6 Manila Family Cruise Reviews

Well it was my first time going on a cruise so I think it was alright. Good thing Super Star Virgo (SSV) decided to port in Manila because finally I experienced going on a cruise! I didn't really know what to expect so everything is ... Read More
Well it was my first time going on a cruise so I think it was alright. Good thing Super Star Virgo (SSV) decided to port in Manila because finally I experienced going on a cruise! I didn't really know what to expect so everything is bright and shiny for me. Haha. I did read some of the reviews here hence the title. The other reviews kind of prepared me on what to expect but hey I still enjoyed my time on SSV. There wasn't much to hate about it at all. Even with a despicable smartphone and the corrupted micro SD card, I still had a good time during the whole cruise experience. This is going to be a bit long so read at your own risk. :) The theme of the trip was Spiderman inspired. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse stickers and posters were all over the ship. Even Spiderman cosplayers were onboard with us. They had Spiderman themed games for kids to enjoy and for adults to do photo ops with the cosplayers. Too bad I didn't meet my college batchmate while she was working. Haha. Good for her and her fellow cosplayers though. Work cruise ftw. Anyway going back to my review, during embarkation there weren't many people around the port so it was fine. I had thought it would be full of people like in airports but no, it was alright. Not too much lines at all. Imagine my first trip abroad was on a cruise trip. Haha. As for the staff or the cabin crew, they were all nice and spoke good English. There are many fellow Filipino crew staff too so we could also speak in Filipino when they were around. * * * * * ♦ Ship: My first impression was of course just being amazed at being on a cruise ship. The information lobby or the currency exchange area looks amazing. I forgot what it's called but it's the best looking place in the entire ship. SSV is big but we had fun going around and checking out the nooks and crannies we could. We were almost able to tour the "entirety" of it in one day. Of course only the ones open to the public but not everything in one day. We weren't able to join the initial ship tour though, not sure if it was "free". Subsequent ship tours had fees so meh. The pool is 7 ft deep so for those who can't swim well, you can enjoy the jacuzzis and the giant slide. Also the ship has centralized aircon. I didn't think it would but I still think it's worth mentioning. Hehe. * * * * * ♦ Dining & Service: I love the food. Don't worry about what other reviewers here say. If you aren't a picky eater and not rich at all, you will enjoy the food. The best is the buffet in The Lido. Mmmhmmm. I love having breakfast at The Lido. Bacon is crispy. There's milk and fruits and veggies and bread and oh it's just heaven for me. Lunch is good too but I wasn't able to try the dinner buffet since we ate at the other restaurants. In Star Dining we had a bit of an issue the first time we ate there. It took more than an hour for them to inform us they lost our order slip for the main course. Wow. But they were able to resolve it immediately upon us walking out because the Pinay staff outside overheard us talking about the bad experience we had. Good job in "catching" us! Lol. As for Pavilion, the food was good too. Overall, I was always full everytime I ate any meal, except for two incidents. Thank you Lord! * * * * * ♦ Entertainment and Activities: The shows are not so entertaining for me. It was enjoyable for my eyes but if you like a good storytelling like in awesome movies, don't expect much. The best show was the magic show. The rest are just a feast for the eyes. No we did not go to the adult show. We preferred the shore excursions. Lol. I did enjoy the Basic Chinese lesson. No reading or writing, just basic conversational Mandarin written in alphabet and translated to English like "Ni hao ma," etc. There's also the morning stretch in the gym. I joined once before I went to the shore excursion. Hehe. I thought going up the mountain/cave in Vietnam would be difficult. :P * * * * * ♦ Ports & Shore excursions: Before you go to the shore excursions, make sure to exchange your peso or HKD etc., to the local currency. The ship has a currency exchange so this shouldn't be a problem. Cruising into Ha Long Bay port was of course something to remember. There was plenty of time to take pictures before we even got to the port. It was my first time outside the country so seeing the mountains jutting out of the sea was awesome for me. Also the excursion was pleasant and nice. The climb up the steps to the limestone cave was not too difficult at all. Good thing I had my morning stretch that day. The tour guide was nice and thoughtful too. The people speak very little English but are nice and pleasant. In the Sanya, China trip our Chinese tour guide was always in a hurry and didn't care much about us so we did not enjoy much of it. Disembarking took a long time too as we had to go through the arrival port I think? How else were