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33 Seattle to Transpacific Cruise Reviews

We have been C&A members for many years and been always pleased with the services and treatment on board of RCI ships. We been grateful to the army of the hardworking members of the RCI team, many ymployees, cabin attendants, ... Read More
We have been C&A members for many years and been always pleased with the services and treatment on board of RCI ships. We been grateful to the army of the hardworking members of the RCI team, many ymployees, cabin attendants, restaurant workers, cooks, etc. for their efforts to make our vacation comfortable and enjoyable. We never complained. This time, however , we encountered something different. The detailed account of our recent misadventure is enclosed to this message. Thank you for reading In October 2018, to celebrate a wedding anniversary, we boarded Explorer of the Seas for a 21-day cruise journey from Seattle to Sydney. In addition to cruise sailing we also planned a detailed itinerary in Australia, including flight from Sydney to Cairns, scuba diving in Great Barrier Reef for six days, and return home to Portland Oregon. For two years prior to travel we were looking forward to once in a life time exotic adventure. My husband and I like to cruise and dance. We enjoyed RCI hospitality and have been diamond members of Crown and Anchor Society for several years. We are both seniors, but continue to work full time, therefore each vacation is very special. To travel to Australia these days, all U.S, citizens must have an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) approval. It is an electronic application that is filed on line and approved (or rejected) within seconds. Once approved, it is electronically attached to your passport and subsequently secure the entry to Australia. Prior to boarding the ship, we were provided with the web site address and instructions how to apply for the ETA. Day 1. Departure Our dreams were instantly ruined once we stepped aboard a magnificent cruise liner Explorer of the Seas. My Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) was approved; my husband’s one - rejected. No reasons or explanation provided. But the automatic response suggested that we should apply for a tourist visa. Day 2 In search of advice and assistance we met with the Explorer of the Seas’ manager of guest services. At the Crown and Anchor parties we often attend, the captain and officers always thank and praise the past guests for loyalty, and pledge support and assistance in ANY perilous situation and circumstances. Right? Wrong! Meet Mr. X, the manager of the guest services office of Explorer. On surface, he appeared groomed and polished. In substance, he was cold, unsympathetic, indifferent. He advised, that my husband’s ETA rejection is not the RCI problem, but rather decision of the Australian government; that we should disembark in the next port of call, preferably Honolulu (albeit a huge fine we were responsible for under the Jones Act). He frequently used the word “unfortunately, as the highest degree of sympathy and compassion. In addition to his arrogant demeanor he was amazingly misinformed. In fact, everything he said was either flat wrong or highly inaccurate. For instance, he advised that the ETA rejection was a decision of the Australian government ( wrong; it was not a government decision just yet, but rather a computer program with certain preset data); that we shouldn’t be allowed to board the ship without the visa on the first place ( wrong, the passengers were allowed to board and did apply later); he said he could not say if there were any other guests in the same or similar situation, as it was against the RCI policy (there was no such policy); he said, we could not disembark in New Caledonia because it would require Australian visa( wrong again, it is a French territory and visas for the US citizens are not required). His demeanor was unfriendly, if not arrogant. He did not offer any constructive advice or suggestions. At the contrary, he behaved as if we were common criminals or habitual visa violators. His verdict was simple and clear “get out of the ship”. The fact that we had purchased a twenty-one-day cruise fare and paid for the hotels and air in Australia meant nothing. If before the meeting with manager X we felt upset and worried, after it we were completely devastated. This cruise was becoming the worst nightmare. The same day ( which was second day of the cruise in the middle of the Pacific) we were provided with the rules of disembarkation that was carefully placed on our well-made bed. Perhaps, Mr. X wished my husband to disembark in the open ocean…. Day 3. Once we realized there was not much help or assistance coming from the guest manager’s office of RCI to rely on, we decided to take some actions and get to work. Within the next twelve hours, we learned all we could about the Australian visas and applied electronically for all of them: again, for ETA, but from different intermediary; for the transit visa (in hopes to at least be able to fly back from Sydney and save the costly airfare); and the Australian tourist visa (visa # 600). This one required 20-page application and numerous supporting documents that we too provided electronically. In the meantime, our cruising was business as usual: the RCI praised us, as diamond members, for loyalty. Each day we were invited to various celebrations, lunches, behind the scene tours, dinners, exclusive member shows, etc. Also, we were presented with elegant souvenirs as a token of appreciation for our loyalty. Day 4. We called the manager’s office to say that, first, we applied for Australian tourist visa; and second, in case the tourist visa is not approved, we would like to disembark in New Caledonia. Day 5. Manager's assistant, guest administration officer called back to advise that we would be allowed to disembark in Noumea ONLY if we provided the flight itinerary and hotel accommodation confirmation in New Caledonia. The deadline - tomorrow, in the port of Lahaina, the eighth day of the cruise. We were stunned. This information is required at the time of entry New Caledonia. Why manager X demanded it 12 (twelve) days in advance ? It remained a mystery. Regardless, we did not question or dispute his demands. What else you do, if you are in the middle of the ocean under complete power and control of an incompetent and arrogant RCI official? You just comply. Again, we spent hours on internet putting together a new itinerary, booked a new flight from New Caledonia back to the US, and cancelled all the previously booked (nonrefundable) flights in Australia and cancelled all existing hotel reservations in Sydney and Cairns. As was required by officer X, we provided the info to the guest services desk. Day 11 On the 11 th day of the cruise, and twelve days before Sydney, we discovered my husband’s visa was approved. The guest service manager’s assistant called and asked If perhaps we still wanted to disembark in Sydney….. No, we did not. By that time, we already cancelled all booking in Australia and made a new reservation in New Caledonia. On October 24th, we disembarked in New Caledonia. We wanted to leave the unfriendly ship ASAP. The manager X did not offer a single word of regret, sympathy, or apology. It was business as usual. Yes, we suffered financial losses due to improper conduct of the RCI manager’s indifference, and his insistence on booking a new itinerary ahead of time; and yes, we lost two full days of the cruise vacation. Most importantly, we lost faith in RCI and felt deep disappointment in treatment and attitude we had experienced on board of the Explorer. Mr. X is not good for the RCI guests and he is not good for the RCI reputation. He should be removed, or seriously retrained. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
First, let me say, I loved the itinerary for this cruise - 21 nights across the Pacific from Seattle to Sydney. Embarkation (and disembarkation) went very smoothly, though we were surprised there was no welcome aboard glass of champagne. ... Read More
First, let me say, I loved the itinerary for this cruise - 21 nights across the Pacific from Seattle to Sydney. Embarkation (and disembarkation) went very smoothly, though we were surprised there was no welcome aboard glass of champagne. This was a minor change from the previous cruises we'd taken on Celebrity (a sister company), but was just the beginning of a slew of disappointments in the quality of Royal Caribbean as it compared to Celebrity. My biggest complaint was the quality of food in the main dining room. Steaks were low quality and very tough. Selection was low quality and, most surprising, did not improve on formal nights. They were literally offering higher quality food selection at the buffet! The result of this however, was that the huge dining room was virtually empty while the buffet was packed with long lines and full tables. Secondly, was the unabashed up-sell! Even the dining room menu had choices that you needed to pay extra for! Apparently, if you wanted decent food, you had to pony up another $30-$50. Breakfast in the dining room had an option on the menu for the fresh-squeezed orange juice, but that would cost you an additional $5. We looked at menus from the signature menu and even they offered up-sell selections!! That's just plain tacky. Next was the sick-boat-syndrome. Every one of our party of 5 had upper respiratory illness throughout the entire 3 week period. It never abated until we got off the boat. Yet my husband and one of our friends, who suffered the most severe symptoms, had to pay exorbitant medical fees and wait for long lines to get treatment. The long lines and loud chorus of coughing throughout the boat was enough proof that this entire boat was suffering the same symptoms. The design of the ship itself left much to be desired. There was no outdoor dining section. In fact there was little emphasis on offering outside views. There were few window seats in the lower level lounges and even those just looked out on the lifeboats. There was one upper-level lounge that had a wide array of windows, but that looked out at the pool rather than out to sea. There were a lot of little lounge areas that looked into the atrium, but who wants to look at that when you're out at sea? The shows also didn't live up to the quality of those we had experienced on our Celebrity cruises with the only exception being the ice show. That was actually quite extraordinary! The one area they excelled at over Celebrity was the more active offerings for younger travelers - the FlowRider, climbing wall, miniature golf - and the larger children's activity center. Personally, I would never take another Royal Caribbean cruise. As an after thought - I forgot to include a review of the enrichment activities. On a cruise this long with SO MANY sea nights, they were unprepared for the number of people wanting to participate in the activities. There were literally fights between people trying to get into watercolor and jewelry classes and the lounges used for trivia were way too small to accommodate the crowds. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This was a 21 night cruise from Seattle to Sydney Australia. Our previous cruises were all on Princess so this was our first experience with RC. The ship was in excellent condition and the staff was friendly with great emphasis on washing ... Read More
