This cruise was a big treat for our 5 year anniversary and it did not disappoint! This ship just came out of the Celebrity Revolution transformation dry dock and though we had a few technical glitches on the cruise due to working out the kinks in new technology, any time there was an issue, they upped the service across the ship. This kind of service recovery is a huge win in my book. They anticipated guest needs and created options almost at the speed of light. The destinations were remarkable and extra thought went into planning transportation to and from the cruise docks to major hubs/ transportation to get into the big cities (Seoul, Busan).
The Service - WOW!
I think Celebrity specifically hires for personality and genuine care and this ship in particular has a senior staff that knows it's people create the experience. Even the captain was approachable and engaged in creating a true customer service experience. Every single employee we met was warm and accommodating and wanted to get to know us. It's easy to train somebody on points of service, but to have someone create a connection is much harder to instill in someone and usually is just a natural trait of a great person. They all had an eye for detail and their service was polished and elevated without feeling stuffy and disconnected. If there was an issue, the employee was ready with options and showed the utmost concern and empathy.
The Revolution has added SO MUCH STORAGE to the rooms and created a fresh and timeless look. Our room was our only issue on this cruise. Previously on the Millennium, our cabin didn't exist, it used to be where the Spa locker rooms were located. The room was just steps away from the thermal suite (included in aqua class) and the solarium pool which was IDEAL. The only issue was... 6 of the 13 new rooms are located just under the nightclub and we were one of them. It was fine the 1st two nights when nothing was going on but by the 3rd night, the bass thumping was just too much and really impacted the peace of our cabin making it hard to sleep. The balcony had no shade but also had no impeded view of the water. (Watch out if you have a rainy season cruise, you can't enjoy your balcony like lower decks) The additional spa amenities are nice and the robes are cushy but they took out the SPA shower in the bathroom! NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! I was so looking forward to all those extra jets. The bed and furnishings were so comfortable and high quality.
The cruise staff had already been made aware on the cruise before ours of noise issues in the new rooms on deck 10 and when we went down to notify them, they apologized profusely and understood our concerns as they too, were not keen on those rooms being added in the dry dock knowing their proximity to the nightclub. On the next day, they had us moved to an Aqua Class on deck 9 mid-ship which was just as lovely (plus, it had the overhang from the pool deck on 10 which meant we could still enjoy the balcony on the rainy Korean sea days). They even gave us an additional specialty dining credit and a voucher knowing that we booked the 10th deck as a higher level of Aqua Class. Again, the service recovery and proactive approach was AMAZING.
Took the train ourselves. (Get a t-money card from a convenience store. It can pay for almost anything in Taipei!!!)
The terminal rooftop park is GORGEOUS!!! Get there early to read all about the old international airport that used to sit there. (The Runway numbers are at the end of the park still.)
Transportation into Seoul from Incheon can get confusing/ long. We took the cruise provided bus into downtown Incheon then the train into Seoul. Took about 1.5 hours total and very little English is spoken. Again, I recommend getting their local transportation card and loading a purse on it. We paid for multiple things in the city with that card and it made getting on and off the subway/ trains a breeze.
We made our own arrangements in Beijing and decided to take the bullet train into Beijing from Binhai station in Tianjin into the giant station in Beijing. Taxi cost about $45 US to the train station and took about 35 minutes! You have to travel the whole length of this massive industrial port then back to the city center so be prepared for a bit of a drive. Also, the drivers leaving the port will try and scam you with higher prices, just have them run the meter instead of a flat rate.
The bullet train cost us $18 US for business class (comfier seats and less seats per cabin) and we were able to use the China Trains app to determine the schedule and how many seats were available, then purchased at the station. (You can book on the app but there is a small admin fee and you need to book 24-48 hours before so they can purchase your ticket.)
Download an app that has Beijing subway maps to help you navigate Beijing and be prepared for people EVERYWHERE. Also, cash is king as well as AliPay and WeChat Pay. US Credit or Debit cards are not accepted at many places.