we gonna get into China? Lol. It took longer than we expected. (And they do not allow you to take videos in there.) Perhaps this was why the tour guide was in such a hurry all the time. And yes we already sent our shore excursion feedback while we were on the ship. Remember to use a mobile app to translate or communicate with people in China. I forgot to and never thought of it so I got stressed and frustrated. It's easier if you have a companion who speaks Chinese too. Even so, for some reason the people in Sanya, China didn't seem very nice at all. Or maybe Chinese people are normally rude? Anyway, I did not think of using any mobile app to speak to anyone. I'm old school that way. Haha. The places we went to were okay, we were able to take enough pictures. All I can say is it was a stressful shore excursion so keep that in mind when going to China. Also, if you're not an active person, better take advantage of the morning stretch activity before going to any shore excursion. * * * * * ♦ Recommendations: Overall I think it's best for seniors and kids or adults looking for a pleasant and nice vacation. It definitely does not have much of a night life. Yes they have ladies nights and such but I heard some parts of it but nah. It's best for families too maybe. My impression of everything on the ship was like being with seniors in their retirement activities. I wasn't bored at all thanks to the shore excursions but for me it may get boring without the WiFi and the food or the pool/jacuzzi. There are more things to enjoy so just explore the ship and always check the itinerary. If you get sea sick easily, ask for Bonamine from the information area or the housekeeping. If the waves get strong like it did when we were cruising back to Manila you will need it. A lot of us were getting sea sick because of the weather and the strong waves. Oh and open your TV because you will see the ship cruise channel where a live video of the front of the ship can be seen. Plus it shows a map of the ship location too! Cool huh. It would be much cooler if there was infrared or night vision video version at night, maybe so we could see what's out there in the dark? Lol. And that's it for my review. I definitely would go back if I could. Moolah come to mamah! hahaha. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We Chose the cruise because it leaves departs 1 hour away from where we live, so we save a lot from not having to buy Airtickets to go on a cruise, which sometimes is half or same price as the actual cruise. Originally it was ... Read More
We Chose the cruise because it leaves departs 1 hour away from where we live, so we save a lot from not having to buy Airtickets to go on a cruise, which sometimes is half or same price as the actual cruise. Originally it was Manila-Naha-Keelung-Manila, but because of some problems with the top speed of the ship, it was changed to Manila-Miako jima-Keelung-Manila, which wasn't to our liking, so we rebooked for Ishigaki instead. Our family has cruised with RCL before, and that is the standard that we base other cruises on. Our kids are really vocal about comparing ships and cruiselines. 1. Pier 15 Manila Port terminal, it was surprisingly straightforward to check in at the port, they ask passengers to go to Hotel H20 and they have a Bus to bring passengers to the Terminal. However some with private cars have the option to go directly to the terminal, but that can quickly change if the port gets congested, my suggestion is if it does, just walk from the port gate to the terminal, it's not that far. I said Straightforward, but still meant a lot of queue time for checkin and immigration, baggage check in was a breeze. 2. Cabins, once we were on the ship, it was nice that at least this time, we were able to actually go directly to the cabin, most cruises would ask you to have a meal first as the crew are still cleaning the cabins. Not sure if this is normal for all SSVirgo cruises, but it's nice. Cabins were really quite clean, and our cabin had a "seaview" the window was quite big, kids were happy about it. We had to move around the Sofa bed in order for us to have our preferred sleeping positions (Sofa bed was in the middle of the two beds, the table was transferred elsewhere). Bunk (top) bed was mine, it was comfortable enough. Toilet (The head) was spacious, the Toilet and Bath is separated. Toiletries like Toothbrush, tooth paste, shampoo were all provided. 