7 Shanghai Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

This was my first cruise setting sail from a port within Mainland China. It is understandable that a large number of the passengers came from within Mainland China. My immediate impression on embarkation after passing through passport ... Read More
This was my first cruise setting sail from a port within Mainland China. It is understandable that a large number of the passengers came from within Mainland China. My immediate impression on embarkation after passing through passport control is that Costa's staff starting from the point where our passports were collected, vessel's officers along the gangway up to the point where our photos were taken for the Costa Cards for use during the cruise, were less than friendly and welcoming. There was no smile whatsoever on their faces and nothing to suggest from their body language that we as paying passengers were welcome for this cruise. This I found out to be the norm for all vessel's offcers during the entirety of this cruise. My review now continues by bullet-points : 1. As Costa Venezia is less than one year old since it joined the Costa fleet, everything on the boat is very new and modern. Wife and I booked a cabin with balcony and the cabin is roomy and nicely appointed. The room was on deck 9 towards the rear of the boat and is very convenient to get to Deck 10, where a lot of actions and eateries are located. During our cruise, our cabin was looked after by a dedicated cabin steward. He was Star Serondo from the Philippines. He also greeted passengers with a big smile and is industrious. Every morning when wife and I went upstairs to deck 10 to take a quick breakfast, Star would have completed the cabin cleaning within the short time that we went for our breakfast, which was normally 40 min. from the time we left our cabin to the time we returned to our cabin. He comes with my high commendation. 2. One very important feature that I noticed is that a large number of the crew on the boat only speak Mandarin. This is undertandable as a large number of the passengers come from Mainland China and they only speak Mandarin. Unfortunately for someone like me who is not well versed in Mandarin found it hard to communicate with crew members when I need to. In one instance, I was asked if I can speak to them in Mandarin!! Their Mandarin speaking crew appeared to be inexperienced and went about their business by adopting Chinese custom and lacking in Internationally accepted mannerism and etiquette. This is a real disapointment for someone like me who is so adpated to Western culture and mannerism. 3. Tying in with my previous comments, a lot of the announcements made on the boat were made in just one language. Yes, you guessed it, mandarin only. This left me in the dark at most times and in particular, I was worried that I might miss any important announcemnt that is safety related. The only times that the announcement was made in both English and Mandarin was immediately before disembarkation when we arrived back in Shanghai. to remind passengers to go and settle their bills before they disembark!! All in all, the entire cruise was geared towards Mandarin speaking passengers and for those who do not speak Mandarin, best to choose other cruises not setting sail out of China ports. 4. In terms of food, those outlets that serve free food offered little varieties and their taste was poor to average. For me, there are only two categories of food, one being to fill you up when you are hungry and the other is looking for quality in the food that one takes. The food served at these outlets only qualify for the first category that I described. 5. I have also tried out four paid resturants during my cruise and they include Casanova, the Hot Pot place, the Teppenyaki restaurant and the BBQ outlet. The only place that comes close to my second category of food is Casanova. The place is quickly filled up and my best advice is to make a reservation for this restaurant as soon as you settle into your cabin to avoid disappointment. However, whilst the food in Casanova is okay to good, do not expect their service can complement the food. Most of the staff in this restaurant has no knowledge on how food should be served. This place is definitely not a fine dining outlet. For the BBQ outlet, the food served was cold and not sizzling hot as one would have expected from BBQ experience. The only consolation is the food served at the BBQ outlet is relatively cheap. The teppenyaki experience is more to attend a show dinner more than quality of the food. At any rate, the quality of the food is nowhere near the authentic teppenyaki restaurant that I have come across, be it in Japan or outside Japan. Hot Pot place is worthed a visit as the food does not require Chef's cooking and the price is again relatively cheap. The boat also has a steakhouse, a seafood restaurant, Napoli Pizza and noodle house which i did not have a chance to savour. 6. We joined a shore excursion when the boat berthed at Kagoshima. Save for the lunch provided with the excursion, the experience was bad. The guide for our group made us stand in line to wait for all the execurion participants to arrive before she led us to our coach. When we arrived at one of the three designated sight-seeing locations, the guide just pointed to where we were suppose to head and did not actually show us the place. At one location, we had to resort to using Goggle Map to find out where we were supposed to be going. The worst part came at the end of the excursion when we were all asked to leave the coach to move into a supermarket like medicine store. We were made to stay there for over an hour. For those who were not interested to shop in the store was made to stand around and were not allowed to stay on the coach! The attendants in the shop were mainly Chinese and that shop can be mistaken as another shop found in Mainland China if we were not told that that was Japan. Better off saving your money by not joining the excursion and simply disembarked and explore the destination yourselves. 7. I want to complement a lot of the English speaking crew who came form India and the Philipines. They are all very cheerful, helpful, hospitable and ready at all times to make passengers to enjoy the cruise as it should be enjoyed. This contradicted sharply with the Western officers who not only appeared to be unfriendly, but also too arrogant in front of their mainly Chinese pasengers. They seem to have forgotten that all passengers are paying to come on board and we are not refugees!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Me and My Husband Decided to travel by RC Quantum of the Seas, on 1st May 2017 for 5 nights. As we entered for check in, the staff pointed out that we had only a single entry visa and we may had to be docked off at fukoaka Japan. We were ... Read More
