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205 Hong Kong to Asia Cruise Reviews

We were thrilled to be returning to Asia after 40 some years. My husband who had served in the Viet Nam war was finally ready to go back to that part of the world and revisit his past. The cruise took us to a port which allowed us to ... Read More
We were thrilled to be returning to Asia after 40 some years. My husband who had served in the Viet Nam war was finally ready to go back to that part of the world and revisit his past. The cruise took us to a port which allowed us to visit Hue and the location of his military duty. We arrived in Hong Kong a couple days early and stayed at the YMCA. It was like no other YMCA I know of and was the perfect fit for us in price, location and amenities. We realized a taxi would be the best way to get to the terminal - and found the taxi driver although very nice and helpful - had never been to the terminal before and was amazed at how remote it seemed. There didn't seem to be any public transportation source available. When we arrived at the new terminal in Hong Kong, aside from the building being quite significant in looks - it was a disaster once we finally got to the area where we were to check in - the help was hopelessly incapable of dealing with the large group of people and it was the worst embarkation I have ever encountered - not a good start. Being Elite status we finally realized we could side step some of the confusion and managed to get on board in a timey fashion - but were feeling badly for all the people sitting or standing in long lines that seemed to be poorly managed. Celebrity really needs to work on embarkation issues in Hong Kong. Once on board our room was ready and our luggage arrived promptly -everything took a turn upward. We enjoyed the ship even though it is aging. Found it easy to get around and found the staff professional and helpful. We didn't think the food was quite up to the standard of the past, but I actually considered that a blessing - less tempted to overeat and gain weight! We took three ship tours as the ports tend to be away from the main cities. We particularly enjoyed the tour to Hue which included a 9 course lunch in a beautiful location complete with entertainment. For us the day was a complete success and my husband was happy to reframe his earlier memories of Viet Nam with some beautiful and heart-warming events. We tend to tour the ports on our own and found it fun to ride the local trains and subways in Taiwan. As I mentioned earlier - ports in Viet Nam tend to be remote from anything so a tour of one sort or another is almost mandatory if you want to see anything at all. We chose to disembark early carrying our own luggage - if you can manage this - it really saves a lot of time and hassle and gets you off the ship before the masses. We took a taxi straight to the airport (shared with another couple) and were there in plenty of time for our flight back to San Diego. We use cruising as a way to have our lodging, food and transportation taken care of and we figure the rest is up to us to make our trips a success or not. Celebrity provided the basics and then some of what we needed and we had a great adventure filling in the rest! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was our first cruise with Celebrity so was not sure what to expect. Well...things started really badly with check in at Hong Kong. We spent hours in a line waiting to be checked in. There was no organisation, no designated lines for ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Celebrity so was not sure what to expect. Well...things started really badly with check in at Hong Kong. We spent hours in a line waiting to be checked in. There was no organisation, no designated lines for priority boarders, the process was so slow and frustrating. Celebrity staff did not seem interested. One good thing...we met some lovely people while waiting. Once on board things changed. The staff were so friendly and only to happy to assist you. This was some of the happiest and friendliest staff we have ever met on a cruise. Dining at the Metropolitan was great, good menu, great service. The Oceanview café was pretty good. One of the best cruise buffets I've experienced. Loved the pasta made to order, and the fresh cooked meat, pork, chicken and fish bar. Food areas were always clean and tidy with staff there to assist if needed. We also had dinner at the Olympic Restaurant. It was very good with great food but I don't think it was worth $100 extra for 2 people. Ports of call were great as were the ships tours. We really loved all the Taiwanese ports as well as Da Nang and Ha Long Bay Vietnam. The ship itself is looking a bit old and needs a little bit of TLC, but this did not spoil our experience at all, overall we had a great time on the Millennium. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This is the first time travel in a cruise, I really enjoy these days! When I get on the cruise, every staffs are very nice with smile and direct us to the cabin clearly. I went there with my boyfriend. Although the cabin is not very big, ... Read More
This is the first time travel in a cruise, I really enjoy these days! When I get on the cruise, every staffs are very nice with smile and direct us to the cabin clearly. I went there with my boyfriend. Although the cabin is not very big, it is clean and comfortable like a tiny hotel. We need to gather in the hall first to learn basic survival knowledge. Then we went to have our buffet dinner. It is convenience that we only bring our room card to record all our expenses. The buffet did not have much choice but taste good. We went to the deck after dinner. The wind was tender and full of stars on the sky. How a romantic night for us! It is quite difficult to see this beautiful sky in urban city now. If we didn’t get on the boat, we will miss it! The next day we enjoy breakfast in room, it came fast in warm temperature, nice! Then we swam in pool with sunshine, so relaxing! I also had a spa, it was relaxed. The staffs were considerate of my body with soft message and my boyfriend went to gym, he told me the fitness center was big. They played music inside and serve with towel, cool water to all guests. We met at the function hall, there was a show tonight, the MC was funny drove everyone being crazy and happy. The disco and casino opened until late night, we have so much fun inside! We met a young couple as well. They have come twice already and also agreed the service of Costa was good, very suitable for them to spend their holiday here. When we arrived on Malaysia, we took few hours to land on the beach. Sunset on beach was stunning! We ate something before back to cruise if we can stay longer, that’s must be prefect! It is really an enjoyable trip for us to escape from the busy city. The staff’s services are good and won’t feel boring or dull during the trip. Costa brings me a memorable cruise travel. I will come back when I feel tired again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
I have a wonderful trip with my wife and kids during Chinese New Year this year. Our family went on Costa Victoria’s New Year Cruise which had many festive events planned out. Due to unforeseen circumstances that happened at home, my ... Read More
I have a wonderful trip with my wife and kids during Chinese New Year this year. Our family went on Costa Victoria’s New Year Cruise which had many festive events planned out. Due to unforeseen circumstances that happened at home, my family could not celebrate it back in Hongkong, thus we decided to travel out to spend this one-of-kind New Year in a different way. And I’m glad we did it. My sons are big eaters like me, and we had the chance to eat non-stop onboard. The pizza onboard was marvelous! And the CNY dinner reminds us the festive feelings of Chinese New Year, despite being on the waters. There were little dim sum, lou hei… and I didn’t expected to have so much chinese traditional dishes onboard an Italian ship, I’m quite surprised! Aside to activities, there were many rowdy activities such as dancing and performances. Though none of my family are fans of the special-feature HK singer, we did enjoy all the night-time shows, fun to watch the MJ impersonator perform and other Italian shows. If you have not been onboard Costa Victoria before and deciding if you should take this cruise, here are some points that you’d find useful in making your decision: Costa App: Allows you to communicate with guests onboard. It is free being able to communicate with each other especially when you have a big group on board, is very crucial Rooms: The rooms are cleaned everyday and choosing a room with a balcony is highly recommended. Nothing beats waking up to the serenity of the sea. The hygiene and cleanliness is alright. The only gripe is that the bathroom is too small! Activities: There will be a info sheet placed inside your room before the start of each day, and there is hardly an hour where there is no activity going on. The cruise is constantly busy with an event, so there is definitely no worry about getting bored or dull. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
We are a group of five with 3 elderly people staying in two cabins. We chose this cruise because it is on special offer, for about US$300 per person all inclusive. The elderly think it is good because they don't have to fly. Also the ... Read More
We are a group of five with 3 elderly people staying in two cabins. We chose this cruise because it is on special offer, for about US$300 per person all inclusive. The elderly think it is good because they don't have to fly. Also the itinerary means we (my wife and I) only need to take one day off from work. Embarkation is quite smooth but Ocean Terminal in Hong Kong is crowded. It only took about an hour to complete the whole procedure and get on board. But I really dislike how Star Cruises took our passports, ID cards and even the Taiwan entry visa. I think that's a serious violation of privacy and I am going to file a complaint to the authorities. Food, I will not spend too long on this. We have been told the western food in the main dining room (Genting Palace) is bad and should stick to the chinese offering. But after we tried both we think the western food is definitely better than the chinese food. In fact I think the chinese food is cooked by a Malaysian Chinese chef, because it does feel like the chinese food I had in Malaysia. You don't want to eat that. Also, I have no idea why Genting Palace does not accept bookings. Everyone has to queue up and then the waitress gives you a number and time to come back. What's the difference between this and taking a booking? The Mediterranean buffet is the only other eatery we tried. It is only open at specific times. It is always crowded. The selection is okay and taste is not bad. My father-in-law loves it and my own father is okay with it, too. My wife and I are fine but not overwhelmed. Our only port is Kaohsiung. We managed to book a six-seater taxi for 8 hours to take all five of us around for NT$3,000, which is about US$100. It is a lot cheaper than the organized tours. (You will need to be able to speak fairly good mandarin to contact the taxi company to arrange this.) The driver came to the port to pick us up and drove us to the various sights, including Takow British Consulate, Dream Mall and Luhe night market. The driver was very good and provided very good service. Next morning we went out on our own to see the Pier-2 Art Center, which is very near the port and very interesting. Then we also found a very nice coffee shop called "Do Good Coffee" and got our Latte, which is just besides the big Kaohsiung Port paifang (gate way). Do pay them a visit if you are near there! On the return trip we saw the show "Star Struck" after dinner. It is quite fun. They also offer a sexy erotic show at 11pm at night for HK$190. I am not certain there were many takers as most of the fellow cruisers are women and school teenagers. Yes, I think there is a girls school that used the cruise as their school trip. Disembarkation was easy except we had to queue to get our passports back again, which is truly troublesome and made no sense to me. Why they took them away in the first place? One thing I do have to applaud Star Cruises is that there are no gratuities to pay!!! We actually had no bills to settle. First time ever. Overall, not really impressed, but I had to take my hat off to Star Cruises for being able to handle so many noisy, always hungry and inexperienced Chinese cruisers. The staff managed to keep the ship very clean which is excellent work. But will I cruise with them again? No, thank you. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
