22 Royal Caribbean Spectrum of the Seas Cruise Reviews

My husband and I decided on this cruise because it was so culturally immersive. We left out of shanghai and embarkation and disembarkation was a breeze. Make sure you write out the name of the cruise port in Chinese if your taking a taxi ... Read More
My husband and I decided on this cruise because it was so culturally immersive. We left out of shanghai and embarkation and disembarkation was a breeze. Make sure you write out the name of the cruise port in Chinese if your taking a taxi there because the drivers don’t know English. Also make sure they use the taxi meter so your not over charged. We got a balcony cabin and the room was super spacious and larger than other regular balcony rooms in other ships. We had cabin 9160 and it was awesome. The entertainment and announcements were all done in both English and Chinese and they did an awesome job. The ports were all amazing and it was the first time this ship had gone to Vladivostok and Kyoto so we had an awesome send off from the locals on the pier. All the staff onboard were awesome and super friendly. Everyone speaks English on board as well as most can also speak Chinese. The food was so yummy and the menu was huge every night! I would defiantly cruise again on this ship! The shows were well rehearsed and better than the ships in the Caribbean. The only thing was the shopping wasn’t the greatest on board. It was all super high end shops. The pools and hot tubs were never ever busy and super easy to find a chair. They do not have walking waiters by the pool or shows for drinks so be aware. There is no bingo on board either if that’s your thing. This ship is so different from the ships in the Caribbean but everything was great! There is always lots of activities to do presented in both English and Chinese. The ship never felt crowded even in the windjammer! They have a great variety of both western food and Chinese food which is awesome to give new things a try. Kyoto Japan was our favourite port of call so if you go make sure you get the motor coach into the city with royal! Vladivostok was really pretty and the locals were all very nice. You cannot go ashore without a visa or booking a tour directly with the ship so we booked a tour. Fukuoka japan was great too but the prices of merchandise was higher here. We also did explore dazaifu and you get free time to shop! Great tour! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Spectrum of the Seas Since this is a rather unique itinerary and a new ship, I thought I should give a quick review from the perspective of a regular RCCL/Norwegian/Oceania U.S. cruiser. This cruise was seven days to Tokyo with three ... Read More
Spectrum of the Seas Since this is a rather unique itinerary and a new ship, I thought I should give a quick review from the perspective of a regular RCCL/Norwegian/Oceania U.S. cruiser. This cruise was seven days to Tokyo with three ports: Osaka, Kobe, and Tokyo. We made our way to the Port of Shanghai around 11:00am. Quick drop-off of the bags (and quick delivery to our cabin) and we were into a very nice port facility. I suggest you keep your eyes on the signs as there are opportunities to fast-track through some lines. Waits were not bad and signage did inform you of what stage you were at (about five in the process due). We were on the ship before noon and explored some of the top floors and hit the pool/spa before the crowds. Cabins were ready at about 3:00 and the muster drill around 4:30 (the new video – no need to bring lifejackets or go out to the boats). We did bring a dozen water bottles (suggested) on board in our packed bags and a bottle of Chinese fortified wine in our carry-on without issue. Cabin. We selected a balcony cabin on the 7th deck. We were quite pleased with the layout, spaciousness, and design. The ship was only on its second month, so everything was nice and well-appointed. As you look at the profile of the ship, there are hundreds of balcony cabins – it is quite the site. We found we appreciated having a nice cabin as we spent more time here than usual on sea days because we needed space to veg away from many of the very loud, stressful guests. The Ship. Common areas, elevators, etc. all were very nice. Unfortunately, some of the really nice spaces on sister ships are now gone in order to make more room for casino spaces. Yes, the workout room is tiny and treadmills were never available so I spent my workout time on the walking/running track. Food. Well, that’s been a highlight in the past for cruises we like to take and I’d have to say, for someone from the U.S. this will be quite a disappointment. We had been in China for a few days prior so we felt like some “American” food so we hit the Windjammer only to find a small segment of sandwiches and hamburgers. Ok, so I grabbed a bun, tossed on a burger and pickles, found some cheese at another line and gave it a shot. I also waited for some hot french fries (ketchup packets available at another location). The burger was a solid C- grade with the fries making up at a B+. My wife got a sandwich with some unique looking deli meats for a C grade. On the way out, I did grab a slice of pizza which was pleasantly well cooked (color on the bottom!) and tasty! Moving on, we went to dinner in the MDR that night. The menu is a bit different as now there are pictures for the 3,000 or so Chinese guests on the ship. There are about 10 starters and 10 entrees to choose from. Yes, we’ve got funky stuff here (which is worth a try) but you should be able to find one or two items on each list that would be of interest (so not really much of a selection). And, there’s always the “generic” menu of Caesar salad, Onion Soup, Steak, Chicken, Salmon as an option. On one evening our waiter let us know that they’ve been informed that their guests want dinner to only take 45 minutes, so cocktails, app’s, dessert, coffee are not emphasized or really offered. That doesn’t really work for the way we like to start our evening (let alone, for a ship this size, there’s hardly a bar to be found to have a cocktail). Breakfast in the MDR is a very similar experience – very limited “normal” selection so I suggest going to the Windjammer or the Café@TWO70. The whole food emphasis is to try and upsell to the specialty restaurants. They say this cruise is under-priced due to Chinese policies/restrictions and RCCL makes up for that by charging for anything they can think of. There was a three-dinner package for $99 + 18% and a four-dinner for $125 + 18%. So, if you want to pay $40 for a meal, that’s available. We had been to all of the restaurants on a previous cruise so we only chose to do Chop’s this time. Ports. Immigration in Osaka was quite easy – yes, lines took a while but in less than an hour we were on our way (there are 4,000 people or so on the ship). We took the ship’s tour to the castle and Dotinbori street in Osaka as taxis are rather overpriced and Didi is only in Simplified Chinese (no English) in this location. That worked out well and the $65 fee was fine with us – as well as some education and history along the bus ride. We found private guides for Kona and Tokyo prior to sailing. Entertainment. This is for sure a highlight. The first night was Showgirls – Past, Present, Future in the Royal Theatre. There were so many people in this production! – at least 18 girls dancing, a dozen guys, and four singers on stage at the same time. I wouldn’t miss this one. The acrobatic team, Gold Art Duo, is also another that should not be missed. The Magician, Duck Cameron, was entertaining but nothing much new – he did make quite a few of the guests uncomfortable as he dragged them up on stage. The Aura Cover Band was quite good in the Music Hall. Unfortunately, the piano melodies with Filmore Flores was disappointing (a Canadian who got the job because he plays, sings (kinda), and speaks a bit of Mandarin. And, we really missed an acoustical guitar in a pub as that location is a Tea and Coffee shop (not many going there – this will change) on this ship. As you can guess, we passed on paying for the iFly and Northstar as we had done them on another cruise for free. The Spa. We have traveled with this cruise line over the years and greatly enjoy our time in the spa. So, believing that the experience would be similar to all our others we booked a couples’ massage for the first and last day at sea. Granted we booked a couples’ massage and thought we would be in the same room, but this room was having “situations” so we were separated, on both days. Vicky was my attendant for the first booking and she was fabulous! She provided what was expected in a deep tissue massage. Unfortunately, my husband did not have the same experience, I was not sure if his expectations were too high, but unfortunately they were not. The last day on ship we went for our other appointment, we had the same attendants, so we switched and I took Fanglu the attendant my husband had. If we had been in the same room, the attendance would have preformed the same service and it would not of varied in quality. I was extremely disappointed that the massages were so different, I was expecting this to be similar to my first. On-Board Shopping. This was pretty much a feeding frenzy when the sales were on. I would have guessed there were no stores in China the way people grabbed and hoarded as many items as possible. And, I imagine most of them were “made in China.” Crown & Anchor. Well, we’re only Platinum, but NONE of the following benefits were on board this cruise!... • Onboard Offers are preloaded to your SeaPass card. Refer to your onboard Welcome Letter for details. • Priority Check-in • Private departure lounge with Continental Breakfast • Exclusive Top Tier Event • Signature Lapel Pin …just so you know! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was not my first cruise and not my first RCI cruise. I have cruised a few times at different price points and therefore different standards. For me, this was the best cruise I have ever taken... But let's break it down... I am ... Read More
