I am writing this review after a 3 day pre-cruise itinerary in Hong Kong and first full day, while fresh in my mind. I will add further updates.
The airport pickup and transfer well, even though they were not prepared for 4 people with 2 pieces of luggage with carryons each (although that is what we told them we would have). The Langham Hotel was excellent in all aspects - location, rooms, breakfast provided. The first day tour was just hotel transfer to the hotel, but we booked our own private tour which was great. Day 2 with Regent was really sub-par, made worse by rainy, cloudy weather. Nevertheless, we stuck to the itinerary of a train trip to the top of Victoria Peak for the (non)view (we went to the top to re-board our bus and spent no time there). Then on to our lunch at Stanley Market (which was a pretty poor example of a street market compared to the center of Kowloon). We ate at an authentic buffet lunch of —— German food in Hong Kong! Day 3 was a long trip to Po Lin Monastery (of course the cable car was closed) , a better than expected vegetarian lunch, then a visit to tourist trap Ngong Ping village. Pretty lame day - definitely best to explore on your own and set up private tours.
The mid-cruise feedback form was filled with issues. We have not heard back from the crew - do not believe the “commitment to excellence.” They are committed to apologizing and being empathetic, as they have much practice from what I have heard from many other cruisers. More specifics:
1] The towels placed on the poolside chairs are changed once a day. If someone is lying on the towel and leaves, the towels are reused for the unsuspecting next poolside guest.
2] First day of the cruise (we paid plenty extra for alcohol included, but no Riesling wine (they did find one bottle for the 12 day cruise) and no Pina Colada mix ( after 9 days they did get off the ship to get more mix, but ran out after 1 day).
3] Salad poolside is served warm - not kept on ice or refrigerated. The salad plates are hot, also not kept in a cooler. Who really wants warm salad?
4] Same for the sodas. Warm Coke cans are opened - so they are not carbonated well. Poured over ice results in flat, diluted soda. I’ll stick to water, but it is warm if you want it from a bottle (or boxed water) - only water from the ship is cold (gee - wasn’t it brown water in my room)? Even refrigerator in room barely kept drinks cool.
5] Although I had expected great service due to a smaller ship with a high staff:passenger ratio, I felt that the service was really poor compared to Oceana. At the buffets, people were leaning over food and mis-handling the serving utensils (not very hygienic) similar to any Golden Corral in the U.S.)- as opposed to being served by gloved staff. It frequently took my asking servers multiple times to bring me drinks, bread, etc. Sometimes I just got up to do it myself.
6] The food menu is pretty extensive - which is good. The food is generally good (although I personally did not think it was uniformly good, but I did have alternative choices) - not as good as the restaurants I had experienced on Oceana but much better than Royal Carribean. Prime 7 is very good. The staff in the Italian buffet are understaffed and running around making it a hectic, not relaxing dinner, but better the second night.
7] When going on tours, only warm water is handed out when leaving the ship. Cold water is not routinely given out on the buses. Generally, the tour buses are good, the tours are pretty average to sub-par.
8] Now at day 10 after completing Bangkok “2 day“ visit. Rather than dock in Bangkok as was in the original itinerary, we docked 2.5 hours away in Laem Chabang. The excuse was low tide (we found out after boarding, others found out 1 week before). I am sure the real reason was it cheaper, as there were no other cruise ships in our port and other cruise ships were docked in Bangkok at the same time. The times of our docking did not change, so there was no way to reasonably go to Bangkok on day 1, with the “alternative offered was to go to Bangkok on day 1 (and at my own expense) book a hotel room and book my own tours to return on day 2 at 1:30 PM. On day 2 we left at 6 AM to have a very rushed visit to the Grand Palace, canal ride on the Chao Phraya river and a buffet lunch at a Sheraton hotel before returning at 1:30 PM - spent more time driving than touring - 2 days wasted in Thailand. I need to come back another time to actually visit the sites and see Bangkok! The entertainment has been better than expected. Staff are pleasant and very apologetic. When we explained our concerns personally to the ship General Manager, she was understanding and apologetic, offering a laughable $750 credit toward a future cruise, with no adjustment to the top dollar price of this cruise. With more protests, we were offered $750 each current cruise credit or $1500 eachfuture cruise credit.
