56 Shanghai Family Cruise Reviews

I’ve been to many cruises and finally chose this cruise as it’s new and the itinerary attracts me. However, this cruise is really a huge mess! First the boarding at Shanghai, wow, i thought they had organised us in regions to wait to ... Read More
I’ve been to many cruises and finally chose this cruise as it’s new and the itinerary attracts me. However, this cruise is really a huge mess! First the boarding at Shanghai, wow, i thought they had organised us in regions to wait to board, However, when we were led by a staff to board the cruise first, there was suddenly a large crowd who were waiting at the gate before us, thus we are not first as sectioned out at the waiting area. Next entering the immigration clearance part, omg, it’s so messy, they didn’t tell us where foreigners should go to, after we all gathered, they decided to block foreigners till many Chinese nationals had cleared. Then on the cruise, one of our luggage went missing! Went to their lost and found which only opened after the cruise had moved and could not find it. Then our cabin attendant said she found it outside another cabin on the same level. But the issue was, all our luggage we had tagged them with the cabin strip with our cabin number provided by Royal carribean. Next, the cabin card, we tried to find our seating arrangement on the card for the main dining, however it wasn’t there. To our horror after checking out with the cabin attendant, we found out that in China for this cruise they don’t provide a fixed seatings for each cabin like the other cruises! We gave up on that so called fine dining for the entire trip as the queues outside the main dining rooms were like some refuge centre and the food menu is not fine dining at all as they provided Chinese food only and those usual items for fine dining like steak, etc were chargeable! Omg never seen a cruise like this! Then come the mandatory emergency drill, it was so disorganised and it was so different everyone was gathering in enclosed areas! We were told to gather at the 270 degree lounge, the woman who was holding the microphone was literally shouting in the microphone and commanding everyone of us there as if we were her staff or she’s the teacher or manager Or she’s the army officer in a fierce and authoritative manner. So rude! Never been on a cruise that would demand the customers to be silent in such a rude manner! Rubbish! Next, this cruise is really into hard selling their dining products, First two days, the restaurant staff everyone were holding a promotion plan to hard sell to everyone they saw! And the activities on board were mostly chargeable which included rock climbing which wasn’t on other cruises under RC! And next I wonder why a cruise can’t provide proper coffee (though I purchased the coffee card) this is quite applicable in many cruises that I’ve been on. The so called coffee including this one is just some black water! Please don’t treat us as some fools who just drink some black water and said that’s coffee. The alighting part on the last day of cruise was also another part which annoyed me. They purposely section on foreigners and made us wait for the Chinese nationals to clear first before we move on. They blocked us out in different parts before the immigration thus resulting us to have such Long waits (1.5h) before we cleared the immigration.Next, the gym and sauna, it seemed more like a place where their staff got to utilised more. The sauna was so small and seemed to be occupied by their staff as we can’t use it and the lockers we requested for keys and could tell us they did not have the keys???? All in all this cruise is really such a messy one. Very disorganised, no system, poor service attitude especially from the customer service counter. If you want to try out the horrible experience I had gone through, go ahead and book this cruise from China as they really treated their customers who paid money to be ordered by them. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Traveled October 26-Nov 9 2019. Party of 7 (6 adults 1 child). Overall the cruise was great. Here is a breakdown: Pre-Cruise: Did a lot of planning. Booked 10 months in advance. Chinese Visas were needed for everyone despite the ... Read More
Traveled October 26-Nov 9 2019. Party of 7 (6 adults 1 child). Overall the cruise was great. Here is a breakdown: Pre-Cruise: Did a lot of planning. Booked 10 months in advance. Chinese Visas were needed for everyone despite the cruise ship saying differently. Live in NJ so went to Consulate in NY and got Visas done. One person was able to drop off Visa applications for everyone and they were ready 3 days later for pickup. Note: if you work for nonprofit, educational institution, sales, etc. they will only approve a 3-month visa so timing is important. Onboard: Went back and forth with the type of cabin to book. Came down to suite, concierge class (CC), and Family Veranda (FV). Ultimately went with FV and so glad we did. FV is actually larger than sky suite and CC rooms. Although the ship considers FV a step down from CC, the extra space was wonderful for party of 3 (2 adults and 1 child 5). Food: Food in main dining rooms was good. Specialty dining food was lacking. Kid Club was amazing. Since went during the school year not a lot of kids onboard maybe 10 but the staff did a great job keeping them entertained. My DD had a blast. Excursions: Booked all through Tours By Locals. Given our party size was able to book fully customizable private tours. Again booking early is key as their tour guides get booked early. Tour company was great. All tour guides showed up on time, and contacted me prior to confirm. (Used whats app) The one problem we had was easily corrected. No complaints. My family and I got to enjoy so much of Asia. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I wrote a longer write up as a post to tell people about the Gold and Silver Class benefits on the ship. We stayed in a Grand Loft Suite on deck 15, we also had an Owner's Suite for some relative on the same deck. These were the ... Read More
I wrote a longer write up as a post to tell people about the Gold and Silver Class benefits on the ship. We stayed in a Grand Loft Suite on deck 15, we also had an Owner's Suite for some relative on the same deck. These were the best decorated rooms we have ever had on RCI, particularly the loft suite. The bathrooms were all lovely. As a new ship it was pretty much immaculate. The only thing I didn't like was the open bedroom in the loft where you could hear someone watching the TV below. Gold dining was pretty similar to Coastal Kitchen, service was fantastic. In general the food on the ship, however was mediocre. It was often under seasoned and lacking flavour. Chops was disappointing. Teppanyaki was excellent however. Sichuan Red was good but very spicy, although you could change this. It was too authentic Chinese for my liking. The Windjammer was constantly very busy and unpleasant. We only went in to look. The Silver Dining area buffet available to suite and Diamond guests was much more pleasant. Pizza at Sorrento's was the best I have had on a RCI ship. Entertainment was surprisingly good despite often being in Chinese. My wife and I took part in The Love and Marriage Show and they did it in English also for our benefit. We were told the policy was to add in English if needed. Bars were empty and the 7pm shows very busy. It was quite quiet after 9pm which I found pleasant. Some people may find it too quiet. We didn't find people too pushy, it seems that the policy in China is to get into the lift at the same time people get out. But really it wasn't an issue, just part of being on a busy ship. Embarkation was very slow due to Chinese paperwork which is much more extensive than elsewhere. You cannot disembark until 1 hour after the ship arrives in port. Most people on board were locals so they all started to get off as soon as possible ignoring stated times. The gym was small, but was not busy and seemed fine to me. Public areas were generally quieter than on other ships. Everyone seemed to be at The Windjammer. Pools were also quiet. We enjoyed the stops in Japan, Nagasaki and Kagoshima. We took a tour in Nagasaki and had a lovely guide for English speaking people. I found it haunting and sad. We walked around in Kagoshima and took the local tram. This was easy and way better value than the ship's tours. People were lovely. It was the shortest cruise I have been on and I personally found 5 days a little short. Overall we really enjoyed it and would happily go back, my only real gripe was the food. It seems to me that these Chinese cruises are also cheaper than elsewhere for similar cabins so I thought it was good value. For Europeans flights are probably cheaper to China than the US. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I thought the destinations were interesting and had enjoyed previous princess cruises. This ship was not as pleasant. Bed was too narrow, pillows dreadful & music deafeningly loud. Comedians crude and rude. Not many shows mainly ... Read More
I thought the destinations were interesting and had enjoyed previous princess cruises. This ship was not as pleasant. Bed was too narrow, pillows dreadful & music deafeningly loud. Comedians crude and rude. Not many shows mainly single entertainers catering to one nationality not everyone. Excellent violinist Katei and singer Chris Powey were the standouts. Entertainment in theatre generally poor Evening trivia fun. Trivia in general pretty good. Library was devoid of books some people took out 8 not one at a time, others struggled to find one. Food was sometimes cold on delivery in dining room. Layout on Lido was confusing. Staff generally helpful and pleasant but under pressure from full ship 3500 persons Music around the ship was deafening especially drums. Hard to have a conversation at times. Plenty of dancing at others. Improved cafe service in that food is no longer extra charge and a good selections available. Good in that there was in general plenty of seating. Great area on deck 17 for relaxing tho not big enough so be quick! Great gym, plenty of good equipment. Good massages in spa, watch out for added gratuity even if you didn’t agree to it. Added charges and instant credit card charges plus extra tax on the use of ship card every purchase. Felt as if herded into an environment where folk were pressured to buy and a forced gaiety required. I’ve cruised many times this was the least enjoyed one. The shore excursion for Crazy Rich Asian fans was disappointing One other excursion was cancelled due to lack of numbers. Health was a priority but people not always careful, bad chesty coughs prevalent, some unwell guests thro that. I would not choose this ship to cruise on if I could avoid it. Chosen because it was new and offered destinations of interest. Renee@NZ Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We embarked on this cruise in Shanghai, and the embarkation was a fiasco (even with priority boarding) but the Chinese authorities do seen to be able to make every simple process more complicated ( we had the same when entering the country ... Read More
We embarked on this cruise in Shanghai, and the embarkation was a fiasco (even with priority boarding) but the Chinese authorities do seen to be able to make every simple process more complicated ( we had the same when entering the country via the airport) Now to the ship and cruise, firstly these mega liners from the princess fleet are very ugly, no classic lines to them just like a floating tenement block from the 1960''s, only not grey concrete in colour., they are well appointed inside and we have no issue in this respect. The ship is big and this means a hike ( and a packed lunch) every time you wish to visit a new venue, not a problem for us but people with mobility problems should be aware of this, also with this amount of passengers expect crowded venues, we did not see any shows due to a lack of seating in the theater, and us not being prepared to stand in queue for an hour before each performance. Food was acceptable, but nowhere near as good as two or three years ago, seems as though you have to pay extra for what was the norm then. We hate the way they try to up-sell. The cruise its self was as we expected, no trouble with the destinations (there could have been more) but on the whole OK. In general we left felling a bit disenfranchised with Princess this time, and this is after a long time cruising with them, it is sorry to say making us now look to other cruise lines for the experience that we now find lacking with princess Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Our balcony cabin with of a sofabed on deck 15 in a nice quiet location which we choose diliberatly had been given to someone else. We only found this out onboard and not at checkin. We were given a mini suite instead but sadly the ... Read More
