127 Hong Kong Family Cruise Reviews

After cruising with Royal Caribbean for several years to obtain Platinum level and after enjoying our last cruise on the Harmony of the Sea, we were excited to explore Vietnam with Royal Caribbean. Keep in mind that my wife and I have ... Read More
After cruising with Royal Caribbean for several years to obtain Platinum level and after enjoying our last cruise on the Harmony of the Sea, we were excited to explore Vietnam with Royal Caribbean. Keep in mind that my wife and I have cruised over 840 days at sea and now made cruising a family affair as we cruise with our minor and adult children and their families. On this 3 week holiday we had a great experience beginning at the Ocean Park Marriott Resort in Hong Kong before boarding Voyager of the Seas and was very excited to sail. However, we are sick with disappoint on our most recent Royal Caribbean sailing. We expected the smaller class ship would not have all the amenities we enjoyed on the Harmony, but we did expect the same level of food quality and service. In 30 years having cruised budget to exclusive lines we have never seen food prepared so poorly. Much of the food served on Voyager was very tasteless and served cold in both the main dining room and the buffet. When we payed for meals at Johnny Rockets and Chops the food was flavorful and served at an edible temperature. My husband began eating burgers in the hope of getting a quality tasty meal. He changed to ordering a hamburger from the main dining room as they were better than the burgers served in the Windjammer which appeared to contain filler and certainly not the quality of Johnny Rockets burgers. We tried being the first in line for the buffet, but the pork chop and pancakes were cold even at the start of the mealtime. We were also disappointed that the Windjammer buffet closed so early in the evening leaving only 1 after 9pm dining option which only had complimentary water, coffee, hot tea and milk. Being a non coffee drinker and lactose intolerance water and or basic hot tea was my only choice. In addition small things like sweeteners and the selection of tea flavors was half of what was offered on the Harmony. As for complimentary beverages, we don't believe fruit punch beverages which mimic Koolaid is acceptable. There often was debris clinging to our glass after consuming the drink. Our cabin steward provided wonderful service, as did Mr. XXXXX at the front desk. However, the rest of the staff provided substandard service and we found most staff were focused and commenting on what they would be doing once the guest were off the boat and the renovation of the ship begins. The children's activity center discouraged us from dropping our 8 year old son off. We did not understand why they would not take a child during published open hours even if other children would not be there. When we have someone watch our son at home when we are out, there are not other children present. Entertaining a ward when the parents are at the shows or casino should be the goal of the activity center, instead we had to limited our casino and bar experiences as those are not family friendly activities. Our first excursion was Halong Bay by Boat. The bay and caverns were beautiful; however, the guide provided limited or virtually no details of what we were seeing. He was very personable, but unable to answer several of our questions regarding the formation of the caverns. The Shore Excursion team tried to address our dissatisfaction of the tour of Halong Bay, but that too was several hoops to go through. The initial Shore desk agent we expressed our disappointment to made us feel like the inept guide was our fault as no one else had complained. She implied by her comments that we were lying. She was supposed to get the manager to talk to us, but it took following up with the front desk twice before we received a call back from the Shore Desk manager 36 hours later who was unfamiliar with what happened even after we had filed a complaint. We had to relive the experience again. Eventually Ms. XXXX refunded 50% of the tour cost. Great news but we were saddened that the tour did provide the learning content required of his school needed to complete his trip report. In all it did not provide a learning experience for us or our son. Although the cruise was not going well our goal was to book another with the onboarding Next travel team. This attempted booking was also a new disappointing experience. Even though we were not excited to be on the Voyager, we thought we would plan our 2020 cruise. Wow, booking early offered little incentive and the Next Cruise booking manager did not seem very concerned that we will be expanding our travel search to competitive cruise providers. Basically he was of little service and did not live up to the hype that we experienced during the frequent cruiser reception. Once aboard we understood from the crew that the Voyager would be going out of service for renovations and modernization after this cruise. However for this cruise we had to endure elevators which were non functional and some partially functional contributing to my husband discomfort as he is under the care of a sports medicine physician and was advised to avoid stairs during the trip. Modernization is definitely needed for this ship as many baseboard tiles were falling off the wall, water for hand washing was unavailable in some washrooms, and stairwell tiles/lighting leading to the casino were broken. Casino display lights were partially functional. As we have stated we encountered numerous other maintenance issues we do not normally encounter on a cruise ship. Tiles were missing or loose, the bed shade was cracked but taped together and the exterior seemed to have rust stains everywhere. RC cruises have always raised the bar for food, entertainment and experiences. However this cruise has recalibrated our RC experience to the level of experience similar to more budget cruises but for a higher price. And end the end not only were gratuities automatically added to our shipboard account now envelopes are being left for additional gratuities for cabin/dining staff. Leaving additional gratuities is a good thing but for first time cruisers they may not understand that the envelopes are not mandatory. In addition, we found that some tours had a $100.00 per person markup when compared to walking 100 yards off the ship and getting the same tour from the local provider. Right now we'd not recommend RC mid level ships for a family cruise nor do we believe our last experience lived up to RC's reputation of service, support, and guest appreciation. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Our holiday was for myself, my husband and my three sons (17, 22 and 25) in two parts booked through cruise.co.uk. The first part was a 10 day, all inclusive tour around China. Our second part of the holiday was a seven day cruise ... Read More
Our holiday was for myself, my husband and my three sons (17, 22 and 25) in two parts booked through cruise.co.uk. The first part was a 10 day, all inclusive tour around China. Our second part of the holiday was a seven day cruise aboard the Voyager of the Seas which we boarded at Hong Kong. I have cruised many times with Royal Caribbean and have, in fact, been on this actual ship. All previous cruises have been excellent and of an equally great standard that I have come to expect from Royal Caribbean. On this part of the holiday we were joined by my parents who had travelled separately to Hong Kong in order to enjoy the cruise with my family. At no time were we informed that this ship was about to go into dry dock for a major refurbishment and serious repairs STATE ROOMS When booking this holiday with cruise.co.uk, we explained that while we were happy for my three sons to share a room, they were adults and, putting it bluntly, quite large! Adam understood our requirements and sold us a balcony grade cabin for myself and my husband and a panoramic suite that could sleep 6 for my three sons to share. At the time of booking Adam explained that he could not get a room number for the panoramic suite although he guided us to the ‘deck plans’ and explained it would either be state room number 1804 or 1814 on deck 12, just a few doors down from our state room. He explained that although room 1814 was officially a disabled cabin, it had much larger floor space so would accommodate my three sons. On our invoice, we were never provided with a room number for this room. We paid more for this room as it was so much larger. Upon arrival on the ship, my sons were allocated room 1852 which while panoramic, was not a suite that slept 6. The staff told me it could sleep 4 although we soon found out that with only two beds and one small sofa that could only be converted into a single bed, it only could sleep 3. The floor space was exactly the same size as our balcony grade cabin. The staff were very unhelpful explaining that there were no other rooms available as the ship was full to capacity. We later found out that there were actually 400 rooms unallocated on that ship that week. We believe we were miss sold this room under the pretence it was bigger than the balcony grade cabin and could sleep 6 people. We most definitely paid more money than our balcony grade cabin which was the same size. We expect to be reimbursed for this. LIFTS We were on the 12th deck so obviously lifts were a necessity. On day one, all of the panoramic central view lifts were suddenly covered in a green netting that stretched from the top deck to the bottom. We were informed that they were being repaired. We established, by talking to the engineers and taking photos and videos that these lifts were NOT under repair but were actually being ripped out in readiness for the ship to go into dry dock in a week’s time. Two of the other lifts didn’t work at all and one of those broke down completely within a couple of days. One lift wouldn’t go passed deck 10. Being on deck 12, I’m sure you can understand the inconvenience this caused not to mention the sight and noise of workmen carrying out a complete rip out right in the middle of your holiday FOOD - Windjammer There are many areas where food can be obtained and the Windjammer Restaurant is the self service restaurant on deck 11. The food looked plentiful and nicely presented however, it was nearly all cold and on occasions, undercooked. We were told that hot plates were no longer working and some of the ovens were soon to be replaced. This response did not help us in any way at all. My husband was continually frustrated to get a plate full of food, find a seat to sit and eat it, only to find