3. Ship sports amenities, only one of my kids was able to go swimming, and she didnt get to use the slide, The slide, does not end in the main pool, so it is a water slide all on its own, which I guess is nice to prevent Sliders hitting people on the bottom. Golf was nice, was able to teach my eldest basics of a golf swing, not many people use it, mini golf isn't full 18 holes, might not even be 9 holes I forget, but kids had fun. Basketball court is probably one of the most used sports facility there. NO Table Tennis was observed by the way, but I didn't really check. I imagine if there actually was I should have seen other cruisers playing them. Boardgames were nice enough, some games have missing pieces. Gym was okay according to my wife, she at least got to burn some calories which are always in excess when you cruise. Shuffleboard, on this cruise I wanted to learn how to play shuffleboard and the kids were game, but unfortunately turns out the ships' suffleboard set is incomplete and some are broken. They never even bothered taking away the broken cues (sticks) from the cabinet. Most of the crew does not also actually know how to play it. There were 2 sets of disks, but they were too small for the cues, and quite light. There were heavier disks (the standard pucks) but only 5 of them are left, and of different colors. We still ended up learning how to play, buy searching in the internet and modified the rules using only 4 pucks. There are also swimming pools at the aft of the ship, but almost no one uses them, this area is where the Foam parties are held at night, a bit difficult to get to though. 4. Meals- 3 complementary dining areas were Star dining, Pavilion and the Lido. The last one is a buffet. From time to time they would offer Complementary BBQ at the Pool deck, for some reason we only stumble on these by chance, not really announced or in the ship's Newletter. One of the biggest complaint the family had with this cruise, is that they have made restrictions on how we can eat. First they only will allow cruisers to eat at one of the dining areas per meal schedule, you can't eat lunch at Star Dining and go up to Lido (buffet) if you want the dessert there. You will get charged a fee if you do this. At the fine dining restaurants, you only get to choose 1 of the main dishes, and heck only 1 dessert. We were disappointed to learn this the first day, but then someone explained to us, that if we finish our first main course, we can order a second one which is will be complimentary. I imagine you can do this for dessert and appetizers as well, but we never tried. They do not understand that not all the food they serve is good, the first night we all ordered the beef medallion which looked good on paper, but actually it looked like it came from a can and tasted like it did, the winner was my kid who ordered vegetarian pasta, and that was really good. At the end of the meal most of us were disappointed, but it could have made a big difference if we were allowed to at least go to the Lido buffet or to reorder something else. My Family do not Waste food, as long as it is edible. So at the end of the day, most of us would end up eating at the buffet, at least there you can see the food that you are going to have. Oh, the buffet, the kids commented, felt like a Canteen or cafeteria, complete with Trays and Metal Rails. Star Dining by the way has the worse vibration/noise in the whole ship, it's right above the propellers I think. In Lido, if you sit at the Starboard side, try not to stay at the back (near where the egg stations are), it is right below the basketball court, so you can hear them running around up there. 5. Entertainment, here the whole family agreed that the entertainment was quite good. Magician, Dancers, production were all nice and the kids were awake the whole time :) I read a review from a fellow cruise critic that he felt there were some areas of the show that were inappropriate, my kids agreed that the guy in Red Spikey suit (Slack rope performer) could do without the really long spike from his groin area. People laugh at that bit, but awkwardly. I mean gosh they offer a Topless show for a fee and for adults only, which made me raise my eyebrows (realizing this isn't really a wholesome cruise after all), so they should leave inappropriate things like that in those shows and not the main shows. I'm am not a Prude, but the show is open to all ages. The activities however like learn to zumba, learn to ballroom dance, etc. though fun, would only last 30 minutes, it felt like they just wanted to make an activity for the sake of it. They could be more flexible and adjust/extend if the participants are still willing. 6. Shore Excursion- we booked our own Shorex, we were with our Japanese business partner and he arranged for a bus at Ishigaki to take us around, in Keelung we arrange for a bus as well, we were 18 in the group, so shore ex from the cruise would have been really expensive. Shore Ex were all fun, but the details for that I will review separately :) 7. Kids activities- This is also a disappointment, they should change their mindset about cruising kids. First though the parents decide when and which cruise to take, the kids are very vocal about their likes and dislikes, plus parents will also choose a cruise based on their children's needs as well. So, first after you checkin, parents will be offered an activity list for kids, but most of them have a $ sign with it. They would offer a package which is less than total if you paid for each of the activities. We opted for the package for our youngest, she loves Kids club activities, and we thought by signing her up, We'd be rid of her for an hour or so :) In our other cruises, we would not see her for 3 to 4 hours, she'd make friends and will talk about her activities during dinner. In SSVirgo? Not only did we have to