Our balcony cabin with of a sofabed on deck 15 in a nice quiet location which we choose diliberatly had been given to someone else. We only found this out onboard and not at checkin. We were given a mini suite instead but sadly the location was so bad we spent most of our cruise sleep deprived from the noise the crew made dragging tables and chairs around from midnight till 1am and then again at 4am. Complaints fell on deaf ears. Cabin wasn't ready, shelves were dirty, floor dirty, not enough toiletries for 3 in a room. We had to find our own luggage as it went to the wrong cabin. Buffet food - mostly Chinese food & same nearly every evening. Main dining rooms was pretty poor quality food so we choses not to dine there. Speciality restaurant: Harmony (Chinese) was average and not worth the extra cost. La Mer main menu not great but we ate Chef Darren Maclean's own menu 2 nights running and this was the only decent food onboard. staff took our drinks away whilst we had a photo with chef after the nine course & wine paring evening. pool deck Free ice-cream worst I've ever had. Buffet area has Plastic plates & bowls which is terrible. Buffet staff could not manage and tables sat dirty unless you asked staff to clean them. Gym area is poor, stretching area always used for seminars, Kareoke mostly Chinese songs. Ports: Shimizu isn't a great port but credit to the people of this small town who went out of their way to be helpful. Also Kochi isn't worth stopping at. Osaka should be an overnight stop there is so much to do and no time to do it. Took 3 excursions with Princess, they were good but expensive, I do question the time wasted on lunch which is included in the full day excursions. The ship is CROWDED. Everyone I met on the ship said it was ridiculous how many people are squeezed into rooms onboard. 6+ in small balcony rooms. Staff told us 4000 Chinese passengers were onboard when it should have been 3000. Apparently the ship just added more beds to cabins, shocking, is that allowed?. This is a cruise for the China Chinese only, it does not work for anyone else. The cultural differences will defiantly impact on you. Spitting in the pool, spitting on plates in buffet, shouting, pushing in, children in the adults only area throughout the whole cruise. I met several Chinese passengers from Singapore and Hong Kong who felt very uncomfortable with the behaviour of the majority passengers. There were 2 good shows at the theatre and thats about it. The language issues made most entertainment difficult. This cruise felt budget, unsafe, lawless and to be honest insulting. Disembarkation was chaotic, no crew around to help, passengers missed flights as they were unable to get off the ship in time, we just made it to the airport for our flight but we had to make a lot of noise to get off. Shameful. This is not how you say goodbye to customers, get some training. I do NOT recommend this cruise to customers outside of China. This cruises is totally aimed at China Chinese only. This cruise was certainly no Princess. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
People spitting on floor whilst sitting in spa, people spitting on carpet in marketplace buffet, people blowing snot from nose and spitting in hand basin that you are expected to wash hands in prior to entering food court, Casino door ... Read More
People spitting on floor whilst sitting in spa, people spitting on carpet in marketplace buffet, people blowing snot from nose and spitting in hand basin that you are expected to wash hands in prior to entering food court, Casino door continually left open and smoke streaming out into main atrium, children allowed to run riot on dance floor after 10pm. Princess usually has dress standards for dining rooms. None applied on this cruise, you could wear singlet top basket ball shorts and slip on sandals, jeans T-shirt’s and you’d be allowed in. We ended up staying away from pool and spa as we couldn’t stomach the snorting and spitting, it made our stomach turn. We spent majority of time in our cabin watching movies. We ate in the dining rooms onboard 5 times and each time the food was luke warm/cold. The staff were doing the best they could with the circumstances they had to deal with. Marketplace Buffet had a huge variety of food choices but trying to get a seat after you had selected your food was a challenge. Some passengers refused to share tables and made it very had for the staff. The amount of food left on peoples plates was terrible to see. We were in cabin E416, our Steward Rommel was amazing, he actually made our cruise. Princess is very lucky to have him he went over and above in every aspect of looking after us. We had evening room service twice as we couldn't face the thought of the catastrophe that was the dining rooms. It was excellent, best meals on the ship. The coffee shop on level 5 was very good, the food was always hot and the staff were exceptional in their service and care. Come back new??? Not us we came back discussed, frustrated, angry, annoyed, disappointed, mortified and concerned, as we’d already booked and paid for cruise with Princess in December. Fingers crossed, with saying that we must say that in the many cruises we have done with Princess we have never had one complaint or issue, service standards have always been well beyond our expectations. . Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
If Royal Caribbean cared about their passengers, they would've made it clear that this cruise if for Mandarin speaking guests ONLY. AND with children 5 and younger. This was the least relaxing and enjoyable vacation that ... Read More
If Royal Caribbean cared about their passengers, they would've made it clear that this cruise if for Mandarin speaking guests ONLY. AND with children 5 and younger. This was the least relaxing and enjoyable vacation that I've ever had. All activities (aside from shows) were in Mandarin. All announcements would preface "This announcement is for Mandarin speaking guests only" - can you imagine how does it feel to all other passengers??? My daughter could not participate in any activity as everything costs arm-and-a-leg (I would've expected for some free activities, considering how much we paid for the cruise), nor that she could participate in teen-club, as they were all in Mandarin. This was a cruise that I managed to use pool once! it was completely filled with kids in their life jackets. There was no place to stand. Food in a dining hall was not good. We ended up either just ordering only appetizers or going to the Buffet instead,. I do have to say that English-speaking crew tried to go out of their way to make us a bit more comfortable, and I am very grateful for that!!! But in overall - I do NOT recommend this trip to anyone who does not speak Mandarin, as you would feel incredibly uncomfortable (kids literally would point fingers at us!) Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
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 chose this cruise as part of a land/cruise package starting in Beijing. Embarkation at Shanghai was the longest we have ever experienced lasting over two hours. Passengers were being put through the priority lines regardless of Captains ... Read More
We chose this cruise as part of a land/cruise package starting in Beijing. Embarkation at Shanghai was the longest we have ever experienced lasting over two hours. Passengers were being put through the priority lines regardless of Captains Club status. Once on board we found that the items we preordered for embarkation had not been delivered. It was a disappointing start to the cruise but things did get better. The food in the Main Dining room was good albeit the menu was somewhat limited. By far the best food was found in Qsine and Sushi on 5. The lunch menu in the Ocean View buffet was very good with lots of specials going on such as lobster rolls. Unfortunately the evening menu was bland and repetitive. Our concierge class cabin was good and clean. However there was a metal bar above the bed that was irritating. I believe it once held cushions as a sort it head board. Our cabin attendant was average and on several occasions did the evenin turn down at 4:30 in the afternoon. Each time he removed our canapés before we had the chance to eat them! Apart from two shows the entertainment was average. As usual the production shows are over amplified and in many cases mimed us the “click” system. The Rock City show was an example where the cast yelled the rock songs at us rather than singing them. Less is more. On the plus side two shows were very good. The fairy tale show wad fun and the cast actually looked like they were enjoying themselves. The best show of all featured two Ariel artistes and acrobats/dancers. We like to attend the quizzes but the two activitiy hosts were extremely irritating. Shore trips were good but as this was Chinese New Year the locations were very crowded and we encountered a lot a jostling and pushing. Hing Kong in particular was extremely busy which ruled out a visit to the Peak. In addition many museums/places of interest were closed. Moral of story - avoid Asia at time of the lunar New Year. Disembarkation at Singapore’s was relatively quick. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This past January we went on an Asian Cruise with Princess Cruises. We were to board our cruise in Shanghai, reporting to board our cruise beginning at 12:00PM, Jan. 5fth. Then, the night before, I received an e-mail indicating the ship ... Read More
This past January we went on an Asian Cruise with Princess Cruises. We were to board our cruise in Shanghai, reporting to board our cruise beginning at 12:00PM, Jan. 5fth. Then, the night before, I received an e-mail indicating the ship was late arriving on port and we should report beginning at 4:00PM. As we arrived at the terminal, our taxi driver noted the main gate was closed and a worker was directing him to go on. We arrived at a building crowded with thousands of tourists. One clerk told us to go upstairs and wait for further boarding instructions. We went upstairs, sat along with other passengers waiting for further instructions, I glanced at a passenger sitting next to us and he had a boarding card and an ID card. I asked him where he got them and he directed me to an area on the first floor where people were being processed in a very disorganized way. I finally had documents to board the ship"THANKS TO INSTRUCTIONS FROM A FELLOW PASSENGER" and not one from the cruise company. Well, before we knew, it was 7:00PM and we knew nothing about when we would begin boarding. A poor lady, who had arrived at 12:00PM, per the original schedule, had not had a meal since her breakfast. Around 8:00PM, someone came to offer water. How sad to be mistreated this way. When we thought we had had the worst, we were finally told to proceed down a hallway that led to the outside parking lot? What? It is raining and we have to walk in the rain to the next building?. The rest of the ordeal on this cruise was not that better. The food at the dining room was simple and after few days eating the same stuff, we decided to skip meals. We signed up for two tours, one for Ho Chi Min City , Vietnam and Bang Kok, Thailand. The port in Vietnam is 2:00 hours away from the city and by the the time you get there, there is not much you can do, before the last bus goes back to the ship. During the two tours, the native tour guides spoke very poor English and we looked at each other wondering what is he saying?. On one tour we asked the tour guide if we were going to go to a place where we could buy souvenirs. Consistent with everything else, we stopped at a rest area with just food shops. My wife went everywhere looking for souvenirs and came back to the bus empty handed. To add insult to injury, we both got a cold from our fellow passengers, who were coughing and sneezing everywhere. When we went to the nurse's office to get some medications, a rude older woman at the desk, greeted us like dogs, " As we walked in, she just said SIT and wait, in a rude tone. Well, I am not dog and went to her and asked to get some over the counter cold medications. The one consolation during this horrific cruise was to know that many times before we had great experiences with other cruise companies. After we got home, we received an e-mail from Princess Cruises asking for feedback. Well, I had plenty to say about this poor experience and responded with a critical assessment of the company. Days went by and no response from the company. I then decided to call them. The response from their office in Santa Clarita was just as poor as the cruise service. " Sorry you had these problems, hope to see you again". Guess what, they will never see us again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We took this cruise from Shanghai to Tokyo on Oct, 2018. The cruise started out on a bad note. On the check in at the Shanghai port, passengers were made to wait in line out in the sun, with only a couple of portable toilets. This may ... Read More