The ship, meals and staff were quite good. The excursion department left much to be desire. The tour in Taiwan lasted about half the allotted time and much of that was spent with our tour guide looking for most of the group. He seemed like ... Read More
The ship, meals and staff were quite good. The excursion department left much to be desire. The tour in Taiwan lasted about half the allotted time and much of that was spent with our tour guide looking for most of the group. He seemed like a nice man, but he just took off without even a head count so he was unsure if our group was together on the bus at departure or not. Some of the older members were unable to keep up. I believe he cut the tour short out of frustration. The ship's excursion group seemed disinterested in any complaints. The cruise advertised Hong Kong to Beijing. The only thing we saw at Beijing was the airport. I asked the folks in their H.Q. about a tour in Beijing and was told the only way this could be done was by extending the cruise with a land package. We found out later that those cruise members who had a later flight that same day were offered the option of such a tour. very disappointing. Oceania seems to have deteriorated. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Thank you Costa Victoria for organizing the best cruise trip for me and my family over Chinese New Year! To all the reviews here, I was quite shocked to read about the negatives comments because I feel that the Costa Victoria crew are the ... Read More
Thank you Costa Victoria for organizing the best cruise trip for me and my family over Chinese New Year! To all the reviews here, I was quite shocked to read about the negatives comments because I feel that the Costa Victoria crew are the best and I will like to praise them for their thoughtful and wonderful service. My cruise departed from Hongkong and travelled to Sanya and Danang and Halong Bay. The destinations that the cruise chose were extremely perfect travel points and I enjoyed myself thoroughly. I have not travelled to Vietnam before so the expedition showcased the country really well and Halong Bay was amazingly beautiful! One of the highlights of the trip was definitely being able to watch a HK star, Louis Cheung perform! I was thrilled that Costa invited him to perform on stage. Watching him sing and playing games with audience in the theater was fun! and together with the CNY atmosphere, I knew I will never have such an experience any where else. Also, I am impressed with how Costa and the travel agent planned the cruise’ activities, inviting Louis to perform, selecting beautiful destination spots, and also organizing a special Chinese new year dinner. It was definitely a pleasure to be able to all kinds of food (From Italian cuisine to Chinese dishes) as well as enjoy the shows and spend it overseas. Definitely beats the hustle and bustle of the city life especially since its so chaotic back in HK during the festive celebration. My family and I enjoyed it a lot. Thank you Costa for being such a wonderful host, I hope everyone will support costa!   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
I write this review to be helpful - if you really want to go to the places this cruise goes to, my comment's won't really matter, but as a fairly experienced cruise passenger I hope that my comments will at least forewarn! My ... Read More
I write this review to be helpful - if you really want to go to the places this cruise goes to, my comment's won't really matter, but as a fairly experienced cruise passenger I hope that my comments will at least forewarn! My overall impression was one of being a walking ATM for HAL to tap into with every opportunity. Even after you've paid for the cruise, you're still expected to pay for every query via a premium phone line (About 13p per minute in UK) "Come and join us for a sail away Sangria party" booms the PA Great, you think, what a lovely idea - however the charge is $5 for a lemonade flavoured with red wine - it's a bit like the neighbour inviting you round and then charging you for attending! Unlike most other cruise lines, you'll be lucky to get any free drinks One half of deck 5 is given over to shopping - jewellery, watches etc. all with large slogans 70% off etc. however you never really know 70% of what price!!! The drinks packages are expensive, but if you drink even socially, say 3 or 4 drinks a day, this is the cheapest option to take. $7 is the minimum drink price then add 15%! Then add a further 'service' charge of $11.50 a day per person, per cabin!! Tough if one of you is teetotal however, the drinks package HAS to be taken by ALL cabin occupants!! Although not advertised, Coffee, tea and cold tea and iced water is available FREE most of the day We were on board leading to Superbowl week-end - join them for a ringside (Large TV) seat - only $49.50!!! You could, of course have watched it in your cabin, FREE The excursions are vastly overpriced and not good value (We managed to get out to a lovely beach, have 2 drinks each at a cost of $15 each - for the same excursion - to a far more crowded beach, after all there's a coachload with you, HAS will want $95 each, yes, I know, you could miss the boat, be mugged, have an accident etc. etc. But you Could have fun at sixth of the price!) On the plus side HAL rates no worse or less for amenities and quality of service - all staff are cheerful and helpful. Dress code on this particular cruise was non existent - I think formal night resulted in the Americans putting a belt on their slacks, the Australians changing their training slacks and the Brits finding a jacket - all so disrespectful to the ladies who all (with a few exceptions) made an effort. Just don't think of he dress code for 'casual' night! So as long as you aware that this is the cruise that keeps on costing and you don't need to take any smart clothes you'll do fine   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Took a 28 day cruise on the Volendam from Hong Kong to Singapore. Countries visited included Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia and Singapore. The overall cruise was good. The food was good, not great. Variety was limited. My ... Read More
Took a 28 day cruise on the Volendam from Hong Kong to Singapore. Countries visited included Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia and Singapore. The overall cruise was good. The food was good, not great. Variety was limited. My favorite meals were off the ship in the ports of call. The entertainment on board was mixed. The house band, the HAL Cats, tried to make up for lack of talent by excessive volume. A piano and violin duo, Adagio, was excellent. The solo guitarist, Michael, was very good but stuck in a bad venue between the casino and the shops. I was disappointed with the lack of lectures on the trip. Other than one lecture on Hong Kong, there were no lectures about the history and culture of the places we visited. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
For the most part, we were happy with the CM but some of the niggles really ruined an otherwise pleasant experience. Perhaps some dot points: *Accounts - This is an interesting one. I'll cover this first in case you get bored and ... Read More
For the most part, we were happy with the CM but some of the niggles really ruined an otherwise pleasant experience. Perhaps some dot points: *Accounts - This is an interesting one. I'll cover this first in case you get bored and don't read to the bottom. Mysteriously, after receiving a final account on the day of departure, the charge to my credit card was higher than expected. After some time ( wasted ) on the phone I finally received an 'updated' account which showed over $50 worth of 'Private Stateroom Minibar' and 'Amenities' added on the day of departure. Our friends ( 2 adjoining cabins ) also had similar charges on each cabin. They found out before leaving the ship and challenged them. Apparently they'd raided the mini-bar and stolen the umbrella!!!!. Room attendants were sent to check ( I think they spent more than an hour at 'guest relations' to resolve this). They heard lots of other stories while waiting...eg a family forbidden disembarkation because their 3 year-olds credit card was declined.. I kid you not. A guest who had become frustrated with unresolved account problems firmly but politely requested that he see 'someone in charge'. When 'someone in charge' finally arrived, he was berated for being rude to the front desk person. I guess it helps to get you on the back foot when they are in the wrong!! * Hong Kong - Celebrity have moved to the new Cruise ship terminal. Thats OK but the lack of information about how to get there ( apart from driving instructions - REALLY?? who would be driving there?). Kai Tak cruise terminal is new, poorly patronised ( 1 ship in Dec 2014 ) and not well served by public transport. Its a long way from tourist attractions and you should plan accordingly. * Broken toilets - 18 hours the first time with 2 subsequent outages of shorter duration. to be fair, we did pretty well out of it with complimentary dinners / wine / bubbly so "we forgive you" :) * Sewer smell - As mentioned by others before, we had a definite 'pong' whenever we entered our cabin ( oops Stateroom !!) (3015) - If you've traveled overland in Asia for any length of time, you learn not to be bothered by it! * Pools - out of action 3 of 14 days including the hottest day in Singapore. * Dining - Food ( main dining room ) was quite good. Overall, definitely superior to that on the Holland America Noordam ( Europe 2013 ). Very happy with waiters and wine steward ( he'd be an alcoholics best friend :) ). Olympic and QSine were very enjoyable! * Assistant Maitre D , Metro dining room. ( AZEM I think ) - Subject of a more pointed 'complaint to management'. A long story short ( groan - you'll see why soon ). I made the unforgivable sin of wearing shorts ( dress ) with a collared shirt and deck shoes to 6:00pm dinner. For this sin ( after ordering my dinner and leaving the dining room to go to the washroom ) I was forbidden to re-enter. At the tender age of 61 I was sent to my room to change! When later challenged (days later) about observed 'infractions' by other guests ( apart from all the shorts we saw). - Collarless ( red with printed message ) T-shirts and Crocs are acceptable as 'smart casual'. Open neck shirts without jacket qualify for 'Formal night',..... according to Azem!!! Summary. OK cruise, don't expect too much from the ports in Vietnam and Thailand - they're a long way from anything interesting. Entertainment and food were quite good. Check your account regularly and query everything that's 'iffy'. Don't expect everything you paid for to be in working order all the time. Complain often ( mention that you contribute to several cruise forums ) when the toilet breaks ;) And above all WEAR SHORTS TO 6:00 PM dinner when in the tropics ! ( AND say Hi to Azem for me ) ;) Papadicrusty   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was our first cruise so I think we were possibly seeing everything through rose tinted glasses for the first few days. We were on the Southbound Asian Adventure which sailed from Hong Kong to Singapore. We had an inside cabin which ... Read More
