Cruise number 25 with RCCI and cruise 40 overall so hopefully I can give a balanced review for fellow cruisers.
We had a complimentary upgrade to a junior suite and moved from deck 7 to 8 mid ships.
Unfortunately the sound from the pool parties was very loud and you could hear every song in the cabin. They did finish by midnight but on our first night onboard we were tired and wanted to sleep so we did find that frustrating.
The music from the centrum carries up too and you can hear footsteps overhead as guests walk to the windjammer again, these are really loud. As we are early risers,it did not impact us too much but it was Loud. Guest relations provided earplugs for us-let me say we are a late 40's/early 50s couple so you'll have context in the sound levels if we are pointing them out. Despite speaking to guest services on day 2, nothing changed.
We did not get our dining room preference despite being Diamond plus and having booked 12 months plus ago. Even our concierge could not help us and this meant we ate in Chops, Izumi and the Windjammer as we did not want to be on a table for 12. I will think twice about pre paid tips in future as we did not eat in the dining room. The maitre d' did offer to switch us to anytime dining after our mid cruise survey but we would need to wait for a table for 2. We selected fixed seating to fit around the shows etc so this was disappointing. Both Costa and HAL have had no problems in providing us with a table for 2 this year and we have only done a couple of cruises with them.
Chops is great value and the food superb, Izumi I found novel but expensive for what we had.It is a la carte pricing and we paid $60 for a 3 course meal of quite small portions. I would say try it for the fun of it.
Trips in the Phillipines are fast and loose on description. All of ours overran by at least an hour. One had a 2 hour beach stop instead of a cave visit. Before you say what a grump, I was treated for skin cancer last year and so we purposely picked the shorter trips to limit my exposure. A 2 hr over run on an 4 hour trip is significant when there is no traffic issues involved.
The staff were are helpful and friendly, the ship was clean and tidy and the shows all entertaining. The themed parties are getting a bit old hat for us now, but there was the usual 50s and 70s nights, pool party etc...
Embarkation and disembarkation were smooth, there was a slight delay on leaving of around 30 minutes due to immigration.
We did not get an arrival letter at our first hotel so our transfer time to the ship was a bit of guesswork. There were no other guests to check with but the hotel did try to help us out by calling the local agent. I would recommend having your times in writing rather than rely on a welcome letter. We had some provisional times on our travel summary but they were different. For example, our summary stated 3pm transfer to airport and yet is was 8pm when we arrived at the final hotel. So much better for us as our flight was 11.30pm but if I had known, I could have saved myself the cost of the lounge at Singapore where we thought we would get a shower ( we would have declined the 3pm transfer as that would have meant too much time at the airport) so again, I am not sure the transfer package adds value and it's the second cruise in a row with this company where there have been issues ( we were not met last year on arrival at all)
Overall, an enjoyable cruise and some interesting stops, Brunei being a highlight for me. We had to miss Taipei due to rough seas but the Phillipines is very pretty and we enjoyed the snorkelling. It is hot and humid and you can quickly burn, so please take care. I wore long cotton trousers and we swam in rash guard told and shorts with our hats on! Despite plenty of sun cream my husband still got a little burnt on his ankle.
No qualms about recommending the ship, just take earplugs depending on your cabin location.
Did not call this time due to poor weather. Previous visit to Taipei was fabulous. City tour highly recommended