We took this cruise from Shanghai to Tokyo on Oct, 2018. The cruise started out on a bad note. On the check in at the Shanghai port, passengers were made to wait in line out in the sun, with only a couple of portable toilets. This may be the fault of the Shanghai port or the Chinese immigration, but we certainly started off with a bad taste. The bad vibe continued once we were on the ship. On the safety drill we were told to go to the wrong gathering spot. This lack of or wrong information continued several times on board. The ship itself was old (this ship was going to be retrofitted soon). There was no self-operated laundry on board. On a 14 day cruise this is unacceptable. The worse part of this cruise was the food quality. It was just average, or sometimes below average. After about 10 days (with 3 days at sea), this became quite noticeable. Finally, when we disembarked at Yokohama, there was not enough taxis available. We waited at the taxi line for close to an hour, and finally gave up and walked to the subway station. A long line was still waiting when we left. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We had a good time but many western guests will find this cruise difficult. The Chinese guests all like to do the same thing at the same time which causes poblems on a 5000 guest ship. To have the best time, we learned to adjust our ... Read More
We had a good time but many western guests will find this cruise difficult. The Chinese guests all like to do the same thing at the same time which causes poblems on a 5000 guest ship. To have the best time, we learned to adjust our schedule accordingly. There are lots of reviews about difficulties at boarding do we boarded late at 1:45. No line and got right on. The Chinese like to eat meals right when the dinning halls open so we either got there 10 minutes early to grab a table before they or filled up or waited until 2 hours after the buffet opened. If you try to go in between it is very hard to get a table. Our kids loved the activities. Rock climbing, bumper cars, roller skating, glow rider, trapeze. All crew speak English well. Komomoto and Fukuoka were not the most interesting cities. One of the other itineraries would be better. Disembarkation took a while. You can stay in your room until 9am. I would wait in a common area until about 10 and then get off to avoid the line. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We wanted to see china and japan ,this was the easy option. it took two hours thirty minutes to get on ship ,as people where jumping queues and removing barriers,we where literally pushed out of way, food was rubbish ,we eat off ... Read More
We wanted to see china and japan ,this was the easy option. it took two hours thirty minutes to get on ship ,as people where jumping queues and removing barriers,we where literally pushed out of way, food was rubbish ,we eat off classic menu every night for eight days. windjammer was a no go area ,as chinese would again push you out of the way ,tables not cleared ,nowhere at all to sit. coughing up phlegm was a everyday scenario , with some even spitting on carpeted floors. smoking on balconies and throwing cigarette buts into sea a norm , casino was a no go area i have never seen so much smoke ,the smell was unbelievable using toilets and not washing hands was also a norm entertainment was also rubbish if you could not understand chinese embarkation was also a free for all,with barriers being moved,and a mad dash for free shuttle buses ,amazed nobody got hurt in the rush. overall this was the worst cruise we have ever been on in last twenty years,spoilt by bad mannered ,people with disgusting habits,bad service ,bad food,bad entertainment.and even the CAPTAIN OF THE SHIP calling for calm and asking people to respect each other . and other races on board.. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We wanted to see Japan and this cruise appeared to tick the box. Like most western passengers we too had a very disappointing cruise. As Diamond members, we had express boarding. Over 2 hours we queued, Royal Carribean can't ... Read More
We wanted to see Japan and this cruise appeared to tick the box. Like most western passengers we too had a very disappointing cruise. As Diamond members, we had express boarding. Over 2 hours we queued, Royal Carribean can't really be blamed for this. However in the high humidity, water should have been available. While RCI, where not to blame for the boarding, they are to blame for everything else that was wrong with cruise. To reiterate, what other passengers have said the food was geared to the Chinese passengers. Even the emailed survey from RCI asked how authentic was the Chinese food. Why ask me I'm from Scotland. First night in the restaurant, not Windjammer, we waited an hour before our first course arrived. Next day in the same restaurant it took 44 minutes ( I timed it) to get me cold poached eggs. At that point I complained to the Head waiter, no visible improvement. Service The bars had no waiters until about day 4. This did not improve service, the computer system for billing took the staff longer to enter the details than it did to pour the drinks. The first night I got a $244 bill, quite a shock as I had a drink package. At $244 a stomach pump would have been required. At a Diamond event I complained to the Captain, with again little noticeable improvement, a theme is developing. When home I gave negative feedback on the RCI emailed questionnaire, no contact from RCI Finally I emailed RCI customer services outlining the issues we experienced , theme continues, no contact from RCI. Either they don't care or they are overwhelmed by the number of complaints. RCI are in danger of losing their loyal customer base. While I understand the Chinese market could be a lucrative one, they should only offer these cruises to that market sector. If you are from the Western world do not book this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We arrived in Shanghai for 3 nights before the cruise,we were aware that the biggest percentage of guests would be Chinese,what we didn’t expect from royal Caribbean was the food /entertainment and everything else were definitely aimed ... Read More
We arrived in Shanghai for 3 nights before the cruise,we were aware that the biggest percentage of guests would be Chinese,what we didn’t expect from royal Caribbean was the food /entertainment and everything else were definitely aimed for the Chinese market only,the food was by far the worst food We have ever had on any cruise ship we have been on,the entertainment was an absolute joke,they had a magician on one night and he was that good nearly the whole audience disappeared in the first 2 minutes and never returned,Chinese karaoke was the final straw for evening entertainment,the customer services desk was also by far the worst we have ever experienced mostly Chinese and couldn’t understand a word of English and no help at all,the bar staff were the same they have not a clue how to make drinks cocktails we had to tell them,Hadi in the solarium was excellent really nice guy very pleasant and helpful nothing was to much trouble,we mostly ate in the coastal kitchen ,the waiter Jonnie was also very good,the embarkation and disembarkation was a disgrace they have not got a clue,it took 3 hrs queuing to get on to the ship,they are going to be putting the new spectrum of the seas over there what a waste of a ship,again we don’t think this cruise should be sold to any one outside of China.we spoke with a lot of people on the ship from Australia and the United States and uk ,every one was of the same mindset and most said they would not sail royal Caribbean again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
It was a great experience to sail on the Majestic Princess as she sailed "Down Under " for her Maiden Voyage to Australia. She certainly is a very large and beautiful ship. We spent 11 days in China before embarking which was ... Read More
It was a great experience to sail on the Majestic Princess as she sailed "Down Under " for her Maiden Voyage to Australia. She certainly is a very large and beautiful ship. We spent 11 days in China before embarking which was a great experience, then 22 days on board exploring Majestic from top to bottom.The highlight was the Ultimate Ships tour which includes a visit to the bridge. We also we experienced "The Chefs Table Lumiere fine dining experience, and the Harmony Restaurant. The World Fresh Market Place dining has an excellent choice of food.All the staff and crew were extremely warm and friendly.We took advantage of the all inclusive photo package, so all photos from the 22 day voyage only $249, There was heaps of entertainment, live music, shows. Andrew the cruise director and his staff were fantastic.Shore excursions were well organised.We aquired a new member to our family as we adopted " Grandpa Stanley ". As he ventured around the ship he was hugged by many of the passengers and crew. It was a fantastic journey. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Never visited before Asian countries.? and Magestic Princess ....the newest Princess ship on her maiden voyage to OZ ...We just had to be onboard .!!! We flew from Adelaide to Shanghai the day before boarding Was amazed at the ... Read More
Never visited before Asian countries.? and Magestic Princess ....the newest Princess ship on her maiden voyage to OZ ...We just had to be onboard .!!! We flew from Adelaide to Shanghai the day before boarding Was amazed at the size and magnificence of the ship but once orientated was easy to find our way around... Our balcony cabin was cosy and had all we needed...the food in all dining areas excellent...! There was always entertainment in venues any where on the ship ...and plenty of quiet places to relax and read a book or sit on the deck and watch the ocean....There was a variety of shore excursions offered by Princess and the ones we chose were well organised and very enjoyable.. The staff and crew were very friendly and helpful always willing to have a chat when possible..A great relaxing holiday and well worth the money ... Our 3rd Princess cruise will be on the Golden Princess in March next year Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Warning This is an extremely lengthy review but detailed based on my personal experiences on my sailing date of August 16-23, 2018. There are section headings so feel free to skip ahead if it gets too wordy. I learn so much from the ... Read More