pay, they also require to have a parent or a guardian present during the activities! Sheesh! So, basically in SSVirgo, if you have kids who are 7 yrs old and below, you will need to consider that he/she will need to be constantly with you during the whole cruise. There are some families who brought their own Nannies with them. 8. Service was Very good, overall. Unfortunately I might sound racist here and I am of course Generalizing, some of the Chinese crew (specially in the restaurants) are either rude, or just not trained well, or does not know how to communicate and turns out rude. My wife likes her bread warm, but she wanted croissants, when she placed her bread in the toaster, a Chinese waitress with tongs just suddenly took the bread out and placed it back on her plate, without even saying anything. No apology or explanation, there were also no signs, but realized after talking to a supervisor, that the toaster is only for sliced bread, as other bread can get stuck and burn (fire hazard), this is all understood, but this does not excuse a girl with tongs on hand just taking off bread and putting them back on cruiser's plates without saying anything. We have had Chinese waiters that were entertaining and helpful in other cruise lines, so I think SSVirgo just needs to train their Chinese crew some more with regards to customer service. It's too bad that we would experience these with some of the crew members when in general the rest of the crew of the SSVirgo were really nice and accommodating, including the performers. Would we go on SSVirgo again? Probably, but with adjusted expectations already. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
My terrible cruise was on the superstar virgo with star cruises. i have been on 13 cruises, so these comments are from an experienced, knowledgeable traveller... This is by far the worst cruise i have ever been on! I thought costa with ... Read More
My terrible cruise was on the superstar virgo with star cruises. i have been on 13 cruises, so these comments are from an experienced, knowledgeable traveller... This is by far the worst cruise i have ever been on! I thought costa with their discount vacation was scrapping the bottom of the barrel, but star cruises, at twice the cost, was much, much worse! It appears this company does not survey or care what the competition does. It is also apparent their version of cruise is not very successful judging by the low quantity of passengers/occupancy. They need to have employees check out other cruise lines and see what a real cruise ship looks like, because this isn't it! We will never sail with star cruises again on any of their ships. i will advise all of my family, friends, coworkers, employees and anyone else i can think of to stay as far away from this joke of a cruise line as possible! Here are just a few of the problems we experienced: - i paid my gratuities in cash directly to the cruise employees (which was verified), but they would not let me leave the ship until i also paid their automatic gratuity, which is not required under the contract (passage terms). they made me pay my gratuities twice!!! - they changed the port from published naha island to ishigaki island without any notification. this required again a cancellation of private tours and arrangements. why in the heck would you change the destination of the cruise to a completely different island without notifying passengers in advance? - the web page is lacking greatly for pre-cruise planning or purchases. Most excursions are not even listed! Very few drink packages, excursions or other available options are listed or purchase even though they are available upon arrival. That mean you cannot purchase in advance like other cruise lines. - changed port arrival times in schedule from the one on confirmed ticket (said 12 noon but changed to 7am). This required private tours to be cancelled with a loss of fees as they did not give any advance notice and did not refund the cost of the tours, even though it was their fault! - buffet was terrible! Poor selection (about 1/4 of what we have seen on other normal cruises). Food was bland and another passenger called it "low end cafeteria food" which was a perfect description! - you can only eat once per meal period. In other words, if you have an early lunch and then want to go to the buffet later for a snack, you can't! This was ridiculous and a new low for a cruise ship. if you go back they will charge you a fee. for something like coffee or a muffin, this is ridiculous. - the mexican dinner served was one of the worst… the most armature of foodies would know that an empanada is not served as a tart dish. what they called chicken asada was no more than regular baked chicken. they obviously were clueless as to what mexican food is and how it is served, but tried to pass off the theme that night as “mexican” night… what a joke. they could have at least looked up the food on google and seen that what they were serving was not mexican food! - the “gala” dinner was a joke! overcooked steak they tried to say was tenderloin (if it was tenderloin, it was the worst quality filet ever). it was paired