for the cruise line. In summary it is highly unlikely that we will sail with Norwegian again unless they are the only ones that have an itinerary that we want to do. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Just completed a 12 day cruise on the Navigator and was very disappointed. We had sailed on Regent before (although 20 years ago); our most recent trips had been mostly on Crystal, and our expectations were very high. First of all, ... Read More
Just completed a 12 day cruise on the Navigator and was very disappointed. We had sailed on Regent before (although 20 years ago); our most recent trips had been mostly on Crystal, and our expectations were very high. First of all, the ship is very old....definitely at the end of its life in spite of a major refurbishment just three years ago. There is a musty/moldy smell in many areas of the ship (my wife is highly allergic to mold), and there are many signs of aging, including malfunctioning A/C in many of the cabins. Service was mostly perfunctory, at best. This may be, in part, due to the fact that this was a segment of their "World Cruise" (nearly half the ship as on for over 130 days), so non-World Cruisers were definitely second-class citizens. The staff would fawn over the World Travelers, but, other than our stewardess, no one seemed to know our names. Communication was extremely poor. The cruise director, Jamie, seemed to be mostly MIA. He was even absent for the opening meeting with all new guests...just a voice over the speaker. My experience on this ship has made me rethink ever cruising on Regent again. I don't know if was this ship, or whether Regent is in decline. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I am writing this review after a 3 day pre-cruise itinerary in Hong Kong and first full day, while fresh in my mind. I will add further updates. The airport pickup and transfer well, even though they were not prepared for 4 people with ... Read More
I am writing this review after a 3 day pre-cruise itinerary in Hong Kong and first full day, while fresh in my mind. I will add further updates. The airport pickup and transfer well, even though they were not prepared for 4 people with 2 pieces of luggage with carryons each (although that is what we told them we would have). The Langham Hotel was excellent in all aspects - location, rooms, breakfast provided. The first day tour was just hotel transfer to the hotel, but we booked our own private tour which was great. Day 2 with Regent was really sub-par, made worse by rainy, cloudy weather. Nevertheless, we stuck to the itinerary of a train trip to the top of Victoria Peak for the (non)view (we went to the top to re-board our bus and spent no time there). Then on to our lunch at Stanley Market (which was a pretty poor example of a street market compared to the center of Kowloon). We ate at an authentic buffet lunch of —— German food in Hong Kong! Day 3 was a long trip to Po Lin Monastery (of course the cable car was closed) , a better than expected vegetarian lunch, then a visit to tourist trap Ngong Ping village. Pretty lame day - definitely best to explore on your own and set up private tours. The mid-cruise feedback form was filled with issues. We have not heard back from the crew - do not believe the “commitment to excellence.” They are committed to apologizing and being empathetic, as they have much practice from what I have heard from many other cruisers. More specifics: 1] The towels placed on the poolside chairs are changed once a day. If someone is lying on the towel and leaves, the towels are reused for the unsuspecting next poolside guest. 2] First day of the cruise (we paid plenty extra for alcohol included, but no Riesling wine (they did find one bottle for the 12 day cruise) and no Pina Colada mix ( after 9 days they did get off the ship to get more mix, but ran out after 1 day). 3] Salad poolside is served warm - not kept on ice or refrigerated. The salad plates are hot, also not kept in a cooler. Who really wants warm salad? 4] Same for the sodas. Warm Coke cans are opened - so they are not carbonated well. Poured over ice results in flat, diluted soda. I’ll stick to water, but it is warm if you want it from a bottle (or boxed water) - only water from the ship is cold (gee - wasn’t it brown water in my room)? Even refrigerator in room barely kept drinks cool. 5] Although I had expected great service due to a smaller ship with a high staff:passenger ratio, I felt that the service was really poor compared to Oceana. At the buffets, people were leaning over food and mis-handling the serving utensils (not very hygienic) similar to any Golden Corral in the U.S.)- as opposed to being served by gloved staff. It frequently took my asking servers multiple times to bring me drinks, bread, etc. Sometimes I just got up to do it myself. 6] The food menu is pretty extensive - which is good. The food is generally good (although I personally did not think it was uniformly good, but I did have alternative choices) - not as good as the restaurants I had experienced on Oceana but much better than Royal Carribean. Prime 7 is very good. The staff in the Italian buffet are understaffed and running around making it a hectic, not relaxing dinner, but better the second night. 7] When going on tours, only warm water is handed out when leaving the ship. Cold water is not routinely given out on the buses. Generally, the tour buses are good, the tours are pretty average to sub-par. 8] Now at day 10 after completing Bangkok “2 day“ visit. Rather than dock in Bangkok as was in the original itinerary, we docked 2.5 hours away in Laem Chabang. The excuse was low tide (we found out after boarding, others found out 1 week before). I am sure the real reason was it cheaper, as there were no other cruise ships in our port and other cruise ships were docked in Bangkok at the same time. The times of our docking did not change, so there was no way to reasonably go to Bangkok on day 1, with the “alternative offered was to go to Bangkok on day 1 (and at my own expense) book a hotel room and book my own tours to return on day 2 at 1:30 PM. On day 2 we left at 6 AM to have a very rushed visit to the Grand Palace, canal ride on the Chao Phraya river and a buffet lunch at a Sheraton hotel before returning at 1:30 PM - spent more time driving than touring - 2 days wasted in Thailand. I need to come back another time to actually visit the sites and see Bangkok! The entertainment has been better than expected. Staff are pleasant and very apologetic. When we explained our concerns personally to the ship General Manager, she was understanding and apologetic, offering a laughable $750 credit toward a future cruise, with no adjustment to the top dollar price of this cruise. With more protests, we were offered $750 each current cruise credit or $1500 eachfuture cruise credit. 9] The regular internet is very spotty, which I have found. To be fairly typical at sea. I paid for the upgrade to streaming internet, but became good friends with the internet guru with my daily visits due to inability to access the internet, and inability to stream (I tried to video stream a Peloton 45 minute exercise program, which worked for 12 minutes during my 45 minute exercise period). Other sites would not stream at all. Finally, I was told I would not be charged the $120 for the fast internet access I was not receiving). The good parts of this cruise: 1] The staff are friendly and try to be helpful, but are poorly trained (not their fault) and are limited with the ability to fix issues with a ship that should be taken out of service. The 10 day dry dock is not going to repair all the issues with the ship. They did try hard to address the many issues. 2] Bed is comfortable. The suite is comfortable (excluding the smell, toilet and brown sink water). High beds had plenty of storage underneath for big luggage. 3] Good quality entertainment. 4] Very good food and food choices. 5] We received a credit in order to book our own air travel, and were met in a timely fashion at the airport. Luggage transfers were seamless and done well. 6] Itinerary was good (better than the ports actually docked or the time allotted for touring). 7] Although it took great effort, we did receive $ credit. It did not make up for the lost time and aggravation of our vacation, but at least it was a token acknowledgement that there are major issues with the ship that were known beforehand but not publicized. We paid for a Ritz Carlton , and got a Motel 6 (sorry to Motel 6- as I am sure they have clean water in the bathroom Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