Warning This is an extremely lengthy review but detailed based on my personal experiences on my sailing date of August 16-23, 2018. There are section headings so feel free to skip ahead if it gets too wordy. I learn so much from the information others have shared and I like to give back to the CC community. I find that the Quantum reviews were really lacking while I was doing my information gathering so hopefully this review will help a few passengers that are anxious to get their hands on some firsthand experience. Background We are a family of four celebrating two major milestones this year with DD graduating from college and DS graduating from high school earlier this year. This was our 14th cruise (3rd with RC) and 13th for the kids. DH was born in China but the kids I are ABC (American Born Chinese). I have been to China before and the kids have previously traveled to Japan. We live in Maryland in the DC area and traveled to San Francisco, Beijing and Shanghai before setting sail. PreCruise I was surprised that there wasn’t much that could be done online via the Cruise Planner precruise. I checked 90 days out, 60 days out, 30 days out- there was nothing to indicate anything was necessary for dining or entertainment. There were very few excursions offered but this was not a problem as I almost always tour independently. There was another ship I was contemplating for Asia. However it did not allow booking directly through their site. I ended up choosing RC for the ease and flexibility of controlling my own booking as I usually do. I utilized Costco Travel to receive OBC. Embarkation We arrived at the port somewhere around 10:30-10:45. It was not yet crowded but the taxi driver did not seem sure where to drop us off. We had to walk back a little ways as he had proceeded too far. They seemed eager to take our bags and spoke in Chinese to my husband about dropping luggage but we all managed to travel with carryon and wanted to bring it onboard ourselves. We have lost luggage before and not only that, why wait hours to have it delivered. They eventually backed off and relented and though the minority, we did also see others carry on their own luggage. The process seemed a little confusing but still not overly crowded. I was expecting to find lines just for “foreigners” but did not see anything. Then since we are Gold level members, found a priority line that they allowed us to proceed in. They checked passports and also asked if we had a copy of the passports, fortunately I did. This sped things up. They should have noted online that you should carry a copy but it appeared they had copy machines nearby for those who did not. This was the process for Japan as the ship keeps your passport and you take the paper copy which is stamped and required in each port to get off the ship. Everything up to this point, including boarding the ship was done with the paper set sail pass. We found out that later, the actual seapass is distributed directly to your cabin. This was a bit odd but not a problem. Soon, after bag checks (security), passport review, embarkation photo… we were on our way up the gangway. I have read other reviews where it took 2-3 hours for embarkation. I don’t remember but it may have taken us 45 minutes to an hour- certainly a much lengthier and complex process than any I have encountered before. As with anything, arrive early. The earlier the better to avoid crowds. Cabins were not accessible until 1pm but luckily, I booked in a tiny corridor that we were able to access, ditch the bags just outside the cabin with the cabin tags and a quick word to our cabin steward who then later placed into our room. If we had not done this, I suppose Guest Services would have had a place to check bags. Cabin We had an outside cabin on deck 3. The window was a large rectangular window. The two main beds were pushed together and there was a couch with trundle that when made up was flush with the couch. After it was made the first time, our steward left it that way the entire cruise. This was not a problem as we would often come back to crash or nap at various times throughout the day. Pretty standard layout but I thought the furniture was better as there was an actual dresser with drawers and two closet type units on either side of the bed. One of these units contained shelves and a safe. The other unit had two tiers of rods with hangers and some small baskets on the back of the door for small items. Luggage fit under the beds, even under the couch/trundle. There were also more electrical outlets, and fortunately as the ship was originally sailing in the US, suitable for our use with no need for converters/adapters. However we always travel with gadgets that have multiple plugs/usb ports so there was no shortage of access to charging devices. Our cabin steward seemed to work alone where in past cruises I am used to seeing a main attendant with an assistant. I have no idea how many rooms he had to clean each day but he was efficient. The room was not necessarily sparkling, I did notice toothpaste splatter that pretty much remained the entire cruise but there were always fresh towels and beds made and turned downed with towel animals each night. There is a two sided magnet that can be used to Make Up Cabin and Do Not Disturb. Like all newer ships, you do need to leave your keycard in the designated slot to enable the master switch. There is also another master switch on one side of the bed that made it convenient to turn all the lights off. The window area had a ledge. We propped up the plushies that we accumulated along the trip and had them on lookout when in port. One day when exiting the gangway, we looked back up and saw them there. An attendant noticed us and thought it was cute. Later that day when we returned, he saw us and informed us our dogs (plushies) were still on lookout. I found it amazing that with over 4000 passengers he remembered us. Television Programming There is a flat screen television in the cabin and it has the standard cruise channels advertising future cruise planning, cruise information from the cruise director, itinerary map, webcams and some Chinese programming. We did get caught up in one or two movies that were looping. Later we found two of these movies also offered on the plane. There were very little English language channels to watch. I think there was BBC for news and then maybe some kids cartoons and teen programming but didn’t seem to be current programming- for instance mostly Dora which I don’t think that many kids are into anymore. Surprisingly, we found out that Peppa Pig is very popular, if tshirts and phone cases are anything to go by. Lots of adults wearing Power of Peppa tshirts. Very funny, but then why isn’t Peppa featured on the kids channel? Or since RCL has the DreamWorks partnership and character meets why not this type of programming? We don’t watch a lot of tv on a cruise but when you are waiting for everyone to get ready or with jet lag having a hard time to sleep, a little bit of variety would be helpful. Dining So we soon realized that our Gold status was not the same as the Golden Pass. The Golden Pass is literally a gold (yellow) colored seapass and given to guests who booked special suites. We tried to go into Coastal Kitchen but were denied, we also tried to go into the solarium and were denied. Gold member basically granted us nothing. I thought that I had read somewhere that they sometimes allow foreigners into these areas for a better experience away from the Chinese crowds but that did not appear to be the case. There was no dining room service for lunch on embarkation day. We went to the Windjammer and fortunately as we had boarded early, we were just ahead of the crowd. There were a lot of Chinese offerings, Western offerings appeared to be hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza and pasta. Not sure about embarkation day but other days there were options for breakfast and lunch in the buffet, main dining rooms, Café Two70 and then other times snacks at Sorrentos and Café Promenade as options without a fee. There are 4 dining rooms- Chic and Grande on deck 3 and American Icon and Silk on deck 4. I believe you always line up on deck 3 though I could be wrong about this. The Cruise Compass would list where meals were being served. We didn’t realize it was set time dining as we are usually used to freestyle or my time dining. The first day, we showed up for first seating despite our keycards showing a time for second seating. They did seem to be checking cards but we told them we wanted to see about changing the time so they let us in and then just proceeded to seat us. Since we had a few package options, we didn’t change the time formally and then it worked out and we kept our later dining time for other days. Seating is then like a restaurant, first come first serve by party size and you may get any of the available dining rooms and taken upstairs if needed. The team we had the first night encouraged us to feel free to request their section anytime and we did get them again another time on the cruise and they remembered us. The menu always had Chinese items on the left and a rotating theme on the right. These were often on display electronically outside of the dining rooms with pictures. The first night was international, another time Mediterranean, French, and Japanese on the last night. We missed a few nights due to specialty dining or late night in port. Though not an extensive menu, there were always plenty of things to try and like any cruise, they do not even blink their eye if you ask for multiple courses and were happy to accommodate. The dining rooms had some windows but no wow factor. Some cruise ships have large dining rooms on the aft or multi tiers, but I think the trend is to use those areas for other types of common space. These seem to be the more basic dining room trend that we have been seeing on our latest ships. Specialty Dining There was a big push to sell dining packages. There were display stands everywhere and staff trying to sell in all public spaces on embarkation day. Wonderland and Chef’s Table had their own rates but there was a package to select 3 specialty dining for $88 per person or 4 for $108. They also informed us there was a very limited package for a champagne brunch on the last sea day. We opted for the package of 3 and they even made the reservations for us. We chose Chops, Hot Pot and the champagne brunch. I think there was also some type of special whole fish dish popular with Chinese families in one of the pubs and there was also Izumis for a la carte sushi and Jamie's for Italian but we passed on those. We had Chops on the second night. We had a reservation at 6pm and as we were seated noticed that it was starting to fill up. Although it seemed like there was enough staff on hand, the service was really slow. We waited at least 25 minutes if not more from the time our orders were taken to the first course arriving. We were told to make only one selection of starter, app/salad, entrée so it was very clear what was included. The portions were plenty so it was not in the dining room where you may feel the meal is too light without doubling up. In fact we were so full we were not able to eat dessert and wanted to make a show so we ended up taking dessert to go. Standard Chops experience, nothing to write home about. We decided to try the champagne brunch. This included bottomless champagne and galley tour. This was held the second to last sea day. We made a reservation for 11:30 but then later found out doors opened at 10:30. We did have a light breakfast that morning thinking we needed to hold ourselves over as by this point in the cruise you find that you are missing out if you are not eating every 3 hours. We ended up going a little earlier than our reservation because we panicked thinking we were going to miss out on free champagne. The server that poured champagne was no slacker and I commented that I liked him as he came around every time my glass emptied. But much later in the