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8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This was not my first cruise and not my first RCI cruise. I have cruised a few times at different price points and therefore different standards. For me, this was the best cruise I have ever taken... But let's break it down... I am ... Read More
This was not my first cruise and not my first RCI cruise. I have cruised a few times at different price points and therefore different standards. For me, this was the best cruise I have ever taken... But let's break it down... I am a solo, female traveler - I am also an Australian expat currently living in South Korea (so this will identify me to my fellow travelers haha) but I have also lived in other Asian countries including a year in China Embarkation. Arrived at the terminal exactly 12 noon and it was busy, not overly crowded, but lots of people moving efficiently with their luggage. Checking the luggage in was a quick, easy and painless process and I was shuffled to the check in queues. There was a distinct differentiation between western travelers and our Chinese counterparts - westerners were given a much quicker run through the check in - but we couldn't see any reason for splitting the groups other than to maybe appease the impatient westerners... So, all in all checkin took less than 45 mins and I was on board and in the dining room for lunch - as a solo traveler, this was the only meal I spent alone. In summary, embarkation was very quick and very painless, there was queuing but it moved rapidly and if you were western it was even quicker. Cabin I was in 7250 a studio balcony cabin. Note: this cabin has a much larger balcony then others due to the way the ship is shaped... so it was wonderful to have so much room. The cabin itself was small but that's what I expected - there were enough cupboards and drawers and a stool instead of a chair - plenty of mirrors and a decent enough bar fridge. The bathroom was the same size as other rooms. As a solo I cannot fault the room, the space was adequate - and importantly I could put empty cases under the bed. I was very happy with this cabin and in the same circumstances would choose it again. Dining I chose to eat mainly in the main dining room, I found the service to be excellent and the quality of food (in most cases) very good. I had no problem with the portion sizes and the temperature was always appropriate. On one day I didn't like the options but that was my palate and my friends on the other hand had no problem with their choices - so I guess it is a personal decision whether you like the food or not. I also ate at Chops Grille and that was a wonderful choice. The meal was excellent and I couldn't fault the service. I also dined in Teppanyaki - there was a hiccup with my reservation that was superbly dealt with by the Maitre D (Leslie) and I couldn't have been happier with the outcome - (this hiccup was the ONLY thing on the cruise that wasn't perfect - but the resolution exceded my expectations). The meal at Teppanyaki was one of the highlights of the cruise. It has to be seen to be believed - a great meal that I will remember for a very long time. I never ate in Windjammers - whenever I was in the vicinity it was always super busy and tables were hard to come by, but on the other hand, the Cafe 270 was almost empty as were the seats and tables - this became a very popular hiding spot to grab a snack or drink away from the crowds (and the food served was very nice too) I had a room service breakfast once and it was adequate - I was given exactly what I asked for... Formal nights are not received by the guests like you may have experienced elsewhere - very few people out of the 5100 dressed up for dinner - these were not published by RCI before the cruise so it is possible that many first time cruisers did not know what to expect. Drinks I was fortunate to get a free deluxe drinks package when I booked so that was a real bonus. I loved the Bionic Bar and would often use it to just grab a juice and soda mixed any time during the day. As I didn't pay for a drink I can't comment on prices and as I didn't really drink that much alcohol, I can't complain about the drinks at all. I also don't drink coffee so didn't sample any of those either. Entertainment and Activities I have to admit when I saw the schedule I was a bit disappointed - very few traditional cruise activities like trivia (it was there though but no where near what I am used to) and no bingo. I love to read on board so I packed books. However, I didn't even finish one book and I was never bored, I don't exactly know what I was doing but I managed to keep busy and have an amazing time during the cruise days. The shore excursions were also a little light on... In Osaka you could have paid $80 to go to the castle and Dotonbori Street on the tour bus - however we walked to the local metro, bought a day ticket with ease and did exactly the same destinations for $8 (we messed up on the way back and overshot the station so needed to catch a taxi back to the ship - but that was our fault). Kobe offered a shuttle bus to the main shopping area and there were several places that offered Kobe beef - which was a main reason for people wanting to visit . However when docked at Yokahama it was an hour from Tokyo so I had to catch the shore independent tour just to get to the city centre. But worth it at $69. The evening entertainment was also exceptional - I loved the Ukrainian acrobats Gold Art Duo and The SIlk Road was absolutely amazing. The flamenco guitar guy was extremely talented as were the Beatles Tribute band (I can't mention the moving piano and player as he said he smuggled himself on board - but he was awesome too). Service CAN NOT FAULT THE SERVICE From the Financial Controller to the Maitre D to the Head Waiters to the Room Attendants and Waiters - I was made to feel like I was the only one who mattered, nothing was ever too much trouble and they did everything with grace and style. I would come back just for the quality of service I experienced. Overall I loved this trip. It wasn't what I expected but it was better. I made so many friends (and as a solo traveler that is important) and had such a fun time. I would not hesitate to book again - due to my personal circumstances I couldn't book again on board but I am already looking at January dates for a replay. Well done Spectrum of the Seas and well done Royal Caribbean. Read Less
28 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Embarkation : The worst check in experience so far . No queue control n poor signage leading to lot of confusion . No enough RCL in hand to direct queue . Food quality : MDR food was served cold n service so so Rides : most ride ... Read More
