24 Singapore Holiday Cruise Reviews

Embarkation from Singapore was a little slow, arrived at the pier at 12 noon and didn't board until 145pm. Cabin was ready straight away and luggage was waiting for us at our door. Cabin D307 Dolphin Deck 9. We met our cabin steward ... Read More
Embarkation from Singapore was a little slow, arrived at the pier at 12 noon and didn't board until 145pm. Cabin was ready straight away and luggage was waiting for us at our door. Cabin D307 Dolphin Deck 9. We met our cabin steward straight away James, he was wonderful. Cabin was a Mini Suite Balcony. Loverly cabin well worth the extra $$$. It was spacious and a great layout the balcony was large. Then it was Full steam ahead at 5pm. Went dinner at the international restaurant. Food was good quality and well presented never cold. We also ate breakfast in the restaurant as we didnt like the noise in the Buffet Horrizon Buffet. Entertainment was great and the shows well Choreographed. Ports of call Kota Kinabalu,Phu My. Nga Trang, Sihanoukville, Bangkok and unfortunately KO Samui was missed due to Tender Issues. All ports were good but remember it is Asia and its hot and most places are under developed and still very new to cruising. You'll be jumped on by touts as soon as you get off the ship. Make sure you barter for everything, especially taxi and tour fares. Back to the ship... There was plenty of things to keep you occupied whilst on board. From bingo, trivia, shopping, casino or just relaxing by the pool close to you favourite Bar (plentyof them). Cocktail prices were 7-12 US$ but in the wheelhouse bar between 3-4pm it is happy hour. By one drink get the 2nd for $1. Overall it was a good trip but very packed as it was christmas and to many Kids. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We have previously completed HAL cruises to Myanmar and Hong Kong from Singapore. This Indonesia cruise was the missing link. We have been to Singapore many, many times. Stayed at Sofitel So. The only highlights were the Telok Ayer Food ... Read More
We have previously completed HAL cruises to Myanmar and Hong Kong from Singapore. This Indonesia cruise was the missing link. We have been to Singapore many, many times. Stayed at Sofitel So. The only highlights were the Telok Ayer Food Market next door to the hotel. and the Botanic Gardens. Most ports of call were forgettable with heavy traffic. Shuttles only went to shopping malls. Lombok was the highlight. Komodo Island lizards are not much bigger than our large monitor lizards and much smaller than our crocodiles. We highly recommend Putu Supartana, a private driver in Bali (putusupartana@yahoo.com). He intimately knows the island, will recommend places to visit and can bypass the horrible traffic congestion. Overall an average cruise. HAL service is becoming less customer focussed but the ship staff were still excellent. Port information was minimal but port transfers were good. We did not do any ship excursions as they are too expensive and poor value. Other passenger statements reflected a lot of time in traffic on shore excursions. Main dining room food was good but the Pinnacle Grill needs to change its menu as it is still the same from 3 cruises ago. The lack of a cocktail of the day was a disappointment. Oceanview cabin better than other cruise lines and cabin staff excellent. Nightly entertainment was average. Two local culture shows were poor. Being a christmas/new year cruise the number of children was relatively low, unobtrusive and well behaved. A typical mid-60's HAL crowd. We would not do this cruise again as the ports of call are poor. However Indonesia is our nearest neighbour and we have been to more interesting, less tourist orientated places. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
1. Twenty three days were enough to gauge the skills of the Crew of the Diamond Princess - some shone and some only just glittered, some just faded. The first "port of call" for most passengers on a Cruise liner is the ... Read More
1. Twenty three days were enough to gauge the skills of the Crew of the Diamond Princess - some shone and some only just glittered, some just faded. The first "port of call" for most passengers on a Cruise liner is the Customer Services Desk - some passengers with major issues to iron out and some minor administrative questions. Unfortunately the Trainee Staff on our Cruise were at times poorly supervised or assisted by the senior staff and this led to passenger frustration on a major scale with several of our fellow passengers expressing frustration trying to sort our their accounts. Obviously there is no excuse for verbal or any other abuse of Staff by either Senior Staff or Passengers but at times Trainee Staff were left to fend for them selves trying to solve issues which were beyond their limited expertise and there were either no senior staff to support them (the senior staff seemed to miraculously appear from behind the walled enclosure when the heat was turned on) or the Trainees were left floundering. Princess Cruises needs to address this issue of Supervision and Training as a matter of urgency. Many passengers were affected detrimentially and left very frustrated on this one cruise alone and their decision not to cruise with the Princess group again may be made on the perceived calibre of the advice and assistance they received at the Customer Services Desk. After all without Customer satisfaction the Company may be sailing with quite a few empty cabins. Lift your game Princess and provide "real" support for your trainees and up-skill your senior staff on a regular basis or not only will you have no Trainees but no Passengers to pay their wages. On this Cruise the Administrative skills of the Customer Service Team appeared, at times, to be found wanting. 2.The destinations and shore excursions were adequate for those who have not visited South East Asia but were a little mundane for those who have travelled this region extensively by other means. 3. The entertainment onboard was first class and varied - equal to many similar shows ashore - entertainment through-out the Ship was plentiful with something for just about everyone although the "in-betweens" (those between 14 and 18 seemed to be a little short-changed with regard to entertainment - perhaps more challenging activities might be considered ie.character building. 4. Embarkation and disembarkation were streamlined and carried out with military precision with full marks to all staff who participated - tendr operations were also carried out with minimial inconvenience to passengers. In summary, the Cruise was very enjoyable and value for money - we will cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Having read the reviews of this cruise/ship I was a little nervous about our cruise, but I need not have worried. This was our first Celebrity cruise (Princess and P & O are our favourites) and I was pleasantly surprised. Embarkation ... Read More
Having read the reviews of this cruise/ship I was a little nervous about our cruise, but I need not have worried. This was our first Celebrity cruise (Princess and P & O are our favourites) and I was pleasantly surprised. Embarkation was a breeze and our cabin was ready for us, again, having read that the ship was tired and in need of updating i wondered what our cabin would be like. It was lovely, very modern and the furnishings were nice. The balcony could have done with a little renovation but there was nothing that stopped us enjoying the room facilities. Our cabin steward, Rufina, was amazing and nothing was too much trouble. We ate in Blu, which we thoroughly enjoyed, the food was of a high standard and the staff always friendly and obliging to any requests for something different. On a couple of sea days, we ate in the Metropolitan at lunchtime and that also was of a good standard. The service wasn't always quick but we were in no rush and where else could we go on a sea day? We did use the Oceanview cafe on a couple of occasions and from what we could see the choice and quality was excellent. Unfortunately, because of bad weather we were unable to stop in Danang but these things happen and you have to make the most of them. The other ports were great and the overnight stays were brilliant, allowing you to experience the nightlife of these places. We did some ship's tours and then used the port guides for wandering on our own. I have to say I thought the port guides were poor, and lacked information and decent maps. The ship's tours we did were good value for money and just right for us. We have a couple of moans, the drinks prices are extortionate. We like a drink when we are away but i refuse to pay stupid prices and whilst we enjoyed wine with dinner etc and cocktails I did feel like Celebrity were taking the Mickey! We enjoy the ambiance of formal nights but felt that there was no sense of occasion on this ship. I don't know if it was just this ship or Celebrity in general. When you make an effort to dress up I feel slightly annoyed when people are still permitted to enter the main dining rooms in shorts and trainers. On other cruises we have always felt pulled to the atrium which is where things always seem to be going on and it is a great place to people watch but on this ship the atrium was nearly always empty, it was beautfiully decorated but there was nothing going on there. Some of the entertainment was poor, especially in the Rendez Vous lounge. The singer playing the piano was great but the band with the male singer were dire. The music was so loud that you couldn't hold a conversation but thankfully it drowned out his terrible voice. We tried the Cosmos lounge a few times but always felt it lacked atmosphere. I don't think I ever saw the Captain, we heard from him every morning at 10am but the senior crew were not often seen around the ship. Hygiene was excellent and they were always dishing out hand gel and wiping bannisters in public areas. Our disembarkation in Hong Kong was quick but it was hard to get away from the terminal. In fairness, Celebrity did warn us about lack of taxis and we could have booked a shuttle but we decided not to and paid the price. The taxi queue was huge so we ended up taking the free shuttle to the Hollywood Plaza mall and then picked up a taxi from there. All in all, we had a fantastic holiday and I would quite happily cruise Celebrity again, especially if they reduce their drink prices!!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Cruising out of Singapore Dec. 29th with my wife over the new year's eve to Kuala Lumpur for 5 nights. Having cruised with RCL before on board of the Allure, Oasis, Independence & Serenade, I was eagerly looking forward to this ... Read More
Cruising out of Singapore Dec. 29th with my wife over the new year's eve to Kuala Lumpur for 5 nights. Having cruised with RCL before on board of the Allure, Oasis, Independence & Serenade, I was eagerly looking forward to this sailing & didn't mind paying extra for it, hoping for a memorable experience. Check in process & the cruise terminal are all good & efficient. Once on board, we moved up to Windjammer for lunch. I like the way they manage the drink stations by keeping the fellow guests away from the equipment. They also have staff manning all the food stations inside & out to keep things orderly at all time. The place could get busy at times throughout the cruise as is the case with any other cruise lines, but nothing too unbearable in my opinion. Breakfast is the same every morning, so it can get a bit boring after a few days. The rest of the food in the buffet is the usual RCL standard. Considering the age of the ship, the design is quite good & it definitely has been properly maintained. I love the free sauna/steam bath/huge hot tube in the gym area. The only thing that shows the age is all the older gym equipment with several treadmills making some weird noise/not working & the seat rollers seizing up on the leg press, just to name a few. One thing that caught me by surprise was the permitted smoking up on the pool deck, a HUGE turn off for me. The luggage was already waiting for us when we got to the cabin just after 1 pm. The cabin is good except for the mattress which is a bit too thin or just worn out. I overheard other cabins nearby were having constant issues with plumbing & hvac system. The cabin steward Magaldo did a good job for us. Main dinning room experience is mixed. The assistance waitress FanFei (table 462 first seating) really went out of her way to please us & that is the only bright spot. We waited 45 minutes for a glass of iced tea one evening, she kept apologizing for it but still no drink, bizarre. She even brought us fruit plates later on & the next few evenings to try to make up for it. New year's eve dinner was open sitting at the main dinning room. They served half a lobster tail with shrimps, when I ordered 2 servings, I found out they only allowed 1 serving for each guest (is that a new trend with the industry or just RCL?). When the food arrived, there were 2 half lobster tails, I cannot be sure if the waiter did something extra for us behind the scene or what. In the end, the lobster was quite forgettable (small & dry), as is the rest of the service (not even a refill of iced tea), I went up to Windjammer to get one after the meal. Once or twice, food arrived & appeared to have been sitting out for a bit too long. We joined 3 shore excursions & the lineup was LONG in the morning to get our tickets at the meeting place, as there"s only one line with 2 people handling the task, why why why? Shows are quite ordinary, to the point that I am starting to think it's somewhat boring. Is it just me?? No comment on wifi as I stayed offline purposely. Didn't buy any photos this sailing, may be | am biased but I still think Disney is doing a much better job in the whole photo segment within the industry. The casino didn't seem to be all that busy. Disembarkation is as good as it gets, no issue there. All in all, the whole cruise is ok, and that is the problem, as I was looking for something more. I am not even comparing it to the cruise in Sep/2014 on Disney Wonder to Alaska, nor the one in Feb/2014 on NCL Breakaway to Bahamas. My observation is that much of the crew didn't seem to be too enthusiastic & it really shows. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
I have been on Voyager 4 times as it is my favourite ship but this cruise was not the best. We went to Singapore as we wanted to check out the revitalisation. We got down at the pier just after 10 and I did expect the wow factor after ... Read More