The good A very nice new vessel with a very good navigation crew. Our room care (stewardess) was exceptional. The bad The food on board was boring, repetitive, bland, of high-salt content, and medioce in preparation. The Japanese ... Read More
The good A very nice new vessel with a very good navigation crew. Our room care (stewardess) was exceptional. The bad The food on board was boring, repetitive, bland, of high-salt content, and medioce in preparation. The Japanese cuisine was notably poor, e.g. old proteins. The vessels hotel staff was often overwhelmed during high service intervals, e.g. luncheon. The ratio of hotel staff to guest seems too low for proper service. We were disappointed with Seabourn’s handling of their booking credit and AMEX credit, Seabourn only allowed the higher value. The ugly Seabourn shore tours are expensive, the vessel was often ported far away from salient activities (long commutes) and in the case of the Vietnam north unsafe junk tours, e.g. our junk was literally lost in the fog without proper safety procedures. The Cambodia shore excursion was terrible. Seabourn and Silver Sea could have coordinated debark at Singapore much better, both simultaneously. The pool was small and poorly maintained, e.g. corrosion and detritus. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted an Asian experience and it fitted the dates we could travel. Overall the ship is tired, but in saying that it is clean and well presented. Before we booked I read that the ship had had a make over ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted an Asian experience and it fitted the dates we could travel. Overall the ship is tired, but in saying that it is clean and well presented. Before we booked I read that the ship had had a make over recently. This is not true. Only one place had been done up and that is what used to be the Crows Nest Bar. It is now a coffee lounge and the EXC tours are run from there. According to the crew (spoke to many) it used to be the best place on the ship. Its now just a boring coffee lounge. The whole ship is badly designed from other cruise ships we have been on. There is lots of wasted space, and the ship is a rabbit warren. It took us until day three to work out our way to navigate around the ship (usually only takes a couple of hours). The Food was really really bad. The Lido was badly organized and unless you walked in there at opening, it really did just look like a pig trough. We had open seating in the dining room, but never got a chance to use it. The reason for this, is that every time we went down to the dining room, there was over an hour wait for a table, so in the end we just gave up and went back to the pig trough. We are fully aware that this was an Asian cruise, but we were not expecting the amount of Chinese that there were to be on board. The ships holds approx 1900 passengers. 1400 were Chinese. HAL is traditionally a cruise line that supports the western market so it was a shock. The cultural divide was immense. Even the crew really really struggled with it. The Chinese don't drink alcohol, so the bars were always empty. So there was no atmosphere at all. The Chinese didn't understand the traditional activities and entertainment on board provided by HAL, so didn't go or would walk out half way through a performance spoiling the show. Also the Chinese do not believe in queues or lining up. It was just barge on through. Probably why the Lido looked like a pig trough most the time. It was also a nightmare getting off the ship. Once again the Chinese would just barge on through. There is a huge cultural divide there. HAL has every right as a company to target the Chinese market, but they should not do it at the expense of their traditional market. The first 4 ports we went to were great, Japan and Taiwan, but Manila was a hell hole. I really cant understand why any cruise ship company would want to go there. On the tour we did, it took us 2 1/2 hours to travel 8 miles through the traffic. There was no toilet on the bus and my partner was seriously considering using a bottle at the back of the bus. The only major positive from the ship was our state room. Though dated, it was comfortable and had all the facilities we needed with our state room attendants being fantastic. Maybe on a different cruise it would have been better, but I do not think I will sail again on HAL in the future. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Just got off the wind star legend....wow...good thing they are taking this ship into reparations... It has seen better days... No thermostats work in the suites, 1 ply toilet tissue, main dining room a/c stuck on coldest setting, so low ... Read More
Just got off the wind star legend....wow...good thing they are taking this ship into reparations... It has seen better days... No thermostats work in the suites, 1 ply toilet tissue, main dining room a/c stuck on coldest setting, so low , a large % of passengers got a cold in the first 3 days and passed it around for a week. Outdoor seating on upper deck fine dining area had incredibly uncomfortable chairs, the skinny legs of the cheap seating kept getting stuck in the grates of the floor tipping them sideways. The 'Candles' experience was 'filled" with reservations and when you got one ,you noticed very few people there because they were so understaffed... Fillet mignonette was precut to 6 ounces , served medium to medium well no matter what you requested. Service was spotty, some nights good, some you had to ask for water. Servers would often approach table interrupting guests in middle of a sentence.. Dining hours reflected the understaffing, very limited hours it became necessary to plan around so as not to run out of certain selections. Room service menu was a set menu devoid of nightly specials... Seldom could you make a selection where to eat... Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this particular cruise because on my bucket list was SE Asia...Everyone spoke so highly of Viking we took a chance. This particular trip included air fare, a bonus for us. Viking made the arrangements and as we started ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise because on my bucket list was SE Asia...Everyone spoke so highly of Viking we took a chance. This particular trip included air fare, a bonus for us. Viking made the arrangements and as we started to realize that we were losing two days of the trip (as of that time) we tried to change well ahead of the sail date. We were told it was too late unless we wanted to spend another $2000. That I could have done on my own. We get into port after having an extremely long flights to get to Hong Kong. The trip to the port got us on the ship about midnight. We had made an excursion for the next day. With jet lag, sleep was impossible so I was up all night and went on the excursion. BTW, if you are in a port more than one day...the so called included excursions are the same for all the days. Of course you can pay for another excursion. Trying to keep this as short as possible... The next night we went to our reserved Dine that had to be made way before we traveled. Our reservation was for 9:00 ...My boyfriend got a call at 8:15 if we had cancelled our reservation ..He said no and they told us they could take us earlier. This restaurant was supposed to highlight foods from the area visiting. That was so untrue. We were seated and immediately served the first couse. As an aside it was awful..We were served wine...Before we had an opportunity to "savor" the wine a second glass of a red was served, must breathe...We were so rushed through what was supposed to be fine dining experience, we actually asked them to slow down. They did not. They served dinner as if we were holding them up. Apparently we were as they started to clean up all the tables around us as we are trying to ascertain exactly what we were being served. I being very tired and frustrated started to cry and ran out. It was an experience...I give them that. I could go on forever, but every port was hours from towns that were not worth seeing and tours that were highly inflated in interest. We could not go to places we wanted to see as the drive time between the port distances and places of real interest would