Embarkation : The worst check in experience so far . No queue control n poor signage leading to lot of confusion . No enough RCL in hand to direct queue . Food quality : MDR food was served cold n service so so Rides : most ride were chargeable n why should we pay so much n get charged for all these rides . Guest services : poor , advised that we don’t need arrival card upon arrival to shanghai ( she claimed she checked with immigration . Very crowded n rowdy especially eating area ,sailing in this region . Unhygienic practices by passenger . Spitting n hand handling of fruits RCL must have also cut budget on fruits selection . Apple and grapes were the lowest quality selected , resulting in lot of wastage . Only plus point of this ship : NEW I will still cruise but not in this region anymore . Guess is an eye opener for me Note : wonder why the gym was given such a mini area Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 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
38 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise as it covered a lot of ports that we had not preciously visited, plus it was a good price. However we found the number of passengers was more than comfortable for us. The ship is huge and would be ideal for families ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it covered a lot of ports that we had not preciously visited, plus it was a good price. However we found the number of passengers was more than comfortable for us. The ship is huge and would be ideal for families travelling with children and teens as there are lots of activities that would appeal, like the rock climbing wall wave pool etc. We did a land package of China before the cruise, so possibly were a bit past finding Chinese foods exciting. The food in the whole was not great, and was seldom hot enough. I chose from the classic menu a couple of times be found that more to my taste, but found it was still not very good, or hot. The Windjammer was always jammed and not always hygienic with that many people, to my way of thinking anyway. We had done one other RCI cruise that was in Explorer and that was a little better. But this will be our last cruise with this company. I think we are better suited to the smaller ships. The majority of Australian/NZ passengers were touting it as their worst cruise on record, so I don’t think it was only us. We have cruised on Celebrity, NCL, and Carnival (which I previously rated the worst) now I am deciding which is the worst! Celebrity and NCL are a lot better in my opinion. Possibly having over 4000 Chinese passengers on one ship was part of the problem, the noise (even in the elevators) was too much, plus the long queues for dining rooms horrendous. The stateroom was good. We had a balcony room and there was heaps of drawer and storage space. Bathroom was small but similar to others in past cruises, The crew and staff were all friendly and helpful, but still will not encourage us to try again with RCI. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We were on a Cruise 1st combined China Land Tour and Japan Cruise. There were five buses of us and a further 4 buses of Trip-a-deal on the cruise. I think this helped as we already knew quite a lot of the international passengers before ... Read More
We were on a Cruise 1st combined China Land Tour and Japan Cruise. There were five buses of us and a further 4 buses of Trip-a-deal on the cruise. I think this helped as we already knew quite a lot of the international passengers before we boarded and would often run into them on the ship. As we were Diamond Plus Crown and Anchor members we had priority boarding and disembarkation so this I believe helped a lot, no standing in long queues, we just bi-passed everyone. We also had access to the Concierge Lounge, no one seemed to be here most of the time, so nice and quiet - access to coffee and food most of the day. We also had access to the Solarium restaurant for breakfast, this also got us away from the crowds...and access to the Solarium pool area night and day...This was also reserved for suite guests I believe, but not very busy. The Chinese did have their babies in the Hot Tubs even though rules stated that babies not toilet trained were not to be in there. There were many diapered babies in these pools. Rules need to be enforced as this is a definite health hazard. We had a booked time for dinner in the Restaurant (we tried all four restaurants) the food was very good (both Asian and western) I enjoyed it all. I did expected it to be all Asian as we were in Asian waters. Breakfast and lunch was also a mixture of both cultures. Entertainment was good. Sonic Odyssey was very good, and I guess catered to the language barrier, being mainly music orientated. Starwater show was a bit weird, the second half was far better than the beginning. Needs to start with a bang. The Ripcord Ifly was $29pp and the North Star Ride $20pp, things that in other parts of the world are free. We did expect the Chinese on the whole to be loud, rude and pushy but overall it wasn't too bad. They did however smoke in the Casino which did penetrate to other close-by parts of the ship. There were lots of activities on sea days so no need to be board, in fact many more than on most of the cruises we have previously been on. The service we were given by all the staff was extraordinary, including wait staff, room attendants and any others we passed on the ship. We had an inside category (11709). Our cabin was very small for a new ship, although it had a virtual balcony, I did spot a few other cabins with much bigger & better virtual balconies. We have been on the Ovation before and this ship was the same except for the different paintings etc...Most of the ports were just okay...nothing extraordinary, there were not many ship tours in these ports and it seems not much to do. We did all our ports on our own with the cities public transport and ended up having wonderful days. It was very hard to find out much about these ports before we went on our cruise. On disembarkation there was a free shuttle bus from the port to the nearest railway station, and we then caught the train to the airport. We did however have to change once. (18 stations - change 5 stations), beautiful trains and easy to navigate. We arrived at the airport at the same time as those that did the ship transfer to the airport. Be aware that their are two airports in Shanghai, (we had booked a transfer with friends prior to cruise, only to find out that we were going to different airports). So need to check your departing airport. I think the Ship only offered transfers to Pudong Airport. We had quite a large contingent of english speaking passengers on this particular cruise and this made it for a very pleasant time. On the whole, I would highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