This was not my first cruise and not my first RCI cruise. I have cruised a few times at different price points and therefore different standards. For me, this was the best cruise I have ever taken... But let's break it down... I am a solo, female traveler - I am also an Australian expat currently living in South Korea (so this will identify me to my fellow travelers haha) but I have also lived in other Asian countries including a year in China Embarkation. Arrived at the terminal exactly 12 noon and it was busy, not overly crowded, but lots of people moving efficiently with their luggage. Checking the luggage in was a quick, easy and painless process and I was shuffled to the check in queues. There was a distinct differentiation between western travelers and our Chinese counterparts - westerners were given a much quicker run through the check in - but we couldn't see any reason for splitting the groups other than to maybe appease the impatient westerners... So, all in all checkin took less than 45 mins and I was on board and in the dining room for lunch - as a solo traveler, this was the only meal I spent alone. In summary, embarkation was very quick and very painless, there was queuing but it moved rapidly and if you were western it was even quicker. Cabin I was in 7250 a studio balcony cabin. Note: this cabin has a much larger balcony then others due to the way the ship is shaped... so it was wonderful to have so much room. The cabin itself was small but that's what I expected - there were enough cupboards and drawers and a stool instead of a chair - plenty of mirrors and a decent enough bar fridge. The bathroom was the same size as other rooms. As a solo I cannot fault the room, the space was adequate - and importantly I could put empty cases under the bed. I was very happy with this cabin and in the same circumstances would choose it again. Dining I chose to eat mainly in the main dining room, I found the service to be excellent and the quality of food (in most cases) very good. I had no problem with the portion sizes and the temperature was always appropriate. On one day I didn't like the options but that was my palate and my friends on the other hand had no problem with their choices - so I guess it is a personal decision whether you like the food or not. I also ate at Chops Grille and that was a wonderful choice. The meal was excellent and I couldn't fault the service. I also dined in Teppanyaki - there was a hiccup with my reservation that was superbly dealt with by the Maitre D (Leslie) and I couldn't have been happier with the outcome - (this hiccup was the ONLY thing on the cruise that wasn't perfect - but the resolution exceded my expectations). The meal at Teppanyaki was one of the highlights of the cruise. It has to be seen to be believed - a great meal that I will remember for a very long time. I never ate in Windjammers - whenever I was in the vicinity it was always super busy and tables were hard to come by, but on the other hand, the Cafe 270 was almost empty as were the seats and tables - this became a very popular hiding spot to grab a snack or drink away from the crowds (and the food served was very nice too) I had a room service breakfast once and it was adequate - I was given exactly what I asked for... Formal nights are not received by the guests like you may have experienced elsewhere - very few people out of the 5100 dressed up for dinner - these were not published by RCI before the cruise so it is possible that many first time cruisers did not know what to expect. Drinks I was fortunate to get a free deluxe drinks package when I booked so that was a real bonus. I loved the Bionic Bar and would often use it to just grab a juice and soda mixed any time during the day. As I didn't pay for a drink I can't comment on prices and as I didn't really drink that much alcohol, I can't complain about the drinks at all. I also don't drink coffee so didn't sample any of those either. Entertainment and Activities I have to admit when I saw the schedule I was a bit disappointed - very few traditional cruise activities like trivia (it was there though but no where near what I am used to) and no bingo. I love to read on board so I packed books. However, I didn't even finish one book and I was never bored, I don't exactly know what I was doing but I managed to keep busy and have an amazing time during the cruise days. The shore excursions were also a little light on... In Osaka you could have paid $80 to go to the castle and Dotonbori Street on the tour bus - however we walked to the local metro, bought a day ticket with ease and did exactly the same destinations for $8 (we messed up on the way back and overshot the station so needed to catch a taxi back to the ship - but that was our fault). Kobe offered a shuttle bus to the main shopping area and there were several places that offered Kobe beef - which was a main reason for people wanting to visit . However when docked at Yokahama it was an hour from Tokyo so I had to catch the shore independent tour just to get to the city centre. But worth it at $69. The evening entertainment was also exceptional - I loved the Ukrainian acrobats Gold Art Duo and The SIlk Road was absolutely amazing. The flamenco guitar guy was extremely talented as were the Beatles Tribute band (I can't mention the moving piano and player as he said he smuggled himself on board - but he was awesome too). Service CAN NOT FAULT THE SERVICE From the Financial Controller to the Maitre D to the Head Waiters to the Room Attendants and Waiters - I was made to feel like I was the only one who mattered, nothing was ever too much trouble and they did everything with grace and style. I would come back just for the quality of service I experienced. Overall I loved this trip. It wasn't what I expected but it was better. I made so many friends (and as a solo traveler that is important) and had such a fun time. I would not hesitate to book again - due to my personal circumstances I couldn't book again on board but I am already looking at January dates for a replay. Well done Spectrum of the Seas and well done Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Embarkation : The worst check in experience so far . No queue control n poor signage leading to lot of confusion . No enough RCL in hand to direct queue . Food quality : MDR food was served cold n service so so Rides : most ride ... Read More
Embarkation : The worst check in experience so far . No queue control n poor signage leading to lot of confusion . No enough RCL in hand to direct queue . Food quality : MDR food was served cold n service so so Rides : most ride were chargeable n why should we pay so much n get charged for all these rides . Guest services : poor , advised that we don’t need arrival card upon arrival to shanghai ( she claimed she checked with immigration . Very crowded n rowdy especially eating area ,sailing in this region . Unhygienic practices by passenger . Spitting n hand handling of fruits RCL must have also cut budget on fruits selection . Apple and grapes were the lowest quality selected , resulting in lot of wastage . Only plus point of this ship : NEW I will still cruise but not in this region anymore . Guess is an eye opener for me Note : wonder why the gym was given such a mini area Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
If Royal Caribbean cared about their passengers, they would've made it clear that this cruise if for Mandarin speaking guests ONLY. AND with children 5 and younger. This was the least relaxing and enjoyable vacation that ... Read More
If Royal Caribbean cared about their passengers, they would've made it clear that this cruise if for Mandarin speaking guests ONLY. AND with children 5 and younger. This was the least relaxing and enjoyable vacation that I've ever had. All activities (aside from shows) were in Mandarin. All announcements would preface "This announcement is for Mandarin speaking guests only" - can you imagine how does it feel to all other passengers??? My daughter could not participate in any activity as everything costs arm-and-a-leg (I would've expected for some free activities, considering how much we paid for the cruise), nor that she could participate in teen-club, as they were all in Mandarin. This was a cruise that I managed to use pool once! it was completely filled with kids in their life jackets. There was no place to stand. Food in a dining hall was not good. We ended up either just ordering only appetizers or going to the Buffet instead,. I do have to say that English-speaking crew tried to go out of their way to make us a bit more comfortable, and I am very grateful for that!!! But in overall - I do NOT recommend this trip to anyone who does not speak Mandarin, as you would feel incredibly uncomfortable (kids literally would point fingers at us!) Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Fantastic ship ,best ship I've seen , The food for me very average and nothing more , the drinks are very expensive, need to drink a lot to get value out of the drinks package. Yes I know its all new to the ship's crew , but they ... Read More
Fantastic ship ,best ship I've seen , The food for me very average and nothing more , the drinks are very expensive, need to drink a lot to get value out of the drinks package. Yes I know its all new to the ship's crew , but they have crew who dont want to be there. Evening meal at the main restaurant was very poor (food and service ) when there where formal night's passengers where let in with shorts. Dress code zero. There are no laundry rooms , irons will be confiscated. . The cabin we had was beautiful and quite large , entertainment very good , if you want internet which we didn't expect to pay roughly 22 dollars a day . We paid a lot of money for this cruise and expected that little more . Me personally and spoke to others will give royal Caribbean shipsca miss Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Spectrum of the Seas met our expectations in every way. The ship and the interior designs are perfect for the market the ship is designed for, which is mainland China, and the surrounding Asian markets. Before anyone gets on this ship, ... Read More