I have been on Voyager 4 times as it is my favourite ship but this cruise was not the best. We went to Singapore as we wanted to check out the revitalisation. We got down at the pier just after 10 and I did expect the wow factor after the dry dock. Sadly for the second time, boarding in Singapore , was delayed by about 3 hours or more and in my view a publicity disaster . I could not believe this could happen and I now believe Royal Caribbean have no idea on how to make an impact. You spend Millions making changes and before 1 person gets on board you get them all off side. I heard many reasons why it was late but bottom line it was a disaster. No wow factor and what surprised me no Xmas decorations I did like the changes but some were not done as advertised, My bathroom had not been made over nor were my sheets crisp and new and I was in a suite. We had my time dining and we found the changes to the dining room were not to our liking. We thought the food was boring in most venue's and the service was not what I expect from RCCL We were amazed that a glass of wine was $11 US , that is just getting stupid in my view All in all our favourite ship after having Millions spent on revitalisation did not excite me Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We had 2 ocean view room , located right on top of the Bridges. During the nite, we will get calls if the curtains are left opened bec the light in the room will affect the Bridges viewing. This is a Christmas cruise- 23 Dec -26 Dec from ... Read More
We had 2 ocean view room , located right on top of the Bridges. During the nite, we will get calls if the curtains are left opened bec the light in the room will affect the Bridges viewing. This is a Christmas cruise- 23 Dec -26 Dec from Singapore to Port Klang to Penang to Phuket and back to Singapore. This is our second RCL trip . The Mariner of Sea is much bigger than the Legend of Seas. It has Dreamwork character and ice skating show. My kids enjoy the fun in the Ocean Adventure and we enjoyed the fine dining. On Chris eve, they served lobster! we went down the penang port and walk around the surrounding. we could find our favourite local food like fried kway teow and chedol . In Phuket,we went down to the beach and enjoy the Thai food at Bansan Market ( next to J celyon shopping center). Our friends went for Thai massage and sightseeing The staff and crew are very efficient in managing 3500+ passenger on board. their efforts are recommendable Surprisingly,the cabin only provided soap and shampoo. So we are wise to bring cotton bud, comb, toothbrush etc The night show are entertaining.... but I am a bore with English singing. love to have Chinese songs too! The Marina Cruise Center has no duty free shop like Changi Airport ( disappointing for me!) the taxi q is v long and poor management of taxi to passengers. Really hope the cruise center can catch Up to maintain a good impression for Singapore foreign guest! esp the cab fare already very expensive compare to Phuket and Penang Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We sailed on 18th December visiting Malaysia and Indonesia. After reading some reviews we were apprehensive about this our first cruise with Costa. My advice; ignore the reviews judge for yourself when you try it. The ship was lovely, the ... Read More
We sailed on 18th December visiting Malaysia and Indonesia. After reading some reviews we were apprehensive about this our first cruise with Costa. My advice; ignore the reviews judge for yourself when you try it. The ship was lovely, the staff were fantastic, the entertainment especially Janos Olha Duo was excellent. Our cabin was kept sparkling clean by our ever helpful steward. The restaurant waiters couldn't have tried harder to provide for our different needs. The itinerary was varied and, here is my only criticism, it would have been nicer if a little more time could have been spent on shore, particularly in Bali. The thing we didn't like was the way in which some guests treated the staff. I realise that on occasions there were problems with language but how many cruisers could cope with so many languages and dialects? We witnessed some appallingly rude treatment of staff by a variety of nationalities. To these people I say try being polite and quieter with your requests, shouting is non productive. Also try reading the information sheets in your cabin, you could prevent many of the problems if you showed a little more care and consideration for the environment. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We have sailed on Costa before and promised that we would not do so again, but the dates and the length of the cruise and the ports to be visited made us get excited again, and it was a different ship this time, so we thought, why not? ... Read More
We have sailed on Costa before and promised that we would not do so again, but the dates and the length of the cruise and the ports to be visited made us get excited again, and it was a different ship this time, so we thought, why not? Great views from the balcony, but on the wrong side of the ship, we were always on the water side never got to watch the port from ours. Very small room, don't let the photos on the web pages fool you, just enough room to walk between the wall and the bed. the balcony itself is only 1m x 2m with 2 chairs and a very low table, the door is extremely heavy as you would expect, however, my wife struggled to open it most times. The bathroom is exactly the same size as every other stateroom, so no extra space, and for a person who is 6ft tall and weighs 220 pounds that does not leave a lot of room for anything! let alone getting in the shower. Sadly, the airconditioning unit in the hallway burst a pipe and flooded our cabin and six others around it, we were disappointed with Costa's compensation offer ( a bottle of wine and a bowl of fruit ) to put up with an industrial dryer in our room for the next 3 days of the cruise and one outside the door for 4 days, not to mention the smell of wet carpet for 4 days. Bad, Bad, Bad! The ports that we visited were Semarang, Benoa, Lombok, Singapore, Penang, Langkawi, Phuket (Patong) and back to Singapore. I would pass on Semarang, Lombok and possibly Benoa, but the other stops where terrific. The Costa entertainment crew, they call them the "Animation Team" now, were a bit of a let down compared to the entertainment team on the Costa Romantica that took us to similar ports just 2 years before. Being the Christmas and New Year cruise the staff had made pretty red bows to go on all of the cabin doors and there were a few tinsel pieces around the place, the atrium had a lovely decorated Christmas tree but that was about all. For NYE the crew let go of a net full of balloons on the strike of midnight, but because of the layout of the ship, there was not really many people in the area to enjoy this. I think that the deck layout on the Victoria made for a difficult time for them, there is not just one spot to be entertained in but many small areas, but we made our own fun. the good thing is that Costa has stopped people smoking anywhere on the ship that is inside, you have to go to the outdoor areas. Given that we have now had two cruises through Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia, I think maybe the next one will be to the Phillipines, Cambodia, Vietnam and Japan etc. Just next time won't be a Costa cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
having just today returned from our 19 day cruise on the Diamond Princess, I could not have been happier with my experience. The staff are probably the best I have experienced and were very personable and willing to please. We started our ... Read More
having just today returned from our 19 day cruise on the Diamond Princess, I could not have been happier with my experience. The staff are probably the best I have experienced and were very personable and willing to please. We started our journey flying Singapore Airlines on an A380 in the Upper Deck Economy class and it was also terrific. Only 80 people in this area and a 2 4 2 configuration make it a reasonably pleasurable experience. When then had three nights at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore in their Club Class suite which was absolutely work the money. If you are looking for a treat, I can highly recommend it. Our cabin was a mini-suite and again, worth the extra to get the large balcony and additional cabin space, not to mention a bathroom that you can actually swing a cat in. Very comfortable lounge, chairs and bed. We made our own way to the ship using a cab which is very affordable in Singapore (less than S$10) and the cruise terminal is new and very functional. Boarding was a breeze and cabin was ready and bags followed soon after. We mostly ate breakfast in the Horizon Buffet which had a good selection of fresh fruit, yoghurt, baked goods, eggs, bacon, sausages etc. Lunch we tended to eat usually something light - sandwich or slice of pizza, small hamburger which were all good quality. Dinner we utilised Anytime Dining which we really enjoyed, meeting new people every night was a lot of fun. Food in the dining rooms was really terrific and the wine list was interesting and reasonably priced. Entertainment was Ok but not really anything outstanding. Loved the Lotus Pool - quite and secluded with plenty of sun and shade. Lotus Spa was great as well - enjoyed a lovely day of pampering in their facilities. Disembarkation in Sydney was simple and ran really easily. All in all we were very happy with this cruise. It gave us a lot of time to relax and recharge in a very pleasant atmosphere.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This was the first time Celebrity was done this route and it showed. The ports were all terrific with overnights in Singapore, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Hanoi, and Hong Kong, but Celebrity was comically disorganized at port calls ... Read More
This was the first time Celebrity was done this route and it showed. The ports were all terrific with overnights in Singapore, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Hanoi, and Hong Kong, but Celebrity was comically disorganized at port calls in general, getting people ashore, running shore excursions, and handing out passports. Hotels: Fairmont Singapore-Nice, but pricey Renaissance Bangkok-dirt cheap, and incredibly nice hotel Caravelle Saigon-cheap, and nice, but not as nice as Renaissance Sheraton Hong Kong-Expensive, but a very nice hotel Ports In Singapore, we did some nice tours before we got on the ship, including a city tour, and a tour of the World War II sites (Kranji was very moving). But I will focus on what happened once we got on the ship. We had planned to go to this nice new aquarium on Sentosa, since our ship didn't leave until 2 PM the next day. Unfortunately, we would soon learn that we had to be on board at Noon, which was never told to us when we booked. It was very misleading, and the beginning of our discontent with Celebrity's port operations. Apparently, there are 2 different aquariums on Sentosa. We accidentally went to the old one, which like everything else on the island, didn't open until 10. Because we had to be on board at 12, we didn't have time to go to the new aquarium instead. To add insult to injury, the ship ended up leaving port 4 hours late because all passports needed to be turned in, but a group of Russians (if you believe the scuttlebutt) failed to turn their passports in and were lounging at the pool despite constant announcements and impassioned, angry pleas from the captain. So, we had rushed for nothing. In Bangkok, all 4 members of my party were booked on the "Essence of Old Bangkok tour, which left at 10:15 A.M. My youngest son and I planned to stay overnight in Bangkok and just have the bus leave us there at the conclusion of the tour instead of going back to the ship. We were worried about getting our passports in time (you needed to collect your passports in order to stay overnight ashore as the hotel asks for them) since they were set to be given out at 10:30 A.M. Thus, I talked to guest relations and they assured me that our passports would be the highest priority and we would be able to get them at 10:15. Still concerned, I went to the shore excursion desk and told them my situation, and they once again assured I would get the passports in time, and if not, they would book me on a different tour which was "Overnight Bangkok on your Own". Long story short, we did not get the passports in time because Celebrity was so slow and inefficient at distributing them. As time marched on, I returned to the guest relations desk to ask about my so called priority status. The woman at the desk (can't remember her name, but she was Peruvian) told me that they were in her supervisor hands and we would get them soon, and that we should wait by the desk to receive them. 20 minutes later no passports. We went back to the place where passports were being distributed and had to wait even more time to get them. The Peruvian had blatantly lied, a tactic we found was used often by our crew who could care less about our experience. When we finally got our passports, we rushed to the shore excursion desk to make sure we got on the "Overnight Bangkok on your Own" tour. There was now no room left, and without any aid from Celebrity we were forced to find our own transport to Bangkok. It was very expensive, but we did get to the city in time to see the Grand Palace< the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. The next day we went to Wat Arun, The National Museum, the Marble Temple, and the Sri Racha Tiger Zoo before returning to the ship. We would later learn that the tour we tried to get on was delayed so much due to passport issues that it did not arrive in Bangkok until 5 P.M. according to some of our fellow passengers. So, it was a blessing in disguise that Celebrity had failed to get us on that tour, as it saved us from further incompetency from them. The exception to the rule of bad shore excursion, passport and gangway issues was in Saigon. We had booked the Saigon Overnight tour (a bargain at 295 dollars) after enjoying staying overnight in Bangkok so much, no thanks to Celebrity. Our tour guide, Hoang, was just great. He was the best tour guide on the entire cruise. He spoke very good English, was kind, courteous, and gave lots of information and interesting anecdotes about his hometown. We saw all the usual sites on day 1 (Presidential Palace, History Museum, Water Puppet Show, Market, Church, etc.) and stayed at the Caravelle Hotel that night, which was great. My son had wanted to visit the highly touted War Remnants museum, which we didn't have time for the first day. However, it did open at 0730 the next day. We rushed there and thoroughly enjoyed our brief 45 minute visit. Next, we went to the Cu Chi Tunnels which was fascinating. It was incredible to see how the Viet Cong constructed this massive system with such little resources. The best part though was the shooting range they had where you could fire a wide range of weapons from the Vietnam War era, including AK47, M16, and M60s. We picked the AK47 and the M60 and it cost 68 dollars, not cheap, but incredibly fun. I had fired the M16 and M60 before, but never an AK, which was so unique since obviously I was not exposed to that as an American. There were no real issues with passports or disembarkation we experienced in Saigon, so that was a relief. After a day at sea, we arrived in Chan May, the port for Da Nang and Hue. We booked the Imperial Hue tour. This was the tour from hell! Our tour guide, Tran, had an absolutely incomprehensible accent and had an overall poor command of English. After paying hundreds of dollars for my whole family to go on this tour, I expected better from Celebrity. Could they really not have found a single guy in all the Central Highlands who spoke English better than