31 Tokyo (Yokohama) Repositioning Cruise Reviews

Wanted to revisit Japan, enjoy TransAtlantic sea days, heard wonderful comments re: Crystal. This cruise was spectacular in both food, lectures and personal service. Have been on 50 cruises over the years and found the Symphony to be one ... Read More
Wanted to revisit Japan, enjoy TransAtlantic sea days, heard wonderful comments re: Crystal. This cruise was spectacular in both food, lectures and personal service. Have been on 50 cruises over the years and found the Symphony to be one of the very best! Personal service from the luggage delivery to the transfers to and from the airports were truely first class. The employees knew who we were by the second day and their courtesies were most appreciated! Food was excellent everywhere we ate on the ship! Speciality dining was excellent and available most of the time! Lectures were outstanding, this trip highlighted “Hollywood” personalities and the history of musical and dramatic performances. Former astronaut, military general, nature photographer, song writers and well known performers! Ship is spotless and refreshed daily. Always a crew member around to answer question, give directions and offer a hand to complete any task! Ships excursions were excellent and timely! Cabins are nice, clean, comfortable and very quiet! Would suggest taking a small stool to help older or mobility challenged guests to get in and out of the tub-shower! Embarkation and Disembarkation were a snap, many crew members to help with baggage and porters were easily available! First cruise on Crystal and hopefully more in the future Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Chose this cruise because we wanted to visit Japan, Eastern Russia and the Behring Sea. The ship was second to none, and I've sailed on many ocean cruises: 4 times on Princess (reasonably good for the money, but certainly not ... Read More
Chose this cruise because we wanted to visit Japan, Eastern Russia and the Behring Sea. The ship was second to none, and I've sailed on many ocean cruises: 4 times on Princess (reasonably good for the money, but certainly not great), 1 time on Celebrity (very good cruise line!), 1 time on Orient (now out of business - and with good reason), and 3 times on Oceania (also a very good cruise line -- but with several negatives which makes me wonder if I'll ever sail with Oceania again). But the best, by far, was Viking's Ocean ship - the Orion. Here's why: OLDER TRAVELERS. I'm a senior citizen (age 67 at the time) and this ship was great for older folks -- which is not to say that it's not also great for folks from about 35 years and older. But no children are permitted, so there was no crying children to cope with. My wife and I interacted with many others on this cruise and everyone was pleasant or nicer. I can't, of course, control who can sail on this cruise line, and one small group bothered me. I overheard them in the buffet restaurant complaining about a long delay to sail away from an Alaskan port -- and they were correct; it was a long delay. But they unanimously and loudly decided it was those "lazy union workers" at the port who were responsible even though there was no way for them to know. I've never been a union worker but to accuse anyone of something without evidence is just ignorant. I guess it takes all types to make a passenger list. SHIP. The ship is very well laid out. I love libraries on ships and on Viking there were little libraries all over the ship -- all with comfortable chairs and loungers, and friendly, attentive, unobtrusive drink service. Besides great libraries the décor was expensive but very tasteful. So many interesting pieces of art all over the ship, and great photos too. The interior of the ship was done in very warm, cozy colors. The gym was fantastic with just about any kind of machine you can want -- European style. I loved the fact that there was NEVER a line at the elevators! The stairs are right there, but if you want the ride, the elevators are fast and readily available -- even at meal time. FOOD. This is always of interest to travelers. I found that the food in the main dining room ranged from superb to rotten. Of course if you don't like your menu choice you can always get something else from that menu -- so you always have something at least "pretty good" to eat if not superb. The specialty restaurants were superb every time we went, and they don't cost extra to get in. But you do need reservations and at least BEORE the cruise you are limited in the number of reservations you can make in those specialty restaurants. After you're on the trip you can get extra reservations if available at the time you want. Another thing I liked about Viking Ocean cruises is the fact that in the restaurants (but not the buffet) if you're an anti-social sort (like me) you can always get a table for just you and your traveling companion. You can always opt to dine as part of a larger group, and if you want to dine with specific friends, that's always possible (if your friends like you enough). One other thing about the main dining room: it is NOT one large room; it is divided into five (or was it seven?) separate seating areas, so you never felt like you are eating in an airplane hangar or, ugh, a barn. The main dining rooms always felt cozy and service was great. CABIN: This was our first cruise with Viking, so I can't say much about the other cabins on the ship, but ours was enormous. Wasn't quite big enough for a full basketball game with referees and such, but very spacious and well-appointed. Of course the cabin steward and helper were so very pleasant, respectful (he wouldn't call me by my first name even though I insisted) and efficient. However, since my wife and I were in a large suite it was strange (after cruising on Oceania) that there was no "butler" service. I'm not a butler-type guy; I'm sweet and gentle and never demanding. But butler service on Oceania was so wonderful, and I missed it on Viking -- especially in our pricey cabin suite. But the cabin steward and his helper were great, and when we had laundry to do -- it always came back within 24 hours even though the schedule said it would take 48 hours. Go figure. POOL. I never went in the pool, but I loved the fact that the pool had a retractable roof so that when it was closed it was comfortable for swimming even in cold climates. As always on this ship, a library was right nearby and I did sit at poolside very content to read in peace and quiet. (Yes, fellow travelers did use the pool in every climate we visited.) ENTERTAINMENT. I can't say enough about the entertainment! I tend to choose lectures and science-oriented movies and there were 3 (count 'em, THREE) auditoriums (auditoria?). One very large one and there were always seats available for whatever was going on there, and two smaller ones for movies and lectures. Again, never a problem getting seats in these smaller places. The two smaller ones were closed off from the very large auditorium by a moveable wall - so during very popular entertainment presentations the seats in the small auditoriums became part of the already-large largest auditorium. FUTURE CRUISES. There is a "future cruises" office available (on a rather limited time schedule, unfortunately), and the discounts for those wanting to book future Viking cruises (both Ocean and River, I think) while on a current cruise are great! My wife and I were so impressed with Viking Ocean cruises that we booked another cruise at this "future cruises" office. The fellow who worked there could have been a little better informed on certain matters, but he was knowledgeable enough. Maybe he was filling-in for somebody else. But, as I said, his schedule in that office was very limited and you really needed to make a reservation in advance. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was our third cruise with Viking ocean. We chose this trip for the itinerary. We had never been to Asia and liked the ports in both Asia and Alaska. Crossing the Int’l Dateline added to the attraction. We were in the Orion in ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Viking ocean. We chose this trip for the itinerary. We had never been to Asia and liked the ports in both Asia and Alaska. Crossing the Int’l Dateline added to the attraction. We were in the Orion in Jan-Feb visiting New Zealand, Tasmania and Australia. This crew was better trained and worked well together. We were pleased with most aspects of the ship. A few little things need work, but nothing major. You know what you get with Viking-it is an older crowd but activities/entertainment were sufficient for us. While some of the entertainment was the same, they did a good job at adding new entertainers. As Viking enters new parts of the world they are learning their way with shore excursions and local customs. Shore excursions were well managed. They do a good job at calling people at the right time and keep waiting times to a minimum. Checkin staff did a great job. Local guides were good. A sufficient level of activities were offered. EMBARKATION a breeze. You can arrive well before your checkin time. You are greeted with a glass of champagne and invited to use the open restaurants. Your luggage will be in your room by your assigned checkin time. DISEMBARKATION-we had a curve thrown as we could not stay in port because of too many ships in Vancouver. Luggage was offloaded in the middle of the night. We didn’t hear a thing. We disembarked via tender according to flight times. Full breakfast services available. You had to be out of your stateroom by 10am. Tenders left according to schedule with staff assisting everyone. Our luggage was waiting at our terminal at the airport. One of the most efficient operations we have experienced. CABINS Deck 3. Be careful of location. Torshavn noise is audible almost every night. Not late into the night, but it may bother some. A very convenient deck. DINING-Dining room and World Cafe offered a varied selection. Soups could use some improvement. Replenishment of eating utensils/napkins was too slow. Chef’s table-staff could use better training. One visit we had two wine pairings and no food. The French menu was too rich; not a good balance between first and main courses. Manfredi’s was very good, but don’t try to have pasta as a separate course-throws them off! SERVICE in general was excellent. Lounges and bar waiters were great. Most were very personable-not long before they know your name and cabin #! Room steward was wonderful-Edwin. SHIP-beautifully appointed. Always spotless. This ship has a dome. I don’t think this is a feature that will be included in the rest of the fleet. Makes the 8th floor area very hot. Eliminates a nice viewing/drinking area. Don’t know if that is the reason why the 7th floor area of the Explorers lounge tends to be cold. The skins on the sofas are starting to shed. Most people rolled them back to protect their clothing! PORTS/excursions. Viking’s first visits to ports can present problems. Most of our excursions were organized. In cases where we took local shuttles the scheduled were mixed. We ended up seeing what we wanted to see. ACTIVITIES-a little more variety on sea days would have been good as this was a long cruise. Lectures varied and sufficient. Like the ability to view the port talk in your cabin on the following day. Very good selection of shows/movies on the in-room system. Free internet a great feature-reception was generally good. Suggestions-have hot water in the World Cafe for hand-washing. There were some illness problems. The internet system in the room for onboard account, reservations, etc needs immediate help. The ship can not control or correct any errors. The dining for Chef’s Table had the wrong info for almost 8 days. The general website also had errors for our trip. The map wasn’t corrected until a few days before we sailed. On board future booking-a great offer that we used. However, you need to book a specific cruise that you know you won’t be using. Mucks up the booking system for other Viking customers and the whole reservation system. Viking needs to keep its attention to detail at a high level as they release the rest of the fleet! We will sail with them again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We took this cruise as a gentle way to go home to Canada from Japan. (We had done an around Japan cruise with Windstar beforehand) It was very enjoyable, food great, staff lovely, entertainment good. There were alot of sea days ... Read More
We took this cruise as a gentle way to go home to Canada from Japan. (We had done an around Japan cruise with Windstar beforehand) It was very enjoyable, food great, staff lovely, entertainment good. There were alot of sea days together but we got a routine of trivias, podium talks, hot tubs and eating in the day as the weather was too cold to be out on deck much or in the swimming pool. The speakers were entertaining, one gave talks on major trials. Another did Buddhism history and meditation and a third did varied talks from Rasputin to dog behaviour. The afternoon progressive trivia was fun if you had got a team together. It wasnt too rough so seasickness wasnt an issue either. We did have to change our clocks forward about 6 separate times to be on Vancouver time by arrival butbetter than getting full jetlag. So repositioing was worth doing, although the stop in Russia was a waste of time except to stretch your legs! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
While the overall cruise was very enjoyable, since we were with friends, we have for the first time, being Elite members, have found some issues with the food and/or the prep. This was the first time we sailed in Aqua Class, and while ... Read More
While the overall cruise was very enjoyable, since we were with friends, we have for the first time, being Elite members, have found some issues with the food and/or the prep. This was the first time we sailed in Aqua Class, and while the smaller dining room is nice & Blu, gave us access to two menus (Blu and Main), we do not feel the extra cost of Aqua class was merited. There were some instances where the entrees lacked flavor and were overcooked. One of our travelling companions made the remark that the crepe suzettes dessert tasted like "hockey pucks." Early on, we expressed our disappointment to Guest Relations. Subsequently the Head Chef came to our table and explained that the food comes frozen from the US. and that may alter the freshness factor and taste. Having been on numerous Celebrity cruises, Europe, Caribbean and the TransAtlantic, this was quite a unique explanation. On a positive note, service in Blu was excellent and the wait staff were always willing to exchange any food that was not to your liking. The Blu hostess was also extremely accommodating. As on all our Celebrity cruises the cabin attendant "Z" kept our room in excellent shape. Also we had fun with the Celebrity Life staff, particularly with Jaz and Tim. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We tend to prefer longer cruises with sea days. Celebrity almost always has excellent speakers and this cruise was no exception. We tried to catch all the talks. This is our second cruise in Aqua. The ammenities make the trip so much ... Read More
We tend to prefer longer cruises with sea days. Celebrity almost always has excellent speakers and this cruise was no exception. We tried to catch all the talks. This is our second cruise in Aqua. The ammenities make the trip so much more enjoyable so thats what we look for now. Our cabin, an A1 was a long way from the spa and because of the weather we didn't use it. The room was very well done and the bed was very comfortable. By the time we finished breakfast our room was usually finished. Very clean.did n The buffett was usually crowded but never so much that we couldn't find a place to sit. I noticed, and reported, when a guest came back and dumped his leftover food back into the container. After that I only ate what was served. No more self serve. I feel that they should have someone at all the stations. I have no desire to eat a strangers leftovers. The lounge music venues were very nice. The service in Blu as always was excellent. Daniell and Jet, our waiters, Yudie(sp) the Maitre d' and the wonderful hostess were were so friendly and professional. Overall the shows we great with one notable exception. The music was so loud it overpowered the singers and the guest piano player. It was also.was damaging to our ears. Some of the performances we had to leave because of the music. I don't know why the music director thinks that louder is better. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We have completed 13 Regent cruises (with 222 nights), and was surprised with a poor review on Cruise Critic from one couple. We were on that same Regent Mariner cruise and had none of the 'problems' described--we adapted ... Read More