This was a 21 night cruise from Seattle to Sydney Australia. Our previous cruises were all on Princess so this was our first experience with RC. The ship was in excellent condition and the staff was friendly with great emphasis on washing your hands. However, the food was not good. In 21 days we ate at every outlet and struggled to find a "good" meal. Speciality dining was the only option that approached "average". We were in a Jr. Suite 9270. The suite was roomy with a really nice walk-in closet. Our steward was fabulous. The entertainment and production was very poor. We sailed on a 13 day Princess Cruise from Sydney a week after this cruise and the difference was significant. The quality of Princess food was significantly better and the quality of entertainment was light years ahead of RC. One last comment.......RC was reasonably priced for cruise but everywhere we turned RC had its hand out wanting more. We will not waste our money on another RC cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. After booking the 21 day cruise I discovered I was gluten intolerant and went on a gluten free diet. I thought I would be doomed to eat foods naturally gluten free and have to pass up so many ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. After booking the 21 day cruise I discovered I was gluten intolerant and went on a gluten free diet. I thought I would be doomed to eat foods naturally gluten free and have to pass up so many of the goodies. The first night, in the dining room, when I told my waiter about my diet needs, he brought the head waiter over to talk to me. From then on, they made sure I was enjoying as much as possible while not messing with my diet. Every evening Clinton would bring me the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus from the next day and have me place my orders. In addition to those things marked as gluten free, they would make changes to the food if possible to meet my needs. For example, replacing the pasta with GF pasta, replacing the toast with GF (finally eggs and toast for breakfast), etc. My order was always prepared in a special gluten free section of the kitchen, to prevent cross contamination. In addition to the dining room, the buffets were also accommodating. They had a gluten free section which always had GF breads and rolls, GF entrees, deserts etc. If I wanted the GF bread toasted, they used fresh gloves and used a dedicated toaster. They offered delicious GF pizza upon request. They had great GF cookies at the Cafe Promenade. I am sure they would be as accommodating and attentive to any special diet needs. Other than the food, the rest of the cruise was spectacular as well. We loved the ports, the ship is beautiful, and enjoyed many of the activities. My only complaint would be that the evening entertainment started too late for us, so we missed a lot of it. In past cruises we were able to listen and dance to music before dinner and go to the show shortly after dinner. We missed that. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Despite what I consider to be the most apt review title, my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the cruise albeit plagued by a very high numbers of people experiencing prolonged bouts of chesty coughing and sneezing with some also suffering ... Read More
Despite what I consider to be the most apt review title, my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the cruise albeit plagued by a very high numbers of people experiencing prolonged bouts of chesty coughing and sneezing with some also suffering bouts of the dreaded Noro Virus. Thankfully my wife avoided the Noro Virus but both regrettably fell foul to the coughing sickness and in my case twice, with only 3 days clear around Mid trip. There were many cruisers being taken off the ship by ambulance in the various ports of call, there was also a helicopter high line medivac on the 2nd day of the cruise. There were frequently large lines of people standing outside the medical centre. Apologies for the rather lengthy review but this was a 21 day cruise. Our vacation started with a BA from London to Seattle on Wednesday 4th October arriving in Seattle around 18:00, we took the light train from Seatac to Westlake for the amazing Seniors price of $1 each. Unfortunately as we had been previously advised, regular taxis were rather thin on the ground in Seattle and as we don't use Uber we set off to find the Edgewater hotel on foot. After a couple of wrong turns and taking advice from some very friendly and helpful locals we arrived safe and sound at the hotel some 20 minutes later. It was a bit of a hike dragging our luggage but perfectly doable for the relatively fit and healthy. I would however most probably chose a hotel closer to Westlake station if I were to return to Seattle in the future . (Or figure out how to use Uber) The Edgewater was a great hotel ideally located for sightseeing. However was a bit miffed by the concierge who quoted $45 for a hotel taxi to the cruise terminal, telling us it was about the same cost as a regular taxi. We took a regular taxi and only paid $15 including the tip. We arrived at the pier 91 around 11:00 and were on board the magnificent Explorer of the seas by 11:20 with the absolute minimum of fuss... well done to both the port authorities and RCL for this. After running the now normal gauntlet of crew trying to up sell almost everything imaginable, including the kitchen sink, we settled down on the Royal Promenade to await access to the staterooms. Despite the rather gloomy weather, first impressions of both the ship and staff were very good. Our stateroom which was ready at exactly 13:00hrs was spic and span and our stateroom attendant Ketut from Indonesia found and delivered our bags and also a couple of extra pillows as requested. Our wait staff Renato and Guilherme in the Sapphire deck 3 my time dinning were very friendly and efficient and our first dinner was both excellent and served in a very timely manner which we very much appreciated. We took the majority of dinners in the Sapphire dinning room, lunch was just a sandwich in the Promenade cafe and breakfast in the Windjammer. We gave up doing speciality dinning around 10 years back, finding them none to special after the 2nd or 3rd time and not worth the additional cost. The entertainment and activities organised throughout the cruise from were numerous and well organised by the entertainment staff. The very experienced cruise director (head of on board sales) was very good at his job. He did appear to be quite elusive at times during the day and only turned up at events as and when he had to. In a similar manner the master of the vessel was certainly not a high profile character. If were not for his somewhat repetitive noon announcements we would not have known he was on the ship. The Hotel Director on the other hand was the complete opposite, he was to be seen frequently on a daily basis around the ship carrying out his various duties and interacting with both crew and passengers on numerous occasions. The continued on board attempts to up sell various products and services was occasionally annoying but thankfully not overly so, with the exception of speciality dinning being touted within the main dinning room. Which I personally considerer to be a somewhat shoddy practice and rather insulting towards the food being served in the Sapphire dinning room. Thankfully the Park West art auctions were being held in the ships conference room. Well out of the way and not taking up valuable seating in any of the lounges, every 2nd day or so. (You may guess, I am not a great fan of Park West).....We heard frequently about RCL being an environmentally aware company and doing all within its power to save the planet. I have a great suggestion for RCL to assist in their most noble effort, stop delivering Park West paper copy junk mail to all Staterooms Fleet Wide.....that would certainly save quite a few trees each year.... The ice show as always was phenomenal, the 2nd show impromptu show was also very good. The majority of the headline acts were very good however the initial production show Wild Cool and Swinging by the resident singers and dancers, was rather disappointing with respect to both vocals and set design. The other production shows after this however, were very professional and most enjoyable. The exceedingly high number of Diamond and Diamond Plus cruisers on this very popular voyage resulted in the pre-dinner social drinks event being extended from the dedicated lounges to the Star lounge to accommodate the numbers. Despite this change, seating in the Star lounge was at a premium for the first hour or so. It took until around day 10 or so to realise just why we could never find and empty seat at 17:00hrs., there were people queuing up from before 16:00hrs to rush in and grab their favoured seats in the star lounge. Our first port of call Honolulu was a bit of a disappointment, the local tourist board have obviously no interest in cruise passengers. There was no warm welcome to Hawaii indeed there was no welcome either within or outside the extremely large and barren cruise terminal. No greeting of any sort, no local guides or tourist pamphlets, no maps etc. absolute zero, an opportunity lost by the Honolulu tourism industry. Lahiana our 2nd port of call and our first tender port was considerably better. There was a group of singers on the jetty giving us a real Hawaiian welcome. There was also plentiful local information to be had on the jetty and a considerably better atmosphere in comparison to the rather inhospitable Honolulu. There was about a 10-15 minute wait for our tender going ashore which has to be expected with so many people wishing to get ashore at the same time. However the line was well organised and controlled by ships staff. On the return trip we listened to the cruise directors advice and came back slightly before the high volume rush time, getting a tender with no delay on the jetty. The crossing the line ceremony (equator) was a hoot and very well attended and the certificates we received from King Neptune were a great souvenir as was the one for crossing the international date line westbound loosing a full day in the process, on the occasion Friday the 19th Suva Fiji was a bit rough looking around the port area but the people were very friendly polite and most helpful. We took a shore 4 hour excursion with Mona tours, visiting the Museum, a native village and some sightseeing along the way. Our guide was excellent, and the bus/group size was ideal with only around 20 passengers. (One of the 2 reasons we no longer use ship tours is the delays involved with large bus groups, the other being the extortionate price charged by RCL) Again regrettably Port Villa Vanatu was also somewhat rough around the edges, and not somewhere I would be in a hurry to return to. We took the $5 water taxi into town and had a good look around before returning to the ship. Mystery Island was just expected, a very small uninhabited Island with a grass airstrip running down the centre. We had a great time wondering round the island, sitting on the sand and dipping into the clear water occasionally to cool down. Just a shame the weather turned rather wet in the afternoon. Numea New Caledonia was a great port of call, the compulsory free shuttle bus takes you from the ship to the In town Cruise Terminal" from where there are many many options to go sightseeing. The cruise terminal has excellent free WiFi and reasonably priced souvenirs. Well done again to both RCL and the Australian immigration authorities for carrying out the immigration checks prior to our arrival in Sydney. This resulted in a very smooth departure from the ship. From the volume of moaning and groaning by some Americans and the repeated PA announcements regarding the Australian Visa requirements, not all US cruisers were aware of this requirement prior to the cruise. All in all a great transpacific cruise, the sea days were brilliant, the crew were great, the ports were OK, but not a cruise I would repeat Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Wanted to visit S Pacific islands and Australia. Some poor weather; no one can help weather! but the RCL selection of Fiji islands that were visited caused this cruise to be just average. Ports showed more poverty than other islands and ... Read More