this? If you listened hard, you would be able to make out about 30 percent of what he said. For example, "bla bla bla bla Heavenly lady Pagoda bla bla bla" So when he explained things anywhere that day, it was utterly useless. First went to the aforementioned Heavenly Lady pagoda, where I listened to another tour guide who actually spoke English. Next we went to the imperial palace. I hired four rickshaws to take us there from where the bus left us because my wife has a bad knee and cannot walk well. The rickshaw guides had quoted us two dollars each to go to the palace. Unfortunately, they lied. Instead of taking us to the palace, they take us on this one hour long wild goose chase around the streets of Hue despite my constant urgings to take us straight to the palace. When the tour finally ends, they want 1 million dong apiece, like 48 dollars. I am incensed. I did not want this whole long tour, I wanted to just be taken to the palace and pay my 2 dollars. I give them a million dong for all four of us, but they won't let us leave and attempt to physical restrain us. A poor plan since both my son and I have at least 7 inches and more than 80 pounds on all of them. My wife gives them 500k more dong and we leave. We only have 30 minutes left to see the Imperial Palace, and without a guide, no matter how bad, to show us around. Tran comes looking for us and he is not happy. We aren't actually late but he must just have had a bee in his bonnet about it. We get back to the bus roughly on time, but he still looks like we shot his water buffalo. We travel back across the Perfume River for lunch at a "4 Star Hotel", really a 2 star in my book. The food was of poor quality and little variety. The drinks were long passed expired and when we went down in the elevator we found ourselves stuck behind a buffet table. Oh my. After lunch we travel to the Thien Mu tomb to hear some more garbled explanations from Tran. We then return to the ship to recover from our trying day. The next day was much better. Although there were issues with tenders the next day and our excursion was delayed an hour, which was cut off from our tour, Ha Long Bay by Boat was simply stunning. All these little islands jutting out from the water were breathtaking. When we arrived at the island with the big cave, there was a 45 minute wait to get in, due to our late departure. It was worth it though. The cave was the largest and most spectacular I had ever seen, and different colored lights were put in it to further the mystique. We then visited a floating village where a local boat came up right next to ours and the kids from the village jumped on to our boat to essentially beg for money. It was heartbreaking, but at the same time fascinating. The next day we traveled to Hanoi (3.5 hours overland) which was great. We saw the Hanoi Hilton where John McCain was imprisoned, took an electric cart through the busy market, and saw Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum. We couldn't go inside as it is only open in the morning, and we couldn't visit his cottage because of some military exercise that was going on. In the words of our terrific guide Hung, "This is a communist country. They just tell me it is national security and I can't do anything about it". We did get to see the lake where John McCain took a "swim" according to Hung, which was cool. Afterwards we returned to the ship. Two days later we arrived in our final port, Hong Kong. We took a great tour the first day there (Highlights of the City with Dim Sum Lunch). The next day we disembarked and went to Ocean Park which was incredible, if a little expensive at 280 HKD. They had 4 different pandas which was mind boggling, a great aquarium, and a thrilling cable car ride. We didn't have time for much else there, since my wife wanted to go shopping for fake purses as Christmas gifts, but my sons really enjoyed shooting water cannons at people on the River Rafting ride, a bargain at 10 HKD per session. Next, we were on our way to lunch when we were approached by an Indian trying to sell Fake watches and purses. My wife couldn't resist. He led us into a seedy apartment building, up to the 6th floor. There were bars on all the doors and led us into his apartment where he had an impressive (read: frightening) surveillance system and 3 of his goons guarding the door. We bought a nice purse bargained down from 250 dollars to 180, which I still thought was too much. After a delicious late lunch of Pho at a Vietnamese restaurant, we journeyed on to buy even more crap at the Ladies Market. My two sons went to the Hong Kong Museum of History instead, which they said they thoroughly enjoyed, and only cost 20 HKD total, less than 3 bucks. The Ship and Cruise Experience Having previously cruised with Celebrity on the Century in 07, where the service was out of this world, I expected to be treated as a valued guest. Unfortunately, even though I was in a suite, I was treated more as cattle. The service was really no better than Royal Caribbean or Princess. But at least they make up for it with great activities and entertainment. On Celebrity, not only was the service underwhelming, the entertainment and activities were the worst I've ever seen. There was really nothing to do when the ship was not in port that was worthwhile. Just opportunities to give Celebrity more of my hard earned money. No good shows, no fun activities or game shows, not even the Newlywed game! A travesty, in my eyes. The comedian, Joel Osborne, was Fifty Shades of awful. He couldn't handle the crowd and was criminally unfunny. The other shows were similarly poor, except for Mario D'Andrea, a guitarist/vocalist who was great. The trivias, which my son loves, were almost exclusively during the day, when we were in port, and were not even that good when we were there. No real variety in subjects, no entertaining staff. Not even an exciting game show format. Worse yet, the food was not particularly good. The alternative restaurants were absurdly overpriced at 40 a person, though Qsine was an experience. The food outlets were not open frequently or long enough, with the Pool Grill closing at 6, the dinner buffet at 9:30, and Ice Cream at 10. The main dining room wasn't very good. The service wasn't as good as on other cruises and the variety was lacking. There was little for my vegetarian wife. The quality of the food wasn't overly good either. And overall, the staff didn't go out of their way to help you. You had to take the initiative to get them to act if you needed assistance after they made a mistake. Conclusion All in all, it was an enjoyable cruise, not because of the ship, the service, activities, or entertainment, but because of the ports. As much as I might complain about the onboard experience, I didn't take this cruise for the ship. I took it to see Southeast Asia. A cruise is a great way to see it, and the overnights really made the trip for me. It would be very difficult and expensive to see all those places on your own, and you would be stuck eating local food all the time which you may not like. I'd rather a bad steak on Celebrity than chicken feet in some random place in Vietnam! I do hope Celebrity learns from this. The service may never get better because they simply do not care enough, but they certainly should improve the tendering, passports, and port operations. Their problems with that were simply ridiculous. In the future, I will look to book Princess or Royal Caribbean, because Celebrity has simply lost its edge. It is no longer a "premium" line. Its service is average at best and the food is somewhere south of that. Celebrity never was good at entertainment or activities, but this cruise was truly awful in those categories. If you are considering taking this cruise, I would urge you to lower your expectations. And I would certainly avoid the Millennium if you are cruising more for the ship than the ports. Unfortunately, no other cruise line is doing a similar route (except for Holland America, yuck) so if you want to cruise Southeast Asia, at this point, you have to stomach the Millennium, to enjoy the rich experiences ashore. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
My wife and I decided to book the Legend of the Seas 5-Night Holiday Cruise (over New Year's Eve) as part of a Southeast Asia vacation. Our main reasons were that it seemed like a good way to visit several spots in the area without ... Read More
My wife and I decided to book the Legend of the Seas 5-Night Holiday Cruise (over New Year's Eve) as part of a Southeast Asia vacation. Our main reasons were that it seemed like a good way to visit several spots in the area without having to deal with crossing borders, it was port-intensive, and the opportunity to celebrate New Year's on the ocean was pretty appealing. Our only previous cruise was four nights on the Enchantment OTS out of Ft. Lauderdale, over Memorial Day weekend several years ago, so it was quite a party cruise and not our style. This cruise was much more our style. We left the U.S. on the day after Christmas, arriving on the 28th because of the date line. Because of weather in the States, we were delayed and missed a connection and we were told our bags would arrive the day after our cruise, so we spent most of our time shopping for cruise clothes. I therefore don't have much to say about Singapore. We stayed at the Conrad, which was fabulous and had extremely helpful and generous staff, we helped tremendously with our bag issue. I also recommend Oscar's Buffet for breakfast. Embarkation was easy for anyone with any kind of priority status: we are Gold C&A and had no wait once our forms were filled out. It was a very painless process. The new cruise terminal has a convenience store (7-11), I think, for any last minute needs. Note that as of December 2012, the new cruise terminal was new enough that our concierge made sure to tell the taxi driver very specifically to go the new terminal. The taxi ride was quick and easy. Ship was in decent shape considering its age but is currently being refurbished, so my comments aren't crucial. We went to three ports: Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi (Malaysia), and Phuket. The KL day was the low point of the cruise. We had signed up for the "Kuala Lumpur on Your Own" excursion, which is essentially a bus ride into the city from the port, as the other excursions did not appeal to us and we preferred to pick the sights we saw, rather than the choices on the excursions. Unfortunately, we were placed on the wrong bus by the RC staff and went on the "Kuala Lumpur Light and Easy" excursion. We informed the tour guide but they were not able to fix this until too late in the day for it to matter. I went to the excursions desk to complain and both the staff member at the desk and the excursions manager tried to argue with me and say I should have been happier on the Light and Easy excursion because it was more expensive. I asked for a refund, not expecting one, and I really only wanted a sincere apology and maybe some drink coupons. However, their suggested resolution was to not charge us for the more expensive excursion that their mistake put us on (which I believe would be illegal), so I was now furious. I spoke with the Loyalty Ambassador (the wonderful Hitomi) and she intervened, and I was granted a 50 percent refund in onboard credit. Lesson learned: double-check your bus assignment. In Langkawi, we opted to hire a taxi at the pier and we saw the mangroves, the Craft Cultural Complex (which has handicrafts from simply amazing batiks to very inexpensive items), the craft store De Zone, Black Sand Beach, and ate at a small place near the beach. We recommend all of these places. We went to the cable car but it was raining and the top of the mountain (where the cable car stops) was covered in clouds, so we did not go up. I wanted to note that the cruise had a $10 shuttle from the pier to Pantai Cenang (a developed beach resort area) that was not announced in the pre-cruise materials. In Phuket, we took the Sea Canoe excursion, which stops at a couple of different islands with caves that are only accessible at low tide and later at a small beach. This was a fantastic experience, highly recommended. We also noted that the organization of the excursions was much better this morning, perhaps because of our mishap. Also of note, we apparently were cleared early, so there was an announcement that people not on excursions could tender before the ship excursions (although only until the ship excursions started to tender). On most occasions where we embarked or disembarked, there was a picture opportunity (often with someone in a panda, tiger, or other costume). They did some very nice collages of the picture with, e.g., the Singapore skyline, which we didn't buy (because we looked terrible) but I wish we had had a good picture to go with one of the collages. We dined twice in the main dining room for dinner (using My Time Dining) and all other meals were in the Windjammer. We have found that we prefer the Windjammer food (although the food on this cruise was much better than our previous cruise). In my opinion, the main dinner room food tends to be overcooked, although I have had better luck with roasts and racks (that are cooked and then sliced) then single-serve portions such as fish (which I assume sit under a heat lamp). My wife has generally been disappointed with the MDR food. Although many passengers were Asian, the MDR menu was not heavily Asian-influenced and the Chinese menu appeared to be the same (as near as I could tell). As of our sailing, the Legend did not have the new menu. There appeared to be a special menu on New Year's Eve which was quite nice. The Windjammer has a much more eclectic selection of of western and eastern items. For example, at breakfast there would b: oatmeal, grits, sambal, and a congee station; a selection of pastries; two of pancakes, waffles, or french toast; a carving, fried egg, and omelet station; plain rice and stir fry; bacon and sausage (not American, more like a hot dog similar to other sausage found in Asia); a toast station; and plenty of fresh fruit. Lunch and dinner had a similar assortment. We always enjoyed our meals here. Older reviews complain that food was often not hot and served on Styrofoam. We experienced neither problem at any time on our cruise. There was also a late-night buffet and pool party on night 4 (after Phuket, before the Sea Day). The food was fine, probably of lower quality than other meals, but the food wasn't really the point. I love on-deck parties! All of the staff we dealt with were very nice and helpful (with the exception of the excursions staff, noted above). Special mention goes to the Loyalty Ambassador Hitomi, the Spa Manager Zurica, and one of her staffers, Maria, all of whom really helped get our vacation back on track after our luggage was lost and our KL excursion went awry. Going back to the spa was always a treat because the staff were so delightful, so I would just walk through there so they would say hi. A large number of the line staff are Chinese but language never appeared to be a problem and, in fact, the staff at the Guest Services desk were always very helpful. While the spa is not a choice to rate below, I would give it a 5+. We did not see any of the shows. We watched the bellyflop contest (fun), did Walk for Wishes (such a nice thing for RCI to do), and played bingo once (boring and a ripoff, but the drink of the day was 2-for-1). The Welcome Back party was well-attended and on New Year's Eve, so everyone was dressed up, even though it was the second formal night of the cruise. The free drinks on NYE made waiting until midnight a problem! The passengers on this cruise were from 49 countries (see a breakdown based on information provided by Hitomi at https://dl.dropbox.com/u/74281956/Legend%20of%20the%20Seas%20Passenger%20Nationalities%2012-29-2012.xls noting that the original printout I got listed Russia twice, which I have maintained). This list would, I guess, appear to understate the number of ethnic Chinese based on the number of Chinese staff, Chinese language excursions, and the fact that all announcements were in English and Chinese (and often Japanese). There was also a separate "cruise director" channel in Chinese. While other reviews complain about lack of proper queuing, we never experiences any abnormal problems with this (compared to, say, a trip to Disney). A staff member commented that Asian crowds tend to lack sun-worshipers, and we never had a problem getting a chair on deck. In summary, we had a fantastic time overall on this cruise. If I were ever near Singapore again, I would not hesitate to take another, similar trip and we are much more likely to cruise again then we were after our previous cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We didn't actually board Odyssey in Singapore, the Cruise Critic review options didn't list Bali/Denpasar/Benoa where we had spent a very pleasant few days pre-cruise. Embarkation was as welcoming, comfortable and smooth as we ... Read More