take more time to go and come than spend any time. Haikou and HaLong Bay were at best boring and out of range with travel to go to other places of interest. Of course these are our assessments, but reflect many of the other travelers we met. So on day three/four, I asked for the Viking guanantee as I could not make arrangements to get to where I wanted to go on the cruise. ...We spoke with General Manager who worked at finding us a way to take an excursion we found on Trip Advisor as opposed to another Viking tour. Of course he talked me out of taking the Viking Guanantee, knowing I would pay for my way as the guarantee spells out. I really could go on forever, but aside from losing two days of the actual trip, we also lost another day in Bangkok as the ship needed some repairs and we could not get back on in time to make our flights. Some of the tour guides went out of their way to make what was truly boring more enjoyable. I really could go on forever, but if you are not interested how the Chinese are making Sihanoukville, Cambodia into the next Macau for 2 days as they are exploiting the Cambodians...Do not take this trip...and I really could go on...and on...Oh one last thing, for those of us who needed to make flights they arranged a day room at the LeMeridan...and printed out the wrong address. We had to pay to make it to the right address..LeMeridian personel went out of their way to accoummodate us in Bangkok and for that we give them 5 Stars, LeMeridian that is! We had a total of 6 hours in Bankok...Also our trip was not 26 days..but theoretically..we spent a great deal of time going to no where places...I may not sit in the sun...So finding shaded areas was excruciating. I do have a letter of apology and/or disappointment from Viking. I will share that with them. Thanks for listening. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We sailed from Hong Kong and walked to the terminal. On arrival there was no signs or staff. As it was raining we headed into the first door we saw. We walked through the terminal looking at maps to work out where we needed to go. Finally ... Read More
We sailed from Hong Kong and walked to the terminal. On arrival there was no signs or staff. As it was raining we headed into the first door we saw. We walked through the terminal looking at maps to work out where we needed to go. Finally we found what looked like the right place to be told no you need to go downstairs. We finally found the port staff and checked in. As we approached the ship our passports where taken from us. We was not told before hand this would happen. I went to take my landing card out but was told to leave it in. Once onboard we where very happy and the ship looked good. We got a drink and walked around the ship. We had early dining so we got ready and headed to the long queue to go for our evening meal. As we where getting to the front of the queue the line started to slow down. By now it was 6.15pm and dinning was 5.45pm. Another 5 minutes passed and we where still in the queue. 3 dining room staff where stood around the door. I finally asked what is happening and they said the dining room was full. I had to ask, no one was coming to inform us what was happening. We expressed that we had early dining to be told there is no assigned dining on this ship. We explained we was asked to choose and was told no it's an Asian cruise so no dining options, you just bascially turn up and hope there is a table. Obviously not impressed as we choice this time to dine and expected to, just like on other cruises we have been on. After 5 minutes of talking we asked if we would be assured of a table at 8pm and was told we would. Just come to the front of the queue and stand by this wall and you will be seated straight away. They also said this has never happened before but for other staff members to say it always like that so where not impressed. So on return it's another free for all with the guests and the dining staff didn't really know why we stood there. Communication was horrendous but we did finally get to sit down. All in all no assigned dining and we didn't sit on the same table each night with the same guests to share our adventures of that day which we where looking forward too. Before we left home we did alot of research on the ports and where to go and what to see. We obviously know due to weather conditions this can change but once we arrived in Okinawa we had to go through immigration. We where not informed of this when we booked our cruise or any day before we sailed. This took one and a half hours so the plans we had made we where not able to go ahead with due to losing so much time. It was very disappointing as we could have been informed of this before hand and not got our hopes up of visiting the places we wanted too. We also planned to get day travel cards in Japan but this was not possible as our passports where taken off us. They would only except the original passport and not the photocopy we had so this cost us more money to travel around. ALWAYS WATCH THE BAR STAFF MAKING YOUR DRINKS! We do not blame the bar staff as this happened several times at several different bars with several different bar staff so they are clearly told to them to do this. But they would use house spirits instead of branded spirits. We often had to stop them or ask them if it was our drink they where making. One bar server was like ermm no no that's not yours when we pointed out he was using the wrong spirits. They would happily replace it and make a fresh but this shouldn't happen in the first place and it is illegal. We are not big gamblers but we do like tonhave a little play on roulette. Unfortunately this was not possiable due to the higher game limits. Basically because it was an Asian cruise they increased the minimums which meant we couldn't enjoy a game. The staff confirmed it was because it was Asia, but what about the rest of us on board. Please the Asians but not the rest of the world. I guess it saved us money by not gambling! There was plenty to do onboard and the rest of the cruise went by smoothly ( but still watching what our drinks where made with )until we collected our passports. As we gave our room number and where passed our passports my landing card was missing. The staff member said you can get another one at the airport. Obviously I was annoyed and said why should I waste my time at the airport when its the companies fault. She said it's one of those things and tried to usher me away. I didn't go anywhere and said can't you check through the box. She eventually said she would have a new landing card delivered to my stateroom. Why could she not have said this in the first place?? Really sorry but I can get a replacement sent to your stateroom. No fuss and the situation dealt with but instead she couldn't be bothered. A new landing card was delivered to our stateroom along with my missing landing card. It really wasn't that hard to sort a small issue. We did enjoy the cruise and ports and the ice show was amazing but it's the little details that are making us think if we should cruise with royal carribean again as this hasn't happened on our other cruises with other cruise companies. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
The issue that I have experienced was: This being our 5th/6th RCI cruise we know what to expect generally and that is why we like to cruise with them. Due to the circumstances not highlighted in advance to us, many of the services ... Read More