it cold and disgusting. It was then that we noticed the lack of staff in the restaurant. Plates were not getting cleared away from tables, spillages were having warning signs placed over them but not getting cleared up and the water/tea station was continually unmanned. FOOD - Johnny Rockets We decided the only way to get a decent hot meal would be to pay the additional price in order to visit one of the 4 speciality restaurants on board. Unfortunately, this was also a disaster! We visited Johnny Rockets - a burger bar restaurant with a $10 surcharge. The place had few customers, the waitress spoke very little English and the chef was busy fussing over one beef burger when we walked in. We sat at the counter and tried to order - the waitress could not understand why we would want our fries WITH our burger - surely we would want them as a starter? We looked around and could see other guests munching on just chips and overheard them all complaining about when their burger was going to be served. This restaurant was advertised as an authentic, American burger joint yet the staff had absolutely no idea how burger and fries were meant to be served and consumed! We waited 25 minutes for the chef to cook the burger - we watched as he used his spatular to scoop up a raw chicken breast, slap it on the griddle next to our burger and then proceed to turn our burger with the same spatular. I don’t think any more needs to be said about Johnny Rockets other than it was a total let down. Again, staffing seemed to be the issue. FOOD - Sapphire Restaurant We had booked my time dining. This means that you can reserve a table the day before. This is a practice that I have often used and has always worked efficiently in the passed. On this cruise however, the queues of guests outside the restaurant all waiting to be taken to their pre-booked table was ridiculous!. You expect queues outside the other restaurants when there are allotted seated times - often a hundred or more guests would be waiting for the 6pm sitting and would then all be let in at once. But you do not expect this in the ‘my time’ dining room. Yet again, lack of staff was the issue. Once shown to our table we again experienced a lack of staff - no wine waiter or water waiter. I got up twice to get my own water. The one waiter we had was very over worked. When food arrived after a long wait it was often cold and inedible. We complained several times and eventually the restaurant manager, Ellen came to our table and listened carefully to our grievances. We told her we would be unable to risk eating in the restaurant again and would have to purchase the food package which enabled us to eat at the speciality restaurants at an additional surcharge. Ellen almost begged us to give her another chance to prove the restaurant was worth another visit so two days later we tried again. Firstly, the seven of us were showed to a table that could only sit five people comfortably yet they had squeezed seven place settings on. We complained and were moved to a table that could comfortably seat 12 guests although was only partially laid up for eight. Again, we had to serve ourselves water and again the wine waiter had to be called and called and when he finally arrived asked US to write what we wanted on his pad as he couldn’t understand English!!! Our meal was late and the starters were cold. We complained again but was told this time there was a severe shortage of staff and that everyone was doing their best. This was really not acceptable and made our complete dining experience on the ship appalling. FOOD - CHOPS GRILLE As the food and service was so appalling on the ship, we had no option other than to pay (at a considerable cost of £380 - invoice enclosed) for a ‘food package’. This entitled us to eat at the three main speciality restaurants over three nights. Unfortunately it appeared that most guests had the same idea so Chops restaurant was so busy we were only able to book the whole family in for one of the nights. We wanted to book for our last night but they had already filled their books by day two of the cruise!. Our experience in Chops was what we would expect from Royal Caribbean - food was beautiful, staff attentive and service fast. What a shame the rest of the ship couldn’t be like this and what a shame they were so booked up that we couldn’t enjoy good food on our last night FOOD - IZUMI Another of the three specialist restaurants was Izumi, a Japanese restaurant. Food here was very good - we noticed most of the staff from the Captain’s Bridge were in there. Unfortunately service was appalling. It took ages to get a drink and even longer to get the food. We wouldn’t have eaten in there at all had we been able to get a table at Chops FOOD - GIOVANNI’S TABLE The last on the list of the three specialist restaurants. Menu seemed limited and again service was far too slow. Our booking was for 8.30pm but we were left standing for 15minutes while the maitre d took someone’s order. Again, short staffed. STAFFING After realising that most problems encountered on our ship were due to staffing, we decided to complain at the main desk. Queues here were always long but after a 30 minute wait we were finally seen. It was established that the ship was seriously understaffed due to another cruise liner enlisting the more experienced staff in order to ensure their maiden voyage did not receive any criticism! We were assured that the staffon board were qualified although some were new to their positions. When we started speaking to staff, it came to light that a large proportion of staff had originally been ‘cleaning staff’ who had been bumped up recently to fill in for the short fall in serving staff. This would account for the amount of staff unable to communicate with us due to their lack of English. It would also account for the poor service being received in every area of the ship. In the spa area there was only one hairdresser working and he informed us that he had originally been contracted to work until December but had only recently been told that the ship was going into dry dock so would be leaving his position then. He said that the other hairdressers and spa consultants (there was only one who could give pedicures) had all left the ship back in Hong Kong SHORE EXCURSIONS One of the most important aspects of a cruise is the shore excursions. These excursions are advertised a few weeks prior to the cruise departing via an online brochure. The information available is fairly minimal. It should be noted that most excursions were marked as ‘booked’ before we even boarded the ship. It was established, once on board, that this wasn’t the case but unfortunately led to unreasonably long queues of guests trying to book tours at the tour desk. As it was unclear which tours would be the best to choose, we decided to attend the one hour meeting held on the first day in the ship’s theatre. This meeting is normally held by the cruise director where they explain in detail the different tours available, show a video of passed tours and generally help sell the excursions. If you are unable to attend this meeting, there is always a video on loop on your state room television. Ufnfortuanlaty, our tv didn’t work at first and once it did there was absolutely no mention of any of the tours on any of the channels - we complained at guest services but they were unsure what we were talking about. I assumed that possibly cruising to Vietnam was quite a new thing for Royal Caribbean and they were yet to produce a promotional video (?). Whilst still unsure what tours to book, we decided to attend the meeting in the theatre - this was a total waste of time as the cruise director was not on board. As a replacement, we were presented on a stage with a gentleman that spoke very little English. He embarrassingly read through the information brochure we had been given and showed some photographs that were also already in the brochure. He could provide no additional information and was unable to sell any tours. We complained to guest services who explained that the main tour manager was not on board the ship. All of the tours were very expensive so we wanted to choose the right ones. There were five of us (seven including my parents) so this could prove to be a costly mistake. We queued at the ‘shore excursions desk’ but was greeted with another member of staff, who while friendly, really didn’t have a clue about the difference between the excursions. It was quite apparent that Royal Caribbean were also using the cheap option when it came to docking the ship and rather than dock at the more expensive ports, were docking at the cheaper more industrial sites. This in turn pushed the price of the tours up as buses had to be taken with at least a two hour journey to get to any destination. To add salt to the wound, on our final day at sea, once we had sailed well away from Vietnam, the tv in our state room started to show videos of the trips we could have gone on! It was such unnecessary incompetence and due totally to a lack of staff CLEANLINESS OF THE SHIP When a ship docks and guests disembark for a day’s tour, it is normal practise to clean the boat and carry out necessary repairs whilst all is fairly quiet on board. This did not happen once during our whole cruise. It became quite obvious that no one gave a damn about the condition the boat was in or the cleanliness of the boat. Windows were left filthy and rust was evident everywhere. The ceilings in the main dining room were damp and stained and gave a general impression of a very unhygienic area to eat. Plates, cups and old food was constantly being left lying around and tables were rarely wiped. As well as the lifts being out of action there was also a problem with the air conditioning and constantly we would be tripping over portable air conditioning units placed around the ship. The outside of the ship was a total mess too and not once was the pully system lowered to clean the outside windows or ship. It was also very noticeable, as a previous guest with Royal Caribbean, that no effort was being made on the ship. No speciality events were on offer or any of the little extras that are normally available to guests. Small things like changing the ‘day of the week’ plate within the lifts was never done - each lift had a different day in it! It was made so very apparent that all the staff just couldn’t wait to get off the ship as they were feeling very overworked and harassed. We frequently heard guests being rude to bar staff simply out of frustration at not getting served. We had purchased the drinks package at a total cost of £1200 but it was useless trying to get a drink within half