RC Quantum of the Seas This ship is aimed solely at the Chinese market. There is no incentive for others to sail. There were large number of chinese personnel and although some are helpful, the level of service is noticeably poorer ... Read More
RC Quantum of the Seas This ship is aimed solely at the Chinese market. There is no incentive for others to sail. There were large number of chinese personnel and although some are helpful, the level of service is noticeably poorer and disorganised. Food was of poor quality and choice, mainly chinese, all 4 complimentary restaurants served the same menu each night although the RC website states they offer different cuisine. Repetitive food including windjammer, mainly asian and if you wanted more continental choice it was dotted allover and by the time you sat down it was cold. No quality soft fruit, just melon by the bucketload, apple and pear. No premium seafood or different salads apart from lettuce and tomatoes We purchased the drink and beverage package. The choice of premium coffee shop was limited to one, we only used this three times as we had difficulty finding seats with the space taken by chinese, sleeping, sitting with no drinks or a cup of hot water. Unless you are purchasing this would not be allowed on other ships. There were no coffee machines in bars for drinking eg coffee and brandy after dinner. Wine choice was limited and poor in quality. No coffee sachets, black tea or milk in rooms. We were told there were no coffee sachets on board. No laundry for customer use but told you could have laundry done for a charge of course. Even Cunard have a customer laundry, all complimentary. Guest services massive queues and long waits, pushing in of customers Pool areas, no adult only pool, gold card holders only and cost of $50 per person per day, contrary to info Smoking allowed in areas where not normal on any other cruise line Could not and would not use jacuzzi, full of parents and children in flotation aids, this is not only not allowed on other cruise lines it is downright dangerous. Outdoor footwear allowed around pool. Docking times for itinerary poor should be full days, info for ports if you wanted to do it yourself very poor and shore excursions very expensive No guest speakers, everything on board aimed at getting money from you Entertainment, odd shows almost salacious and aimed at chinese market Although we realised this cruise was from shanghai and had spent the previous 8 days in China, we did not expect a cruise ship to be aimed purely at the Chinese. It is an international cruise line and should be aimed at a diverse audience. We were told there were 1000 of other nationalities on board so RC are ignoring the needs of approx 25% of people. We heard the same complaints off many people. This was our first cruise with RC and on this experience, will be our last. We were very disappointed. It is quite obvious that RC ignore the flouting of many things because they make so much money from the gambling and shopping habits of the Chinese. In a competitive market this is at their peril. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Be very careful when you choose an asian cruise like we did. We combined it with a China trip/Japan cruise and it was a nightmare. 4000 plus chinese pushing/shoving yelling etc. plus no shows /no proper western food/ excursions not as ... Read More
Be very careful when you choose an asian cruise like we did. We combined it with a China trip/Japan cruise and it was a nightmare. 4000 plus chinese pushing/shoving yelling etc. plus no shows /no proper western food/ excursions not as advertised. Getting on and off the ship was horrendous. There is no please/excuse me etc. It is just push and shove/and yell. The dining in the buffet was all for the asians/ very little western food, Their eating behaviour was disgusting. You were lucky to hold on to your plate when walking to a table. All the Restaurants served the same food- again nothing western geared, so you had to like their type of food for a week. All the activities were chinese geared. Shows were virtually non existing. There was 1 rather odd show and the rest - we had chinese magicians ( spoke chinese) only translated every so often, and other than that there was nothing for us. My husband and I are in our 70's- have cruised quite extensively and this cruise has left a shocking taste in our mouth. The other activities were for the young in the water sports. The service was good. There were a couple of staff who were continuously apologising for the other guests behaviour. even though it had nothing to do with them, which was sad.As mentioned before, the shore excursions did not meet the expectations and the things advertised. We took this trip to get a bit of an insight into Japan and we got nothing. It was awful, so please if you decide to do a cruise check with how big the ship and who it is geared for. When we all wrote to Royal Carribbean we were bluntly told it was geared for the chinese market, and were not even given a full refund on some of the excursions and also told when asked why this was not advertised as mainly a chinese cruise- that quote " they could not divulge this as it would inform on privacy " !!! load of rubbish- so please be careful Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Everything was totally okay for me until I leave the cruise. So I need to register my credit card to make the payment during the trip more convenient. Then my credit card was charged one more time by RCL Quantum after my family finished ... Read More
Everything was totally okay for me until I leave the cruise. So I need to register my credit card to make the payment during the trip more convenient. Then my credit card was charged one more time by RCL Quantum after my family finished this trip. Until now, already more than a month and I haven’t received my money back. I tried to call them but couldn’t connect. Emailed them so many times but only received the automatic emails that tell me to wait. I know that system errors may happen but can not just ignore your customer like this!!! Few more things to review about this cruise. - The foods on the cruise is not so good. If you want to eat better food, they have some restaurants there,however don’t expect too much on the food here. - Room service was nice. Staffs on the cruise are friendly and very helpful. Wish the service after trip also like that! - I tried spa there, expensive but not worth it. I tried massage for the first time and body scrub for the next time. They legit just rub my body with the salt for a minute and wrap me, chill for 1-2 minutes then the rest of 90 minutes package are only oil massage. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
As others have stated in reviews of this cruise, it is not your average RCCL cruise. My husband and I were among only a handful of English speaking passengers. We had done our research and knew what to expect, but the cruise still ... Read More