Me and My Husband Decided to travel by RC Quantum of the Seas, on 1st May 2017 for 5 nights. As we entered for check in, the staff pointed out that we had only a single entry visa and we may had to be docked off at fukoaka Japan. We were really upset and proceeded to the Main Lobby Service desk where we met the Assistant Front Desk Manager - Quantum of the Seas, Daniel Pargan. Daniel contacted the relationship mgt team, who further contacted the immigration dept and assured us that we could come back to china and could enjoy all our days on the cruise. This is our 2nd time with RC and first time with Quantum. The experience was a little overwhelming as compared to our time with Mariner as we were not used to the Chinese Way of things. The Star Water show was completely booked for both the days before we could even know of what shows were on. Daniel, again came to our rescue with Booking the VIP seats for us (as the rest were full). Over the 5 days on the cruise ship, Daniel made us feel extremely comfortable and warm. We had literally no words to express our gratitude. Shows & Food: The daily shows on the ship are of good quality and standard. Especially the finale show was beautiful. Go early as people tend to reserve seats nearly 30 mins before the show starts. Our experience with Mariners with regards to the show timing and segregation was more appreciated comparatively. The food at the specialty restaurant is good as well (if you make it through the Crowd).The Windjammer is okay for lunch but should be your last option for dinner, the standard at the WJ was not up to the mark this time around, and we are not sure why. Our Pilipino server at the American Grill was very friendly and sweet. Crowd: The staff onboard were of different cultural backgrounds and we enjoyed the experience with them on varied encounters. The crowd on the cruise in general is 70% Chinese which for some reason felt claustrophobic. Be it while entering a restaurant, at the buffet, at the check-in / checkout lines, or while trying to attend a show. It feels like everyone, at all time, are in hurry. Shore Excursion: We did not take the shore excursion as we like to explore on our own. Fukouka was absolutely wonderful and Kumamoto was so so. Room Service: Our Room Service attendant at 11156 – Lei was absolutely fantastic at his job and also very very cordial. He made us feel at home on the RC. Activities: We Tried the Bumper Cars, Trapeze, Ifly (chargeable), and North Star (shockingly chargeable) & Rock Climbing and a special mention about the trainer/staff Vijay, who was awesome with his advice and encouragement. We also had two drinks at the Bionic Bar just coz we were mesmerized by the technology. If you do come on this ship, you have to try all the activities, they are what makes the ship worthwhile. Room 11156: We enjoyed our room and the view. It was worth the extra bucks we paid. Clean and Spacious. The bathrooms are bigger than that of the Mariner. And The aesthetics are soothing and modern. Closing: The Ship on a whole is mesmerizing, gorgeous, technically mind blowing.We enjoyed our trip coz of the awesome service, out of the way help and warmth of the Crew members, Mr. Daniel Pargan & Lei Thank you for making our first time on the Quantum a memorable one. We would definitely cruise again, hopefully at a different destination. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We chose this cruise in order to visit some highlights of Japan. I was expecting that entertainment- shows, movies, spectacles, orchestra as well as the various activities on the ship will be on a high level. Unfortunately, they were ... Read More
We chose this cruise in order to visit some highlights of Japan. I was expecting that entertainment- shows, movies, spectacles, orchestra as well as the various activities on the ship will be on a high level. Unfortunately, they were not adapted to European or American audience. The main dining room was very crowded and always noisy.Later on we kept dining in the special restaurants that were excellent. I also think that the shore excursions and ports of visit should be better checked before. Kochi for example was a very poor place to stop in. There was nothing to do' especially when we are in such a special and unique country as Japan..Hiroshima and Hatsukaichi were very interesting and beautifulas well as Kobe. I have to say that the room service as well as the staff of the different restaurants , all was very nice, polite and attentive and always willing to help. . Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We wanted to see China and when we heard about this cruise/tour, we knew that it was what we needed to book since it covered so many of the sites we wanted to see. We have traveled Viking before on the Danube in Europe and knew that ... Read More
We wanted to see China and when we heard about this cruise/tour, we knew that it was what we needed to book since it covered so many of the sites we wanted to see. We have traveled Viking before on the Danube in Europe and knew that we would enjoy it.. We definitely did!! We did explore our departure city (Shanghai) before the cruise with our tour guide (it was part of the cruise/tour). The embarkation and disembarkation both went smoothly. The entire experience was wonderful. The ship and the cabin were very nice. The staff/crew were very helpful and friendly. We really enjoyed the entertainment, activities and all of the shore excursions. The dining room offered many choices and the dining staff were very interested in seeing that we were happy we our meals. I have a dietary issue and the maitre'd was very attentive to my needs. Our Viking experience included travel by plane and bus as well as our time on the ship. The entire experience was phenominal. We had a wonderful time and we would go again in a heartbeat. P.S. Our tour guide Francis was exceptional! He is the best tour guide that we have ever had on any of our prior cruises. His personality, his kindness, his knowledge of the many places we visited helped to make this trip the best we have ever had. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