an hour. Where a bar would normally have at least four or five working, there would be only one. All the above is understandable for a ship about to go into dry dock but totally unacceptable to guests on board who have paid full price and expect the best attention, top quality food and comfortable and beautiful surroundings. What was most certainly not expected nor acceptable was shabby, poorly maintained surroundings, substandard food and poorly trained, inattentive staff. I ensured that I followed the complaints procedure and at every chance made my grievances known. A member of Royal Caribbean staff, on my very last day of cruising, offered to send me and my family a voucher off a future cruise. This offer was declined as I felt it was insufficient compensation. Regardless, the vouchers have been sent through to my email address and I, in turn, have returned the email rejecting these vouchers. I find the offer of the vouchers particularly insulting as one of them was for £1. I believe I did not receive the holiday I paid for so I have made an official complaint. I am seeking full compensation for loss of enjoyment, inconvenience, disappointment, loss of value and out of pocket expenses. I included photographic and video evidence in support of my claim and also some of the receipts for out of pocket expenses. I am hoping they respond within 7 days....we shall see Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We booked in March for this cruise. My father and mother-in-laws have poor walking abilities and they do not enjoy flying. But they do want to see Vietnam so we booked this cruise which visit two Vietnam ports. First of all, embarkation ... Read More
We booked in March for this cruise. My father and mother-in-laws have poor walking abilities and they do not enjoy flying. But they do want to see Vietnam so we booked this cruise which visit two Vietnam ports. First of all, embarkation in Hong Kong is not great. Kai Tak Terminal is very busy because this ship and Dream Cruises are both embarking on the same day. The queues are very long. Fortunately because we have two elderly people among us we could join the special elderly queue for check-in. Then the worst thing was the zig-zag bridge that connect the terminal with the ship. I completely fail to understand why this winding zig-zag bridge is necessary when a direct birdge (airport jet bridge) can do the same job! The ship is in good condition. It does not immediately feel like it is in need of dry dock work. (But it is going to dry dock in September.) The staterooms were not yet ready and we were told we could take lunch in the Sapphire Dining Room, so we made our way there. Lunch was buffet style and it was fine. After lunch we went to our rooms. We had a promenade view room and it was rather roomy for a cruise ship with two sofas. Our stateroom attendant was Iwayan, he was very good and he opened the connecting door between our room and my in-laws room for us as soon as we requested. The dining on the ship is okay. It is nothing to write about. Some of the food in the dining room can be found again in the Windjammer at late night snack time. The ship is consisted of a majority Hong Kong and China people and some of them seemed determined to eat back their cruise fare. Well, given the food served I think they had a hard time achieving that goal. For the ports, Chan May is really far away from Da Nang. We hired a driver for a day trip to Hoi An but he could not come into the port because our tour company is not "sponsored" by RCCL. We had to pay another driver to drive us out of the port gates to meet him. But he was not a very good driver as he could not speak much English and he took us back from Hoi An 1.5 hours earlier than agreed. The worst thing was he would not enter the gates of the port as promised. So we did not tip him and made a complaint to his company. Many RCCL "sponsored" tours came back late from their tours and the ship did not sail until 17:40, as opposed to 17:00. We were still approaching Nha Trang when we took our breakfasts. As this is a tender port we had to wait for our tender time. RCCL "sponsored" tours and group tours all went ashore before us. We only got ashore at 11am. Our tour guide and bus took us to the sights and lunch. Then we requested to visit a supermarket for souvenirs like coffees and dried mango. We got back at about 4:15pm and were back on board quite quickly. After all both ports were not great. Chan May is still under construction and very far from town while Nha Trang is a tender port which is very time consuming. Avoid. am. Our tour guide and bus took us to the sights and lunch. Then we requested to visit a supermarket for souvenirs like coffees and dried mango. We got back at about 4:15pm and were back on board quite quickly. After all both ports were not great. Chan May is still under construction and very far from town while Nha Trang is a tender port which is very time consuming. Avoid. The entertainment on board were only so-so. One night we had an American singer who performed as many Chinese songs as English songs. He was okay but I saw a Caucasian family of four looking rather bored as we boarded the lift outside the theater. The Ice Skating show Ice Odyssey was fantastic. We watched it and then strongly recommended my mother-in-law to go. She went and she was amazed as well. We had a plain sailing back to Hong Kong after Nha Trang. Nothing to report. We also got back before the Dream Cruises ship so we got away okay. Some of the things we really couldn't get our heads around were the lack of technology on the ship. I could not believe they had to write a number on our Sea Pass cards to indicate we had watched Ice Odyssey. Also in the dining room we had a waiter come to us to write down our room number every night. I mean, aren't we in the 21st century? Can you not just scan my Sea Pass card for that? Also, the in-room television had so little choice of channels. When I was on Quantum of the Seas it could receive a TVB J2 channel but here there is only one Chinese channel which recurred the same content all through the cruise. There are loads of Chinese satellite channels in the region and that's the best they can tune their tv sets to? Once again RCCL, we are in the 21st century! I wish I had downloaded a Samsung remote control app to my phone so I can plug in my mobile hard disk to the tv and watch the movies I have in it. The service provided by all the waiters, servers and room attendants were very good. They worked really hard to keep the ship clean and the service going. I applaud them because with 3,000+ guests (many are children and elderly people) on board it was no easy thing. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This cruise is aimed at the Chinese market. Facilities on offer including food menu reflects this fact. Very limited choices and the menu’s all have pictures much like MacDonald’s. Baseball caps, shorts and general weekend wear is ... Read More
This cruise is aimed at the Chinese market. Facilities on offer including food menu reflects this fact. Very limited choices and the menu’s all have pictures much like MacDonald’s. Baseball caps, shorts and general weekend wear is accepted in the dining restaurants therefore no need to pack jacket, ties or evening gowns. Splash pools on deck are used by swimmers determined to do many lengths as possible leaving little room for those who wish to relax. Extremely difficult to find a seat in the windjammer as whole families occupy tables for hours on end, despite announcements by staff. The same applies to the casino. Disembarkation is restricted if you do not book one of the organise excursions. On the plus side the places, beaches & people in Vietnam are amazing. Unable to get into the Ice show having tried at every opportunity Overall very disappointed with this cruise. We are currently Emerald members. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
The experience first started when we arrived at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal. There was a very long line of people waiting to check in and we thought we had to wait in the same line however I noticed a man holding a sign stating "The ... Read More
The experience first started when we arrived at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal. There was a very long line of people waiting to check in and we thought we had to wait in the same line however I noticed a man holding a sign stating "The Palace guests" and I approached him. I told him I had booked a room called the Penthouse and without delay he escorted me and my family to a waiting area specially dedicated to The Palace guests. In that waiting area they had very delectable dim sums and an assortment of finger foods, along with fresh juices and water. The food and drinks were a very nice touch while checking in. We waited in that area for about 45 minutes and after that they had made an announcement that Palace guests could board the ship first. Boarding was a breeze as we were the first to board and I had no problems getting on the ship. The room I had booked was called the Penthouse, which is the second largest cabin on World Dream (the biggest being called Villa). I found my room to be very spacious and nice. The linens were very high quality and the bathroom was honestly the best part about the cabin. It was extremely spacious and the decor was very nice. Right after we were settled in our rooms, our butler came and introduced herself and gave us a fruit basket. She explained to us she could help us make reservations and book shore excursions among other things. She then proceeded to help us set up our free internet access on the ship. The Palace guests are entitled two devices for internet connection at standard speeds however if you need faster speeds you can purchase the premium plan. For me, the standard plan was more than enough as I averaged speeds at 15-20 mbps based on my tests. It was sufficient enough to stream Netflix and YouTube at 1080p rates. After helping us with our internet, she proceeded to give us a tour of the facilities that Palace guests could access. The Palace is different in the fact that it uses a concept called a ship within a ship. These facilities are not accessible to other guests who are not Palace guests. Facilities included a pool exclusive for Palace use, a sauna, a steam room and a gym. The pool almost always never had anyone so it was very peaceful. When it comes to dining, normal guests have access to 3 restaurants. The Dream Dining Lower, Dream Dining Upper and The Lido. The Lower is mainly Western food, Upper is mainly Chinese food and The Lido is an international