We boarded the ship in Barcelona & sailed for 45 nights, all the way to Tianjin. Boarding was efficient & took about 15 minutes. We chose this cruise for the itinerary & for the experience of sailing on a new ship. Overall the experience was great, but there were some very big problems.
First the good stuff. I found both the ship and the cabins to be lovely. We had a balcony cabin on deck 7. There was more closet space & more storage space than on other ships in the fleet. They moved the closet away from the cabin entrance door (which is a cabin design improvement) & increased the size of the shower. The Solarium & 270 were particularly impressive public spaces. Our cabin steward (thanks Pandy) was excellent. For the most part, our dining staff was good, although one night we waited about 30 minutes before any of the wait staff acknowledged us. Our head waiters stopped at our table most nights, which is something we never experienced on any other RC ship. I think that part of the problem with the wait staff was that they were transitioning to a Chinese crew as we got closer to China & kept replacing experienced staff with newbies. We chose Classic 2 Dining option before we left the States, so we had an 8:30 standing reservation every night. Most nights the 4 free restaurants were half full, so we couldn't understand why people were having such a tough time with dining times. Food was good, but not excellent. The activities were plentiful. I took a zumba class every sea day, went to the shows in the evening, which were good & tried the I-Fly & bumpers cars. I also went to the port lectures, conducted by very knowledgeable professors. All in all, a good time.
Now for the bad: We purchased the internet package prior to boarding & the log-in procedure was horrible. At one point I tried to log-in LITERALLY 100 times before going to the Help Desk, only to be told that there was no internet service for the entire ship, even the RC staff. But perhaps the biggest problem was lack of organization of RC tours. One of the benefits of booking an RC tour is that you are supposed to be 1st off the ship. This was not the case. On a number of occasions, getting off the ship & to the tour bus took more than 1 hour. South Korea & Singapore were worse, because of local immigration requirements. But the worst was in Tianjin. We purchased a RC tour taking us to The Great Wall & airport drop-off. Because of RC disorganization, Our tour bus left 2 hours late, our lunch stop was cut to 30 minutes & we stopped at The Great Wall fro 12 minutes, before having to leave for the airport. That's right, 12 minutes. It wasn't the tour company's fault. In fact, they had a rep board our bus at the Beijing airport to help us through the airport, because they were worried we would miss our flight (which we made by RUNNING ALL THE WAY TO THE GATE). i have taken many RC tours before & never experienced this level of chaos. Very stressful & disappointing.
But all in all, a great adventure, visiting some places on my bucket list!!
On my bucket list. glad I went
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