Spectrum of the Seas met our expectations in every way. The ship and the interior designs are perfect for the market the ship is designed for, which is mainland China, and the surrounding Asian markets. Before anyone gets on this ship, you need to be aware that the ship has several design and interior differences than the normal Royal Caribbean ship. First, this ship has an all-suite complex, which includes private swimming pool, restaurants, elevators, and a balcony. The area houses the “Golden Suites”. The ship has signage in Mandarin, as well as English. There are new restaurants such as Hot Pot, and Szechuan Red. The casino, is redesigned, and has some exclusive rooms dedicated for the High Rollers. Retail space on the ship, is dedicated to the market it is serving, with high-end designer products, and a Japanese Pharmacy for products that are not easily obtained in China. The Golden Suite complex has the cluster of suites at the front of the ship, in which you need a key card to enter the area. Within this area, you have the Golden Dining room and lounge, the silver dining and lounge (which the lounge area replaces the diamond lounge for those that are at that level). The Solarium is no longer a part of the general ship, but only for the Golden area. A special balcony area is on top of the solarium, and a private shopping/consulting area is in the complex. Overall, the area was designed for the high revenue staterooms and so the design of these areas, as well as the size was made to be exclusive. Although I thought the area was nice, I would not want to pay the premium price they are asking for it. Sichuan Red was a Chinese themed restaurant and had a very good menu. It is a la carte. Note this is a very spicy menu, and if you do not like spice, than I would not recommend it. You can ask them to cut down on the spice, but it takes away from the flavor of the style restaurant this is. Personally, I loved it. Teppanyaki is a Japanese restaurant (separate from Izumi) that was fun and entertaining. I think the upcharge price is too much considering the prices of local restaurants. If you use it in a package, than the cost would be lower, and worth it. Hot Pot is unique that you basically make your own food in a hot pot of soup broth. It was good, and had a huge selection of meat and seafood, plus a full salad bar, and veggies to cook with it. Overall, it was fun. The coffee and Tea shop, is in the space normally reserved for a pub. I preferred the pub, but considering the market this ship is in, I think this was a good choice. However, I think the selection of Teas should be increased. For entertainment, I was on the final leg of the trip to China. The new production shows were extremely high tech and entertaining. The headliners will be different now once it begins the regular sailings in China. The same goes for the lounge singers and bands. They should be geared to the Chinese market so I cannot really say what it will be like. Shopping is not my thing, and I really do not care the kind of stores they have. My only complaint was that the logo store lacked the variety of products. Sports included the normal activities with Ifly, bumper cars, flow rider, North Star, arcade, and rock climbing. They also had some archery, and fencing activities. I visited the gym, that gets so many complaints, and I never really saw it crowded. It is not a revenue producing area, and as far as I can tell, it is about the right size. I was satisfied with it. Overall, the ship was great. The seven specialty restaurants were all good, and the other free eating areas were good, with my favorite breakfast nook being the 270 café. Before selecting this ship, make sure you understand that the ship is different, and will have food, and entertainment that you are not accustomed to, if you are a regular Royal Caribbean Cruiser. That is what makes this ship so great. It is different, and will be sailing to exciting ports that most people would never even think of going to. I highly recommend this ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
My girlfriend and I booked a 4-night "Tour of Malaysia"--which in reality, was a day in Penang, sandwiched by a day at sea on either side. The primary drivers for booking this cruise were to check out RC's brand new ship, ... Read More
My girlfriend and I booked a 4-night "Tour of Malaysia"--which in reality, was a day in Penang, sandwiched by a day at sea on either side. The primary drivers for booking this cruise were to check out RC's brand new ship, and to enjoy the convenience of taking a cruise out of the city I live in for the first time ever (growing up in the north-eastern US, I always had to fly somewhere in order to board a ship). Although it was challenging to research the cruise ahead of time given it was a brand new ship, I had come across this wording on multiple websites: “Please note that this cruise is focusing on the Asian market and the service, on-board activities as well as the entertainment on-board will be adapted accordingly.” It made me a bit nervous, but figured it was worth a shot, and worst case scenario, my girlfriend and I spend our sea days relaxing by the pool and enjoying the time away from work. On embarkation day, we jumped in a taxi from our condo and were at the port in 20 minutes. It was a unique experience for me, but such a relief to not have to worry about flights, possible delays, pre-cruise hotels, Ubers, etc. We had printed our luggage tags in advance and immediately handed our suitcases over curb side. The security line was short, and once through, we were immediately at a check-in desk with a very friendly young man helping us sort everything out. After that was probably the lengthiest part of the check-in process: immigration. But even immigration took only 15 minutes from start to finish. Soon after, we handed over our passports (which felt wrong, but we knew in advance this was the system. We received it all back on day 4 with no issues whatsoever) and were walking towards the ship. We were on-board by about 1:30pm, and immediately headed for our balcony stateroom on deck 8 to drop off our bags (see below for cabin review). For me, one of the most important parts of any cruise is the food. The Main Dining Room was mostly full every night, but we had no trouble getting a table immediately under the “My Time” dining plan. We were unsure what to expect in terms of cuisine, but the menu was almost entirely western food each night—exactly as I am used to seeing on Caribbean cruises. However, it is very important to point out that we did the “All Access Tour” later on in the trip, and the chef explained that once the ship relocates to Shanghai, the Main Dining Room menu will change over to primarily Asian food. He showed us the wok in the kitchen, stating it is the only RC ship with a wok in the main galley. The service we received each night was good, but nothing exceptional. One evening my girlfriend found a very large piece of plastic in her mashed potatoes. The chef came out to apologize, explaining that they use plastic to cover the mashed potatoes. He took down our stateroom number, but nothing further ever came of it. Possibly our worst experience on the entire ship was in the Windjammer. I had read online that the Windjammer was purposely made larger on Spectrum…but it needed to be made much, much larger. On day 1, my girlfriend and I had lunch at the Windjammer. After throwing elbows with our fellow cruisers and getting cut off at every turn, we had our plates full of food. We walked around and around for nearly 10 minutes looking for a table before finally giving up and eating standing up on a counter-top in the Hot Pot area. Eventually a member of the staff saw us and led us to a large table he had just cleared off. I chalked this up to hopefully be a “day 1-only issue”, since no other venues were open. Unfortunately, it was not a day 1-only issue—it was an everyday issue. No matter the time we went to the Windjammer, it was always crowded, and tables were hard to come by. I had heard in advance that cruise ship buffets on Asia-based cruises can be a nightmare, but I figured attending during off-peak times might make this point irrelevant. Sadly, I was wrong, and by day 3 and 4, we did everything we could to avoid the Windjammer. For those who are curious: Sorrento’s Pizzeria and the poolside snack bar are great alternatives when you need a quick bite. We did not attend any of the specialty up-charge restaurants, which were all Asian, except for Jamie’s Italian (which did not seem well attended throughout our cruise, by the way. I wonder if this was the right move by RC for an Asia-based ship). Perhaps the biggest difference I observed on this cruise as compared to every other cruise I have been on was the drinking culture (or lack thereof). RC specifically designed Spectrum to have fewer bars, knowing that Asians do not drink as heavily as their American clientele. Well, they were certainly right, and if anything could have removed a few more bars. Any time I wanted a drink, I could walk straight up to a waiting bartender and place my order. It was a nice luxury, but makes me wonder how RC will compensate for the lost alcohol revenue they typically rely on to turn a profit. On this particular sailing though, they were lucky that the passengers were not heavy drinkers. All the bars were out of most ingredients, and they were even out of Tiger beer from day 1…on a sailing FROM Singapore! A bartender explained to us that a beverage shipment the ship had ordered did not arrive in time. This was incredibly frustrating as most frozen drinks, cocktails, and mocktails were not available. RC had heavily discounted drinks packages before the cruise, and we were very close to pulling trigger on it. Thankfully we decided against it in the end. We would have been very frustrated having paid for an “unlimited drinks” package that actually entitled you to about half of what the ship normally has to offer. The Bionic Bar is a must attend, however. We had drinks from here twice, and not only is a neat experience to watch a robot make your drink, but the drinks are fantastic. On the entertainment side of things, RC did very well overall, although there is insufficient seating in the Royal Theatre for a ship this size. The first night was a Beatle’s tribute band, and while they were OK, I felt bad (for the performers) about the number of people who stood up and walked out in the middle of the performance. The main show however, “Showgirls”, was standing room only and no one moved until it was over. Really well done by the performers, though I do wonder how the show will be received by the Chinese market as it was entirely western songs from different decades. In the 270 venue, we were very fortunate to grab one of the last spots for the day 4 performance of Silk Road. Again this performance was very well done, both by the performers and everyone involved behind the scenes to make the technical aspects work flawlessly. As far as activities on the ship, we were largely disappointed and very frustrated. We went to guest services at around 6pm on the first day—just hours after boarding—and were told that North Star and iFly were fully booked for the entire cruise. This seemed implausible to me, but apparently some people were able to book these activities in advance of the cruise. I tried to make reservations in advance but could not. I later found out that due to technical issues, some cruisers could not make reservations in advance. In my view, this is completely unacceptable for RC, and robbed me of 2 experiences that had attracted me to this ship in the first place. For the non-reservation activities, such as the Flow Rider, Sky Pad, and Bumper Cars, the queues were consistently very long. We only had the patience to wait for Sky Pad, which took about an hour, but was very much worth it (recommend taking the Virtual Reality option for a unique experience. The only downside is they do not permit you to do flips when you opt for VR). Oddly, the rock-climbing wall was often empty, and my girlfriend was able to climb it twice without any wait. The casino was a massive disappointment. It is the largest casino I have ever seen on a cruise ship (again, specially designed for the Asian market), but smoking was permitted. Given the low ceilings, the smell of cigarette smoke was worse than you could ever imagine. This was the first cruise I have ever been on (except for my first ever cruise, when I was 13!) that I did not gamble once. On day 4, we had signed up for the All Access Tour. We had received a notice the day before that the Engine Control Room would not be accessible, but we would receive $20 per person in on-board credit as a refund. I will not go into every last detail of the tour, but if you are a cruise ship nerd at all (like me), it is absolutely worth the time and money! On the final day, we were assigned 9:30am as our departure time, and told to meet in the Main Dining Room. We showed up on schedule to the MDR—and there was no one around. Everyone was lined up outside 270, and interestingly most people kept all of their suitcases with them, completely ignoring the usual system. The process looked chaotic, but it only took us about 10 minutes to debark. Overall, I cannot fault anything about the ship itself. It is brand new and in my opinion, very impressive. There are some key design differences as compared to ships based in other parts of the world, but it still mostly has the look and feel of a Royal Caribbean cruise. It will be interesting to how Spectrum does in the Chinese market, but I would not recommend this ship for Westerners--I think you will be frustrated by your fellow passengers! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I boarded this ship from Marina Bay Cruise Centre, Singapore. Embarkation and Debarkation was a breeze. As one of the few passengers to board this ship, I managed to get a good window seat at Windjammer Marketplace. But should I have ... Read More
I boarded this ship from Marina Bay Cruise Centre, Singapore. Embarkation and Debarkation was a breeze. As one of the few passengers to board this ship, I managed to get a good window seat at Windjammer Marketplace. But should I have boarded later, the crowd was horrible and jammed as staterooms only open at 1pm. The only places to wait was at Windjammer or the Main Dining Room, where lunch was available at the moment. At 1pm sharp, the doors to the staterooms opened. My stateroom was on Deck 10, an Interior stateroom with Royal Caribbean's new "Virtual Balcony". Quite a nice invention by them, to allow even interior room guests to pay budget and get a view. Room size is okay, with a sofa bed, just nice for a family. We stayed in the room for a while, before we went for the bumper cars at SeaPlex. Good choice! The next two days, bumper cars attraction had long snaking queues! SeaPlex overall is a wonderful place, with a multi-purpose court, table tennis, table soccer etc. Afterwards we had our Guest Assembly Drill. Better than Voyager 2 years ago. We had an air-conditioned muster station. Dinner in Main Dining Room was perfect. Steak well-cooked. Those who had fish choices said it was inedible though. Service was fast, waiter Leonard was a kind guy and attended to us regularly. Awesome! Right after dinner, we went for laser-tag, also held at SeaPlex. Also great choice. The next few laser-tag sessions had long, snaking queues. During night show, cruise director said whole cruise was fully booked! I did not see the cruise director much, except during shows. Fitness Room/Gym was terrible and small but I suspect since the ship will homeport in China and Chinese do not exercise much, it is fine. Port Klang was not a good port, long drive into Kuala Lumpur and the port had barely anything. the new debut of Sky Pad on Quantum Class ships was great, I had loads of fun on it. But as usual those long, snaking queues take up to 1-2 hours at peak hours. Rock Climbing Wall closed most of the time though, which is sad. I enjoyed the Flowrider very much as well. The solarium was a nice place, but I did not stay in suites so didnt get to try Silver/Gold Dining. The sea day was fine, but just really crowded on Decks 5, 14 and SeaPlex (Deck 15 only). Overall to finish, had a great trip and definitely coming back to RCCL, especially Quantum Class! Thanks Royal Caribbean! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
It was a new liner. I was just curious to see how an American liner design a cruise ship just for the China market. I was also looking forward to the Chinese food at the Windjammer or Two70. Most cruise ships would serve black tea or ... Read More
It was a new liner. I was just curious to see how an American liner design a cruise ship just for the China market. I was also looking forward to the Chinese food at the Windjammer or Two70. Most cruise ships would serve black tea or flavoured teas or green tea at the buffet area.I wish they had included Chinese tea for a change. My opinion of the food is similar to other reviewers who were also onboard the Spectrum in May. But the crew who served us food at the dining rooms were fabulous.Many thanks for being attentive to my folks. Individual travellers might feel left out.The afternoon quizzes at the bar were boring with no prizes. There were no super enthusiastic inhouse photographers to take our photos.I appreciate that but that puts the photo viewing gallery the most underutilised place. There were lots of indoor spaces like tiny family sitting rooms with litter of couches spread all over the public area. The Singaporeans demonstrated that they are for afternoon naps and indoor picnic, I am not so sure about how the Chinese would utilise those spaces. What are forgone on the Spectrum are big open spaces in the swimming pools, big outdoor cinema screenings, wide outdoor decks in public area balcony. There are more indoor activities such as fencing lessons, bumper car rides, karaoke lounge which appeal to Chinese of all ages and who are also less keen on sun-tanning. My cabin attendants were from Indonesia.I was thankful.Besides Bahasa, they spoke English well. I had the 'luck' of ending up in the ship's clinic.I don't think anyone speaks Mandarin in there. Fingers crossed, i hope they are bored to tears in their entire stay in China. The seasoned cruise tourists will appreciate the fuss free muster drill that took place without the need to pull out our safety vests, line up in rows and put on our vests.But for many Asians onboard, it is their maiden cruise. This is my umpteenth cruise and I had experienced a real situation which required reporting to the muster station. I much prefer the hassle and inconvenience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I chose this cruise ship because it was new and we did two days in Vietnam and Hong Kong. First, it is absolutely the most beautiful ship we were ever on. The balcony cabin was spacious for a big ship, the cabin was comfortable and I loved ... Read More
I chose this cruise ship because it was new and we did two days in Vietnam and Hong Kong. First, it is absolutely the most beautiful ship we were ever on. The balcony cabin was spacious for a big ship, the cabin was comfortable and I loved the balcony size. The staff were very friendly, but most were not knowledgeable about ship details. Asian security was tight and the first phase of check in in Singapore was slightly disorganized. There were two lines on Asian passports and Asian passport holders. Initially we had to present our passports and other documents with staff at a kiosk. Once we got upstairs to the check in area it was better organized. We were not told our passports would be surrendered before boarding, so you were no5 able to go back downstairs to the terminal. Our iron was held with security I felt like criminal. I guess it was my fault, but it wasn’t highlighted enough on the check in process on the website, but we didn’t have a Chinese Visa (I didn’t feel so bad because there was a hundred or so passengers that didn’t have that Visa either) and had to spend $140 per person on board. The Vietnamese’s landing card only was $7. We didn’t want to spend more money on specialty dinning, but we ate upstairs in buffet dining. The main dining room area was beautiful, but the food was tepid, not appetizing and the portions were small. The shopping area were high end items and the ship gift area for RCL was so small and if you forget toiletries etc oh well. The entertainment was good and Two70 production Silk Road was phenomenal. The casino was small for such a large ship and everyone huddled to the One cent slots. I like to the scratch lottery I won $40 bucks in 9 days lol. I did visit the video arcade sports area flow rider ripcord sky pad and North Star. The spa area was over priced. I thought we could do other ports. We stayed overnight in Hong Kong not two nights and had to be board by 2 pm the next day, so technically you can only do one excursion. Of course, I had to cancel one. I think RCL could have provided shuttle buses to the main area since the terminal was 40 minutes or so to the Star Ferry. The lecturer was extremely informative and disembarkation was very good. Finally, this was my third and last RCL cruise I have cruised on the Serenade Harmony and Spectrum. I can’t wait to go back to Princess cruises. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was my 1st cruise and probably last. Entertainment and lectures uninspiring. Woman who gave lecture of forensics looks like just fell out of bed. 1 night had singer in Schooner bar competing with Spectrum big band because lack of ... Read More
