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5 Hong Kong to Middle East Cruise Reviews

My wife and I traveled from Hong Kong to Taiwan, Vietnam, and back to Hong Kong On Celebrity Millennium in March 2012. We had done a similar cruise some 5 years ago with Royal Caribbean, which we thoroughly enjoyed, and thought we could ... Read More
My wife and I traveled from Hong Kong to Taiwan, Vietnam, and back to Hong Kong On Celebrity Millennium in March 2012. We had done a similar cruise some 5 years ago with Royal Caribbean, which we thoroughly enjoyed, and thought we could repeat the experience. A couple of previous reviews have commented on the 3.5 hour check-in fiasco, and it was without doubt one of the worst I have ever experienced in my twenty or so cruises so far completed. It did at times get quite ugly, and threatening. It was our first time on Celebrity, and billed as a step up in standards. Regrettably we did not find it so. The staff were great, always happy and willing to help, and the service in general was excellent. The food in the main restaurant was somewhat mundane, and lacked finesse and imagination. The Ocean View buffet ( in common with most cruise ships operating a similar venue) was chaotic at most times. Tables were frequently not available,and food was mediocre at best. It's a great place to sit and chat with friends and enjoy the view, but with seating for only 20% of passengers, priority should be given to those actually wanting to eat. The entertainment was generally good, with live music available most times of the day. Theatre shows were also of good quality. There was however, apart from the inevitable trivia quizzes, virtually no customer related activities. Most cruises have meetings arranged for service clubs such as Lions, Elks, Rotary etc; as well as table tennis and deck games tournaments, or card schools. There was nothing! Overall, It was Ok, but nothing to shout about. Certainly not worthy of a "premium" rating. I certainly would not be recommending.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
I travelled on a cruise from Hong Kong to Dubai as this was on the Queen Mary2 I was expecting and outstanding voyage .The trips ashore booked via cunard were faultless every country was different and enjoyable. The only let down on this ... Read More
I travelled on a cruise from Hong Kong to Dubai as this was on the Queen Mary2 I was expecting and outstanding voyage .The trips ashore booked via cunard were faultless every country was different and enjoyable. The only let down on this holiday was the ship. too many formal nights 6 in 3 weeks and the staff appeared to be either lazy or undertrained when it came to service especially in the self service area as they appeared to be only table clearers which were not good when tables were left dirty for sometimes 30 minutes and the passangers were walking around holding trays of food with nowhere to sit. We avoided this and went into the dining room as much as possible. this was much better but having been given second sitting 8.30pm each night we all had to wait outside in the corridor while they got ready from sitting one(6.00)pm surely this could have been avoided. I must praise the shows put on each evening as they were brilliant especially the dancers and singers. Also the lectures were very entertaining so this ship did manage to get somethings right. having said all this I would not sail on her again as the other ships I use are much better. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
I would like to break the cruise down in to various categories as it is important that I recognise the good and bad with Nautica/Oceania Cruise. It is also based on our experiences on other cruise lines and is my personal perspective from ... Read More
I would like to break the cruise down in to various categories as it is important that I recognise the good and bad with Nautica/Oceania Cruise. It is also based on our experiences on other cruise lines and is my personal perspective from a non-American perspective.Embarkation : Being Concierge certainly helped with an early and speedy check in in Hong Kong. Well organised. Disembarkation : In Dubai and the most organised we have have seen on any cruise vessel and they even had porters organised for us and which were paid for. Went as smooth as silk.Food : Firstly, a vessel who has pastry chefs who know how to make nice and fresh desserts and pastries. Apart from Croissants(however no-one on vessels seems to be able to do them correctly.Terrace/Tapas - was our main eating area. Great food and the evening meals were great. However, calling it Tapas is a mis-naming for the evening.Polo Grill was great and the meat was cooked exactly how I like it(french Blue). First Prime Rib I have had in some 15 years that had no fat in it.Toscanas - most meals were great except for the prosciutto(Not good and very unitalian).Grand Dining Room - only ate there a couple of times for dinner - Food was average and was just like any large restaurant in the USA. Get the order, serve it fast. Do not blame the chefs or waiters as it is the biggest restaurant on the boat and it is always full. Never ate b/fast or lunch there.Waves - Food was just OK - hamburgers were very bland - smoothies were greatService - generally extremely good - from cabin stewards to waiting staff to front desk and hospitality desks. They were absolutely brilliantThe mixture of nationalities of the crew is amazing and we found that talking to a lot of them was a most interesting experience especially regarding the ports were visiting.One very annoying thing was the speed at which plates were removed from your table with cutlery. Take the last morsel and a hand was there to take the plate away. When are people going to learn that we non-Americans(there a were a lot of non-Americans on this cruise) do not put everything on one plate we have a different plate for each course.One other thing is the coke tasted like diet coke. Found out why. It is served as a type of coke that is produced for maritime and air travel purposes only so a lot less caffeine.Also took a while for the staff to work out what an espresso coffee is.Alcohol - This is a rip off - $USD20 bottles of wine in Australia being S50 - $60 per bottle plus 18%. Not good. However, had some great wines from South America and Europe on the list which we did sample.Tours - we booked our own as most were only 50% - 60% of the cost of the boat tours and we had a private driver and guide with a vehicle. We did 2 small tours with Oceania(one on a large coach and one was for only 10 - 16 people). Take the 10 - 16 people one as it has more freedom. But if you can try and do your own thing.Passengers : Met some great people from USA, Canada, Europe and England who have travelled a lot also and this also made it an interesting trip. I mention this as most people we have met on RSSC are there for the looks and name and not interested in most places being visited. The international passengers(Non-Australian) on Nautica were great and very pleasant.I will apologise for some of the Australians who's behaviour I thought left me a little embarrassed.Also to the couple of Americans who say Australians do not tip. Our gratuities are included in our fare we pay for the cruise and also some Australians did pay tips to tours guides and drivers(EG we did)Cabaret- Did not go there as we go on these trips to visit places and we also tend to eat late.Entertainment - saw one act and that was not that good. One thing missing is a piano bar where we can listen to some music and have after dinner drinks in a quiet area and not near poker machines.Ports of Call - Most were very good and those that were not we were aware of anyway before we embarked onto Nautica(checked on the internet and with a local travel agent in each place we went to(used the net again). Yes, some ports were a bit out of the way or just industrial wharfs but this will happen as cruising into some of these ports is only just beginning on a regular basis.EG Chang May(Vietnam and backup for DaNang) is an industrial port with no facilities at all, no shops or townn there, roads are extremely bad but it is still easy to get to DaNang/Hoi An or Hue from there. Saigon(HCMC) cruise terminal is near city centre - great location - however for other very large cruise vessels they may berth at the new port some 90 minutes out of HCMC centre, Phuket again is out of the main town centre but taxis and tuk tuks(4 wheel variety) are cheap and get you there in 25 - 30 minutes, Yangon(Myanmar/Burma) wharf we berthed at is Thilawa some 60 minutes from Yangon Centre. Again no facilities there as an industrail/commercial wharf area but again you are not there for that. Muscat(Oman) was again a difficult port to get out of but we had shuttle buses for the 5 minute drive into the city area and from there do what you want in total safetyCabin. Yes it is a lot smaller than RSSC and we were concerned about it. However, after a few days we were OK with it and all went well. It was clean, the room stewards were brilliant. bathroom is a little small(especially the shower). Plenty of storage areas for things.Other nice features not on other vessels we have sailed on. Shuttle buses provide at many of the ports. Having a local tourist board person come on board in a number of portswas great. Having the local bank come on board to exchange USD to a local currencyand then take local currency back(incl. coins) and giving us USD back was a brilliant idea. Exchange rate was also very reasonable. Having organised and paid for porters at port of disembarkation made this process so much easier For a coffee drinker we had access to coffee on a 24/7 basis Using the Ships Laundry was so reasonable compared to other cruise linesAnnoyances Paying for the use of the laundrette on deck 7 There is the only one laundrette and it is small so very crowded If a presentation by the Oceania Ambassador is being made some idea of the make up of the passengers helps so that we can be told what the cost is w/o airfares as they are no use to non-Americans flying to say Hong Kong or Capetown or Buenos Aires or Rio De Janeiro I also think that Head Office and the vessel management need to know what each other is doing as once on board they knew what was being done(EG shuttle buses). Blame this on Floridian office of Oceania. A few more external power points in various lounges would be good so one can do trip reports, download photos etc. with a cup of coffee and pastry. Only found one in card room.Overall, the vessel was great, generally food was good, cruise was brilliant, staff/crew were great, well organised and yes we have booked another cruise with Oceania in 2012 as it meets our requirements and goes to those places we have on our bucket list to see whilst we still can. Very few other cruise boats do a lot of the cruises Oceania do and I suspect that is why we met a lot of very interesting people who had travelled a lot.Oceania, apart from some minor irritations, was great and provides a better value for the dollar than RSSC. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