We didn't actually board Odyssey in Singapore, the Cruise Critic review options didn't list Bali/Denpasar/Benoa where we had spent a very pleasant few days pre-cruise. Embarkation was as welcoming, comfortable and smooth as we have come to expect from our many Seabourn cruises. An added benefit is the now usual practice of allowing early arrivals to enjoy lunch on board before the suites are ready, in this case in fine weather on the Colonnade restaurant open deck. We shared a table with people we'd met on previous cruises, a happy discovery and a good start to the holiday. Our suite was ready by the time we had finished lunch, as usual we were greeted with more champagne, canapes and luxury soaps by our stewardess who was charming, obliging and efficient throughout the cruise. There were two splendid floral displays and a bowl of fresh fruits to admire as we unpacked and stowed our cases. There are distinct advantages to a penthouse suite on Seabourn. The suite is fifty percent wider allowing for two sun loungers, a table and two chairs on the balcony while the suite has two ocean view windows, dining table, armchairs, L shaped sofa, large screen TV and masses of storage space. The sleeping area is quite separate, with another TV, and leads to a large wardrobe area, the bathroom with larger shower, spa bath and a separate lavatory with hand basin. Bonuses of being on deck 10 were the short distance to the lift, a secluded sun deck aft and the Observation lounge forward. The Observation lounge has tea, coffee and pastries available from 6am which you could take back to your suite or balcony removing the need to order room service breakfast at a precise time. However, if you want truly delicious coffee a trip down to deck seven and Seabourn Square is worth the effort even if it means getting dressed. In the afternoon the Observation lounge serves up delicious special teas with cucumber sandwiches, cakes and pastries. In the evening cocktails can be sipped before dinner, brandy or liqueurs after dinner to the soothing sounds of the baby grand piano. From the sun deck it is only a few steps down to the Sky Bar on deck nine and a stroll across to the gym and spa. All these delights are included on Seabourn, no signing of chits or worrying whose round it is wherever you are, restaurants, bars, the square, sun decks, your suite, the casino and even the spa! Seabourn have found a new source of caviar, Uruguay. It is truly superb and we ordered it as a starter occasionally when nothing else appealed. Caviar was always a Seabourn speciality and it is great to see the tradition continued. The special treats on this Christmas cruise included fantastic gingerbread mansions placed on nearly every deck with an assortment of festive pies, cakes and confectionery for you to help yourself to whenever you fancied. The ship was lavishly and elegantly decorated and the crew went out of their way to encourage a festive feel. The Christmas day dinner was especially impressive with almost the whole ship gathered in the restaurant, a logistical triumph on behalf of the restaurant and galley staff. In addition there were four formal dinners, which we love, and two fabulous parties on the pool deck enjoyed as much by the staff and excellent entertainers as by the appreciative guests who celebrated well into the early hours. We even each had a gift of a sponge bag packed full of Molton Brown toiletries. All in all the cruise was up to Seabourn's usual high standard and we enjoyed it greatly, although the food provided some disappointments. At one port we spied a delivery van from Gate Gourmet so infer Carnival have opted for some preprepared airline type dishes at the behest of the accountants. This may account for the fact that when a dish of snails with chipotl sauce was on the menu my request for them just cooked in garlic and butter was refused, this refusal a first for me on Seabourn and a big surprise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
My husband and I are seasoned cruises, however this was our first experience with Costa on the Costa Classica and it will definitely be our last. In comparison to other cruise lines this cruise did not measure up in terms of service, food ... Read More
My husband and I are seasoned cruises, however this was our first experience with Costa on the Costa Classica and it will definitely be our last. In comparison to other cruise lines this cruise did not measure up in terms of service, food or the ship. The only redeeming element of the cruise was we visited some fantastic destinations. The ship: was really tired, out of date and definitely in need of refurbishment, our cabin like many others was in need of new decor and soft furnishings, however the size of the cabin was really good. Ship TV: was an absolute joke and this is being kind, there were 7 films available to watch which initially sounds a lot, but the problem was 1 film per day played on a loop all day, the films in week 1 were then repeated in the same way throughout week 2. I have never experienced this on any other cruise. The food: well again unlike any other cruise line we had during the first 2 days 3 dinning options available to us, the pre booked formal restaurant, the self service restaurant and a pizza place that was open from 9pm to 1am. However, after the first couple of days the self service option was closed on an evening leaving only the formal and pizza option available. The food in the formal dining room was appalling, every evening we had 5 courses consisting of a starter, soup, pasta, main, and sweet. Sounds good doesn't it? But it definitely wasn't, the food during week 1 was marginally better than week 2, but every soup we had tasted the same and really had no taste at all, pasta was hit and miss, and at times swimming in oil, this rendered it uneatable. The main courses were often either not cooked enough and therefore tough, or overcooked and dry, but the worse was being served overcooked frozen, deep fried food which was absolutely disgusting and unacceptable. By the time we left the main course we didn't wait around for sweet because it probably wasn't worth it, it took too long to serve our table and we couldn't be bothered anymore. I have never been served frozen food which has been deep fried and burnt to add insult to injury. We both lost weight during this cruise and certainly didn't over eat. The food in self service during the day: breakfast wasn't worth getting up for, so we didn't bother most days, lunch: poor choice, practically no salad bar, in fact this consisted of lettuce 2 types, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, so you can see why this was a shock and why we considered it to be beyond poor. Thank god for the afternoon tea, which we don't normally have, but this was the best thing available on board. If we hadn't eaten this then we wouldn't have eaten much at all. Service in the formal restaurant was really slow and often our dinner took 1.5 hrs to serve, during which time you were extremely lucky if you could get a drinks refill, therefore all our table started going to the bar before dinner and taking our drinks in with us to ensure we had a drink with our meal. Although all of this was really bad we had a fab holiday because of the people we met on board, but we will never go with Costa again and we wouldn't recommend Costa to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Following on from my earlier review, this sector was all English speaking and a lot of the Australians had left at Sydney, including our wonderful cruise buddies we'd met on an earlier cruise. There is no point in describing the ... Read More
Following on from my earlier review, this sector was all English speaking and a lot of the Australians had left at Sydney, including our wonderful cruise buddies we'd met on an earlier cruise. There is no point in describing the stops, but we cannot pass without mentioning the fantastic "Red Decker" bus driver in Hobart. What a fantastic commentary and a great sound system. The driver (Mark) had a wonderfully dry sense of humour and this was an object lesson in how to operate a tour. Anyway, it is the ship that is being reviewed... Nothing much had changed since Singapore, and therein lies a problem. The negative first. Having cruised from Sydney May 2011, seeing the same entertainers with the same acts - sometimes word for word - was a bit disappointing, on the run from Singapore to Sydney. To find that most of those on again from Sydney to Auckland was even more disappointing. Repeats of production shows and films just added to the disappointment. The only other niggle (and it is a niggle - nothing to do with the ship) was that when returning to the dock at Port Chalmers (Dunedin), the coach was met by a real 'jobsworth' who wanted photo ID and wanted to check the passengers off against her list - of 3,500 people, many with Asian names... As you cannot board the ship without your cruise card, I am not too sure what she thought she was preventing. On the positive side, we had a replacement deputy cruise director (Matt) who was as good as his predecessor was disappointing. Matt clicked straightaway with cruise director Warrenand the morning "Wake Show" improved considerably. We always enjoyed the silliness of the show on the World Cruise so this was a welcome improvement. Top marks for these two for the Christmas day show with Warren playing Santa brilliantly. Christmas at sea? Fantastic. The decorations were excellent, with several occasions that the fake snow was falling in the atrium with the Christmas Eve carol singing by various crew members a nice touch. There was a central display of gingerbread houses and buildings and the atmosphere on board was most enjoyable. Other reviewers have mentioned the photo packages on board and we endorse that. Paying $19.95 for each print is way over the top and for a cruise line that tries to show that it is eco friendly, it is a bit hypocritical to destroy 1,000s of unwanted overpriced prints at the end of each leg. We didn't buy any... A great ship, fantastic staff, great food - but we do prefer the Dawn Princess. The entertainment lounges on the Diamond are poor as they are not tiered like the Vista lounge on the Dawn. Buffet food collection is a bit crowded at times and the specialty buffet dining (Indian, Mexican, pies, fruit etc) is fragmented as it is away from the main buffet area. The single biggest advantage of the Diamond though, is the covered swimming pool... Disembarkation was just brilliant. Just 30 minutes after closing our cabin door for the last time, we were home - after a $40 taxi ride... However, the change in Princess policy to ban smoking in cabins and on the balconies as from mid January is the best news of all, as it took me exactly 40 days to get rid of the effects of the exposure to passive smoking contracted on leg one, just a couple of days out of Singapore. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We are a couple in our mid fifties on our third only cruise, the first two being on the Costa Deliziosa and the Queen Mary. We choose a cruise mainly on its itinerary and secondly on the quality of the boat. This 16 night cruise through ... Read More