This was my 1st cruise and probably last. Entertainment and lectures uninspiring. Woman who gave lecture of forensics looks like just fell out of bed. 1 night had singer in Schooner bar competing with Spectrum big band because lack of theatre space as shows were practising. Food from Winjammer plentiful, repetative but constantly cold. Breakfast line for cooked eggs 6 deep every day. Drink prices not too bad. All cost on board charged by American dollars. I noticed when in port a lot of people racing for free wi-fi, why do you need to charge $23.00 per day for this service. NOW for the CASINO WHAT A FOUL SMELLING AREA THIS IS WITH PEOPLE SMOKING IN THE SO CALLED SMOKING AREA!! Really Royal Carribean where is you non smoking policy in the Casino. Seems you have limited areas outside for smokers but in the Casino it is allowed. We can see where this ship is heading. Went to so called Gym bit of a joke, I asked why it is so small and was told Chinese people did not exercise much. The restaurants where the same old same old very limited and why can they not advertise prices. One good thing was Silk Road performance 3/4 hour so limited. Beatles show according to my partner fantastic but they bolted at the next prot. Jamacian band near pool same music different day. I am sorry Royal Carribean but this ship was definately built for a certain market and we are not part of that market and to assume people would be impressed by the size of this floating casino if a bit of a joke. You asked you got. A no so happy 1st time cruiser. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this cruise because of the incredible places it visited. The ports of call and most excursions were awesome and well worth the time and money. However, the ship was a completely disgusting place to have to spend time on. Our ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the incredible places it visited. The ports of call and most excursions were awesome and well worth the time and money. However, the ship was a completely disgusting place to have to spend time on. Our first cabin constantly filled with smoke fumes from the exhaust stacks above. For some reason, the exhaust found its way into our cabin via the air conditioning unit as well as from the balcony door while it was open. Not only did we endure exhaust fumes day and night, but we also had to deal with the smell of sewage coming in the door when we tried to clear out the polluted air from our cabin. We also smelled sewage gas fumes while out on our balcony and around the ship. As a result of the exhaust fumes, my asthma/bronchitis flared up and I was (and still am) in dire distress throughout the cruise. Paid over $300 to see the doctor on board only to be told that I needed a cough suppressant. Waited over 2 hours with multiple other passengers who were suffering various forms of breathing distress. We reported the exhaust fumes that filled our cabin to customer service. They had a young lady come to the door of the cabin to ask us what our problem was. She said she'd let maintenance know. Maintenance came to the door and asked us, once again, what our problem was. They said they'd let their supervisor know. That was the last time anyone on the ship responded to our breathing issues. When we mentioned it to one of the head waiters, she asked about it for us. She was informed that the maintenance staff considered us to be liers. She was upset on our behalf, but there was nothing she could do. So, the management of Royal Caribbean, Spectrum of the Seas determined without further investigation that WE were LIERS and there were no exhaust fumes in our cabin! The entertainment was hit and miss. Some of the shows were amazing, others were so-so. Most of the so-so shows were repeated throughout the cruise. The ship's band was excellent, however, it always played so loudly that earplugs were necessary. The gymnasium was small with limited equipment. Lots of entertainment for younger passengers - bumper cars, climbing wall, surfing, etc. Quite amazing, actually. The food was great during the first half of the cruise and went downhill as the second half of the cruise progressed. We found that we ate very little of what was served to us. Coughing, loud, tortured, and constant by well over three-quarters of the passengers was heard throughout the ship. Lots of sick people to spend time with while living on the ship. The many people we spoke with also complained about exhaust-like fumes throughout the ship. Staff were absolutely AMAZING! Courteous, friendly, helpful (except maintenance, of course). Can't write enough good things about each of the staff members. They did an incredible job doing what they could to cheer up all of the passengers. EVERYTHING was expensive on the ship. There were charges for everything. Nowhere to purchase toiletries except at the Japanese Pharmacy. One had to purchase three large containers of a product at exorbitant prices. Nowhere could we find simple products like cold suppressant supplies, toothpaste, hairspray, etc. ALL of the shops were high-end and extremely expensive. Nowhere to purchase simple, inexpensive souvenirs to bring home. We were personally aware of three elevator incidents. Two times where people were trapped in the elevator and couldn't get out. Ten people suffered multiple injuries when the elevator they were in fell three floors. I overhead the meeting those people had with management and I was appalled at how rudely they were treated! No compensation was given other than a discount off their next cruise with Royal Caribbean. They were even told that they were lying about what took place. One woman that I had come to know started crying and one of the ship's management people told her to "settle down'. No empathy whatsoever. Even when they were removed from the elevator it was done in an unsafe manner. If the elevator had fallen (it was slowly going down at the time) they would have been severed - beheaded. All in all, we will not be travelling with Royal Caribean again. Mostly because of the lack of follow up with so many disasters and health-compromising issues. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I hardly know where to start as I found the whole experience very disappointing. It seems one third of the ship is given over to the silver/gold suites and areas, one third to Seaplex (which I'll tell you about) and the last third ... Read More
I hardly know where to start as I found the whole experience very disappointing. It seems one third of the ship is given over to the silver/gold suites and areas, one third to Seaplex (which I'll tell you about) and the last third was for everyone else to squeeze into. There were 3 x swimming pools (2 of which were indoors!) and each had a capacity limit of 26 persons!!! Obviously the limits were exceeded constantly, people cramming into the outdoor one to cool down making it an unpleasant experience which I avoided. There were hundreds and hundreds of sunbeds, all roped together without any gap in between them meaning you had to physically launch yourself onto them, ridiculous. There was little shade available on the pool decks and it was unbearable to sit in the heat; I did not go on holiday to spend time in an indoor pool. The running/walking track was also on the main pool deck, (without any shade) and it was impossible to do any real exercise as it was the main thoroughfare. There was large children's water/play area on the pool deck which was greatly underused as, again, there was no shaded area. Seaplex had some great novelty rides but to give a huge area over to bumper/dodgem cars when there is not even a space for yoga etc. is ludicrous. The casino is also huge, apparently for the Eastern guests - smoking was also allowed inside which I found shocking. The choice of food was wide but of poor quality - without going into huge detail the meat and fish were mainly over-cooked and generally speaking most food was simply bland and often inedible. I purchased the Deluxe drinks package at approx £600 and they ran out of Sauvignon Blanc and quite a few other wines on day 9 of our 14 night cruise. On a positive note the cabins were very spacious and the beds/pillows were particularly comfortable. The decor and artwork around the ship is simply stunning. The entertainment was mixed, some good shows and some really poor. The lectures were uninspiring, the most exciting classes available were origami or napkin folding?? Really! One decent adult bar for an evening with the same pianist playing dire old fashioned tunes, really boring. From talking to other guests, I understand that this was not a typical Royal Caribbean experience - I would not recommend Spectrum of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Getting on the new ship in Dubai was very exciting and it certainly does look amazing. Staff onboard were very organised and friendly and everything ran very smoothly for all of our excursions. Our stateroom with balcony was great, ... Read More
Getting on the new ship in Dubai was very exciting and it certainly does look amazing. Staff onboard were very organised and friendly and everything ran very smoothly for all of our excursions. Our stateroom with balcony was great, quite spacious and the stateroom attendant was very good as well. I like the origami animal towels! Breakfast delivered to the room was a lovely touch also. We mostly ate at the windjammer as we preferred the more casual atmosphere to the main dining hall. The food here was great, lots of choice. Healthy fish and salads for me and not so healthy chips etc for my husband! Unfortunately we got quite sick the last week of the cruise with some sort of bug and could not enjoy the food then - there are sinks and hand sanitiser outside the windjammer buffet but we saw many guests ignore this and not wash their hands :( The entertainment onboard was mixed, some great shows like gold art duo and some not so great shows like showgirl and the main production show Silk Road - they just lacked any real story and I thought there would have been more of a complete theatre show at some point with an actual plot. Silkroad felt like they took more time showing off what could be done with the stage and the tech, there was just too much going on to enjoy the very talented performers - I didn’t know where to look half the time! The Royal Theatre layout wasn’t great, we could only see half the stage as we were in seats in the 2nd level. Lots of seats with limited views so had to go very early to make the shows worth watching. My main disappointment with the ship was the gym. We had seen other ships of the same class with massive gyms and we were really excited about this. The gym on Spectrum of the seas felt like an after thought. It was like it had been completely forgotten about and then crammed into a few small spa rooms at the end. It was very hard to find any free equipment, there were only two weights benches, limited floor space and no barbells. It was also frustrating that crew were in fact using the gym as well - it would have been hard enough to find a space nevermind not being able to use a facility because a crew member is using it. I would have expected them to have their own gym onboard and if the customer gym is busy to be using this. The gym was also uncomfortably hot, I think they were trying to put people off using it! All in in I felt like Royal Caribbean just wanted more and more money from us constantly and it felt like a bit of an insult. We booked this trip for our honeymoon and spent thousands of pounds on it and more again on excursions. It felt like taking advantage of customer who have already paid a lot to be there, extortionately priced drinks, overpriced and slow WiFi, high gratituty charges etc. When we got our final bill it was in dollars and when it came out of my account it came out in sterling at a very poor exchange rate.. £150 more than the going rate! Not impressed by royal Caribbean with regards to their constant fleecing and upselling. However the vast majority of staff we dealt with on the ship were lovely and this is more an issue with company policy than the Spectrum or its team. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I did choose because of the itinerary as not many cruises have port of calls in India. I have cruised on Ovation of the seas before , same Quantum class , and i like the Spectrum of the seas choice of colours and furniture a lot more. ... Read More