Wanted to visit S Pacific islands and Australia. Some poor weather; no one can help weather! but the RCL selection of Fiji islands that were visited caused this cruise to be just average. Ports showed more poverty than other islands and were somewhat disappointing. Other S Pacific Island stops offer more of what we envisioned would be the case for the S. Pacific. Tours to the local villages were just OK. On the positive side, the ships crew and service were excellent. Cabin service, Windjammer and main dining services were all excellent. The casino bar personnel were particularly friendly knowing your preferences before you even made your request. Public areas were well maintained, very clean. We had the unfortunate opportunity to visit the ships medical center during the cruise for my wife and they were absolutely wonderful and efficient. Much thanks and praise for the Explorer Of The Seas medical team! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We booked this cruise for our first venture in the Pacific, along with a stay in Sydney and the Radiance of the Seas to New Zealand from Sydney. Throwing in a couple days in Seattle, this was a trip of a life time for us. We booked a ... Read More
We booked this cruise for our first venture in the Pacific, along with a stay in Sydney and the Radiance of the Seas to New Zealand from Sydney. Throwing in a couple days in Seattle, this was a trip of a life time for us. We booked a junior suite, and that was probably the best thing about the whole experience. The tub was a real luxury and we told our cabin attendant that we planned to take it with us, but it would not fit in the luggage. Service about the Explorer was excellent, and the elite Crown and Anchor (Diamone/Diamond+) cocktail "hour" even evening was a real life saver. Generally good food and drinks served by the outstanding staff made these daily parties another high light. Although we were traveling with friends, we met interesting people and enjoyed the social atmosphere. RCCL really does a great job with this loyalty bonus. Unfortunately, we did not feel the same about the entertainment or the dining room menu. Much of the entertainment featured talented performers, but did not hold up well in the theater. Most were really suitable for lounge acts instead. For the first time, we did not make dinner once in the dining room. We did have 5 excellent meals in specialty restaurants. in fairness, we rarely eat a large meal in the evening, but the menus simply failed to motivate us. In all, we enjoyed the cruise as an opportunity to get much needed rest and relaxation. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Every aspect of the ship, staff, entertainment etc was wonderful. The Activity Director and his staff were absolutely tireless when offering such a variety of activities. I can't think of anything that RC could do to make that part ... Read More
Every aspect of the ship, staff, entertainment etc was wonderful. The Activity Director and his staff were absolutely tireless when offering such a variety of activities. I can't think of anything that RC could do to make that part better. They were constantly cleaning every inch of the ship. Daily a cabin steward would wipe the handrails in the cabin halls, cabin door handles, stairway rails etc with disinfectant. Rest rooms were attended constantly. The cabin was spacious, comfortable and well attended. The Windjammer area is large and the staff works very quickly to clear and clean tables. The food in the Windjammer was plentiful, great variety and good taste/quality. The service in the Diniing room was very good. I found the menu and the taste of the food just ok. I feel they went too far trying to offer upscale/gormet items in the daily changing menu and the standard menu was not really appealing - need something in between. The beef served in the Dining Room was tasteless in any recipe or served as a steak. We went to the Steakhouse and Italian specialty restaurants. Both were fantastic and well worth the nominal fee. Service, food and ambiance were all upscale. Bar service was wonderful in terms of the friendliness and attention of the staff in all bars. Some of the staff could even entertain with magic tricks and card tricks (without slowing service). They made paper flowers and sang "Happy Birthday" for the guests when they were aware of a birthday. One big drawback in all the bars/taverns is that each bar was not stocked daily and everyday the staff was scrambling to find the usual brands of wine that were featured on the menu or they were just telling us it was not available. This is a problem easily fixed. The ports of call were very interesting and the reason we chose this itinerary. The shore excursions were very very good, interesting and convenient. Definately worth the price. One of the excursions strongly advised that we should wear long pants out of respect for the local culture but that was not needed and was very hot and uncomfotable. I would absolutely sail RC again and sail on this ship again. This was an extremely long trip and we are not regular cruisers so it was a bit of a stretch for us but there is nothing RC could do to make it any better. I Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
I can't tell you how pleased we were with our transpacific voyage to Sydney on the Explorer of the Seas. Having done Silverseas, we were a little worried about a ship this size. It was wonderful.The staff were incredible and ... Read More
I can't tell you how pleased we were with our transpacific voyage to Sydney on the Explorer of the Seas. Having done Silverseas, we were a little worried about a ship this size. It was wonderful.The staff were incredible and everyone wore a smile and were so upbeat and positive all the time. The food was very good and the maitre'd and our waiters (2) were exceptional. The entertainment on this 23 day sailing was new and different every night. The rating of 4-4.5 for this ship concerned us but don't go by that. This ship and the staff are a clear 5+in our estimation.We look forward to our next cruise with RCL. For a large ship we were pleasantly surprised at how comfortable we felt in all the public rooms. They were very attentive in making sure everyone used hand sanitizer on entering dining venues as colds seem to be prevalent on many cruises. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Cruise to Sydney on the Explorer of the Seas 2017 10/6 Olympic Peninsula, WA to Pier 91 in Seattle. About 11:45. Dropped off perfect, porter took the bags away and check in went very smooth. Had 2 bottles of wine we got checked in. We ... Read More
Cruise to Sydney on the Explorer of the Seas 2017 10/6 Olympic Peninsula, WA to Pier 91 in Seattle. About 11:45. Dropped off perfect, porter took the bags away and check in went very smooth. Had 2 bottles of wine we got checked in. We missed a sign for the Suite guests check-in which was supposed to be somewhat faster, but the line of non-Suite pax moved just fine, 10 minutes. Our only wait was the security scan, like a TSA operation, maybe 30-40 minutes. Got on the ship and got our bearings, grabbed a bite at The Promenade Cafe. Bought deluxe drink pakage on line and my wife got the Soda package. Also a 15 cup coffee card. Rooms opened up around 1PM but our bags weren't there yet. Nice junior suite with a walk-in closet, tub and balcony, etc. We got a call about our first day specialty dinning and an upgrade. Met our cabin Steward at around 3:30 and she retrieved our bags and took our request: Ice, 2 robes, 2 wine glasses. Robes didn't show up. The pre-ordered sail away, wine and cheese platter showed up in our cabin around 8-ish while we were at dinner. Sail Away at Dizzy's very busy, but no trouble getting a drink. Dinner at Giovanni's was excellent. Waiter had a bit of trouble "deshelling" shrimp, but none the less, well prepared. Wine bottle 40% off with card. Only slight oh so slight complaint, a piece of tin foil on my Oso Bucco that I'm not quite sure the waiter conveyed to the chef. Language barrier perhaps. A few people wearing blue jeans in the specialty restaurant. Only one show first night and we missed it, 7:15. In bed by 9:00. Stored that wine n cheese for another day. A bit rough seas but gentle 10/7 coffee is brewed, not instant at the Promenade yeah! Cappuccino was ok and the scones were just dry. Great place to watch people in the early morning, INCLUDING the woman in the house robe and slippers. Almost made a comment to her, but bit my tongue. Only thing missing, curlers in her hair and a cigarette hanging from her lips. Very windy up on Deck 12 for my walk. Then the gym, very crowded but it's the first day at sea. Walked a mile and then breakfast. Its too was very busy and seats hard to find. They are announcing instructions (waiters and seating) and asking people to take their books and card games elsewhere so patrons can find a seat. Two minutes and I'm seated. Easy. Meet n Mingle at 10. Talk on Hawaii people so boring I fell asleep. Dinner was roasted duck, a bit dry. Went to the evening Bob Arvon it was good not great. Lost $40 in the casino 10/8 Seas have calmed a bit and may reach 65-70 degrees. Pool is uncovered! Enjoyed reading in the Windjammer. Afternoon talk on the History is Rock n Roll. Boring, a guy reading from a script of 50's guys with a dull PowerPoint presentation. Theater staff uncooperative with dimming the lights so made it unbearable. Left. Dinner tonight was very good cordon blu. I went to the early evening theater, Inspiration of Dance. Good and very high energy dancers. Had a night cap at the bar on the 5th floor aft. Very friendly guys with some great conversation, etc, no TV, just a lounge. 10/9 warming up! Was looking for some Kaluha for my coffee at the Promenade Cafe, nope. Asked for Baileys, nope. Tasted with Jamison, nope. Had a very nice breakfast in the Sapphire. Dizzy’s is the spot for reading and watching people by the pool down below. Ate at Windjammer. The hotdog buns were flatten, almost unusable. I was going on to bring it to someone's attention. Disgraceful buns. Went to the ice skating show in the afternoon. Get there early. Seating is very limited. Fantastically show on ice. Ate at Chops and fantastic service and meal. They let one guy in with a T shirt. Funny. When we ate at Giovanni on the first night, we left an unfinished bottle of wine for safe keeping. The past two nights staff has been unable to find this bottle. We have been comped two glasses. We went to the Hayden Smith show. Very talented along with his wife put on a great show. The late night show, adult comedy, Chris Bliss, was just OK 10/10 morning coffee and a trip to the busy gym. Pajamas at the Promenade Cafe. People! Where is your decency? Nice fresh omelet in the Windjammer. Wanted to read outside this morning but wind and rain picked up. Did the Windjammer for dinner. The evening show was with a Bob Arno, thiefhunter.com. He is an expert on pickpocketing and had a very entertaining show. 10/11. The best time to get to the gym, before 8 AM. I looked in the casino for a quick Texas Hold em lesson but there was no one teaching. But I later watched and learned. Bob Arno later gave another talk on pickpocketing and hackers. Good! Lunch and other meals in the Windjammer.... the stuff is NOT presented in an appealing way. Hamburgers look pathetic. Vegetables get soggy. Buns dry out. Stews the grease rises to the top. Pizza dries out sitting there. More freshness is needed. Desserts are well done with turnover and replenishment often. And a Mexican pizza with curry? Yuck. This evening we went back to the Sapphire dining room hoping to get our favorite table (#342 requested) and waiters Michael and Ray. Host led us to a table that was not the correct one, another guy butted in and drug us to a table for two, hated it and the location, #240. Staff was not attentive to us, no pepper! lasagna was unacceptable, and we didn't get offered dessert. I told the supervisor his staff was in the "Honolul-vacation" mode and he promised to make it better. He punched some numbers into his computer. We'll see. Had to go to Windjammer for dessert. Good dessert. I just want to find a Supervisor and shake him. Some staff just needs to care more! This evening the show was Tony Pace, very good and creative ideas. Hawaii in the morning. 10/12 had a friend pick us up outside the dock area on Ana Moana Blvd. Koke Head for breakfast, small local place. Drove around to dry side and back up the middle. Stopped at Island Snow Shaved ice in Kailua. BHO hangout. Made this a tourist town with many Asians. That evening we went to the Hale Koa Luau. Excellent and our friends (natives of Hawaii) were very impressed with both the food and entertainment. 