The issue that I have experienced was: This being our 5th/6th RCI cruise we know what to expect generally and that is why we like to cruise with them. Due to the circumstances not highlighted in advance to us, many of the services provided were either not available or changed for the worst etc. Examples are - 1) No set table for evening dining. This meant that queues formed each night as the staff struggled to place parties on tables that had space. 2) This meant that you never knew who you would be sitting with or who the waiters were likely to be. No relationships could be formed with either our fellow cruisers or the waiters who usually go out their way to know and understand your needs, likes and dislikes. 3) Menus poorly explained and lack of vegetarian options. 4) Food served at a lukewarm temperature. 5) Very poor sized portions unless you ordered the main dish of the day. 6) Lunch menu served in the main restaurant offered no Vegetarian options and it was so busy, no one was able or willing to help. 7) Due to a full ship, tables were almost impossible to obtain in the Windjammer (self service eaterie) even though they continually requested for people to vacate tables when they had finished eating. 8) Same problem in the morning at breakfast time but midway through the cruise they began opening the Chops Grill Room as an overflow which did help. 9) The virtual balcony in our stateroom,half the time did not work or the clarity was exceptionally poor. The room steward reset it regularly but in the main it was a waste of time. 10) The Windjammer/Ice cream machines had very restricted opening times which meant that should you want a refreshments outside of the limited set meal times, the 3800 passengers had a single option of the 5th floor coffer bar which obviously could not cope with the volume of people wanting to take advantage of this facility. 11) When leaving the ship on the last day, due to their being a second cruise liner also in port, the customs in Hong Kong could not cope with getting people through the necessary checks and out the terminal. We waited 40 minutes and were still far back in the numerous queues. We had booked RCI transport and only after our long wait did someone come looking for us (and others) to get us quickly through the crowd and onto the coach as it was delaying the transport of people to their hotel, railway stations etc. 12) Regular RCI cruisers were disgusted at the way this cruise was handled are like us were totally surprised at the poor level of service. First time RCI cruisers all stated that it would be their first and last RCI cruise. It occurred on: 10/08/2018 Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We have had 7 cruises, 4 being with RCL and Ovation being our 5th and most likely our last with RCL! We flew to Hong Kong from Australia and were prepared for the chaos and larger volume of people that we were to encounter, so whilst ... Read More
We have had 7 cruises, 4 being with RCL and Ovation being our 5th and most likely our last with RCL! We flew to Hong Kong from Australia and were prepared for the chaos and larger volume of people that we were to encounter, so whilst embarkation was a little disorganised, it was to be expected. Our balcony room was well designed with a larger bathroom than experienced on previous ships and there was ample cupboard space for the 3 adults sharing the room. Only problem in the room was the very hard beds! Service from room attendant was great as were the other staff on board ship who in the bars appeared to have much time on their hands, but in the dining rooms were understaffed and run off their feet. I must say we did enjoy the Bionic bar and we feel this produced better drinks that in the actual bars. The feel of the ship was not to my liking. Centrum of ship feels like a big shopping mall. Dining experience was the biggest disappointment! Understandably the bulk of clientele were Asian and the ship catered for such, but choices if you didn’t want Asian was very limited and the quality very poor and usually over salted! Fruit choices were very limited in Windjammer and again it it obvious that the Standards of RCL has fallen greatly. Pixels was excellent as was the show LIVE,LOVE,LEGS but 2 good shows does not amount to enough to impress as there was very few other music options that catered for the western culture. We are platinum members but unfortunately were not recognised as this on the ship.Consequently we missed out on being invited to the welcome back party, something we were looking forward to. This was addressed with management and a 20% off next cruise offered but hardly adequate as currently RCL is offering 40% off for the second person if you book now. I fly was experienced by son who enjoyed it immensely. We all experienced the North Star which was great until we proceeded to come down and a fault in the system meant that a very loud alarm went of meaning we had to cover our ears therefore hampering our experience. No ones fault but would have been nice if they had given us the opportunity for another ride especially as this had been paid for! Given the money we overall spent we will be definitely be reconsidering our options when we choose to cruise again. There is a lot of competition out there with far better quality of food and service. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I live in Hong Kong and I booked this cruise as a holiday with my parents who were visiting Hong Kong from Australia. They have never been to Japan and we thought it was a great way for then to travel there. We were very much ... Read More
I live in Hong Kong and I booked this cruise as a holiday with my parents who were visiting Hong Kong from Australia. They have never been to Japan and we thought it was a great way for then to travel there. We were very much looking forward to the trip after being recommended by friends & family who have previously boarded this cruise line. However, by the end of the cruise, it did not turn out the way we hoped for and felt disappointed with the overall experience, especially the level of service and food quality. The cruise began in Hong Kong's Kai Tak Cruise Terminal. We boarded the ship around 2pm in the afternoon - the queues were fairly short and the embarkation process was smooth and efficient. Day 1 In the evening we queued to dine at The American Icon Grill. The decor was nice but that was about it. The food selection on the menu was not exactly "American". Most of the selections were Chinese/Asian oriented, serving dishes like spring rolls, clear soup, stir fried fish, kung pao chicken. There were seafood dishes but an additional charge between 30-100 USD had to be paid. I can't exactly remember what we ordered but all of the dishes came out tasting bland and warm at best. The spring roll weren't crispy and the soup was too heavy in salt. It also took a while for all food to be served. Most wait staff did not seem welcoming and could barely bring a smile. Day 2 We went to the Solarium restaurant on deck 14, which had a specialty menu, however, we were told that we had to book in advanced or be invited. We booked for day 4 and then proceeded to dine at the Silk restaurant. It was also the formal night / captain’s night but apart from some people being dressed up, it was no different to the first night. The menu was similar which seemed to cater for Chinese guests, however there was an extra "Classic menu" serving steak, roast chicken, salmon etc. Day 3 We went to the Chic around 6:00 pm (our dining session was suppose to be at 5:00 pm) and was rejected at the door. We were told that early session people had to come in between 5:00 pm -5:30 pm or we would be refused entry, we which we weren't aware of. To make the situation worse, the restaurant staff were not only unapologetic but arrogantly asked us "What is the time now? [and then pretends to look at his watch]" Later we found out that all of the complimentary restaurants (except Solarium) served the same menu - this was disappointing as we hoped to try different varieties of cuisines. Day 4 We arrived at Fukuoka, the immigration process was delayed and by the time we got out, it was almost 11:00 am. We spent the few hours exploring Hakata before boarding the ship again. In the evening we dined at the Solarium. We ordered Mahi-Mahi but tasted like cat-fish. We ended up going to dine at the Wind Jammer (Buffet restaurant) for the remaining nights - The food had more variety, although don't expect any seafood or quality premium food and the staff seemed friendlier. Day 5 We arrived at Nagasaki. It was a beautiful port with convenient transport options to see sites (Peace Park, Dejima etc). We enjoyed visiting this port very much. Day 6 We arrived at Kumamoto. This ship was docked very far away from Kumamoto city. It was actually near a small town called Yatsushiro. There was complimentary shuttle to Aeon shopping mall or you pay additional to go to Yatsushiro town. Day 7 We arrived at Shimonoseki. The ship was again docked very far away from any town. There were no complimentary transport options and we were not allowed to walk, as the port was a cargo terminal (not a passenger terminal). We were forced to either get a taxi out or pay $20 USD per person to use their shuttle service which took us wharf / market area 20 minutes away. We also had to queue 45 minutes in the heat waiting for