My wife & I were on the recent Singapore to Shanghai 9 night sailing. We are experienced cruisers across many brands. We love cruising & mainly look for the positives. There were some minor disappointments on this cruise but we did our homework before we left & we knew there would be some changes with the ship moving to the China market. We scored a great last minute special for this cruise & combined with doing our homework such as pre-booking most things we really did enjoy this cruise. In retrospect the minor problems were just that, minor. Maybe if we had paid full price, we may have been more disappointed in some things.
Here was our experience:
We flew into Singapore the night before & stayed at the Conrad near Marina Bay. This was a fantastic 5 star hotel & I would not hesitate to stay there again.
Embarkation: We were Gold status & this did take a while. There were more people in our line than the newbies. I use a walking stick to get around & I appreciate when there are special lines for us people that are somewhat disabled, but only noticed one of these special lines at the security point.
Ship: After we boarded, we set off to explore the ship & yes we were Wowed! The overall layout of the ship was great & everything felt new, clean & somewhat luxurious. We have sailed on the Allure so we were hoping for some funky new things on this ship that RCI had promised in its marketing & I felt in most parts they delivered. eg, The 270 lounge was amazing & one of our favourite areas to relax or see a show. We loved our stateroom, a spacious balcony up on deck 13. It was very nicely & cleverly appointed & very comfortable & loved using my wow band to open the door. We also loved the Seaplex & bumper cars as well as the North star. We did this over Hong Kong which made for amazing views & we were lucky the wait was not too long as most people were still ashore at the time.
Another great venue was the Music hall, it was a great big two storey space that catered for bands, nightclub or other get-togethers. The main Theatre entertainment was a bit hit & miss. I thought the shows in the second half of the cruise were better. Unfortunately they replaced MamaMia with a new show called Sequins & feathers & other than the pretty girls on stage, lol, I really didn’t enjoy this feature show. I thought the music & dancing just didn’t have a nice mix & flow. It just looked messy & disorientated. My favourite area was the solarium up front and I spent a lot of time lounging around there. This is truly an all weather ship to suit one & all.
Food & service: We sail Royal for their amazing ships not for their food. I personally have had better food & service on other Cruise lines, both cheaper & more expensive. We did however like the dynamic dining concept. We tried American Icon the first & last nights of the cruise. The first night food was not bad but the service was the worst I have ever come across of my 12 cruises. Seriously it was terrible. The last night service was better but the food was horrible. Chic in contrast was much, much better & ate there twice also. Silk was nice overall but thought the ambient lighting was just too dark. Never tried Grande. Of the fee paying eateries we tried Jamie’s twice & loved it, it was clearly our favourite on board. We also tried Chops Grill & were very disappointed. We always do a steakhouse on each cruise & they have always been great but this was terrible. Once again the lighting was very low, the service was only average & the meals bland & not worthy of the extra price. Presentation on the plate was clearly lacking & the food just didn't excite the tastebuds.
Windjammer was ok food wise but it seemed everyone else on the ship was there the same time as us. Some days we did a full lap around & could still not find a spare seat/table, Once again this is extra annoying as remember I use a walking stick, so trying to find a spot while balancing a plate of food ain't easy! Food from the cafe's were very quick, nice & easy but the pizzas were quite bland also. The 270 cafe was a hit for us, good food for breakfast or lunch & never crowded. We had Royal Replenish drink packages which we had pre-paid from home. These did work well from bars for coffee’s, water, etc, but some of the automated machines often seemed to be out of order.
In regards to C&A & M&M we did receive all info in our Staterooms as normal & the normal type of events were held.
Ports: Pre booked ship excursions for Vietnam – local town of Vung Tau, & Xiamen China – city highlights. Both trips were just ok, nothing special. In Hong Kong we docked overnight & used this extra time for our self organised trip to Macau. This was a very long day but well worth it, got to see Giant Panda’s, the old & new towns & the amazing Venetian Casino which is said to be the largest in the world.
Guest services, well this was where a lot of improvement could have been made. Lucky we didn’t have to go down there very often. Constant long lines & the mostly Chinese staff had very little English skills. Admittedly, I don’t know much chinese but this was a bit frustrating when trying to organise our passports for a visit to Macau. It took 3 separate trips to Guest services to get this organised & then on the morning we arrived in Hong Kong & went to go pick up our passports so we could make our way to Macau, there was a total shambles in the Port hall & no-one from RCI seemed to know what the procedure was & we along with many other disgruntled guests spent 1-2 hrs waiting to get our passports, & then made to feel that the mix up was all our fault by the Chinese RCI staff. Their rudeness in the matter shocked a lot of us passengers. So much for Customer Service?
As for Shanghai Disembarkation, well no-one can be blamed for the fog & it delayed our docking for several hours. However the whole process was handled very poorly. The ship apparently anchored out of the harbour at about 3am, It would take another 5 hours of sailing from this point to Dock. So, unaware of this, all passengers were up early to meet in their respective areas to get ready to get off the ship, but No, it wasn't until about 9am that they told us we would still be hours away from docking (maybe 4 –6pm) and we could return to our rooms. They could have told us this two hours earlier & we could have slept in some more or not have rushed to Breakfast, etc. They did give us free internet & lunch. Later in the day when we finally could get off we were lucky that we did self assist with our luggage & didn't have to put up with all the craziness in the terminal. However we were in line waiting to get off the ship for a long time because many people in front of us who still had to pick up their luggage in the arrivals hall, had gotten into line well before their number had been called. This just meant that not only did they hold us up, but they then standed around waiting in the cramped area in the terminal waiting for their luggage & adding to the confusion. This was very poorly handled by RCI. We then got a taxi into the city where we already had a hotel booked. The Raddison New World Hotel. A nice hotel but not as nice as the Conrad in Singapore.
This was the largest Cruise Ship to ever visit Asia, so the welcome we received in each port was a real highlight, with lots of Chinese Dragons & drums & dancing. Our balcony was on the Starboard side & we always seemed to dock on this side, which worked out well for us as we had prime viewing for these great welcome exchanges.
Overall we had a great time & would cruise the Quantum again for the right price/Itinerary.
Beautiful large well thought out cabin. Heaps of space, Large comfy bed, lots of storage, small - yet very functional bathroom with an added night light. Huge TV & great balcony.
good very modern port building, overall seemed to function well.
wasn't really a walking tour, the bus took us to most of the highlights. tour was just ok. nothing specialView All 8 Vungtau Walking Tour Reviews
Booked a private half day tour from an official guide at the Macau Port. Got to see old & new Highlights as well as a visit to the Giant Pandas at the zoo. This was one of the highlights of the entire cruise. We then chose to be dropped off at the Venetian CasinoView All 4 Macau Walking Tour Reviews