I've always wanted to travel to China, was on my short bucket list, and I was not disappointed. I had been on ocean cruises before but the river cruise was the perfect way to see China. The cities of Shanghai, Xi'an and Beijing ... Read More
I've always wanted to travel to China, was on my short bucket list, and I was not disappointed. I had been on ocean cruises before but the river cruise was the perfect way to see China. The cities of Shanghai, Xi'an and Beijing were amazing, so much history, so many thing to see and so much culture to enjoy. The cruise up the Yangtze River was all I expected, the sites along the river were breathtaking and the cities visited along the river were very interesting and the people very friendly. The tour escort was very knowledgeable and made the trip much more enjoyable. The hotels that I stayed at were "first class" 5 star all the way. The food, both in the cities and on the boat, was varied and delicious, in some cases, to many choices. The service onboard was excellent, the waitresses and waiters were very friendly and made sure you were taken care of. The ship was larger than I thought it would be, and with the number of passengers was very roomy. The shore excursions were very informative, with a lot to take in. I was not disappointed at all, it was the perfect way to see and enjoy China, I so glad I went. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This trip was well worth the money and effort. Having in mind before we left that China would be a whole new and different experience from that we had done before our expectations were met. The Hotel accommodation in Shanghai was excellent ... Read More
This trip was well worth the money and effort. Having in mind before we left that China would be a whole new and different experience from that we had done before our expectations were met. The Hotel accommodation in Shanghai was excellent as were the Xi'an and Beijing Hotels. The river cruise took a while to get started. The first two days were slow but the excursion to the school was excellent. The children are an absolute pleasure and as it was school holidays full marks to them for turning out and entertaining us. The trips through the gorges lived up to expectations as did the visit to see the Pandas and what was the crowning glory of the hoilday for me, the Terracotta Warriers. Then we arrived in Beijing to visit the Wall and the Forbidden City. Timing at these venues was bad. The Wall visit in my mind was not at all enjoyable because of the huge crowds. This wasn't at the advertised site where we were told there was a walk of about a mile, but at a Cable Car site where everybody chose to go including thousands of Chinese tourists. It was estimated that some 200,000 would visit during the day. Our time on the wall was spent clinging for dear life to the hand rails as the wall was so steep and crowded. It was impossible to soak up the moment. The visit to the Forbidden City also was extremely crowded but that is expected and we managed a reasonable visit. One of my complaints to Viking is the lack of knowledge regarding Chinese internal flights, baggage regulations. I am an amateur photographer and this trip for me was to be a photographic extraganzer. On enquiring to Viking before we left we asked about the internal flight baggage rules. We were told that check-in was 20kgs and carry-on was 5kg ONE ITEM ONLY, which would have to include any cameras or handbags etc. This resulted in me only taking one camera with no backup. Yes you guessed it, my camera failed two days in!! On enquiring in China regarding the carry-on rules I was told that you could take on what you like within reason which meant I could have taken my full camera kit. The Chinese lady simply said next time ask a Chinese Viking person. In conclusion its full on, with six flights, three hotels plus the boat and early starts but it was still a good holiday and one I would recommend but Viking need to do their homework on some very obviouse needs of the trip. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Our total trip, land + river, was 12 days. A viking representative met us at the airport in Shanghai and from that point on we were superbly cared for until a Viking rep dropped us at the airport in Beijing. The attention to detail, the ... Read More
Our total trip, land + river, was 12 days. A viking representative met us at the airport in Shanghai and from that point on we were superbly cared for until a Viking rep dropped us at the airport in Beijing. The attention to detail, the very personal care, the knowledge of our guide, the friendships we made - all exceptional. Quality 5 Star hotels, no cuing in lines for tourist sites, spectacular World Heritage tours. The Viking ship, Emerald, was good - not great....it's a little tired and could use some updating, but again the service of the Viking employees was exceptional. Breakfast and lunch buffet were excellent, but chef could use a course in preparation of western cuisine. When local fare was prepared, it was wonderful, but the kitchen struggled a bit with anything out of their traditional comfort zone (Chilean Sea Bass cooked till dry as wood chips) And cookies! How difficult would it be to offer a simple Toll House Chocolate Chip instead of dried compressed sawdust. But if those are the only two things that weren't up to par they were more than compensated for by the overall excellence of our experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013

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