6 Shanghai Cruises for the Disabled Cruise Reviews

Hi everybody. My name's Alex and to be honest, this is a first for me. I've never reviewed so much as a toaster before - let alone a 2 week cruise - so you may have to bear with me a little... Before I start, a little ... Read More
Hi everybody. My name's Alex and to be honest, this is a first for me. I've never reviewed so much as a toaster before - let alone a 2 week cruise - so you may have to bear with me a little... Before I start, a little background info. Several years ago I was diagnosed with Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. Although I still look perfectly healthy my mobility is - to my endless annoyance - getting steadily worse year by year. I knew that with regard to disabled access visiting the Far East (especially China) was rapidly turning into a case of now or never. My parents have been cruising for many years but recently my mother had both hips replaced and didn't want to fly long haul any more. My father, however, still wanted to go on holiday... So with the backing of my wonderful wife and 3 young children it was decided that me and dad would do the cruise. (This, of course, was with the understanding that I would bring back many, many presents) We booked the cruise directly with Celebrity instead of going through a Travel Agent. It was very straightforward to do through their website although if you're disabled you have to discuss it with them over the phone if you want an accessible cabin or suite. Luckily for us there was an Offer at the time of booking for both of us to have the Classic Drinks Package and free shipboard Wi-Fi included in the price. We then booked the flights separately using Travelup.co.uk as they happened to have the best deal on flights. To get a head start on the jetlag (and also see more of Shanghai) we flew out of Heathrow on 28th March giving us a day and a half to see the sights while staying at the Radisson Blu New World as recommended by Celebrity. The hotel kindly booked us a taxi to Baoshan Cruise Terminal to meet the ship. I have no idea if it was a good price or not but we were charged 200rmb for the 45 minute drive which seemed quite reasonable. Embarkation at the cruise terminal was very swift and from arriving at the Terminal to being in our Cabin took less than 30 minutes. I should point out that the only perk (if you can call it that) of being disabled is that you do tend to be able to 'jump the queue' for things like cruise embarkations and airport security. Trust me, I take no pleasure in it and would rather queue and have my health any day of the week. My first impression of the cabin was that it was very well planned and laid out and amazingly quiet considering it was bang amidships and literally back to back with the elevator. We quickly unpacked and then set off to explore the ship. I've only ever been on one other cruise ship which was P & O's Adonia - a much smaller ship with only 500 passengers so Millennium was a ship on a whole different scale. I really should have had a plan on exploring the ship but instead settled on random wandering (probably sub-consciously looking for the nearest open bar). I'd seen pictures of Millennium before the refit but none since and I have to say I was extremely impressed by the quality of the furnishings and decor throughout what is, in reality, a 20 year old ship. The only advice I would give with regard to moving around the ship, however, is to use the staircases whenever possible. If you use the elevator each time you want to change decks, you will be spending half the cruise waiting for one - they are always very, very busy and don't always stop on the deck you wanted! In giving a review of the individual venues on the ship I can only comment on where I visited. For some unknown reason I never ventured up to Decks 11 and 12 except a brief visit to the Cosmos Lounge (which does have excellent views over the bow). Deck 10 has the swimming pool and Jacuzzis which were very sparingly used due to the weather. I also found that Deck 10 just forward of the midship staircase has the strongest Wi-Fi signal on the ship (and is a nice quiet area) if you're looking to skype or Facetime those back home. Deck 10 is also home to the Oceanview Cafe which wraps around nearly the entire rear half of the ship. There are many pros and cons to the OV cafe. At breakfast time on Port days and for most of the day on Sea days it can be a very busy place indeed. However, for lunch during Port days and for late night snacking it really is a very nice space and has a huge amount of choice including the usual Carvery, Indian, Pizza, Pasta & Salad stations etc. There is also permanent tea, coffee and juice on tap plus when it's quiet there are always staff waiting to take your bar order if you fancy a nice glass of something cold with your lunch. Decks 9, 8, 7, 6, 3 & 2 are all largely guest accommodation and it is here that the Cruise Critic forums are worth a mention. I found out (as a cruising novice) that there is a 'Roll Call' forum for each individual cruise on the Cruise Critic website - you get to chat with the people you will be cruising with, exchange tips and even make plans for shared excursions. It's pretty obvious who the Old Hands are and they really do have some very useful advice (my favourite - being a fireproof ship the walls are made of metal. Use fridge magnets to stick up the daily activities programs!) I felt the important thing was that even before we boarded I already knew a whole crowd of interesting people from all over the world that I wouldn't have met otherwise and it was amazing putting faces to the people I had been chatting to for many months (You know who you are!) Also, if there are over 50 people on the cruise 'Roll Call' then Celebrity