my two take-aways from this cruise: 1) this cruise line caters to the mainland chinese, and 2) if you spend money on extras, it's great, but the included stuff is lackluster. i would go again, and i'd probably enjoy it more, ... Read More
my two take-aways from this cruise: 1) this cruise line caters to the mainland chinese, and 2) if you spend money on extras, it's great, but the included stuff is lackluster. i would go again, and i'd probably enjoy it more, having more accurate expectations and being more prepared to entertain ourselves.
went on this cruise with grandmother in wheelchair, mother in upper 60s, and uncle. we had two balcony rooms, one with wheelchair access. we were happy with both rooms--comfy beds, and overall good size, efficient use of space. everything was clean and in good working order. cabin stewards were easy to reach whenever we needed anything (like towels or soap). public spaces also looked good--new and well-kept.
even though there's a good english site, the cruise guests are mostly chinese. the staff seem to be mostly multilingual. there were some who didn't speak english, but an english speaker could be found easily enough.
if you book shore excursions, make sure you ask about language. we were on a 5-day cruise to vietnam. we did 2 shore excursions, and they were good, but on one of them the guide only spoke mandarin. the large majority of things are multilingual on the cruise, including booking excursions, so it's reasonable to assume a tour would be multilingual--nope. i was rather annoyed, but luckily my uncle was able to translate major points for us and a few others on our tour who also spoke no mandarin. that aside, getting on a boat in halong bay is totally worthwhile. beautiful views! and it was very cool to be able to buy just-caught seafood from fishermen who come up to your boat in theirs, then have the people on your boat cook it.
mother had been on a norwegian cruise, and i had been on a carnival cruise, so we had some expectations. we were rather disappointed by the included food, activities, and entertainment. we were really bored on the ship, and glad it was only a 5-day cruise. on our entire cruise, the only thing scheduled at the zodiac theater was the safety orientation. so we saw what a nice theater they had, just never had any programming to enjoy it. they played movies on the lobby screen, but i'm not going to enjoy a movie with a bunch of people constantly walking by and chatting. there was only one show (a concert by a well-known older chinese singer, popular with chinese guests) and it also was held at the lobby. there was a live band that played at one of the bars every night, and they were ok IF you liked that music. there was a party with fireworks on the last night. that was it for entertainment--no magic acts, or acrobatics, or dancing or anything. the virtual reality stuff might have been fun if it was included, but not worth the price. the dance club wasn't terrible, but there were very few cruisers under 40, so there were few people there the one night i went. the top deck attractions looked fun (i just didn't make use of them because i had to entertain my mom and grandmom). for activities, they had some dance lessons, that were decent. they offered yoga and other exercise classes, but for a fee.
food. this is where i was most disappointed. tip: they sell coupons for various restaurants in the shopping area--buy some at the beginning of your trip (obviously not more than you could use). the food in the main dining room is the same as the buffet--there's not much variety and it's of mediocre quality. there was no included food at off hours--the only 24-7 food options cost extra. aside from the food itself, spending money means not having to fight the crowds. as other reviewers mentioned, there were lots of rude, pushy guests, so that's a big plus. Read Less