We have completed 13 Regent cruises (with 222 nights), and was surprised with a poor review on Cruise Critic from one couple. We were on that same Regent Mariner cruise and had none of the 'problems' described--we adapted to changes that we could not control. Both Regent and we could not control the weather. First--If they did not like their multi-hour air-schedule, it can be changed. We were scheduled on an overnight flight from Vancouver to NYC but we changed it to an early afternoon flight that got us home. Regent’s initial late-day flight selection gave guests the opportunity to take a tour of Vancouver! Ask, and Regent changes the air flights--yes it cost a little money, but we are Platinum level, and one flight schedule change was allowed. Second—This was a relocation cruise--we expected multiple days at sea. We were scheduled to have 5-days-at-sea, and we had 6-days-at-sea, when we bypassed the Russian port. There were wonderful lectures by Hugh Neighbour and Karen Dodd. There were extra social events added to entertain the guests. If you were bored, that was your fault. Third--YES, we skipped the Russian port. Their comment that “ALL OF THE GUESTS WERE UPSET” is very unfair and UNTRUE. There were 50-knot winds over the deck--added to the forward speed of the Mariner, it gives a 75mph deck wind. The decks were closed for outside walking. My wife and I exercised by walking the interior walkways on various decks. There were 23 feet swells. We had very wet and salt encrusted balcony windows, which were cleaned at the next port. I enclosed two photos of the TV screen in our suite showing these numbers. The Mariner has stabilizers, I knew of no one who was sick from mal de mer. The captain/master changed the direction (and avoided the worst of the storm). I saw him at the Coffee Connection, and thanked him, for consideration of the safety of the guests. After his direction changes, we then had MUCH weaker winds, and less than six feet swell. [I BELIEVE that the Mariner was originally scheduled to use their tenders to transport the guests to and from shore at the Russian port. With a pitching sea, it could be a human disaster! On two previous Regent cruises (Amalfi coast, Italy and Galle, Sri Lanka), the Captain declared that the sea was too rough to have guests enter the tenders and we skipped the port!] Fourth--We had great weather on all Alaskan ports; but it rained at Ketchikan, as usual. We did not see the Hubbard Glacier because there was very dense fog. Many guests, including me, stood on the top deck and got wet from the weather. Regent did supply snacks and hot coffee for those awaiting a breeze to dissipate the fog. After about an hour of only seeing sea-ice, the Mariner left Yakutat Bay. The weather then was fine, at distance of about 10-miles where some wind, and a change in air-temperature resulted in no fog and a blue-sky. When the ship was docked in any Alaska port, we often sat outside in the sun on the pool deck for lunch and enjoyed the snow covered mountains, numerous playful otters, eagles, (once saw some orcas playing by our ship), and had another great meal. I know of no one who used the pool, but the hot tubs were used by some. I really cannot understand such a negative review--but it was from one couple. We have three more Regent cruises booked, and look forward to the ship, food, staff, and meeting other well-traveled guests. It is a pleasure to be take care of by Regent. I would highly recommend cruising with Regent for those people who enjoy “joie de vie”. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We spent the “ Golden Week “ in Yokohama while the NCL Jewel hosted a private charter. We enjoyed Fruhlings Fest, and the Port festivals and activities while there. We explored and experience the world famous quality from Toyota, ... Read More
We spent the “ Golden Week “ in Yokohama while the NCL Jewel hosted a private charter. We enjoyed Fruhlings Fest, and the Port festivals and activities while there. We explored and experience the world famous quality from Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Suzuki, Toshiba, Canon, Sony, Panasonic. Japan taught the world " just-in-time " manufacturing, and that organizations should value their employees. This 21 day repositioning cruise from Tokyo to Seattle was our final cruise leg, and return home. The itinerary was 7 sea days, with visits to 4 Japanese ports, 1 Russian port, Hubbard Glacier, and Glacier Bay, and 5 ports in Alaska. Communication issues with customs & immigration , & embarkation processes, were experienced, but to be expected with so many new ports, and several countries. Actually general communication on the ship was rather poor with instructions often being contradictory. Embarkation process was swift and efficient. We very quickly hit our first bump when our very first Japanese port, Shimizu was eliminated, as they announced the ship would remain in Yokohama the following day for mechanical repairs. The remining port stops in Japan were very good: Aomori: Neputa summer festival featured enormous floats with painted screens depicting Japanese Gods, historical figures and mythological beings. Visited the magnificent grounds of Hirosaki Castle. Hakodate: Highlights of Hakodate from the Goryokaku Tower, a 350 foot high observation point, to the busy fish market to the Mount Hakodate Ropeway. Otaru the port city for Sapporo on Hokkaido island (Japan’s northernmost island) is known for glassworks, music boxes and sake distilleries. It is a compact and delightful village for self exploration. Russia was a cold day, but memorable experience with our visit to Petropavlovsk ( St Peter & Paul ) A poor northern Russian city of about 200,000 surrounded by volcanoes. It is home to Russia's largest submarine base. The city proudly reflects its military significance. The gruelling hard winters, of which much snow still remains, toll on roads, pedestrian paths, and buildings is clearly evident. The pristine natural beauty of Alaska's high glacial mountains and tree lined shores. We saw many whales, dolphins, seals, and eagles throughout the passage. The ship's tour of both the Hubbard Glacier and the following day Glacier Bay, professionally narrated by Park naturalists, were very enjoyable. Initially the several public viewing locations were extremely crowded, and people quite rude in the crowds. We retreated to the viewing privacy of our balcony cabin and ventured into the public viewing areas later. Icy Straight Point was a unique cultural experience. Food was reasonable throughout the variety of ship restaurants. We now wonder whether it is a company strategy to have clientel pay more, and dine in the Specialty restaurants in an effort to find something of quality to eat. Cagney's was not the star restaurant on the Jewel with Le Bistro claiming that spot. Moderna & Chin Chin were also good albeit a very limited menu. Our experience with Teppanyaki was more show than food quality. There was a conspicuous absence of fresh salmon, king crab, or seafood of any sort, and much of the beef or pork served was rather tough, and often overcooked. Again we note most restaurant food was only warm - the exception being the Garden Cafe immediately upon opening. One of the most significant concerns remains " head office control " limiting the chefs ability to vary menus, and provide culinary cuisine more reflective of the area of travel. While it is nice to not deal with the logistics of transport, and accommodation in this variety of cities, we did miss out on experiencing the local cuisines – caviar, perogies & sourkraut, smoked salmon & bannock ! Overall entertainment quality and variety was good - the highlight being the Russian gymnasts. However the absence of any entertainment reflective of the oriental, russian, or native