arranges a Meet and Greet for all concerned on the first sea day. After that as a group we also had a 'Slot Pull' where several dozen of us all crowded into the casino to try our luck (the ship broke down just before we started - perhaps we should have taken it as a sign as we didn't win a bean...) Also arranged through the Roll Call was the 'Cabin Crawl'. This was not the noisy and boozy affair I had envisaged originally but involves having one of the Roll Call members from each grade of cabin or suite allow their fellow cruisers to have a good nose around their home at sea. Obviously this is not to everybody’s taste but I found it a brilliant way to get to know my fellow cruisers a little better and have a look at all the different types of accommodation (The top grade suites are just amazing) My cabin seemed a lot smaller with a dozen people in it all chatting away at the same time! Decks 5 & 4 are where most of the activities and socialising goes on. It’s worth mentioning that there is a Celebrity app available for smartphones. It gives all the details of what’s going on and where while on-board and you can set reminders for shows and activities and even use your phone as your room key if the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are activated. It took a couple of days to remember what was on which deck and I ended up in the Art gallery several times when I'd meant to be in the Casino. Furthest forward is the Theatre. This is a huge space that covers both decks and is really well decorated with very comfortable seating and small fixed drinks tables. It has very good sound and lighting for the shows, talks and films (more on the entertainment later). There is also (non-disabled) access to the helipad from the Deck 5 level for those lucky enough to get invited to view the ship docking from the bow. The only small criticisms I have of the Theatre are that to enter it without going outside you have to either walk through the Art Gallery & shops on Deck 5 or through the Casino on Deck 4 as both are the entire width of the ship and the Casino can end up as a bottleneck before and after any performance. The only other annoyance was that during any films, talks, shows etc. the overhead spotlights were left on which caused a very bright reflection from the drinks tables if you were sitting in the Deck 4 level of the Theatre. Like I said - very minor niggles for a very impressive venue. Moving back from the Theatre on Deck 5 are the shops. These are the usual mix of high-end clothing, watches and fragrances. I assume somebody must be buying these things otherwise the shops wouldn't be there but they always seemed to be deserted. Back from the shops is the Art Gallery. The artworks are changed daily and there is usually a varied mix on show. There is also a huge touchscreen where you can browse all of the artwork on board. Aft of the Art Gallery is the 'Grand Foyer' and central staircase that descends from Deck 5 down to Guest Relations on Deck 3. It's very impressive and creates a very bright and open space right in the heart of the ship. On either side of the staircase on Deck 5 are the Gelateria on the port side and the very popular Cafe al Bacio on the starboard side. The cafe serves a huge variety of coffees, liquors and wines and has, without a doubt, the most comfortable seating on the entire ship in the shape of several huge wing-backed chairs. Many times I walked past and saw my fellow cruisers snoring away! The only gripe I have with the Grand Foyer area is that at night quite often there was a DJ playing music from the Deck 5 balcony over the stairs. This was often loud enough to make conversation difficult and saw people deserting the area in droves. Back past the cafe is Cellar Masters. During the day this is the place to go for Wine tastings (which occur almost daily but at a price). It's got a sort of cosy wine-bar feel at night and usually has live music in the evening - normally a duo or trio so nothing overwhelming. The bar usually opens around 5pm and was always staffed by the ever cheerful Arie who is one of those amazing people who has the capacity to remember everybody’s name. Unless using the Aft staircase or elevators you have to walk through here to enter the Metropolitan dining room. A quick tip - If you’re eating in the MDR then fixed-time diners are seated on Deck 5 and anytime eating is Deck 4. I went for the anytime to stay flexible and never had to queue. Also if it’s just the 2 of you then you can ask for the extremely comfy 'Dalek' chairs right against the big back windows. Moving down to Deck 4 and back from the Theatre is the Casino. As I've said before, the Casino spans the entire width of the ship (presumably to catch passing traffic) and has the feel of a mini Caesars Place or Monte Carlo casino in Las Vegas. It's a very comfortable place with a large bar and TV screens showing either news or sports. It was never overly busy or crowded and the few times I visited I pretty much had the pick of whichever opportunity to lose my money I wanted. There were 2 nights during the cruise that each passenger was given a $5 free play on the slot machines (always nice to gamble with somebody else’s money) and somehow I managed to walk away $18 up at the end of the cruise! Again only a single gripe with the Casino and that is that the bar service was for some reason much slower than the rest of the ship. Aft of the Casino is the middle level of the Grand Foyer. On the port side is a large amount of comfy seating and on the opposite side of the Staircase is the very popular Martini Bar. With its frozen bar-top and bar staff who juggle bottles and perform all sorts of drink pouring-related tricks it's often very difficult to get a seat from early evening onwards. Just for sheer