9] The regular internet is very spotty, which I have found. To be fairly typical at sea. I paid for the upgrade to streaming internet, but became good friends with the internet guru with my daily visits due to inability to access the internet, and inability to stream (I tried to video stream a Peloton 45 minute exercise program, which worked for 12 minutes during my 45 minute exercise period). Other sites would not stream at all. Finally, I was told I would not be charged the $120 for the fast internet access I was not receiving).
The good parts of this cruise:
1] The staff are friendly and try to be helpful, but are poorly trained (not their fault) and are limited with the ability to fix issues with a ship that should be taken out of service. The 10 day dry dock is not going to repair all the issues with the ship. They did try hard to address the many issues.
2] Bed is comfortable. The suite is comfortable (excluding the smell, toilet and brown sink water). High beds had plenty of storage underneath for big luggage.
3] Good quality entertainment.
4] Very good food and food choices.
5] We received a credit in order to book our own air travel, and were met in a timely fashion at the airport. Luggage transfers were seamless and done well.
6] Itinerary was good (better than the ports actually docked or the time allotted for touring).
7] Although it took great effort, we did receive $ credit. It did not make up for the lost time and aggravation of our vacation, but at least it was a token acknowledgement that there are major issues with the ship that were known beforehand but not publicized. We paid for a Ritz Carlton , and got a Motel 6 (sorry to Motel 6- as I am sure they have clean water in the bathroom
Our penthouse suite was nice and spacious. The bed is comfortable. Limited TV channels, but plenty of movie choices. We paid top dollar for this luxury cruise, but we discovered:
1] The sink water was brown. This was “fixed” twice the first 3 days - found out this has been a widespread issue throughout the ship, so switching rooms would not change matters. We were told that “none of the crew has died from the brown water yet” and “don’t worry because they put lots of chemicals in the water”. Brown sink water returned the last night - this is prevalent throughout the ship.
2] The toilet stopped working on day 1, and fixed. Unfortunately, our travel friends had this issue 4 times in. the first week. This is what our toilet looked like and left for us after it’s was fixed.
3] Several rooms, including ours, experienced a “sewer smell” from the air conditioning. This is due to mold on the A/C condensers. When we called to have engineering come by, he wreaked of cigarettes and said it was from our balcony door open. We told him it was open to air out the stink in our cabin - it was fixed, but was not isolated to our cabin.
4] The above problems are fairly routine. We spoke to people in the Master Suite - the largest and biggest room on the ship - and were told that their cabin had flooded with multiple inches of water throughout the entire cabin.
Bad weather hurt - but there were no changes to account for the weather so it was a major waste of time. Regardless, the itinerary was not great. Fortunately, we had booked a private food walking tour the day we arrived- which was great to get a feel for Hong Kong.
Good place to visit - private tour would be better. Bus transport was good - best to bring own water in an insulated thermos, as cold water is not available. Be sure to bring your own wet wipes for hands and bathrooms.
Very interesting - good tour. Regent paid people to “act” as farmers working on a rice field - it was staged for us.
Long trip - but worth it. Interesting site to visit.View All 28 Mekong Delta Cruise Reviews
There is not much to see in Cambodia - very poor. But worthwhile trip.View All 20 Highlights of Silhanoukville Reviews
Lost one day as we docked late in Laem Chabang - over 2.5 hours away each way. This tour was extremely rushed - I spent 2 days here and feel need to come back to actually see and appreciate Bangkok.
Could not leave ship as planned due to port issues, 40 minute tender trip to shore so instead of starting at 9:10 AM we arrived at the port at 11:10 AM for a 40 minute trip. The rest of this tour was great - but we still left on time!