cultures, " enrichment programs " cultural , basic language , or port information was disappointing. Two enrichment seminars were given to an absolutely packed Stardust theatre - showing strong client interest. Unfortunately neither expert had ever being to the destination they were presenting on, resulting in weak, internet researched presentations. Onboard activities have been severely curtailed, and many services had very limited hours. The focus was clearly on NCL Shore excursions, and selling additional spa, dining, or health services. For example the library only opened for one hour most days, and although a quiet spot to read it smelled of smoke. Shore excursions desk was also only open briefly, and there were often significant lines. We guess they are trying to embrace the more cost effective electronic culture and encourage you to book that way. Most shore excursions were full bus loads and have become rather pricey. As all locations were new to us we booked primarily NCL excursions. Increasingly we discovered more guests successfully using independent guides, or venturing out on their own with taxis, and they were reporting much more satisfying experiences. The assembly process of participants in the ship theatre, disembarkation & load the tour buses continued to be chaotic, with clients arriving late, not queuing respectfully, & not following instructions. Frankly this waiting and disorganization caused many tours to be less than enjoyable. Using the walking or jogging track you also encounter “ smoking areas “ where your exercise and fresh air experience was dampened. For the most part staff were genuine and helpful, however there were several encounters were it was obvious staff were not allowed to think, and responded accordingly with a " standard answer " even when it made absolutely no sense in the circumstances. Disembarkation in Seattle was an unmitigated disaster ! We understand the ship docked on the opposite side than what was originally planned. As a consequence luggage had to be unloaded in the reverse order that it was organized. Multiple companies services are contracted by NCL to accomplish disembarkation of passengers and luggage quickly and efficiently. The lack of communication between the parties, the uncaring attitudes, and resulting chaos was a horrendous way to end the voyage. While our luggage was scheduled to be available in the first group at 8:00 am it was actually the dead last group some three hours later ! This placed passengers directly into mid-day “ long weekend “ rush hour traffic in downtown Seattle and created many subsequent problems with missed flights, and transportation connections. Not a single word of apology from NCL to its guests. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
The cruise was overall quite good. I was very disappointed that we didn’t make our first stop which was Mt Fuji (Simuzi). It was a key stop for us. The additional stops were interesting, especially as we got to Alaska. The Glaciers ... Read More
The cruise was overall quite good. I was very disappointed that we didn’t make our first stop which was Mt Fuji (Simuzi). It was a key stop for us. The additional stops were interesting, especially as we got to Alaska. The Glaciers and the beauty of Alaska is absolutely spectacular. Booking a massage on the cruise was easy and the massage was wonderful. However, the high pressure sales job after to buy all the products spoiled the experience. Word to the wise, don’t book spa services as this happens each time in spite of telling th no. Excursions were extremely pricey, even with a credit per port. The specialty restaurants were ok, with The Bistro top of my list. Carney’s was s disappointment both times we tried it. Moderno’s was okay. tepanyaki was fun and we went twice. Overall a good cruise. Weather was chilly but fine. Thanks for listening. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was a 21 day from Tokyo to Seattle cruise. We arrived 5 days early in order to explore Tokyo. Hired a local guide and had a great time. Stayed at the Marriott Shinagawa and used their Concierge Lounge. Great hotel and service. We ... Read More
This was a 21 day from Tokyo to Seattle cruise. We arrived 5 days early in order to explore Tokyo. Hired a local guide and had a great time. Stayed at the Marriott Shinagawa and used their Concierge Lounge. Great hotel and service. We took a cab to the ship and the embarkation process was swift and efficient as we had a 2 bedroom (H4) Haven suite. Our suite, Cabin 14010 was filled with mold and mildew. We are allergic to mold and mildew. Mold was also present in the duvette, sheets, and pillows. Steward and butler were great as they changed out everything and brought a HEPA filter. Also A/C ducts blew in dust and mold. Unfortunately none of that helped. We were sick for 12 of the 21 day cruise and wife still has bronchitis 10 days after the cruise. We were finally able to track the problem down to black mold in a leaky drain trough going across the bathroom area. The carpet was also filled with mildew. The crew repaired the leaky drain area several days before the end of the cruise and brought in industrial blowers to dry the area out. The mold and mildew were so bad that I had to sleep on the couch in our living room area and my wife had to sleep in the second bedroom. As if that wasn't enough, disembarkation at the new Norwegian Seattle terminal was a disaster. We had to wait 60 minutes for our luggage (even though we had priority) and when it arrived there was no orderly process to get the luggage. Just one big free for all. We asked the Norwegian terminal what was going on and they just shrugged their shoulders told us to talk to the ship personnel. Lastly, during our Norwegian transfer to the Seattle airport, the luggage compartment door of the bus opened and our luggage went bouncing down the Interstate. Bottom line, Norwegian is a great value, but I have yet to have a cruise with them where everything has gone right. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was our 6th cruise on NCL, but our first transpacific. We chose it because of its itinerary, its length, and that it ended as an Alaska cruise, which we have always talked about doing. This combination of Asia, Pacific, and Alaska ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise on NCL, but our first transpacific. We chose it because of its itinerary, its length, and that it ended as an Alaska cruise, which we have always talked about doing. This combination of Asia, Pacific, and Alaska was perfect for us. All the port stops in Japan were wonderful - Yokohama, Aomori, Hakodate and Otaru. The ship docked very close to town, and there was plenty to do in each place. Our most treasured experience was finding an onsen (hot springs bath, all nude, segregated by gender) in Hakodate. We were not impressed with Petropavlovsk though. Access was by tender, which wastes a lot of time especially with old folks with bad knees struggling to get on and off. Prior to the cruise, we were told quite specifically that we needed visas just to roam around town, so the best thing to do was sign up for an NCL shore excursion. Turns out that the Russians will let cruisers with no visas into town, just can't go beyond the city limits. The many days at sea crossing the Pacific was a real treat. Even better was getting an extra Wednesday because we crossed the International Date Line. Conversation with the cabin steward was fun - "what is today?" "Wednesday" "what is tomorrow?" "Wednesday." We did not go to any of the specialty restaurants. Of the free ones, we went to the Azura only once, and ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Garden Café buffet the whole trip. Food was good, not great. The first top round roast in the carving station was so tough, however, it defied mastication. Our cabin steward, Aris, was the best. He was never intrusive, did a great job with the room, and answered all our questions. His towel art creations were ones I had never seen before. If it were not for the the ship being even more worn out, we would take her back to Japan in September. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Cruised from Japan to Seattle, USA. The cruise ship was great, the staff very friendly, the food was good. We had an outside cabin with a large window. Included was the drinks package, special coffees (which could only be used in the ... Read More
