This is about the Azamara Quest 16 night Asian cities and waterways cruise, leaving from Osaka Japan on March 17, 2016 and supposed to be ending in Singapore on April 2, 2016.
First: this was a 16 night cruise which I booked one year ahead of time in order for my husband to secure time off. This is a cruise that leaves in the middle the week, and therefore my husband had to take off three weeks from work, but we were excited about the itinerary including Osaka Japan, Hiroshima Japan, Shanghai China, Hong Kong China, Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam, and Singapore.. We were particularly excited about visiting Ho Chi Minh City – Saigon. The cruise was not inexpensive, however it was part of my bucket list – I didn't think I would be visiting Asia again.
Two and 1/2 weeks before the cruise I got an email from my travel agency, telling me that because the cruise line needed to "dry dock" the ship a little longer, that Ho Chi Minh City would be removed from our itinerary, and the cruise would be shortened by three days!! Two weeks in advance? They didn't know this earlier? We were offered some money back and some discounts on future cruises. I do not plan to visit Asia again in my lifetime, and therefore this was a significant loss for me, The obvious disregard for the passengers was palpable.
2. The cruise line told me that I needed a valid passport, which expired no less than six months following the end of my cruise. There was no information about a required visa evident in the documents, and when I filled out my "Sea Pass" forms required for boarding, there was no mention about a visa either- just passport and credit card information. I therefore understandably assumed that all visa requirements would be dealt with by the cruise line as had been on the case on all other cruises I sailed on, which have been many.!
Upon arrival in Shanghai, we were repeatedly reminded to bring our passports, photocopies of our passports with barcodes on them and our room key card. A visa was never mentioned. After leaving the ship and going through immigration, we were not permitted to enter Shanghai as we did not have a visa! We had to return to the ship and spend the two days in Shanghai watching limited television in our cabins.
Perhaps the need for a visa in Shanghai was written somewhere in the small print, however there was no mention of it in any of the final documents I had to sign and review prior to the cruise. My passport information and credit card information was required in multiple locations.
3. A few other issues. The ship was decidedly in poor repair. I have to say that the crew on board were lovely, however the facilities were not.
For example: During the first three nights there was an awful odor in my room interfering with my sleep. On the fourth day I noticed that the odor came from the carpet next to the side of my bed which smelled strongly from vomit. Over the next two days, the carpet was shampooed and dried, and the smell was improved. I was surprised that this was not cleaned prior to my arrival!
There were additional problems with the cabin as well however I will not go into these at this time.
All in all, this was an expensive cruise which was abruptly shortened without our knowledge even though it was clear that they must have known this earlier than we when we were told. As discussed above, two of the scheduled ports were eliminated. Given the expense and inconvenience that we suffered, I think that the cruise line should have offered more – possibly another way to include Vietnam in the cruise. At the very least, the need for a visa to visit Shanghai on a half day Azamara sponsored tour should have been clearly advised.
I have been on multiple cruises from low-end to high-end, and I must say, I do nothing I will travel with Azamara again.
Extremely cold without guest ability to adjust. "Repair" resulted in extreme uncontrollable heat!
Horrible smell of vomit since boarding.
Guest discovery from previous guest vomit. New comparable cabin not offered- just smaller. Carpet shampooed twice on days 4 and 5 with wet carpet.
Signed up for 2 tours over 2 days but not allowed into Shanghai! Did not have visa and never told I needed one! Cruise line requested passport and credit card info MANY times, but not visa! Apparently it was in the fine print!! Thanks a lot!
Cruise line canceled this port two weeks prior to the cruise! Who's was reduced in time by three days, Vietnam excluded, and a partial refund offered. Apparently the ship needed dry dock. It's impossible that they did not know this before hand.