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1,019 Asia Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because it went to places in Japan we could never get to easily in the time. We enjoyed all the excursions and took advantage of the opportunities they afforded. Definitely worth it for the excursions. But the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it went to places in Japan we could never get to easily in the time. We enjoyed all the excursions and took advantage of the opportunities they afforded. Definitely worth it for the excursions. But the stateroom was half the size of staterooms on P&O cruise ships. The shower was over the bath which is not suitable for people with mobility issues. The bathroom was so small you couldn’t get changed in it. The toilet was in the bathroom not separate which was an issue when sharing with a friend. The Club Class dining was average with no options for Japanese cuisine. Got charged for a Yoga class which I walked out on because the instructor was doing starjumps. Not exactly yoga. Had a reasonably priced wine option for the first couple of days and then a more expensive wine was the only choice. Went from $35 to $51 which made a significant difference. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We booked the nine day version of this cruise as a complement to a land tour of Japan. In most respects, it met our expectations, but there were definitely some aspects that were disappointing. This circumnavigation of Japan was an ... Read More
We booked the nine day version of this cruise as a complement to a land tour of Japan. In most respects, it met our expectations, but there were definitely some aspects that were disappointing. This circumnavigation of Japan was an excellent, well-balanced itinerary out of Yokohama. What impressed us the most was the number of ports (three in total) visited on the Sea of Japan coast. This is an area of the country that does not seem to see many cruise ships, so it was an appealing aspect of the itinerary. We also appreciated the opportunity to visit South Korea through the port of Busan. For future cruises, it would be nice if Princess could add a port on the island of Kyushu. We booked shore excursions through Princess for each port. Generally, these were well-organized and efficiently run. There was a good variety of offerings, with something for everyone. The process of getting off and back onto the ship was relatively painless, although we were a bit in the dark about the process of retrieving goods that were taken and held by security until the end of the cruise. More information on this procedure would have been welcome. In terms of the running of the ship and service onboard, there were positive and negative aspects. On the positive side, the Princess waiters were excellent, with outstanding service in the Savoy dining room, although the cuisine could be a bit hit-or-miss. The food was generally very good, although two evening meals were substandard due to under or over-cooking. With half of the passengers being Japanese, there were many more Asian dish choices than what one would normally see. The service in the Horizon Court buffet was equally good. We had one evening meal at the Italian premium restaurant, Sabatini’s. Again, the service was excellent, but the food was a little disappointing. For example, the lobster served in the Savoy dining room was superior to what we had in the premium restaurant. Finally, we were regulars at the afternoon tea service in the International Dining Room and really enjoyed the white glove table service and tasty goodies that one usually finds at high tea. The cabin housekeeping service was also a bit unpredictable. Our first cabin steward was sub-par, to the point that we were about to complain. However, after two days, we got a new cabin steward who was so dedicated and attentive that he made up for the first one. The entertainment was good. There were three production shows, of which two were very good. We also enjoyed the other acts, especially the rock violinist, Katei. We really appreciated the demonstration of traditional Japanese comic storytelling, rakugo. We were disappointed that Princess did not take the opportunity of being in Japan to showcase more Japanese talent, such as a J-Pop group or a Kabuki theatre performance. On the negative side, the ship appears tired, with several evident maintenance issues and some areas of the ship being downright filthy. One of the ladies' toilets near the atrium was constantly malfunctioning, and ceiling fans in the dining section of the Lido were covered with so much encrusted dirt that it would have failed a health inspection. We saw at least one instance where a wall had to be torn out to fix the plumbing, and many parts of the passageways showed damage from years of wear and tear. Some of this should certainly have been addressed by the crew, while other issues will require the resources of a full refit. Other parts of the cruise also misfired. On both occasions that we chose to catch a movie on the pool deck on the big screen, the sound system malfunctioned. We also had a total screw-up with room service delivering the wrong items to our cabin. Additionally, we were also taken aback by the way that Princess seems to be nickle-and-diming more aspects of the cruise. For example, the Japanese baths which are unique to this ship were advertised as an appealing feature, until we discovered that you had to pay for each visit, more or less like spa experiences. On the whole, we enjoyed our cruise on Diamond Princess. The itinerary was great, and the crew for the most part was excellent. Nevertheless, the ship needs a lot of work, and we were disappointed by other aspects of the cruise. As a result, only an average score was earned, with lots of room for Princess to improve this unique Japanese experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Foreign exchange conversion a rip off on ship. Exchange your currency and pay cash. The staff looking after our suite were great. Our towels were always ion a new creative shape which was amusing. We didn't like having to walk ... Read More
Foreign exchange conversion a rip off on ship. Exchange your currency and pay cash. The staff looking after our suite were great. Our towels were always ion a new creative shape which was amusing. We didn't like having to walk through the casino areas with our children. The food was hit and miss. Pretty average and then every now and then you get a good meal. Activities were fun and well managed. Other passengers would push in, but the staff couldn't cope. The pool closed a few times for 'cleaning'. The staff said probably poo or vomit in pool.....'yuk!'. Unfortunately the passengers push in at every opportunity - dinner queues, each port, embarkation etc etc. The staff try to manage them, but they just keep pushing. The staff said this is a problem on every cruise. i was left with a sour taste when they over charged my final payment balance by more than $200 (20%) because of the currency conversion. Not a good way to finish. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I had not been on the Diamond since its first year in Alaska. The ship is in good shape and has been renovated to the tastes of the Asian clientele it now mostly serves. Our trip from the airport took about 2 hours and was a pleasant ... Read More
I had not been on the Diamond since its first year in Alaska. The ship is in good shape and has been renovated to the tastes of the Asian clientele it now mostly serves. Our trip from the airport took about 2 hours and was a pleasant drive. We wee on the ship and in our room in about 15 minutes total time from walking off the bus. Our room was a standard room B612. The lamps have a plug now so it makes life easy in the electronic age. Our room was clean, and they only make the beds, they did not change out pillows or anything like on some others. The steward also did not put the luggage protector on the bed, so maybe that isn't done either. Despite being Elite we did not get our upgraded amenities in the bathroom until I asked at day 3. He also did not provide our section the shopping bag unless we asked. The beds were comfortable for me and our room was right below the covered pool so we did start to hear the chair set up around 4am every morning. The ship leaks in places, especially after it rains, I had my cashmere sweater get soaked down the back one evening in the HC when the ceiling leaked. Speaking of the HC, the service for us was terrible. It seemed at times that they would ignore some passengers while catering to others. At one point I took a water pitcher and refilled my water and some other nearby tables. The table situation is also crazy, they allow saving of empty tables, were talking a stretch of 30 tables could be empty and "saved" which meant you were stuck with a tray of food and nowhere to sit. Food was boring, the menu was lacking and began to repeat early. Not much variety here The internet was okay, but that is the case with internet at sea. The internet manager was the rudest person I met on the ship. Many of the staff was wearing Carnival shirts the entire cruise. Seemed odd, I know they are the parent company but it didn't seem Princess. The ports were nice, but many were very remote, so the drive to town could take a bit. Some towns were not the greatest for touring on your own and needed to take a excursion. The tour guides English is not the best, they can be quite difficult to understand and a few things were lost in translation, One one log bus ride, the guide attempted to play a game. I would have rather had the silence. Also, on long tours you may not get back at the time you expect. On one day we were the last people on the boat. The best part of the trip was leaving the ports. Many put on shows for those of us lucky enough to be on the port side. Singing, dancing and even a bit of a show. When the Diamond docked in one port for the first time, we were welcomed by the governor, the mayor, and many other dignitaries. There was a presentation on the ship and a dance performance by children that lasted nearly 45 minutes in the humidity on concrete. Then we had a band play until we left. It was quite nice I really liked Captain Genaro Arma, he was the best captain I have seen or heard. He was very involved in the day to day operations giving the guests the updates himself. He showed up where he said he would be, he had some signed Stanley the Bears you could purchase in the gift shop and seemed to love his job. I would have felt safe in any weather with him at the helm. Our last day at sea we had a problem and it was quite upsetting . They called our cabin and said that they after cruise excursion we booked we could not have. They could not accommodate our transfers to the hotel after or our luggage on the bus. They also said that they could not honor our transfers from the hotel to Narita and they cancelled everything. Leaving us in a panic at sea. It was past 5 in California and there was a hurricane in Florida so we could not get in touch with anyone. We ended up having to buy new airline tickets and transfers to get home since. When we got home Princess said the ship was wrong, so now we are left in limbo about the costs we incurred. The shore excursion staff and the Captain Circle host were of no help. It wasn't the best cruise, and it will be a while before I cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We were expecting the best ever cruise and our personal experience is as follows: The good things: - The ship is beautiful, fairly new and nicely appointed. - The dining and room staff are great and will do anything for you. - ... Read More