day I ended up not liking him so much but that was not his fault. We had a nice meal. We had 6 or 7 glasses of champagne- not just a toast pour but fully poured flutes. We were a bit over zealous. Chinese people do not seem to drink a lot. The bars were never crowded when my son went to get sodas. The captain’s reception also did not witness a lot of drinking but instead having juice and non alcoholic options. Non alcoholic options were available at the champagne brunch as well. The server asked us if we wanted our tour before we began eating or after having soup and salad and we opted for the latter. By then we were a bit tipsy. Groups were taken on tour based on English speaking or Chinese speaking preferences. We opted for English speaking and it ended up being a private tour just the four of us. I have worked in commercial kitchens before as had my son recently doing a hospitality internship. My husband and I have also been on a galley tour before. It is nothing short of miraculous or I suppose just very good design and organization that they can crank out the number of meals that they do each and every day. It was fun and informative. I imagine they have separate similar area on deck 4 as waitstaff has had to comment that they had to run upstairs and I imagine a much larger facility must be needed for the Windjammer but it was still nice to get a glimpse of life behind the scenes. We finished our meal and were quite giggly at that point. We passed on dessert. I also broke a glass when I accidently knocked over an empty glass while moving it to the side. Oops. My son hasn’t let me live it down. He escorted us back to our cabin and even was considerate enough to grab sickness bags, though we didn’t need it and then we proceeded to pass out. Maybe just maybe this will turn him off to underage drinking, or even of age drinking. In hindsight, was it just the rocky waves from the rough seas or too much champagne, I will never be exactly sure as I usually have a pretty good tolerance and know my limits. I was surprised to find out later that we passed out in slumber, but not only that, I somehow managed to sleep through 3 separate phone alarms for various activities. I never do that. I always wake up to the alarm sound. One of those alarms was to go retrieve our passports. Luckily my son was paying attention and went to get it. I realized what he was doing and tagged along but was useless, then stumbled back to the room. Man, it is embarrassing but pretty funny but it was not economical. I could have had an equally nice meal in the dining room and ordered a bottle or two of champagne. To me the extra surcharge meals were not worth it. Our last specialty meal was the Hot Pot. Hot Pot is a cook yourself experience, kind of like a Chinese version of fondue. It is held in the Solarium Bistro, I think breakfast for those golden pass holders but Hot Pot for lunch on sea days and dinner in the evenings. That last sea day, I went to request a peek at the night’s menu to decide if we wanted to switch Hot Pot to lunch. The dinner was Japanese and we had missed a port so my son wanted to switch. We went about half hour before lunch stopped but they told us if we were okay with the self serve stations closing then we could proceed. They took our orders for broth preference and lit our individual burners. We went to the cold stations to load up on veggies, noodles and make your own sauce station. There was also a station for dessert and fruit. They brought out the designated raw items of meat and seafood. The seafood tray which had giant prawns, fishballs, fish and squid was limited to one included tray (extra available for fee) but the meats, which included sliced beef and sliced pork, tripe and gyoza was unlimited. We began eating and later they gave us a final warning to reload from the stations that were about to close. Then they allowed us the time we needed to finish cooking/eating. We probably stayed a half hour after they closed the stations (about 1 hour total). I felt a bit bad for the dining staff but this probably happens all the time and another table that was there before we arrived were still there and didn’t feel as bad. We left as soon as they finished. This was a very nice meal. Hot Pot is always fun. The ambiance was not as nice. We couldn’t see the solarium through the dividers but knew it was there and the seating felt like poolside furniture. It was fine, not a problem but not necessarily nice enough for an evening dining experience so I was happy we made the switch to have at lunch. Overall, although I did enjoy the meals, I did not feel it was worth the upsell. The cruise lines have gotten to be horrible with all the nickel and diming. It just seems to be quite an enormous upsell in price that is not necessarily matched by the upgraded quality. So I guess another way you can put it is that the included main dining is quite a good value in itself. The only thing specialty dining does help with is that it gets you away from the crowds and lines. Entertainment There was no information for planning in the Cruise Planner online. I did not know if there would be special shows such as on Oasis. Since I couldn’t do it ahead of time, I decided not to worry about it. Shows were listed in the Cruise Compass and there were often two show times for the headliner shows to account for the two meal periods. One day while having breakfast in Two70 we discovered performers rehearsing an aerial/acrobat type routine. Come to find this is a special show. I think it was called Starwater. It can be booked on the Royal IQ app or the ipad stations on the ship. I had not heard of Royal IQ before the trip and with no internet, could not download the app. I also did not wander into the ipad station area so I was not aware what I was missing out on. Apparently you can book special shows such as this one and you can also book other experiences such as the iFly Ripcord and North Star. It was hit or miss if you were going to receive a system error on it and it was also hit or miss if it would switch over correctly to English. By the time I realized this, the Starwater shows were all filled up. No one seemed to be able to tell me if you could line up somewhere to take seats for reservations that were no shows but then we never ventured over to try having given up and participating in other activities. Ports This itinerary sails from Shanghai on Thursday with a day at sea putting you in Osaka on Saturday, Kobe on Sunday and Nagoya on Monday with two sea days on the return. There was a process requiring obtaining special passes for group slots to debark the ship independently for the first port day. No one seemed to check these passes but we reported to Two70 where our group was called and we were allowed to proceed to the gangway. This was not required for the second port. Another reviewer commented that they lost a lot of time in immigration, again my advice is to go early and avoid the crowds. We had no problems getting off the ship quickly, even with the additional immigration step. Osaka We walked off the ship into the little shopping area to explore and get our bearings. There was free wifi there. The kids wanted to check out the Pokemon Center so we returned to the taxi area where there was someone minding the line and more importantly, helping to translate the destination to the driver. She even gave us a tip upon arriving what level of the shopping center to go to. This was very helpful. The taxi ride seemed to take forever despite maps showing it was not too many miles away. The taxi fare was rather expensive. This was an especially great shock perhaps after the much cheaper taxis we had in China. But by the time the meter climbed, we were already committed. Along the way, we played a game counting the number of 7-11s, Lawsons and Family Marts that we passed along the way. If you don’t already know, 7-11 is a very different experience overseas than from in the US. Yes, they offer beverages and snacks but the type of food and snacks is just not the same! We loved the variety of drinks in both China and Japan but the food was different in Japan. My sister strongly recommended the little sandwiches and Lawson fried chicken but I missed out. There just wasn’t enough opportunity to eat in the short time we were in port. They also have onigiri which is the triangular rice and seaweed paper wrapped snack with filling such as salmon. Yummy. It was just amusing to see these on every street corner instead of Starbucks. We also were on the lookout for shiba inus. We have an 8 month old puppy at home and knew that since it is a Japanese breed it is a much beloved pet in Japan. To our dismay and surprise, we only saw one during the drive. A little surprising as it was the weekend and locals seemed to be out and about. We missed our puppy so much! The kids spent a good amount of time in the Pokemon Center and making their purchases. From that area, we took the subway to Dotonbori which is where we wanted to be in the evening for all of the food and ambiance. We were not disappointed. We tried takoyaki (octopus in batter type of ball), giant scallops cooked on the half shell, some type of skewers, crab claws and then more takoyaki. We wandered and browsed in shops and watched the people go by. There were also a lot of claw machines that we tried to win shiba inu plushies or bubble gum type machines that dispensed small prizes. We also went to a ramen place where you order and pay from the vending machine, then are seated and served inside. That was fun and we lucked out before the line grew long outside. Delicious! We were in port from 2pm until 4am but headed back probably around 10-11pm via subway and returned to the ship. Kobe We were not in a hurry to debark since it was a Sunday and we weren’t sure what would be open. We took our time although the ship arrived around 7am. It may have been about 9:30 when we got off. Inside the terminal we stopped for maps and information and found there was a shuttle to the downtown area in Motomatchi which is also their Chinatown. We again searched for shibas and did not spot any. We took our time strolling the shopping area and little side branching alleys. Then we worked our way to the subway and went to visit Kobe Nunobiki Herb Gardens. Since Cruise Critic failed me this trip in precruise planning, I turned to another unlikely resource and gathered information by searching for information on YouTube. I don’t know, maybe I am old school and look at travel books and websites for most of my information but since there were so few detailed reviews and threads dedicated to Quantum or the ports, I had to turn elsewhere. It was so much fun that this may be the new way I do all my future trip research. The Herb Gardens were fun but a little difficult to locate the correct exit from the subway station. We went up on the ropeway (cable car) and requested a one way ticket. This was a mistake in hindsight, we should have done round trip. I though this meant we would miss the gardens but there is a separate pickup point to ride back down after walking through the gardens. The attendant suggested that one way would require a two hour walk down and he was probably correct although we thought his estimate was to allow for those who make their way through the garden at a more leisurely pace. We wandered the gardens and took a lot of photos. We also saw our ship from various points along the way down. When we exited, we passed that lower cable car stop and had to exit through a side gate completely. Here it was slightly challenging which way to go but there were some sporadic signs along the way to confirm and we had visual of the progress we were making. Some of it was a very winding and an awkward decline to walk. We began to regret our choice. Then about what we thought was halfway, there was a confusing area that overlooked something that looked like a small rest area. We were uncertain if we should proceed on the road or detour into this area. We saw two other “foreigners” turn off here so we thought perhaps we should check it out. There seemed to be restrooms here but no helpful signage so