entertainment value it's worth hanging out here for a while if waiting for dinner or a show. Past the Martini Bar and aft of the midship staircase is the Rendezvous Lounge. Also the full width of the ship, this space is, as the name suggests, a great place for meeting up for pre-dinner drinks in the evening as there is a very large bar and a huge amount of comfy seating with waiters constantly circulating with drink requests. More importantly during the day this is the place to go for daily Board games, Trivia quizzes and various presentations. It really is a very pleasant, bright and airy place to meet and socialize. Aft of the Lounge on the starboard side of the ship is the Anytime diners entrance to the MDR where the staff welcome you and hand you off to a waiter who will escort you to your table. Each table has a Waiter, Assistant waiter and a Sommelier who is responsible for a small group of tables. We were always seated in the same area and so usually had the same staff each night which was a real pleasure as they seemed genuinely enthusiastic in their jobs (especially the sommeliers Manuel and Jelena who always made us feel so welcome after a long day exploring ashore). I've seen the pre-refit pictures of the MDR and I have to say it now looks so much lighter, fresher and more modern. Deck 3 has its public spaces around the base of the central staircase and includes Guest relations, Destination concierge and Shore Excursion booking. It's also usually where the gangplank ashore is located. Guest relations always seemed to have a queue regardless of the time of day or night but the staff were always tirelessly helpful and cheerful. Many thanks here to Caesar. In Beijing one of the straps on my rucksack snapped so when back on board I went down to Guest relations with a rather odd request and asked Caesar if it would be possible to source a couple of cable ties for a temporary repair. Within 5 minutes the ships electrician appeared with a whole selection - very impressive service! My review of the food is rather short - we simply found the food in the MDR to be of such high quality and choice that we didn't visit any of the speciality restaurants on board. When the MDR was open at lunchtime we ate there. If closed we used the Oceanview Cafe. As I've already mentioned, the food in the OV cafe was hugely varied and of very good quality. The food in the MDR however, was on another level. There was a 'core' menu of 4 starters (Caesar salad, shrimp cocktail, French onion soup & Escargot) and 3 mains (salmon, chicken breast & sirloin steak) that were always available. The rest of the menu - 7 starters & 6 mains - varied on a daily basis. I can honestly say that every single meal was a pleasure and I was consistently impressed throughout the cruise by quality and variety of the food. The portions were on the small side of what I was expecting but this is in no way a criticism as it meant that there was always room for one of the many choices of desserts. Again, a rather short review for Shore excursions. Looking at the excursions on offer from Celebrity, it seemed that they didn't actually offer much for rather a lot of money. We therefore decided to risk doing our own thing at each port of call and didn't book a single excursion through Celebrity. The only time we made use of them was a free - but very poorly advertised - shuttle bus from the Port of Incheon into town and the same in Yokohama. It was the Immigration processes for each Country that the cruise failed miserably on. Obviously it was in no way Celebrity's fault as they have no authority over the immigration process. Going ashore once primary face-to-face immigration procedures were completed was fine - you could literally just walk straight off the ship. However, initial arrival in each country seemed to take an inordinately long time. For example the ship docked in Kobe, Japan at 9:00am but we didn't actually walk out of the Cruise terminal until 11:45am by which time our plans for travelling to Kyoto for the day were totally ruined. The only area where I felt that Celebrity themselves were very much below par was the on-board entertainment and presentations. The opening item I saw was the first in a series of talks about Buddhism. The advertising for it sounded very interesting and I was looking forward to attending. However, within 10 minutes of the start of the presentation I, and several others in the audience were fast asleep! The poor presenter had one of those voices that is so quiet and monotonous that you can't help but nod off. I kicked myself afterwards for not recording it to play to my children when they won't go to sleep at bedtime... Suffice to say, the following presentations in the series were very sparsely attended. The evening productions in the Theatre unfortunately appeared to be extremely amateurish with some of the singing little better than a karaoke night down the local pub. Very often I'd leave after a few excruciating minutes along with a fair number of others. As mentioned before, the DJ in the Grand Foyer was way too loud and fortunately only appeared near the beginning of the cruise. Perhaps Celebrity took note of the mass exodus? The same unfortunately goes for the rest of the singers and musicians spread around the rest of the ship - Celebrity seems to have very much gone for the Quantity over Quality approach and I think they have badly let themselves down with this approach. Only one act actually impressed me (sorry, can't remember their name but it was a couple of chaps doing a silent comedy routine) and they only came on-board for a single performance. The entertainers on-board weren't actually terribly bad, but neither were they any good and certainly didn't make me want to sit and listen to them. And so to briefly sum up - the ship was absolutely fantastic, the food, crew & facilities were top notch and above all the company of my fellow cruisers was a total pleasure. If you're not too fussy about quality on-board entertainment and organized excursions then I can absolutely recommend Celebrity and I will certainly be cruising with them again at the earliest opportunity. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We booked a 50 day cruise with Cunard Queen Mary 2 primarily to visit Petra, Rome plus about 20 other countries. The cruise departed Feb 23 from Shanghai to April 14 in South Hampton. While boarding in Shanghai, I was bumped by a luggage ... Read More