We were expecting the best ever cruise and our personal experience is as follows: The good things: - The ship is beautiful, fairly new and nicely appointed. - The dining and room staff are great and will do anything for you. - The itinerary of our 17 day cruise from Bali to Hong Kong was well thought out and perfect for us. - The whole ship is clean and tidy. - The rooms are well sound proofed. - the bathroom and seperate toilet are small but adequate. - The Blue Lagoon bar is an unusual and nice experience. - The captain is great, very available/approachable and down to earth. - The cruise director is great. - The singers and dancers are great although lacked live music support. - The bridge is accessible for most of the time which is a nice experience. - The number of passengers, max of about 180, means you get to know a lot of people. - Free style dining is good in two dining areas. - A good variety of shore excursions. - The included drinks are acceptable. The not so good things: - gratuities are not including which is a surprise given the cost of the cruise. - Whilst the Blue lagoon bar is a good experience, don’t expect to see sea life through the windows as this seems highly unlikely. - Our stateroom was a bit on the small size. - Our dress mirror was held on by duct tape, fixed 2 days later. - Poor information about dress code. - Poor shore excursion information. - Prize for winning the quizzes, a free bottle of champagne, the same as is freely available to everyone at the bar so not a prize at all. - The food choice is limited and is definitely hit and miss. Much of the French cuisine really didn’t suit us. The bacon was hard and absolutely dreadful. I still have sore gums from chewing it. - Nylon brush bristles in mushroom soup one evening, our table and the adjacent table and another diner who ate the bristles thinking it was celery - no apology or offer of an alternative. - The shore excursion Ponant staff that accompany the trips seem oblivious to their inaptitude and need some serious training in hospitality. Some examples: - a single long bench seat with shade at a view point fully occupied by Ponant staff and elderly guests left to stand out in the sun. - on a boat tour to a beach, the tour operator asks us to swim ashore or use a canoe because there were other boats filling the available beach space. The boat was full of elderly people but the Ponant staff member said and did nothing. I refused several times on behalf of the passengers and eventually got them to move another boat on shore to make way for us. 15 mins out of our 45 mins stop wasted. - another boat’s passengers were told that the canoes at a stop had to be paid for and the Ponant staff didn’t know that they were included. That boat voted to go somewhere else and they missed out on a visit by canoe to the most beautiful hidden lagoon. - on two occasions we had to wait for the Ponant staff at the end of a tour stop as they were too busy chatting to their friends. Everyone was there but the Ponant staff. There was much talk about the poor performance of these staff amongst a number of the passengers. - we heard various stories of rude bar staff and experienced directly one occasion where the staff were outside at the handrail on entry to Hong Kong and my wife asked them to make a little space for her and she was rudely told this area was not for guests. In fact it was usually not for guests but opened up for guests during the harbour entry and was full of guests. Eventually they went off in a huff. - Where was the piano player? A beautiful grand piano with no one playing it. Not good and was really needed to support the singers. - We were rudely awoken with room service breakfast ordered by another cabin. The passenger had mistakenly written our cabin number on their order but their correct name. Surely the hospitality staff should cross check names. Not good. Out of 14 cruises and 8 cruise companies this was close to being our worst experience. That’s not to say we didn’t have a good time, we did, but it should have been so much better. Sorry to say, 5 out of 10. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was a reunion cruise for 5 college friends and spouses. We arrived at Yokohama cruise terminal around noon and was told to come back at 3pm. A typhoon had hit Tokyo the night before and the ship actually left the port to weather out ... Read More
This was a reunion cruise for 5 college friends and spouses. We arrived at Yokohama cruise terminal around noon and was told to come back at 3pm. A typhoon had hit Tokyo the night before and the ship actually left the port to weather out the storm. It was noon and people were still dis-embarking. The port was over crowded with disembarked passengers and embarking passengers. Worse of all, it was 90 something degrees outside and the port does not have air conditioning. Everyone was sweating like pigs and felt it it too. No one new what was going on. Princess could have done a better job of letting people know what was going on and what was to come. All we saw were staffs walking around with clipboards yelling for passengers waiting for buses. I guess transfer buses were late to take passengers out of the terminal. Princess set up a table at the corner of the terminal with cold water. I don't think many people knew about it. Sometime after 3pm, they started to allow priority passengers to enter the check in area. The entrance was stormed by people eager to be called next. Staff members were holding people back. The place was a mad house. The check in process was very quick. We were so tired and upset, we did not stop to get pictures taken. We found our cabin and was pleased to find our luggage already inside the stateroom. The room was clean. Furniture appeared dated. Carpet shows worn traffic pattern. The shower head was spraying water every which way. We called it in and when to dinner We were going to meet at Vivaldi. It was open dinning since everything was running late. A few of us got there and asked for a table for 10. Maitre D said he could only do table for 6 and table for 4 and they are on different sides of the dining room. We were too tired to argue and said ok while we waited for the rest of the party. When all of us were there 5 or 10 minutes later, Maitre D said he cannot do 6 and 4 anymore, only 8 and 2 and far apart; that rational escapes me. My wife and I took the table for 2 and the rest of the 8 took the table for 8. What a way to start the cruise. I suspect if we waited a few more minutes, it would be 9 and 1. We did get a table of 10 for the rest of the cruise. The meal portions were small. Most of us ordered a second portion. Breakfast and lunch were mostly at the Horizon buffet. Food choices were not that abundant and taste was somewhat bland. We sat in the back of Horizon where there were large tables. Unfortunately, it is always too warm there. I really the made to order omelets at breakfast and the ramen noodle for lunch. I wish there was sushi more often. It was only available on one day. The immigration process at Maizuru (the port before Busan, South Korea) was very lengthy. We waited on line for over an hour. The captain acknowledged the long wait time and only said it was beyond their control. This was the same thing he said about the embarkation madness. He always finishes with the statement that this is the friendliest crew of the seven seas. My experience was a little different. I would greet staff member as we pass in the hallway, and they don't greet me back. The nightly entertainments were very good. We did not use the Princess excursion but booked from outside vendors before the cruise. The best part of the cruise was reconnecting with my old friends. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Embarkation and cabin: We embarked in Hong Kong for a 7 night cruise via Vietnam to Singapore (after to land tour in China). We were travelling with friends who were experiencing their first cruise (we've done over 20 and this was our ... Read More
Embarkation and cabin: We embarked in Hong Kong for a 7 night cruise via Vietnam to Singapore (after to land tour in China). We were travelling with friends who were experiencing their first cruise (we've done over 20 and this was our 3rd with RC). Embarkation was very quick and easy, as Voyager was the only ship in port that day. Our 'spacious balcony cabin' was ready for us (12:45 ish I guess) and was a lovely surprise: very roomy with a 3-seater settee, space around the bed and the usual type of bathroom area and enough storage space for 7-14 nights. Balcony quite small but fine - it was very hot and humid so we only really used it early in the morning or late at night. Our cabin steward was great and kept everything immaculate - we loved the towel animals he provided too! We expected it all to be a bit worse for wear as it was gong into dry dock immediately after our cruise, but I can honestly say that it was fine - a little tired certainly but nothing too major. There was no shampoo/conditioner or body lotion provided - just the shower gel in the container in the shower area. That's a first in over 20 cruises, but we'd bought our own, so not an issue, but an unexpected omission. Dining: we chose Mytime dining and were accommodated without having to wait (there were 4 of us together), sometimes sharing with 4-6 others and sometimes as a 4. We never booked a time as that was the point of Mytime, I thought, and those who had booked had to wait in a much longer queue to get in - weird. The food was mostly good with generous main course portions, but more repetitious that we are used to and not as much choice. There seemed to be either several fish dishes or none offered (except the salmon, on every night and was very dry my friend said).They now charge a large supplement for lobster and surf and turf etc. The 3 top desserts each evening were 'new' with all the rest repeated every night and the only ice-cream on offer was the standard vanilla, strawberry or chocolate. Where was the salted caramel or stem ginger etc etc? Disappointing. The Windjammer food was fine although manic and difficult to find a seat at times, especially for breakfast when in port. It closed at 9pm each night, so nowhere for late night snacks/hot chocolate if that is your thing. Drinks: the cost was exorbitant for us , with the poor $ / £ exchange rate currently and then 18% gratuity on top of that even though we had to wait at a bar ourselves on the open deck just to get served. There were a lot of people on the drinks package