with chicken teriyaki and a very bad selection of sides. if this is what they pass off as the marque dinner that is supposed to be the best meal of the cruise, the head chef needs to go back to cooking school. - they did not allow us to bring coffee from the restaurant to the deck and stopped us at the door. that meant that i could not enjoy my coffee on the outside of the restaurant and instead had to finish in the loud, crowded restaurant. - balcony cabin was very small compared to other ships with two uncomfortable beds that had a big, hard gap when put together. The pullout foam couch was better than the main bed! - only 3 english tv stations, 2 of which always showed the same repeating asia news stories every hour. Strange considering 90% of the passengers were english speaking. - no pay movies on the tv which would have made the lousy station selection tolerable. - ship entertainment was sparse. Some piano playing and duets, but overall no real diverse nightlife, clubs, or discos like other cruise lines. Felt like an old folks retirement community with a few duets playing each evening. - bought an all you can drink package, but it can only be used in 3 places on the ship... Even when another location has the drink readily available... Go figure. - excursion in okinawa was a joke! 3 of the 5 stops were for shopping at their "partner" vendor locations (which the tour company gets a percentage of sales for bringing the cruise passengers). - had to wait 1 hour 40 minutes for a return tender boat back to the ship. When you add the 30 minutes commute each way, more than 30% of our entire time in japan was just for getting back and forth to he ship. Not what i paid for! - staff from the philippines was good, but many of the chinese staff were clueless when it came to customer service. Abrupt, rude, no smiles/greeting and treated us like a number. - magic show was pitiful! lame show with fake violin player, same trick 4 times with different variations, and so easy to see the trick method. My 5 year old was able to see some of the obvious ways they tried to pull off the illusion... pretty bad when a 5 year old can figure it out - kid's club isn't much. A few 30 or 45 minute events scattered over the 2 days at sea. Not much more. The fee was not worth it. - casino was poor as well. Very few games a non-chinese customer would recognize. No roulette, craps, or other popular games. - the advertising of " chance game called "key master" in vending machine was often in your face. Sad considering that it is almost impossible to win and the prize is so small. Again, another desperate attempt to rip off passengers ad make money. - carpets and chairs in restaurants were badly stained and ugly. Obviously not well taken care of, cleaned or replaced as needed. - a la carte restaurants were grossly overpriced considering the base cruise fare already paid. They could follow the model of other cruise lines and have a minimal add-on fixed fee to visit the specialty restaurants to supplement the already paid fare. - Dirty salty balcony (not washed regularly like other cruise lines) - very few activities on the ship compared to other cruises we have been on. of the activities you had to pay for many including things like ship tours. Charging for a tour... Are you kidding? sad thing is they are so desperate to make money and fill the list they put things like "pre-selling of bingo tickets" 3 times on the schedule! - they were so desperate to sell tickets to an adults only topless show that they advertise all over the ship every day and promote buy one get one passes nearly everywhere. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
i chose this cruise because the port of embarkation is in Manila. No need to travel by air as we have many senior citizens with us. No need to get visa to get to Taiwan and Japan. I was apprehensive at first since a critic got ... Read More
i chose this cruise because the port of embarkation is in Manila. No need to travel by air as we have many senior citizens with us. No need to get visa to get to Taiwan and Japan. I was apprehensive at first since a critic got disappointed on his last cruise. But i was so happy that I really enjoyed every part of the cruise... from dining to entertainment to shore excursions. There were variety of foods served in every restaurant. I liked Star Dining, Lido as they served sumptuous foods. Im delighted to see the magician Vincent performed his act. Very unique and awesome. I could even do my morning run at the top deck. Their gym has state of the art fitness machine esp the threadmill and rowing machine. Cant wait for their next travel itinerary next summer. This is a great bonding activity for the whole family. Worth experiencing. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Check-in - there was a long line even if we already checked-in online. You had to go through the following: queue to go inside the port to drop your luggages, queue again to go inside the air-conditioned room to get your cabin card (they ... Read More
