Vulgarity of the Seas: Voyager of the Seas Cruise Review by jameila

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Vulgarity of the Seas

Sail Date: June 2012
Destination: Asia
Embarkation: Singapore
We sailed with extended family on back to back cruises for 12 nights from Singapore to Shanghai via Thailand/Malaysia, Vietnam and various Chinese ports. I had an open mind having sailed on a good Baltic cruise on RCI's Vision a year earlier and we were looking forward to being on a really large ship for the first time.

We came away believing RCI could not organise a raffle and could not have cared less. The disembarkation in Phuket at tender took more than 3 hours after RCI seemingly messed up with the immigration formalities and after taking all our passport in Singapore had to return them all to us on board ( by making hundreds of people stand in a queue) so that immigration officials could eyeball every one of us before we got off. Sadly it seems RCI had not checked the position properly ahead of time.

In Saigon ( where we docked 2 hours from the city) we booked excursion tickets thinking this may allow us to disembark more quickly. However whilst those tickets More indicated we should meet at a rendezvous point on this ship, it was closed when we got there. There was no one about to tell anyone what to do so we bumbled off after about an hour stuck in the stairwell with hundreds of others, then became separated in the enormous confused crowds, and only by accident found our bus amongst dozens of others. The excellent excuse from the lone officer we stumbled across, was "but there are 1700 people on excursions here". As if RCI hadn't realised in advance they were hosting several thousand punters.

This pattern continued throughout most of the remaining ports, Hong Kong being particularly chaotic given we had to dock on the second day there in the cargo port because the ship could not be hosted at the passenger terminal. It was neither scenic nor convenient. My enduring memory is of the poor wet lost souls at the entrance to the container port, huddled together under a tiny sagging tarpaulin RCI had arranged and waiting forlornly for a shuttle bus to collect them so that we could be escorted into the port ( being an active cargo port/secure area, we could not just walk back to the ship).

We had attended the xenophobic excursion directors briefing the day before arriving back in Singapore after the first leg of our cruise. To sum up his comments on the Asian ports, he seemed to think Asia was largely a disorganised place with bad driving and that no one speaks English. In fact so lack lustre was his summary that we were left wondering why we bothered to come. Fortunately he was wrong and when we eventually escaped the ship, most ports, especially HongKong and Xiamen were brilliant. We ate many strange things and had many excellent exchanges with the locals.

Cabins - very good, we stayed in a junior suite, an ordinary balcony, a grand suite and an inside room. All seemed well planned with good space and had good clean furniture. The grand suite had a nice marble bathroom. However as far as service goes, upgrading to the grand suite on the second leg of the cruise was disappointing when compared to say Holland America; there was no special breakfast service, concierge lounge was only manned for a couple of hours a day (although the complementary cocktails were good) and there was no special functions with officers or staff organised . The so called priority tendering in Hong Kong was woeful and questions about it to staff drew blank stares.

Ship - big, sort of vulgar, the internal street has the atmosphere of sitting in a food court or shopping centre. Still the sports bar and the English pub weren't bad.

Food- as woeful as the organisation on the ship. Johnny Rockets was the perhaps unlikely stand out.

Crew - there were good ones, there were bad ones, most seemed tired and wanted to get off.

Entertainment - possibly the worst Asian/Hawaiian piano playing singer entertainer I have ever seen, he was so bad he was almost funny. The ice show was good, but I would not drop 20 grand on a holiday for the family to see it again. We went to the karaoke , one of the sessions clashed with the big band playing next door and had to be abandoned, the other, in the nightclub, might have been good had RCI bothered to open the bar so people could buy drinks.

In short, I would only travel on this line again if I wanted a McDonalds of the Seas experience, without the slick organisation, consistency or good service of that particular chain. Less

Published 06/28/12

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