so they were keen to get served to get their money's worth. This is the first time ever that we have seen a number of people worse for wear from drinking. Inevitable with the cost or availability of drinks packages we suggest, though many of you will not agree. Needless to say we enjoyed the bottles of wine we were allowed to bring on board in our cabins (1 per person) and didn't bother buying much else. Doesn't make or break our holiday fortunately and at least we weren't pestered every two minutes to buy a drink. Entertainment: the ice show was amazing; we enjoyed all of the shows in the theatre, but were confused to see it only about a third full each night, as often you have to get there early to find a seat. There was more getting up and going out for another drink than usual too, which was a bit rude and disruptive to both cast and fellow travellers. Because this ship has an inside Promenade, this had an affect on other entertainment venues - the loud music in the Promenade completely dominated the poor pianists in the Schooner bar, so they or we gave up. There was a gap in entertainment offered between about 8:30 to 9:30, which is exactly when we were looking for something after dinner and before the show: obviously it was all centred around the fixed dining times. Overall, very disappointed - not in the quality of the entertainers, but in the venues: too small, not enough seating or overwhelmed by other music. There were plenty of quizzes if that is your thing. Open decks: as usual there were a lot of sunbeds with towels/stuff on them and no-one in sight for hours, but unless the staff do something about that, so it will continue. enjoyed the pools. There were very few children on board, but those that were were great. Excursions:The ship's excursion information before boarding was disappointing: we managed to book 'Saigon on the own' for a good price a few months before we went but Halong Bay was already fully booked and there was nothing showing for Chan May in the month or so before we left and only Vin Pearl resort in Nha Trang. When contacting RC in 3 different ways to try to find out if any more excursions would be available, I had 3 conflicting answers and was still none the wiser, so we booked with local companies for Halong Bay and Da Nang and did our own thing in Nha Trang. The ports lecture therefore was a hard sell on the excursions they had managed, eventually, to provide, but too late for us (and very expensive) and no useful information for those wanting to be independent. They were, instead, saying that there was nothing there and no way of getting anywhere,but there were taxis at all ports and some excursions possibilities, but I am glad we had made prior arrangements. Ports: Halong Bay: the giant rock formations are awesome and so we took a local company boat trip. Either book beforehand (Ha Binh) or walk out of the port and there will be opportunity to book there and then (full day goes at 9:15; half day at 8:15 I think). Da Nang (from Chan May, about an hour away from anywhere you want to see): nothing at the port except some stalls for souvenirs and plenty of taxis). We joined a group from Cruise Critic to go the Ba Na Mountains by cable car (for Brits, this is a bit like a more modern and larger Isle Of Wight Black Gang Chine!). We had a great day out. Nha Trang: a tender port, so quite late getting off as those on ship's excursions had priority. Turned left and headed past the stalls towards the jetty and managed to negotiate a 2 hour boat trip for 6 of us all around the islands instead of being taken to Vin Pearl or one of the other islands where you have to pay to land / use the beaches and, I assume, the facilities. Then took a taxi ($10 for the 4 of us) to a lovely beach area the other side of the port (turn right out of the port and hail a taxi as it is much further than we'd thought). Had a very enjoyable swim before hailing another taxi back - plenty available. Another lovely day. Ho Chi Minh: took a ship's excursion so were given maps and some helpful information then left to our own devices for 6 hours. Very hot and some heavy rain, but we enjoyed exploring on our own and trying our skills at haggling in the market. This was good value as we booked and paid for it quite early on. Disappointing, Royal Caribbean, on a number of issues important to us, so it unlikely, unless the itinerary is amazing, that we would book with you again anytime soon . Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We embarked on this cruise in Shanghai, and the embarkation was a fiasco (even with priority boarding) but the Chinese authorities do seen to be able to make every simple process more complicated ( we had the same when entering the country ... Read More
We embarked on this cruise in Shanghai, and the embarkation was a fiasco (even with priority boarding) but the Chinese authorities do seen to be able to make every simple process more complicated ( we had the same when entering the country via the airport) Now to the ship and cruise, firstly these mega liners from the princess fleet are very ugly, no classic lines to them just like a floating tenement block from the 1960''s, only not grey concrete in colour., they are well appointed inside and we have no issue in this respect. The ship is big and this means a hike ( and a packed lunch) every time you wish to visit a new venue, not a problem for us but people with mobility problems should be aware of this, also with this amount of passengers expect crowded venues, we did not see any shows due to a lack of seating in the theater, and us not being prepared to stand in queue for an hour before each performance. Food was acceptable, but nowhere near as good as two or three years ago, seems as though you have to pay extra for what was the norm then. We hate the way they try to up-sell. The cruise its self was as we expected, no trouble with the destinations (there could have been more) but on the whole OK. In general we left felling a bit disenfranchised with Princess this time, and this is after a long time cruising with them, it is sorry to say making us now look to other cruise lines for the experience that we now find lacking with princess Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise because we hadn't been to Vietnam before. We did one paid excursion to Saigon which took 90 minutes from the port an expensive trip but there was no other option. We found the drinks expensive at around $9.00 a ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we hadn't been to Vietnam before. We did one paid excursion to Saigon which took 90 minutes from the port an expensive trip but there was no other option. We found the drinks expensive at around $9.00 a stubbie and $14.00 for a wine even having a few drinks a day came out at about $500 extra for the cruise.Princess has a strict one bottle of wine per person rule so no beer or spirits for the boys for 20 days .The ship itself is new but troublesome to get around ,the layout was confusing with lots of dead ends. The lifts were incapable of transferring the huge number of older passengers. Meals were average with the occasional nice surprise ...Embarkation in Shanghai was a joke 3 hour wait in very hot conditions.Entertainment from the passengers and crew were of a higher standard than some of the acts...I think we followed on with some of the Asian influence whilst relocating to Australia. Disembarkation near Brisbane's Sewerage outlet is not a good look for the cruise line or The State Government of Queensland. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I thought the destinations were interesting and had enjoyed previous princess cruises. This ship was not as pleasant. Bed was too narrow, pillows dreadful & music deafeningly loud. Comedians crude and rude. Not many shows mainly ... Read More
I thought the destinations were interesting and had enjoyed previous princess cruises. This ship was not as pleasant. Bed was too narrow, pillows dreadful & music deafeningly loud. Comedians crude and rude. Not many shows mainly single entertainers catering to one nationality not everyone. Excellent violinist Katei and singer Chris Powey were the standouts. Entertainment in theatre generally poor Evening trivia fun. Trivia in general pretty good. Library was devoid of books some people took out 8 not one at a time, others struggled to find one. Food was sometimes cold on delivery in dining room. Layout on Lido was confusing. Staff generally helpful and pleasant but under pressure from full ship 3500 persons Music around the ship was deafening especially drums. Hard to have a conversation at times. Plenty of dancing at others. Improved cafe service in that food is no longer extra charge and a good selections available. Good in that there was in general plenty of seating. Great area on deck 17 for relaxing tho not big enough so be quick! Great gym, plenty of good equipment. Good massages in spa, watch out for added gratuity even if you didn’t agree to it. Added charges and instant credit card charges plus extra tax on the use of ship card every purchase. Felt as if herded into an environment where folk were pressured to buy and a forced gaiety required. I’ve cruised many times this was the least enjoyed one. The shore excursion for Crazy Rich Asian fans was disappointing One other excursion was cancelled due to lack of numbers. Health was a priority but people not always careful, bad chesty coughs prevalent, some unwell guests thro that. I would not choose this ship to cruise on if I could avoid it. Chosen because it was new and offered destinations of interest. Renee@NZ Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We booked a 17 day cruise, which was actually two back-to-back cruises from Yokohama. Prior to joining the cruise, we spent 3 days in Tokyo. With hindsight, we might have been better with one cruise then time in Kyoto, as the menus and ... Read More