shuttle buses. If Royal Caribbean expects guests to pay extra for transport out of the port, then at the least, they should inform guests before booking. On the night before arriving at each port, we tried to get more information (maps / transport options, sites to see etc. ) from guest services , however, they gave us little help and just suggested us to join their pricey off-shore excursions. Towards the end of the cruise we, found an error on the gratuities charged on our account and we had approached guest services to have this fixed. We were told that it would be fixed by the evening however, it the evening it was not fixed and found that we were charged even more. We had to queue 4 separate times to have the problem only resolved on the last day of the cruise. The facilities on the ship were generally very good, although activities like iFly and Flowrider, The North Star observation came at an extra cost - For some reason this was only applicable to cruises in the China region (why?) - The fitness center was big and equipment was in good condition - Bumper cars, rock climbing, table tennis, swimming pools, xBox were fun and free to use. Queues were acceptable. The shows (Pixel, Live legs) were spectacular to see - make sure you reserve a seat or queue early to get a good seat. We had to stand for all the way for one of the shows. The room was nice, clean and new, with plenty of wardrobes and storage. The bed was comfortable and virtual balcony was good to get a glimpse of the outside. Our attendant generally did a good job except that he never provided us with tissue boxes and spare toilet paper rolls in the room. There were many other incidents and combination of things throughout the cruise that made experience disappointing. My suggestion is not to join the cruise when in the Asia/Chinese region. It seems RCL offer varying levels of service in according to guests in the region. To RCL, I wish you could offer the same quality / level or service consistently. Do not change your menus and service based on the region of guests. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
The shows every night were average or below standards and guests have to queued up a long line to get in. Not too many entertainments spots within the ship liked we experiences with Voyager of the Seas or Navigator of the Seas before. A la ... Read More
The shows every night were average or below standards and guests have to queued up a long line to get in. Not too many entertainments spots within the ship liked we experiences with Voyager of the Seas or Navigator of the Seas before. A la cart foods in the restaurant were quite simple and repeated the same every 2 nights. Big chaos in the restaurant in the first few days, guests had to queue up a long line to get in and in the same table some guests already finished dessert and another still waiting for appetizers and finally they forgot to serve tea or coffee after meals. Very disappointed experience so a lot of guests have chosen to go to the Buffet areas instead. We did book 5 Balcony rooms but ended up with 4 Balcony rooms ( 8 completely new to Royal Caribbean) in deck 9 and we had to stay in Interior state room in deck 12 ( we are Gold member of Royal Caribbean). We did complained about this several times but nothing happened. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
From beginning to end the cruise experience came across to me as being all about the money. We booked a 9 day cruise on the Ovation of the Seas sailing from Hong Kong to Japan with four shore excursions in Japan. The dining experience, ... Read More
From beginning to end the cruise experience came across to me as being all about the money. We booked a 9 day cruise on the Ovation of the Seas sailing from Hong Kong to Japan with four shore excursions in Japan. The dining experience, in all bar the restaurants for which reservations had to be made and paid for by the guests, was passable at best. The "free" restaurants on board offered a very poor range and quality of food when compared to other cruise companies. I heard numerous complaints from fellow guests regarding food and restaurant quality. A word to the wise - please drop that silly continuity announcement in Windjammers where your MC implores the guests to vacate our tables as soon as possible so others might enjoy the Windjammer experience. Such announcements only add insult to injury. The shore excursions are another area where value for money was nonexistent. The overpriced excursion to Fukuoka included a memorable queuing experience of approximately 1 hour while we all waited with baited breath to ascent the Fukuoka Tower. Who ever thought that going up in an elevator to a viewing area overlooking the sea on one side and skyscrapers on the other would constitute good value for money. This tower is not exactly the Eiffel Tower or the Empire of State. Just when we thought that that the shore excursions could not be surpassed in terms of money wasted we embarked on a tour of Kumamoto. The guide droned on in very poor English for the duration of the trip to the extent that most people on the bus fell asleep on the outward journey to Kumamoto. When we arrived at our destination the guide insisted that we line up like school children in rows of two before embarking on our visit to the castle. The visit, if it could even be called a visit, was carried out by the guide without explanation. The only crumb of information made available related to the destruction wrought on the castle in a recent earthquake. Having walked around the castle perimeter without the aid of any explanation from the guide we eventually arrived at a quadrangle that contained toilets and a temple of some sort. The guide pointed out where the toilets were and by way of explanation said "here is a temple". When he was pressed for more information we were informed that our time was up and we needed to get back to the bus. In summary - 1 - Shore Excursions - Seriously over priced and badly guided 2 - On board food experience - Very poor in the "free" restaurants - Food quality in the restaurants for which a booking fee applied was of a good standard and typical of other cruise companies. However having to pay an additional €360 to gain entry to the good restaurants for 6 nights was excessive in the extreme. 3 - Staff - With very very few exceptions all staff encountered on board were top quality and a credit to their employer. 4 - Stateroom - We had a balcony stateroom - Again, as with the staff, the stateroom accommodation was of a very high standard. Overall Royal Caribbean’s attitude would appear to be driven by a desire to squeeze as much money out of their on board “guests” as possible. A fellow disgruntled guest described Royal Caribbean as the Ryanair of the Seas. Unfortunately in our experience and on this occasion that sentiment has the ring of truth. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I suppose you could say it was our own fault booking a Chinese sector cruise. We should have known what to expect, but we didn't. We had based our choice on our previous experiences on the Ovation's sister quantum class ship - ... Read More
I suppose you could say it was our own fault booking a Chinese sector cruise. We should have known what to expect, but we didn't. We had based our choice on our previous experiences on the Ovation's sister quantum class ship - the Anthem of the Seas. We enjoyed two cruises on the Anthem, one from Southampton and one from New York and both experiences were excellent. On both those occasions we enjoyed very good food and excellent entertainment, the complete opposite in fact of what we experienced on the Ovation. Embarking the ship was very good, with a smooth check-in experience, no doubt helped by the priority given to our diamond class status. We were on the ship within 20 minutes, still too early to access our cabin but with plenty of time to grab a bite to eat and a drink. The bite to eat presented the first disappointment. We chose to visit the Windjammer buffet restaurant and even though the ship was only partially full at that time the Windjammer appeared very busy with very few tables available. However, we persevered, found a table and made our way to the food stations. That was when we first realised we were on a Chinese sector cruise as the vast majority of what was on offer was Chinese and Asian cuisine. Now I don't mind such cuisine as we regularly