Cruised from Japan to Seattle, USA. The cruise ship was great, the staff very friendly, the food was good. We had an outside cabin with a large window. Included was the drinks package, special coffees (which could only be used in the restaurants or the Irish bar), and water, and gratuities. The itinerary was very good with stops in Japan, Russia and Alaska. Getting off the ship at our final destination in Seattle was very slow and some people missed their flights. We arranged our own shore excursions throughout the trip. The only problem was when we were trying to purchase an expensive bracelet in the Tradewinds shop on board and the staff were telling us it was an Effy product, but when we visited the Effy shops on shore they advised it was not an Effy product. The ship could not tell us who actually was the manufacturer. Luckily we did not buy. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We had high hopes for this cruise. From Tokyo to Seattle! Alaska is gorgeous! Unfortunately when all was said and done it was really "just OK". I won't review NCL specifically here other than to say that since we first ... Read More
We had high hopes for this cruise. From Tokyo to Seattle! Alaska is gorgeous! Unfortunately when all was said and done it was really "just OK". I won't review NCL specifically here other than to say that since we first sailed NCL 5 years ago we have noticed a steady decline in quality and amenities. Their "chocolate night" is gone. The quality of the food is noticeably lower. Etc. From other cruisers I've spoken with this is not unique to NCL (HAL has been mentioned a few times by people I know). But we sailed NCL, and so that's what I will criticize. The crew was fine. That has been the one constant in all our NCL cruises. They are friendly, helpful, and just generally really nice. No complaints there at all. That said, there were significant organizational problems with disembarking in several ports. In Petropavlosk, for example, we missed our excursion because getting off the ship took over four hours. I knew someone who claims he saw what the problem was, but I won't resort to hearsay since I didn't witness it myself. I will just say there is no excuse for those sorts of delays, and the organizing of the disembarking was a mess. It wasn't as bad in most of the other ports, though Seattle was a nightmare. Again, poor organizing caused us to have a drastically shortened tour of Seattle. We were supposed to see Pike Street and some other locations, but all we had time to do was the Space Needle. No refund, or even partial refund or ship credit, was offered for either of those fiascoes which were THEIR FAULT. The food was very mediocre. Some of it was downright bad. Their eggs Benedict was raw. Not just once, but each of the three or four times we checked it out. A runny yoke is expected, but most of the white was runny too. That's not right. There was a variety of dishes available, but the seasoning was almost always very mild. Mild to the point that you couldn't really tell it was seasoned many times. Even in the premium restaurants (which we ate a few times). All in all, unacceptable. I can't pin this only on the Jewel, or this cruise. As I said, we've sailed NCL several times over the past five years, several different ships, and we've noted the steady decline in food quality with each successive cruise. Unless something changed we probably would not do this sort of itinerary on NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Embarkation: Boarded in Yokohama. Took the Princess transfer from the airport. Confusion at the terminal. Boarded about 12:45 pm. Our luggage arrived very quickly. We went to the dining room for lunch (per recommendation) as it is ... Read More
Embarkation: Boarded in Yokohama. Took the Princess transfer from the airport. Confusion at the terminal. Boarded about 12:45 pm. Our luggage arrived very quickly. We went to the dining room for lunch (per recommendation) as it is a lot less crowded than the Horizon Court on embarkation day. Staff will not tell you this. It is open until 1:30 pm. Ship: The ship is just out of dry dock. She looks well but still has some issues. Temperature is uneven on ship. Freezing in some areas especially the Horizon Court. Some plumbing issues. International Cafe is very crowded. 15 minute wait for coffee at times. Vines has very good service. Look for Dragan and Aris. They are exceptional and extremely hardworking. Also have tapas for free such as sushi (on Japan cruise). Sabatini’s was updated on the dry dock and has the new menu. Skywalker’s still there. Cabin: We had a mini suite on the Dolphin deck. The new Princess beds are very nice. The sofa in our cabin also looked new. Carpet in good shape. The first day we only had hot water but a plumber was sent to fix this. Flat screen TV’s installed in cabins but no on demand movies. Toilet not functioning one evening but fixed promptly. Talked to people on our deck who were in staterooms that were really cold. Plumbing issues for others. Dining: This was the biggest area of contention for us. A lot of people unhappy the first night. There was a problem with our table which I won’t go into. It was resolved somewhat the next day. We had long waits between courses and have noticed this since club class dining was introduced. Food quality in dining room has gone downhill in my opinion. I think sometimes the Horizon Grill is a better choice. No, you won’t go hungry but it is about a decline in quality. Some chicken dishes such as coq au vin had some very grizzly meat and steak Diane needed a hatchet. The best meal we had in the dining room was chateaubriand. Our wait staff were very nice. Entertainment: Princess singers and dancers put on a good show. Enjoyed enrichment lectures. For those going to Alaska we had some very good programs. I think the park rangers come on in Alaska and do an excellent job. We disembarked in Whittier and if you have the chance to drive from Whittier to Anchorage it is truly beautiful. General comments: Do not care for the time change of one hour forward at noon instead of during the night. Did not enjoy that so many people were coughing on the ship. I know that the flu was onboard from someone that caught it. There really is not much that Princess can do. It’s an honor system signing a form that you are not sick and some people have paid and are just going to go. There are washbasins on the entries to Horizon Court as well as purell. We both came back with colds. We went to Alaska on the Golden in 2014. I think she is a fine ship if they iron out the plumbing and temperature controls problems. If you have an Alaskan cruise coming up you should be fine. Issues like the crowding in the International Cafe and Piazza should not be such a problem on a 7 day cruise. We were on for 16 days and seven of these days were at sea. I very much enjoy that the Golden still has Skywalkers which is great for Alaska and also some very nice staff. We enjoyed seeing Japan and this was a good way to do it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Food has gone down hill on Princess. MDR short staffed and thus very slow poor service. Buffet breakfast the same everyday. Fish in almost every dish. Worst guest entertainment we've ever seen. Like HS trying new acts for the first ... Read More
Food has gone down hill on Princess. MDR short staffed and thus very slow poor service. Buffet breakfast the same everyday. Fish in almost every dish. Worst guest entertainment we've ever seen. Like HS trying new acts for the first time. The rear of ship had a strong bathroom stench the entire cruise. It wafted into the showroom and casino. Tapping noise in the wall of our room all night. They heard it but couldn't fix it at night because no crew was working then. Couldn't fix it during the day at port, because we were stopped and no noise. No refund offered. Heavy accents shouldn't be in positions of communication, yet they are. Service staff always friendly and wonderful as on every cruise. The sights of Alaska outweigh many of the discomforts. Sorry to be so negative, but just saying how wonderful a cruise is, won't get this stuff attended to will it? Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This was our Ninth Princess Cruise and where very disappointed. This ship just got out of dry dock approximately 16 days prior to us getting on. Embarkation slow and confusing, no line for Elite or Platinum cruisers. Ship was very tired ... Read More