We booked a 17 day cruise, which was actually two back-to-back cruises from Yokohama. Prior to joining the cruise, we spent 3 days in Tokyo. With hindsight, we might have been better with one cruise then time in Kyoto, as the menus and entertainment were basically repeated after 8 days. Diamond Princess has been given a Japanese style make-over but is still a really nice ship. The original Crown Grill is now a Japanese speciality restaurant and about half of the passengers were from Japan. Unlike its sister ship, Sapphire Princess, there is no International Café and we missed the Any-time Dining offered by the rest of the fleet. Japanese food was always available, to cater for everybody’s taste. With Australians being the next largest group, we sometimes wondered which country we were circling. UK and USA passengers were minority groups. Rough weather delayed our start by one day and, sadly, the firework display in Kumano was cancelled. As independent travellers, we were frustrated by the lack of information provided for each port. On all previous cruises we had found the nightly port briefing summary sheet useful but virtually nothing was provided. The “port experts” (Wendy and Dave Upton) were both hopeless and failed to answer most of our questions. Wendy had a scatter-gun approach to her presentations and Dave’s were largely motherhood information. Before stopping at the port called Aburatsu (Miyazaki), they said that the city was just 10 km from the port but it was actually an 80 minute train journey. None of the Princess trips go there and, fortunately, we did not attempt it. Entertainment was average but we enjoyed the Bravo show (both weeks), which is one of the best we have seen on our many Princess cruises. The Born to be Wild production was also good, as they managed to use the big LCD display sensibly. Princess have economised by using singers from their production shows to give a solo performance in the theatre and there was very little alternative entertainment in the Explorers lounge in the evening. Service and food were consistently good but cut backs are more noticeable on each cruise. Lobsters on formal nights are so small that you need two and wine prices are high for very average wine. The itinerary was a bit variable, with several interesting ports and a few with very little of interest. We found the trains and trams easy to use and the locals were extremely helpful, especially in the tourist offices. The two stops in Busan meant that we had to go through the immigration formalities twice, which was a bit tedious, but we liked the town. With the August heat (30 degrees C) and rain we were glad that we had not opted for a balcony. We find the Princess beds to be very comfortable but the duvets are far too warm and the ship is invariably too cold. Overall, it was a really enjoyable cruise but the lack of port information was clearly avoidable and we were glad we had done some earlier research and come prepared. We found there was no need to opt for any of the over-priced Princess excursions as we could reach the same sights independently. Using the Princess shuttle bus is, however, generally unavoidable, and the 10 to 20 USD charged sometimes seemed a bit steep for these short trips. The menu and entertainment for the second cruise was basically a repeat of the first, even though 900 passengers stayed on. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
First impression for this ship was not good. Boarding in Singapore was horrendous. Our boarding time was 8pm, we arrived at the terminal at 7 as we had checked out of our hotel and had no where to go. Upon arrival, lots of ... Read More
First impression for this ship was not good. Boarding in Singapore was horrendous. Our boarding time was 8pm, we arrived at the terminal at 7 as we had checked out of our hotel and had no where to go. Upon arrival, lots of people had already started checking in. We dropped our bags and checked in and was given a boarding number. We were then moved upstairs to wait for our boarding number. 2 1/2 hours finally pass and our boarding number is called. Being from Australia, we are not used to pushing to get our way, so we had a rude awakening! There was no such thing as lines, and we had people quite literally push us out of the way to get in front. It was a hot mess getting down to customs. After passing custom, we had to once again line up to get onto the boat. Another hour later, and we are finally on. We had booked a Balcony Cabin but it was always my intention to see about an upgrade once onboard as I heard palace suite was worth it. Once on the ship, we went right to customer service and upgraded to the Palace Suite for about $670SGD per person. By this time, it was past 11pm and the restaurants were closed, but the buffet was open till midnight. We quickly ran to the buffet for dinner, then check out our rooms. Rooms were massive, bathroom was huge and balcony was narrow. The benefit is of booking a palace suite was deluxe drinks package, specialty restaurants, palace suite pool, restaurant etc. We mainly wanted to upgrade for the drinks package and the pool, as we know the main pool can get very crowded. The first night, ordering drinks at the palace bar, we realised that the drinks package wasn’t as inclusive as we thought. We were given a menu on what drinks were included, and for us cocktail drinkers, there wasn’t much to choose from. We seen drinks coming up on the TV that looked amazing, and we asked to have one, but was told it would cost. What we couldn’t understand is that this drink was $8, and some of the drinks on our menu were $13, so we couldn’t understand how we couldn’t get a $8 drink in our package. It also took about 20mins each time to get a drink. For breakfast the next morning we ate in the palace resultant. We could only order eggs pancakes etc of the menu, and the rest like bacon and bread, we had to fetch ourselves from the buffet. I ordered pancakes and they were cold, my dad ordered a omelet with everything included and it was plain. After breakfast we went to the palace suite pool. We were pleasantly surprised that there was no one there!! In Australia, this area would have been packed. We wanted to order drinks, but there was no bar man in site. We had to ask the life guard to call someone and then about 15mins later, the bar man arrived. On any other cruise, we would be served our by the pool from the spa or our day beds, but here, we had to go to the bar to order a drink. We also weren’t allowed our drinks with us at the spa, which is strange as no other cruise I have ever been on has this rule. Drinks again, look at very long time. Tonight we were booked in to the steak house for dinner. We were all pretty keen for some meat!! Once we arrived, we realised that it was a set menu.. we weren’t told that there would be a set menu for the specialty restaurants so this was very disappointing. The options were either seafood, or ribs. None of us eat seafood, so ribs it was. The entree was great, but the main mean, ribs, was bad.. no meat in site. Pure fat and nothing to serve with it. This mean was very disappointing, we contributed after this to the buffet for food as we were all very hungry. The show tonight was amazing!! By bar one of the best cruise shows I have been to. Day 3 we were docking in Koh Samui, our butler organised for a private’s transfer into the main area, Chaweng beach. This was complimentary. We had priority disembarking which was a plus. We were transferred by bus to Chaweng beach and spent the afternoon at a resort. When we arrived back at the port to re-board at about 3pm, the lime was enormous. Last render was for 3:30, so this was to be expected however there was no shade. They did hand out water and cold towels. As we were palace, we were expecting to have priority embarking. After asking around, we were told we had to join the long line. There was one shaded area which a lot of people were pushing wash security gates to get to. We were told this was for children or elderly only so that they didn’t need to line up. Luckily, one crew member seen our frustration and let us in, but quickly closed the gate and said that he shouldn’t be doing this. After some people seen us get let in, people stormed the gate and ignored the staff and pushed and shoved to get onto the tender . I am so thankful this young crew member let us past, as I assume we would have been lining up in the hot sun for over an hour. Tonight we were booked in for Chinese specialty. We went down prior to our booking to check the menu and were disappointed to find that there was only one choice, and that choice was Seafood for the set menu. We told the staff that none of us eat seafood, and asked if we could just order meat and rice, but they advised no, only set menu for palace suite. So, we cancelled the booking. We instead went to dinner at the main dining room, it was loud and busy, but the food was good! Again, not a lot of option, but I had lamb shanks and the meal was much better then the night before at the steak house. Again, the show tonight was great. Day 4: Redang island. We were hesitant about getting off the boat as we didn’t want to be stuck lining up in the heat to get back onboard. Our butler advised it was a beautiful Island, so we decided to get off and have a look around. The beach is Beautiful and I hear the snorkeling is good. We spent about an hour on land to have a look around and returned to the ship. Spent the afternoon by the quiet pool until some noisy young kids with no Parents inside interrupted us. This area really should be a adults only area, or at least ask the kids to stop slashing and jumping in and out of the pool. Dinner tonight was japense tepenyaki. We checked the menu and were very happy with what we seen. The food was amazing, meat was so soft and probably the best steak I have ever had. This experience was the best and I would highly recommend it. It was my partners birthday, so our butler organised to have a cake delivered to the restaurant, which was lovely. Last night onboard and we were expecting another fantastic show. There was advertisements everywhere to watch dream girls, so we asked our butler but she advised this show was chargeable at 98SGD as it was adults only and the girls would be topless. We kindly declined, so no show for the last night. One thing I forgot to mention, being palace, you don’t need to book for the show. The first 3 rows are reserved for palace guest, so you only get to get there about 10mins before to get a good seat. The seats are released to public about 5mins before the show starts. On our last night we thought we would Play some pool, but were surprised to find you had to buy $20SGD worth of drinks to play. And being we had a drinks package, we didn’t need to buy drinks, so we weren’t able to play. Day 5: Our last day, the ship docked around 1 and we had priority disembarking. We could have stayed as late as 3, but our butler advised that custom would be very very busy with long lines, so we disembarked as soon as we arrived at port. If you want nice cocktails, visit the tributes bar. The bar tenders in there made us almost anything we wanted, even if it wasn’t on the palace menu. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We are experienced cruisers going back to the '80's. We prefer crossings and repositioning since most port visits are superficial at best. Substituting tour buses for luxury ship ambiance and tacky-tacky retail stops that seem ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers going back to the '80's. We prefer crossings and repositioning since most port visits are superficial at best. Substituting tour buses for luxury ship ambiance and tacky-tacky retail stops that seem to be about accommodating the local businesses rather than providing the cruiser any real opportunities. Thus the itinerary from Seward to Tokyo with stops in unusual way ports caught our fancy. Our Virtuoso Travel Agent forewarned us that Azamara was not quite up to true top notch all inclusive lines and that we would in particular find the cabin bathrooms small. All in all it sounded worth trying. We took the "unlimited package" which provided top shelf beverages, unlimited internet access (disappointingly slow and erratic). and three alternate dining experiences. Worst aspect of the experience was a feeling of overcrowded spaces. This was particularly so in the buffet area at prime lunch and dinner where seating was difficult to secure and the space between buffet lines was severely clogged. Food quality was better than you now get on mass market lines like HAL but not as good as we have had on Crystal, Windstar, or Seabourne. Really, it was only somewhat better than a recent experience on RCL. Service was slow albeit friendly and professional. My wife adheres to a rigorous low sodium diet and was very disappointed in the ship's efforts to accommodate her despite their continual protestations that they would. The enrichment speaker was a disappointment. She was overly pedantic and long winded. And, incredibly, she had a pronounced stammer. I can't imagine that anyone who took the trouble to be familiar with her speaking ability would hire her for this purpose regardless of her academic credentials. NO excuse for this management oversight. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We booked in March for this cruise. My father and mother-in-laws have poor walking abilities and they do not enjoy flying. But they do want to see Vietnam so we booked this cruise which visit two Vietnam ports. First of all, embarkation ... Read More