buffet. For the Palace guests, We have access to a restaurant called The Palace restaurant. It serves very good quality food however the main differentiating factor is the service. There are many attentive waiters and waitresses that cater to whatever you want which is the main reason why most Palace guests only come to this restaurant instead of the other 3 included ones. Another reason why most Palace guests avoid the 3 other restaurants is due to the other guests. A lot of times you can struggle to get a table because there are many people eating at the same time which causes long wait times to get a table. In the Palace restaurant, I have never seen more than 30% of the place being filled. On top of the Palace restaurant, Palace guests also get one complimentary meal per day at any specialty restaurants on the ship. Personally my most favourite one had to be Umi Uma and the special pork they served. It was simply the best pork i have ever had, period. Also to note, Palace guests are entitled to a drinks package that covers all juices, soft drinks and a wide variety of beers and wines. Now when it came to the shows, we didn't have to make a reservation. The first five rows of the seats in the theatre was reserved for Palace guests which meant most the time the seats were not really filled. If anyone that was not a Palace guest tried to sit in the Palace area, staff would ask them to leave as they aren't entitled to the seats. I was particularly relieved the staff had asked them to leave as they were talking very loudly and were a nuisance. I couldn't care less if you were a Palace guest but being annoying was not welcome. For the excursions, the Palace guests have free excursions to Naha, where they showed the sights and shopping. when we arrived, there was a huge influx of passengers and it took some time to clear security. However once we entered the ship, the staff had reserved one elevator specifically for Palace guests which in my opinion was a very nice touch as the lines for the elevator were very long. After we came back from our long excursion, we were delighted to see a wide array of chocolates, fruits and biscuits presented beautifully on a multi level tray. It came coupled with a note from our butler which just made this experience even more personal and luxurious. The next day we were supposed to go to Miyakojima however the stop was canceled as the winds were just too strong for the tender boats so we were given on board credit to be spent at the souvenir shop on the ship. For disembarkation, we waited very briefly at the Silk Road restaurant before disembarking. Other passengers had to wait at the Zodiac Theatre and so we were the first ones to disembark. In summary, this was an amazing cruise made even better by the staff I had encountered. I would pay for it again if the quality of service and product was the same. Highly satisfied with everything on the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
The ship itself is very nice. Most of the staff are great with the exception of the sales and customer service group. I have never seen such a lack of care or give a damn. I went to the front desk and asked to speak to the ship customer ... Read More
The ship itself is very nice. Most of the staff are great with the exception of the sales and customer service group. I have never seen such a lack of care or give a damn. I went to the front desk and asked to speak to the ship customer service officer, Ms Wu who was the shift manager stated he was off duty and he would get back to me. 2 days later I returned to the desk and was told he was too busy with mainland guests and I could scan a QR code and leave any comments. This cruise is not for anyone but mainland China customers. I was shown by the staff they spend the money on the cruise casino n tours so they take first priority. Foreigners and HK people BEWARE... Several HK people I talked with said the same thing. The guests are severly rude and noisy. Which is to be expected; however, the lack of care by the staff was not and was unbelievable. The Nepal n Philippines cabin cleaning crew were amazing. I had one staff member selling items on the 7th floor push me out of the way to sell something to another guest. Find another cruise line like Star or Royal. When trying to talk to the customer service officer I was told he would see me after 2 days of waiting I went to the office and was told he (Mr XU) was too busy and I could go online with a QR code and leave comments. Unbelievable the guest is too insignificant to get 5 minutes of a customer service officers time. BEWARE DREAM CRUISE LINE or you will regret it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I have sailed forty-nine nights now on Royal Caribbean ships over the past 7 years. I guess you could say we are ‘experienced cruisers’. This past cruise was our first trip to Asia- sailing from Hong Kong to Singapore. We sailed ... Read More
I have sailed forty-nine nights now on Royal Caribbean ships over the past 7 years. I guess you could say we are ‘experienced cruisers’. This past cruise was our first trip to Asia- sailing from Hong Kong to Singapore. We sailed aboard the Voyager of the Seas. Normally we have thought Royal Caribbean lines to be a slightly better cruise line than Princess and certainly heads above Norwegian Cruise Lines. After this cruise I believe Royal Caribbean may be showing signs of a major decline. Possibly this is just a worn-out ship with poor leadership. Specifically on the Voyager this cruise, I would say there is not one specific thing, but death by 100 paper cuts. ⁃ Ship is dirty. Look at the ledges or the the hanging decorations in the main centrum. They are beyond dusty. Room service was pretty good. It is specifically the public areas that are filthy. ⁃ Ship is old and desperately needs an update; many broken items. Fridge in our room did not work. We asked them to fix but they could not. Lights out on art in stairways. Ice cream refrigerator quit working at Ben and Jerry’s resulting in soupy ice cream. Ceiling canvas in pool areas rotting. Rust on balcony of our room. On and on…. ⁃ Dining staff is way over-tasked. We waited an hour+ each night between appetizer and main course. Food is fine but not as good as other ships. What is with not passing out bread anymore or taking order of desert with the main meal and the cheesy one page menu? Or what about the sales pitch on the bottom of this cheesy menu for a steak from Chops? Seems like Corporate is looking to squeeze every bit of revenue out of everything they can. ⁃ Captain is a slug. We went to the Captain’s appreciation event. The Captain spoke and recognized the crew. One crew member in specific had five years dedicated service. The Captain attempted to pronounce her name and when he could not pronounce the name, he said, “Whatever. It does not matter” and she came to the front to have her picture taken and looked very humiliated. What kind of leader does this in front of 150 people? Why not practice the name beforehand? How would he like this public humiliation for his years of service? ⁃ Shore tender was the biggest joke I have ever seen. They promised the first tender at 9:30 AM; it did not leave until 11:00 - no announcement- just make people stand in line for 2 hours in a hot-as-hell hallway. ⁃ Windjammer sucks on this ship. NEVER were there enough seats! Not on the first day, nor subsequent cruise days. WHY? Do you want to know why??? Because the hacks at Corporate decided that since this old hulk-of-a-ship made in the 1990s did not have a “Chops” restaurant, they would take 25% of the Windjammer space and put a Chops there in it’s place. More revenue, after all. So it sits empty while we stand with a plate of food. ⁃ The staff seemed unhappy, distant (in attitude) and some I got the feeling were resentful. One man I observed appeared as if he could ‘snap’ any moment. We had a good time in Asia despite these hurdles and really, anyone who can even go on a cruise ship is a lucky dog in this world. However, at the same time, Royal Caribbean (on this trip) did not meet a high standard at all. I would give this ship at the most 2 out of 5 stars. Maybe one star. I would not book a cruise on this ship. I wonder if my days of sailing with Royal Caribbean is coming to an end. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was my 7th cruise with RC and up to this point I was very loyal to them and had always enjoyed my cruises. I was traveling with my parents and wife on this cruise and they are all very experienced cruisers too. All of us couldn't ... Read More
This was my 7th cruise with RC and up to this point I was very loyal to them and had always enjoyed my cruises. I was traveling with my parents and wife on this cruise and they are all very experienced cruisers too. All of us couldn't believe how bad this ship, staff and ports were and the amazing corners that RC is cutting to save costs. First, the service was awful. It seems that staff has been cut by 40% versus other cruises. Bars are packed, the windjammer is always packed and crew members just seemed overall annoyed with passengers. One of the funniest (in an awful way) anecdotes to capture how bad it is was that they don't allow you to pour your own water or coffee at the Windjammer. The problem is, half the coffee machines and ice machines are broken, so there are only ever 2 stations that are fully functioning. So this creates long lines at every station, just to get a cup of water. At times 15 people would be queued up, snaking between tables waiting for water. The staff had no urgency or worries about this. At one point I was standing there for 3-5 minutes while a crew member was watching individual cubes of ice fall into a bucket from a dis-functioning machine. So finally I went behind the station to pour my own coffee. Comically bad. The ship itself is tired and worn out. Rust everywhere, stains on the carpets and a general musty smell. Our hallway on floor 7 had a roof leak so there were buckets of water dotting the halls catching drips and huge fans running all day to try and remove the growing mold. The internet almost never worked even though we paid for the "streaming" package. One day it was down the entire day and didn't work at all. The pool chairs are nasty and outside decks have dirt and stains all over them. It just looked tired and worn out everywhere. The Vietnam ports of call were nightmares. Large container ports and if you didn't make your own plans you would be completely out of luck. The tender process was comically mismanaged. It was supposed to begin at 9am and didn't start till 11am. So there were scores of people lined up on the stairs, angry and hot. Finally they just started loading people onto the lifeboats regardless of their ticket number so people who had been waiting for 2.5 hours were passed by people who showed up 15 minutes earlier. Tempers were beyond hot. Overall, this cruise ruined RC for me. I brought a list of concerns to the Guest Service deck and the exact response was: "thank you for your concerns. Unfortunately we've heard these things from hundreds of others and there isn't anything we can do. Thank you though for not shouting at me like most other people have been. Hopefully this ship is dry docked soon because there is nothing we can do." My last comment is about the leadership. I think there is a serious concern with the Captain of this ship. It doesn't get this bad without poor leadership at the top. I was actually sad when I attended the exclusive crown and anchor night and he was giving out years of service recognition. An employee was getting their 5 year award and he butchered the pronunciation of their name. He just laughed and said "oh well, it doesn't really matter anyway." How awful....inhuman and embarrassing. I felt so sad for this crew member who had given 5 years of their life to RC and was then laughed at in front of the entire room because the Captain not only didn't know their name, but didn't even care what it was. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We had AFT suite which had the perfect outlook as a panoramic view including the side. Vibration can take a little getting used to during the night but this only occurred when we were making up time or docking. Steward service was hit ... Read More
We had AFT suite which had the perfect outlook as a panoramic view including the side. Vibration can take a little getting used to during the night but this only occurred when we were making up time or docking. Steward service was hit and miss for a suite as we were surrounded by non suite staterooms and the allocation to each steward would be higher. Rarely did we see a child(I think there were 2 on board), most passengers were American Australian UK then South African average age 65. Loved the free laundry and staff in Neptune lounge were fantastic. Shows were nothing like the big ships so were a bit hit and miss. Pinnacle restaurant was great especially their degustation but MDR food was also great and service perfect. Always hard to compare different ships particularly of different size. Suite benefits vary dramatically in different cruise lines so check what suites you. As a 1900 passenger ship it is less crowded with fast elevators less queuing but the trade off is less shops and activities and shows of a lower standard. Tours in china and Japan were poor value with communication issues with the guides but they were well organised. Internet even on the premium package was hit and miss. Would definitely recommend this ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise based primarily on the itinerary. In summary we had a good vacation despite a few notable shortcomings with Norwegian. We found the ship to be very relaxing with a good mix of entertainment options, public spaces like ... Read More
We chose this cruise based primarily on the itinerary. In summary we had a good vacation despite a few notable shortcomings with Norwegian. We found the ship to be very relaxing with a good mix of entertainment options, public spaces like casino, bars, pool, etc; and nice private spaces - our stateroom was the perfect size for our family of 3 (larger than the Celebrity cruise we took a few years back). Service onboard was generally adequate. Many guest facing folks were nice, and enthusiastic. However, there was a higher proportion of staff on this cruise who simply weren't as friendly as they should have been. Specialty restaurant waitstaff were generally underwhelming. Front desk / reception was a challenge (they were not able to help on really the only 2 issues that came up for us). Not only could they not help, but they definitely did not display empathy nor the desire to go out of their way to come up with creative solutions. Check-in in Hong Kong was not as described - we arrived around 12:30 and were issued a queue number, ended up waiting about 2 hours to get checked in and onboard. Once we were called to check in, the process was quick and efficient. I was surprised and uncomfortable with the fact that they collected our passports (and kept them) at the boarding door. I don't think this was communicated ahead of time, and in general was not something I felt good about. When I asked why this was happening, the woman literally laughed at me - perhaps a language/culture barrier problem but off-putting nonetheless. Food - was OK, definitely a mixed bag. Leathery bacon at the buffet - consistently. Ice cream machines that couldn't keep up with demand (serving liquidy soft serve). Chin Chin's was in general not tasty (we ordered 5 different entrees among 4 adults) and the only one that tasted good was the sweet/sour pork. Cagney's steak was supremely disappointing - meat quality was mid-market grocery store level (think safeway or albertson's "choice" cuts). The silver lining in this cloud was the notion that since the food wasn't great, we didn't overeat. Ever. I overheard other adults making similar statements. With about 3 days remaining onboard, we found there were some things they were running out of. No pineapple at the buffet. No lemons for iced tea. No sprinkles for ice cream. These seem like small things, but they are the little things that make a vacation great or less-than-great. Excursions - the selection was a bit thin. Too many similar outings to temples across the various ports. Would have been nice to have a few more cultural viewpoints that were more diversified. Also, our experience in Cambodia was not good - a beach with no amenities and a market with no amenities. Other tours were too limited in availability and we did not get our reservation in on time. The brightest shining stars on this cruise: 1) The cabin was large (we had a mini suite balcony - essentially one room with a curtain divider between the bed and the pull-out sofabed). Much nicer than our previous experience on Celebrity. The fact that it has recently been renewed I think helped. 2) Our 6-year old absolutely loved the Kids Club. We literally couldn't pull her away. The staff were all amazing, engaging, fun. Lots of great activities. This was our first Norwegian cruise and while we didn't hate it, they also didn't make a good enough impression on us to convince us to stop trying new cruise lines. Our next cruise likely won't be with Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
CABIN (see below) DINING The Metropolitan Dining Room looked gorgeous, and for the most part, the food matched its elegance to such an extent that we didn't have to contemplate paying extra for specialty dining. Still, when I saw ... Read More
CABIN (see below) DINING The Metropolitan Dining Room looked gorgeous, and for the most part, the food matched its elegance to such an extent that we didn't have to contemplate paying extra for specialty dining. Still, when I saw the menu the first night, I felt it was not as high-brow as I had hoped. Thankfully, the impression improved, but when they had something really decent, they put EVERYTHING I was looking forward to into that one evening (lobster tail, rack of lamb, beef Wellington). There were other blemishes: not knowing what "English cut" was for the prime rib, for example, the Béarnaise not having any tarragon in it, subbing sea bream for the advertised cod without first telling diners (only owning up to it when challenged, and thereby looking like they were passing off one fish for another), and the soup course being weak almost all around, hot or cold... For the most part, though, the food was fresh and tasty, and the service at most seatings, exquisite. It was a marvel that they kept so much food going around so hot, and that one night when a Grand Marnier soufflé was offered for dessert took the cake, so to speak. I was also amazed and thankful that our wine steward Jelena remembered my name on the second night, and even more thankful that she gave us (and everyone else?) a 20% discount off all bottled wines, making the choosing of any of the packages quite unnecessary. The mark-up was your usual restaurant-type (before the discount kicked in) - I would not recommend lugging your own and paying the $25 corkage unless you're talking about 3-figure fine wines. The buffet at the Oceanview café, too, was impressive - LOTS of variety, fresh, and most of it well-prepared (those Indian dishes!!!), intruded upon occasionally by a lack of authenticity that ranged from frustrating (cannoli not made with mascarpone, and tiramisu with no actual lady fingers in it) to ROTFL ridiculous (at the "Indian Favorites" carving station, they featured - you guessed it - roast BEEF!) But there's a dire dearth in seating to handle a ship of this size, a situation not helped by inconsiderate fellow cruisers (a couple sitting opposite each other in a square table for four...) ENRICHMENT / ENTERTAINMENT Listening to Dr. Gary Kramer talk about everything from whales to stars, as well as hold court in a wide-ranging QnA, was a pleasure - dude and wife are accomplished dancers too! Most of the entertainment was good - musical guests included an accomplished Chinese pianist/composer Jiang Tian and various great singers; the revue had its moments, with a fine young female singer leading the way, but the first show was confusing, and just average when it came to singing/dancing (the final night was a little better). EXCURSIONS & PORTS OF CALL Ship excursions were by and large pricey and not worth the money. Just by way of an example, the excursion to Beijing from the ship at the port in Tianjin comprises a bus ride there and back (3 hours each way): cost, $119 for this "self-guided tour" per person. With a little bit of planning, a couple can take a taxi to the Binhai train station ($12 each way) and take the high speed train right into Beijing ($10 per person each way), saving not only a boatload of money ($65 vs. $258) but trimming 2 hours of travel time. We loved all 3 places in South Korea - heck, all the ports of call, but felt we could easily have spent more time on land than cruising in the ocean at a slow speed. MISCELLANEOUS As mentioned, the Celebrity Millenium experience exceeded my expectations, as did "staying cooped up for 14 nights" - cuz we didn't, as we went ashore to explore at every port, and it was a great adventure. Some touches of "luxury" are appreciated (most waiters helping you place the napkin in your lap), while others are unnecessary (cloths to dry your hands in every public bathroom - in addition to paper towels). The gym is just too small for a ship this size: can't quite picture what would happen when it's not an older crowd like ours. The damn TVs did not work 95% of the time on 90% of the channels. The Solarium is beautiful, but the water in the hot tub is way not hot enough, and the number of hot tubs, inadequate. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Just did a 6 days Hong Kong Vietnam Cruise, 2 adults with kids 9 and 11. It was our second cruise. Very glad we choose the PALACE SUITE upgrade, and this particular World Dream cruise-ship. The room is fantastic with a huge bathroom, ... Read More
