Shanghai cruise cultural differences were trying: Legend of the Seas Cruise Review by dollyhouse

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Shanghai cruise cultural differences were trying

Sail Date: September 2011
Destination: Asia
Embarkation: Shanghai
We sailed on a 9night cruise from Shanghai, visiting Vladivostok, Busan, Fukuoka and Jeju Island

Legend is of the same class as the one other RCL ship we have cruised, Rhapsody, and there were of course many similarities


Our cabin steward could not be faulted, she was the best we have had on all our cruises. Her name is Ming.

Purser Desk staff were very good, much more accommodating and pleasant than the staff on our previous Rhapsody cruise who were a surly bunch, with one exception. On this cruise, the Purser staff handled very pressured and stressful situations graciously indeed, whereas we were biting our tongues with the antics of many passengers!

The cultural difference between the main body of passengers, mainland Chinese, and 'the rest', comprising Europeans, Japanese, Vietnamese, Singaporean Chinese, Americans, Canadians, Australians etc was huge and caused frayed tempers, particularly getting in and out of lifts, when More queueing for tickets/passports/Pursers Desk/shore excursion desk, tendering etc etc. Talking over announcements and walking in and out of shows talking loudly, also grated.

However, the Viking Crown Lounge became a de facto quiet meeting place for other nationalities, particularly Westerners, as the Japanese tended to stick together quietly, and it also helped having a balcony cabin to escape to! Even the library was noisy all the time and unfortunately a door remained stuck open all the time and the music from the Chinese singer and band was very loud!

One memorable morning we were eating in the Windjammer seated in front of a group of fairly loud Chinese when another group came in and next minute it was like world war three had broken out, there was so much yelling and gesticulating. The waiters and other diners all stopped in amazement at the noise and when it finally stopped, a Balinese waiter came over and said it was very stressful for the crew because the Chinese constantly yelled and the crew were never sure whether it was arguing or was a very interesting cruise from the cultural perspective!!!

We found all the waiters, bar staff and general staff all very pleasant and efficient.

The daily activities were a bit lacklustre, I am guessing due to the majority not being interested in usual cruise ship activities. The casino was full all the time and unfortunately smoking is allowed in there which was unpleasant as you have to walk through there to get to some other areas.

The nightly shows were interesting and varied but it was disconcerting to have people walking in and out constantly, talking loudly and calling out. The doors should be shut 10min after showtime starts and if you are late, too bad

Jeju Island was a huge disappointment time wise there was little time there, and if you did not book a ship tour you were at the mercy of a local hotel/ duty free bus which took quite some time to make the trip, or if you were lucky, a taxi might turn up at the wharf.

Busan by contrast was well organised with a fleet of free buses, helpful tourist info staff and it was a pleasant day there, more credit to Busan as it was not on our itinerary until a last minute threatening typhoon left the ship unable to visit a scheduled port.

Vladivostok was interesting but pretty grim and not at all geared to welcoming tourists. We took the ships three hour walking tour which was quite enjoyable but lacking in explanation. We enjoyed wandering around ourselves at the conclusion of the tour. The main thing that struck us was the amount of gorgeous super TALL young women strolling around, they were stunning. In fact all the women of all ages dressed very smartly. It was a grey city, full of unsmiling people, but with some extraordinary architecture.

Fukuoka was ok. The tourist info people had set up two shipping container like rooms right beside the ship and they were all extremely friendly and helpful. As we had previously stayed in Japan we were at ease using buses and subway and found the people smiling and happy and courteous. Fukuoka is a good port if you enjoy shopping, though it is not cheap but the majority of merchandise is very good quality, particularly crafts and souvenirs

Overall we enjoyed our cruise, we were a little disappointed in the quality and lack of variety in the buffet in particular, and the daytime entertainment but these were offset by attentive crew and interesting ports. We would not however take another cruise where the passengers behaviour are polar opposites. Less

Published 09/30/11
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