we cautiously proceeded. This detour was perhaps a more scenic route and what I hope to have been a shortcut. It was more dirt path at some points and there were more little shops and vending machines which was helpful as we needed drinks. Somehow at some point maybe it was its own attraction and took us to an area where we saw a waterfall. Definitely an interesting and scenic detour and in the end, got us to the place where we started, which was reassuring. We then took the subway over to the Harborwalk area. There we spent our rapidly declining time in port and was on the hunt for Kobe beef. We did not try Kobe beef while in Dotonbori as we figured it would be even better in Kobe. We found a place in the Mosaic area next to the ferris wheel for a quick bite and then took a taxi back to port as we knew that downtown shuttle stopped and it was getting closer to the all aboard time. We made it just fine and had time to browse the terminal center with the stalls that had been set up that were not present in the morning. Upon clearing the immigration area, they collected our passport copies. I asked what about tomorrow but no one understood me. Little did we know but this was our last port in Japan. Nagoya We never made it to Nagoya as the ship cancelled this port. There were concerns from two typhoons. There was a letter explaining this and port charges were refunded to our onboard account but the other minor compensation was to be handled through a claim form against the insurance that RC purchases for cancelled ports. I have received a claim form from the representative but have not submitted it yet. It is a refund of 400 rmb, about $45USD and possible wire transfer charges will be deducted. Not sure it will be worth the trouble. Activities I wasn’t sure what to think about activities on this ship. I had concerns that the Chinese crowds would get pushy and if RCL would be able to keep order but those fears were unfounded. In the beginning, we were lucky and happened to be early to the bumper car session and roller skating session. We had no problem participating. Later in the cruise, activities quickly formed long lines. We did not try Flowrider. We did the rock wall on a later sea day, it was particularly windy but not enough to close it and we lucked out being one of the first in line for that time. We also managed to try the trapeze although that was for a later time than we lined up and we just watched until our group was called. I do have to compliment RCL on a good job with the design of the SeaPlex. This was a really good multiuse space. Ping pong tables were nearly impossible to snag though. In reading some other reviews, I am surprised that there was more than one comment about these items being for a fee. Yes, iFly and North Star were for a fee however each item I mentioned here- bumper cars, roller skating, rock climbing- were free, no fee charged. Just be sure to pack some socks as that was required for some activities. You also need your seapass card for each person participating and a parent to sign for underage children. I was still surprised so many people lined up and then realized they didn’t have their seapass card. Or one time approaching the gangway that they couldn’t find their seapass. I know there are many first time cruisers out there and perhaps that message was not made clear on this ship but you need to carry your seapass card on you. Beware, there are some air hockey tables in the upper area that require a swipe to turn the machine on and release the puck. Each swipe ended up costing $2 charged to your onboard account. Shuffleboard I have to give this its own category because this seems to me to be an activity that reflects the old leisurely aspect of cruising. Most newer ships do away with this outdoor activity and have opted for a table version instead. Come on, that is just not the same. I was so happy to see a shuffleboard area set up outside. Not one person seemed to know how to play which meant this was available to us personally anytime we wanted to play. We drew some attention and observers. Then upon walking away, we did talk another group into giving it a try and instructed them to put the items away after use. Have no idea if they did but I did try to properly pass along. I love taking photos of my family and will have to compare to earlier cruises as a throwback one day. Service There was definitely a heavy presence of Chinese staff on hand to assist with the primary passengers and language. The cruise director was Chinese and gave both Mandarin and English explanations for announcements and intros to the shows. Most of the dining staff and guest services and staff along the promenade were primarily Chinese. However, that being said, there were also a fair amount of non Chinese staff. Room stewards, waitstaff, activities staff and entertainment was a fair mix of Chinese and English speaking crew. Disembarkation Since we handled our own luggage, we did not need luggage tags or a color. We had a late night flight out after midnight so we treated it as another port day. We had breakfast and did not rush though I felt bad knowing our steward was going to have to turn so many cabins that day. We definitely felt he deserved an extra tip and left one for him. It did take a little bit of time to make it off the ship and through the exit despite having all our bags. No crowds in the elevator surprisingly but they did make us do an extra long loop on the deck to wrap around from the stairs/elevator area to the gangway. Once outside, the only snafu was the line for taxis. It was moving really slow despite a constant line of available taxis. At one point, a Chinese person started yelling at the cab drivers and the person managing the line that it wasn’t fair to Chinese locals who were trying to get home. They felt the foreigners were holding up the line as often they did not have their destination ready in the local language. They felt there should be two lines to better serve everyone. The attendant told them to hold their horses so the line kept moving in order that they lined up. I agree it was frustrating and perhaps not the most efficient process but at the same time am relieved that they kept everyone in order. Other My son got the beverage package and the souvenir cup with chip for the self service fountain machines but those machines were not in use. My guess is that they were either hard to maintain or perhaps there were too many people watching You Tube videos with the hack on how to bypass the system to dispense without a package. As was typical, there was sometimes a slight delay at bars to get sodas. But overall, again since not many people were drinking, the bars seemed underutilized and easy to get a quick soda. While mentioning hacks, the hack to access internet does not work either. Anytime you try to access the web through the Royal Caribbean page, you were redirected to the Voom login page. Hack does not work. But what is interesting is that if you go on the royal wifi page, we found that we were able to send and receive text messages. We could not send or receive photos or videos but standard texts seemed to go through without any problem. We had phones on airplane mode and roaming turned off so hopefully there are no surprises on next month’s cell phone bill. Wouldn’t you know the billing period ends through the date of our cruise so I will have to wait and keep checking next month. Dress code on this ship was extremely casual. Being summer I wore shorts or skirts during the day with tops and tshirts. Husband and son did not change for dinner and shorts were perfectly fine. My daughter and I are a bit more used to changing for dinner so I would at least change to a skirt or capris- still casual but made me feel less self conscious. It would not have been a problem though but I did notice other women making an effort for dinner time which was a little surprising. I read on another review that someone mentioned how they heard the cruise was a way for Chinese passengers to shop in Japan and transport items back home and that they liked the shopping opportunities on the ship. This was evident in the promenade. They said once they looked at it from that viewpoint, everything else made sense and they avoided the shopping areas. In hindsight, I do see this as mostly true. We did not try the Bionic Bar. On all the promotional videos, it looks like something fun to try but again as Chinese people did not appear to drink, we never saw it in use and ended up forgetting to try. Only saw the North Star in motion one time and not sure how popular the iFly Ripcord was. Since Two70 takes over the aft of deck 5, the outdoor areas do not form a full lap of the deck. On many ships we’ve been on in the past, it was nice to have a lower deck walking area separate from the upper sports deck. This usually cuts down on both sun and wind. We did sit out on the deck 5 outer areas but this area did not get much use. Sailaway We had our muster drill on the first day and sometime during this, we must have sailed away. So we were not out on deck when we left port. This was a little disappointing as I like the first sailaway to set the mood for the cruise. There was no horn blowing (that we could hear), no announcements, no deck party (well not sure since we didn’t venture up top). We stepped outside on deck 5 to confirm movement and then decided to go to dinner. Since we were in Osaka so late, we didn’t sailaway until closer to 5am. When we left Kobe, there was evidence there would be some type of sendoff. We could see balloon clusters that would be ready for release. We also saw drummers along the port area and crowds of observers that were not returning passengers. We stayed out on deck for the sailaway and it was one of my most memorable so far. We did see one or two pier runners- I know this is usually spectator sport in a Caribbean port but not much to see here. We did hear a call for a few passengers. Eventually the drummers started to perform and the mood in the air was spectacular. As we pulled away, the drummers kept on beat and the balloons soon released and a pilot type boat in the harbor accompanied us with the fountain jets going. Soon the water changed colors a few times, red, blue, yellow while seeing us off. The sun was starting to set and it was a beautiful sailaway. I had hoped it would be repeated the next day but then we learned we were missing the port due to typhoon. Art Auction We went to the auction to pass some time and have some champagne. In the beginning the staff were clear to review that you are responsible for your bids and cannot back out due to being drunk, not paying attention, letting your child play with your number paddle, etc. I joked with my kids that sometimes a touch of the nose, brushing a strand of hair, scratching your ear, could cost you dearly if the auctioneer thinks you have signaled a bid. It was of course not that extreme. Peter Max items came out costing $60,000. The only reason I recognized his name is because he did the hull artwork on the Norwegian Breakaway which was the last ship we cruised on. Most of those items did not secure the required starting bids so they went back on the auction block. The auctioneer had funny broken English and would usually say in Chinese something to the effect of “Send it back to Peter Max” and then in broken English exclaim to the assistants, “Next one on the block!” At some point, there were prints that started out at a dollar. One item that came up caught our eye. It was of foxes and our puppy often resembles a fox. My son asked if he could bid and I told him sure, but stop at $50. Next thing I know, he is raising it and raising it and raising it and an item went for $180. I panicked. I had no idea what was going on as I was looking around to see if the champagne was coming. Then they consulted with that bidder and somehow must have let him off the hook, next thing I know, they were coming to us and said we won the bid at $60. We were puzzled because my son said he stopped at 50. But then no big deal, we decided what the heck this would be a fun souvenir. They took our info and wrote