We booked a 50 day cruise with Cunard Queen Mary 2 primarily to visit Petra, Rome plus about 20 other countries. The cruise departed Feb 23 from Shanghai to April 14 in South Hampton. While boarding in Shanghai, I was bumped by a luggage handler and my knee was scratched. The scratch became infected by Feb 27 and I had to take antibiotics for the whole cruise, so we never saw any of the sights we intended. After the cruise, we submitted our claim to a Cunard cruise claims adjuster because I needed to continue antibiotics April 15 to June 12. The Cunard claim adjuster gave us a runaround and distorted facts to avoid paying any fair compensation. I wrote the President of Cunard asking to be treated fairly in compensation, and were emailed in return indicating since we purchased our cruise in the USA he could do nothing! I wondered why they are marketing in the USA if they cannot treat folks that book in the USA fairly in compensation. I must say the Cunard medical staff is excellent, but their onboard antibiotic selection is limited. The exercise facilities are limited for a person with a knee infection caused by Cunard. The pools are beautiful and clean, but someone with a leg infection can not use the pools or hot tubs. From the stern from the 11th floor or above, one can see 3 pools on 3 different levels. Dining room food is limited quality but good variety; and deserts are for a European palate. With my leg infection we were forced to do things we normally would not do, viz. painting, read and gamble. The casino has really nice folks working there and the odds aren't bad as my wife and I bot one several times. The art classes or lessons was a fantastic experience. On level 2 at the pursers desk or level 3 at the shops the central foyer is a classic 0 the flowers display is the nicest we have ever seen on any ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
My elderly mother and I chose this cruise for the interesting south east Asia itinerary, and the chance to get on the newest and largest ship in the Princess fleet. It was so disappointing. We've cruised a lot, including several trips ... Read More
My elderly mother and I chose this cruise for the interesting south east Asia itinerary, and the chance to get on the newest and largest ship in the Princess fleet. It was so disappointing. We've cruised a lot, including several trips with Princess, but this experience REALLY put us off booking with them again. Embarkation in Shanghai was appalling. I know Princess tried to blame the Chinese, but the company should surely have realised that getting over 3600 passengers through immigration would require them to take additional action. As it was, we were left queuing for nearly 3 hours, treated like cattle, without a Princess representative in sight. The cabin (D145) was supposedly premium deluxe (D4), but apart from having a really good sized balcony - which we mostly couldn't use because of inclement weather and standing water - there was nothing special about the room. Dining was very average. We mostly used the buffet, and sometimes found it difficult to get a seat, and get drink service. We went to the Concerto restaurant on 3 occasions, but found the food to be substandard, and the service slow and ordinary. The shore excursions were - as usual - expensive, but the main problem was how fake and inauthentic they were. For example, in Nha Trang there were over 22 coachloads of passengers trying to look at a 'typical' local house, which was clearly not lived in. We also went to see locals working in the rice paddy fields, but it was really 4 very fed up people clambering down from their veranda to hoe their overgrown front garden. Then other people turned up with 'disabled' people to beg for money. On the ship, there weren't enough service staff to provide a reasonable standard of service in the restaurants. The coffee shop saw arguments and even physical altercations as hundreds of people tried to get service from just two coffee machines. There were only free coffees and teas in the dining area. The posh shops were a waste of space, and the women working in the perfume shop were so rude and superscilious I only went once. There were not enough seats for those wanting to participate in the Trivia quizzes, and only 3 good shows in the theatre. I could go on, but I'm conscious how whingey and whiney this sounds. It was just so different from our usual experiences on Princess. The ship holds too many passengers to be looked after properly or appropriately. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Princess accommodates people in wheelchairs with good cabins and bathrooms but that is about as far as it goes. this is by far the most disappointing cruise that I have been on with tight corridors blocked with tables and trolleys, ... Read More
