To give this context, I want to start by stating that I have been on 20 different cruises, each lasting 7 or more days. These 20 cruises have included 8 different cruise lines, as I value iteneraries and price above blind allegiance to a single cruise line. That having been said, I have cruises with Holland America before. There is no doubt about it; this cruise line is different. I won’t get into that, though. Different is not bad; it’s just different.
That having been said, I was hit with one negative surprise after the next on this cruise. It started when I got on board and had no hot water. It took 2 days to get this resolved. Then I got word that my onboard spending account was weong; I was charged twice for three of the excursions that I had already booked. Then, on my first excursion in Shimizu, the tour guide left me at the first stop. Bear in mind that I am a healthy 33 year old, who was told when and where to meet back at the bus, and was still left behind, despite being 5 minutes early. Then, later that night, I receive a call from the excursion desk stating that I am going to get an additional $300 tacked onto my bill. Why? Well, since I was traveling alone, apparently there was meant to be a premium on my overnight excursion to Beijing. My problem is this; I booked and paid for an excursion to all but one of our 10 stops on the Asia cruise I was taking, and I did so 2 months in advance. So when I got a call two days into my cruise stating that they misbilled my excursion, and that it was non-refundable, and that I could either take a $900 dollar loss or be forced to pay $300 to stay on the tour... needless to say, I was pretty upset. The cruise just kept having issues mount up. The excursion team did nothing to try and make this blunder on their part right. Then, despite all of my problems with excursions on this trip, I decide to book one more (for the one port stop I had not already booked one for). Sad news for me. The excursion desk wasn’t open for 24 hours straight, the self help kiosk was broken, and guest services apparently didn’t have the ability/authority to help me. So I also went without trip plans on the one day where I failed to book in advance.
All told, as a young, healthy, active, intelligent repeat cruiser, this was the worst cruise of my life by far. If I had to assign a percentage to it, I’d say that this cruise was %20 of the value of any other cruise that I’d ever been on. With all due respect to the readers of this review, if you book a cruise on this thankless, and leaderless cruise ship, quite frankly you deserve every atrocity that will inevitably come your way.