Check-in - there was a long line even if we already checked-in online. You had to go through the following: queue to go inside the port to drop your luggages, queue again to go inside the air-conditioned room to get your cabin card (they gave us bread and a bottle of mineral water), queue again to go through x-ray, queue again for immigration which took more than an hour (but there were seats). I received a text message at 7pm the night before that our itinerary was changed due to "technical difficulties" from Manila-Naha-Keelung-Manila to Manila-Miyakojima-Keelung-Manila. I also received an email confirming if we would still push through with the cruise despite the change in itinerary or re-book it. I actually joined the cruise because I wanted to bring my parents to Naha which has a castle, public market and shopping district. Miyakojima is an island known for its beaches and corals...yes, it would be nice to go there if you are NOT from a tropical country and if you are NOT with seniors! So it was a big disappointment. The day before we arrived Japan, they asked us to get numbers for the tendering (you need to take a boat going to the island). Good thing I queued in early so we were on the first batch (200 people per batch). We did not get the land tour offered by the ship because we did not feel like going to a botanical garden so we opted to do it on our own (they call it "free and easy). We arrived at Miyakojima 11:30am. Our time was 2:30pm since they prioritized those people who took the land tour. There was a problem with Immigration (they required face-to-face contact) so we finished at 5pm ship time (Japan is one hour ahead). Due to the delay, they also extended the departure from 5:30 to 8:30pm. Everybody should be in the ship at 8pm. Remember we were at the first batch of "free and easy" and we finished Immigration at 5pm (ship time)!!! That would leave us only 3 hours. We took a cab going to Don Quixote (about JPY880) and just went there. The Donki branch was small relative to the other branches in Japan but it was good enough. There was also a food center inside so we decided to eat ramen and takoyaki balls. At least my parents got to experience paying for their meal using a machine! Haha! I asked the cab driver to pick us up after an hour because I was worried that we might not be able to get a cab going back to the port. The following day, we docked at Keelung port at 8:30am. Again, they prioritized those with land tours but the wait was not that long for those who want to do it "free and easy". We got off at 9:30am, took the MRT going to Taipei, went to Taipei 101, ate at Din Tai Fung (even if we have branches here in Manila haha!) and took a cab to Chiang Kai Shek. We also took a cab back to the port (about NTD900) because taking the MRT back would take 1.5 hours and we had to be back at the ship at 4:30pm. Gala Dinner - all restaurants were fully booked. So we just had our dinner at Taverna. We had steak & seafood, and it was good. Lido Buffet - we ate here most of the time. Do not expect "Vikings", maybe around 5-7 viands, 5 counters so queue is not that long. I'm surprised that seniors eat a lot! Last year, my mother joined the Manila-Vigan-HK-Taiwan-Manila cruise. Passengers were only 900. In our cruise, there were 3000 passengers due to the Buy 1 Take 1 senior promo that Starcruises offered. Despite the hassle and disappointment, StarCruises gave us HKD675 dining credits per cabin for the change in itinerary and HKD375 each passenger for the hassle in Japan Immigration. Overall, my parents enjoyed the cruise. They enjoined the experience..as they say it's not the destination but the journey. I purchased the wifi on the ship. It was too slow, I could only use viber (and not even send pictures) to send messages. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
we are based in metro manila and this was the first ever cruise ship based in manila for a while. no planes, hotels needed. superstar virgo is large, she is a ship! still she has a distinctive design not inspired by LEGO as the more recent ... Read More
we are based in metro manila and this was the first ever cruise ship based in manila for a while. no planes, hotels needed. superstar virgo is large, she is a ship! still she has a distinctive design not inspired by LEGO as the more recent floating hotels it was a very filipino cruise, people would join as clans or at least groups or family with children. friends relying on wheelchairs would need to book early. only few cabins are equipped with wide accessible bathrooms. all other venues are very accessible. our cabin was of adequate size for a 5 day cruise and super clean every day. choice of western or chinese free restaurants. limited choices yet perfectly prepared food. great shows every evening. we enjoyed magician vincent vignaud , 1001 night, memory lane. all service ladies/gentlemen, filipino, malay, chinese, indian, nepal and many other worked very hard. no dock at laoag. we just hired a tricycle to visit the church. was fun. i am sure the friendly crew would have assisted friends using wheelchair. still it looked scary. embarkation/disembarkation was a very philippine experiance Read Less
Sail Date May 2017

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