This was our Ninth Princess Cruise and where very disappointed. This ship just got out of dry dock approximately 16 days prior to us getting on. Embarkation slow and confusing, no line for Elite or Platinum cruisers. Ship was very tired looking, frayed and stained carpets. Multiple water leaks all over ship with buckets collecting water, fans trying to dry the wet carpets. Presence of trades men doing repairs all over ship. Dining experience in Sabatinis was very disappointing, food poor, service bad. Main dining room was OK. Cabin Stewart was excellent, very attentive, and very apologetic for all the problems on the ship. We found some of the shore excursions very expense for what was included. We felt something should of been said from management about ship's poor condition and compensation made to the passengers. We have always enjoyed Princess Cruise line, but will now be looking at other lines more seriously in the future. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
I have been on many Princess Cruises and thought this would be an interesting one - 5 ports in Japan, S Korea and then across the Bering Sea to Whittier Alaska - truly a trip of a lifetime. I flew into Japan a week early and enjoyed ... Read More
I have been on many Princess Cruises and thought this would be an interesting one - 5 ports in Japan, S Korea and then across the Bering Sea to Whittier Alaska - truly a trip of a lifetime. I flew into Japan a week early and enjoyed touring around. I am a solo senior female and felt very safe at all times and found it fairly easy to get around. Boarding in Yokohama is very different. You have to get a number and wait until you are called to check in. That took some time and some people were very upset at the way this was done but as it would turn out "Japan has a unique way of doing things" Japanese ports all great. Only exception, Osaka, Port itself was absolutely fabulous but as we were going to S Korea next the ship had to bring the passenger count down to 0 before leaving the country. Unfortunately, 2 passengers didn't care about the 2500 other passengers waiting to get back on and it took Princess over an hour to locate this couple in their locked room and force them out and off the ship. Believe me, many wanted to know who they were as standing in a hot room for over an hour waiting to get back on the ship was awful. I think Princess could have found these people a lot sooner and gotten things moving faster but I waited an hour and many people waited longer. The backlog wasnt cleared for a long time. There were quite a few water leaks from ceilings all over the ship and many buckets were out catching drips. Some people had to be moved to other cabins. The worst incident was when we were in the middle of the Bering Sea and there was commotion after 1am. Captain came on speaker into room at 1:45am telling us there was an incident with the engine but that the ship was navigable and we would be continuing to Alaska. As this was a particulary rough night at sea it did not make for a comfortable sleep and many people were nervous after this. I am not sure what the actual issue was. It would have been better to know the truth from the Captain rather than worrying the rest of the trip. Food was typical Princess menus, very oversalted. Service in Dining room always excellent. Menu for lunch in dining room was better than dinner in my opinion Alaska Sue gave several great talks interspersed with personal photos and experiences. I did not enjoy the other speakers. Cruise director's staff did a great job but 7 sea days is hard to keep everyone entertained. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
The main purpose of our trlp from australia was to visit japan for 3 weeks in nov 2017, travelling around the country on a japan railways pass. When i saw this one way cruise advertised, it fit in perfectly with our plans to go back to ... Read More
The main purpose of our trlp from australia was to visit japan for 3 weeks in nov 2017, travelling around the country on a japan railways pass. When i saw this one way cruise advertised, it fit in perfectly with our plans to go back to australia by a different route. we have been on 4 other cruises in various parts of the world before, but never to asia. the itinerary leaving from yokohama was good, visiting shimizu, hong kong, singapore, nha trang, saigon, bali and darwin australia and it appealed to us in that we had never visited any of these ports before. We used smile tours in saigon and pham tours in nha trang who were fantastic. Summarizing the cruise : it could have been better. the main negative for us was that being non drinkers, there were few quiet public spaces to relax in comfortable chairs. there were so many bars, with people noisily enjoying themselves and only a tiny library with uncomfortable seats for people like us, who enjoy a bit of peace and quiet. (we are used to holland america line's spacious libraries). also princess unfortunately is no different to every other cruise line in pushing art auctions, drink packages, jewellery sales, photo sales at every opportunity, which makes things pretty boring, and expensive !! surely the marketing gurus of cruise lines, should be able to come up with something different. not everyone who travels on cruise boats is a millionaire !! Another major gripe of mine is that on this cruise there were a number of mostly australian senior citizens, who were very careless about hygiene, coughing and blowing their noses without adeqeate care. my wife's immune system is not the best and i was worried that she might catch something. surely cruise lines can impress on unwell passengers that they confine themselves to their cabins, or make them wear masks as they do in japan, to stop them spreading their germs. The ports we visited were interesting. i arranged all my own excursions, on the internet with local operators, as princess line's offering were far too expensive and didn't seem all that interesting and use bus's with far too many passengers. Last but not least why can't any cruise company provide decent coffee, without the need to resort to a coffee card !! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
TOO MANY PEOPLE. Beautiful is the word that most readily comes to mind when looking at this ship. It really is beautiful. The décor is stylish, even luxurious, and as yet not in the least worn. But with 3 300 or so passengers, it is also ... Read More
TOO MANY PEOPLE. Beautiful is the word that most readily comes to mind when looking at this ship. It really is beautiful. The décor is stylish, even luxurious, and as yet not in the least worn. But with 3 300 or so passengers, it is also too big for our liking. Not that there were lengthy queues: it’s just that we got fed up with LIVING IN A CROWD. Diamond Princess does have what they call The Sanctuary, which is what the name suggests, and is like The Dome on Pacific Dawn (but much smaller) and you have to pay to use it. No doubt, this is to limit the demand but, to my mind, this is an admission of failure – too big a ship = many people craving sanctuary! Of course, there is another viewpoint which might possibly influence a global American company: big ship = economies of scale = tasty profits. Too many people also mean a greater chance of illness unless special precautions are taken. So we were surprised mightily to find that Princess has actually reduced the number of hand-cleanser stations around the ship. They are outside the restaurants and other food serveries, but not in lift bays or at the top of stairs. They do have a hand-washing station at entrances to the buffet (using soap and water, a good idea), and a staff member stands there to encourage people to use the facility, but many people by-pass them. Also, unlike on HAL ships, the Captain never mentions the importance of hand-washing