Just did a 6 days Hong Kong Vietnam Cruise, 2 adults with kids 9 and 11. It was our second cruise. Very glad we choose the PALACE SUITE upgrade, and this particular World Dream cruise-ship. The room is fantastic with a huge bathroom, much storage and an easy-to-fold down sleeper for the kids while the ship is less then a year old having cost almost a billion USD (build in Germany). The Palace VIP upgrade comes with many perks, e.g.: • Personal butler for your room available 6 x 15 hours. Can call her/him from anywhere on the ship to sort out small issues/make bookings/a lost bag/etc. • access to the VIP/PALACE area which covers about 1/3rd of the ship in the front. Economy class passengers do not have access to this area. The buffet restaurant (breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and supper till 2am) is fantastic with great views/service/food. No need to queue here (while in economy obtaining a lobster requires strong elbows and immaculate timing Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Christmas and New Years Cruise in Asia. My son and I went on this 14 day Cruise, we loved the food and the staff 95% were incredible. Unfortunately our cabin Steward was not one of them her cleaning especially the Bathroom being very ... Read More
Christmas and New Years Cruise in Asia. My son and I went on this 14 day Cruise, we loved the food and the staff 95% were incredible. Unfortunately our cabin Steward was not one of them her cleaning especially the Bathroom being very inadequate. The entertainment was very average and there was a distinct lack of things to do on Sea Days. The production shows especially Broadway were quite good just not the impersonators and hypnotist. The Martini Bar was the place to be with the boys making wonderful cocktails and entertaining us with there show of tossing the bottles and containers. Overall the staff and service well made up for any shortcomings and we had a great time, cant wait to get back on her in May after the renovations. Anyone onboard look out for a sommelier Jelena she was wonderful, and Gaynor & Kadak in the MDR anytime dining and delphante in the Rendezvous all fantastic. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We had travelled as a family with HAL on 4 previous occasions. Always loving it however HAL lost some of their shine for us with this cruise. There appear to have been service / facility reductions compared to previous cruises. I am not ... Read More
We had travelled as a family with HAL on 4 previous occasions. Always loving it however HAL lost some of their shine for us with this cruise. There appear to have been service / facility reductions compared to previous cruises. I am not sure if this is peculiar to the Westerdam or a trend for HAL. 1) No self service laundry any more - only valet service. 2) No separate disco anymore; has been converted into a games / TV area. 3) New Years Eve celebrations had been confined to Lido instead of multiple options across the ship. 4) The number of hand sanitizers around the ship were far fewer. 5) No prizes anymore for daily activities. 6) Trivia and happy hour no longer located on Observation Deck. No reason to go there any more. 7) Entertainers had far less interaction with the guests than previous cruises. I still rated the service aspect very highly for our cabin staff and waiters in the Main Dining Room. The food was excellent too. Embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth and efficient. The Visa costs for Vietnam and Cambodia added a lot to the cost of our trip. This was handled well by HAL but guests need to be aware of these charges before booking the cruise. On previous HAL cruises we have felt like Royalty. On this one, we felt like a number. I hope these reductions are only on the Westerdam but I fear it might be across the fleet? Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
4 of us took a family trip on the Westerdam from Hong Kong to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Singapore. Excellent value for money -- the food and service was great and we enjoyed all the ports. There was a good mix of people on the ... Read More
4 of us took a family trip on the Westerdam from Hong Kong to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Singapore. Excellent value for money -- the food and service was great and we enjoyed all the ports. There was a good mix of people on the cruise and it was a nice change to experience Christmas and New Years on a ship. Our rooms were between mid-ship and aft on deck 4, and we didn't have any issues at all. On shorter port days we took some of the excursions organized by Holland America, which worked out well. And on the overnight stay in Laem Chabang we organized a round-trip taxi at the cruise terminal and stayed the night in Bangkok. For many of the ports, you can find reasonable taxis and tours when you get off the ship, if you're willing and able to negotiate. Looking forward to another cruise with Holland America! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We are a family of five with three young people aged 19, 17 and 16 and chose this cruise to celebrate our son's completion of high school. He wanted to visit Hong Kong and go on a cruise from Hong Kong. We spent 6 days in Hong Kong ... Read More
We are a family of five with three young people aged 19, 17 and 16 and chose this cruise to celebrate our son's completion of high school. He wanted to visit Hong Kong and go on a cruise from Hong Kong. We spent 6 days in Hong Kong prior to boarding the ship. This was a good amount of time to explore Hong Kong. Embarkation was smooth although the customs process onboard, before leaving port was slow and tedious. Our passports were retained by cruise staff at this time. We received a receipt and a photocopy of the passport was provided for each visited country which was something I hadn't experienced before. Passports were returned prior to disembarking the ship back in Hong Kong. The cruise took us to two ports in Japan, Naha and Ishigaki, two ports in Taiwan, Keelung (Taipei) and Kaohsiung, and Manila, Philippines before returning to Hong Kong, total of 10 nights. The balance of cruise days, 4 and ports, 5 was good. There was plenty to do in each port. Our cabins were excellent, the food terrific and provided entertainment fabulous. The only negative was that our 19 year old son's drink package was not honoured. This was despite prior written confirmation. He was not impressed! Otherwise everything went well and we would definitely travel on Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
They prioritize the Mainland China market with focus on loud Mandarin Karaoke, activities and crowded dancing. Nowhere for nice music, dancing, chat or fun places without overly screeching speakers. Best bar evenings reserved for Mandarin ... Read More
They prioritize the Mainland China market with focus on loud Mandarin Karaoke, activities and crowded dancing. Nowhere for nice music, dancing, chat or fun places without overly screeching speakers. Best bar evenings reserved for Mandarin Karaoke. Half the shows were disappointing. Dance classes over crowded. Few Westerners got open dining time. Most 5.30pm or 8.30pm. Changing very difficult. We had booked anytime dining but got told 5.30pm - not possible to change. Cigarette from the casino strong and wafting up and into other areas, making adjoining areas out of scope for non smokers.. Great service from some (sadly not all) restaurant staff and cabin crew and large balcony rooms the positives. Great gym size, but most activities one has to pay for.. like no craft, cake decorating $US35. Queue for a while for rock climbing. $US12 yoga. Shore excursions a hit and miss with Vietnam spa bad English and taking us to the wrong (better) then taking us to a more commercial (disappointing) site. Another Vietnam tour guide was Excellent in comparison. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Last minute deal still in summer so sail in 2 rooms with 2 elderly and a 11 old boy。overnight stay in Naha means lots of time ro sight seeing and shopping. We did a shore wxcursion wirh the RCi to mid okinawa a cillage to see how eople ... Read More
Last minute deal still in summer so sail in 2 rooms with 2 elderly and a 11 old boy。overnight stay in Naha means lots of time ro sight seeing and shopping. We did a shore wxcursion wirh the RCi to mid okinawa a cillage to see how eople lived in the past and a sunset beach in a us navy base. The next mor.ing we did the tour by taxi to the castle and had lunch in tge cafe there. Nice. Eat the blue ice cream. Good. Try the salty ice cream and bisxuit also good. We enjoyed the outdoor movie almost be there for all the movies and son liked the adventure ocean and the arcade. Climb the wall great fun esp when l hit the bell. Lots of chinese from mainland china we are chinese from hk. See they improve in etiquette over the years no spitting of sputum or shouting. Only kids screaming happily. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose this cruise as an interesting initial itinerary attracted our attention. Unfortunately Boracay was changed due to its closure but we decided to continue anyway. The alternative port was Subic Bay was did not have very much to ... Read More