We are a couple in our mid fifties on our third only cruise, the first two being on the Costa Deliziosa and the Queen Mary. We choose a cruise mainly on its itinerary and secondly on the quality of the boat. This 16 night cruise through Asia on the Diamond Princess more than satisfied both of our criteria - it was a very good mix of rest and relaxation on a beautiful boat, together with the opportunity to experience short bursts of Asian culture whilst in the various ports. Embarkation - As instructed by Princess, we were to check in at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre (staggered times between 12noon and 3pm depending on one's stateroom - luckily ours was at 12)and then we were bussed to the Port which was about 30min away. A different experience to walking directly onto the ship, but the process was handled relatively efficiently. Dining - Lots and lots of choice here!! We found the service in all outlets to be exceptional, as was the quality of food. Of course the food in the serviced dining rooms was a notch or two above the buffet but for buffet food, we had no complaints. We prefer the relaxed pace of eating in the main Dining room compared to the Horizon Court, so whenever possible we ate there as our first choice. For breakfast and lunch, the International Dining Room is Open seating so you can either choose to eat on your own or share a table with others. At all times, we were accommodated at which ever table type we requested, however there didn't appear to be any 'Tables for 2' so if you wanted to eat on your own, they usually sat you at a table for 4 and cleared the other two places. We choose Late Traditional Dining (8:15), again in the International Dining Room, and shared the same table for six each night and received excellent service from our two waiters. We did request if it was possible to try one of the Anytime Dining rooms one night and they said yes, that was fine, so we had one night in the Santa Fe - we found the tables for two to be very close together, the service to be rushed and overall, the experience was not as enjoyable. We know lots of people who do prefer this type of dining, but for us, we prefer the traditional dining. It appeared that you could make reservations at the Anytime Dining rooms on this particular cruise. The Horizon Court had plenty of selection - particularly loved the premade salads and the make your own version. Lemonade, iced tea, water, tea and coffee where complimentary - also juice at breakfast. We ate here for a few breakfasts and a few lunches and were never disappointed with the food. At times it got noisy and sometimes busy but we discovered that the further back you went to find a table, the less hectic it was. Pub lunch was served in the Savoy on sea days but we found the menu to be very limited and not to our personal taste - fish and chips, ploughmans lunch, bangers and mash, ..We tried it once but never returned. We enjoyed a few slices of pizza now and again from the Pizzeria that was open from 11 -11. We did not feel the need to indulge in a meal at either of the specialty restaurants - the food, service and company of our usual arrangements were already delightful. There was a $20 per person surcharge at these restaurants and we noticed that they were not usually full,however, people that we spoke to that had visited these venues had been happy. I had room service breakfast once - menu was continental, also had an egg muffin. As a passionate espresso coffee drinker, and wishing to limit my food intake, I spent many mornings just purchasing a cappucino from the lobby bar, and together with a few complimentary mini muffins, relaxed on a promenade deck chair reading and watching the more energic walkers pass by. By the way, the promenade goes all the way around, mostly on Deck 7 but a bit on Deck 8 at the front. Think by memory it said 2 and 1/2 laps = 1 mile. For me it was about 800 steps per lap. Activities- seemed to be more than enough to satisty any taste! As I look through my Patter from one sea day, here are some of the activities that were on offer - early morning aerobics, yoga, sudoko and puzzles, book club meeting, stitch and chat, bridge lecture/games, tap dancing lessons, free swings at the golf simulator, mahjong, several movies at both MUTS and the indoor theatre, casino gaming lessons, several trivia sessions, enrichment lecture, health seminars, scavenger hunt, boat building challenge, art auction, zumba, blackjack tournament, martini demonstration, craft lessons, board games, poolside music, ballroom dance lessons, jewellery sales, musical melodies, afternoon tea, bingo, spin classes, ...not to mention, many many places to just read a book, listen to some music, lay out by the numerous pools, walk around the promenade, go to the spa, casino..etc, etc.. Evening entertainment - Again, lots of choice. We found the production shows and the specialty entertainers all very good. Music wise, whilst there seemed to be alot of venues offering some sort of music, we found that with the exception of Maurizio, the very effervescent pianist, who usually started around 8pm, there was not alot of atmosphere predinner. We wished there had been at least one upbeat predinner drinks/live dance music venue. That said, there were places that you could listen to more sedate predinner music if that is your preference. We did not ever stay up late enough to partake in the disco in Skywalkers upstairs. Because we had the late dinner sitting, we found that our evening schedule usually consisted of a 6pm entertainment show in Explorers(if offered), followed by drinks in one of the bars (usually Crooners), dinner, then the 10;15 ish show in the theatre. Each night, times, venues and shows varied- just had to pay attention to the daily patter! Sometimes, there was repeats of shows. On some nights we also enjoyed watching the guest Princess Talent Quest show or the karaoke. Room - Having booked a guaranteed inside, we were very happy to have received two upgrades, eventually landing in a oceanview room on emerald deck. It had a window but looked out onto the promenade, before the sea! As it was, it was perfectly fine, despite having people walking past the window, there were no privacy issues due to the glazed window and sheer curtains. At night, when our lights went on, we simply pulled the full curtain. There was plenty of storage/hanging space and the bathroom, albeit small, was perfectly adequate. Room cleaned twice a day, with chocolates on turn down. There was also a facility to have fresh fruit put in your room on a daily basis - a nice touch. Facilities - Pool areas - one nice quiet area at the back on two or three levels with 2 small pools and 2 jacuzzis. We loved this area watching the wake of the ship and on port days we always had a drink at the outdoor bar while the ship was pulling away from the port. There were two larger pool areas midship, one indoor with a few jacuzzis,loungers and table area, and one outdoor with the MUTS and plenty of deck chairs both on two levels. Also, a pool area near the spa/sanctuary which whenever I passed never looked busy.. Again, lots of choice depending on your mood and the weather.... Gym - by memory there were about 8 treadmills, 10 or so elliptical machines, but only 2 stationary bikes. Lots of weight machines and free weights. We tried to get to the gym each sea day to work off some of those excess calories! Towels antibacterial wipes and water were provided - take your own water bottle though. Fitness classes - We did not partake in any of these but there were some free ones (tended to be the stretching or ABS, fitball) and some which had a fee attached (Spin, pilates,yoga) $12 on our cruise. Noticed there was also several free zumba sessions held in the Fusion Bar - think these were on the sea days only. Spa - didn't use any paid services but looked lovely. There is a steam room and sauna which are complimentary. Also there is a thermal suite. Looking at my patter, the cost for single, unlimited 16 day pass was $199, for unlimited Sea Days only pass $119. The Sanctuary - We didn't feel we needed to use this as there was lots of other places to relax. On this cruise, it didn't appear to be heavily used. The cost was $10 per half day and $20 full day. Public rooms - Loved, loved loved all the space - there never seemed to be a crowd in the public areas. There was a plethora of places in which to just sit, read, talk or play a quiet game. The outdoor lounge chairs on the promenade deck were very peaceful too. Library - Seemed to be a reasonable selection of books - always open for several hours per day, puzzles and sudoku given out each morning, games for loan, some computers in library, but only a few reading chairs. Internet Cafe - we didn't use. We decided to take our own laptop and tried to source internet availability in each port. ( some successful, some not) Itinerary and ports - We fortunately were fully aware of the fact that the Diamond, being a large ship, was required to dock some way away from some of the major cities, requiring shuttle services. Because of this awareness, we were not disappointed, just knew to expect that our interaction time in each port was going to be reduced. Overall, we enjoyed all of the ports - we did our own thing in each port, making use of the shuttle services and in Phu MY we did use the Princess Excursion entitled - Ho Chi Minh on your own, so as to ensure we were back on ship in time! In Laem Chabang, we used the shuttle into Pattaya, in Nha Trang we used the shuttle into the market area, in Hong Kong we used the provided shuttle into Kowloon, in Shanghai we used the shuttle into the Silk place, in Nagasaki the port was right in town, and in Busan we used the shuttle into the city. I can see that some may prefer to take a ship that docks more centrally, but for us, the experience matched our expectations. there was one tender port in Nha Trang but organization was done well - after breakfast, we went to the Explorers Lounge to get a ticket number and within 15 minutes or so, were called. I will do more complete port reviews in the relevant area. We have been to some parts of Asia many times, but for first timers to some of these countries, this cruise is a nice way to 'taste' the Asian experience, albeit at times, rushed. Busan was particularly rushed as we only had a few hours there. Each day, prior to a port, a port lecture was given which we found to be very worthwhile and informative. These lectures were repeated on the TV in your room if you missed the actual lecture. Of course there were always several organised Princess excursions and I would imagine that for many people these offer the advantage of ease and ability to see many sights within a short period of time. We just prefer to do our own thing. Service was always friendly and efficient. It was lovely to be addressed by our names from those staff members who knew us and our drink/food preferences to be remembered by those in the bar and restaurant. I have my bill infront of me - here are a few prices Daily gratuity charge per person $11.50 Regular capucino - $2.50 + 15% Beer $4.95 + 15% Single serve champagne bottle $7.25 +15% Champagne cocktail $7.25 + 15% Glass house white wine $6.25 + 15% Bottle house white chardonnay $24.95 + 15% 1 photo (10 x 8) $19.99 Disembarkation - A few days prior to finishing, we were given a form on which to indicate our chosen departure time. We were allocated our time of preference and were off the ship within minutes of this and picking up our luggage. Very efficient. We had arranged independent transfers into Beijing. For us, this cruise suited our needs and wants beautifully as it was a perfect combination of relaxation, socialising and sightseeing. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
The main reason for booking this cruise was that several Australian friends we met on the Dawn Princess were also doing Singapore to Sydney, so we decided to join them. Good choice and lots of fun and laughter, especially at meal times ... Read More
The main reason for booking this cruise was that several Australian friends we met on the Dawn Princess were also doing Singapore to Sydney, so we decided to join them. Good choice and lots of fun and laughter, especially at meal times and trivia. Needless to say, we had a great time overall, but from a purely personal perspective, my cruise was totally ruined by the inconsiderate heavy smokers in the adjoining cabin. By day two, the smell of smoke through the adjoining door and wafting in from the balcony day and night was enough to upset my somewhat sensitive sinuses, to the extent that at one point, I spent a day and a half in bed with the worst dose of sinusitis (and persistent cough) for almost 30 years. A verbal complaint to the front desk (that was also smoke infected from the open doors to the casino...) elicited the simple and dismissive response "there is nothing we can do." A written complaint later elicited no response whatever, so I am one of many I suspect, who welcomes Princess's "no smoking in staterooms and balconies" policy, effective January 12th 2012. Apart from that, the cruise lived up to expectations and regular Princess cruisers will know what that means. Good (but not spectacular) food, brilliant staff/crew and plenty to do. Regulars will also know that the Princess tours can be a mixed blessing. Classic example was the Nong Nooch (I think I spelled that correctly!) gardens that included probably the best cultural show I have seen in any country, followed by an equally entertaining elephant display. As we were there early, we had a mere 20 mins to explore the 500 acres of gardens before the show and we were herded back onto the coach almost as soon as the show had finished, which was a shame. We chose this tour as it was only about 4 hours. The mixed blessing was the so called shopping stop afterwards. This consisted of the usual high class/price emporium, in this instance, selling jewellery. Now as we all know, given the choice between 45 minutes here or even more time at the gardens or even a local shopping centre or market, the gem place would be in last place - particularly for the men. A shame really as I am sure Pattaya beach shops would have been preferable. Tours within Thailand and Vietnam were fine and we did our own thing at Bali and the Australian ports. (We had to cancel the skyway/railway trip in Port Douglas as I was just too unwell to chance it.) Back to the Diamond Princess. Having spent almost 3 months on the Dawn earlier in the year, comparisons were easy. Overall, we'd opt for the older but smaller Dawn every time. The major advantage of the Diamond is the central Calypso or Conservatory swimming pool, as this is totally covered and is deep enough to enjoy a proper swim - as long as there weren't too many kids in it of course! The Vista lounge on the Dawn is much better for cabaret shows as it is tiered, unlike Club Fusion and the Explorers lounge, which are not. They are also very dark. Most of the entertainers and even the shows, we had seen on the Dawn, so that was little disappointing. The morning Wake Show was not as silly or as much fun as the World Cruise and we understand that Princess want it to be more serious. Don't they realise we are on holiday and we want fun and laughter - including stupidity? Probably the other downside was that the buffet is trying to cater for 50% more people, but the buffet servery is about the same size. Princess seemed to have changed their policy as THERE WERE NO CHOCOLATE DOUGHNUTS, nor jam filled doughnuts. I am not a fatty, so if this is an attempt to counter obesity, it doesn't work! Disembarkation wasn't a problem as at the last minute, a matter of days before we sailed, we extended our on board experience from Sydney back to Auckland. All we had to do was wander off the ship and enjoy a day in Sydney and hope that the smokers had departed. Without our fun friends, how would we enjoy it? Another review later for that part of the cruise - with a different cabin... Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Day 1 23rd Nov The Radisson was an excellent place to stay prior to a Manchester flight it cost '£89 thro Holiday extras, hotel for one night and APH parking for 28days a bargain. Easy check-in and walk straight into the terminal ... Read More