We booked in March for this cruise. My father and mother-in-laws have poor walking abilities and they do not enjoy flying. But they do want to see Vietnam so we booked this cruise which visit two Vietnam ports. First of all, embarkation in Hong Kong is not great. Kai Tak Terminal is very busy because this ship and Dream Cruises are both embarking on the same day. The queues are very long. Fortunately because we have two elderly people among us we could join the special elderly queue for check-in. Then the worst thing was the zig-zag bridge that connect the terminal with the ship. I completely fail to understand why this winding zig-zag bridge is necessary when a direct birdge (airport jet bridge) can do the same job! The ship is in good condition. It does not immediately feel like it is in need of dry dock work. (But it is going to dry dock in September.) The staterooms were not yet ready and we were told we could take lunch in the Sapphire Dining Room, so we made our way there. Lunch was buffet style and it was fine. After lunch we went to our rooms. We had a promenade view room and it was rather roomy for a cruise ship with two sofas. Our stateroom attendant was Iwayan, he was very good and he opened the connecting door between our room and my in-laws room for us as soon as we requested. The dining on the ship is okay. It is nothing to write about. Some of the food in the dining room can be found again in the Windjammer at late night snack time. The ship is consisted of a majority Hong Kong and China people and some of them seemed determined to eat back their cruise fare. Well, given the food served I think they had a hard time achieving that goal. For the ports, Chan May is really far away from Da Nang. We hired a driver for a day trip to Hoi An but he could not come into the port because our tour company is not "sponsored" by RCCL. We had to pay another driver to drive us out of the port gates to meet him. But he was not a very good driver as he could not speak much English and he took us back from Hoi An 1.5 hours earlier than agreed. The worst thing was he would not enter the gates of the port as promised. So we did not tip him and made a complaint to his company. Many RCCL "sponsored" tours came back late from their tours and the ship did not sail until 17:40, as opposed to 17:00. We were still approaching Nha Trang when we took our breakfasts. As this is a tender port we had to wait for our tender time. RCCL "sponsored" tours and group tours all went ashore before us. We only got ashore at 11am. Our tour guide and bus took us to the sights and lunch. Then we requested to visit a supermarket for souvenirs like coffees and dried mango. We got back at about 4:15pm and were back on board quite quickly. After all both ports were not great. Chan May is still under construction and very far from town while Nha Trang is a tender port which is very time consuming. Avoid. am. Our tour guide and bus took us to the sights and lunch. Then we requested to visit a supermarket for souvenirs like coffees and dried mango. We got back at about 4:15pm and were back on board quite quickly. After all both ports were not great. Chan May is still under construction and very far from town while Nha Trang is a tender port which is very time consuming. Avoid. The entertainment on board were only so-so. One night we had an American singer who performed as many Chinese songs as English songs. He was okay but I saw a Caucasian family of four looking rather bored as we boarded the lift outside the theater. The Ice Skating show Ice Odyssey was fantastic. We watched it and then strongly recommended my mother-in-law to go. She went and she was amazed as well. We had a plain sailing back to Hong Kong after Nha Trang. Nothing to report. We also got back before the Dream Cruises ship so we got away okay. Some of the things we really couldn't get our heads around were the lack of technology on the ship. I could not believe they had to write a number on our Sea Pass cards to indicate we had watched Ice Odyssey. Also in the dining room we had a waiter come to us to write down our room number every night. I mean, aren't we in the 21st century? Can you not just scan my Sea Pass card for that? Also, the in-room television had so little choice of channels. When I was on Quantum of the Seas it could receive a TVB J2 channel but here there is only one Chinese channel which recurred the same content all through the cruise. There are loads of Chinese satellite channels in the region and that's the best they can tune their tv sets to? Once again RCCL, we are in the 21st century! I wish I had downloaded a Samsung remote control app to my phone so I can plug in my mobile hard disk to the tv and watch the movies I have in it. The service provided by all the waiters, servers and room attendants were very good. They worked really hard to keep the ship clean and the service going. I applaud them because with 3,000+ guests (many are children and elderly people) on board it was no easy thing. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Spectrum of the Seas Since this is a rather unique itinerary and a new ship, I thought I should give a quick review from the perspective of a regular RCCL/Norwegian/Oceania U.S. cruiser. This cruise was seven days to Tokyo with three ... Read More
Spectrum of the Seas Since this is a rather unique itinerary and a new ship, I thought I should give a quick review from the perspective of a regular RCCL/Norwegian/Oceania U.S. cruiser. This cruise was seven days to Tokyo with three ports: Osaka, Kobe, and Tokyo. We made our way to the Port of Shanghai around 11:00am. Quick drop-off of the bags (and quick delivery to our cabin) and we were into a very nice port facility. I suggest you keep your eyes on the signs as there are opportunities to fast-track through some lines. Waits were not bad and signage did inform you of what stage you were at (about five in the process due). We were on the ship before noon and explored some of the top floors and hit the pool/spa before the crowds. Cabins were ready at about 3:00 and the muster drill around 4:30 (the new video – no need to bring lifejackets or go out to the boats). We did bring a dozen water bottles (suggested) on board in our packed bags and a bottle of Chinese fortified wine in our carry-on without issue. Cabin. We selected a balcony cabin on the 7th deck. We were quite pleased with the layout, spaciousness, and design. The ship was only on its second month, so everything was nice and well-appointed. As you look at the profile of the ship, there are hundreds of balcony cabins – it is quite the site. We found we appreciated having a nice cabin as we spent more time here than usual on sea days because we needed space to veg away from many of the very loud, stressful guests. The Ship. Common areas, elevators, etc. all were very nice. Unfortunately, some of the really nice spaces on sister ships are now gone in order to make more room for casino spaces. Yes, the workout room is tiny and treadmills were never available so I spent my workout time on the walking/running track. Food. Well, that’s been a highlight in the past for cruises we like to take and I’d have to say, for someone from the U.S. this will be quite a disappointment. We had been in China for a few days prior so we felt like some “American” food so we hit the Windjammer only to find a small segment of sandwiches and hamburgers. Ok, so I grabbed a bun, tossed on a burger and pickles, found some cheese at another line and gave it a shot. I also waited for some hot french fries (ketchup packets available at another location). The burger was a solid C- grade with the fries making up at a B+. My wife got a sandwich with some unique looking deli meats for a C grade. On the way out, I did grab a slice of pizza which was pleasantly well cooked (color on the bottom!) and tasty! Moving on, we went to dinner in the MDR that night. The menu is a bit different as now there are pictures for the 3,000 or so Chinese guests on the ship. There are about 10 starters and 10 entrees to choose from. Yes, we’ve got funky stuff here (which is worth a try) but you should be able to find one or two items on each list that would be of interest (so not really much of a selection). And, there’s always the “generic” menu of Caesar salad, Onion Soup, Steak, Chicken, Salmon as an option. On one evening our waiter let us know that they’ve been informed that their guests want dinner to only take 45 minutes, so cocktails, app’s, dessert, coffee are not emphasized or really offered. That doesn’t really work for the way we like to start our evening (let alone, for a ship this size, there’s hardly a bar to be found to have a cocktail). Breakfast in the MDR is a very similar experience – very limited “normal” selection so I suggest going to the Windjammer or the Café@TWO70. The whole food emphasis is to try and upsell to the specialty restaurants. They say this cruise is under-priced due to Chinese policies/restrictions and RCCL makes up for that by charging for anything they can think of. There was a three-dinner package for $99 + 18% and a four-dinner for $125 + 18%. So, if you want to pay $40 for a meal, that’s available. We had been to all of the restaurants on a previous cruise so we only chose to do Chop’s this time. Ports. Immigration in Osaka was quite easy – yes, lines took a while but in less than an hour we were on our way (there are 4,000 people or so on the ship). We took the ship’s tour to the castle and Dotinbori street in Osaka as taxis are rather overpriced and Didi is only in Simplified Chinese (no English) in this location. That worked out well and the $65 fee was fine with us – as well as some education and history along the bus ride. We found private guides for Kona and Tokyo prior to sailing. Entertainment. This is for sure a highlight. The first night was Showgirls – Past, Present, Future in the Royal Theatre. There were so many people in this production! – at least 18 girls dancing, a dozen guys, and four singers on stage at the same time. I wouldn’t miss this one. The acrobatic team, Gold Art Duo, is also another that should not be missed. The Magician, Duck Cameron, was entertaining but nothing much new – he did make quite a few of the guests uncomfortable as he dragged them up on stage. The Aura Cover Band was quite good in the Music Hall. Unfortunately, the piano melodies with Filmore Flores was disappointing (a Canadian who got the job because he plays, sings (kinda), and speaks a bit of Mandarin. And, we really missed an acoustical guitar in a pub as that location is a Tea and Coffee shop (not many going there – this will change) on this ship. As you can guess, we passed on paying for the iFly and Northstar as we had done them on another cruise for free. The Spa. We have traveled with this cruise line over the years and greatly enjoy our time in the spa. So, believing that the experience would be similar to all our others we booked a couples’ massage for the first and last day at sea. Granted we booked a couples’ massage and thought we would be in the same room, but this room was having “situations” so we were separated, on both days. Vicky was my attendant for the first booking and she was fabulous! She provided what was expected in a deep tissue massage. Unfortunately, my husband did not have the same experience, I was not sure if his expectations were too high, but unfortunately they were not. The last day on ship we went for our other appointment, we had the same attendants, so we switched and I took Fanglu the attendant my husband had. If we had been in the same room, the attendance would have preformed the same service and it would not of varied in quality. I was extremely disappointed that the massages were so different, I was expecting this to be similar to my first. On-Board Shopping. This was pretty much a feeding frenzy when the sales were on. I would have guessed there were no stores in China the way people grabbed and hoarded as many items as possible. And, I imagine most of them were “made in China.” Crown & Anchor. Well, we’re only Platinum, but NONE of the following benefits were on board this cruise!... • Onboard Offers are preloaded to your SeaPass card. Refer to your onboard Welcome Letter for details. • Priority Check-in • Private departure lounge with Continental Breakfast • Exclusive Top Tier Event • Signature Lapel Pin …just so you know! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was my first cruise setting sail from a port within Mainland China. It is understandable that a large number of the passengers came from within Mainland China. My immediate impression on embarkation after passing through passport ... Read More
This was my first cruise setting sail from a port within Mainland China. It is understandable that a large number of the passengers came from within Mainland China. My immediate impression on embarkation after passing through passport control is that Costa's staff starting from the point where our passports were collected, vessel's officers along the gangway up to the point where our photos were taken for the Costa Cards for use during the cruise, were less than friendly and welcoming. There was no smile whatsoever on their faces and nothing to suggest from their body language that we as paying passengers were welcome for this cruise. This I found out to be the norm for all vessel's offcers during the entirety of this cruise. My review now continues by bullet-points : 1. As Costa Venezia is less than one year old since it joined the Costa fleet, everything on the boat is very new and modern. Wife and I booked a cabin with balcony and the cabin is roomy and nicely appointed. The room was on deck 9 towards the rear of the boat and is very convenient to get to Deck 10, where a lot of actions and eateries are located. During our cruise, our cabin was looked after by a dedicated cabin steward. He was Star Serondo from the Philippines. He also greeted passengers with a big smile and is industrious. Every morning when wife and I went upstairs to deck 10 to take a quick breakfast, Star would have completed the cabin cleaning within the short time that we went for our breakfast, which was normally 40 min. from the time we left our cabin to the time we returned to our cabin. He comes with my high commendation. 2. One very important feature that I noticed is that a large number of the crew on the boat only speak Mandarin. This is undertandable as a large number of the passengers come from Mainland China and they only speak Mandarin. Unfortunately for someone like me who is not well versed in Mandarin found it hard to communicate with crew members when I need to. In one instance, I was asked if I can speak to them in Mandarin!! Their Mandarin speaking crew appeared to be inexperienced and went about their business by adopting Chinese custom and lacking in Internationally accepted mannerism and etiquette. This is a real disapointment for someone like me who is so adpated to Western culture and mannerism. 3. Tying in with my previous comments, a lot of the announcements made on the boat were made in just one language. Yes, you guessed it, mandarin only. This left me in the dark at most times and in particular, I was worried that I might miss any important announcemnt that is safety related. The only times that the announcement was made in both English and Mandarin was immediately before disembarkation when we arrived back in Shanghai. to remind passengers to go and settle their bills before they disembark!! All in all, the entire cruise was geared towards Mandarin speaking passengers and for those who do not speak Mandarin, best to choose other cruises not setting sail out of China ports. 4. In terms of food, those outlets that serve free food offered little varieties and their taste was poor to average. For me, there are only two categories of food, one being to fill you up when you are hungry and the other is looking for quality in the food that one takes. The food served at these outlets only qualify for the first category that I described. 5. I have also tried out four paid resturants during my cruise and they include Casanova, the Hot Pot place, the Teppenyaki restaurant and the BBQ outlet. The only place that comes close to my second category of food is Casanova. The place is quickly filled up and my best advice is to make a reservation for this restaurant as soon as you settle into your cabin to avoid disappointment. However, whilst the food in Casanova is okay to good, do not expect their service can complement the food. Most of the staff in this restaurant has no knowledge on how food should be served. This place is definitely not a fine dining outlet. For the BBQ outlet, the food served was cold and not sizzling hot as one would have expected from BBQ experience. The only consolation is the food served at the BBQ outlet is relatively cheap. The teppenyaki experience is more to attend a show dinner more than quality of the food. At any rate, the quality of the food is nowhere near the authentic teppenyaki restaurant that I have come across, be it in Japan or outside Japan. Hot Pot place is worthed a visit as the food does not require Chef's cooking and the price is again relatively cheap. The boat also has a steakhouse, a seafood restaurant, Napoli Pizza and noodle house which i did not have a chance to savour. 6. We joined a shore excursion when the boat berthed at Kagoshima. Save for the lunch provided with the excursion, the experience was bad. The guide for our group made us stand in line to wait for all the execurion participants to arrive before she led us to our coach. When we arrived at one of the three designated sight-seeing locations, the guide just pointed to where we were suppose to head and did not actually show us the place. At one location, we had to resort to using Goggle Map to find out where we were supposed to be going. The worst part came at the end of the excursion when we were all asked to leave the coach to move into a supermarket like medicine store. We were made to stay there for over an hour. For those who were not interested to shop in the store was made to stand around and were not allowed to stay on the coach! The attendants in the shop were mainly Chinese and that shop can be mistaken as another shop found in Mainland China if we were not told that that was Japan. Better off saving your money by not joining the excursion and simply disembarked and explore the destination yourselves. 7. I want to complement a lot of the English speaking crew who came form India and the Philipines. They are all very cheerful, helpful, hospitable and ready at all times to make passengers to enjoy the cruise as it should be enjoyed. This contradicted sharply with the Western officers who not only appeared to be unfriendly, but also too arrogant in front of their mainly Chinese pasengers. They seem to have forgotten that all passengers are paying to come on board and we are not refugees!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Fantastic ship ,best ship I've seen , The food for me very average and nothing more , the drinks are very expensive, need to drink a lot to get value out of the drinks package. Yes I know its all new to the ship's crew , but they ... Read More
Fantastic ship ,best ship I've seen , The food for me very average and nothing more , the drinks are very expensive, need to drink a lot to get value out of the drinks package. Yes I know its all new to the ship's crew , but they have crew who dont want to be there. Evening meal at the main restaurant was very poor (food and service ) when there where formal night's passengers where let in with shorts. Dress code zero. There are no laundry rooms , irons will be confiscated. . The cabin we had was beautiful and quite large , entertainment very good , if you want internet which we didn't expect to pay roughly 22 dollars a day . We paid a lot of money for this cruise and expected that little more . Me personally and spoke to others will give royal Caribbean shipsca miss Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
It was a new liner. I was just curious to see how an American liner design a cruise ship just for the China market. I was also looking forward to the Chinese food at the Windjammer or Two70. Most cruise ships would serve black tea or ... Read More