This was our first cruise so I think we were possibly seeing everything through rose tinted glasses for the first few days. We were on the Southbound Asian Adventure which sailed from Hong Kong to Singapore. We had an inside cabin which was functional and served its purpose as somewhere to sleep. We ate in the Dining Room and we had Select Dining which worked well for us as we were often back on ship at odd times in the evening. The food was hit and miss and we sent anything we didnt like back and chose something else. Activities on the ship were limited, but we found plenty to do on our sea days. The lectures on the ports were awful and we didnt appreciate the scaremongering from the port sales team on how difficult it would be to get back to the ship on time if we didnt book their on shore tours. We used private companies at each stop, were often first to leave the port whilst everyone who booked with Celebrity were sitting in the theatre, being slowly herded out to their large coaches!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
I would caution that if this is your first cruise or if you are looking for many shore side days this cruise is not for you. We had 4 nights at sea and visited only 4 ports other than the embarkation and disembarkation ports (Hanoi, Hue, ... Read More
I would caution that if this is your first cruise or if you are looking for many shore side days this cruise is not for you. We had 4 nights at sea and visited only 4 ports other than the embarkation and disembarkation ports (Hanoi, Hue, Saigon and Bangkok). All of the ports of call require LONG bus rides to tour. Both Hong Kong (embarkation) and Singapore (disembarkation) have the cruise port in close proximity to the city and are easily accessible by taxi or public transportation. Lets deal with the reported sewer smells. Did not note any at all any where on the ship. However the toilet flush system was down on for one afternoon on our side of the ship. Norovirus - Half way through the crusie the ship staff cautioned that there were increased reports of stomach aliments and stated that they were instituting increased cleaning measures. We had some moderate amount of discomfort but not more than might be expected from travel half way around the world. We did not hear any reports from fellow passengers. Ship - Milley is 14 years old and is showing MINOR rough spots commensurate with its age. However it is still a comfortable elegant ship. Cabin - 8117 was well appointed and maintained. Hotel staff - Very good Dining - Generally average except for the fresh fruit which was extremely unripe Main dining room - adequate cruise fare. One poor meal - Chateaubriand with the worse Bearnaise sauce that I have ever had the misfortune of tasting. The menu stated the dish was optional with a wine sauce or Bearnaise. I ordered Bearnaise but it was served served smothered with a wine sauce. The Bearnaise was offered on the side. When I sent it away asking them to bring the steak with only the Bearnaise the wait staff was rude initially refused to do so. I was shocked to hear this on a cruise ship. When it became apparent that I was not going the eat the wine sauce smothered serving they took the plate away and brought out a serving with "Bearnaise". I should have kept the wine sauce version. The Bearnaise was uneatable. Oceanside Cafe - again adequate but never varied for the whole cruise. The buffet was double rowed so that you had to reach under the glass cover and over the front row of dishes to reach many of the dishes. No enhanced server assistance was provided to deal with the Norovirus control. Blu - very good Olympic - very good including a good Bearnise. Qsine - very unique and good - be sure to try Qsine but be careful to not order too much. Entertainment - above average Tours - Below average. The long bus rides to reach Bangkok and the cities of Viet Nam and Bangkok (four hours in some cases) severely detract from the tour experience. Note that with the possible exception of Bangkok this is beyond the control of Celebrity. The cities are a long way from a suitable port. I STRONGLY recommend using private guides. Embarkation and disembarkation - no problem Overall a pleasant experience with much need rest during the at sea days.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Eight of us went on Oct 22-28 cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore. We learned that Diamond Princess went through $30 million refurbishments in early 2014. This is our 6th cruise on Princess, and one of the best cruise yet in terms of ... Read More
Eight of us went on Oct 22-28 cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore. We learned that Diamond Princess went through $30 million refurbishments in early 2014. This is our 6th cruise on Princess, and one of the best cruise yet in terms of service and dining experience on older Princess ships. From breakfast to lunch and especially Dinner, we felt that the head Chef and his team had put in exceptional attention to details on food quality and offered creative, delicious choices. I must stressed that we are very impressed with Diamond when compared with our past experience. There was also the new noodle bar, with different daily versions of hot soup ramen and cold soba noodles, which was very popular and quite authentic. The service on this ship in general is also quite exceptional, overall good service/customer orientated attitude can be felt all around on this ship. Our waitress from Romania was out of this world. The weak link on this ship, I felt, was the nightly entertainment and not enough healthy and active activities offered. I did not see any stretch or exercise classes in the morning, no pop choirs, no enough active things to do for the afternoon after 4 pm on port days or on the itinerary on sea days. For example, Zumba classes are very popular but it would be great if Zumba classes are offered during port days around 4:30 -5:30 pm, before dinner and more Zumba classes offered on sea days. Entertainment on the ship (compared with our past experience) was quite weak and definitely room for improvement in 2015. The rooms definitely felt much better and the ship restored its beauty and freshness after the refurbishment. Horizon Court looks really good with the new furnishings. However, this ship do not have International Cafe on the lower deck which we missed. We also ate at the new Kai Japanese restaurant and the sashimi was very fresh and the food served was of high quality, authentic Japanese. Overall, we had a wonderful time and would love to go back on Princess on our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We're a couple both in early 30's. This was our third cruise, we've been with NCL and RCCL before. We embarked in Hong Kong and went to Tapei (Taiwan), Kogoshima, Kobe (Kyoto) and Yokohama (Tokyo). - Room was the biggest we ... Read More
We're a couple both in early 30's. This was our third cruise, we've been with NCL and RCCL before. We embarked in Hong Kong and went to Tapei (Taiwan), Kogoshima, Kobe (Kyoto) and Yokohama (Tokyo). - Room was the biggest we have ever had (inside) - Service was polite, super nice at the lobby bar - Food was very average, better in the buffet horizon court than in the traditionnal dining. Sabbatini's (25$/pp) was excellent. Steakhouse was horrible (no sauce, no nothing..) (25$/pp). Pizza by the pool is excellent and the special coffees are good too. By the way you can use a card that lowers a lot the price. We took an excursion with Princess in Taipei, at a hot spring and then at Yehliu park. Do not waste your money. A LOT of waiting and nothing special. We did a tour again with Princess in Kogoshima, went to Kamikaze museum (nice but only in japanese). Also went to Chiran were the samouraï houses. The ship did not offered a tour in Kyoto so we hired a private guide through toursbylocals. Absolutely a must-see. Trains to get to Kyoto were very complicated especially for a first time. We also did a private tour in Tokyo to see a Sumo practice, also a must see. (IJCEE) Note that the ship does not offer a transfer to Tokyo, which is far from Yokohama. It is doable by train if you don't have a lot of luggage. You also have to bring your suitecases down and up the stairs. Taxis were someting like 150$. To get back to Narita airport use the train Narita Express, absolutely simple and best way to go. 30$/pp   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
This was our 3rd family cruise on Crystal, tho we were 4 cabins of repeaters there was zero recognition of our spending large amounts of $$$ with Crystal cruises...even the repeaters party was only offered at 7:45pm leaving out the 6:15 ... Read More
This was our 3rd family cruise on Crystal, tho we were 4 cabins of repeaters there was zero recognition of our spending large amounts of $$$ with Crystal cruises...even the repeaters party was only offered at 7:45pm leaving out the 6:15 diners! Other cruise lines have a bottle of champagne to welcome back repeaters. We did receive, when we arrived back home, 4 rather tacky aqua baggage tags that went directly into the garbage! After sailing with Seabourn many times, we find that the little tiny cabins are quite confining compared to the suites. The two seating for dinner (to early and too late) vacation should not include rushing around to get ready for dinner...I know that there is the option for dining by reservation but with a family of 8 that is a pain. The food is very good, however some dishes are way over salted....the service in the MDR and Lido is still very good. We encountered waiters we had on previous cruises. We did encounter problems with the MDR for breakfast...just stopped going the food was not good and the service dis-jointed. Attention to detail was sadly lacking: use to get served pop corn in the movie theater, last movie no pop corn at all! The laundry was closed in Hong Kong & Shanghai , including the irons & ironing boards use!. I understand the gray water issue in port but there was no attempt to make ironing available...and no advance notice to guests prior to the cruise. Time to update the fleet Crystal! We also did the 3 night post to Beijing, the check-in was well organized, a nice buffet dinner the first night, breakfast buffet in the mornings was nice. The China World hotel is huge a bit worn around the edges, but very attentive staff. The post was jam packed with early starts and long days. The second evening was a dinner and show at the Great Hall, the show was great, service was attentive but the food was so bad we all ate when we returned back to the the hotel...need to some how allow time to explore and shop. The last night was in the hotel but the menu was a set menu in the Chinese restaurant. The reason we use Crystal for our family cruises: kids club, which is great, activities on board, Mark Ferris in the Avenue Salon, and the superior entertainment and high quality food.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Norovirus may have put a crimp in our cruise but we had a fine time with only a few glitches. I was expecting to find the Millennium in a condition similar to our 1/13 Constellation voyage, but was relieved to see the effects of ... Read More