partake of Chinese, Thai and Indian cuisine at home and I did sample a few offerings, but unfortunately none tasted particularly good. In fact the dishes were so bland and lacking in eastern/oriental spicing that I could have been eating anything. The only thing that was of a reasonable and consistent standard was the daily offering of Chinese soups, usually an egg drop derivative. During the whole 10 day cruise I only enjoyed one eastern dish in the Windjammer and that was the butter chicken on the 2nd last day of the cruise. We tended to avoid the Windjammer on sea days primarily as the Chinese guests queued up very early for the restaurant opening, sometimes a hundred or more deep. Then when the doors opened many blatantly avoided washing their hands. Yes they would enter the washing stations at one end and go out the other without their hands seeing a drop of soap and water. We later learned that there was norovirus on the ship, with perhaps this non-hand washing by some guests being at least partially contributory. Towards the end of the cruise we couldn't get any olives, lime, lemon, etc., in our drinks due to the spread of the illness. On most ships we have cruised on at mealtimes in the buffet restaurant we would grab a couple of glasses of water, find a table, dump our stuff and water, then go and get food. This wasn't allowed on the Ovation with regular announcements that you couldn't reserve a table for yourself and that it was essentially first come, first served - a free for all - when it came to getting a seat at a table. So what you had were loads of people getting food on their plates then wandering around with their food waiting for a space at a table to appear, all the while your food was getting colder, not that it was particularly hot in the first place (other than the soup that was generally hot). Our experience in the formal restaurants wasn't much better. The food was generally ok but never great. My wife was attracted to what was described as an 'English classic' on the menu one evening, steak and kidney pie and on arriving at the table it certainly had the appearance of the dish it purported to be - that was until my wife cut into the pie to find it full of kidney beans and vegetables and a few cubes of beef, but not a bit of kidney in evidence. The chef's interpretation of the dish you might say, but certainly not the dish we were expecting. Another night and another English classic, shepherd's pie, was so full of gristle and fat my wife couldn't eat it and it was made with beef (cottage pie) not lamb. On two occasions I ordered a sirloin steak, medium rare, and on both occasions they were delivered at the correct cooking temperature, but were quite tasteless with no hint whatsoever of having been grilled. Service in the formal restaurant was a bit hit and miss. One evening we were sitting at a table for two and being served our main course when a table for six that arrived 20-30 minutes after us were already completing their meal. We complained and things improved slightly after that. Don't expect a decent hamburger on the ship. The burger 'offerings' in the Windjammer left much to be desired and there is no 'Johnny Rockets' on the Ovation in which to enjoy a classic burger and beer battered onion rings. What you have in its place is a 'Kung Fu Panda' noodle and dim sum station. My wife and I are both Diamond members with Royal Caribbean and on the Ovation the 'Diamond Lounge' each evening from 5-8.30 pm was in 'Vintages Bar'. The snacks provided in the diamond lounge were better than in the buffet restaurant, albeit of 3 hot options 2 were always Chinese/Asian, despite the fact that very few if any Chinese guests used the diamond lounge. The pizza squares provided were scrumptious and much, much better than the pizza in the Sorrento pizza bar. On a couple of occasions we actually missed going to dinner as we had eaten enough snacks at the diamond lounge and the main restaurant was so underwhelming anyway. Our cabin was good. We had opted for a deluxe balcony cabin near the front stairs. It had a very deep balcony (12 feet or so) angled towards the back of the ship and provided very good views. It was well maintained by the cabin steward throughout the cruise. As in previous cruises on the Anthem the cabin provided ample storage space. If there was a slight disappointment it was in the lack of provided toiletries other than a dispenser in the shower with some nondescript '2 in 1 shampoo', whatever that means. A bar of soap was also provided. Now we always bring our own toiletries anyway,but I like to compare what individual cruise companies provide, with even TUI/Marella providing 'White Company' products. The deluxe drinks package that was part of our cruise deal wasn't nearly as comprehensive as some others we have enjoyed. Yes it did provide bottled water, cans of soft drinks and premium spirits, etc., but it was the first all inclusive drinks package I have experienced that didn't routinely allow double measures. When you consider the standard measure for spirits on the cruise was 1 fluid ounce or 28.5 ml (slightly more than half a miniature) and this was delivered in a glass full of ice and your requested mixer, the net result is that I could have been drinking anything. We did eventually find a bar that was prepared to provide doubles and having these in short glasses with only a bit of ice and less mixer at least we did taste the spirit. At other bars the alternative was to order your drink then a few minutes later order a straight spirit to add to the drink. That being said all the bar and waiter staff were friendly approachable throughout the cruise - always a smile - always prepared to chat. Did you know that bar staff are paid solely on commission - 60 cents per drink - and I'm sure that at the bar they did serve doubles when requested that they put the order through twice and I'm entirely ok with that. The itinerary on this cruise was interesting with four ports of call in Japan. We booked tours on all but the last port of call but they were generally uninspiring and not particularly good value. The exception was the trip in Nagasaki where we visited the Peace Park, 'Ground Zero' and the War Museum. This was a very poignant and moving experience. The other tours were generally around visiting a park, visiting a Shinto shrine and another local highlight, including queuing for an hour to get up a sightseeing tower for 5 minutes to get back down again before the tour bus moved on. At the last port of call - Shimonoseki - we were on a 'wait list' for a particular tour and when that didn't happen we opted for a shuttle bus into town and I'm glad we did, as we saw and enjoyed more on that trip than on any of the organised and much more expensive shore excursions. There was a beautiful Shinto shrine near the shuttle bus drop off point and just round the corner there was a modern and extensive aquarium with dolphin and penguin shows and much more (£7 entry fee). Also we had time to savour local food, teriaki chicken skewers, which was excellent (and very cheap). Entertainment was another big disappointment. On the Anthem of the Seas we had been thrilled with full length, 90 minute plus, presentations, such as 'We Will Rock You', 'The Gift', etc. These very professional productions used separate entertainers than the 'standard production group' and they were excellent. There was nothing like this on the Ovation. It was the usual 40 minute production shows, where the dancers were very energetic and very good but the singers, particularly the female singers, were generally mediocre. Guest artists were also generally disappointing and a much lower standard than we have experienced on previous Royal Caribbean and other cruises. The exception being a female singer Lalique who provided a very good performance. On previous cruises on Anthem we were thrilled with the resident band 'Rock the Boat' who played a huge array of classic rock music from through the ages in the Music Hall venue on the ship . We were very disappointed, therefore, that 'Rock the Boat' left the Ovation before it started it's Chinese/Eastern itineraries to be replaced by a Philipino band, who were ok but not particularly inspiring. That was when you could hear them at all as most of the time on the top level of the Music Hall all you could hear was the clattering from several tables of Chinese guests playing Mahjong - what a racket. The other band