at every opportunity (such as his midday announcements which, surprisingly, are largely given over to tourist information about the next port). These things should not be de-emphasised, as my cabin-mate, who was confined to his cabin for three days with a horrible virus, could tell you. (This was despite our using portable bottles of hand cleaner and antiseptic wipes in the cabin). It seems strange that the line which owns the notorious Sun Princess should be the one giving least emphasis to these matters. I also contracted a virus, this time a flu virus and, a week after disembarkation, am only just beginning to recover. So much for ‘Come back new”. And while the ship may be physically beautiful, many of its passengers were not. Not surprising, of course, that disgusting greed (often combined with obesity) should be on display on a cruise ship. All the same, people are often what you make them, and we met a lot of friendly, interesting people on this ship. FOOD. The food is good in the buffet, where we ate most of the time, though not quite as good as on HAL ships. Seafood is plentiful, and there is none of the Vietnamese basa common on P&O. The prawns are plentiful, but one does tend to get sick of farmed Chinese prawns, which taste of nothing in particular. They outdo themselves with their desserts, which are of Holland America standard and a total contrast to the ghastly muck served on Legend of the Seas and Pacific Aria on recent cruises. We did not sample the specialty restaurants mainly because we can no longer handle large servings of food, though we had every intention of visiting Kai Sushi (the Japanese restaurant), until we found that (contrary to the menu currently online) it now serves nothing but sushi and sashimi. We went to the Pacific Moon dining room four times, but were very disappointed as on only one occasion could the food be described as good. At one session, my ‘rib filet’ had the light colour and texture of veal, and was very well done (not medium rare as requested). On another, there was a quite ghastly pasta dish (pasta mixed with a tiny amount of alleged oxtail ragout). IRRITANTS. Some things about Princess’s product and service are just irritating because user-unfriendly at best. Examples? First, for 22 days, we had no Australian news except the tiny amount available on Sky News (which is mainly gabbing) and the BBC. We knew nothing of the Queensland election or of the same sex marriage plebiscite. Of course, we could always have paid to get such news through the ship’s internet etc., which says a lot about Princess’s attitude and service. Some cruise lines go the extent of providing a daily news sheet for passengers, but the least one could expect is that a couple of the self-serving ads in ‘Princess Patter’ be omitted to make way for significant news. Second, though the ‘movies under the stars’ experience on Princess is just great, (they even provide padding for the deck chairs in the evening), it was irritating that the daily guide in Princess Patter provided only the movie title with not the barest synopsis. Third, supplies of vegemite in the buffet ran out by Singapore. Personally I missed my breakfast fix mightily and, on a ship with 80% Australian passengers, its absence certainly indicates sloppy management, and perhaps, just perhaps, a small touch of cultural arrogance (after all, a craving for vegemite is not an American trait, so surely cannot be taken seriously. And, in any case, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which (amazingly) appear on the room service menu, are a reasonable substitute, aren’t they?). Australians are famous for their love of good coffee, and most will not tolerate the kind of appalling muck served on Princess and dignified by them with the holy name ‘coffee’. Another example of cultural blockheadedness. We bought a bottle of Nescafe in Singapore – it was 10 times better than the ship’s coffee. ENTERTAINMENT. We generally made our own entertainment, supplemented by the musical groups on offer, which were generally good. We did not sample the shows in the Princess Theatre. These tend to be earsplittingly loud on cruise ships, and on this cruise the presence of an entertainer (presumably a comedian) called Chuck Curry was enough to ensure that we stayed away. SHORE EXCURSIONS. We do not usually take any of the ship’s excursions, because they are usually over-priced, and we do not have loads of money. We did do one on this cruise – Highlights of Hongkong – and very much regretted it. It took us up the funicular to Mt Victoria (which was OK), then on a five minute sampan ride among the boats in the Aberdeen fishing village (so-called) (which was almost totally uninteresting), then down to the Stanley Markets (which disappointed everyone, mainly because it is quite small) and finally to a jewellery factory (so-called)(which was no more than a jewellery ‘department store’). This excursion began at about 10am and we got back to the ship at 4 pm, and there was no provision for a lunch stop, or any kind of food stop!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We (DH, Mum and I) booked this as a repositioning cruise with minimal ports as we LOVE our sea days! Mum had an inside cabin D715 and we had an aft mini suite E721 Embarkation in Yokohama was quite smooth. Just had one gripe and ... Read More
We (DH, Mum and I) booked this as a repositioning cruise with minimal ports as we LOVE our sea days! Mum had an inside cabin D715 and we had an aft mini suite E721 Embarkation in Yokohama was quite smooth. Just had one gripe and that was when they were calling numbers we could not see or hear. We knew that something was being said but not what was being said. They really do need to organise their PA system better. Yokohama weather was very cold. 1st Port of Call - Shimizu This was a Princess excursion as we wanted to see as much of Mt Fuji as we could. We went to the second station (before we set sail they cancelled the first station due to weather issues). It was a carpark and the souvenir shop was closed! Toilet stop only. Our best view of Mt Fuji was when we arrived back at the ship. And what a magnificent view it was! 2nd Port of Call - Hong Kong After three days at sea we arrived in iconic Hong Kong and tied up at the Kai Tak Terminal. We had booked the HOHO bus with friends way before we had left home. We caught a Princess shuttle to the Star Ferry Terminal. Got on the first HOHO bus to the cable car stop and the line was impossibly long! Luckily a HOHO employee was walking the line and taking people to the front. We still waited a good 45mins to get to the top, and the view was well worth it. But the amount of people up there was over the top and we came straight back down after getting pics. We then went around the island and this was fantastic. We really were not expecting to see all the lushness of jungle, beautiful vistas and amazing bays. We thought Hing Kong was all about sky scrapers, so this was a wonderful port for us. Hong Kong we will be back! 3rd Port of Call - Nha Trang Only one sea day before arriving at Nha Trang where we had booked a private excursion in to a village. Two weeks before we arrived they had had a typhoon hit land and caused masses of destruction. Their fish farms were annihilated and they will have to start from scratch. There was so much rubbish around as the water level had risen and they were still in the throes of a massive clean up. The Nha Trang people were going about their day with smiles on their faces even after everything they had been through, and I feel very blessed with what we have in Australia. 4th Port of Call - Phu My The day after Nha Trang we arrived in Phu My where we had again booked a private excursion (from Tommy's Bar), and we got to see the lay of the land around where the Battle of Long Tan had played out. This was a very emotional tour and made me very aware of what sacrifices our Australian service men and women made. It also opened my eyes to what the Vietnamese people went through during and after the war there. Feeling blessed to be Australian again! 