Great itinerary sailing from Tianjin to Melbourne however the overall cruise experience was poor.
Much of the entertainment was in the Piazza which was too small to view the action plus the noise generated made it impossible to deal with the pursers office. Entertainment in the Piazza that I could see was quite good. The production shows were also good and a significant improvement on a previous Princess cruise. There were a couple of good shows in the theatre but the rest were mostly average with a couple being poor. Around the ship a great pianist A J Clarke boarded in Osaka replacing a pianist was VERY ordinary. AJ was fantastic. The initial houseband was great however they disembarked in Hongkong and the replacement tried hard but were only average. During the day the staples of Bingo and Trivia were offered most days however over 28 days this became tedious. Apart from 1 day entertainment was not offered during the day other than in the Piazza and this was a real oversight.
The cruise directors team did try hard and Victoria's effort with the choir was outstanding whilst Ken and Raven's efforts in particular were also great. The Cruise director Tim however did very little to make this a good cruise with his jokes being tired.
The restaurant food in general was average. The buffet food was also only average. On a number of days I struggled to find anything that I fancied eating in the buffet. On an upside the service staff were cheery and their service was good. The cabin breakfast was poor with mistakes being often made between what was ordered and delivered. The fact that unlike on other ships we had cruised on Hot Chocolate was not generally available was also a downside
Compared with other ships we found our balcony cabin to be small. Our Cabin Steward was however exemplary. The TV system used in the cabin was OLD with a very limited range of channels and no ability to check program details etc or to see details of daily onboard activities.
We were pleasantly surprised at the drink prices other than the bottled wines where the prices were very high.
The boat presented well however its lack of use of technology onboard was a lowlight particularly as it necessitated taking 30 minutes to remediate an incorrect charge which would not have occurred with better technology. One other issue was that a number of the whirlpools did not operate properly.
We did not do any shore excursions particularly due to their very high price .
Overall we believed that other cruise lines we have used provided a better experience
Cabin was comfortable and loved walk in robe however the lack of a seatee as we have had on other ships was a downside. TV was however old and had limited programming. Bathroom was typical tho of lower quality than we had found on other ships
Never having been to Beijing before I did so with some trepidation however it was such an easy city to get around with so many great sights to see. Got to the port via train to Yujiapui and then cab and would recommend it.
Great place to visit. Port so convenient
Easy to get around and transport easy to use. Port so convenient
Port has no public transport and shuttle bus didn't work well. Was great however to sail after dark and get a great view of the city lights
Free Shuttle bus to local town rather than 2 hour trip to Saigon. Was interesting to get a non tourist view
Needed to take tender to shore which took 30 minutes in baking sun. Port not near anything and no public transport. Traffic was appalling
Port so convenient to town and area around port fantastic with own swimming area and great area to laze about
Docked at cargo port due to size of boat. No public transport and expensive taxi's. $24 return for shuttle to town.
So convenient to be docked at Circular Quay. Downside was trying to use ticketing system in Sydney