As others have stated in reviews of this cruise, it is not your average RCCL cruise. My husband and I were among only a handful of English speaking passengers. We had done our research and knew what to expect, but the cruise still didn't rate an excellent. We arrived in Shanghai 3 days prior to departure to help adjust time zones. The city is very nice, but very very busy. For our trip it was also very cold. It actually snowed one afternoon. We stayed on the Bund and did the hop on hop off bus to see the area. Again do your research, we spent alot of time waiting for buses because it was off season. We were very surprised at how low cost it is to visit Shanghai. Cabs and entrance fees are very reasonable. We used a cab to go to the ship and with the help of the Hotel Bellman we were taken directly to the correct port and dropped at the correct spot. As others have stated, the Chinese travel in large groups and if you pay attention, you can often bypass the long lines. It still took longer than usual to complete the boarding process. This is also were we learned that in addition to not having the same ideas of personal space the Chinese in general talk VERY LOUD! At first we thought they were upset, but we learned that this is just the way it is. To us, they sounded like they were very angry, but it did not change the entire cruise. Because we have status (Diamond Plus) on RCCL we had access to some areas of the ship that allowed us to take a break from the crowds and the noise. I am sure that we would have hated the cruise if we were not able to access the Concierge Lounge and the Very Large Solarium. These areas were only used by a hand full of Suite Guests. The ship while being large, the space is primarily for cabins and shopping. Very few areas for recreation unless you like the basketball courts. Overall we stayed clear of the common areas unless it was to go to dinner or a show. We attended 3 shows. The first was a performance of the Earth Harp that was the best show I have seen in over 33 cruises. The combination of the Harp and the drums made for a fantastic show that I wish they would bring to a ship in the states. The second show was at the 270 area they call a theater. This was just plain weird, but the Chinese appeared to like it. The theme of the show was about taking pictures which is why I think they liked it. The entire cruise the other passengers spent on their phones either watching, reading, or taking selfies. OMG Selfies in every staircase, with every picture and every view. We also noted that the other passengers do not talk at dinner. We sat next to a table of 6 of varying ages who never said a single word, but all were on their phones the entire meal. It became comical. The last show was sequins and feathers. I am sure by the faces, that many of the Chinese men had never seen so much skin in a show. Despite being asked not to take pictures everyone was recording it on video. We had a basic (cheap) inside cabin and our cabin steward was very good at taking care of anything we needed. Not sure if we will ever do another cruise out of Shanghai, but we are glad we experienced it. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
QUANTUM OF THE SEAS We traveled on Quantum of the Seas from the 12th-17th November,2018. We boarded in Shanghai and cruised to Fukuoka and Nagasaki in Japan before returning back to Shanghai to fly to Australia. Embarcation was ... Read More
QUANTUM OF THE SEAS We traveled on Quantum of the Seas from the 12th-17th November,2018. We boarded in Shanghai and cruised to Fukuoka and Nagasaki in Japan before returning back to Shanghai to fly to Australia. Embarcation was good. The tourist guide dropped us at the Cruise Terminal and made sure we were at the right spot. The desembarcation was even better. There was a Free Shuttle bus to the Train Station and from there we caught the train to HONGQI Airport, for ¥6 each (AU$1.20~) I know of people that paid AU$45 to get to the airport by taxi. A China cruise is very different to any other cruise. There were more than 4.000 Chinese passengers and less than 200 International passengers, most of them had a horrible time, getting on long queues, didn’t like the food or activities. On the contrary, we had a great time!!! Probably because we were Diamond tier. Our concierges were excellent helping us in any way, breakfast was at the Solarium Bistro, so no queues and the food was OK. Also we could use the Solarium for the use of Jacuzzi, happy hour,etc. I like getting involved in lots of activities, so I made friends with lots of Chinese people (I like practicing my Chinese as well,he,he). We like dancing so we did so and the Asians liked us participating as well. I went to the Ladies Pamper Party and it was excellent : cleansing, exfoliation, mask, eye treatment, serum and moisturiser. (Most Ships don’t do Exfoliation or Masks). My husband said that this was his best trip ever (we have done 35 cruises so far). For me I still like Celebrity , or P&O Arcadia as my best trip. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I chose this cruise as a package including 8 days of touring cities in China. It was offered by Cruise 1st at a good price and fitted in with my plans. My wife and I are Diamond level and everyone was very nice and accommodating for the ... Read More
I chose this cruise as a package including 8 days of touring cities in China. It was offered by Cruise 1st at a good price and fitted in with my plans. My wife and I are Diamond level and everyone was very nice and accommodating for the entire cruise. There were over 4,000 Chinese on board but this wasn't a problem. They seemed to enjoy our joining in with competitions and activities. The entertainment staff were all very nice and enthusiastic. Dining in the Windjammer looked very chaotic so we were lucky enough to be able to have our daily breakfast and lunch at the Solarium Bistro and our evening meals in one of the Dining rooms. I found the Quantum of the Seas to be a beautiful ship throughout. Our cabin was only an Inside but it was the best cabin layout I have seen and we had a 'virtual balcony' which I found great. I loved everything about this cruise but as I said my wife and I did have some advantages being Diamond level. All up we have done 35 cruises on various ships. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
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
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
After reading many terrible reviews on the Quantum of the Seas it was with some trepidation that we embarked on our recent cruise. While there were some issues, which I will outline below, we had a very enjoyable cruise experience overall. ... Read More