on the ship played mainly Mandarin songs and they were also ok. We tended to end up in the 'Amber & Oak' pub' most evenings where the resident guitarist/vocalist Rob was very good. As you might have expected most of the customer service, etc., staff on the ship were Chinese, no doubt to accommodate the majority of guests on the ship who were Chinese. That being said there were several occasions in shops on the ship when staff clearly didn't understand what was being asked of them, e.g. I had bought 2 litres of spirits in the liquor store and on asking the shop assistant if the bottles would be delivered to my cabin or I had to collect them she responded by asking 'you want to know your limits?' We had similar experiences elsewhere in the ship. Disembarking the ship was the complete opposite of our embarkation experience. We had a time slot identified when to leave the ship and collect our baggage in the baggage hall off the ship. However, due to the very many self-disembarking Chinese guests there were huge queues leaving the ship and it took the best part of an hour to get off the ship. So what are our overall thoughts on the cruise. We liked the ship itself, much as we did the Anthem of the Seas. It is a beautiful ship with lots of room and areas to visit but the ship did seem more crowded than our previous experiences on the Anthem. In navigating stateroom corridors we did observe that many of the cabins occupied by Chinese guests were full occupancy, i.e. utilising the sofa beds in the cabin for additional guests, so this may account for the apparent increase in numbers in guest areas. The lifts/elevator experience was a particularly good illustration of the crowding in popular areas and perhaps what the Chinese guests themselves are used to in Hong Kong. On many occasions a lift would stop at a floor and Chinese guests would simply 'pour' in allowing little or no 'personal space' - very tricky if you are trying to balance a couple of drinks in your hands to enjoy on the cabin balcony at 'sail away'. We didn't enjoy the food and overall we didn't enjoy the entertainment. It is highly unlikely, therefore, that we would ever book on the Ovation of the Seas again, particularly if it is a cruise starting/returning to a port China. As experienced cruisers we should have known better. We will certainly research our cruise choices much more thoroughly in future. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was our 5th Royal Caribbean Cruise and our first to Asia. The positives, lovely ship, cleanliness and balcony cabin was comfortably spacious apart from the bed which for us was way too firm. The poor and frankly shocking aspects. ... Read More
This was our 5th Royal Caribbean Cruise and our first to Asia. The positives, lovely ship, cleanliness and balcony cabin was comfortably spacious apart from the bed which for us was way too firm. The poor and frankly shocking aspects. Meal service poor with menu aimed predominantly at the asian clientele.Meals were often of poor quality and there were a number of occasions when the food served was cold and poorly presented. Restaurants only open for limited times which added to the chaos on the ship.Long waits for entry to restaurants, the meal service was often poor with pressure evident on the service staff who appeared to be understaffed and having to serve a number of tables.Organisation poor throughout by royal caribbean including port itineraries which were poorly planned with long waits for disembarkation overall so disappointing and not up to expectations.Our experiences were shared by many who were complaining throughout the cruise due to the poor standards Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We intended to celebrate my father's 80th birthday and booked the cruise for a party of 12 (8 adults and 4 children) over 4 cabins. We mainly booked this cruise, as my father is retired and lives in Hong Kong. So it would be ... Read More
We intended to celebrate my father's 80th birthday and booked the cruise for a party of 12 (8 adults and 4 children) over 4 cabins. We mainly booked this cruise, as my father is retired and lives in Hong Kong. So it would be convenient to embark on the Ovation of the Seas. The ship was quite new and the facilities were well designed. The staterooms were relatively big and were well appointed. The highlight would be the well-executed shows and the bionic bar was fun to try. However, most of the entertainment is indoors and the pools were relatively small to accommodate such a big crowd. At times the pool water looked murky. The shore excursions were to Chan May and Nha Trang respectively. Both ports had their charms, with culture at Chan May and the beach at Nha Trang. However, the letdown of the cruise started with the check-in process. The check-in itself actually went smooth, we checked in for all 12 passengers and the booked staterooms. We used credit cards to cover the on-cruise expenses and here is where things turned sour. Somehow, the check in managed to only register our credit cards for three rooms and not the fourth. Unfortunately, we only found out that one stateroom with three passengers did not have a credit card linked when we wanted to book for shore excursions on the second day. We had to go to the customer service twice to get things sorted. However, the mistake caused us: two children unable to join their most anticipated activities (Ripcord and Flowrider), unable to book for the two shore excursions, and not able to purchase the optional dining package. Partly, this may be our mistake, as we did not purchase all activities on the very first day. However, this has resulted into two very disappointed children. Exploring the two ports on our own, which would actually be very fun, was it not that we got ripped off by the local drivers. Still being ripped off by the local drivers, ended to be cheaper than the offered shore excursions. Only the monetary savings came with a bundle of frustration. Lastly, we had to be saddled with some overly crowded restaurants. This is the general gripe of this tour. Surely, Ovation of the Seas is surely targeted to Asian (mainly Chinese) passengers. We understand that Chinese passengers may have different norms and values. We could also clearly see from the personnel that they felt irritated by the load of Chinese passengers. If you approach personnel, they would not speak to you, as they assume that you cannot understand English. Some personnel would even yell and use body language to convey their message. It is not until we speak in English, that the personnel would start to act normal and a few would even try to crack a smile, but most keep the stern look though. We are Asians come from Europe, so probably most of the personnel took us for local Chinese passengers. In conclusion, the cruise has great potential with good staterooms and plenty entertainment. However, a check-in error and a clearly irritated group of personnel have spoiled most of the trip. What intended to be a laid back hassle free trip, turned into disappointing kids, misadventures with the two shore excursions, and facing a group of disgruntled personnel. Maybe it was the sheer amount of passengers, maybe it was the city of embarkation, maybe the cruise is just too new? I am not too sure what have caused this. Or maybe next time we would just try another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I have travelled on Celebrity previously with mixed satisfaction. This particular cruise was sub standard. We booked concierge class rooms and the rooms were well worn with tattered fabrics. The veranda door leaked cold air and the ... Read More