10/13 Friday the Thirteenth. Docked in the bay of Lahaina and tendered in. I learned that those with mobility scooter cannot take those scooters on a tendered. They can't Store the scooter. Hot in Lahaina. Wandered around and hoped to catch a public bus to Kaanapali. Forget it. Once an hour, and no extra buses for the cruise ship passenger. Got a cab, $17. Watched people and played in the water for an hour. Coming back to Lahaina, same story, only an hourly bus so we took a cab. Uber was available but the time kept jumping from 4 to 14 minutes. Uber $11, but got a cab instead. Learned something else today. The Chinese tourists travel in packs (later named a “swam”) of 20-30 and all think they can get on the bus as a group. Same can be said of a cab but a smaller pack. The cab driver told us they always try to talk them down and no tips. Burger at Cool Cats. Back to the boat by 4. Windjammer for a late dinner interesting. Interesting use of leftovers they call "Chinese Food". The Kung Pao Chicken and sweet n sour pork, no more than "reused" meat with a sauce. Tough meat. And no vegetables mixed in. Something my mom would have done when rations were tight. Wonder what our Chinese passengers thought? Just had to share this. In the Windjammer tonight I witnessed our ship's Captain Kjetil, shook down a crew member or two. First, one of the dessert guys was engaged in a very cordial talk with the Captain. Kid was very happy with his job and all went well. Then along comes another crew member, from an unknown department dressed in a t shirt and sweat pants type clothes with his RCI name tag on. Captain was none to pleased. In fact another officer was brought over and you could tell the topic was the manner in which this worker was dressed. The worker was flustered and walked out without his dessert. This got a few of the crew's attention. A comedian was on at 10:15 named CC or something like that. From Australia. Not funny and I along with a handful walked out 20-25 minutes into the show. Horrible Martini on the 4th floor in the Palace Theater, no olives so let's try a lemon in that Martini. Nope. Then got a very good Martini up at Dizzy's. I was the only one there as people were beat from the day in Maui. 10/14. Crowds are light in the gym around 7. First day I sat around the pool. Not too crowded, 80 degrees. Windjammer what are you using for cheese on top of those pizzas? Looks like a crumbly “cheese product”. Hot dogs are good, it's just those stale mangled buns I don't like. Fries are good. Played in the slot tournament again. It's $20 if you are a returning player. I didn't do so well. Formal dinner tonight was very good but a bit noisy. Little lobsters and Prime Rib on the menu. Good service and wonderful couples from Australia and Florida. Entertainment tonight was Jeff Nease and it was very funny. Dizzy's was hopping too. 10/15 a good calm morning on the high seas. Hoscicia is our Cabin Attendant. The weather soon turned rainy off and on. The cabin crawl was this morning. And poker run. What a fun time! A lazy day at sea. Enjoyed watching the blackjack and poker players. Dinner in the Sapphire was good, scallop linguine and I asked for extra scallops and got them. Evening's show was a couple of singers, Rachel Sears and Craig Robinson. She had a great voice. Tried my hand a blackjack and played quite awhile with minimum loss. Had a dealer that I did not care for, kind of cocky and she dealt entirely too fast, like she was trying to break a speed record. Many times cards were not out of the shoe before she was done paying the previous hand. Suspect. She miss read my hand signals a few times so used voice instead of a hand wave. I don't think she liked that because it slowed her down bit which I was doing intentionally. Fed up and left at midnight. 10/16 Met for some cribbage games in the AM. Then joined in at the mini golf tournament. Nothing to serious, very breezy up on the 13th. Fun. Then got a little sun time with a mediocre Caribe band by the pool. Entered the slot tourney again and did well. Slot tourney price weird. First time you play it's $25, then $20 the 2nd and 3rd time. No one knows why this is the rule. Tonight's dinner at Giovanni's was outstanding. They pile on the dishes because they think you should try this and that. Most were great. Some were only worth a bite. Lamb and veal good. The hypnotist show afterward with Shawn was good and entertaining. Housekeeping left a message to call their manager. He just wanted to make sure all was OK. 10/17 Crossed the equator this morning around 7:15. The shellback and pollywog event will be at noon. There is also an outdoor BBQ. Boy was it hot outside today! Said 82 degrees but clear skies and close to the equator made for a short hot time around the pool. Some chocolate dipped strawberries showed up in out room today From ?? Received a call from one of the dining room managers about my survey responses. Very understanding and wanted to rectify the bad service and opinions on the Windjammer as well. Manager made a point to see us when we entered the Sapphire tonight and sit near table #342 so we could get Ray and Michael as our servers. The two did an outstanding job. We ordered a bottle of wine off the wine list, $41. When we got the bill I did not receive my drink package discount of 40%. Only 15%. There was a mix up and after some back and forth I got the 40%, not 15%. So watch it before you sign the receipt. BTW, they were out of the Kendall Jackson Reserve Cabernet. Went to Strings Alive show in the Palace. Very good. Comedian Jeff Nease did a late night adult show and it was fantastic. Good to see RCI let loose with adult comedy. 10/18 cloudy and rain today. This kept many inside venues busy. I have noticed the Captain and his crew among the people. Good to see them mingling about. Had a good omelet to order. Cribbage this morning. Went to the golf tourney finals but I did not make the cut for the finals. Watched the Flowrider. This afternoon, Love and Marriage game show was very funny. Mostly read today. Tried Johnny Rocket's Hamburgers tonight. For $6.95 any burger and dessert. Drinks and shakes extra (2 for 1). Very good and fresh. Good service too. Tonight's show was Wild, Cool & Swingin' just OK. I'm not a fan of these sort of music & dance productions. Finally, the bars have run out of limes and lemon so no more mojitos until we can resupply. 10/19 Hot coffee. I like to carry a couple of cups to my room. And now the Promenade coffee shop has run out of those cardboard "to go" cup carrier-trays that allow a person to carry hot beverages. Good news! We now have limes and lemons at the bars. Must have went to produce locker. Went to an interesting talk on "Autopsies" for an Aussie police officer. Dinner tonight with our favorite waiters Michael and Ray. Miss a day and they question you, in a good way. Braised beef rib and beef shoulder. Shoulder very tender and what was supposed to be a braised rib was a huge blob of fat with few strands of tasty beef. They offered more but I didn't need it. Mo town tonight. Good. Won a bit of cash in the casino tonight 10/21 Docked in Lautoka Fiji at 8 AM. Beautiful weather with a slight breeze. Town is about 3 miles from the port so we opted for the $9 shuttle bus. Drops you off at a shopping area. Nothing special. Friendly locals. Got my beard trimmed for $2. We did not eat in town. I take it that a lot of people did not spend much time in town as ship was again busy by early afternoon. 10/22. Slight delay getting into Saba this morning. A cargo ship was in our space. This appears to be a very shallow harbor with two sunken ships near the docks. Trip of Suva arraigned thru Cruise Critic blogger was well organized. We did the 3 hour tour. Basically was a bus ride around the island with a few photo stops. Also stopped at a resort for potty and soda break. Final stop was at Jacks for souvenirs, limited to twenty minutes. We got back at around 1:30 and hoped on the free shuttle to the shopping center for lunch. Ate a decent NY style pizza at the food court. Those guys and gals on the shuttle were fun. Many things are closed on Sunday but some of the popular places were open. A lot of people in churches today. On a trip to the shopping store a gentleman stopped us, flashed an ID and asked us to beware if pick pocketers, place our wallet in our front pocket and that the younger men were preying on tourists. Just keep your eyes open and be aware of your surroundings. It really was not that bad. Nice people. This evening’s show, Bevin Addinsall didn't interest us so we did not attend. Internet is down tonight. Restarting server. It's affected a lot of people. Will ask for a refund for today's internet service. 10/22. Sea day. Somehow I was up and around at 5AM. Walked an hour around deck 12. Seen the most disgusting man in the Promenade Coffee shop. Luckily I got my coffee, self-serve, before he did. He walks in carrying his flip-flop sandals in his hands. Barefooted. He puts the flip-flops on the ground and helps himself to coffee in his bare feet without washing his hands. Ewww! Played cards this morning. Word is the internet is still down for a few more hours. Problem with the Miami office. Went to the talk on Mare. Good talk little to do there. Toilet system is down for only an hour. Went to Izumi tonight for our final 3 dinner package. It was ok, nothing too fancy. Good flavors and choices but can be pricey with its ala carte choices. Serious smoke problems when all the guests are cooking on hot rocks. Heard a number of patrons coughing from the smoke. Smoke also drifts into Dizzy's. The entertainment tonight was Jon Darsk, very good. Pianist. Also the EOTS orchestra back-up band does an excellent job with each act on the ship. The casino had Ladies Night and was good to both of us. Laundry ready. Wash n fold service for $25. 10/24 approaching Mystery Island, 7:25 a medical emergency has come up and we must skip this island. Oh well, Mystery Island is just an island with no facilities. A beach stop. Made it to Lifou Island vicinity at 1600 where the tender took the body ashore. Captain says we can't dock at Lifou a day early so we'll set sail and return in the morning. Tonight's entertainment is Chelsea Gibb. Ok if you like cabaret music. The casino had to wait until the ship was 12 miles off shore to start up the machines. 10/25. Filled out the Aussie immigration form. This morning in Lifou Island, back to where we dropped off the patient last night. The map indicated we cruised out and back last night. Went ashore for a few hours. Very primitive. Walked up to the church that is on the cliff, 30 minute walk and it overlooks the Jinka Bay. Various drinks and native food for sale. Snorkeled a bit but I've seen better. Small beach with all the cruisers in one spot! Tonight's entertainment was Nick Nicholas a magician and comic. Strong Brit accent. Funny in some spots but nothing amazing. 10/26 Arrived in Mare, New Caledonia. Tenders were available early. Once on shore, if you plan on going to the beach, Yejele, then you will need to purchase a shuttle ticket either in shore or ship. I heard complaints about the $16 round trip fee for the shuttle. Don't believe anyone that it's s short walk to Yejele. Beautiful beach with toilets and refreshments available from the local. Snorkeling was OK. There is an under current at the snorkeling location. Ship was a little late leaving. Tender was waiting for someone who appeared to have a bandage hand, no details. Incidentally, my wife fell near the beach area. Scrapes and bruises from the sharp volcanic stones. Got a Crown and Anchor invite to Rock of Edges ice show tonight. Very good! Then thought I'd see the Palace Theater show afterwards with Nathan Foley. The guy does a butchering job on all song. Bad singer and performer. 