Day 1 23rd Nov The Radisson was an excellent place to stay prior to a Manchester flight it cost '£89 thro Holiday extras, hotel for one night and APH parking for 28days a bargain. Easy check-in and walk straight into the terminal undercover in two minutes Day 2 24th Nov. We flew with Singapore Airlines, Manchester to Singapore with a short stop for fuel and some more passengers in Munich. Excellent service and food, the seat back entertainment was exceptional over 50 films + comedy shows+games and TV programs on a 10inch screen. Easy on-line check-in 24hrs prior to flight. Day 3 25th Nov .The pick up from the airport was excellent a gent with a board with our name was there, he showed us where to wait whilst he went for his brand new black Mercedes and took us straight to The Traders Hotel, the room was small, as reports had said but was adequate and aircon was good, the pool was excellent, shopping in Orchard rd, shuttle bus to town and routes, we did [a groggy "Orchard Road"] The shops in this city are awesome [not cheap] and everywhere they have Chrissy decorations up, it all looks so good!! Spent some time by the hotel pool in the sun at lunchtime until it clouded over and p-----d down for an hour! Had a meal in Tanglin Mall [attached to the hotel] and bought some food and wine for the evening Day 4 26th Nov. Hippo Bus tour, got over the journey, now up at 7am, today we are doing the hop on hop off bus around all the tourist spots for a quick view of Singapore! This was an excellent way to see the sites in a very short time with a running commentary as to where you were and what to see. We booked this via Viator on the internet and paid '£11pp on the day it would be $S23 It takes 1hr to do each of the two routes, then you can choose where to go and get off at that stop, then rejoin the trip when ready. We had an exceptional meal on Clarke Quay whilst on the route and even though it rained we were under cover and had excellent service and views, had a take away in the room that night and crashed out. Day 5 27th Nov. Lounged in the hotel in the morning chatting to the friendly staff and other people who were going on the cruise, There was one thing to mention, the maid had put a Kitkat on our bill, so we spoke to her and she said we had taken it and that she found the wrapper in the bin! {WE DID NOT HAVE THE KITKAT] so reception removed the charge, as we left the Hotel the next day we noticed a Vodka and Tonic had also disappeared!! Make your own assumptions, then the Taxi to the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre to book in for Transfer to ship [only S$10], this was poorly organised we are Elite so we are supposed not to have to wait but wait we did, in a grotty hall on uncomfortable seats until a bus took us thro a massive container port about 25mins drive away to join the ship, we then booked into the ship had a meal and relaxed. We went for dinner 2nd sitting looking forward to meeting our new companions, they were a gentleman of approx 90yrs by himself and a family of 4 mum, dad and two boys one 9yrs and one 10yrs all from Auss. During the meal the 10yr old was unwell and mum went out with him twice on the 3rd occasion they came back he had the waste bin from the cabin with him! Within 5mins he was being sick in the bucket at the table!!! We resolved to move tables the following day. [And did!] We went to see the show and enjoyed the performance and went to bed! Day 6/1 28th Nov. Day at sea had breakfast on the balcony [room service Free] then decided to spend some time in the sun. It was partial cloud all day so we had a lazy day on deck but unfortunately got a little sunburn. The evening was formal night and Champagne fountain plus our new table [what will we get?] We also had a meet and greet with our friends in the Cruise Critic group at 11am to 12pm for drinks with the Captain, Cruise Director and staff which was good fun followed by another meeting some other good friends we had met on Facebook Rollcall and had had some Video chats with prior to the cruise at 6pm, this went on till Dinner at 8.15 and was an absolute brilliant party!! Then off to dinner at the new table, we couldn't have been more pleased we had a lovely lady from Sydney Sue, and her husband Max[who was Italian and was fluent in many languages] they where a joy to be with. Then another couple from Yorkshire turned up and the table was a delight, pleasant intelligent conversation with a bit of banter all night, then off to the show again till late, then bed. A thoroughly brilliant day!!! Day 7/2 29th Nov Ko Samui. Tendered to the shore for 9.15am which was poorly organised and time consuming then a mini-bus to Chaewang Beach, left to ourselves from 10am to 12am $29 each with Princess. The beach wasn't exceptional, many in the Caribbean and Med are much better, swam and enjoyed an expensive beer and returned on time. Had lunch with some people we had met in the Singapore hotel, it was to hot to sunbathe so we chilled out in the room with a few drinks. Went to dinner enjoyed a pleasant meal with good company then crashed out with a Baileys and brandy. Day 8/3 30th Nov. Bangkok/ Pattaya Took the FREE shuttle bus to Pattaya 45mins, what a brilliant place great shopping right on the beach [not sure about swimming though] spent most of the time spending money and choosing clothes great fun, Sandra bought a silk dress and I bought a pair of trousers. Shuttle back to the ship, crash out and relax with a drink!! Very happy with Pattaya went for dinner with our four companions Sue and Max, Sue and Allen, we have a great time with in depth conversations about just about anything, and we are always the last people out of the dining room. It's a relief to have such good company. Received our first laundry back today all properly cleaned and pressed and free!!! Day 9/4 1st Dec. Day at sea. Woke up this morning the sea is like a millpond not a cloud in the sky, we tried to buy some sunscreen yesterday on the ship but they only had factor 4!! Breakfast on the balcony Spent the day in the sun watched a Movie "Cowboys and Aliens" funny! A few drinks plenty of relaxing. Time for evening meal enjoyable as ever, then off to bed!! Day 10/5 2nd Dec. Vietnam. Decided the 2.5hr drive to Saigon would be to boring [which was confirmed later by people that went] so we took the free shuttle bus to a small town market 45mins away, what a treat, started at a decent supermarket then thought there must be more to see so we walked 2 blocks and found this huge 3 story local market with a food market next door, spent ages routing around clothes shoes belts everything you could think of, all genuine designer goods [not!] I bought an Armarniish belt! Ha Ha. Then off to the food market, OMG fish drying out in the dirt on the pavement, what a stink and flies everywhere, next the Veg. Market what a difference beautiful food everywhere the vendors were the classic ladies sitting amongst the produce sorting, cleaning, peeling and posing for photos, so friendly, indeed everybody was friendly, giggling as we tried to talk to them [apart from the occasional guy pushing sunglasses at you on the street]. A great morning out [except some poor cruisers didn't walk the block and missed all the local stuff, we told a few when we got back to the bus and they them went off to see the local market!] Bought a bottle of wine and twelve cans of coke and tonic with the rest of the Dongs and went back to the ship. Enjoyed the sun and the peace as most had gone to Saigon and we almost had the ship to ourselves! Excellent dinner, had a little argument with Sue who was a NHS worker supporting the strike! So I couldn't let that go and we had a ding dong [which I enjoyed but I don't think she did!] Day 11/6 3rd Dec. Day at sea Late breakfast in bed [ Chillin all day!!!] Dinner, atmosphere was ok all forgiven! Day 12/7 4th Dec. Day at sea Late breakfast in bed [chillin all day!!!!] Day 13/8 5th Dec. Day at sea Late breakfast in bed [chillin all day!!!!] Day 14/9 6th Dec. Bali Elephant Safari This was great fun, up early tender to the shore was 40mins and it poured down with rain, the people who got on first where on the open top of the tender and got totally soaked!!! Then a 1.5hr drive to Elephant park in the mountains of Bali. First we fed them then had a half hour+ ride on them thro the jungle, it poured down for 10mins, but they gave us capes for that and there where huge spiders all around us in the trees, then an Indonesian meal [not me normally!] but it was very enjoyable! Then an hours drive to a local market [just sold crap!] and back to the ship. A good day out and very enjoyable. Great meal that night and good company, we were late as usual. Day 15/10 Wednesday 7th Dec Day at sea Lovely hot day, too hot went to the room for a drink at 2pm and stayed till 3.30pm sunny on the balcony. Tonight is Captains Circle night so Formal and free drinks should be good!! Plenty of free drinks; the most cruised person was an Aussie who had done 1500 days at sea [over 4yrs at sea] now thats a lot!!! A good meal we don't bother with shows, so a walk around the decks and off to bed! Day 16/11 Thursday 8th Dec Day at sea Getting hotter as we reach the equator, Had to do Aussie customs today before Darwin tomorrow, all done by midday, sunbathe, but so hot, always above 30C we had to retreat to the spar for a break. Day 17/12 Friday 9th Dec Darwin 37C walked off the ship, passed the protected beach [protected from Box jellyfish] to a lift which took us 5 storeys up to the road into town. Walked into town and explored the shops, very pleasant, with lots of shops. Went to buy some wine in Woolworths, they wouldn't let us as we didn't have photo I.D. a friendly Aussie bought 3 bottles for us and we paid him [ace] Day 18/13 Saturday 10th Dec Day at sea Late breakfast in bed [chillin all day!!!!] Day 19/14 Sunday 11th Dec Day at sea Late breakfast in bed [chillin all day!!!!] Day 20/15 Monday 12th Dec Port Douglas, The Great Barrier Reef We where taken to the port by local tender to join the high speed catamaran for the journey to the Outer Barrier Reef [approx 90 mins] where the boat tied up to a pontoon above the reef, we were then given any equipment we needed [$5 for a latex stinger suit ref the Box jellyfish] and were then free to snorkel in the large protected area. The visibility was about 10 metres, there were plenty of fish large and small, We then had a semi-submersible ride around the reef for about 35mins, next we had a pleasant lunch on the pontoon or in the cat. We the returned to Port Douglas and due to time we where transferred straight back to the ship and missed Port Douglas itself [shame]. A long enjoyable day on a trip that has to be done. Day 21/16 Tuesday 13th Dec Airlie Beach, Daydream Island Resort, The Whitsunday Islands we arrived at 10am and had a right mix up with the tenders from the ship, it seems that they didn't have enough Auss customs officers to do both sides of the ship so we were delayed, we finally went to this beautiful island by cat arrived 12pm and watched the hotel staff feeding the fish on their living reef, it was very hot! We had a look around the 7 pools, it was now lunch time at the Fishbowl Restaurant after 30mins it started to rain slightly, we were sitting with a Scottish couple having a good natter and the wind suddenly changed direction. A mini Cyclone went straight thro the whole resort, smashing tables, glasses, chairs, and taking down a number of large trees, one landed on some sun beds crushed them and fell into the pool!!! It was one of those times when you say Wow! that could have been deadly. Luckily nobody was hurt and the sun came out and we enjoyed the rest off the day, 5pm to 7pm with low cost cocktails $3.99 in Skywalkers, "Rob Roy" was the best [Chivas Regal base] Day 22/17 Wednesday 14th Dec Day at sea This was a lovely day slightly cooler than all the others [we are heading south out of the tropics] still very sunny and warm, sunbathing and a few drinks, we then had a goodbye party with the Facebook crowd at 4pm, till 5pm and cocktails in Skywalkers [Cocktail was "Chairman of the Board", Bombay Sapphire base] next changed for the formal night and free drinks at the captains farewell party, superb beef wellington and great company till late. Day 23/18 Thursday 15th Dec Day at sea Last day of the cruise, weather changed as expected, a lot cooler 20C and cloudy, packing has to be sorted as they take the cases tonight after dinner [or before if you want] sort out all the admin. Day 24/19 Friday 16th Dec Sydney, The Sail into Sydney Harbour to Circular Quay was amazing with fantastic views of the city, the opera house and the bridge! Disembark and get a taxi to the hotel [ only $A15 The 4 Points Sheraton Hotel, This is a lovely hotel, check in was perfect, no effort, bags taken to room. The room was a harbour view with a large picture window overlooking Darling Harbour excellent! That morning we chose to buy a joint ticket to The Aquarium, The Wild Life Adventure and The Sydney Tower. The Aquarium was brilliant with lots of exotic sea creatures that you don't see in the northern hemisphere, The Wildlife Centre was just what we wanted, we stroked Kangaroos, saw a Duck-billed Platypus, a giant crocodile, a Wombat and best of all we cuddled a Koala. Next a short walk, to the Tower fabulous 360 views of Sydney. Finally an evening having a meal and a walk around Darling Harbour, this was amazing, Christmas Tree, Carol singers and buzzing with loads of people having a great time in all the bars, a great day all round. Day25 Saturday 17th Dec Sydney Today we had breakfast in a Restaurant on Darling Harbour, the weather was a little cloudy but warm. At lunch time we decided to take the ferry from the harbour to Manley Beach. This was so easy $13 return every 20 mins, about 30mins to get there, the weather was now brilliant and hot, we were surprised how beautiful the area was, lots of shops, a beautiful prom and a fantastic beach, loads of surfers, people having barbecues on the beach, a market, lots and lots of things going on everywhere! That night we went back to harbourside and had a meal, It was Saturday night and was all set up for a fireworks display so we went back to the hotel to watch from our grandstand view room. It was a brilliant display especially with some chocolate and a bottle of wine. Prior to this we had to call our pick-up for the airport the following day to confirm, when we did we couldn't get thro' so I asked the Concierge to help, he tried and said they were closed, however, he went onto the internet and looked up their web-site, got an out of hours number and confirmed our pick up with them [all without me asking him to do it] absolutely excellent service!!. We then needed to check in to Singapore Airlines and print our boarding cards, I went customer services at the hotel and asked about the printer and the girl on the desk offered to do the whole job for me!! I gave her the flight details and she sorted everything out and printed the boarding passes!!! Another example of fantastic service by the hotel staff. Day 26 Sunday 18th Dec Fly home, We had the morning at leisure as our flight wasn't until 4.15pm, so we strolled around the harbour, had breakfast and did some last minute shopping. We were picked up on time by a company called Sunbuses and taken to the airport. Dropped the bags off waited for the flight to Singapore on the Airbus 380 8hrs, then a 2hr wait in Singapore for a flight to Munich 12hrs, then stay in the plane for an hour whilst some passengers left and others joined and the wings were de-iced then a 2hr flight to Manchester. Day27 Monday 19th Dec collect car Arrive at Manchester call APH, they sent a bus to transfer us to the car park. The car was parked ready to collect then off to home 40mins Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We arrived in Singapore a few days before boarding the Diamond Princess. We did a precheck-in the day before which saved some time in the lineups waiting to board the shuttle to the ship. We took a cab from our hotel on Orchard Rd, cabs ... Read More