We chose this cruise as an interesting initial itinerary attracted our attention. Unfortunately Boracay was changed due to its closure but we decided to continue anyway. The alternative port was Subic Bay was did not have very much to offer close by. I wouldn't really recommend Subic Bayu as a destination (nothing to do there) although the local people were very friendly. If you do go there try the Crab and Belly restaurant - excellent food at an excellent price. It was a shame that the port visits coincided with a level 1 typhoon warning which basically meant it rained heavily but giving into being wet made the excursions easier. At the completion of the cruise we took up the day tour and airport drop off option which saved considerable angst about what to do with luggage. This cruise was perhaps 85% Asian and despite some subsequent complaints I have heard about that, I found there were no problems or issues in fact it added to the adventure of the cruise. The food was primarily and understandably aimed at that demographic so I took the opportunity to explore the wider than usual food options available. The entertainment was excellent, even though the shows were the same as when we originally sailed on Ovation. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I normally just read reviews, but after this cruise I thought I could counter some of the previous negative reviews with a positive one. This is a bit lengthly as a warning but I hope to help others get a better underling of the Asian ... Read More
I normally just read reviews, but after this cruise I thought I could counter some of the previous negative reviews with a positive one. This is a bit lengthly as a warning but I hope to help others get a better underling of the Asian market. After reading previous reviews on here about Ovation of the Seas, my wife and I came onboard with a lower expectation. We were pleasantly surprised. The biggest disclaimer of those thinking about Ovation of the Seas. If you are going to the Asian theater, you need to be prepared for the cultural differences you will likely see. Royal Caribbean does announce the cruises as a cultural tour, so you will have an idea when selecting your cruise. We had an amazing cruise and Ovation of the Seas is now our favorite ship. Can't wait to go on her again when she goes to the North American market. EMBARKATION Was a breeze. Make sure you have done all of your pre-cruise paperwork filled out on RCL's cruise planner, and you'll have no problems. Also, showing up early will definitely help! Once onboard they directed passengers to the MDR, but we went directly to Windjammer. Since we arrived to the ship at 1000, we were one of the first onboard (boarded around 1115) so we didn't have to wait. If you get onboard after 1130-1200, strongly do not recommend the windjammer, as it fills up quickly and you'll be waiting a long time. Promenade cafe and Solarium are some great second options to avoid the initial rush to eat. SHIP This was our 5th cruise. We have previously been onboard several of the Oasis and Freedom class ships. The ship is huge, with many activities and experiences onboard that will be mentioned later. What we liked about the ship is the modern touches, from the ease of embarkation, to the decor throughout the ship, the ease of going through the photo galley (it's simply all upload to monitors where you can select your photos and pick either prints or digital, and pick up at a later time), we found the modern touches to be quite pleasing. CABIN We had a Junior Suite 9632, starboard side, and the beginning of "the hump". Great cabin and if you are looking for a JS, strongly recommend this cabin, as the layout is quite different from other JS. We had a single cabin passenger stateroom next to our cabin, which made our cabin and have "elbow" layout, vice just the straight walk-in view as is typical for JS. Very modern looking, right down to the telephone, and we had a HUGE balcony that included 2 chairs that you can lay down on. Had dimming lights that you could control from one knob, including right next to your bed, very convenient. Also had the best bathroom we've ever had on RCL as of now. DINING Here, we came onboard with a low expectation due to so many negative reviews on Cruise Critic. Within 30 minutes onboard, I was talking directly with the Sous Chef and maître d' of the Ship about the most recent Cruise Critic Reviews. They assured me they have been reading these and have taken action on some of the complaints, in particular the lack of western food options. It is true! The Windjammer had several "Western style options" throughout the cruise, including for breakfast scrambled eggs, omelets, hash browns, bacon and sausage. For lunch, standard options included hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries, and even spaghetti or Alfredo. Yes, there were several Asian options at the windjammer and MDR, but this was an Asian cruise! 75% of the passengers were Asian, so I was happy to experience some of the Asian cuisine, but pleased to have a few Western options to cater to me as well. Yes, the MDR had the same menu at all four restaurants (American Icon Grill and Silk are on deck 4, Grande and Chic are on Deck 3), but I thought it was fine. Towards the end of the cruise I did shift to more classic dishes, but I was happy to at least have the options for an Asian cruise! In the MDR, they do try to seat the international passengers in the same section. This was also RCL's way of addressing the critics. Smart move for sure! Once again, please realize this is a Cultural cruise, so you will need some order of patience, but it can get quite loud in the "local sections" which is why I definitely understand some of the separation that takes place. In addition, the Chinese liked to be served quickly, so the separation gives the international guests the chance to enjoy their meal without feeling rushed by the staff or other passengers. You do have the option to sit wherever you want, as a point I loved the MDR staff that served me, so we picked the same restaurant at Grande for a majority of the time. Did not eat at the speciality restaurants because we had family onboard with a budget, but we did have dinner one night at Coastal Kitchen and the food was outstanding! The staff were even kind enough to my request and brought my favorite dessert to the MDR each night because I couldn't go there for dinner (parents were not suite members). ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITIES Several previous negative reviews mentioned the lack of entertainment or activities, this is NOT TRUE! I also keep my compass' so if you would like to see them just message me, I'd be more than happy to show you an average day. There is plenty to do onboard, you just have to take the time to look at your compass or ask the staff. We spent most of our time at the Solarium (better layout than even Oasis or Allure) , the IFly and North Star are a must do, and we were really impressed with the Seaplex. There were more older people riding the bumper cars than the teens, very fun! Another note: Many previous reviews said bars were lacking or closed, but every bar that was onboard was open and available, with little to no waiting. HUGE PLUS: The best part of the cruise was going to the Solarium. You can easily find deck chairs all day long! There is no need to worry or rush about finding a chair while on an Asian cruise. 8am, or 1pm, it's easy getting chairs and enjoying all the pools anywhere onboard. Must see shows are Pixels, and Live, Love, Legs (wish they had this how on all the ships). SERVICES When I went to Guest Services, they were very helpful and friendly, stressed for sure, but mainly due to the cultural types of people onboard. Once again, patience by everyone is required here, but the staff went out of there way to help me. MDR service was good, get in line onetime per your sea pass card and you won't have any problems. In fact, the staff is there to greet you if you are one of the first ones in line. Within 20 minutes of the first seating, the line was always cleared out, so you never have to wait for long, once again showing up on time is key here. PORTS AND SHORE EXCURSIONS This was the one disappointment on the cruise, and hence the 4 stars. Our ports were Danang and Nha Trang Vietnam. For the Danang port, we did RCL's Past and Present Danag shore excursion. Overall, it was a decent excursion: You start by getting on an air conditioned bus with a guide, then they take you a museum that talks about the ancient kingdom in this particular area, some really need artifacts are there to check out. But you only have about 10 minutes to look around. Then they take you on a Vietnamese Tuk Tuk for a ride around the city, which was alot of fun. After that you get to stroll through a local market. However, you have zero time to do any shopping, because you're then moving to go back on the bus where you drive to marble mountain to see a ton of marble statues and stop at their marble store to pick up souvenirs) You then drive to a local resort for lunch. The buffet was VERY good and included wifi (lunch is about 30-40 min). We then drove to see a huge Buddha and Chinese Pagoda. Here again, you only have about 15 minutes. I literally had to leave my older family behind in order to run around like a madman grabbing photos as fast as I could in order to see everything and get back on the bus. After this sweat fest to say the least we cooled off on the bus as we drove back to the ship, with a quick (less than 5 minutes) stop at a local market. This was a good way to see Danang, but the whole tour was way too rushed and stressful to really enjoy. We definitely needed a few more hours overall to enjoy some of the sights, particularly the Buddha and Pagoda which was AMAZING. After that experience, we were quite exhausted, so the next day at Nha Trang we decided to stay onboard. RCL has to tender at Nha Trang, and the passengers booked with RCL for shore excursions had first priority off the ship. Most passengers didn't get off the ship until 10-11am, and all aboard was at 4pm, so there wasn't much time there. But people did like the port more than Danang, so there was a tradeoff. However, we had a great time being onboard, most of the facilities were still open so I took advantage of that, plus my all-inclusive drink package. All in all a very nice relaxing day. I know this review is long, but I wanted to counter some of the negative reviews. The ship is great, the staff is helpful and friendly (Challenged by the theater/area of the passengers), and easy to relax and be busy with activities. Ovation of the Seas is now our favorite ship in the RCL fleet, and if you want an outstanding coffee, just see Viraj from Mauritius in the Windjammer coffee bar, he can whip up a mean cappuccino! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This cruise and the two following cruises on June 1 and June 6 were booked as an offering by Cruise 1st on a back to back basis, AND SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN OFFERED TO UK CUSTOMERS. The whole ship, including the food, and entertainment, ... Read More