Norovirus may have put a crimp in our cruise but we had a fine time with only a few glitches. I was expecting to find the Millennium in a condition similar to our 1/13 Constellation voyage, but was relieved to see the effects of 'solsticization' in terms of décor and addition of Qsine. We had attentive cabin stewards and an excellent sommelier. Our initial table assignment was probably the worst in the entire MDR- a thimble-sized table for 4 on the main route for servers and other diners that included a view of the kitchen escalator. Our waiter felt so badly for us that he encouraged a visit to the maitre'd and actually swapped out our miniscule table for the adjacent larger one that only had 3 diners the 2nd night. Our new table was in a better location, but the service was lacking-remember the days when the beverage server would remember your preferences after a few nights? The noro did impact service, but I'd rather the precautions were in place to minimize being afflicted. The captain's daily reminders were needed as I observed several cruisers using the public restrooms who didn't bother washing their hands. BTW noro is communicated by contact with fecal matter, not dust! So "washy, washy, washy"! We enjoyed the 5-day comedy improv workshop presented by Nancy & Marshall and trivia. There was a change in the extra charge champagne sabering from our 1st cruise in that there was no audience participation with the sabre. There were many great people from our roll call who made this cruise special. And a Catholic priest was onboard from Holy Thursday, through Easter until the end of the cruise! I found the steaks to be better on the Millennium than on our 5 previous Celebrity cruises. The trout was well-prepared, too. Qsine was comparable to our previous experience on the Silhouette- delightful!   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We boarded in Hong Kong for a 14-day cruise to Singapore via Viet Nam and Thailand. This was our first time on Celebrity, although we had been on 12 other cruises on 8 other lines. We were pleased with the experience overall, but have some ... Read More
We boarded in Hong Kong for a 14-day cruise to Singapore via Viet Nam and Thailand. This was our first time on Celebrity, although we had been on 12 other cruises on 8 other lines. We were pleased with the experience overall, but have some suggestions for improvement. The Ship: The Millenium is aging and shows it. Most of the indoor areas are in good condition, although the interior design is dated. The deck areas, however, are in need of maintenance. Much of the ship seems designed to maximize on-board charge revenue. There had been an outbreak of intestinal virus prior to our boarding, so the crew were constantly busy disinfecting. At times this was disconcerting, but the precautions were welcome. Indeed, the ship reported that some passengers on our cruise got sick. Fellow Passengers: A very international set with native English speakers making up only about 60% Lots of people from Asia and South America. Mostly adults, although quite a few younger than retirement age. About 5% under age 20, very few families. Stateroom: We were very lucky to stay in a Royal Suite, and I would be quite spoiled to find fault. We were very happy there, especially with the extraordinary service provided by our butler. Service: Perfunctory, adequate, at times a bit friendly. Comparable to other mass market lines. Food and Beverage: Main dining room was always at least adequate, with some great successes. Comparable to other mass market lines. We had dinner in Blu 3 times and were very happy with the bistro-quality food there. The Olympic provided steakhouse quality food on par with premium restaurants on other lines. Qsine was a bit bizarre with an Ipad menu gimmick. We thought we were ordering from the pads, but in reality a server took our order verbally, and then brought out way too much food. This was not clearly explained. The Oceanview buffet was a bit of a free-for-all with too much pushing and shoving, with food of a very mediocre quality. Celebrity charges for beverages and pushes beverage packages, which seemed a good buy only if you drink a lot, or if your travel agent gets you a discount on the package. Fitness Center: Terrific. Lots of equipment and machines. While it is intensely used, the large scale made it very easy to access the equipment I needed. I was very happy with this feature. Entertainment: Very cruise ship. We saw 2 shows in the impressive big theater, and both were entertaining, although neither had any edge. The band and singer who performed in the clubs were very, very good. Other performers were forgettable. Enrichment: Poor quality. One lecturer and an improv class. That's all, other than the usual previews of excursions. An appalling art auction with many pieces of questionable value. Excursions: We took 3, all adequate. There were problems with the English language skills of two of the guides, and I think a fact check for one of them would have turned up lots of made-up data. Still we had a very quick review of some exotic places, giving us a taste for whether we might return. The smartest thing we did was splurge on the 3-day overnight excursion to Siem Reap in Cambodia to see Angkor Wat. As extraordinary experience. Who Are We: Two retired gents in our 60s with extensive world travel under our belts. Generally we prefer land-based travel and the chance to get to know a place in depth. We love ships, traveling on the sea, and prefer crossings with at-sea days to port-intensive cruises. We have taken 13 cruises on 9 different lines with no loyalty to any line in particular. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Let me begin by saying that since 2008 we have loved Regent cruises. Many cruises on the Navigator and the Mariner. But something is slowly happening to the Regent brand that is both unfortunate and shameful. Head Office seems to slowly ... Read More
Let me begin by saying that since 2008 we have loved Regent cruises. Many cruises on the Navigator and the Mariner. But something is slowly happening to the Regent brand that is both unfortunate and shameful. Head Office seems to slowly want to destroy what was once a great company with a unique "all inclusive" concept. Regent still claims 6 Star service but this must be amended as false advertising. For at least a year or more services are being reduced and/or eliminated. Sometimes we get a Carnival LLC feeling while on board the Voyager this past cruise. Last winter we cruised South America on the Mariner and that trip was our first experience with downgrading and changes (not good for us travelers). I had thought it would be a one off of bad experiences and booked our first trip to Asia on the Voyager, also our first time on the Voyager. Embarkment: After spending 7 nights, on our own, in Hong Kong, embarkment was easy and simple from the cruise terminal near the Star Ferry Terminal. Walking around the Voyager, it looks similar but better then the other two ships in the fleet. Several staff remembered us from other cruises and made us feel right at home. Stateroom: On deck 7 forward, we experienced a constant smell of sewage near the elevators & the corridor. This smell dissipated but remained for our entire 33 days aboard. Our stateroom is the large deluxe suite with a large bathroom and walk-in closet. The layout is the same as the other ships but the color scheme is much better. Upon closer look, the carpet was stained and so were the upholstered furniture. There are a pair of sheer drapes on the balcony door/window but from two different sets. One sheer was longer, one sheer shorter then the other. The wood trim, desk, vanity & molding woods are beaten up and need of major repair or removal. When I commented about the stains to the cabin steward he stated that he would take of it while we were at dinner. Upon return the carpet stains remained but the chair cushions were cleaned, but no, the steward just flipped the cushions. The furniture arms & backs remained stained. I bought a cheap brush on day 4 and removed all the stains myself. A little elbow grease and it was fine. An officer stated that all public rooms were refurbished recently (cosmetically only) but no work has been on the suites in years. This is not 6 star service. Dining: La Veranda is the buffet by day and an Italian restaurant by night. Breakfast here is sometimes a chore and many times laughable. The staff all want to help and for the most part they are great kids but with lousy supervision. We arrived early some mornings before early tours and only one or two staff were there. Although open for business they were still setting up. Bacon was usually cold and toast could take 10 minutes without a line. Ask for an omelet and wait. You are told a server would bring it to your table but after 10 minutes I went back to find out she gave my omelet to someone else. We found that breakfast was better served in the main dining room Compass Rose but if you have an early tour forget it, Compass Rose opens at 8:00 a.m. It took longer to order from the dining room but it was civilized and service was much better. Our biggest complaint in all dining rooms was the coffee. It was undrinkable. Always tasted like burnt, bottom of the pot coffee. One maitre d' told a group of us that Head Office approved and ships this particular coffee for dining room use. We heard much about Head Office during our cruise. Voyager has a coffee shop and a coffee station on the Pool Deck with fresh brewed self-service machines. This coffee was great. So if you wanted a good cup of coffee you went to one of these machines then brought it back to your dining room. Sure doesn't sound like 6 star to me. The menus were mediocre except for the "Destination Dishes" being offered. We were told that the chefs must use only the approved Head Office menus. Except for a Destination Dish made to enhance the port of call for that day or the next day. The Lead Chef Kelly did wonders with these Destination Dishes and we only ordered these off the menu and so did most others when they got tired of the Head Office offerings. Prime 7 is Regent's steak restaurant and we loved this restaurant on both the Navigator and the Mariner. But here on the Voyager we experienced a staff and maitre d' that ruined the evening for us. And many others too. We had a problem with cold Oysters Rockefeller and returned them, twice. They were almost still frozen in the center. In Asia I knew they would be frozen but not at the table. After the second return the maitre d' came over with a haughty attitude and stated " I here you have a problem with your appetizer". And this is supposed to be 6 star service. The rest of dinner was a disaster, I guess we were being punished for complaining. Again 6 star service? Signatures is the French restaurant and under the leadership of Christian this room and it's staff are wonderful. But unfortunately, this wonderful staff must present a truly lousy menu and anything but French. My first night there I was served Medallions of Veal with gnocchi. Now we have been to France and French restaurants all over the world and truly love French cuisine but gnocchi? French? Again, when I