It was a new liner. I was just curious to see how an American liner design a cruise ship just for the China market. I was also looking forward to the Chinese food at the Windjammer or Two70. Most cruise ships would serve black tea or flavoured teas or green tea at the buffet area.I wish they had included Chinese tea for a change. My opinion of the food is similar to other reviewers who were also onboard the Spectrum in May. But the crew who served us food at the dining rooms were fabulous.Many thanks for being attentive to my folks. Individual travellers might feel left out.The afternoon quizzes at the bar were boring with no prizes. There were no super enthusiastic inhouse photographers to take our photos.I appreciate that but that puts the photo viewing gallery the most underutilised place. There were lots of indoor spaces like tiny family sitting rooms with litter of couches spread all over the public area. The Singaporeans demonstrated that they are for afternoon naps and indoor picnic, I am not so sure about how the Chinese would utilise those spaces. What are forgone on the Spectrum are big open spaces in the swimming pools, big outdoor cinema screenings, wide outdoor decks in public area balcony. There are more indoor activities such as fencing lessons, bumper car rides, karaoke lounge which appeal to Chinese of all ages and who are also less keen on sun-tanning. My cabin attendants were from Indonesia.I was thankful.Besides Bahasa, they spoke English well. I had the 'luck' of ending up in the ship's clinic.I don't think anyone speaks Mandarin in there. Fingers crossed, i hope they are bored to tears in their entire stay in China. The seasoned cruise tourists will appreciate the fuss free muster drill that took place without the need to pull out our safety vests, line up in rows and put on our vests.But for many Asians onboard, it is their maiden cruise. This is my umpteenth cruise and I had experienced a real situation which required reporting to the muster station. I much prefer the hassle and inconvenience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I chose this cruise ship because it was new and we did two days in Vietnam and Hong Kong. First, it is absolutely the most beautiful ship we were ever on. The balcony cabin was spacious for a big ship, the cabin was comfortable and I loved ... Read More
I chose this cruise ship because it was new and we did two days in Vietnam and Hong Kong. First, it is absolutely the most beautiful ship we were ever on. The balcony cabin was spacious for a big ship, the cabin was comfortable and I loved the balcony size. The staff were very friendly, but most were not knowledgeable about ship details. Asian security was tight and the first phase of check in in Singapore was slightly disorganized. There were two lines on Asian passports and Asian passport holders. Initially we had to present our passports and other documents with staff at a kiosk. Once we got upstairs to the check in area it was better organized. We were not told our passports would be surrendered before boarding, so you were no5 able to go back downstairs to the terminal. Our iron was held with security I felt like criminal. I guess it was my fault, but it wasn’t highlighted enough on the check in process on the website, but we didn’t have a Chinese Visa (I didn’t feel so bad because there was a hundred or so passengers that didn’t have that Visa either) and had to spend $140 per person on board. The Vietnamese’s landing card only was $7. We didn’t want to spend more money on specialty dinning, but we ate upstairs in buffet dining. The main dining room area was beautiful, but the food was tepid, not appetizing and the portions were small. The shopping area were high end items and the ship gift area for RCL was so small and if you forget toiletries etc oh well. The entertainment was good and Two70 production Silk Road was phenomenal. The casino was small for such a large ship and everyone huddled to the One cent slots. I like to the scratch lottery I won $40 bucks in 9 days lol. I did visit the video arcade sports area flow rider ripcord sky pad and North Star. The spa area was over priced. I thought we could do other ports. We stayed overnight in Hong Kong not two nights and had to be board by 2 pm the next day, so technically you can only do one excursion. Of course, I had to cancel one. I think RCL could have provided shuttle buses to the main area since the terminal was 40 minutes or so to the Star Ferry. The lecturer was extremely informative and disembarkation was very good. Finally, this was my third and last RCL cruise I have cruised on the Serenade Harmony and Spectrum. I can’t wait to go back to Princess cruises. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I've been on 9 cruises so far and this was my first cruise to Japan. I travel alone since everyone else is working and I am retired. This was my 5th Princess Cruise. The ship was clean and beautiful with all the woodwork and marble ... Read More
I've been on 9 cruises so far and this was my first cruise to Japan. I travel alone since everyone else is working and I am retired. This was my 5th Princess Cruise. The ship was clean and beautiful with all the woodwork and marble in great condition. However my dining experience was another matter. I ate lunch and dinner aboard Diamond Princess 18 May 2019. My set dinner time was at 5:30 pm. I got some bad sour cream on the bake potato at dinner. I threw up around 3-4am the following morning. I threw up several times in 4 sessions. I went to medical the next day and was then quarantined for 2 days and missed 2 days of my cruise due to the food poisoning. I missed the most important excursion at Hiroshima. I was also given a bill from medical for $191. I spoke to Princess about this insult to injury and was called by an arrogant woman who was the food and beverage director. She denied any and all responsibility for my food poisoning saying that no one else got sick so it wasn't her food and Princess would not cover my medical bills. I told her did this food poisoning just magically happen??? Also, a lot of passengers would never report it because they do not want to be quarantined. She did not want to hear it. I wonder if she did any investigation. How long did that serving dish with the sour cream sit out prior to 5:30 pm? How many people in my section were served from that serving dish of sour cream before it was dumped or changed? I know of two people who got sick from the food during the cruise. The food and beverage director did not have a clue!! After being cleared by medical I was so upset about the arrogance of Princess food and beverage director that I immediately went to the future cruise desk to cancel my next Princess cruise to Alaska in July. I was told I would incur penalties so I said forget cancelling it but I would never sail on Princess again!! I was a Platinum Member but this complete deniability by any wrong doing by Princess is disgusting!! It is a reflection of their attitude toward a lot of issues, one which is in the news today about polluting the oceans then arrogantly advertising how they care so much about the environment!!! Really your company pollutes the Oceans and you say you care for the environment!! Just my experience aboard the Diamond Princess which is the exact opposite of my wonderful dining experience aboard Grand Princess in March. Thank You Diamond Princess for letting me see how bad things really can be!! The entertainment and activities were average cruise productions, nothing to jump up and down about. Also, there were only 3 major shows which repeat every week so for me it was disappointing since my cruise was 2 weeks. The excursions were interesting but expensive, but it's Japan so you will be paying more. Also, expect a lot of walking on most excursions since a lot of the sites are on hills. Another point is expect going through immigration several times during your trip since you enter and leave Japan throughout the cruise. I would not come back to Japan again because there are a lot of places I still want to go to. Japan is crowded with a lot of pushing and shoving, think of Disneyland and that is what it is like. It is a one time visit place for me. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose Crystal this time as it was the choice of my sister in law who had sailed with them before. Unfortunately she had not sailed with any other cruise line so thought they were fabulous without comparison. We had a balcony cabin on ... Read More
We chose Crystal this time as it was the choice of my sister in law who had sailed with them before. Unfortunately she had not sailed with any other cruise line so thought they were fabulous without comparison. We had a balcony cabin on Deck 8 and it was tiny. This was our first disappointment of the cruise. I am not sure how some of the larger passengers on the ship maneuvered themselves around the bathroom or managed to use the toilet as the bathroom was so small. The decor on the ship is quite boring and uninviting in many areas and there is a lack of artwork around the ship. However there is plenty of space on the ship and you never feel crowded anywhere. The boutiques on the ship were outrageously priced and lacked choice. What happened to passing on tax and duty free savings to the passengers? The pool area should have been a hive of activity but there is no pool bar and this area was underutilised. Seabourn and Oceania do fabulous sail away parties with drinks and entertainment. Not so on Crystal! The weather was perfect and not a drink or band in sight. The food was not fabulous and became very boring. The dining room needs a bigger menu and the market place at the back of the ship, usually one of our favourite places to eat on other ships was closed at night and replaced with a Brazilian restaurant that lacked variety. The Marketplace needs a wider range and themed offerings to relieve boredom. Yes, there are two speciality restaurants on board,but they are difficult to get into so don't rely on them as alternative choice. The Chinese was alright but not fabulous. The enrichment program was excellent and we enjoyed the speakers very much. We are not big on night time entertainment so I really can't comment on that area. Tours were only average and could have been improved. The staff were excellent and we could not fault their service and attitude at all. They were friendly and efficient so we were very happy with this aspect of the cruise. Would we sail with Crystal again? Probably not unless there was a great deal available as at this stage we do not believe value meets the current price point. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this based on the advice of friend, its price point and the destinations in Japan. It was a back to back cruise, therefore two cruises, not made clear to me before we sailed. Not sure yet if it qualifies me for two cruises for ... Read More