After reading many terrible reviews on the Quantum of the Seas it was with some trepidation that we embarked on our recent cruise. While there were some issues, which I will outline below, we had a very enjoyable cruise experience overall. This was our 12th cruise and 2nd with Royal Caribbean. The Ship The ship itself is perhaps the most impressive and well designed that we have sailed on. It is very modern, well thought tout and beautifully decorated. The ship is so vast in terms of space and numbers of public areas that there is very rarely any sense that there are 4,800 passengers onboard. Even the elevators are superb in keeping people moving around in a timely manner and we rarely had to wait for more than a few seconds to enter an elevator. The Two70 lounge facility was perhaps the most versatile and impressive shipborne lounge we have seen and we spent a lot of time there enjoying sail away, drinks and various shows. Our balcony cabin on Deck 9 was spacious and comfortable. The large screen TV had a mix of English and Chinese channels, as well as having all the usual Royal Caribbean informational and promotional channels. There was tons of storage space. We travelled with 2 large suitcases and a couple of backpacks but still only managed to use around 75 percent of the storage space. The bed was very comfortable. While the balcony wasn't large it was functional and very usable. The bathroom was a good size and has a glass (plastic?) screen which kept the bathroom floor dry. Our stateroom attendant Michelle did a fabulous job in keeping our cabin clean and tidy, and we always enjoyed the daily towel animals. Embarkation and Disembarkation Our allocated arrival time for check in was 11.15 but our tour group had us arriving at 10.30. Our bags were taken off us immediately up on arrival and after a series of lines for security, immigration, customs and a couple of other general checks we were on board by noon. This was only 45 minutes after our designated arrival time so wasn’t too bad and certainly far quicker than what we encountered on Diamond Princess in Singapore a few years ago. Arriving in Japan saw Osaka bing our first port of call so the normal migration process was encountered there. From the time we lined up at our designated departure time until the time we exited Japanese immigration took about 50 minutes, which in our experience in these parts is about normal. Disembarkation at the end of the cruise back in Shanghai took less than an hour, with most of that time being spent in the immigration line. At all times the embarkation and disembarkation process went smoothly and seemed pretty organised. Dining and Drinking Our dining experience was a bit of a mixed bag, but overall improved as the cruise progressed. While we normally try a few of the premium restaurants we didn’t on this cruise. The cost of premium dining on this ship is ridiculously expensive compared with even our cruise earlier this year on Celebrity Infinity. As the market for this ship is primarily people from China it isn’t surprising that a majority of the menu caters to their tastes. We happen to love Chinese food so we liked the menu, but some of our fellow passengers found the remaining western menu options to be too limited. On night one of our cruise we dined in the Grand Dining Room. From the time we sat down until the time our main courses arrived took 1 hour and 45 minutes, and the dining room certainly wasn’t full. Breakfast the following morning was a little quicker, but the food was almost stone cold. Days 2 and 3 weren’t much better as we started to try the other 3 free restaurants, but by day 4 they finally nailed it and most of our meals were of the standard that we have experienced on Princess and our previous Royal Caribbean ship. There were still though the occasional lapses in quality and timeliness. We went to Windjammers a couple of times and while it was crowded it wasn’t really any worse than the buffet offerings on the many other ships that we have cruised on and the food was quite good. After our initial disastrous breakfasts in the dining room we started having breakfast at Cafe Two70 where we found the cereals, muffins and bagels to be more than adequate, as was the espresso coffee served there. A curious feature of this ship is that there is no waiter service in the bars and lounges and all drinks are purchased by lining up at the bar. The lack of wait staff also manifests itself in long delays in picking up empty glasses and dishes so at peak times the bars and lounges can look pretty scruffy. Entertainment Entertainment too was a bit of a mixed bag. In terms of daly ship activities such as trivia and the like, it was the most comprehensive program of interesting and varied activities we have seen. Conversely, there was very little in terms of live music in the various bars and lounges around the ship, something that we really enjoy. We only took in a couple of the main stage shows in the theatre. The dance production was very good and the other non musical act was quite entertaining also. A highlight though was the stage spectacular in Two70. We were late in booking the free tickets but opted to pay $25 for ‘VIP’ tickets so that we didn’t miss the show. This gave us front row seats, with some nibbles and a mocktail thrown in. The show was really good and a must in our minds. The Passengers We had read quite a few adverse comments on the behaviour of the Chinese passengers onboard This ship. On our cruise about 75 percent of the passengers were Chinese, with the remaining passengers comprising mostly Australian and British passengers, with a few US passengers as well. Our fears derived from reading other reviews proved largely unfounded. Yes, it was common for half a dozen Chinese people to rush in to the elevator before you have time to exit, but this really only happened about 10 percent of the time. What we interpret as being rude is really only a different way of operating. Similarly, the common practice of throat clearing and spitting in to bins and other receptacles can be off putting, but again it doesn’t happen all day long. We tended to find the younger generation to behave much like westerners, with the older generation being a little pushier. What really shocked us though was the behaviour of a couple of our fellow Australian passengers and the occasional Brit making loud, obnoxious and almost racist comments. It only happened on a few occasions but it was far ruder than any observed Chinese behaviour and totally unnecessary. With just a little tolerance and a sense of humour we seized the opportunity to immerse ourselves in a fascinating cultural experience and we really had no problem wiht the Chinese passengers. Just remember, you are in Asia, this is their territory, so expect a different experience from traditional cruising and enjoy the differences. Conclusion While this was far from being our favourite cruise, it was a cruise that we really enjoyed. But if you don’t feel comfortable mixing with other cultures or enjoying Asian food, perhaps this isn’t the cruise for you. Read Less