I did choose because of the itinerary as not many cruises have port of calls in India. I have cruised on Ovation of the seas before , same Quantum class , and i like the Spectrum of the seas choice of colours and furniture a lot more. The one Big Restaurant choice instead of four is a great idea , a lot less waiting time at dinner . The decision of creating a Silver Lounge for Silver Suites guests is a great idea , even if when I booked it 8 months ago it was advertised that they were going to allow all suites guests to go in the Gold Lounge and Gold Restaurant on decks 15th and 16th forward , but looks like they changed their minds and restricted the access to those decks only to Gold Suites and Gold Balcony Staterooms and they created on deck 14th forward a Silver Lounge . Nice a spacious, with excellent service , but that closes at 8:30 pm so it is not possible to have dinner there . So Silver suites guests must use the Main dining Room. The only terrible think of the Ship is the gym facility. I understand that Chinese customers are not using gyms very often, but the space that has been designed on this Ship for Gym and changing rooms is totally inadequate . I guess no more than 600 square feet with very little equipment , and waiting times to use an equipment are incredibly long , so people just decide not to use the facilities. And the changing rooms are even worse , in the men one there are just 6 lockers so you have to wait to have a locker key . There is no physical space to undress or dress unless you choose to do it near the entrance door where people can see you naked from outside when the door opens. But the worst part is that there is only one shower , so you have to queue to get one. And what i don't understand is that on the contrary the Reception area of the SPA is huge: a lot of that space could have been used to make the changing areas and the gym bigger. So avoid this Ship if you are a frequent Gym user. As already mentioned by other guests , the entertainment is poor in terms of variety. The few shows are outstanding but limited in quantity. And the Lectures as well, not enough. First excursion in Muscat was nice . But today in Mumbai a real rip off. The Guide was really bad, and the bus old and filthy . I Hope next ports of call its going to be better. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was our very first cruise so had nothing to compare it with. Overall the ship was beautiful, our cabins were great. The food got to be very boring on the second leg as the variety never changed in the Windjammer. The dining room food ... Read More
This was our very first cruise so had nothing to compare it with. Overall the ship was beautiful, our cabins were great. The food got to be very boring on the second leg as the variety never changed in the Windjammer. The dining room food was very good at night and we couldn’t complain about the service. Entertainment was hit and miss and we waited so long for the big productions to come on. The Silk Road didn’t appear till near the end of the second cruise. They had 3 different boy acts which were fabulous. We mainly went to the Two70 bar which was a lot quieter and we had one bar staff who knew our names and what we had. Couldn’t afford anything in the high end shops and like $US 9 for a bar of chocolate REALLY. Room for improvement in many areas. We tried all the bars and were very annoyed that no nibbles were available and they ran out of Lavender syrup. Drinks were also pricey. The coffee shops were very good would have liked to see some pastries on offer. Overall we enjoyed the cruise and meeting some interesting people. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
The idea of an inaugural cruise was very appealing as we had been on the Ovation of the Seas and loved it, so we were very much looking forward to this new class of ship, and we were not disappointed. We did a 30 day back to back, ... Read More
The idea of an inaugural cruise was very appealing as we had been on the Ovation of the Seas and loved it, so we were very much looking forward to this new class of ship, and we were not disappointed. We did a 30 day back to back, following the Suez Canal Cruise we stayed on for the Spice Route Cruise. We knew this ship was especially designed for the Chinese market, so some aspects, such as the very small gym, we accepted because of that. We found the decor and design of the ship to be beautiful, particularly the Asian Art aspects. There were very few initial problems, but these were soon rectified with lots of workmen on board to attend to them. Overall though everything went very smoothly, and we received many gifts from RCL to celebrate the inaugural season. Rooms: We changed our staterooms for the second leg, they were both balcony rooms and very comfortable and well designed with plenty of storage, probably the best ever balcony rooms we've had in over 25 cruises. Entertainment: there were lots of good quality headliner shows, but a lack of production shows. We realised later that they were doing lots of rehearsals with the new theatre etc. and in the second leg we saw the best show ever on a cruise ship - in the 270 performance space the Silk Roads show was absolutely amazing, and worth the wait. Dining: we had My Time dining, and found the main dining room food to be of a good quality, and the service excellent. However, over such a long cruise we found the menu to be repetitive, and preferred the choices in Windjammer, where there was a huge choice every day and excellent Asian food in particular. Silver Lounge: As Diamond plus cruisers we were able to access this lovely space for Breakfast and Lunch, as well as complimentary drinks and appetisers in the evening. We enjoyed this new space very much. Service: we could not fault the service on this ship, in every way crew were polite and helpful, even with the complex itinerary in relation to immigration requirements. Our changeover and change of room as consecutive cruisers was also fine, although some people lined up hours before the stated time and then complained about the wait! Embarkation and Disembarkation was also smooth and quick. So overall we were very pleased and excited to be a part of the initial sailings of this fine new addition to the Royal Caribbean fleet. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This cruise completed around the world cruising for my husband and I. It had a similar itinerary as one we booked in 2017 with 2 other couples. Unfortunately, serious illnesses in the other couples forced us to cancel that cruise. All ... Read More
This cruise completed around the world cruising for my husband and I. It had a similar itinerary as one we booked in 2017 with 2 other couples. Unfortunately, serious illnesses in the other couples forced us to cancel that cruise. All are now healthy and we tried again. Very excited about being the first to sleep in the bed, eat at that table, see a show in the theatre etc. We sailed from Barcelona to Singapore. That constituted 2 cruises by RCCL. We soon found out maiden voyages are not without many issues. But first they many positive things: We loved our Silver Jr. Suite. This was cruise #27 for us and this was our favorite cabin. It came with perks we didn't expect like access to Silver lounge which we thoroughly enjoyed. We were told that the silver lounge and the gold lounge would be taken out once the ship reached Shanghai its home port. The 2 lounges will be made into VIP gambling lounges instead. We loved trying new things: (1) North Star which we did twice. Once taking lots of pictures and once just for the enjoyment of being 300 feet above the ocean and seeing the sides and top of the ship from a whole new view. (2) I-Fly the skydiving simulator. It was fun and really didn't warrant the nerves that led up to entering cylinder. (3) Bumper cars at sea. Have not been on bumper cars in 20 maybe 30 years. Much nicer than any from past. The ship has many whimsical decorations i.e. pandas and food truck sculptures on outside deck. There was also 3 pools: outside, inside and solarium. The solarium had 2 small decks off each side. I don't think many people knew they were there because hardly anyone was out there. When we told our friends about them I don't think they believed us because they had been in the solarium and didn't see them. Food was ok in dining room. Our friends insisted on eating every night in dining room. We chose anytime dining but made reservations for a certain table at the same time each night. There were many mix ups and the table was often filled when we arrived. After speaking with several people who were suppose to be in charge, it finally got straightened out. Enjoyed breakfast and some lunches in silver lounge. It was quiet and more relaxed. The entertainment was very good for the most part. I think they brought on some top acts for the maiden voyage. We greatly enjoyed the production show (there was only one in theatre) Showgirls. We saw it twice. There was a production show in the Two70 lounge called Silk Road. It wasn't ready until after Dubai so anyone getting off Barcelona-Dubai didn't get to see it. The costumes, dancing and special effects were amazing, but I still have no idea what the story line was. Neither did anyone I talked to. Ports: Did ship shore excursions except for last port in Penang. That was the only port after Dubai you could get off and walk around on your own. Checked many bucket list places: Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, Acropolis, Petra, Suez Canal, Dubai, Amalfi Coast. Stops in India would be classified as one and done. It was as expected, dirty and noisy. Not the highlight. Singapore is one of my favorite cities in the world. It gave me great pleasure to introduce it to our friends traveling with us. Gardens by the bay night light show as well as daytime visit, Marina Bay Sands light show over the water can not be missed. One of the reviews talked about the RCCL app for the phone. Not to be disrespectful, but he could not possible have used it. Yes it was suppose to do all the things he claimed but they didn't work. Dinner reservations made were suppose to show up on calendar and never did - at least not all of them. We went through activities on the app first day and put things on our calendar. The problem was those events never happened on the ship. The activities in the Cruise Compass and the app often didn't agree. You could look up your folio. That was the only reliable thing on the app. We talked to staff members and learned it wasn't a Spectrum of the Seas issue but a RCCL issue. My husband marked it low on our mid-cruise survey and received a call from IT. They couldn't disagree with anything he told them and thanked him for his input. Nothing changed however. There were a lot of little things that I attribute to the fact the ship was made for the Asian market and when the ship reached Shanghai it would operate differently. There were only extremely high end stores on board. You rarely saw anyone in any of them. Those will stay. People complained about no bingo but Asian market doesn't support bingo so too expensive for short trip. Different bars had different things. It was a real complaint of our traveling companions that there were no bitters on board until after Dubai. Olives & cherries for their drinks were often none existent at the Schooner bar. Since I don't drink anything that requires those items it wasn't a big deal to me. There were other things but honestly I believe the screwups or lack of supplies was simply because they would not be used in China market. Even the cruise director staff will be exiting in June when arriving in Shanghai and speaking Mandarin is the new requirement for staff. Since I do not plan to take a cruise in the Asian market I am glad I got to take the 30 day maiden voyage and enjoy this beautiful ship even with all the hiccups. I could tell more but it won't matter because there will not be another cruise like this one. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Now is a good time to write my overall cruise review. We have 4 sea days and two port days left before we get off in Singapore. The cruise has gone blindingly fast. Let's start this in the usual way: THE GOOD The itinerary ... Read More