out a receipt and told us when to stop by for another raffle and finalize the purchase later that evening. Then, finally the champagne was served and I thought to myself this was the most expensive champagne I never had to pay for. This was before the champagne brunch and you can see I will be staying away from champagne going forward. We did go back to finalize the purchase and with shipping cost us a total of $95 and will be shipped within 12 weeks. I thought I misheard on the ship two weeks but just received an email for twelve weeks which makes a little more sense. This follow up seemed to be another ploy to sell to us because they delayed saying there were computer challenges and kept asking us if there was more artwork we’d like to see, what our styles and interests were. Finally after seeing they were getting nowhere with us, or computer issues resolved, they helped us finalize. I really never understood why they think there is a market for this on a cruise ship and then with all the displays in a very little security area makes me even wonder if any of this artwork is original. I’m guessing they are mostly prints but then if prints, aren’t people overbidding? I looked up the artist and piece online just now and he said he markets exclusively with Park West and that they are prints. Maybe I was scammed but fortunately this won’t break the bank and will be a funny story we tell when we display this piece in our home. Misses Was this cruise a hit or a miss? It wasn’t one of the best cruises I’ve ever had but it wasn’t the worst either. I’m of the mindset a bad day at sea is still better than even your average day at home and I was just thrilled we are blessed enough to be able to travel by cruise and see the world. I have no regrets about taking this cruise. The only misses we had on this trip is that we always take a picture of the kids wearing the lifevests either in the cabin or at the safety drill. Now, they no longer place the lifevests in the room but only have them at the assembly stations in the event of an emergency. Crew members had ones for demonstration only. At one point, I was debating asking them to allow me to use for a photo but then decided to abandon the idea so there is no lifevest photo from this sailing. The other miss was escargot. The night the French menu was offered, there was no escargot offered. Instead there was some type of a scallop dish offered that looked like escargot but the scallop pieces were no bigger than the tip of your pinky finger if that. They were served in the same type of dish which really fooled your mind. The cheesy sauce was just not the same but the sliver of bread was okay dipped in the cheesy sauce. Overall in summary, this was a decent value and we got a good price for the trip by booking early. If you are looking at a cruise in Asia, just be sure to research typhoon season. It was a great way to get a taste of Japan and I hope to plan a land trip there in the future so that we can continue our explorative travels. Quantum of the Seas was a great home away from home. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Firstly, I have travelled with RCI on around 12 cruises all over the world and have found them to be amongst the best in class. The staff respond magnificently to any concern or query you may have so most things are resolved quickly. I ... Read More
Firstly, I have travelled with RCI on around 12 cruises all over the world and have found them to be amongst the best in class. The staff respond magnificently to any concern or query you may have so most things are resolved quickly. I read some reviews before going on the Shangai - Japan cruise, mostly the professional critics (Liz Jarvis et al) and knew that the population would be mostly Chinese which I thought might be a good cultural experience - how wrong as I was. We arrived comfortably at the Raddison, Shanghai which was pleasant enough and spent a lovely day touring with a professional tour guide (about 16 of us). This was good inasmuch as we quickly bonded with a group and made friends before boarding. We arranged our transport from the hotel and arrived at chaos - which is a wee place port side where we waited in numerous queues, being harrassed by Chinese people, not all - but by a significant minority, trying to skip queues and barge they way past you - some quite aggressively. Despite having priority boarding it took 2.5 hours. Now people like Liz Jarvis and other so called 'professional critics' who believe you can experience the Chinese cultural on the artificial environment of a western type cruise ship really need to think about what they are writing. One of the crew of the ship (someone that experiences this trip a lot) told me this was trip was treated more like a ferry for Chinese families to access Japan shops ( a fact borne out by the returning luggage of most of the people from China). The stateroom was a balcony room (most are) which was lovely - kept clean and fresh by a lovely room maid and associate). The ship was kept clean and in excellent order. The staff without exception were helpful and some exceptional (Ms. Wu, Dining manager). The facilities were also busy with significant queues, again with kids trying to jump the queues in full view of their parents also trying to barge past. On board I wondered why there were signs up in the toilets asking patrons to use a paper towel to open the door. The reason was this - and this is from a male perspective, nearly half of the males didn't wash their hands either when they went for a pee or the other. The kids wash hand rate was about 75% - a wee bit better than the older males. To combat this RCI makes everyone wash their hands before entering the dining rooms (thankfully). This made me not want to use any of the handle, bannisters and other common hand holds on the ship. The ship constructs two social classes - those with Gold / Silver suites and those who do not. Essentially some of the facilities I thought I was paying for I did not receive - the Solarium for one - a place where adults can chill out. Gold/Silver guests have 'special' arrangements to get off and on board but it was satisfying to see them having to slug it out with the rest of us when it came to going through disemarkation The food was directed almost exclusively for the Chinese market with only a handful of dishes (which were repeated each night) made for the European pallet. Don't get me wrong i love authentic Chinese cuisine - just not 24/7. Another absence was the lack of formal night - you either love them or loathe them - I like them and came along with my kilt to discover that T shirts and shorts were the preferred attire by arounf 60% of the dining population. I could have gone to the 'paying' options i.e. Jamie Oliver's attempt at Italian cookery but having experienced this in London I chose not too and steak houses aren't an attraction for some one who doesn't like steaks. Essentially the menus were, in my view discriminatory, When I made this comment to the waiting staff all things changed - from then on they went out of their way ( many thanks to Ms. Wu - a wonderful Chinese dining room manager and her colleagues) to provide dishes at our request - Indian Curries, Fish and Meat dishes etc. The sort of food you would normally expect from RCI. It should be noted that three folk from our original party contracted stomach complaints - two quite badly at the end of their cruise (see the facebook page of Quantum). The ship itself is describes as a 'smart ship' but I felt it was overcrowded and lacked real choice in activity. The smaller ships in my view - Navigator, Legend and even Splendour - a really old ship - offered more. In Quantum - RCI are cashing in on the main client by providing a range of up market shops - ie Tiffanys' etc. well out of my range (I'm not a travel critic you see...) Entertainment was mixed - some of the shows / entertainers were an embarrassment and some were reasonable. This is sort of subjective - what one person likes another hates - I know this but this is the first cruise I deliberately avoided some 'entertainers'. Ones I went out of my way to see where the two ladies paying the violin and guitar (Schooner bar) and the painist who had several venues around the ship an a wonderful band who played in a bar I cant remember the name of - they pated a range of music (not to be confused with the Karaoke band). Poolside was fine with plenty of beds available in upper levels - expected wit so many free child places. We had the deluxe drinking package included which was good as the coffee and drinks are expensive particularly when RCI adds 18% gratuity. All in all a poor performance by the company only saved by the quality of the staff. If RCI wish to attract European or American clients they need to look at their on board strategy. In Shanghai, as in the very beautiful Japan, I found the people wonderful, respectful and courteous and their cultures and history fascinating and appealing . It is likely that I will visit these countries on a land based basis. Don't be fooled by so called expert reviewers that say you will have a Chinese/Japanese cultural experience on board the metal construct of a cruise liner. Anyone that does is, in my view, delusional at best. I hope this helps - in future I will only read reviews by folk who are self funding and not professional reviewers. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We were excited to be on the Quantum, our biggest and newest RC cruise yet, but had read about the culturally immersive experience on board and were prepared to face unending crowds, crazy elevator situations, and pushy behavior. I am ... Read More
We were excited to be on the Quantum, our biggest and newest RC cruise yet, but had read about the culturally immersive experience on board and were prepared to face unending crowds, crazy elevator situations, and pushy behavior. I am happy to report that the ship is stunningly beautiful, the crew are extremely professional, and the cross-cultural experience was a great learning opportunity. However, our experience was based on having Diamond RCL Crown and Anchor status as well as being in a Golden Suites stateroom (Royal Family Suite), and those factors seemed to make a big difference. Embarkation was as smooth as could be expected in one of the busiest ports in the world. Our tagged luggage was handled swiftly as they had a special place for Golden Suites luggage. Check-in was done quickly, again in the Golden Suites section, but then "border control" slowed the pace. I think given the small number of Crown and Anchor Society (Silver, Gold, Emerald, etc.) members, we were placed in the same line as all the other Golden Suites passengers and that slowed things down considerably while passports, SeaPass cards, etc. were checked numerous times. Be sure to have at least one copy of each passport (one passport per page) before you arrive so you don't have to wait for them to make a copy for you. You will surrender your passport before you board the ship, and that passport copy is your only way to enter Japan. Once we boarded the ship, we decided to jump right in and headed straight to Windjammer. Yes, the tables were crowded, but we found that people like to be near the food so the tables at the back of the ship were more readily available. The Windjammer staff were very quick to respond to our requests to clear recently vacated tables and they did a good job keeping things clean overall considering the volume of diners and the quantity of food being consumed. We braced ourselves and went in to the food stations, where the food selection was of course aimed towards the Chinese majority, which was fine -- the salad bar was bright and clean, "live noodles" was fun, and we found tasty and interesting things to try every day. Yes, there were a lot of people and many were unaccustomed to the concept of standing in line, but singing along to the 80's background music and smiling regardless of how others were behaving made it a fun adventure. I found that extending a courtesy by making eye contact with anyone who wanted to budge in line and saying