The costa Allegra was our first cruise and all we heard whilst on it was that it was awful compared to others but as we had nothing to compare with the following is what we found. Extremely easy embarkation, well organised and cabin ... Read More
The costa Allegra was our first cruise and all we heard whilst on it was that it was awful compared to others but as we had nothing to compare with the following is what we found. Extremely easy embarkation, well organised and cabin spacious and appeared clean, however we found some small shards of glass on the carpet so if this was a leftover from the previous weeks typhoon it was worrying, I left it on the side with a note for carpet to be thoroughly vacuumed - dont think this was done, note was moved with no apology left. Half way through cruise we got a bill for the large bottle of water that was meant to be in the cabin on boarding (there was most definately not one in ours so we refused to sign and pay for something we had not had). Room was made up a couple of times a day and clean towels left even though I was happy to use them again. We didnt have cups for a couple of days and a few other little things but otherwise cabin was fine. If you order breakfast in bed it tended to arrive 10 minutes earlier than the specified time. The ship was small and easy to find everything, restaurant not really to my liking as food was limited for vegetarians, I ended up with cauliflower and mushrooms first night. Another night I ordered spinach pie and veg and the veg came as a course after the small piece of pie I got. Sundaes were one scoop of icecream with one piece of named fruit. However I really enjoyed the yaught club, Ok it was a bit cheap cafe style tables but much better food and as much as you wanted, really hot and it suited us better. Must say our fellow cruisers in the restaurant were great company and we spent quite a lot of time with them. The staff were wonderful and if you asked for something you got it, if tv didnt work they were there instantly. The paperwork for visas, trips etc was also so well organised. We do not drink alot of alcohol so had 2 x boys and girls cards and 1 x water package and as these came as vouchers you could use them anywhere on board I tended to have the virgin cocktails to get the most value out of the vouchers. We have booked with Costa again on board Serena to give the larger vessel a go. If you are going on Allegra you will enjoy if you dont let the little bug bears get to you, so what if you are missing a cup for an hour or so or have to go to reception for something is it really such a big deal. LIFE IS TOO SHORT SO ENJOY. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
Wife and I were celebrating our 25th anniversary - so this was a special cruise. We selected this cruise based on the ports of call. We knew most of the passengers would be retired folks. We first cruised with P&O in the late ... Read More
Wife and I were celebrating our 25th anniversary - so this was a special cruise. We selected this cruise based on the ports of call. We knew most of the passengers would be retired folks. We first cruised with P&O in the late 1980's and upto this cruise our favorite cruise line was Princess. So for folks reading this here is a brief summary: Ports of call fantastic Cabin stewards/bar staff/restaurant staff fantastic Evening entertainment was good Cabin faultless Given we have done so many Princess cruises it is very hard not to make comparisons between Princess and P&O - during the course of this cruise wife and I developed a saying BOP (better on Princess) So here is the list Drinks - on Princess you can buy an unlimited soft drink package approx $35 per 7 day cruise - not possible on P&O. Variety of drinks much better and also cheaper on Princess. Food - Princess is miles ahead. On Arcadia the food variety was incredibly boring and unimaginative. In fact we gave up eating in the main restaurants and paid supplements to eat in the specialty restaurants (the Orchid is fantastic). Excursions - Arcadia, expensive and not imaginative with many admin errors/mistakes leading to almost arrogance. My wife and I called it the 'Excuses Desk' as opposed to Excursion Desk. Open & below deck facilities - Arcadia isn't bad - but Princess is just better. In summary I cannot stress how bad the food was - boring, boring and more boring. I've eaten better in Tesco cafeteria. I think it is very possible P&O are deeply cutting costs and it is in the food and beverage area where this is most evident. I'd rather pay more for my ticket then eat what was served up - actually I did pay more by eating in the specialty restaurants. So next cruise back to Princess... Read Less
Sail Date March 2009

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