34 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This was one of the worst cruise I have been on with Royal Caribbean. From the time we arrived at the port. We had to stand for a long period of time in the hot sun before we got to immigration. when it was eventually our turn after ... Read More
This was one of the worst cruise I have been on with Royal Caribbean. From the time we arrived at the port. We had to stand for a long period of time in the hot sun before we got to immigration. when it was eventually our turn after about 2 hours waiting, there seemed to be a problem with the visa we were told to get via email from royal Caribbean from the Chinese embassy and no one at the desk seemed to know what they were doing. After about three quarters of an hour we were finished, only to be met with the same problem a little way down the line. I felt no one knew what they were doing. Cabin was really nice at was the stateroom attendant. (best part of this cruise). We went to the Windjammer this was a bad idea to many people and nowhere to sit. food was cold and they seemed to have the same menu every time we went in. A lot of the food was Asian so if you didn't like Asian food there was very little choice. We went to the dinning room service was slow and when we did eventually get our food it was cold. We did not go to breakfast on a few occasions as it was not worth the hassle to try and find a table to sit at. When we did order room service they forgot half the food. Could not book some of the tours as they were booked out. the two tours we did book we spent much of the time on a coach and then in a shopping area. You also had to reserve your shows we saw no shows as again they were booked out. Only available if you paid for them. entertainment was not very good with the exception of two shows. Needless to say I would not do this cruise again and i would definitely not recommend it to anyone. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Pre-Cruise: We spent 3 nights in Shanghai at Les Suites Orient on the Bund. Great hotel, and amazing views of the Bund from the 20th floor. If you stay there, I recommend a high-floor, Bund view Deluxe room. Shanghai is an amazing city. ... Read More
Pre-Cruise: We spent 3 nights in Shanghai at Les Suites Orient on the Bund. Great hotel, and amazing views of the Bund from the 20th floor. If you stay there, I recommend a high-floor, Bund view Deluxe room. Shanghai is an amazing city. Very clean. Super modern. No horns honking ($30 fine). Chinese food and drink surprisingly poor with some exceptions, but we had a fantastic time. Did some private tours that really made the experience enjoyable. Transportation: I recommend that you get around by taxi. We took a taxi to the port and it was maybe $25-$30 USD and a similar price from the port back to the airport. You'll probably want to have instructions in Chinese, as most drivers don't speak/read English, but this was convenient and the price was quite fair for the distances involved. Embarkation: Kind of a disaster, really. No porter (we don't travel light), very hot, sweated like crazy, which is not the way I want to start my cruise. Huge lines and the staff outside of the port spoke very little English. They initially directed me to the "foreign passengers" line, which was so long and moved so slowly. Then I saw a line for suites and Jr. suites, so they directed me there, but sent me to the Golden suites line, then shuffled me around some more. A slow, long, hot, uncomfortable and unpleasant experience. Highly disorganized and needs substantial improvement. The Ship: Very clean and modern. Not "elegant" like some of MSC's newer ships, but nice with a lot of technology. Maintenance was quite good. I didn't love the layout of the ship, and maybe it needed more than 2 elevator banks. I only used the ship's Wi-Fi for a day, but it was fast and fairly priced. There was a lot of focus on upsetting, which got pretty annoying. Sanitation was a focal point, which I appreciated. Activities: They offered things like indoor skydiving and Northstar, but with an extra cost, which I didn't love. Otherwise, there weren't a lot of things to do that we were interested in. Entertainment: Limited and not the best. We attended a high-tech show at Two70 which started off bad, but was good in the end. The sound and special effects were as good as I've seen. Quality of performers was good but not great. Overall, not as many quality entertainment offerings as I'd like to see. Passengers: Mostly Chinese, but more Americans, Aussies and Brits than normal. The menu and experience was definitely geared towards the Chinese passengers. Food: Mixed and mostly not in a good way. We had dinner in the Suite restaurant Coastal Kitchen every night. Most of the food was pretty good, but I'd still say below my expectations. The rack of lamb was quite good. Veggies and such, basic and so-so. The same for desserts. They did not often rotate the menu. For example, they used the same menu the first 3 nights and then switched back to it. Sirloin steak mediocre. Ahi Salad had maybe 3 tiny cubes of ahi surrounded by iceberg lettuce. While there's no lobster night (bummer) we ordered it at an extra cost and it was quite good. The food in the main dining rooms was poor. We only ate there for breakfast and lunch, but offerings were quite basic and really outshined by the Windjammer Cafe buffet, which was a surprise. Not only was the food not great, but again, the menu often was not rotated. While we had a nice time, I think it's fair to say the food was below expectations, especially in terms of lunch and breakfast. Lines in the main dining rooms were very long and very slow and all of this wait for a rather mediocre offering without proper menu rotation. Needs improvement. I might also add that there was no coffee in the room. Only 2 bags of Green Tea and sugar. $7.95 charge for room service, which I didn't love. Ports: Only 1 or zero shore excursions offered for most ports. We hired 2 private guides and did the Osaka ship's tour, which we enjoyed a lot. Hard to figure out why they didn't offer many tours. The ports themselves were quite good. We got a hotel and spent the night in Tokyo. But getting off the ship in the first port, Osaka, was a bit of a nightmare, as you have to clear Japanese Immigration, which is quite slow. My suggestions is to try to do the ship's tour on the first Japan stop, as you'll get your immigration clearances done and you'll be the first off the ship. Also, bring a clear copy of your passport because you'll need it. Also, I recommend that you get your cash (Yen) at the 7-11 shops, which are everywhere. Staff: Super friendly and super nice. Great experience with the crew. They have some good people working on this ship. Disembarkation: Far better than embarkation. Waits were reasonable, and fairly well organized, although the taxi situation was a bit disorganized. Overall: We really had a lot of fun. While I've shared some criticisms, I think we got a nice cabin at a fair price and we enjoyed the heck out of ourselves. This cruise truly is a cultural experience. It's not the typical cruise where you go to the Caribbean and pound down rum drinks, but I learned a lot and had a super time. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Quantum of the Seas from Shanghai September 2018 We booked a six night tour of China, followed by an eight night cruise to Japan on Quantum of the Seas. The first part of the tour with Wendy Wu Tours was excellent. The problems with ... Read More