10/27 A trick to a nice peaceful breakfast. Go at 7AM. Delightful and breakfast the way I would want it, tasty, hot and no crowds. Workers are much friendlier. And for us people watchers....a treat. We have an immigration interview today. Immigration is by muster station. It was easy, just making sure you have your visa in the computer. Tonight's show is the production show, Fast Forward. The show was ok. You can only sing 70-80's for so long and it gets old fast. This show might may have been better on first day when entertainment was more of a "wow" and disco hits were not so worn out. A better male singer would help too. Ugly bug Halloween party was a hit and the guest's rendition of "Thriller" worked. Went to casino, big pay day for one lady. Went to Dizzy's and the wind and rain and lightning was awesome. Sheets of rain! Down at the pools/tubs water splashed as high as 10' as the ship rocked in the swells. 10/27. Rain has left and gorgeous day ahead. Breezy. Actually saw a sailboat on the starboard side this morning. Ship traffic is rare. Not much going on that I want to do today. I placed in the top ten for the slot machine tournament, so the finals were today for a free cruise. I got second place! But RCI gives NOTHING for the finalist. Not a tee shirt, coffee cup or a deck of cards. Sheesh! A little sun time! Lots of good-byes. Dinner was eggplant Parmesan which was cold so had some giant prawns and an extra dessert. Tonight's entertainment was a variety show with Martin Ralph. Funny but nothing amazing. So-so. Then the crew made their final appearance on stage. Went to the casino a final time and tripled my money. Lots of winners this cruise. Suit cases are packed and on the way tonight. We will be the last off the ship in the morning. 10/29 disembark day. May I recommend the 3rd floor for breakfast? Overall RCI really does well to make guests feel welcome. The itinerary is meant for long sea days which I enjoyed. The small islands, while beautiful in their own way, didn't really make the trip any better for us. Now the crew must endure six months of traveling to these itty bitty out of the way islands. I cannot believe there is that much of a demand to see these tiny primitive places, but RCI has apparently found a niche. The ship is getting tired: carpets, rusty balconies, furniture, frayed towels and scarred (banged up) walls in common areas. The entertainment is good, always hard to please an international crowd. Staff did a super job of making our trip a memorable one. I would do this cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
The south Pacific was on my bucket list and I wanted to pay my respects at Arizona Memorial. This cruise was back to back with prior week in Pacific Northwest which includes an Overnight in San Francisco. The ship is lovely and ice ... Read More
The south Pacific was on my bucket list and I wanted to pay my respects at Arizona Memorial. This cruise was back to back with prior week in Pacific Northwest which includes an Overnight in San Francisco. The ship is lovely and ice skating shows were spectacular. The staff was friendly and ship was well maintained. The Zumba class led by Sylvia was fun. I was well informed by Roll call that needed 60 day in advance reservations from National Park service. I heard some people who used ship shore excursion that they had been disappointed as could not get same day ticket for transport to Memorial. It is similar fee!ing as visiting Holocaust camp. The sea days had many planned activities. Cruise Critics got together for games of Left, Right and Center which was great way to visit and compare shore excursions. David in Schooner bar and karaoke in Tavern was crowded. Dizzy's on deck 14 had great view while sailing away. Our only issue was my husband 's suitcase was misplaced at terminal so anxious as bus loaded for shore excursion to Blue Mountains which inc!uded Scenic World but glad slightly delayed but we're lucky to find it before left. Learned a lot about Sydney as we traveled. Most of tour members had same day flights, we got to airport about 3pm. We stayed at Ibis hotel, But there are 3 near airport so be sure to know address for drivers. I was glad I had converted US $ to Australia's $ before we left on cruise as did not see ATM. We used Link train from SeaTac airport to downtown Seattle., Westlake Station. As seniors got lower rate, $1.. If you only have carry on luggage ,call 206-624-6820 from gate for golf cart to station. We learned not available at baggage claim Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Originally booked this cruise because of the price and because it offered a Transpacific destination. I can't say enough about the crew as they made this trip a once in a lifetime experience! The entire crew always had a smile for ... Read More
Originally booked this cruise because of the price and because it offered a Transpacific destination. I can't say enough about the crew as they made this trip a once in a lifetime experience! The entire crew always had a smile for you no matter what! We would not hesitate to recommend this ship and this itinerary to anyone considering it! We plan to repeat it again in 2019. We chose to have most meals in the Sapphire dining room, we were happy with the staff (especially Gianni, Tatiana, Kasim, and Yamile) and the food was great. We had e some meals in the Windjammer Cafe and found the food assortment impressive. For evenings we chose the Crown and Kettle Pub, we enjoyed the nightly entertainment by Robbie McNay (yes, we chose to attend every evening that he was performing) and we met a wonderful bartender, named is LeHar , he is one of the most personable crew members we have ever met on any cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Waiters were slow and had communication problems at the start of the cruise but were great by the end. Entertainment was fantastic....always something to do if you wanted to and I had a ball. Some of the bars, with entertainers, could be ... Read More
Waiters were slow and had communication problems at the start of the cruise but were great by the end. Entertainment was fantastic....always something to do if you wanted to and I had a ball. Some of the bars, with entertainers, could be a bit bigger....often times there was barely standing room. Especially for the Schooner Bar with David Curtis entertaining. The Explorer singers and dancers and the orchestra and also the skaters were great and the shows were excellent. The gym was always very busy.....may need to increase the size of that. Our room steward, Raffy was very friendly and efficient. I loved coming back to the cabin and finding a new towel animal sitting on our bed. I also loved the virtual balcony.....it was great to have the view and 'natural' daylight without having to pay the extra for the balcony. Overall a fantastic cruise. Would definitely recommend it to family and friends Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We chose this cruise to sample Micronesia and Australia. The ship was just the right size to do this. Anything smaller would have been short on public spaces and activities. Service was excellent. We even had to have a leaky toilet fixed ... Read More
We chose this cruise to sample Micronesia and Australia. The ship was just the right size to do this. Anything smaller would have been short on public spaces and activities. Service was excellent. We even had to have a leaky toilet fixed at 4:00 a.m. The repairman was there in 10 minutes to fix it and within 20 minutes security was there with a room attendant to sanitize the whole bathroom. Now that's service! Activities on board were many, but we mostly just did a few (Sharon's LCR game was fun). The entertainment on this cruise was above average with some very good headliners. Food and service was above average on this cruise although some people thought they should get Park Avenue quality. Holy smokes....they are trying to prepare meals for over 3000 people three times a day. We took a galley tour which was very interesting. We even got to see the head chef taste test what was going to be presented that evening. We did the mystery dinner theater. For those that have not tried this event, it is a fun 'campy' acting activity with a great meal at the end in Chops on this cruise. The only real complaint that we had was the Germaines luau. They advertised three drinks and they only provided one. The food was good. The entertainment was geared more to 20's somethings with cheers for your bus driver and get on the stage to show your 'stuff'. The actual native dances were not performed until the very end of the event with no explanation about what they were about. Several of our Explorer gusts left the show early via taxi or Uber. Our Explorer group made up about a quarter of the audience. We would not recommend this shore excursion if you expect to see a more traditional luau. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This was a bucket list check mark. So easy to embark, Pier 91, it took about an hour for the whole process. We went through a questioning about our bottle of wine, but really had no problems. We did see people with 12 & 24 packs of ... Read More
This was a bucket list check mark. So easy to embark, Pier 91, it took about an hour for the whole process. We went through a questioning about our bottle of wine, but really had no problems. We did see people with 12 & 24 packs of Pepsi products. They serve Coke products on ship. We disagree with the expensive beverage packages and think they should allow people to bring their own on board. The first few days were very rough seas. It was a shock to be so unprepared for the severity. The pools were coolish until we had a few solid days of sunlight. Swimpools were really overfilled, over flowing during rough waters and wetting anything you left chair side. Pool staff were polite, friendly and helpful. Disappointed that some cruisers forgot to bring their moms and left messes on tables, and elsewhere and not even cleaning up after themselves. Not many small kids but the few,we saw were left alone on deck and hopped from hot tub to hot tub pressing buttons. Signs are posted that children should have parent supervision at all times. Many posted rules were never enforced. Food was tasty and many options. Staff attempted to be accommodating however they had trouble understanding the difference between no added sugar and desserts without sugar except for their natural content. Sugar free jello was such a hassle to get, I gave up asking. Room Stewarts and customer service staff were efficient, complete and sought to please and fulfill every request. Excursion Sydney Opera house and airport drop off. Disembarkation with excursion to Sydney Opera house was a bomb. It was a lot of be on time and wait. It did make sense to stagger people disembarking so their customs dept could keep things moving. I think RCC should have given us more time to be in our rooms or hang out on deck. SOH was amazing, however some fellow cruisers who were part of tour were really disrespectful folks. They video taped parts of the tour that the tour guide pleaded us not to, pushed to the front of the line repeatedly and talked loudly while the tour guide talked. We drove around and saw many things in Sydney. We drove past the famous Bondi beach twice as it was Sunday and high 80* and there was no parking for our bus. We were promised time to eat lunch and shop but never had the opportunity. In exhaustion the bus decided to go right to the airport. There we were dropped off with our bags and had to walk a long distance. Sydney airport was bad. Lots of people but customer friendliness lacked. TSA - Sydney was HORRIBLE ! I am pre check. But it took almost an hour. Yes I had a small 1/2 inch scissor for medical reasons but they opened my sterile insulin pump infusion sets and contaminated them. They lost a unopened vial of insulin when they dug through my medical supplies. The head guy Jim L. did nothing. And did not even fill out an incident report. I was in tears as the insulin cost me $250.00. And I was dependant on getting home with that medication. There were several problems in getting money exchanged to local currency. RRC does not offer any foreign currency. Some ports of call did not accept the US dollar. The trip was fabulous despite 3 days of rough seas, a medical emergency for a elderly man who needed to be evacuated resulting in cancellation of a port stop in Lifou, Mystery Island. Mare in New Caledonia was so beautiful. Yedjele beach is rated one of top 5 in the world. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Great way to get from US to Australia. Best crew we’ve ever had—the Captain was very friendly and accessible, Hotel Manager, Michael Landry was visible, responsive and friendly, MDR and Windjammer staff were great. Always easy to find ... Read More