questioned this item I was told that this is Head Office's menu and the chef must prepare what Head Office tells him. And this is 6 star service? Last year on the Mariner we were served filet mignon with foie gras and a side of Mac & Cheese. So Italian gnocchi must be a step up! So two alternative restaurants. One with a great menu and lousy staff and the other with a great staff and a lousy menu. Why? 6 Stars? Entertainment: The Regent Singers and Dancers are so much better then in the past. New acts and new shows but still just young talented boys and girls starting their careers. Paid professionals were rare to see and we even had the Cruise Director, Ray, doing several of the evening shows himself. He was excellent but why can't Regent hire good quality talent. For the price we pay, you would think we would get the best. I guess not. Is this 6 star service? Canyon Ranch Spa: You must be kidding. $122 for a simple pedi/mani? $39 for men's haircut, $92 for a ladies wash & set? Ridiculous pricing and just average quality and 18% mandatory gratuity? Shameful. Shore Excursions: Regent advertising Free Excursions but in many ports they offered private car tours at an additional price. The free excursions are getting worse and worse. Does Head Office ever send anyone to investigate a port and the tours they offer us? Guides that barely speak English, absolutely no guides or even audio headsets at any of the museums. Ports that offer absolutely nothing of value and we are docked at a tanker port and no way to get into any town. Many of the ports we were miles away from anything only to find out that there are cruise terminals in town. Can't Regent paid the additional fee to get us closer to town. On the second segment of the cruise Regent was docked at the old Hong Kong airport turned into a cruise terminal for two days. From ship to bus took at least 20 minutes walking and you were still in the terminal. Why? Is this 6 star service? I paid extra for private tours and even an overnight and had a wonderful experience each time. So when they say Free, it now means cheap. There are wonderful quality excursions everywhere but you must pay extra. Is this false advertising? Is this 6 star quality? Disembarkation & Land Tour: Early departure in Bangkok for a three day land excursion with 2 days at Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Smooth transfer and flight to Siem Reap. Sofitel Hotel was outstanding and we were in groups of 14 with a wonderful guide, Tee. Back to Bangkok and two nights at the Sofitel there, again wonderful. Staffing: The Asian staff are professional, wonderful, kind and caring, every one of them. The European and specifically Eastern European staff are arrogant, rude and act like they are doing us a favor by serving us. Who hires these guys? They treat the Asian staff like garbage, yelling and belittling them. This change in staffing was first noted last year on the Mariner and it is shocking to find it spreading to all the ships. Why? The crews on all the Regent ships are so talented and help to make our vacations/travels a unique experience and Head Office is hiring a few Eastern European guys that are helping to bring down the brand. Why? This is definitely not 6 star service. Overall: For our first time in Asia we had a wonderful time and made the best out of every port. The majority of the crew, especially Ray, Elda, Vivienne, Christian, Olga (waitress), Olfa & Katje (bartenders), ViJay, Frank & Dennis (waiters), Francesco, the entire Destinations staff, the entire Reception/Purser staff, just to name a few help to make our cruise special. The few idiots did not ruin it for us but caused us not to go into the Observation or Voyager lounges for most of the cruise. No more flowers in the suites, a few days of a flower in the dining rooms then no more flowers on the dining room tables, lousy "free" excursions, staterooms not repaired & stateroom furniture looking like it is a cheap motel and these little things add up. Doesn't Head Office realize that we guests talk with each other. My observations are not just mine but shared by many others. I keep hearing "Oceania is so much better", Seaborne is so much better, Crystal is my favorite, never Regent again". Why is Head Office determined to ruin what I thought was the best cruise line at sea. It looks like the new boss has given Regent to his niece and/or nephew to run and/or ruin. Definitely no longer 6 stars.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
I am a fan of Celebrity Cruises. I try to cruise with them once a year and absolutely love the upscale feel and vibe. And I booked this cruise 11 months in advance - I was so excited! First time traveling solo. Unfortunately this trip did ... Read More
I am a fan of Celebrity Cruises. I try to cruise with them once a year and absolutely love the upscale feel and vibe. And I booked this cruise 11 months in advance - I was so excited! First time traveling solo. Unfortunately this trip did not live up to my expectations - which was partially because of my own hype. I had sailed on Millennium when she was first built and was dully impressed. But thirteen years later she feels tired. The public spaces, despite some spiffying-up, look worn. The outdoor lounge chairs are in terrible shape. There are cracks and crevices, and some visible rust. The carpet throughout looks dirty. Millennium is just not a brand-spanking-new ship - and I knew that going in. So that is not really part of my disappointment - just an observation. My major problem was the food and service. As an Aqua Class passenger, I was entitled to eat in BLU. I had eaten in BLU last year on Reflection and it was wonderful. I'm not sure what happened here but the food was bland & uninspired and the service was worse. I thought it was a one-off thing - so I gave it three tries. After that, no more. I tried the MDR instead - the worst. First meal was okay, service impersonal. Certainly not the food I am used to on Celebrity. The second night I was ignored. Imagine sitting alone at a table off to the side and watching countless members of the staff walking past your table with no acknowledgement. An assistant waiter finally asked me if I wanted to order - um, can I get a menu please? The entree was overcooked and cold - so I walked out mid-meal. Not once in either venue was I asked how my meal was or if I was having a nice evening. Was this because I was alone? I was pretty upset. I went directly to the Captain's Club desk to make a complaint - something I never do on a cruise. No one wants to be around that negative energy. Make the most of it! But I really had to say something to someone. The Captain's Club desk was closed. Come back tomorrow. The food debacle was salvaged by my casino hostess (Carolyn, on her last cruise!) who booked me into The Olympic for the rest of the cruise. The Olympic is outstanding. Food, service - everything. Just wonderful - I applaud the maitre d's, waiters, and assistants for making every evening a event! And because I was there every night for a week they kept offering to make special entrees not on the menu! I was pampered and I loved it. As for the rest of the cruise? It was okay. It was overcast every day. Victoria Peak was closed because there was zero visibility. Halong Bay we couldn't see a thing. HoiAn overcast again. And it was hot everywhere. Oppressively hot. I will say that overnight in Bangkok on a tour booked with BKK Tours we had a terrific time. Ms. Air delights in showing you her country, it was the perfect experience - I can not recommend them enough. BKK Tours in Bangkok, Michele and Air. The topper of the whole experience was the Noro Virus scare. Celebrity announced that we would have to wait longer to board because prior passengers had been sick. Good. Clean it up. But it didn't stop there. At every entrance or exit from any room we were asked to hand sanitize. The buffet was clogged with people because you could not serve yourselves and beverage tables had been placed in the passageways so people were scattered about willy-nilly. It was chaos. And half of the ships' public access doors were closed to force passengers to walk a targeted path with plenty of Purell. I am very grateful to the efforts of the whole ship to keep us healthy. I applaud the thoroughness of their sanitizing - kept me Noro free! But it was an inconvenience. A sad part of cruising in today's world - avoiding the germs. I'm really glad I went - It was two weeks of relaxing and doing nothing, basically. I didn't get to see the fantastic sights of Asia that I thought I would see. But the natives told me we were there in the wrong month for clear weather. Better to go in December or January. (Who knew?) And Celebrity stepped up to make the dining everything I expected. So everything worked out. I will definitely be back next year - already checking it out! Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We've been on 15 cruises prior to trying the Azamara Cruise Line. The Azamara Journey was recently refurbished, WELL maintained & appears in great condition. It is a smaller ship, which makes it more personal & intimate. ... Read More
We've been on 15 cruises prior to trying the Azamara Cruise Line. The Azamara Journey was recently refurbished, WELL maintained & appears in great condition. It is a smaller ship, which makes it more personal & intimate. There is classy wooden decor throughout the ship. The ship has a very relaxed, but yet classy atmosphere to it. The Captain, lead by example, by being very visible, relaxed, friendly & casually dressed (no tie or jacket, unless during special occasions), yet professional, as reflected by the crew. We really liked the non-formal, but yet causally dressed nights for dining. There is sufficient activities on board for those who want to participate & quiet areas for those who just want to relax. I was a regular user of the gym, which I found to be adequately equipped. The service received from the attentive & courteous room attendants & wait staff was second to none. Little things like, slippers, binoculars, umbrellas and what stood out in my mind, a can of air freshener in your room, shows attention to details & are a welcome plus. Also a nice touch are the complimentary shuttle buses into town, when required. Shore excursions, like on any other cruise lines were expensive. As such, like many others, we made very good use of Cruise Critic, to meet up with others & planned private tours. Another nice touch provided by Azamara, was their complimentary Azamazing evening! A big plus on this cruise was the over nights in Vietnam & Thailand, which gives you more time to see more things! The food in the main dining room was very good & nicely presented. Breakfast & lunch buffet at the Windows Cafe was also very good. The Aqualina specialty restaurant was excellent. Understandably the theater was smaller, but the shows were on par with other cruise lines. Embarkation & disembarkation went smoothly. In summary, a very good experience! Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Itinerary: Hong Kong - Vietnam - Cambodia - Thailand - Singapore The Volendam ship carries about 1,400 passengers and was built in 1999 so it is considered a medium-sized, older ship. We boarded the ship in Hong Kong, but since it stays ... Read More