perhaps a bit loudly, "Please, do go ahead of me" startled some people into backing off or at least pausing before rushing in to grab bean sprouts or whatever. By day 3 of the cruise, we all understood that the food would not run out so it was sort of okay for everyone to stand in line. Going during off peak hours was also a way to avoid the crowds. Here's a tip: If you are in a Golden Suites stateroom, you can take your Windjammer food into the back door of the Coastal Kitchen restaurant, which is reserved for Golden Suites, and not have to jockey for a table at Windjammer (the back door opens right into Windjammer). Plus you can order Coastal Kitchen food as well while you're there! Gillian Singh runs Coastal Kitchen and truly represents the RCL WOW factor. We also ate dinner at Chic and Silk, and it took me a while to figure this out, but here's the scoop: There is a different dinner menu for each day on this cruise, and the four "main" dining rooms all serve that day's menu -- so the menus at Chic, Silk, Icon and Grande are the same on a given night, the only differences are the decor and ambiance, and possibly the add-on $ items (steak, lobster, etc.). Independently, there are two different dinner menus at Coastal Kitchen, and they run the first menu for 3 days, then the second menu for the next 3 days, and go back to the first menu on the final day. To avoid lines, as others have mentioned, plan to go 20-30 minutes after the doors to the main dining rooms open, which also allows for a more relaxed dining experience. We found the dining room staff to be well trained and very accommodating, and happy to have fun conversations with dining room guests who were not rushing to get to the show or other activities. If you have younger children, there is a kids' menu available and the staff will go out of their way to make sure everyone gets what they want. I know a few families who went to the same main dining room each night because they got to know the dining room staff so well and enjoyed the consistent service. We did not eat at any of the pay-to-dine restaurants as we got our sushi fix in Japan. The Golden Suites Concierge Lounge was beautiful and spanned the entire stern of Deck 12, giving us some fantastic views. The Concierge team was exceptionally attentive, checking in on us regularly and even going so far as calling the security team on our neighbors who were smoking unlawfully on their balcony. The lounge was a very calm place with tasty appetizers, although the bartending could use a little advancement -- mixed drinks were fairly weak, perhaps by design. On the other end of the ship, the Solarium was also reserved exclusively for Golden Suites passengers, and spanned the entire bow of Deck 14 in an enclosed, beautifully decorated space with 3 cascading pools and 4 large and largely unused hot tubs. There was always plenty of poolside lounge-style seating available. We spent all of our pool time here, although our 13-year-old ventured into the other pool areas with her new-found Teen Club friends to catch some rays. Great appetizers and a friendly bar staff made the Solarium a wonderful way to spend our afternoons. Sitting alone in a hot tub with an expansive view of the ocean definitely "did not suck." We did the iFly Ripcord as well as the North Star (free for Diamond and Golden Suites). The Ripcord was well worth the spend. I am not sure that we would pay for the North Star experience -- it was fun to be high above the ship, but there's not a lot to see other than the ship itself. We had fun with the English Music Trivia in the Schooner Bar, and the entertainment host, Cars, was hilarious (hopefully he meant to be that funny). It was a good way to meet some of the other English-speaking passengers on the ship. The only show we saw was the StarWater show, and it was technically impressive. I am not sure if it was meant to be more of a variety show as I could not discern a story line. RCL has upped its entertainment game for sure, but as a Disney Cruise veteran, RCL still has a way to go when it comes to production value. Once again the Golden Suites card played well here as we had a reserved space in the upper balcony and did not need to make a reservation in advance. We did our own private shore excursions in Osaka and Kobe, and those were great. Within 10 minutes of being in Japan for the first time, we were riding a train to the Nara Deer Park! In Tokyo, we signed up for an RCL shore excursion, which was okay. The Yokohama port where we stopped is not near anything, not even public transportation, so it took a while to get anywhere, coupled with the fact that it took forever to get everyone off the ship onto the waiting tour buses. The RCL Tokyo Highlights tour did not go to all the sights because we just ran out of time, which was disappointing considering the fact that it was more expensive than our private tours in the other ports. I would recommend a private tour for the Yokohama port of call if you want to see the main sights of Tokyo. Others have commented on the number of people on this ship, and I had heard that it was on the order of 4800, which is a LOT. That being said, the bars were quite accessible, and the Bionic Bar on Deck 5 especially was always empty. That became our meeting spot in the evenings, above the din of the frenzied shoppers on Deck 4. The shop staff will very kindly assist you if you need help to navigate through the crowds. We learned that for many of the Chinese passengers, the cruise is really an opportunity to shop and the actual destinations are not that relevant. Once we saw things through that lens, it made it a lot easier to navigate through the ship especially during the flash sales. I personally would go on this cruise again -- the ship is just that gorgeous and the staff are amazing -- as long as I am able to be in a Golden Suites category room. That was definitely worth the extra money and resulted in a really enjoyable cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I would like to share my experience with Norwegian Cruise line regarding our trip to China/Japan. The reason I chose this cruise was because of the reasonable price verses other cruise agencies for the same location. I had never cruised ... Read More
I would like to share my experience with Norwegian Cruise line regarding our trip to China/Japan. The reason I chose this cruise was because of the reasonable price verses other cruise agencies for the same location. I had never cruised with Norwegian and would highly recommend them to anyone. Their staff cannot be beat! Everyone was friendly and went out of their way to make certain we had a wonderful trip. We did! Pros: GREAT STAFF! Very attentive and fun, plenty of activities when at sea, excursions well organized, disembarkation fantastic! Off the ship to catch our plane in plenty of time. Best price for China/Japan and excursion locations. Staff made certain everyone entering the buffet used hand sanitizer. Staff at O'Sheehan's was so much fun I would return just to be with them again! Cons: Embarkation disorganized, would have liked more excursions to choose from (took some private tours). Great time! Hope to cruise with Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
For the ports of call and, that it was a celebrity cruise. Every member of staff on board were excellent with some being exceptional. Everything was spotlessly clean and of a very high standard. The food was delicious exciting and ... Read More
For the ports of call and, that it was a celebrity cruise. Every member of staff on board were excellent with some being exceptional. Everything was spotlessly clean and of a very high standard. The food was delicious exciting and very varied, always lots of choice and available all day every day. The selection and amount of restaurants gave you lots of different places to eat so you would never be short of different cuisine.. We particularily enjoyed the night life entertainment and stage shows which were fantastic and very proffessional. We also used the facilities in the gym and had some great advice from doritya our personal trainer who was very knowledgable and patient and a joy to be with. Getting on and off the ship was a very smooth process and it was nice to see the faces of the friendly staff welcoming us back on board, great holiday, thank you celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
My family of 4 chose this cruise mainly because we wanted to visit Japan, next thing was because we wanted to experience a 5 star cruise. Embarkation at Baoshan port, Shanghai was a true nightmare. It took us nearly 3 hours to get on ... Read More
My family of 4 chose this cruise mainly because we wanted to visit Japan, next thing was because we wanted to experience a 5 star cruise. Embarkation at Baoshan port, Shanghai was a true nightmare. It took us nearly 3 hours to get on the ship. Chinese shore staff didn't speak English or pay attention to who we were. Since we were also Asians, they kept pointing us to the long queue line of Chinese people while Western people were allowed to the International Passengers Queue Line. I tried to talk to them but they ignored me. We were pushed by so many Chinese people and went deeper into the crowd. The customs procedure had many unnecessary steps. However, embarkation and disembarkation at Japan ports were so much smoother and faster. Our rooms were balcony staterooms located on deck 9. The rooms and everything else were amazingly beautiful. The cruise crews were also very nice, kind and friendly. They all had excellent English skills. I have no complaint about the cruise and its crew members. Anyway, before every lunch and dinner at the complimentary restaurants on the cruise, we had to spend 30-45 minutes to queue. Foods were good but not many choices. The Windjammer buffet was large and always crowded but there were actually only a few dishes that were categorized mainly for Chinese people. Half of the shows and entertainments on the cruise were performed in Chinese language. I think 95% of the passengers were Chinese. Hiroshima and Kochi were beautiful in this time of year. I wish the ship had stopped at each port for a longer time than just 5-6 hours. Maybe I will want to cruise again but not any cruise that departs from China or stopping by China. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
I chose this cruise from COSTCO as i trust Costco for most major purchases. My wife and I had been thinking about a cruise for some time. This cruise was visiting many countries we wanted to see; Shanghai, Hong kong, Japan, Vietnam, South ... Read More
I chose this cruise from COSTCO as i trust Costco for most major purchases. My wife and I had been thinking about a cruise for some time. This cruise was visiting many countries we wanted to see; Shanghai, Hong kong, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, Thailand and Singapore. Boarding was very time consuming, about 2 hours, long queues. After a day at sea I got a really bad sore throat like swallowing a razor, in the morning it was not too bad but by late afternoon I was taking 3 advils at a time for the pain, this lasted until we deboarded finally, a day later i was okay. went to their medical but they wanted 95 bucks just for initial consultation, so i just put up with it. i never found out the cause, it was not a virus. Their restaurants wanted 29 bucks a head for speciality dining, like a steak or something, which i thought was way over priced considering we paid for meals. I read somewhere else, someone saying their food quality was equivalent to Mall court food - this is a good assessment. Staff were friendly and helpful. getting off at the ports was time consuming, the first port was Hakata in Japan, lots of pshing and shoving by guests to get off, i had one british woman try to climb over me and my backpack in the queue. typical of british women. i’d say the guests were 60% Aussie/NZ, 25% UK, 10% Asian and 5% USA. Cabins were nice but very small, bathroom were a total squeeze. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018

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