Great way to get from US to Australia. Best crew we’ve ever had—the Captain was very friendly and accessible, Hotel Manager, Michael Landry was visible, responsive and friendly, MDR and Windjammer staff were great. Always easy to find a place to sit in Winjammer—a first in our experience. Cruise Director, Dan and Activities Manager, Amy were great as were Jacob, Michael, and Sylvia. We love this size ship. Very easy embarkation and disembarkation. More effort needed for disinfection. I complained about lack of hand sanitizer stations at entrance to MDR on deck 3 and was told they were available on deck 4!? By day 2, this had been remedied. Water was scalding hot in public restroom sinks, discouraging many from proper handwashing. Anticeptic wipes in gym not regularly refilled. By disembarkation, I estimate 1/3 of the passengers had terrible coughs and colds. South Sea Island resort, Fiji and Mare, New Caledonia were fantastic! Two of our shore excursions were embarrassingly awful—RCI should be ashamed. The resort in Suva had 6 sunbeds and 6 lounges for 2 coaches of guests and we were told only registered guests could use the pool or wander the grounds. This resort was damaged in the Jan, 2016 cyclone and hasn’t recovered. The resort staff did their best, but...The bus trip in Lifou required a steep uphill walk to get to the coach and didn’t stop at a supermarket as advertised . Scenic drive was a joke. RCI should require a crew member to accompany each tour or at least check out the ports occasionally. Our third RCI CRUISE this year (150 days total on RCI) and the menus have gotten really old and boring. Eggplant parm is more like an appetiser stack—3 small pieces of eggplant with possibly 3 tablespoons of marinara and 1 Tbsp of cheese. Savory bites ( a favorite of many) have to be special ordered. There is no effort to feature any local flavors or menu items. Time to change thing up! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Our 22 Cruise to Australia on the Explorer of the Seas This was our longest cruise ever and for the most part, we were very pleased with the entire experience. This review is an effort to provide specific information to help future ... Read More
Our 22 Cruise to Australia on the Explorer of the Seas This was our longest cruise ever and for the most part, we were very pleased with the entire experience. This review is an effort to provide specific information to help future cruisers plan a Transpacific cruise and to know more about the ExplorerOTS. I also have a lot of useful information on my website www.DonnaGawell.com. Please look on the menu under Europe and Australia. I subdivided the ports and also am doing detailed reviews and travel stories on our adventure at the ports, Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Hobbiton in NZ, and Auckland. More will be added through the end of 2017. Seattle Like most cruisers, we always fly in the day before our sailing. We had previously stayed at the SeaTac Sleep Inn and Suites near the airport and found it to be very cruise friendly and efficient, so we booked there. The room was quiet, comfy and there were lots of Explorer of the Seas cruisers joining us. Port and Embarkation: I had also booked Seattle Express, a very efficient service that picks up passengers at the hotel. We were whisked off to the port at 10:00 AM, and we arrived just before 11:00. The Explorer of the Seas was the only cruise ship in town as Alaska cruising season had just ended. We flew through the check-in process and walked onto the ship at 11:30. We went to the MDR for embarkation lunch which was probably a mistake since they offered only a very limited buffet and closed at 1PM. The food wasn’t the best either. We met an elderly (80 year old?) Australian lady who shared her experience with US Customs. Seems she neglected to properly check herself out of the USA two years ago and was arrested and put in jail for 16 hours. The worst part, she reported, was not being told why she was arrested. That is a lesson for us all about entering and exiting foreign countries. A Few Preliminary Notes: • There were no service pets aboard the ship as Hawaii and Australia have some pretty stringent regulations. Interesting how the dogs disappear when passengers are held to very strict standards. • The casino does NOT allow smoking, making the air onboard so much easier to handle. • This cruise had MANY Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle passengers. The ship turned the cigar lounge into an exclusive Pinnacle lounge since there were 25 of them aboard. There were close to 1,000 Diamond and Diamond Plus cruisers and the assigned lounge was of course too small so the Star Lounge was turned into the Diamond and above lounge for cocktail hours. There were also 600 Gold and Emerald status cruisers (that includes us). I didn’t meet any people with Diamond attitudes, but the Diamond people seemed to be the ones who complained about their peers. Go figure. Fellow Passengers This sailing had four major groups: About 1,000 North Americans, 800 Australian/NewZealanders, and a significant number of Asians (from North American and Asia) and Germans. The Americans and Ozzies mixed very well while the other groups seemed to stay within their own circles. It was perhaps the most segregated cruise I have experienced. Dining Venues: We chose the 5:30 time and were immediately presented with a problem on our first day. At our table were a French Canadian couple who spoke little (husband) to no English (wife), four no-shows, and another couple who were, let’s say, somewhat unappealing (he rarely spoke and she never smiled.) For the first time in our cruising experiences, we decided to seek out another table. The maître-de was very sympathetic and selected a new table for us the next evening. This group was the best we have ever had! Almost everyone showed up each night, and we looked forward to hearing about one another’s day and sometimes hung out together outside of evening dinner times. I think everyone sincerely enjoyed one another’s company. The food in the MDR at dinner was fine, but not spectacular or memorable. Our service team was efficient and kind. Most of those at our table loved the cold fruit soups, and it was served every night in a goblet rather than a cup. I was surprised at how many other tables seemed to have irregular attendance. Lunch in the MDR was preferred to the Windjammer which was hit or miss and almost always crowded. There were some very nice selections on the MDR menu in addition to their salad buffet at lunch. The breakfast menu was the same each day, but there was also a buffet of basic foods. The atmosphere in the MDR was so much better with responsibly prompt and efficient service. We had dinner just once in the Windjammer and it is quiet before the first show lets out and then becomes quite active. We would sometimes go to look at the WJ after we ate in the MDR. The food looked fine and of course there was variety but most wasn’t overly appealing. The desserts were sporadic and somedays featured only pudding sorts of desserts and one bread pudding. The other complimentary dining was in the Café Promenade which offered continental breakfast items and sandwiches and wraps at lunch. The staff had a challenge keeping up with making coffee because of the lack of other early morning options. People were trying their best to adjust to the frequent time changes, so there were always people in the Café in the very early morning. There was one poolside luncheon which was very minimal and uninspired. Cabins: As Cruise Critic members, we had the chance to do a cabin crawl which allows you to see examples of various types of cabins and suites. The inside cabins were a reasonable size with a loveseat and the suites all varied with amenities and other features. Be sure to check out cabin reviews on Cruise Critic and Youtube to actually see what the cabin looks like. The top suites, nice as they are, still don’t compare to those on NCL in the Haven which allow passengers exclusive access to the Haven pool and decks, more free amenities, a butler, and a Lavazza coffee machine. RCL just has Mr. Coffee makers. If you discover that your mattress is too hard, ask for an insert which should help. Gold and above receive terry robes. Our cabin was comfortable and well attended. Medical Issues (some cautionary notes) Transatlantic and Transpacific cruises seem to attract people who have upper respiratory illnesses (coughs and colds) which are so easy to transmit to other passengers. Despite frequent handwashing, not touching the railing, using our knuckles or wrist for the elevator buttons, etc., we both caught the virus mid cruise. Fortunately, we have learned to bring a well-considered medical kit filled with medicines, cough drops, a thermometer, etc. The most effective medicines would be Nyquil and Dayquil. Be sure to bring an expectorant and cough suppressant.The ship store ran out of Nyquil, and you can’t find a similar product west of Hawaii. One passenger suffering an acute attack of appendicitis resulted in Mystery Island being cancelled on this sailing. Although there was grumbling, most accepted it as a responsible action. We were actually at Mystery Island in the morning but didn’t begin to tender when the decision to take the patient to Lifou was made. The ship went back out to sea for the night and returned the next morning. BTW- I was told that the suffering passenger returned to the ship two days later and continued on to Sydney. One topic that might be helpful is the idea of cruising with an elderly person with dementia. Three of our dinner partners were medical personnel (a doctor and two EMTs) who came upon a frightening situation where an elderly woman was outside her cabin and quite disoriented. She told them that her sister had died. There was no responsible relative nearby, and our friends were worried they would find a dead woman in her cabin. They called for the ship’s medical help, and a regular staff member told them they would take over. This staff person was obviously not well trained because medically trained people are mandated to only turn over a patient to another health care professional. The woman’s son appeared and took over, and that is another story that won’t be discussed here. The lesson learned is that anyone considering taking a person with dementia on a cruise should think long and hard. New situations are very stressful for these patients, and you can’t guarantee you can be with the patient 100% of the time. Seasickness: The winds on day 2 were wicked and caused a jerking and rolling motion which resulted in a wave of seasickness around the ship. This was my first time ever with this problem and it was severe and I’m a veteran of transatlantic sailings. An officer told me it was his first time also, and he has done nine TP sailings. Customer service provides free seasickness tablets upon request. Here is a question we will all have to answer one day: are we getting too old and feeble to cruise or go on some excursions? In Maui, we waited for a very feeble and weak elderly man in a wheelchair to board the tender. The seas were really rocking and “his able bodied attendant” was his elderly wife who knew how to fold up the chair and did not assist. It took three crew members to assist him while he screwed up the courage to make the one required step on and off the tender. I felt sorry for him as his facial expression was of real fear and apprehension as he stood there to