We arrived in Singapore a few days before boarding the Diamond Princess. We did a precheck-in the day before which saved some time in the lineups waiting to board the shuttle to the ship. We took a cab from our hotel on Orchard Rd, cabs are cheap. The check in went well, moving 3000 people in such a short time was a good effort. Once on board the crew were helpful in directing us to our cabin. The cabin was comfortable with penty of storage room for us. It was interesting watching the luggage being stowed on board while we waited for our cases to be delivered to our cabin which did not take very long. Our cabin was on deck 12 "Aloha" with a balcony on the starboard side about 3/4 towards the stern. We were surprised from our observations that not a lot of guests took advantage of their balconies. We chose anytime dining which suited us perfectly and we met many interesting people while dining. We moved between the 4 dining rooms and found them all good. We never dined in the upmarket restaurants so I can't comment. We had some breakfasts before the shore excursions in the Horizon Buffet but preferred the dining room while at sea. We took advantage of the back pool deck when the weather was good. This area never felt crowded as did most areas of the ship. It was interesting as the ship cruised up through the South China Sea dodging the long line fishermen, however some time the Diamond Princess went staight through. We found the shows were all very good and the individual artists changed every couple of days. We were unable to get a seat only once in the Princess theatre. We would usually rock up about 10 minutes before show time.The lectures before each port visit were good. Our only concern was they tried to steer passengers to the tours offered by Princess, after all that is their business. Passengers were well informed each day by way of the daily newsletter. Also the TV carried daily Australian News. We always found the crew very helpful and the service provided to us was of a high standard. Ho Samui was a tender port which took a little time to get ashore. We took a big Tuk Tuk which is a pickup truck, this seated 8 people in the covered back. The cost for a 4 hr tour of the island was $60 US.It did not take more than 2 minutes to get 6 others to join us. It was a great fun day and we remained friends with them for the rest of the voyage. The weather was quite bad so we did not go ashore in Nha Tran, Vietnam which was a little disappointing plus we were stuck with Vietnam Dong. It was a hard slog up to Hong Kong due to fairly rough weather, our stop in HK would proberly have been cut short if we had stopped in Nha Tran. Shanghai was great. We loved China. Free shuttle into the silk factory (about 30min). From our experience in Singapore we bought a all day ticket on the subway,It was cheap. We took the subway to the station to catch the Maglev Train to the airport. The train travels at over 400kph it cost 20y each. China is miles ahead of us when it comes to trains. We visited a cheap market and got some great bargains for the family. We went up the bottle opener they love building these high buildings where you got a great view of the city although it was a little hazy. We walked around a bit and it was time to catch the shuttle back to the ship. Next stop was Busan, Korea. Once again it was a lovely city big on ship building and fishing. We took both "free I think" city tours and they took you everywhere. The Korean people we met during our day were really nice people We would have liked more time to visit the UN war cementry but that will have to wait until next time. Note the market people in Busan, Korea do not bargain and get angry when you try. Dalian was our next stop. This is city on the move with construction everywhere. Free shuttle into the Friendship store. We headed off with our map to the Russian Market about a 15minute walk. We just loved the markets in China. Dalian has a Russian influence as it was "Leased" by Russia for many years. Our last port of call Xingang.The port is only new and in the middle of nowhere. No sooner do you get on the ship then it is time to get off. We caught a cab to Tianjin 400y (30 min)for up to 4 people that is if you don't have too much luggage.We then caught a fast train into Beijing South. cost 90Y each and the trains are frequent with plenty of room for luggage and wide comfortable seats. This train only did 320kph. It took about 1hr to get to Beijing. We took a cab to the Novetel Peace Hotel 25y. It is very central close to the Forbidden City etc. We found the Peace to be very good and the buffet breakfasts were great. We stayed 3 nights and the staff were always helpful and the internet was free and the phone was cheap. The Silk Markets were great for knockoffs etc. The subway costs 2y for a journey between any 2 stations and the stations are listed in English so it is easy to find your way around. However if you feel you want to try some local resturants you will need to have what you want written down in Chinese. We loved walking through the Hutons and calling into their little shops. If you or your partner are not into shopping don't go to the markets as they are very pushy. When you reach the lowest price they will sell an item for you must buy it or they can be a little nasty. China is changing so rapidly the major cities will just be like any big city before too long. We were extremely happy with the quality of food and service provided by Princess and book another cruise this year. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Many others have made comment on just about every aspect of this ship and crew that echo my sentiments so I really just want to reinforce those aspects which I feel set this ship apart from the several other cruises we have done with ... Read More
Many others have made comment on just about every aspect of this ship and crew that echo my sentiments so I really just want to reinforce those aspects which I feel set this ship apart from the several other cruises we have done with Princess, Cunard, RCL etc. The crew, without exception were genuinely friendly without being obtrusive and any request was met with a "can do" attitude and a real desire to help. The ship's officers, including the Captain, were always around interested in taking meals with the passengers and listening to points of view that no doubt assist them in determining passenger attitudes and what may need attention now in the future. I felt the standard of meals in all dining areas as well as the wonderful theme buffets put on from time to time were exceptional and certainly a notch up from what we have experienced on all previous cruises. If it is turkey on the carving board, it is a whole turkey and not just rolled turkey meat that one usually sees on most other ships. We felt the main dining room was so good and the meals varied that there was no real need to visit the fee paying ($15 per head cover charge)restaurants although we did go to Aqualina's for one meal and that was very good. Enjoyed the shows and the enrichment programs and were never bored for something to do on board as well as the variety of fellow passengers from so many countries added an extra dimension in many varied discussions about travel, life experiences etc. Love the easy boarding and disembarking procedures that run like clockwork and little or no waiting to get on and off the ship at any time during ports of call etc. The extras provided like free shuttle buses, free water, beach towels and of course the wine with meals, half price beers, great coffees, suntan lotions, mossie repellant, cold/hot towels at the dockside, and the list goes on, to make this one cruise where you feel you are getting value for money and not be "nickeled and dimed" every minute of the day. Having the gratuities paid as part of the overall fare must make for a happier ship and a further reason why this ship is better than most. No art auctions - what bliss. The New Year's Eve party aboard the ship in Ho Chi Minh City was a really great night and the ship and crew went out of their way to put on a bloody good show with food, drinks, entertainment and decorations that could not have been more appropriate for the night. Even the great firework show over the river ahead of the ship was fantastic. Overall we loved the "smaller ship" experience, the visit to ports being often more than one day, the itinerary was interesting and we would sail again with Azamara without hesitation. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
We were tempted by the itinerary. Who wouldn't be? In particular, cruising over to the Maldives, Seychelles and Mauritius sounded very exotic. While the itinerary was exceptional, I am afraid the ship itself leaves a lot to be ... Read More
We were tempted by the itinerary. Who wouldn't be? In particular, cruising over to the Maldives, Seychelles and Mauritius sounded very exotic. While the itinerary was exceptional, I am afraid the ship itself leaves a lot to be desired. We had no issues with embarkation as is mentioned in other posts. We checked our bags in and continued shopping until we were able to board. As is typical with all cruises, we were ambushed once on board by those selling beverage packages. We were disappointed but not surprised that any wine package purchased only incorporated Italian wines. We selected the premium package and must say the wine was not what we would call premium. It was average at best and for 5 bottles at $109 Euro was a bit of a rort. Plus service charge of course!! The room was sufficient. Although I must say the bathroom was scungy with mould in the shower and behind the taps on the vanity. I did 10 rounds with the shower curtain on a regular basis and in the end decided it was a lot easier to shower without it. The toilet system is continually under stress which is most unpleasant. Many times, the toilet would not flush and there were occasions where the system was blocked. When we advised our hostess of this, she checked and advised us that this was OK, the entire level had the same problem!! For the next few hours, I needed to use the public toilets instead of our own and the smell was putrid. The choice of television stations is interesting. There is one English movie channel which plays movies at certain times of the day. Over the 3 weeks on the ship, the movies were repeated 3 times. Other selections other than European channels were Russian news being read in English and details of the ship. In other words, the TV service is what I would call substandard. Other areas on the ship are tired and dated. While the leather chairs and sofas are a nice touch, the corners are worn and overall appear scruffy. I had to laugh when on the first day I ventured out to the pool deck for a quick drink. I kid you not, the pool is about 3m by 3m. More like a plunge pool than a traditional swimming pool. You cannot 'swim' in it. I just assumed that the other pool at the back of the ship must make up for this. No! It is exactly the same size. In all my time travelling, I have never seen anything so ridiculous to cater for 1,600 guests. Our room was located directly across from the Emergency Exit. On the first and second nights, we had constant slamming doors as staff were using this exit to transfer baggage. In addition, all room service came up through this exit. Next to this exit was the cleaning cupboard. If you end up with room 7146, don't expect a good night's sleep. On the 3rd day, I approached the 'service' desk to inform them of the noise issue and to ask if there were any alternate cabins available that we may move to. The 'service' attendant stated that the ship was full and she didn't understand why I would have any issues with the noise. She said if I had an issue, I should tell the people responsible to be quiet. Hmmm, I thought that was their job. She then proceeded to tell me pointedly that noise can be expected on all cruises. Then she smiled and asked for the next guest enquiry. I guess that is what they call service. The restaurant for dinner was the only option. We found this extremely inconvenient. Dress rules apply for dinner and it would have been appropriate to offer at least one alternate option (eg, the buffet) for dinner, especially considering the total number of days the ship was at sea. A pizza bar did open at 8pm each night, but one can only eat so much pizza. The one night we opted for pizza, the dough was not cooked and the while dish lacked flavour. Truly awful. The food was average. The choices were varied and always contained vegetarian options. Seafood was available on a regular basis which was good. The best offering of the day was generally the buffet at lunch - a great deal of variety and specials. However, in the end I compared this buffet with that of a pig's trough. I learned quickly not to get in between a hungry European guest and the buffet. If you did, you were in danger of losing body parts. People consistently were rude, pushing in front and eating in gigantic proportions. Poor hygiene was on full display. The buffet obviously is unable to cater for the entire number of guests on board and it is frustrating when other guests treat this buffet as the social centre of the ship instead of being efficient and completing their meal so others could be seated. The breakfast catered mainly for the European guests on board. Toast was more like a Cruskit, but there were plenty of pastries available if you wanted. In fact, over half of the buffet consisted of these pastries. Salami seemed popular for breakfast! The quality was a lot less than what I have experienced in hotels and on other cruises. The tours were limited for English speaking guests. This was further exaggerated by bilingual guests choosing the English speaking tours. We spoke with many other English speaking guests who had many of their tours cancelled. Worse still, it seemed that the cheaper tours were the ones cancelled (by cheap I mean $50 - $80 Euro) while the more expensive tours proceeded. There was a significant lack of organisation. Many tours were late and you were not kept informed by the tour organisers - just left sitting in the opera lounge waiting for your number to be called. On one tour in Seychelles, an announcement was made 15 minutes after the due departure time that we would be ready to go in 5 minutes. We were moved out 45 minutes late. For a $184 Euro excursion, an apology or explanation would have been nice. By this stage of our trip, we knew better. The same old issues arose on our tours as happens on all of them. Ignorant and selfish guests were consistently late back to the bus. However, the worst incident of lateness was a Costa staff member. The guests waited on a bus in Reunion Island for 25 minutes for a Costa staff member and his partner. We applauded them when they finally made it back to the bus. His comment? "Don't worry, the ship won't leave without me". This pretty much sums up the attitude of the staff on board. I truly believe that they are indifferent to the experience of the paying guests. The overall disorganisation by staff came to a head two days before we disembarked. Upon arriving at Mauritius, we were instructed to pick up our passports and that we would all individually undergo a customs interview with a Mauritius official. For those heading on tours for the day, we were asked to line up from 8am. Other guests wanting to go ashore were to follow at 8.30am. Knowing this could be a bit of a debacle, we started lining up at 7.30am. Already, there were around 12 people in front of us. Quite quickly the line grew and as usual, people consistently attempted to push in and get to the front of the queue. The Mauritius officials were late which added to the hysteria. Guests were shouting at each other, different nationalities were fighting each other, age was no barrier to aggression and I actually felt scared at one point that there was going to be an all in brawl. Finally at 8am, the Costa staff placed barriers up to stop people attempting to push in. The line ended up being from one end of the ship to the other. What a disgrace. This could have been organised so much better, I cannot believe with their experience that they would not intuitively understand how this frustrated some of the passengers. But again, as I have said, I really don't think they care. Due to the cost of the tours, it was evident that a lot of guests chose to stay on board or do their own thing. We had many days at sea and I must say the entertainment budget must be very constrained. Entertainment consisted of trivia competitions (skewed towards European trivia of course), a professor providing history talks, sessions from the Spa about keeping your tan, losing your kilos or having the perfect abs (same thing every day and more or less just a sales pitch), and some religious activities. Prizes for winning competitions were limited to Costa notepads, mousepads and other cheap gadgets. We just kept to ourselves when at sea and lucky I had several books and an IPhone handy. The ship provides WiFi which is great, but at $24 Euro of 3 hours is absolutely a ridiculous price. Some other things to note: Alcohol is ridiculously overpriced - if you like a drink, be prepared for a massive bill; Don't by any means get any laundry done unless you have a spare $150 Euro; Be prepared for massive currency discounts when changing into Euro's - worse than an agent; Take hand sanitiser with you - insufficient supplies on board. The good points? The service staff and the actual places we visited. We will never cruise with Costa again. When completing the feedback forms, we were told we were in with a chance at winning a free cruise. One, I do not believe Costa would give away something for free and two, even if I won, I would be loathe to take up the opportunity. Way better cruises available for similar prices. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Just so you understand where we are coming from, we are a "young" couple in our early sixties from Perth, Western Australia, and this was our first cruise on a Royal Caribbean ship, having previously cruised with Celebrity and ... Read More
Just so you understand where we are coming from, we are a "young" couple in our early sixties from Perth, Western Australia, and this was our first cruise on a Royal Caribbean ship, having previously cruised with Celebrity and Azamara in Alaska and the Mediterranean, also a couple of cruises on Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini, so we do have some experiences to use as a comparison. For us cruising is mostly about the itinerary and the ports of call, rather than sea days, as we like to get ashore and explore, having said that it is important to us that we also enjoy the shipboard life, the facilities, entertainment and enrichment programs available, also the crew and more importantly our fellow passengers being of a similar demographics and background. We have found that friendships made on a cruise can be rewarding and lasting, and our e-mail address book and Christmas card list is a testament to this, as such we normally try to choose our cruises and Cruise Lines with these preferences. Having researched Royal Caribbean we had expected that the passengers would be mostly from North America, with some others from the UK, Europe and Australia, and while for this cruise over 40 Countries were represented in the passenger list, to our surprise the vast majority came from China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, India and Indonesia. Royal Caribbean had obviously targeted this market as it reflected in many ways such as the food, especially in the Windjammer Buffet, which was mostly of an Asian style, even the Cruise Director had an Assistant who translated all that was said into Mandarin, and while this was a right and proper service to provide for the majority of passengers, it was a bit off putting. The major problem we found with the difference in cultural backgrounds was the perceived lack of understanding as to the polite niceties of behavior in a crowd situation, such as the etiquette of queuing, rather than pushing in as if on the Hong Kong Underground, and the simple manners of allowing people in the lift to alight before pushing in and blocking your exit, was, in the most part, sadly lacking. Also, despite the best efforts of the Legends Crew, the dress standards in the main dining room were not upheld, in that the formal night, first sitting, found most of the Asian Families in little more than shorts or slacks and open neck polo shirts, while we, having made the effort to dress in Tux and Evening Dress, we were a little disappointed as much for the Crew, as for the minority of us who had made the effort, however our efforts were rewarded with an invitation to join the Hotel Director for dinner. Unfortunately this somewhat spoilt the cruise for us, but it was as much our fault in that we probably expected similar experiences to our cruises on Celebrity and Azamara, and we should not have gone with preconceptions, but rather an open mind. The Legend as a cruise ship is, despite her age, in wonderful condition and well appointed, and the all Crew were efficient and friendly, if not quite providing an almost "family" like atmospheres of a smaller ship which we experienced on Azamara Journey in the Med last year. The food was a disappointment, and varied in quality from simply "good" to unfortunately "inedible", there was nothing that we tried that was "excellent" or "outstanding", as we have experienced on other cruise ships. The vast majority of dishes presented at the buffet were Asian or Indian, including breakfast, where even the scrambled eggs had prawns and other Chinese delicacies mixed in it, fortunately there were some more traditional English, European, and American dishes available, however these were very much in the minority, but there again they were catering for the target market. The biggest disappointment was Christmas Lunch and Dinner, where we had expected something better then we might have had at home, sadly it was nothing special at all, but rather much of the same type and quality of food we had been having, one would have thought they would have tried a bit harder to make it special. One of the other disappointments was the lack of any "Enrichment Programs", or for that matter of any sort of activities that might broaden or stimulate the mind or enrich your experiences, and here I don't believe what now appears to be the "mandatory" Art Auction in anyway can be taken for a stimulating or enriching activity, in actual fact it was more of an inconvenience. Will we cruise with Royal Caribbean again, probably not, unless it was something special, but definitely not in Asia, would we recommend RCI, probably to younger first time cruisers, or those with families, as an entry into the wonderful world of cruising. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
CONTAMINATED WATER For the first three days of the cruise passengers including myself endured burning pains in the stomach. When we stopped drinking the tap water, the pains went away. About 5 days to sea, the water in the shower and water ... Read More
CONTAMINATED WATER For the first three days of the cruise passengers including myself endured burning pains in the stomach. When we stopped drinking the tap water, the pains went away. About 5 days to sea, the water in the shower and water basin came out tarnished and stained the white towels. We complained to Costa Customer Service to be told it was only rust in the water pipes and that if we keep running the water the rusty water would disappear. When blackish brown water poured into the outdoor swimming pool, a passenger alerted the captain who was near the pool. The captain advised that he would order more chlorine into the water. No test of what was contaminating the water was ever undertaken nor were passengers asked to leave the pool. RUDE CUSTOMER SERVICE STAFF Costa has a customer service department, unfortunately, the don't have any customer service staff to fill these positions. One particular staff member who was married to an officer on board the vessel, was abusive to staff and I encountered the ignorance and abuse of this person. After complaining the cruise director, the Costa solution was she was not allowed to come into contact with me for the rest of the cruise. No apology was given by Costa Cruises. NO SECURITY FOR PASSENGER PASSPORTS Passengers were directed to surrender there passports to Costa Staff and retained the passports for the rest of the cruise. Costa Staff refused to provide any receipts to passengers that the passports were in their possession. I was awaken that night by banging noise and when I investigated the noise at the cabin next to mind, two Indonesian Immigration officials where preparing visas and were stamping passports. The passports were laying on the floor of the cabin without any security. We approached the Immigration Officer and advised him that we were concerned about our passports. He responded that our passports were locked in his safe. We challenged him to open his safe and show us our passports knowing full well where passports were located. He continued to rest assure that our passports were safe. Then we then asked him to come down to the cabin were the passports were scattered across the floor. A customer service officer and the Immigration got very up tight at being caught out and again became a little abusive to us. Oh! The same customer service officer was so drunk at Phuket that she ordered the tender boat captain to depart the vessel back to the ship earlier than scheduled stranding passengers at Phuket for several hours to the early hours of the morning. OVERPRICED TOURS Tours were overpriced and over stated. The Komoto Island Tour was written up as a two hour jungle tour requiring a reasonable level of fitness, It was a scroll along a defined bush track lasting 35 minutes including a 10 minute photo shoot of the komoto dragons. Some passengers encountered lots of problems with the Costa Tours including one group of passengers who were left stranded in Jakarta when the bus driver took off for the day. They had to make their way back to the ship at their own expense. Costa were offered a free cup of coffee as compensation. The 4wd tour at Phuket which was supposed to include 4wd driving through the jungle, elephant rides etc. It cost $100 US dollars and was an absolute farce with a number of passengers demanding their money back. There is an elephant place just about two kilometres from where the cruise ships dock. For $30 you can get a real one hour elephant ride up a mountain. This was an experience of a lifetime. A taxi all day with air-conditioning $12. Costa or your own tour??? Price of drinks were so expensive, that we smuggled our own alcohol on board the ship. When you are getting charged $10 US for a single nip of spirits and you can buy a bottle of whiskey in Phuket for $18 US it was worth the risk of being caught. Although, it must be noted that security was pretty low and one night returning to the vessel, the security staff didn't even turn on the x-ray machines or check passenger bags. Basically off the tenderboat and straight to bed. ANYTHING GOOD ABOUT THE CRUISE Yes, despite the crappy customer service staff, we had the best entertainment crew we have ever experienced on a cruise ship. They were just outstanding!! They would start at 10am in the morning and they were dancing with passengers at 12pm at night. Even learned how to Tango Argentine Style. Cabin Crew were brilliant and we ended up tipping our cabin steward $50 US... he was just that good. Bar staff, waiters & chefs ....outstanding performance of duties and continuously worked long hours delivering service at an international cruise level. My wife has dietry needs and a lot of effort was put in by the Maitre to satisfy her needs. We had a brilliant time personally meeting lots of people and sadly saying goodbye to some beautiful we meet on the cruise. We entered nearly every competition and sporting event on the cruise and won some little prizes, we danced every night at disco or pool parties and seldom got to bed before 1 am in the morning. We went out to enjoy ourselves and did so to the maximum and we are planning our next cruise . Woo Hoo love cruising!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
We had booked this cruise almost a year ago but upgraded from Concierge to Penthouse when the opportunity came a few months before embarkation. The experience was generally seamless until we returned to Sydney airport and joined the ... Read More
We had booked this cruise almost a year ago but upgraded from Concierge to Penthouse when the opportunity came a few months before embarkation. The experience was generally seamless until we returned to Sydney airport and joined the queues. Embarkation- Singapore cruise centre was chaotic as a few ships were in port at the same time. Nautica staff guided us individually from kerbside to immigration-otherwise we would still be roaming the terminal.Check in was reasonably quick and lunch was provided while cabins were finished. Cabins- Ours was comfortable and roomy with a decent size verandah,everything worked,and it was spotless. Service - Our butler introduced himself as we arrived at the cabin. He was invaluable with on board organisation and room service. There were two cabin stewards and the cabin was cleaned twice per day.Always spotless. Dining - food was fine and the portions served in the Grand dining room and the specialty dining rooms seemed to be designed to encourage the tasting of multiple courses rather than simply stuffing the belly. Dining room staff were always on hand and were helpful and polite. Entertainment - low key and enjoyable. The cruise director showed remarkable restraint with her broadcasts. (Broadcasts did not penetrate into the cabins except for safety notifications). Ports - generally were of little interest to us but the procedure for going ashore by gangway or by tender was well organised. We experienced few holdups. Most of the ports visited are not on the pop-up menus in the "Port Review "section. In Semarang and Bali we opted for private transport and experienced the heat,congestion ,dirt and mendicants. In Darwin, TI and Townsville the towns were basically closed down for the New Year holidays. Hamilton Island was perfect except it seemed everyone else from the other towns had arrived there for their holidays. Overall, we were looking to be pampered and pampered we were. After 40 years of travelling, living more in hotels than home,I have never seen service better than this. Cleanliness and maintenance seemed to be almost obsessive. I do not see the need to sail on another line, this one will do (although I might just splurge on a Vista suite for the next one) Read Less
Sail Date December 2009

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