Quantum of the Seas from Shanghai September 2018 We booked a six night tour of China, followed by an eight night cruise to Japan on Quantum of the Seas. The first part of the tour with Wendy Wu Tours was excellent. The problems with the cruise started even before boarding the ship. I don't like to be negative, but there are things about this holiday that shouldn't be overlooked, if you are thinking of cruising with Royal Caribbean from Shanghai. This is not a vacation for the faint hearted! After a very busy week in China, we were all looking forward to a relaxing cruise, with two restful days at sea. How wrong could we be?! Embarkation took over three hours. It was extremely hot, everyone was pushing and shoving, as we needed to keep changing queues for some unknown reason. Once we boarded, we found our cabin, which was absolutely fine, and decided to go and find food. I can only describe the Windjammer Restaurant, as bedlam, with far too many people, all pushing and shoving, and nowhere to sit. I had read negative reviews, but thought other people were being over critical. After all, you can't expect to get on a ship in Shanghai, where most of the passengers are Chinese, and be served roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. However, a lot of the food was alien to us and had a strange overall taste. On the first day, all that we recognised, was pizza, hot dogs and burgers. The strange overall taste was the same every day in The Windjammer. My partner and I are open to eating different cuisine, but this was just a step too far. We changed our early dinner sitting for the latest, at 7-7.45pm, still early for us. The first night, we sat with two Australian guests, who were aware that there was a classic menu, which hadn't been offered to us, which was the same all week, as well as the Chinese one, that changed every day. We ordered a bottle of wine, which took an hour to arrive, the starter arrived shortly after, as we had asked where it was. We waited another half hour for the main course. All the hot food was cool, and not at all like the standard we've come to expect from Royal Caribbean. The steaks, usually excellent, were inedible. I had to ask for vegetables, but no potato or carbohydrate was served. The meal took almost three hours, so the first show was missed. At breakfast next morning, we tried a different restaurant, but the situation didn't change. We sat with a couple who were Diamond members, we are Platinum. Ordered breakfast. After an hour, we asked where it was. It arrived, stone cold. The Diamond member was furious, extremely annoyed that he'd missed the quiz that he was looking forward to, and stormed off. Staff were upset they'd annoyed a Diamond member, they completely ignored us and left us with inedible food. Eventually, my partner, found the head waiter, who was very apologetic, and advised he would personally arrange for him to have a slice of toast with a hot poached egg. Instead, a cool full breakfast was delivered. Very poor quality, with what looked like pieces of grey bacon, and again, inedible. We queued an hour to complain on the first morning, we certainly weren't the only people complaining, only to have to join the same queue for another 45mins to get tickets for the show! By now, we've decided to get by on pieces of melon, and Royal Caribbean cookies, which are still excellent by the way, and order continental breakfast to the room. Sometimes we got what we ordered, sometimes we didn't. The staff didn't seem to understand, you need milk with cereal. Royal Caribbean have built their reputation on providing excellent food which we have always enjoyed and one of the main reasons for travelling with them. We object to the word complimentary food being used in the daily cruise newsletter, we had actually paid for food in the price of the cruise and would expect the food to be of the high standard Royal Caribbean have set, without having to use other restaurants on the ship that are to be paid extra for. Later in the week, when queuing at Customer Services, to try and rearrange our 4pm collection from the ship, when it needed to be 10am, (not Royal Caribbean’s fault), they asked if we were happy with the cruise. We advised them of our problems with the restaurant. Another Head Waiter, was summoned. He was very helpful, advised they were aware of the problem, the chef wasn't used to cooking for Westerners. He said to ask for him in the restaurant that evening, and he would make sure our food was good and cooked properly. He, and his staff, bent over backwards for us, so much so, that it was embarrassing at times, but there were many other guests in our position, and the food improved. However, we had no choice, and were given, what the Head Waiter described, as a 'surprise' for our main course, whether we wanted lamb chops/steak or not. The food was the worst cruise ship food we have ever experienced, and certainly don't expect this from Royal Caribbean. The entertainment was badly timed, and we missed quite a few shows. Many people thought the entertainment wasn't up to the usual standard. The worst, being a Taiwanese magician, whose best trick was making the audience disappear in their droves! Be aware, that the Chinese use this cruise as a shopping trip to Japan. It felt very much like the booze cruise over to France, that we British used to do in the 80's, but without the booze. Nobody dresses up for dinner or acts as if they're on holiday. We didn't fill in a health questionnaire when boarding the ship, sanitiser was not always available when returning, and when it was, we saw gold and silver members going to front of the queues, and not sanitising their hands. No wonder so many people were really ill with a flu type virus, one of our party was diagnosed with pneumonia by the ship's doctor, and my partner became ill on his return home. The response I have received from Royal Caribbean seems to be a list of humble apologies and blame on members of staff. I think they are doing their best in an impossible situation. They also stated that they look forward to us joining them again in the near future!! They have clearly not read and understood our e-mails. If Royal Caribbean can't cope with this number of passengers from different cultures, then they shouldn't be taking the bookings. Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 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