make the decision to move. Besides making the other passengers sit for quite a while on a wild tender boat, this couple’s decision to go on this tender put the crew at risk of injury. BTW- have you noticed that many bad cc reviews are written by people with physical limitations who feel the crew didn’t accommodate them adequately? I certainly can see the cruise line’s dilemma and situation with these problems. A man we met on the first night had been very ill and had almost died three weeks during his brief time in the USA before the cruise. He was not seen after that first night. Many of us wondered how he was allowed to embark in the first place. Our suspicion is that he was taken off in Hawaii. The cruise lines need to do a better job in their health assessment of obviously ill passengers. Entertainment: The Sound Waves stayed with the sailing for all 22 days and they were excellent. The singer even worked through her upper respiratory illness and deserves lots of praise for that. The other bands that rotated were the typical Caribbean sort of band that seemed to have the same beat. David Curtis, a pianist, singer and great entertainer was a ship favorite at the Schooner Bar. Robbie McNay entertained in the Pub and was also very good. Segundo was a classical guitarist who was very skilled who played in various venues. As usual, The Ice Show was very impressive and the skaters really looked like they wanted to entertain and smiled throughout the shows. Gold status and above Crown and Anchor passengers were treated to an additional show during the last week of the cruise. The Production Cast performed three shows in the twenty two days we sailed. The set design was excellent in some cases, but the shows were just okay. There were quite a few opportunities for ball room style dancing in the evening with the Sound Waves. The ship also offered dance lessons on sea days with Joy and Emanuel. They were excellent teachers, but the venue for this event (the theater stage) was so small with way too many people. There were some folks who wanted to stand on the stage and just video tape the lessons but not participate. Fortunately, the instructors were pros at crowd control. These lessons should have been held on the larger wooden floor of the Ice Rink, but they were having “technical difficulties” with the floor, and many planned events like the Master Chef competition never happened because of this floor problem. Headline Entertainers: There were a series of entertainers ranging from pianists, singers, jazz musicians, comedians, jugglers, etc. A few who were outstanding were Mr. and Mrs. Smith (Hayden Smith) and three male entertainers from Australia who were closer to the end of the cruise. In all, it was a respectable line up of talented people. Folkloric Hulau Hula Olana, a group from a hula school in Honolulu presented in the theatre on the evening we were in Oahu. They were sensational! The youngest girls were so skilled and graceful and danced with the same precision as the older girls. Not to be missed! Some friends who attended Germaine’s Luau (which wasn’t the sensational experienced promised), really regretted missing this opportunity. BTW- the very best Luau experience for cruisers is only for those who have are active or retired military. Search on CC for details. Enrichment Lectures Leanne Fiedler presented a series of lectures on the ports and other related topics. She is well traveled and has been to these islands and ports about thirty times. Her advice was spot on and helpful in planning the details. Paul Kearney provided a series of lectures on music history that seemed to be appreciated by many passengers. Tracey Hawkins presented a series of lectures on crime investigations (autopsies, criminal investigations, etc.) Activities There were the typical activities such as trivia, tournaments, seminars, competitions, scrapbooking, a book club, arts and crafts, games, etc. The staff did a good job at providing a wide variety of activities. The sports areas were kept busy on nice weather days, and the pool area was never overcrowded. The ship opened up one level of the dining room for cards and games from about 9:00- 3:00 each day. This helped to keep the monopolization of Solarium and deck area tables to a minimum. Special Events These were hit and miss. The Halloween party was held in the Ice Rink and was entertaining. This is probably the first time that the Thriller dance made total sense on a cruise ship, and the passengers did a great job. Kudos for a nice job in decorating. The music that followed was of the line dancing sort. The Octoberfest was a major disaster. Now, the ship knew they had a significant number of Germans onboard and could have asked if they had no clue about what happens at this important ethnic festival. It began with a silly game of musical chairs, but with bottles instead. It took forever, and by the time it ended all the Germans had gone to a tavern on Deck four for their own Octoberfest. The dancing was so “unGerman”, no German beer at the bar, etc. We left as soon as we saw this event was silly and quite disappointing. The activity staff often doesn’t know how to read the pulse of certain groups of cruisers. One example was conducting a twist contest for about 20 minutes while the majority just wanted to get out there and dance! The British Invasion Night was the activity staff (pretty weak) dancing on the bridge in the Promenade. Dancers really don’t want to watch the activity staff dance as the feature of the evening. Religious Services The ship provided services for the Roman Catholics with a priest who offered daily mass. He was also in charge of the nondenominational service on Sundays. I’m not sure what he thinks nondenominational means as he reflected on the wisdom of Erma Bombeck and Eleanor Roosevelt during his message. The Jewish passengers were offered the chapel for weekly Sabbath services. A group of Protestants attempted to reserve a room for a fellowship/Bible study, but the ship was uncooperative. Sheldon promised the same venue to a few other groups during the same time period. We were all told he confirmed it. It finally worked out that we met in the chapel on sea days at 2PM with a group of about 15-20 who met each sea day. When this problem was brought to the ship’s attention, they listed a 10 AM self-led Bible study in the chapel (that was not led by anyone), but a Chinese group of Christians held their Bible Study there from 9:00-11:30 each day. What was RCL thinking? Fitness Areas The fitness area and instruction room were busy but not overly so. The activity level varied with the health of the passengers. They could use another rowing machine in there! Cruise Critic The Cruise Critic folks are always the ones in the know and lots of fun, and I was shocked that many Diamond and above folks have never heard of the website. For those who aren’t aware, www.cruisecritic.com is the world’s largest cruise website, and the best parts are the roll calls, reviews and port of call boards. The majority of people on this board are very knowledgeable and helpful and will answer all sort of questions. The roll calls are for a particular sailing, and someone who signs up for a cruise when the cruise is first listed usually starts one. On Cruise Critic (CC), you can log in and discuss questions or offer advice to your fellow cruisers. You have the opportunity to get to know these folks before you sail. Topics range from hotel and flight advice to finding the best tours and adventures at each port. The CCs usually have CC only activities onboard such as the Meet and Mingle (hosted by the ship), a slot pull, a cabin crawl, LRC and other games, etc. This group organized a group of twenty at tables in MyTime Dining. BTW- the officer and crew want to make the CCs happy, because this website provides an opportunity to review the cruise and the ship wants to impress! Internet Voom sputtered along on many days in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. There were many frustrated people as the connections were erratic. There was a person at the help desk in the internet center, but he was often not able to help. Weather The first few days out of Seattle were a bit chilly, and the temperatures improved as we neared Hawaii. There were two sea days of gloomy, rainy weather and one pretty steamy day on about day 8 or 9. The weather as we neared the equator really was quite pleasant. The Pacific Islands were cooler than most passengers had expected and it definitely wasn’t warm swimming weather. Sydney’s weather ranged from sunny and quite warm to breezy and a bit chilly (in just three days’ time.) Equator Crossing We officially crossed the equator on Oct 17 at 7:21 AM. There was a poolside ceremony around lunchtime (I didn’t attend) but every passenger received their Imperium Neptuni Regis Certificate to show that they were initiated as a trusty shellback into the Solemn Mysteries of the Ancient Order of the Deep. The air temperature was about 80◦ at the equator. Debarkation The entire process went smoothly with no problems. Summary Positives: The ship’s crew are excellent and friendly, the ship is clean and well maintained (although shows a bit of wear), the entertainment and most activities were good to excellent, Dan the cruise director was great, a dance instructor couple was very helpful, and the food quality and selections were fine (but not great.) Negatives: Lifou didn’t offer any really interesting options, the officers did not mix with the regular passengers (they were visible at the Diamond and Plus Cocktail hours), health screening needs to be stepped up as some very ill people managed to get onboard, the quality of the desserts in the MDR and Windjammer were sporadic, the staff didn’t accommodate the large number of ballroom dancers, and the high number of Diamond and above passengers were allotted a large number of public areas which diminished the space for the non-higher tier passengers. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
The boat was great and a different show every night. The main dining room food was excellent along with the service. The bar staff were friendly. All staff were very friendly. This was a great ship. I wish they had larger dance ... Read More
The boat was great and a different show every night. The main dining room food was excellent along with the service. The bar staff were friendly. All staff were very friendly. This was a great ship. I wish they had larger dance floors, as the dance areas are quite small. There were always deck chairs available, which was very nice. The shows were all very good and every night there was a new and different show to see. The ice shows were fantastic. I wish that they had used the ice floor for more dances as that was a great dance area. The Reggae band was terrible and I was glad when they got off in Hawaii. All they did was the same refrain, over and over for hours on end. The Bridge card game instructor should be fired as he was terrible and actually yelled at people when they made mistakes. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
My husband and I chose this cruise to connect with a previously booked 11 night South Pacific cruise aboard the Explorer of the Seas. We enjoy sea days and so new that this itinerary would work well for us. We enjoy sea days and the ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise to connect with a previously booked 11 night South Pacific cruise aboard the Explorer of the Seas. We enjoy sea days and so new that this itinerary would work well for us. We enjoy sea days and the Cruise Director (Dan) and staff did a great job of ensuring a wide variety of activities were offered on this cruise. The ship is looking a bit tired in places (of particular note is that the dining room chairs as well as the card room table and chairs could stand to be replaced). The crew were great. I have to commend the efficiency of the tender process...it seems to me that more lifeboats were deployed for this task than on other cruises we have taken. I also want to commend the ice skating team and in particular Alex who choreographed a new Ice Show (Rock of Ages) specifically for this journey. This was a spectacular ice show which the skaters obviously loved performing. It was so good that I hope that they are allowed to continue to perform it and actually take it to other ships in the fleet. Entertainment on board was also very good. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Highs: Enjoyed the variety of friendly shipmates, Giovanni's Table, and the positivity of many of the crew. Good snorkelling in Honolulu, Maui, and Lifou. Absolutely loved Sydney and the number of days at sea in one of many very ... Read More