Princess accommodates people in wheelchairs with good cabins and bathrooms but that is about as far as it goes. this is by far the most disappointing cruise that I have been on with tight corridors blocked with tables and trolleys, lifts not working, no shore tours offered for people in wheelchairs. For example I was unable to call a lift as the garbage bins are put directly under the lift call buttons so I either kick the bin out of the way to press the button or waited for someone else to do it for me. I mentioned my issue to a senior maintenance officer who assured me that he would pass on my issue. But each time the bins were moved away from the lifts the cleaners would put them back. As the corridors were continually blocked with housekeep trolley there was only 1 bank of lifts I could get to. For the whole cruise one of these 4 lifts was out of service and on one occasion all the lifts were out of order for an hour stranding me. There is only one accessible public toilet with an automatic door on level 17. all the rest have extremely heavy manual doors I had no chance of opening them myself and needed someone to do it for me. The vista lounge is so packed with large chairs that I had extreme difficulty moving around the room to find a place to park my chair to see a show. There are only 4 accessible seats in the theatre and unless you get there an hour before the show you have no chance of getting somewhere to watch a show. Generally the food quality and variety was poor to very poor. 80% of the menu was seafood based and as I really don't eat a lot of seafood the choices where limited. Each night there was one red meat dish on the fine dining menu and even though the description and title of the dish was different what was delivered was meat cooked the same way. My waiter was unable to provide any further information about the menu than what was written on the menu. They also refused any additions or substitutions like adding more gravy or sauce. Each night we had a bread roll for each person dining and always one butter less than the number of bread rolls. After asking 3 nights in a row for more butter you would think that the waiter would get the message and have more butters on the table I think it was night 18 or 19 when we had enough butter. Pre dinner drinks often arrived with our main meal or desert. There was one night where our fellow passengers when round with pepper mill (as our waiter continually did not offer the pepper mill) and the waiter reprimanded the fellow passenger for doing his job that he had neglected. The embarkation process in Shanghai was a nightmare taking more than 3.5 hours in the extreme heat. people throwing up due to heat stroke, VERY long snaking queues and people absolutely everywhere blocking paths and corridors. There is no one deck on Majestic princess that you can walk around on the entire ship. There is no walking track on this ship. the only place you can look out the front of the ship is the Hollywood pool room through glass which is not very good if it is dark outside as all you get is internal reflections. The "runway of flares" everyone saw on the TV news was not visible from the ship. Princess could not assist with any on shore activities for people in wheelchairs or mobility issues. There big offering in ports where the ship dock a considerable way from any "town" and they offered a coach "shuttle" into "town" for $20. not accessible to me. When asking staff for information on a port they were unable to assist or at best contradict each other. I got better information once I left the ship. I would seriously think about travelling on princess again after this experience. My wife is an Elite captain circle member and she is of the same mind. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Have sailed on the Millennium before and had fair attitude about the ship itself but the itinerary was the deciding factor to take the ship again. Everything about the ship is average from the service to the food to the entertainment. ... Read More
Have sailed on the Millennium before and had fair attitude about the ship itself but the itinerary was the deciding factor to take the ship again. Everything about the ship is average from the service to the food to the entertainment. I don't sail with celebrity expecting five or six star service. I also don't expect gourmet meals. However, their food in general was very salty at times. It seemed the chef relied on salt for flavor rather than incorporating other herbs to enhance flavor. I would take Celebrity again. In general, they offer a solid trip for a reasonable price, visiting many great ports. In fact because of the size of the ship we were able to anchor in Halong Bay Vietnam which was a fantastic experience larger ships miss. The ship also caters to an older group of people, though there were several families with small children on board. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We loved this itinerary and I have cruised with Celebrity several times and am Elite Plus in status with Celebrity. The service was great as always but the ship is showing a lot of age and our suite was beyond disappointing. I have ... Read More
We loved this itinerary and I have cruised with Celebrity several times and am Elite Plus in status with Celebrity. The service was great as always but the ship is showing a lot of age and our suite was beyond disappointing. I have stayed in other suites on Celebrity and other cruise lines and I must say this was absolutely the worse excuse for a suite I have ever seen. Celebrity either needs to fix the cabins/suites or sell the ship and replace it with a ship. Celebrity charges the same amount for their suites on this ship as the other ships, but the suite is far below even standard. Luminea was outstanding with the service and the food. The ship's staff were wonderful as all Celebrity staff always is. The two ships' excursions I took were outstanding and well thought out and planned. The entertainment was good a few nights and horrible on many nights. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click