Now is a good time to write my overall cruise review. We have 4 sea days and two port days left before we get off in Singapore. The cruise has gone blindingly fast. Let's start this in the usual way: THE GOOD The itinerary for this trip has been a cultural smorgasbord. From Spain through Italy and Greece, through Jordan and the middle east to Dubai and the Arab rich. Oman to see more rich Arabs then India to see hoards of people and the chaos of Mumbai. Cochin was more laid back and less crowded but still had the chaotic flavor of how they do things in India. Malaysia and Singapore complete the banquet with South East Asia cultures of two distinct sub flavors. This has been a great banquet and the ship is aptly named as the Spectrum of the Seas. The ship itself is a marvel. Being brand new it was fun to participate in the maiden voyage. Lots of swag handed out by the various departments, some of it even useful like the drinking mugs. Throughout the ship, they have invested in interesting art and some spectacular lighting. Technology is heavily used, for the most part, quite successfully. The journey is smooth and quiet and the ship purrs along at some 21 knots without breaking a sweat. For a ship this size, I am amazed at how small the wake is. On deck, there are many deck chairs. Not so many that provide a shady seat for everyone but lots of them anyway. There are still many people who ignore the “No Saving” rule and leave their possessions on the seat while they take an hour for lunch. The ship's propaganda says that the deck staff will remove your possessions after 30 min. of no occupancy. Never saw it happen. But is was not really a problem. Nowhere on the ship are you pressured to buy drinks. Bars are plentiful as are the bar waiters. They even have mobile bars that patrol the upper sundecks. The ship can sleep almost 5000 passengers if you put more than 2 people in all of the rooms designed for that. We had some 3700 on the first leg I think. Even with all of that, the ship does not seem crowded. The embarkation and disembarkation went very well at all ports. In fact, surprisingly well. To get that many people off the ship and onto the 50 or so tour buses waiting for them seemed to go smoothly from our perspective. The quality and variety of the entertainment was great. We enjoyed every show and some of them were exceptional. There are many “out there” activities available to do. Things like the climbing wall, the surfing wave, the North Star crane that lifted you up 100 feet and out over the side of the ship to get a unique view of the ship, the I Fly sky diving tube that allowed you to be a skydiver no more than 4 feet off of the ground, the Seaplex where you could play pickle ball, soccer, basket ball, do laser tag, and ride bumper cars. We especially liked the bumper cars. They also had something called the sky pad where you hooked bungy cords to yourself and bounced on a trampoline, all the time wearing virtual reality goggles. There was table tennis, fencing, and many forms of dancing available to learn. They had 3 different lecturers onboard, one to talk about our destinations, one to talk about the internet for fun and profit, and one to talk about crime and psychology things. So, all in all, never a dull moment. Both our inside and our balcony cabin were extremely well laid out. Maybe the best we have ever experienced. There seems to be a massive cleaning staff on board and they did their job very well both inside and out. And all of the staff were very friendly and very obliging. Many of them went out of their way to deal with your question or problem. The food has been great and easily available. The Windjammer, (the Lido deck on other cruises), was a very well laid out set of food islands where the variety seemed endless. A bit hectic during the prime meal times but easily manageable if you watched where you were going with your plateful of food. The Main Dining room was great and we had some terrific serving staff. There were several other places around the ship where you could get some snack food should you feel the need. The chocolate chip cookies were especially appreciated. The use of technology on board was good. The elevators seemed to perform flawlessly and, for the most part, had very tolerable wait times. Interactive displays at various points around the ship helped you get around. You had access, for free, to a phone app that let you do several things like find out what was on for entertainment, check out the times for various activities, learn what food outlets were available at that very moment in case you were hungry, you could reserve a spot at particular activities and events so there was no line up problem, you could bring up a map of the ship deck by deck to find out where you were and where you really needed to be, you can load up your calendar so you know what you are supposed to do at any given time, and you could check on your account amount right up to the minute to find out how big the sticker shock would be. To do all of this, you were allowed free access to the ship's WIFI but were limited to just this app. Things I would like to see added to this app are: Text messages between passengers, location of passengers so it would actually give you a path to where you wanted to go like the interactive displays do, a way to leave messages for appropriate ship staff, and maybe even order drinks to be delivered to wherever you are. All in all, this ship is great. THE BAD It's difficult to be totally objective here because of my culture, previous experiences and general expectations. Others may see things differently. That being said, here is what I would put in the “Bad” category. The Bionic bar where two robot arms mix and serve you a variety of drinks chosen from a tablet at your table. Interesting once, technically amazing, but boring and avoided in the future. I like talking to the bar and wait staff. I don't really need my drinking automated. While there are many deck chairs on the sundeck, they are too close together and also roped together at the back so that you can't move them around or out of the way. This is a nuisance. Even though I was able to un rope a few occasionally, they were tied together the next day. If we had super high winds and/or rough seas, I would understand this but such was not the case. Maybe they will untie them or mean to untie them in the future but so far, it hasn't happened. Of all things, we found the seats in the theater uncomfortable. Maybe it was us and our butt shapes and the seats we chose but by the end of the performance, I had butt ache. There seems to be 8 specialty restaurants on this ship. That, in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it costs significant coin to eat there. In my expectations, I get the finest food and the finest treatment in the Main Dining room. I don't like to feel that the really good stuff is available elsewhere. For a fee. I realize this is a trend in the industry but the prices for that on this cruise are out of line. Speaking of costs, the drink prices on board seem very high. Yes, there is a drink of the day but there are no happy hours. Yes you can buy a drink package but you would have to drink like a fish to make it pay. For 30 days. And both stateroom members. For us, this would have added some $3900 CDN to the price of the cruise. No thanks. The cruise line brags about the fastest Internet at sea. It may be, but it is expensive. I get it that some people feel they must be totally connected and able to stream movies for their entire trip. The cost of doing that for 30 days would approach $1000 CDN. What I need and probably others need is 10 minutes of access every 3 or 4 days. This is not available. It should be. It is on other ships. Even if they charged an a la carte rate of $10 per hour, that would work fine for us. Again speaking of costs, rumour has it that many of the activities we have now at no charge will carry a fee when the ship reaches Shanghai. For example, I heard, with no validation, that they are going to charge $60 for a ride on the North Star. It simply isn't worth it. I suppose the price will find its own level depending upon the market it is in. Before I move on , I need to set the cultural stage a bit. This ship is designed for the Asian market. It is different than the market I am used to, that being mainly Western. So what I find bad, perhaps is because it is culturally a problem for me. In the Asian market, gambling far exceeds the drinking urge. In fact, the bar staff will be reduced by 50% when the ship goes “Full Asian” when it hits its base in Shanghai. The Casino is extra large and will have a “Golden Room” for the high rollers. The reason for the high priced shops on board will become more apparent as the ship gears up for the “Crazy Rich Asians”. Now, you cannot buy basic toiletries like toothpaste but you can buy Asian cough medicine for $111 USD. So I get it. I get it that the first language on board will be Chinese. I get it that all the signs on board are in English and Chinese. I get it that there are a lot more Asian food offerings. I get it that the entertainment will cater to the Asian market rather than to the Western. All this is well and good and I commend it. However, without getting too specific, there are two areas of what seems to be Asian culture that the ship might want to address by additional signage. One is spitting. The lovely and well used communal washbasins outside of Windjammer are not spittoons and spitting off of