Itinerary: Hong Kong - Vietnam - Cambodia - Thailand - Singapore The Volendam ship carries about 1,400 passengers and was built in 1999 so it is considered a medium-sized, older ship. We boarded the ship in Hong Kong, but since it stays overnight in Hong Kong, we were able to come and go which was very convenient. While the ship was docked in Hong overnight, we got to visit some of Hong Kong's family attractions like the Peak Tram, Ngong Ping Village and the Big Buddha, riding the Star Ferry to Hong Kong Island and doing some shopping in Mongkok, Kowloon and Causeway Bay. Having the ship docked as your hotel is very convenient and since the ship is parked right next to the Star Ferry terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui, we got to know that area better as well. At night, we could catch the Symphony of Lights show right from the deck (without the music) of the cruise ship for some amazing views of the Hong Kong skyline at night. A lot of complaints about cruise ships can come down to personal interactions and experience that is either not worth complaining about (oh the cruise parks so far away from where I want to get to - so do all the other cruise ships...) or whining about how they should have gotten more compensation by being put out because such and such inconvenienced them etc... These are one-off situations, however repeated comments about things like slow dining room service or unstructured teen activities may give the cruise line incentive to improve their operations. It is no use complaining about internet being slow, it is on almost all ships we have been on as they use limited bandwidth satellite connections when at sea. Just don't use the internet during the popular at-sea times of day since everyone onboard is fighting for the same, limited bandwidth. This was a holiday cruise and the ship was festively decorated, the largely Filipino and Indonesian crew put on a great Christmas show on Christmas Eve in the showroom. Restaurant service in the main dining room was slow almost every night, the food was good. They may have been short staffed over the holidays, but everyone on board was very friendly. We also chose the open seating to give us more flexibility and end up at different tables with different waiters every night, but there is also a fixed seating available on the upper level of the Rotterdam dining room where you would have the same wait staff every night so they may get to know you better in that case. Although there was a teen activity planner that came to the room every night, in reality hardly anything was organized and the kids were left to create their own fun. At least they have a teen club and Oasis deck to keep them occupied at sea, albeit somewhat unstructured vs. for example Sapphire Princess. Posting review here since when we got home after sorting out the laundry and getting back into daily routine, the comment card the ship sends you by email already expired. You would think they would leave those open for longer than 2 weeks.The email sent to them requesting another comment card went unanswered. I guess they don't want our opinions after all, but there's always Youtube :). We have posted some videos of our journey at http://www.youtube.com/travelraters. All in all, this cruise was great because of the itinerary and the people we met during the voyage. The cabins were comfortable and a nice size. The crew were all very friendly. Not so hot was the slow dining room service, the unstructured teen activities in an older style ship. There is something to be said for the relatively smaller more personal size of a 1,400 passenger vessel like the Volendam vs. the 3,000+ megaships. There was always plenty of room and plenty of good food at the Lido buffet restaurant where we especially liked the breakfasts. Be prepared for a very long line getting off in Singapore and another very long line to catch a cab. For our next cruise, we will pre-arrange pickup from the cruise terminal so we won't have to stand in line for over an hour to get a cab and let you know how that goes. The ship has a helpful location guide and a shore excursions office, but it is best to plan your shore visits ahead of time and decide which ones are best to do through the cruise line and which ones you should arrange to do on your own or for private tours instead. Just remember, if you are on a private tour the ship may not wait for you if you are late! The ship gives you everything you need to make your own fun and enjoy your vacation. Having such a great itinerary that compliments the ship makes for a wonderful vacation, and all the great people we got to meet (mainly from Australia on this voyage) made for a fantastic trip.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We chose this cruise because we wanted to relax and unwind. We were aware of the distances from the port to the larger cities - so only chose to go into a couple of times - so cannot comment on the tours that were on offer. Service was ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to relax and unwind. We were aware of the distances from the port to the larger cities - so only chose to go into a couple of times - so cannot comment on the tours that were on offer. Service was excellent - both the room attendants and the restaurant staff. Meals were good - however, while ever Celebrity continues to cater with their "north American French" style for customers into Asia there will continue to be problems. Ocean view café was vey much designed for an North American customer base - but you can accept that and adjust accordingly. The meals in the Restaurant were generally good - except when you run into the inevitable clash against the north American version of dishes - ie Pavlova is not a macaroon with cream - panna cotta is not junket - and seriously who eats sweet potato topped with marshmallow as a vegetable. However, that said, the meals were comparable to most good hotels. We visited the Olympic Restaurant for two nights and both the food and service was great - it is worth the visit to recall what silver service was like. We also visited Quisine for one night - it does not really hot the mark. Enjoying good food is more than just presenting ordinary food in fancy ways and ordering from an Ipad - it was quite disappointing. We enjoyed the cruise - but beware the lurking cruise critics who seem to want to take every opportunity to complain about everything - in the lift - at dinner. On one occasion we saw two Chefs trying to placate a woman who was so distressed that the chocolate cake was not as nice as the one she had the night before - the crew certainly know how to show patience. The waiting staff and room attendants are just great and their genuine approach to hospitality made for a very enjoyable experience.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
I had not sailed with Celebrity for over a decade and we chose this trip as we were able to stay overnight in a couple ports on the way and liked the overall itinerary. First off, I read the above review of the people in 9156 (the folks ... Read More
I had not sailed with Celebrity for over a decade and we chose this trip as we were able to stay overnight in a couple ports on the way and liked the overall itinerary. First off, I read the above review of the people in 9156 (the folks with the bed bugs) and I have to say that freaked me out as we were in cabin 9154, just around the corner. We did not experience any issues with bed bugs; but that may explain why there was so much crew noise outside our cabin. The cabin stewards also set up their station outside our room so it was not truly quiet that often. The ship did look a little dated and there was nothing about the decor that really stood out - the Millenium is really lacking in any type of "wow" factor. We had issues with the ship transfers as there was not any transfer option for staying 2 nights ashore. This was extremely infuriating as we had to pay additional to obtain a transfer back for both Saigon and Bangkok. Poorly done - not any way to treat your cruisers. Several other passengers were also upset about this. Don't know why they weren't servicing customers better. One other beef we had was with the gratuities. We tried to get $100 off as we were ashore both nights in Saigon and Bangkok (we always tip the stewards and table staff extra anyhow) and were told that the gratuities is an all or nothing charge - which seems like a bunch of BS to me. Guests should be able to adjust their gratuities any way they want and not be locked in that way. At the beginning of the cruise the Oceanview cafe always had dirty plates lying around for a long time and seemed short handed to get it cleaned up. Understandably you are moving from one of the less booked periods to one of the most popular times for cruise hence more passengers but it should not take a whole week to figure out that they need more staff at that location. At sail away in the Cosmos lounge, there was about 250 passengers and one single bartender. On Princess, they would have called for backup staff and the issue would have been resolved in 5-10 minutes. Here this poor guy had no help for about 20 and then we had to leave (without drink) to go to dinner. An officer showed up and I explained what happened and he said "let me get you a drink then" I said "That is not going to solve your issue and I don't have time to wait as I'm going to dinner; there are 200 other people who have been waiting a very long time for service - you should address that first." In general the bar staff with a few exceptions seemed very disengaged - like they were not interested in making sure everything was good with the passengers. The live music on board was very average to poor except for the guitar guy in the lobby areas. Night time activities were ok; daytime activities were geared for passengers to spend money - lots of gambling and jewelry events which are of no interest to us. We were provided the classic drinks package which turned out to be a joke - you could only order about 2 drinks at the martini bar with the package and only a couple of wines by the glass. We upgraded to premium and found that to be very convenient - especially when grabbing water to go to port. The buffet was not too bad and the MDR had good but repetitive choices. We ate at Qsine and it was a lot of fun although they need to learn how to grill a medium-rare tenderlion. Embarkation and disembarkation was great - very smooth - no waiting. Overall we had a nice time, but that was mostly due to the itinerary. We may sail with Celebrity again but only if the itinerary looks good. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
My brother-in-law found this great 14 day cruise package that included return airfare, 3 Hong Kong room nights and 2 tours of Hong Kong and Macau. This was our first “all inclusive” cruise – open bar (including hard liquors, beers ... Read More