I have travelled on Celebrity previously with mixed satisfaction. This particular cruise was sub standard. We booked concierge class rooms and the rooms were well worn with tattered fabrics. The veranda door leaked cold air and the bathroom was small also well worn. The main dining room food was barely edible and served lukewarm. We had to eat in specialty restaurants a couple of times just to get a decent meal. We were stuck on the ship for a couple of days because of fog. They were very stingy with the drinks and wait staff was scarce during the extra days at sea. The guest services management staff and Captains Club desk were ambivalent and not helpful and blamed everything on the computer software and headquarters. On our second day we anticipated a great cruise experience and booked two additional future cruises. I now intend to cancel both future celebrity cruises to Scandinavia and Croatia because our expectations were not met by a long shot. In my opinion and observation Royal Caribbean ownership in Celebrity has diminished the Celebrity Brand. I have complained directly to celebrity via email survey and no response to date. I intend to call their headquarters in the next couple of days but I have to carve out an hour of hold time on the telephone to get to speak to a rep who will undoubtably apologize profusely for their incompetence. I'm not hopeful that I will get any satisfaction. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Beginning on a positive note, Celebrity Milleneum gets special praise for: If you're staying in a suite, and you're lucky enough to have Robert as your suite butler, you can expect especially friendly and helpful service. ... Read More
Beginning on a positive note, Celebrity Milleneum gets special praise for: If you're staying in a suite, and you're lucky enough to have Robert as your suite butler, you can expect especially friendly and helpful service. Service and food at the Tuscan Grill, the costly but fine Italian specialty restaurant, were excellent; waiter Alex was a gem. Qusine is an innovative and very enjoyable specialty restaurant. You will get friendly and helpful sommelier service in Luminae, the suite level restaurant, from Mila. Milleneum is pretty good at: Food and service at Luminae, the suite level restaurant; Alessio is a charming, friendly and efficient dining room manager and deserves lots of credit for pulling things together. The crew did a creditable job most of the time greeting and dispatching guests in the theater en route to shore excursions. Milleneum fails as no other cruise lines in our experience have failed so badly at: There were absolutely no enlightenment lectures on in-room tv, maybe because there in fact are no enlightenment lectures.  This was a cruises with stops in Vietnam and Taiwan without a single speaker on the history, food, religion, geography, culture . . . .  Shameful. There never was a shore services desk at any destination; no one to provide maps and local information for independent travelers.  Nor were there any arranged shuttles or transfer services, even at a fee, from ports to nearby towns. Internet service is quite pricey.  Celebrity claims it is "available throughout the ship", which actually translates in reality to a few places scattered throughout the ship -- like next to the front door of our suite but not in the sitting area or on the veranda, and nowhere near an outlet to plug in your device.  This was a complaint echoed by many suite guests and acknowledged by staff, but only after multiple phone calls and visits by one of the computer center people to make sure we weren't making it up.  Their answer: leave the door of the suite open and maybe get a stronger signal!  (No, that didn't work either.)  They ultimately acknowledged that this was not a problem of weak satellite reception; it was fine at the computer center, some places on deck, and in some of the restaurant areas.  It's a problem of using cheap equipment without enough signal boosters throughout the ship.  The closet in the "Royal Suite" was incredibly tiny.  No room for suitcases and barely enough room to hang our clothes.  And yet the suite was full of cupboards with shelves for some mysterious reason -- probably thirty or more running feet of unusable shelf space. In the Royal Suit, there's a weird living room layout: a huge sofa against the wall next to the large dining table and (only) two chairs, but no possible way to sit on the sofa and dine (or sleep, or see anything -- just wasted furniture). Bathroom in the suite has shower doors so close to the toilet you have to step sideways or around toilet to get in and out -- yet a seven foot bath tub that (we wonder) probably no one uses. Like to go to one of the bars for a drink before dinner and hear some pleasant pre-dinner music?  Maybe a pianist or quiet ensemble?  Sorry.  There's an amazing shortage of pre-dinner music in the bars.  All told, on any given evening there were two or three duos, one solo pop singer (who, in our opinion, would be compared unfavorably to Florence Foster Jenkins) and sometimes a DJ -- for over 2000 people.  And the bar music was scheduled for such irrational times as 4;45 TO 5:30, or 7:00 to 7:45, so of little value as pre-dinner amusement. So plan to drink in relative quiet. The in-room  movies are all priced at $15 and none really first run at all. There's not even an in-room tv channel showing dinner menus in the various restaurants.   In the suites, there's a so-called hot tub on the veranda, but it really is a large Jacuzzi bath tub, and the stains look like no one has used it and it hasn't been scrubbed for quite awhile -- we didn't bother to ask. Milleneum is poor, but probably no poorer than some comparable cruise lines, at: Overly large group excursions, yet still pricey.  Tour providers were poorly vetted tour providers with very weak English language skills. A ginormous buffet cafeteria with mediocre food and insufficient seating for crowds on sea days (actually probably should be rated below average, but not so bad as to be put in the "fail as no other" category) Uninspired evening entertainment in the theater The suite veranda isn't truly private; suites on higher floors and crew from the flying bridge can look down on you (and wave to you), so keep your clothes on -- or not. Milleneum is due to be pulled out of service next year for a complete overhaul.  Maybe they'll fix these problems, but since they seem to be mostly corporate shortcomings, I wouldn't hold my breath. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We did this cruise because we wished to see more of Asia after only visiting the Thailand areas like Phuket, Krabi and Koh Samui. This was so disappointing as you spent more time sitting on bus transfers between destinations of between 4hr ... Read More
We did this cruise because we wished to see more of Asia after only visiting the Thailand areas like Phuket, Krabi and Koh Samui. This was so disappointing as you spent more time sitting on bus transfers between destinations of between 4hr - 6 hr because the ports were so far away. I also found that what the ship excursion broucher promised and delivered was two very different things. I thought it was just me being fussy but after asking other people who had done multiple cruises also with Celebrity X on other boats - said this was the worst cruise they had done. I wish I had done a land based holiday flying in and out to the destinations we wanted to see, as the cruise holiday cost us $15,000 AUD in total this would more than cover flights & accommodation The ship was ok but is getting old now - Built in 2000 Our veranda room was good and well looked after by our housekeeper. Ocean View Cafe (free) - main buffet was average. Metropolitan Restaurant (free) - table service but all very rushed in and out. Specialty Restaurants (additional charge) - great but will cost you around $35 each per booking, there is a multi visit discount package. Live music was good but got repetitive after watching several times, Big Screen TV on Rooftop Terrace was good but you will get covered in soot from engine chimney when the boat is moving. Be aware depending what time of year you visit Asia there was is a big temperature difference between Hong Kong 15C to Singapore 36C - this caught a lot of people out who only packed for summer and had to buy extra warmer clothes (Halong Bay was freezing). Ports apart from Hong Kong and Singapore having terminals, the others were commercial / Industrial ports in the middle of nowhere. Excursions - take a face mask for the long bus trips as half the bus were coughing and sneezing sick, which I caught and lasted 4 days. This was also a put off in the restaurants I got up and moved several times in the buffet area - most people have no cough etiquette. Drinks package is a must, we had a classic include but upgraded to the premium for $160 AUD each - can be used in all restaurants & includes wine up to $13 per glass. Sorry but I would not recommend this cruise - do a land based holiday to visit these areas. Im a very easy going person but this cruise was very disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018

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