Highs: Enjoyed the variety of friendly shipmates, Giovanni's Table, and the positivity of many of the crew. Good snorkelling in Honolulu, Maui, and Lifou. Absolutely loved Sydney and the number of days at sea in one of many very nice quiet shipboard spots. Promenade room was wonderful surprise- felt spacious, bright and was not noisy at all. Level 3 dining worked really hard to accommodate allergy related breakfast and lunch needs. Coffee card was really helpful. Cabin crawl with Cruise Critics was much fun- don't miss it! Large selection of activities to keep most everyone occupied (if you needed assistance). Lows: Consistently inconsistent dining service at main dining and at Chops. Izumi was a disaster food and service wise. Our main dining dinner server was replaced by end of week 1 and this helped a little. Kitchen was off in terms of speed and sequencing of meals- Often I ate dinner while waiting for my husband's order to arrive- really really often. Food allergy (gluten) was inconsistently accommodated- really depended on whom was serving you. Several episodes of gluten poisoning narrowly averted by repeated questioning. What different celiacs experienced depended on whom they spoke to- found out at the end of cruise some special desert and cookie requests had been provided to another cruiser though not to my spouse. Internet was terrible- could not download materials we needed even with upgrade. Had planned to work on some cruising days and this was very problematic. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Upon Arrival of my room had to call cleaning staff since my toilette was filthy drawers full of Hair. Smallest inside cabin I ever had. Missed my self serve laundry since we where on a 21 day cruise. Never had to pay for Crafts ... Read More
Upon Arrival of my room had to call cleaning staff since my toilette was filthy drawers full of Hair. Smallest inside cabin I ever had. Missed my self serve laundry since we where on a 21 day cruise. Never had to pay for Crafts activities on all my 8 cruises. Worst entertainment line up of all my cruises. If you like Trivia you will like since they have ALL DAY long... Nice area for adults only swimming pool and hot tup Staff WAS GREAT in Buffet and dining room areas. Buffet at lunch had a Great Salad Bar. Great Steam room and sauna. Loved the 75.- for 10 Drink Card Food was quiet good. Try to get Agai and Maria on Table 333 as your server THEY ARE THE Best. Tell them hi from Silvia Do not bye with the internet - sucks.....people had it refunded when they complaint. Tv was poor Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
I always wanted to go to Australia, and this transpacific cruise was the right price. It was 22 days from Seattle. We had a balcony cabin on deck 10. The ship was very clean and the staff was very attentive. However, the ship was ... Read More
I always wanted to go to Australia, and this transpacific cruise was the right price. It was 22 days from Seattle. We had a balcony cabin on deck 10. The ship was very clean and the staff was very attentive. However, the ship was showing her age. We are seasoned cruisers and found the food to be okay, but did buy the 3 specialty dining package and enjoyed the meals in Giovanni's, Chops and the Japanese restaurant. It was a nice break from the ordinary dining. I will continue to do the specialty dining when we cruise. We also did the Mystery Dinner, which was a lot of fun. It was in Chops, which was delicious. We enjoyed the ports of call. We did the beaches. That was our main reason for going. The clear blue water and white beaches were our main focus. Our tour in Fiji was excellent. The beach, entertainment, snorkeling and food was wonderful. The beach was beyond my expectations. We had an excellent time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Best things: Cruise critic people and activities. Glad we joined the rollcall. - Our organizer is a natural and loves doing it. Mostly great shows and entertainment, lots of variety. Activity director, Amy, listens; She added a ... Read More
Best things: Cruise critic people and activities. Glad we joined the rollcall. - Our organizer is a natural and loves doing it. Mostly great shows and entertainment, lots of variety. Activity director, Amy, listens; She added a passenger organized activity, stargazing. Got to tryout and explore new activities, choir, improv, etc. Dining room food and service were fine overall, easily 4+ out of 5 Opportunities to buy quality wine cheaply as ship was going to AU to stock up on AU wines and clearing out others. Getting on-off ship was fast and easy, even tendering, smooth embark/disembark. Honolulu stop was a full day. Ship did not leave till around midnight Ship itself is lovely, comfortable. Not so good: Constant upsell, staff forced to walk around with adverts for drink and diving upgrades. 1ST dinner hard-sell was especially disturbing. Fiji Latoka was grungy, Suva was OK but not much doing on Sunday ( but interesting church services, singing) A few entertainers e.g. a comedian, a juggler magician and happy days guy is over the hill, not a very good singer anymore. Elevators: a few indicator lights not working , one would not carry more than half load. Issues never addressed thoughout the cruise. Australian lady who did the upcoming ports-of-call lectures took some getting used to, but if stuck with her, she had useful info. No special perks, not even one cocktail free for 1ST time cruisers on RCL. But they do cater to Diamond and up. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
The price for this cruise was good & wanted to catch up with friends in Seattle, room was in a great area, bed hard & sheets too short for the bed when together as a queen. Food in the dinning room menu was only for 14 days ... Read More
The price for this cruise was good & wanted to catch up with friends in Seattle, room was in a great area, bed hard & sheets too short for the bed when together as a queen. Food in the dinning room menu was only for 14 days then repeated back to day one, variety was not very good, service of our waiters was wonderful & both very nice people, great friendship. Entertainment was not too bad, a couple of comedians were terible but the rest ok, the Lectures were great especially the lady that gave talks on crimes & autopsies also the chap about histories of music. The ice skating is one of the best lots of entertainment I have seen, would travel on this ship again if it was only for the ice skating. All tender ports went smoothly & not a long wait either end. There were a lot of sea days which I love but a lot of people complained, as it is a good distance not sure what else could be done. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
The itinerary of this cruise was not to be believed. We saw the 49 day from Seattle to Sydney and then found they had an opportunity to extend the trip by combining a 5 day to Tasmania with a 13 day to New Zealand after reaching Sydney. ... Read More
The itinerary of this cruise was not to be believed. We saw the 49 day from Seattle to Sydney and then found they had an opportunity to extend the trip by combining a 5 day to Tasmania with a 13 day to New Zealand after reaching Sydney. Embarkation in Seattle was a little confusing to us, as well as the NCL personnel. There were circumstances we later learned that were overblown that kept cash paying customers from coming to Seattle to board the ship. They received a notice that if they were allowed to board the ship as their booking stated that they would be in violation of the Jones Act in some fashion. Most of us seasoned travelers could never figure out what the violation would have been unless it had something to do with the way the trip was booked by some of the cruisers in separate segments instead of the entire 49 day initial segment altogether. Anyway once we got past the visa/ETA snafu the boarding process was quick and efficient. We were welcomed aboard at the top of the ramp by a host of Officers and Uniformed Staff and once inside there was champagne being distributed by the wait staff and musicians were playing in the atrium. Having sailed with NCL on a few occasions we were familiar with the process of waiting for the staterooms to be announced as ready. We went up one deck to O'Sheehans and had some mozzarella cheese sticks and French fries while we waited. It wasn't long before they announced our floor was ready and we proceeded down what I like to call the "Secret Passageways" ( a couple of hallways on each side of the bar) to our room which was also located on Deck 8. The same as O'Sheehans. Clean, comfortable, cool and laid out well is how I would describe our Starboard side Oceanview Cat.A stateroom. Lots of closet space and convenient to the main dining room, Tsars, which has its Main Entrance just one floor below ours. The restaurant itself is on Deck 6. A spacious shower and the toilet was not cramped as is with a lot of other rooms. They replaced the mirror in our bathroom about 10 days before we reached Sydney. It was on their list of things to do. We had no issue with it. All in all I can recommend Stateroom 8122 as a good choice for location and quietness. The entertainment and Cruise Directors staff aboard the Jewel for this voyage was second to none. The Jewel Showband, the guest musicians playing guitars and piano in the atrium, the Alambre Trio, Taylor Kundolf, Fire and Ice, Temperature, the singers and dancers of the Jewel Production Cast and the Burn The Floor dancers kept everyone applauding the whole trip! Bravo.. The ports visited on this voyage were in order: Seattle WA, Ketchikan AK, Cruise Sawyer Glacier, Juneau AK, Skagway AK, Cruise Glacier Bay, Icy Point Strait AK, Sitka AK, Prince Rupert BC, Vancouver BC, Hilo HI, Nawiliwili Kauai HI, Kahului Maui HI (2 nights), Honolulu HI, Nawiliwili Kauai HI (2nd time), Hilo HI (2nd time), Nuku Hiva French Polynesia, Fakarava FP, Bora Bora FP, Moorea FP, Papeete FP, Raiatea FP, Bora Bora (2nd time and overnight),Pagp Pago American Samoa, Cossing International Dateline, Lautoka Fiji, Suva Fiji, Port Vila Vanuatu, Noumea New Caledonia, Isle of Pines New Caledonia, Sydney Australia, Burnie Tasmania, Hobart Tasmania, Sydney (2nd time) Melbourne, Australia, Burnie Tasmania (2nd time) Wellington New Zealand, Napier NZ, Tauranga NZ, Auckland NZ, Bay of Islands NZ and finally Sydney for disembarkation. 68 wonderful action filled days intertwined with days of nothing but leisure and enjoying the amenities of the NCL Jewel. Accolades to the Captains and the staff for our numerous tendering to a lot of these exotic locations that went off without a hitch. Using tender tickets and discovering that using ALL of the boats available was the best way to go with getting passengers off the ship and onto these islands so they could spend their time onshore. The weather cooperated 95% of the entire cruise with smooth sailing. The Jewel is a very capable ship and I look forward to visiting her again for another round of adventure. The officers made it clear that this voyage was a learning tool for them as well as an adventure for the passengers. Other than Alaska and Hawaii these were waters not traveled by an NCL vessel before and caution with safety seemed to be in place at all times. If this itinerary is ever visited again, along most of the same lines, I would seriously consider boarding for it once more. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017

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