My brother-in-law found this great 14 day cruise package that included return airfare, 3 Hong Kong room nights and 2 tours of Hong Kong and Macau. This was our first “all inclusive” cruise – open bar (including hard liquors, beers and wines), specialty coffees and gratuities. For the pre-cruise we stayed at the Panorama by Rhombus in the Tsim Sha Tsui district close to the ship terminal. A really nice hotel that is close to all the action on Nathan Road. I originally thought about walking from the hotel to Ocean Terminal as the map indicated it was approximately ¾ of a mile. However, in the end, we took a taxi that cost us less than US $10. Please note that there was a charge for each piece of luggage as well as a mileage charge. As far as cruising goes, this was only our 3rd cruise, 4th if you count back-to-back Alaska cruises as 2 separate ones. Embarkation process Based on information received in our Azamara package, we could embark anytime between 1:00 and 5:30 PM. We did not board until 2:45 PM hoping to avoid the 1:00 PM rush. However, once on board I read the Daily Program paper – “Pursuits” and found out the embarkation process started at 11:30 AM resulting in us missing the early festivities and the luncheon. Debarkation process Originally, we decided that we would find our own transportation to get us to the Singapore airport. The night before we decided that we would book the cruise line arranged charter. For whatever reason, we were not on the list when we arrived at the bus pick up point. After a few minutes the issue was resolved. Deck 5 This deck contains the Mosaic Café, bar lounge, Discoveries Restaurant, casino and the cabaret entertainment lounge. We made use of the Mosaic Café quite a bit – specialty coffees and finger foods available in between meals included prawn cocktail, mini-desserts and sandwiches (tuna, chicken, etc.). It was nice to have a drink in the bar lounge before dinner. However, around dinner time, seating was at a premium. Deck 7 The free self-service laundry room is on deck 7 across from cabin 7076 (port / left side) with 4 dryers and 4 washers. One of the washers broke during the latter part of the cruise. Another plus is the fact that the laundry detergent is also free. There is also an iron and ironing board. It can get quite crowded with people waiting to use the washers and dryers. The laundry room shuts down around 10:00 PM. Hint: Do laundry on shore days, first thing in the morning, or around / during dinner time. Deck 9 Deck 9 has the spa, pool, pool bar, outdoor grill, Windows Café, internet and the gym. Note: There is also an outdoor bar at the ship’s aft in Windows Café. We are both fairly active and made use of the gym facilities including the free classes everyday when we weren’t busy. The gym is open from 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM. Here’s a run down on the equipment in the gym: • 8 bicycles – 6 modern exercise bicycles with digital displays and 2 older bicycles without digital displays. • 3 regular stationary bicycles • 3 elliptical machines • 5 treadmills • 8 to10 different types of weight machines • 1 Concept rower • 1 “torture rack” for Pilates • Free weights • Lots of yoga / Pilates mats The free classes included – spin (bicycle), stretch, ab and yoga classes. However, more often than not, it was crowded as the floor space is limited. Get there early! There is free bottled water in the fridge at the gym but sometimes it is not cold because of the demand (high turnover). Deck 10 Deck 10 has the lounge / night club, library, Aqualina and Prime C specialty restaurants. This deck has the jogging track: 13 times = 1 mile. If you are registered with a Roll Call, you will meet with other cruisers in the lounge on deck 10. Deck 11 Deck 11 is the sundeck and has the shuffleboard. If you want to get away to relax, work on your tan or read a book this is the place to go as on the few occasions I was up there it was deserted with only a handful of people and sometimes not any. Hearing Impairment Issue We had requested our cabin to be installed with tactile hearing devices. My original request was made on-line and I also made a phone call with the Azamara agent to confirm they had our request. When we arrived at our cabin 3025, the cabin did not have the tactile devices installed. The system consists of a device near the front door (outside), one attached to the phone and one underneath the pillow. Basically, these devices were activated by sounds or vibrations. I went to the deck 4 concierge / lobby to get the issue rectified. The concierge / lobby did not have a record of my request. It took one of the “hotel” managers / supervisors plus a maintenance employee a few hours over the first and second days to have the devices set up correctly since they did not have any experience installing them! Note: We had the same issue of no tactile hearing devices installed in our cabin with Royal Caribbean. Just a coincidence since Royal Caribbean and Azamara are in the same corporate group? Food Smart casual dress attire at the Discoveries Restaurant has my vote; no suit, dress shirts and ties to pack! Food on a daily basis, was better than average - good. We ate mostly at the Discoveries Restaurant on Deck 5. We also had dinner at Windows Café (deck 9) on a handful of occasions. Sushi was a daily buffet item at the Windows Café. Because Japanese rice used in sushi is quite high in sugar content (carbohydrates), we had requested just the raw fish – salmon and tuna. The sushi chef happily obliged and remembered every time we were at the sushi station. My spouse and I also made use of the smoothie station on the port side entrance to the Windows Café. My spouse, almost on a daily basis, drank a “shot” of the energizer drink with one of the main ingredients being ginger juice / pulp plus a blend of other juices. Hint: ginger and green apples are supposed to alleviate and / or prevent motion sickness. My spouse did not get sick but neither were there any rough seas. The ship had the following ethnic themed food nights: • Italian • Asian outdoor buffet • A taste of India • French • Mexican • Greek • Vietnamese • Thai, etc. Miscellaneous thoughts on the food: • Windows Café has an ice cream station with different ice cream flavours. That was a bonus for dessert. • Custom order cook / stir fry stations on specific theme nights were a treat as you could order what you wanted and how much you wanted. • The Discoveries Restaurant menu on the final night of the cruise was disappointing. • The pool grill on deck 9 has pub style foods made to order including fries, chicken wings, hot dogs and burgers with a self service salad bar and condiments. Great place to have a snack and a drink right next to the pool! • We had a group dinner (10 persons) at the Aqualina restaurant – food was very good. I had the cobb salad, cold seafood appetizer (mussels, scallops, prawns, crab claw), lobster thermidor with risotto and a grand marnier soufflé. I would rate the dinner 4.5 out of 5.5 stars. • We had fresh fruits and / or chocolates in the cabin every day– never ate them because we weren’t really that hungry; believe it or not! • On the second last night of the cruise, the ship put on a Christmas themed buffet brunch hosted and served by the senior personnel. The Discoveries Restaurant was decorated with lots of Christmas decorations and while we were eating there was live music. • Overall, the food we had on a daily basis was better than average; good but not spectacular. The service on the whole was very good. • For dinner at the Discoveries Restaurant, there is a regular daily menu that is always served plus a menu that changes every day. • You can also order specialty coffees at the Windows Café. Birthday Celebration It was my spouse’s birthday and I indicated that on my on-line registration. In addition, my brother-in-law had ordered my spouse some chocolate covered strawberries. Without our knowledge, our cabin attendants decorated the cabin with helium filled balloons and left a birthday card. For dinner at the Discoveries Restaurant, the restaurant staff sang Happy Birthday and after that we had birthday cake for dessert. Another couple that we met on the Ship also had a birthday but for some reason it was missed. As “compensation”, the couple received a complimentary dinner at one of the specialty restaurants. Azamazing Evening at Binh Quoi Village (Ho Chi Minh City) From what I know, these Azamazing evening events were quite new when we cruised. Kudos to the cruise line for organizing something out of the ordinary. In addition, every cabin received a Binh Quoi souvenir plate as a memento; a nice touch! I also heard that the passengers with higher cabin categories and or had travelled with Azamara before took a boat to reach the Village. Binh Quoi Village is a resort style entertainment area that includes open air restaurants / eating areas. When we were there, there were a lot of local residents enjoying themselves at different areas of the Village. We left the ship on one of the last buses to Binh Quoi Village at 5:00 PM. I don’t know if it had anything to do with the fact that we were on deck 3. As a consequence, we were seated at the back of the venue - open grass field with banquet style seating and a stage at the front. There were cold drinks handed out as well as musical entertainment before the dinner. In addition, there were arts and handicrafts stalls that allowed the passengers to take home the artisans’ handicrafts. These included Chinese characters written on scrolls and paper cut-out silhouettes of a person’s profile. During the meal, there was musical entertainment on the stage which we could barely see because we were seated at the back. The menu included the following: Appetizers 1. lotus root salad 2. spring rolls 3. deep fried sticky rice Main courses 4. grilled red tilapia fish in lotus leaves 5. sautéed beef with lotus seed 6. beef soup with lotus in squash bowl 7. steamed rice with lotus leaves Desserts 8. sweet lotus seed 9. fruit, lotus jam 10. tea or coffee There was nothing really memorable about the meal that evening other than the fact it was in a nice setting and it was very humid. The food was just okay but not great. Due to the humidity on this mid-December evening, we left on the first bus before dessert. I would rate the overall Binh Quoi Village experience at 3 out of 5.5 – just okay. Since we were one of the first buses back to the ship, we had Cherries jubilee for dessert and as well there were other snacks available. This was a pre-arranged function for all the passengers after the return from Binh Quoi Village. Entertainment Although the ship is small, the entertainment was okay and included a tribute to Broadway and a Christmas themed show. Eric De Gray – who is the cruise director / MC and is also a multi-talented entertainer, was involved in the evening shows. Even the Captain became involved in some of the shows. Shore Excursions We booked our own tours. I arranged the Vietnam tours and someone else we met on the Roll Call arranged the Bangkok tours. From the date we booked our cruise in August, my brother-in-law and I spent numerous hours each week and 100s of emails with the tour agencies and roll call passengers until mid-November before all the details were confirmed. In the end, we had arranged tours for Halong Bay, Da Nang, Hoi An, 2 days in Ho Chi Minh City. Pros for ship booked tours: • approved tours and guides • guaranteed not to be left behind if tour bus is late • save time as you don’t have to spend it researching • no stress involved as everything is prearranged; just pay your fees and go Cons for booking ship tours: • expensive • more structured itinerary; can’t customize itinerary • more people Your option, if you’re lucky enough, is to find a passenger or passengers on the Cruise Critic Roll Call that have done all the research, arranged their own tours and are looking for people to fill the tours. There a couple of drawbacks. You may not like the itinerary and secondly, the other passengers may not be compatible with your personality. The major negatives are if you tour bus is late getting back you may miss your boat and the tour company / guide may not be good. The positives are, it will be cheaper and there will be smaller numbers in your tour. You can read my port reviews for each attraction in TripAdvisor under my name “Traveller55555_8”. I have reviewed attractions in Hong Kong / Macau, Halong Bay, Da Nang, Hoi An, Hoi Chi Minh City and Bangkok. Vietnam Shore Excursions – Port Charges I get the feeling because tourism is in its infancy in Vietnam, there are a lot of questionable tactics