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise to tick off another bucket list destination, Japan. After booking this cruise I then read all the reviews about how bad it was with so many of the cruisers being Chinese etc. I have to say I was pleasantly ... Read More
We chose this cruise to tick off another bucket list destination, Japan. After booking this cruise I then read all the reviews about how bad it was with so many of the cruisers being Chinese etc. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised, the embarkation was not so much chaotic as it was interesting. Obviously with 4800 passengers it wasn't going to be a quick process but still was in the most part well done. There were a few line jumpers that were pulled back and some that got thru. For those yet to do this cruise just expect a slower than usual embarkation but only by 1/2 an hour. Being an Aussie, we are not great at being in a queue but if you just relax watch some of the antics and be ready for a slightly slower embarkation its fine. I had more trouble listening to some of the English/Aussies that were already prepared to whinge and carry on in the line, they were unhappy about how many Chinese were aboard even though they were advised it was a culturally enriching cruise. If you go straight to the lift after a show it will be crowded regardless if its in China, Australia or Europe. The food, the shows, the crew onboarded were top notch. The cabin and balcony was clean. I cant say enough about the crew, especially the Diamond lounge people, all were friendly, happy and always ready to help. Great cruise again RCCL, thank you. Read Less
28 Helpful Votes
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
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We booked the cruise mainly to see Mount Fuji and Tokyo, but Royal Caribbean cancelled the port near Mt Fuji without any justifiable reason. The time in Tokyo was extended but no trips to see Mt Fiji were offered. Embarkation was a ... Read More
We booked the cruise mainly to see Mount Fuji and Tokyo, but Royal Caribbean cancelled the port near Mt Fuji without any justifiable reason. The time in Tokyo was extended but no trips to see Mt Fiji were offered. Embarkation was a marathon with Royal Caribbean showing no concern with having passengers standing in the blazing sun for a long period and then slowly snaking towards the ship through the chaotic embarkation process. Overall we we're on our feet for two and a half hours. Once onboard it became evident that the whole cruise designed to cater for mainland Chinese passengers, with little or no consideration for the nearly 2,000 (40%) non Chinese. Our first 3 course dinner took 3 hours serve, with only lukewarm soup and a steak not cooked as requested. This time did improve during the cruise, but the food didn't. The buffet restaurant was also a terrible experience, with a poor selection of non-Chinese food, over crowding, and constant jostling by the Chinese passengers. We had a drinks package as part of the cruise but the selection of drinks is the poorest we've ever experienced on a cruise with no bitter, craft ale or cider available. Royal Caribbean's excuse for this was that the non-availability of these drinks reflected this being an Asian cruise. I suggest with this response Royal Caribbean should remove the 'International' from their name! We complained to Royal Caribbean and received a response which basically said 'you booked an Asian cruise out of China so you should have expected what you got'. There was absolutely no concern or suitable explanation for any of the points I raised, and not even an apology. We will never cruise with Royal Caribbean again. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
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
21 Helpful Votes
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
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 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
4 Helpful Votes
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
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
My husband and I chose this cruise as we really wanted to relax on a cruise and enjoy the sights of Japan. What we got was an overcrowded cruise which was geared towards the Chinese market, the trips off the boat were rushed and we saw ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise as we really wanted to relax on a cruise and enjoy the sights of Japan. What we got was an overcrowded cruise which was geared towards the Chinese market, the trips off the boat were rushed and we saw very little of Japan. Trying to find a seat in the always busy Windjammer restaurant was a challenge, our food was often cold by the time we got to sit down. The international options to the Chinese food (which was fine at first, but wore off quickly) was limited and left a lot to be desired. We tried to sit down to the entertainment but you couldn’t enjoy it with the constant talking amongst the Chinese passengers. Also, this cruise should have been called the Karoake cruise, as it seemed to be the main entertainment on ship. We couldn’t get used to the constant spitting from the Chinese passengers, who would mainly spit in any available bin. Just a warning about embarkation and disembarkation. You will queue to get on the ship in Shanghai for between 2.5-3 hours. It is scene of absolute chaos when you get there - good luck! Disembarkation was the same at the first port as you have to go through Japanese customs. The same again as you get off again in Shanghai! The staff were great and friendly, but there was no help or little support if you wanted to get off the boat and explore on your own. You will see more of Japan if you get on the train instead of the arranged trips. Trains are clean, on time and cheap. There are things to do on the boat, dodgems, skyryder, rock climbing etc, but these cost extra. The pools are free, but as you can imagine, busy. There will be people trying to sell you food packages for a discount before you get on the boat in Shanghai and will insist you won’t get the same deal once your on the boat - the deal is exactly the same on board. I would think long and hard before selecting this cruise, hope my review will help. Read Less
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