your balcony is unfriendly at best. And toilets in the public ladies room are to be sat on, not squatted on where you can't aim properly. Perhaps I over step. Apologies, I don't mean to offend. And finally, THE UGLY There are only two things that I think qualify for my “ugly” designation. Neither of them are the fault of the ship and its staff. Rather, these are Royal Caribbean policies determined by Head Office. The first is what we experienced as back to back cruisers. In the Main Dining room, we had a table of 6 people with whom we had bonded and become friends with. So to with the great wait staff. At change over to the second leg, they assigned us all to different tables. New people, new wait staff. This was done by head office at the last minute. We protested as did many others caught in the same situation. But head office had determined that they needed to accommodate those getting on in Dubai at the dis-accommodation of those already on board. To head office, we are just names. Need a table for 10? Take the table for 6 and the one for 4 and combine them; shove those people somewhere else. Our protests resulted in at least being re united with our new friends but we learned from the dining room staff that this was a common occurrence with head office and that they had told them repeatedly about it to no avail. It happens every trip and the dining room staff has to scramble to address the problems it creates. The staff were very apologetic and we received a bottle of wine and 6 lobster tails by way of showing this. (Normally, you have to pay for the lobster dinner.) The second ugly item is more critical to us. As a matter of fact, it is a deal breaker. This issue alone will discourage me from travelling Royal Caribbean again. It is this. RC has started classifying passengers and has created at least 3 different “statuses”. Now I am in favour of all the loyalty benefits that I can get. If I travel a lot with one cruise line, I like to get rewarded in return for my loyalty. I like getting the perks that are available. Things like drink and meal packages, internet access, free laundry, free drinks in my stateroom, perhaps priority boarding or a cabin upgrade. All these are great. And none of them take away from what the rest of the passengers are getting. RC sees it differently. They have created significant prime areas of the ship which are for the exclusive use of the few. We can't go there. They have created special reserved seating in the best seats in the theaters. We can't sit there. They have special deck space, pools, lounges and dining rooms where the privileged can hang out away from the rest of us. I do not know what percentage of the ship has been taken away but it is significant. Why would someone want to join a ship of 4000 passengers so that they can be alone with 200? This is a backward step in cruising in my opinion. And I know there will be those who totally disagree with me. As is your right and privilege. I sincerely hope you enjoy all of your future cruises on Royal Caribbean. I will likely be on another cruise line. I remember my early days in cruising when everybody was made to feel like they were first class passengers. Now, we can't help but feel we are somehow less valued. Maybe this retrograde step will permeate throughout the industry. I hope not. Did I still enjoy this cruise? Of course. Did I let this dividing of passengers get to me? I tried not to but perhaps failed a little. But if it signifies a trend, then I want to speak out. We all saw how things turned out on the Titanic. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise purely for the reason it departed from Barcelona at the time we wished to travel. This ship was not ready to launch. Our trip was truncated as we had our passports stolen in Barcelona and as a result, we had to ... Read More
We chose this cruise purely for the reason it departed from Barcelona at the time we wished to travel. This ship was not ready to launch. Our trip was truncated as we had our passports stolen in Barcelona and as a result, we had to disembark in Athens because we could not travel further with temporary passports. On an inaugural cruise, one must expect irregularities but this cruise was an exception - in the negative. A) Workmen were regularly encountered all over the ship trying to repair malfunctioning equipment, including the elevators, electrical issues in the hallways, etc. The outdoor speakers did not work for movies....AC could not be used for the gym...etc.etc. The casino seemed to work perfectly though... B). The entertainment was subpar. That is not to say that what we did get wasn’t excellent, but there just wasn’t enough of it. After a wonderful opening performance by Mo5aic we were treated to two evenings of movies in the main theatre....really? That was the evening show offering? To be honest, there just wasn’t enough to do on board throughout the day, especially considering that the adventure deck had such limited hours. C) Staff training. At the start of the cruise the Captain announced that we were in for an extraordinary experience as the crew was all hand picked from other ships. Conversations with crew members and our own experience quickly punched huge liar holes in that claim. It was obvious that many crew members were brand new and had no idea about how to perform their jobs. Nobody likes to be lied to. It was gratifying to see that cafeteria supervisors gradually got a grip on staff and service improved over the five days. For a ship designed for the Asian market, there were a few major design misses. I think that the biggest miss was in the lack of a games room. Every ship I have travelled on has had a big mahjong playing component and have had a place to play. This wasn’t so on Spectrum as the cafeteria was walled off much of the time. The library was tiny and poorly equipped with books, lined with locked cabinets containing inaccessible board games - but no place to play. As well, it was open to the theatre area adjoining the library, so no quiet space. The gym space was totally inadequate from a Western perspective. There was a small space forward on Deck 13 with machines placed too closely together and the space was not adequately cooled. This ship was a curiosity to me. I thought it was beautiful and the cabin spaces were some of the best I have encountered. The recreational facilities were wonderful - except for the very limited access. I am curious to find out how other people experienced this ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We were in Silver Suit #9236: a balcony by the mid ship elevator. I thought it was a great location near the Stabilizers. We hardly felt any motion from Barcelona to Dubai. We ate Br, Lu and Dn in the Silver Dining Room every day from ... Read More
We were in Silver Suit #9236: a balcony by the mid ship elevator. I thought it was a great location near the Stabilizers. We hardly felt any motion from Barcelona to Dubai. We ate Br, Lu and Dn in the Silver Dining Room every day from Day 2 onward. We could have had Lu the first day, but we didn’t know the Silver Dining Room was open till we got to our cabin. I called about Dn the first night, but was confused by their answer. We went to the Windjammer Buffet on Deck 14 and got a Noodle Bowl. Br was the usual assortment on Eggs, Pancakes, fruits, Oatmeal, Yogurt, Juices, etc. They have a Latte, Cappuccino, Hot Chocolate, etc. machine so you don’t need a coffee card. Sometimes you can get the Waiters to make the drinks for you. They use real plates and silverware + glass drinking glasses. Lu was a big spread with multiple Meats and Seafoods, lots of salads and vegs, and desserts like Tiramisu & Cheesecake. Dn was Appetizers. They always had 4 hot appetizers like small Chicken Legs, Shrimp, Spring Rolls, Onion Balls and Sausage Rolls. They always had 4 cold appetizers plus Cheeses and Wafer Bread. Small desserts, but you can have free alcoholic and soft drinks from 5:30pm till 8pm (and lots of people do). We never saw the need to go to the Dining Room! We had reserved a Transfer Tour from the Barcelona Airport to the Port. But, the Immigration line took over 1 hour and we missed the bus (they don’t wait). Fortunately, a RCCL rep was there that got us on a direct transfer bus from the airport to the ship at less cost. Great!!! NOTE: You have to reserve the direct transfers from the Reservation people (they are not shown in the on-line Shore Trips). Check-in was very fast. The rooms were ready early at 12:15pm. We had reserved the 10.5 hr The Best of Rome shore trip, but my wife wasn’t feeling good after the long flight from the US. A Shore Excursion rep refunded our money. We had a pleasant walk in Civitavecchia, the Port for Rome. We had Lu in town overlooking the MedMer. We walked around the Port area in Naples, and had a Pizza Lu. We walked a mile from the Port in Athens @ (37 56.23N 23 37.46E) to the spectacular Church of the Holy Trinity @ (37.943651° 23.644060°). NOTE: It is a 2.5 mile walk one-way from the Port large ships must use to the Subway Station to go to the Acropolis. We took the 10 hr ship tour to Petra. We walked the 3 Kms thru the Siq to the Treasury façade and back in 2.3 Hrs. I took 400 pictures. The light is really good for pictures in the Siq in the morning. You could rent horse-drawn carts for a fast ride to the Treasury. Our ticket included a ride down and back on a slow horse led by a local tribesman. You could also rent Golf Carts with a driver for a moderately paced ride. We passed on all of them because we wanted to look for birds and take pictures. In my view, if you took the horse carts, you would largely miss the beautiful views in the Siq. NOTE: The main trail goes on for another 3-miles (5Km) to the 4000-seat ancient Amphi-Theater carved into the rock, the Colonnaded Street (where ancient shops had been located), and the 135,000 sq ft Great Temple. There were mobs of People coming downhill to the Treasury at Noon as we were walking back to the entrance. I’m glad we got here earlier. Our only delay was where a woman had fallen at a narrow place in the Siq. This created a real bottle neck for the horse carts. There seemed to be Park Staff caring for her already. Petra is not Handicap accessible. Our tour included a Buffet Lu at the MovenPick 5-Star Hotel next to the entrance to the Petra Park: Hummus, Zucchini Hummus, Tomato slices, Mint sauce, Olives, 3-Peppers w Cheese Sauce + Pulled Pork w Rice + Pita Bread ++ Chocolate Tart, and Chocolate Mousse. Beautiful!!! The bus ride to and from Petra was interesting as well. I took 170 pictures on these drives. Part of the drive was on the Kings Highway mentioned in Numbers Chapter 20. We didn’t get off the ship in Dubai till time to go to the airport. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Spectrum of the Seas Ratings
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