that may cause the tourists grief or at least cause more confusion in the decision making process. An example is port charges in Vietnam. I had read on Cruise Critic forums that each port authority charges a fee in order to allow the tour companies access inside the terminal gates to pick up the passengers for excursions. Furthermore, if the passengers were to walk outside the terminal gate for pick up, the port fees could be waived. The information researched in Cruise Critic was inconsistent to the point where I contacted the Azamara Chief Blogging Officer/ liaison – Bill Leiber regarding the port fees. In fact, I had contacted him regarding dock locations, shuttle bus transfers, port fees etc. Mr. Leiber would not divulge what port fees were charged to Azamara. It’s understandable, but my question was more directed at finding out what the port authority was charging these tour companies. See link here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1916965, post #11 I tried to pin the exact fee charged to each person for these port fees. No such luck as the fee varied from port to port and even from tour company to tour company. The tour company that we used for Halong Bay and Da Nang refused to negotiate and insisted that we were to be picked up dockside inside the terminal gates. Another well known travel agent with whom I was dealing with refused to reduce the per person quote for pick up outside the cruise ship terminal gate because she did not want to anger the authorities and jeopardize future pick ups inside the terminal. This is what she said from 2 separate emails regarding terminal pickup: “Yes, I heard about that, but I am sorry that I dare not to arrange the guide meeting my clients outside the port. For 6 years now, I never do that. I know some of clients want to save money, and I am glad to do something to help them make the trip possible. however, in serving cruise passengers, if I pick clients up outside the port, if the agent approving the letter happens to know, next time they will not approve the pickup permit for my company, I don't wish to experience any problem.” In Saigon, we docked at Nha Rong (downtown Saigon). I was able to negotiate a reduced rate for pickup outside the terminal gate. The reduction was $15 per person per day and in my opinion $30 is well worth saving to spend on other pleasures. As to whether, the $15 per person per day reduction represents the full port authority charge or just a portion is anyone’s guess because I have heard the port fee charge could be $20 or $25 per person. In summary, the port access fees are shrouded in secret as far as I can tell. Even long time veteran Cruise Critic members which I have talked to in the Vietnam forum do not have a handle on what these fees are and how much. The distance from the Saigon - Nha Rong terminal to the terminal gate was less than 300 meters (approximately 325 yards) which is not a long distance. However, if there are mobility issues for individuals in your tour group, you may wish to have the tour operator pick you at inside the terminal. As for distances between the dock and terminal gate at other ports, the distances may be farther. Do your research! If you have the option of waiving the port fees you should also consider whether it is allowable to walk to terminal gate and the distance from disembarkation to the terminal gate. Again, do your research. For other ports like Halong Bay and Da Nang, walking to the terminal gates may not be advisable. In Da Nang, for example, a group of passengers walked from the dock to outside the terminal gates to catch their tour bus in order to save on the port fees. Unfortunately, they were met by the “police” and they demanded a fee to get past them to the tour bus. In the end, no one was harmed when the tour bus guide intervened. This is a true story since we were heard the story from a passenger that was on that particular tour and corroborated by the organizer of that private Da Nang tour. Here’s the response from “jollyjoyce” on a CruiseCritic forum who actually organized the Da Nang tour and was directly involved in the incident. “…It was agreed to meet the guide outside the gates. He was waiting outside the gates and told me to just keep walking as the bus was a little further along the road. It was as we were walking that the police arrived! It was certainly not what I expected. We refused to pay them and were prepared to go back to the ship. The guide talked to the police and agreed to see them when we got back in the afternoon. I do not know what transpired but that was their problem. …In case you are wondering, I got the name of the guide from a previous review on Tripadvisor...highly rated, and I spoke to him on Skype several times before arrival. I have had emails from him since sincerely apologising and promising it will not happen to visitors again. Personally I think in retrospect I should have agreed to pay the $20 port fees and be collected from the ship....we were dropped off at the ship on return. I did actually report the incident when back onboard and they were going to send a report to their port agents.” See link here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1913385&page=2 Since you are reading this review, you are familiar with www.CruiseCritic.com. Make sure you join CruiseCritic.com and the Roll Call for your particular itinerary. The reasons are threefold: • Communications with fellow cruisers. For example, if you have a question on excursions and questions and answers posted by others in the forum. • Join a roll call for your particular cruise itinerary to stay informed • Information on potentially joining other cruisers on privately arranged tours Overall, Cruise Critic is a very good resource for information, tips and questions. Miscellaneous Notes • My spouse commented that the ship looked a bit dated • On average, it appeared that the passengers were slightly older • Friendly staff • Captain was highly visible – saw him almost daily • Since the Journey is a small ship, the size allowed it to dock closer to the downtown areas. Docking closer to the downtown area cuts down on the transportation time. • The free tour of the ship’s galley (by invitation) was a nice surprise and was also good. • We were prepared to pay the as advertised Vietnam visa fee ($25?) but were surprised it was only US $10 per person. The ship was responsible for the payment that eventually showed up on our invoice statement; easy, painless and cheap! • There were enrichment seminars but we only attended one on making candy decorations. Others included historical / political seminars on the ports where the ship was docked. Another one I noticed was one on the use of your iPad on deck 5 by the casino. Cabin 3025 The outside cabin is located on the starboard (right) side with a port hole for a window. The cabin size was as expected - small but functional. However, I don’t remember the bathrooms being that small like on other ships’ cabins. The shower stall was at most 30 x 30 inches (2.5 feet x 2.5 feet) – very tight and I’m not a big person! It would be very difficult to have two people standing in the bathroom. There were no electrical outlets in the bathroom. If you wanted to dry your hair or shave you had to do that in the “living room”. There is free bottled water in the room. Make sure you don’t take the premium bottled water or you will be charged. There is also a bar fridge stocked with liquor. This is also not free! Another plus was the bathrobes. In my opinion, the cabin’s location was ideal as it was quiet and close to the deck 4 staircase and the elevator. In addition, the cabin was located near the middle of the ship and on the last deck; ideal location in the event of rough seas as there would be less rocking motion. There are 2 wheelchair accessible cabins next to our cabin; close to the elevator. The port side of deck 3 is the crew quarters. The overall cruise experience was enhanced by the following factors: • Good itinerary but wished we could have stayed extra days in the ports • Great company and also meeting new people • Good privately arranged tours with good tour companies • Above average food and service • No charge for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, specialty coffees • Inclusion of gratuities • Good weather • Great value for price paid that also included the above, return airfare, 3 day pre-cruise accommodations in Hong Kong and the 14 day cruise The only 3 issues were the installation of the tactile hearing devices, the embarkation and debarkation process. The overall rating for the cruise experience 4.5 out 5.5 stars.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was our first cruise. So to be fair we didn’t know exactly what to expect or what is “normal” for a trip of this type. My wife and I usually spend a week or so in one country and really try to absorb the culture. However we ... Read More
This was our first cruise. So to be fair we didn’t know exactly what to expect or what is “normal” for a trip of this type. My wife and I usually spend a week or so in one country and really try to absorb the culture. However we wanted to see Asia and this seemed to be a great way to do so. We selected this trip for the destinations and the time spent at port. We were aware of the distances to the major cities and spent many nights off the ship. It takes a while to get to the cities so to make the most of your time overnights are a must. If you would like to read about those experiences along with more detail of our excursions (both with the ship and on our own) you can visit our travel blog at: www.kfbroadway.wordpress.com. Our stateroom was small but well done. We stayed in 9052, everything was clean the balcony seemed spacious and the stateroom attendant Michael was outstanding. He even went out of his way to fix my wife’s prescription sunglasses when I accidently sat on them ☺. Aqua class was a nice perk. We liked not having a set time to dine and the service there was exceptional as well. Mae and Liu were our favorite; they knew the menu and gave honest opinions about what was worth ordering and what to skip. On that note, we thought the food was very good here except for the seafood quality. It did not taste fresh (or even fresh-frozen) and try as we might (every night) it did not get better. Aqua class also gave us private seating for breakfast which was really nice and very tasty. We did not try the other specialty restaurants. The buffet was well… a buffet. There is only so much magic you can work, but they did their best and it was good for what it was. Being inexperienced cruisers we did not anticipate the amount of children that would be aboard (350) but the staff seemed to make accommodations for them and everyone seemed pretty happy. The one thing I would say about that was the lack of enforcement of child free zones. The smoking areas were not well enforced either. It seemed everyone just smoked wherever they liked and no one seemed to care even though many passengers were complaining. Overall we really enjoyed our trip. The entertainment was good, and we really enjoyed learning about Buddhism (Buddhism 101) from Marshall. He was a wonderful teacher and a nice guy to boot! I would recommend this trip especially if you want a good sampling of Asia. Plan to spend additional money on overnight excursions, which were the highlights of our trip. Last thing, the elephant excursion in Thailand offered from the ship just amazing! It was an incredible day and Worth Every Penny!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2013

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