We chose this based on the advice of friend, its price point and the destinations in Japan. It was a back to back cruise, therefore two cruises, not made clear to me before we sailed. Not sure yet if it qualifies me for two cruises for the purpose of obtaining points to upgrade my Princess premium status, or one. We were in cabin B710 with a balcony, nicely appointed. Cabin staff was excellent, thanks Hector. They were attentive, thorough and available, even when I locked myself out of my room. Since our friends were in the next cabin the opening of the door between us allowed us extra space on the balcony. But the ship, although clean, had a dated drab living room appearance, similar to what my grandma might have had (though I am myself elderly now 71). One of the bars, the Wake (did I name it correctly?) below the aft decks, was closed the entire voyage and not announced at any time. There were three onboard additional choices besides the dining rooms and the buffets, of which we tried two of which neither were very good. One, the Crab Shack, was only open one night of the 12 we were onboard and consisted of tables sectioned off at the tail end of the buffet. Food was just plain awful, too salty and not tender. Lack of taste to the shrimp. the touted "king crab" was not from Alaska and we were later informed it came frozen from Maine. They baked it with cheese - ouch! The other was Sabatini's, an Italian cafe. Veal was less than tender and overcooked. The lobster wasn't fresh either and my wife left it on her plate. Princess would do better than to charge the $29 per plate in these "specialty" restaurants rather than promote them separately. I'd frankly like the money back. Food in the buffet and dining room was just average, the too often roast beef either undercooked or overcooked, looking too raw to be appetizing. Some of the fruit wasn't fresh, most of it out of season or tasteless. Only one main choice though many extra stews, etc. Bread was fresh. In the dining room the portions were small, perhaps to cater to the Japanese tastes of which there were more than enough on the boat, the cruise originating in Japan, moving south toward Japanese ports, then Miyakajima, Okinawa and Taiwan. Dining staff also excellent and one night we asked for Southern Fried Chicken which was arranged for a lunch - the best meal on the trip, a thanks to Mark the maitre'd. Entertainment was lacking for anyone under 30. The shows were repeated such that of twelve nights we only saw four shows. A pretty lady opera virtuoso from the Phillipines was starring and no fault can be attributed to her opera choices. But as a pop star or when belting out standards she left something to be desired. Other shows were just average, the dancing OK and lead singers the same. Boat's orchestra, however, was one of the best I've heard aboard a cruise ship. Last night's entertainment was the Craigs, a duo of a strongman and former Olympian doing gymnastic gyrations and comedic oratory. Just plain amateurish, including an almost ten minute intro where nothing occurred onstage. I felt that they lacked sufficient material for a forty minute show. Not to mention that the local high schoolers could do more and better at that. Sorry Craigs, after 5000 performances and an appearance on Ellen it's time to retire. Why the boat docked in Miyakajima for six or eight hours (I forget) is still a mystery to me. Nothing exotic or different there except . . . maybe . .. the snorkeling. Taxiing to the supposedly best beach on the island I did snorkel for about forty minutes. The fish were good and it was better than average, water warm with a $15 charge for the gear. Still we waited almost an hour to board a tender to the dock (insufficient number of boats for the passengers) and another 40 minutes for a taxi (not enough of those on the island either - no busses as they run only every four hours) in front of the local dockside hotel which posted a "no cruise passenger" sign. I mean really, Miyakajima? Other ports of call were worth the visit - we sailed to see Japan and we did see it. But of twelve days at sea only nine were on land, including three coming and going ( we embarked, stopped and re-embarked from Kobe before returning there). An extra day in Keelung might have been a better choice. So only three ports the second leg and three the first, again wishing I had known it was back to back departures. Last there was the ocean itself. We were told (by bridge officers) that the ride south was a rarity, great warm weather and calm seas. But the ride back (and I'm a deep water sailor since boyhood) was quite rough; 40+ knot winds with high seas with 7 - 10 foot swells shaking the boat for two days and one night. Overall Princess has fallen down: older ship (built in 2004), food off the mark and Miyakajima do not make for a luxury cruise. I was pleased that the highlight of this voyage was a private tour of the bridge, occasioned by Third Officer Brandon, so thanks again for that. But would I take this boat again? I'd say that since Princess was acquired by Caravan that they have fallen down ( we are premium members after six or eight cruises with them since 1992). Too much emphasis on profit and not enough on the passengers. If you want to see Japan, try a land trip and go by rail. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Getting on the new ship in Dubai was very exciting and it certainly does look amazing. Staff onboard were very organised and friendly and everything ran very smoothly for all of our excursions. Our stateroom with balcony was great, ... Read More
Getting on the new ship in Dubai was very exciting and it certainly does look amazing. Staff onboard were very organised and friendly and everything ran very smoothly for all of our excursions. Our stateroom with balcony was great, quite spacious and the stateroom attendant was very good as well. I like the origami animal towels! Breakfast delivered to the room was a lovely touch also. We mostly ate at the windjammer as we preferred the more casual atmosphere to the main dining hall. The food here was great, lots of choice. Healthy fish and salads for me and not so healthy chips etc for my husband! Unfortunately we got quite sick the last week of the cruise with some sort of bug and could not enjoy the food then - there are sinks and hand sanitiser outside the windjammer buffet but we saw many guests ignore this and not wash their hands :( The entertainment onboard was mixed, some great shows like gold art duo and some not so great shows like showgirl and the main production show Silk Road - they just lacked any real story and I thought there would have been more of a complete theatre show at some point with an actual plot. Silkroad felt like they took more time showing off what could be done with the stage and the tech, there was just too much going on to enjoy the very talented performers - I didn’t know where to look half the time! The Royal Theatre layout wasn’t great, we could only see half the stage as we were in seats in the 2nd level. Lots of seats with limited views so had to go very early to make the shows worth watching. My main disappointment with the ship was the gym. We had seen other ships of the same class with massive gyms and we were really excited about this. The gym on Spectrum of the seas felt like an after thought. It was like it had been completely forgotten about and then crammed into a few small spa rooms at the end. It was very hard to find any free equipment, there were only two weights benches, limited floor space and no barbells. It was also frustrating that crew were in fact using the gym as well - it would have been hard enough to find a space nevermind not being able to use a facility because a crew member is using it. I would have expected them to have their own gym onboard and if the customer gym is busy to be using this. The gym was also uncomfortably hot, I think they were trying to put people off using it! All in in I felt like Royal Caribbean just wanted more and more money from us constantly and it felt like a bit of an insult. We booked this trip for our honeymoon and spent thousands of pounds on it and more again on excursions. It felt like taking advantage of customer who have already paid a lot to be there, extortionately priced drinks, overpriced and slow WiFi, high gratituty charges etc. When we got our final bill it was in dollars and when it came out of my account it came out in sterling at a very poor exchange rate.. £150 more than the going rate! Not impressed by royal Caribbean with regards to their constant fleecing and upselling. However the vast majority of staff we dealt with on the ship were lovely and this is more an issue with company policy than the Spectrum or its team. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I choose this 15 day cruise to get away from my regular daily life and it was great for that. 6 days at sea, including 5-6m waves for a couple days. The food ands staff was great as I remember it from my other HAL cruises. But the ... Read More
I choose this 15 day cruise to get away from my regular daily life and it was great for that. 6 days at sea, including 5-6m waves for a couple days. The food ands staff was great as I remember it from my other HAL cruises. But the Westerdam state of repair is sad. So many little things broken. Lights in public bathroom about to fall out, fan in elevator running at full speed as it is burning up (you could smell the plastic melting), hot bench in Thermal Suite out of order since February (3 months). 1 sauna not working at all, 1 sauna on its last leg, including a thermometer just wedged into mount and could have fallen during heavy sea and create tiny glass splinters, etc. etc. The central sound system for the Greenhouse Spa was also broken for weeks and so it was music everywhere or no music at all. This meant on one of massage I asked for music, but it was turned off 2 minutes later as someone else requested it to be turned off. I never was able to relax at all. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Viking have some beautiful ships. Well designed with a furnished by IKEA feeling. We'd travelled on Viking Sea previously and felt that as the line was new it needed some bedding down but that we ought to give it another chance. ... Read More
Viking have some beautiful ships. Well designed with a furnished by IKEA feeling. We'd travelled on Viking Sea previously and felt that as the line was new it needed some bedding down but that we ought to give it another chance. Little had changed. Viking pitches itself at the same customers as Azamara and Oceania so needs to stand comparison with them. The ship is larger (930 rather than 694 pax) and has a wonderful feeling of light and spaciousness in the public areas with many places to sit and read. While I can understand the World Cafe buffet being laid out like a hotel coffee shop, disappointingly The Restaurant feels much the same. It was always difficult to find an empty table in the buffet. One of the problems with inclusive tours is that most people opt for them and tend to eat at the same time. The range of dishes in the buffet was less than its two competitors. Service in the restaurant was patchy. The food was an improvement on our previous Viking cruise but still not as good as its competitors. If the itinerary had been better designed we wouldn't have had to pass through immigration in Japan twice. On one occasion it took two hours resulting in the tours running late. The quality of the tours matched what one would expect for "inclusive". Many tours returned at the same time and boarding the ship was not helped by opening only the one bag scanner. Customers should not be expected to queue on the gangway in heavy rain. A larger entrance foyer would have overcome this. To sum up, lovely ship but the customer experience still needs working on. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019

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