This cruise and the two following cruises on June 1 and June 6 were booked as an offering by Cruise 1st on a back to back basis, AND SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN OFFERED TO UK CUSTOMERS. The whole ship, including the food, and entertainment, was designed and set up to cater for Chinese and other Asian guests, NOT US. SIMPLY NOT UP TO STANDARD AND VERY VERY DISAPPOINTING. Noise level on board and in the Windjammer totally unacceptable from the 4000 Chinese guests. We only found out about an english menu being available at HongKong airport on the way home from other miserable UK guests who, like us had to wait for 11 hours minimum to get the flight home. This menu was never offered to us in any of the 4 restaurants and consequently we did not know of its existence. I managed to get a ships wheel chair for my partner who has limited mobility but when we got back to HongKong at the end of the first leg we were refused permission to take it off the ship to re-board in Shenzhen. THREFORE WE REFUSED TO GET OFF. So we stayed on whilst the ship was moved along with another couple. We did not need our Chinese visas at all AND ALL THE BRITISH GUESTS WHO HAD THE TRAUMA OF GETTING OFF AND ON COULD ALL HAVE STAYED ON BOARD AND NOT BE DISTURBED. SOME EVEN HAD TO CHANGE CABIN. We all had to attend three safety assemblies conducted in Chinese, get three boarding passes, and register our credit cards three times, ALL TOTALLY UNNECESSARY WITH GOOD ORGANISATION AND WE SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN DISTURBED IN THIS WAY. . The trips off the ship were badly over-priced and I really object to paying USD 14.15 for a single glass of red wine. When we got to Okinawa for an overnight stay on-board the shuttle bus from the ship into the city centre was only advised as running on the evening of arrival AND NO MENTION OF THE NEXT DAY. This would have meant getting off the ship close to darkness. I managed to find out that this was not true and that the shuttle was running the next day and changed my tickets. SOME OF YOUR UK CUSTOMERS WERE REFUSED THIS CHANGE WHEN THEY ASKED TO DO SO. The two theatre performances that we attended were so poor that we walked out both times and never came back. Typical example of the poor food is that when a roast joint was made available there was only gravy, mint jelly and mashed potato available to have with it. No roast potatoes yorkshires, and cooked vegetables, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Most days any chips on offer were stone cold in seconds, and of the type offered by Macdonalds, SIMPLY NOT ACCEPTABLE. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
From beginning to end the cruise experience came across to me as being all about the money. We booked a 9 day cruise on the Ovation of the Seas sailing from Hong Kong to Japan with four shore excursions in Japan. The dining experience, ... Read More
From beginning to end the cruise experience came across to me as being all about the money. We booked a 9 day cruise on the Ovation of the Seas sailing from Hong Kong to Japan with four shore excursions in Japan. The dining experience, in all bar the restaurants for which reservations had to be made and paid for by the guests, was passable at best. The "free" restaurants on board offered a very poor range and quality of food when compared to other cruise companies. I heard numerous complaints from fellow guests regarding food and restaurant quality. A word to the wise - please drop that silly continuity announcement in Windjammers where your MC implores the guests to vacate our tables as soon as possible so others might enjoy the Windjammer experience. Such announcements only add insult to injury. The shore excursions are another area where value for money was nonexistent. The overpriced excursion to Fukuoka included a memorable queuing experience of approximately 1 hour while we all waited with baited breath to ascent the Fukuoka Tower. Who ever thought that going up in an elevator to a viewing area overlooking the sea on one side and skyscrapers on the other would constitute good value for money. This tower is not exactly the Eiffel Tower or the Empire of State. Just when we thought that that the shore excursions could not be surpassed in terms of money wasted we embarked on a tour of Kumamoto. The guide droned on in very poor English for the duration of the trip to the extent that most people on the bus fell asleep on the outward journey to Kumamoto. When we arrived at our destination the guide insisted that we line up like school children in rows of two before embarking on our visit to the castle. The visit, if it could even be called a visit, was carried out by the guide without explanation. The only crumb of information made available related to the destruction wrought on the castle in a recent earthquake. Having walked around the castle perimeter without the aid of any explanation from the guide we eventually arrived at a quadrangle that contained toilets and a temple of some sort. The guide pointed out where the toilets were and by way of explanation said "here is a temple". When he was pressed for more information we were informed that our time was up and we needed to get back to the bus. In summary - 1 - Shore Excursions - Seriously over priced and badly guided 2 - On board food experience - Very poor in the "free" restaurants - Food quality in the restaurants for which a booking fee applied was of a good standard and typical of other cruise companies. However having to pay an additional €360 to gain entry to the good restaurants for 6 nights was excessive in the extreme. 3 - Staff - With very very few exceptions all staff encountered on board were top quality and a credit to their employer. 4 - Stateroom - We had a balcony stateroom - Again, as with the staff, the stateroom accommodation was of a very high standard. Overall Royal Caribbean’s attitude would appear to be driven by a desire to squeeze as much money out of their on board “guests” as possible. A fellow disgruntled guest described Royal Caribbean as the Ryanair of the Seas. Unfortunately in our experience and on this occasion that sentiment has the ring of truth. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Tours very expensive with nothing to be seen Charged 20$ for local transfers when docked and then faced over 1 hour wait to get on a bus both ways Only had anytime dining, no set dining although we had booked for a table of 8. Again ... Read More
Tours very expensive with nothing to be seen Charged 20$ for local transfers when docked and then faced over 1 hour wait to get on a bus both ways Only had anytime dining, no set dining although we had booked for a table of 8. Again long queues to get into dining rooms. Specifically aimed at Asian customers, although the majority non Asian and staff confirmed this was the case. Dining room English menu managed to offer Shepherds Pie and all was lukewarm. Restricted Windjammer opening hours. Closed at 10.30 am had to go to another cafe with much less choice. Entertainment almost non existent No port maps supplied unless queued for ages at Guest Relations to get one. Everyone was complaining about this cruise so the queues were horrendous. TV choices terrible only American Weather Service in English Disembarkation was a joke, the queues went all round the ship to get off they seemed to just get everyone off in one go. Have had several conversations with Royal Caribbean and all they can say is sorry but having done many Royal Caribbean cruises there was just so much wrong with this one and just saying sorry does not quite cut it. One lady I spoke to in Miami said that this cruise was "culturally enriched"her words,and that this is in their description in the brochures and we were sold this cruise as a "miscommunication from the travel agent" again her words, we have spoken to both our travel agent and also others and no one has ever heard of this before.and it is certainly not in any of the brochures. I would advise anyone cruising to the Far East to check this out. We have just had such awful treatment from this Company since our return which is so sad as the previous cruises were such wonderful experiences. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We did a back to back to back Sydney to Yokohama so this review is for the last leg, Hong Kong to Yokohama. The Jewel is now quite old and in need of a refit but provides a good cruising experience with lounges and restaurants to suit all ... Read More
We did a back to back to back Sydney to Yokohama so this review is for the last leg, Hong Kong to Yokohama. The Jewel is now quite old and in need of a refit but provides a good cruising experience with lounges and restaurants to suit all tastes. Our inside cabin was adequate and our cabin steward did his best. Dining was generally good. The two main restaurants were fine, the buffet (Market cafe) often a scrum but the food was good. The speciality restaurants were good. Service was generally good, some outstanding, some poor. Entertainment became a bit samey but we were on the ship for 40 nights so that was to be expected. Ports on this leg of the cruise were great. We did not take any NCL excursions but seldom heard anything good from those who did take them so this is an area on this ship that NCL should look carefully at. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We saw the advertisement for the cruise from Hong Kong to Tokyo via China in the weekend Australian newspaper. The service staff, in the cabins and restaurants, were particularly impressive. Genuine friendliness and welcoming. Extremely ... Read More
We saw the advertisement for the cruise from Hong Kong to Tokyo via China in the weekend Australian newspaper. The service staff, in the cabins and restaurants, were particularly impressive. Genuine friendliness and welcoming. Extremely helpful and obliging - no request was too much or too problematic to carry out. The entertainment in the theatre was of a very high standard - each evening's performance more professional than the previous one. All areas of the ship were clean, well cared for, appealing and comfortable to relax or be entertained in. Especially enjoyed the art education sessions given by Divan from Park West and his very entertaining art auctions. The speciality restaurants, La Cucina, Le Bistro and Cagney's Steakhouse were included in our food package and very worthwhile. Disembarkation and embarkation at each port was smooth and well organised. The reception committee on embarkation were very pleasant, welcoming and friendly. We organised our own shore excursions, so didn't use the ship's excursions. There were absolutely no problems or negative experiences throughout our cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018

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