5th Port of Call - Singapore On our sea day to Singapore the captain let us know that our stop at Bali was going to be dropped. The volcano (Mt Agung) was getting too active again, so unfortunately we were going to have an overnight stay in Singapore! **sigh** **roll eyes** Well if we have to! We couldn't have chosen a better port to have an overnighter in. We did Singapore on our own using the MRT. Got a two day tourist pass that we used until our feet hurt. I love that you can get anywhere just using the MRT. Did all the usual things as Mum hadn't been to Singapore before - Gardens by the Bay (at night), river cruise on a bum boat, Chinatown, Bugis, Clarke Quay,and of course shopping! 6th Port of Call - Darwin After four days at sea we caught up with friends who live in Darwin, and enjoyed the day relaxing beside their pool. It was so humid and we couldn't believe we had left Yokohama in heavy coats to now be in Darwin dressed in shorts and t-shirts. After five sea days we were in Sydney - what already! We couldn't believe the time went so fast. What does one get up to on sea days? Well most days we ran out of time to get everything done. We played mahjong, did trivia (and had an absolute ball even though we hardly knew any of the answers), swam, watched recently released movies, saw great shows, enjoyed the entertainment around the pool areas, and so much more! I need to say something about the Japanese spa IZUMI! It was a truly amazing experience. We would go at 9am so that we had the one hour of nude time, and one hour of outside time. The nude time was in a female only environment, and you have a thorough shower first and then into the jacuzzis and saunas. The windows beside the jacuzzis were HUGE! It felt amazing to sit in a spa and look out at such an expanse of ocean. They use a blue light in the water to keep it bacteria free instead of chlorine, and I found it very soft on my skin. The mist sauna was just the best, but because they only had one we only got to use it every second day. The men and women changed sides each day so we all got to use the mist sauna (everything else was the same, spas, dry sauna and showers). Two hours in Izumi cost AUD$15 or five visits of two hours for AUD$60 I loved it and it helped me to not only relax, but also helped me to stretch the muscles in my body as I suffered a stroke in April 2016. Our MDR experience was just amazing! The food, and our wait staff (Efren and Rizalito) were just fantastic and really helped me keep to my diet. I need to keep my salt intake really low as it gives me vertigo and when I eat in the MDR I have never suffered a vertigo attack. They take your dietary needs very seriously, and for that I really thanked them! Overall we were thrilled with this cruise. It surpassed our expectations and took us to ports that we had not been to before. Well done Princess - we'll be back! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Our primary reason for choosing this cruise was the cost & a reasonably cheap airfare to fly to Japan. There were not many ports on this repositioning cruise, however many we had not been to for quite some time making it like a new ... Read More
Our primary reason for choosing this cruise was the cost & a reasonably cheap airfare to fly to Japan. There were not many ports on this repositioning cruise, however many we had not been to for quite some time making it like a new experience. We spent three nights in Tokyo before the cruise which was an enough to wet our appetite to return to Japan for a more detailed land trip in the country. Embarkation was a slow process even though we were Elite Captain Circle members, not very well organised. Disembarkation was a joy as all the customs trivia was taken care of on-board prior to our arrival. In general we found our cabin to be ideal for us, as always with Princess the food & crew were excellent although we felt the entertainment had slipped a notch which seems to be the trend on Princess lately. The Princess singers, dancers & orchestra are great as usual though many of the support acts were not so great. Overall a great trip. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
This was my first cruise and I loved it. My suite (all cabins are suites) was nicer - and at least as large - as most hotel rooms I stay in. I had a veranda, but other than the veranda itself, even the smallest cabin on the ship is the ... Read More
This was my first cruise and I loved it. My suite (all cabins are suites) was nicer - and at least as large - as most hotel rooms I stay in. I had a veranda, but other than the veranda itself, even the smallest cabin on the ship is the same size. No "inside" cabins. Very nice. This cruise had "Gentleman Hosts," who among other things, organized a cocktail party each evening for the solo cruisers, of which I was one. This was a very nice touch by Silversea. There were 8 or 10 of us "solos", and we had a cocktail party each evening and then the Gentleman Hosts would escort us down to The Restaurant for dinner. It wasn't mandatory, but we never had to eat alone. Silversea's social game is very strong. I reserved several evenings in Le Champagne, the hoity-toity extra-cost restaurant, but after my first night I canceled the rest of my nights. Why? Because the pace was very, very slow. i'm sure it took at least 3.5 hours for dinner, and if you're eating alone it is too slow. Perhaps if I'd brought a book. This is going to sound trite, but team trivia was a major event every single day at 4:45. It was so major an event that some folks would not go on certain excursions because they would return after 4:45. I give the cruise director Kirk Detweiler the credit for this event being so popular. Enrichment - we had Kathy freaking Alexander doing enrichment: Astronaut, Space Station resident, NOAA head, incredible. Service - the crew is there to make your voyage the best you can have. That's all there is to it. Any crewmember will do any thing you ask. The second time they see you they will know your name, and if you've given any preferences to any other crewmember, they'll know about that, too. Excursions - generally excellent, although we did find it amusing that they did send us to a French restaurant for lunch in Kushiro, Japan. Children - no, I saw two children and only saw them once on the entire trip. Would I go again? I've already booked the E->W version of this in September (my birthday and retirement day.) Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Japan, 6 sea days and Alaska : a great intinerary for us . Ship is in very good condition, no complaints. I read somewhere on the CC forum about the not yet upgraded bathrooms in some cabins on the Dolphin deck. We had a cabin with a ... Read More
Japan, 6 sea days and Alaska : a great intinerary for us . Ship is in very good condition, no complaints. I read somewhere on the CC forum about the not yet upgraded bathrooms in some cabins on the Dolphin deck. We had a cabin with a non upgraded bathroom. It was nothing like the post on the froum which described it at as 70's motel room style. Maybe a bit outdated ,but clean and in perfect working order, so why complain about it ? The whole ships looks good, painted, clean carpets etc. Too bad there is no librarian anymore, the place used to be in a better shape with books and games returnted to the right shelves, it was a bit messy now. Food in MDR as well as Lido was varied and good. Service still same HAL style that we like, I heard some complaints about the speedm, but we don't mind not having the main course right after the appetizer. In general a dinner took about an hour, so pretty normal. Entertainment was surprisingly good and varied: a great band called Savannah Jack, a capella singers The Alleycats , a comedian and a ventriloquist were outstanding ! Best so far on the 10 th HAL cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
My travel partner has a son living in Japan and this seemed a good way to visit Japan and come home easily. What a great decision that was. This was a well done cruise with three lecturers discussing the Japanese culture and as we ... Read More
My travel partner has a son living in Japan and this seemed a good way to visit Japan and come home easily. What a great decision that was. This was a well done cruise with three lecturers discussing the Japanese culture and as we crossed the ocean the topic changed to first Nations people. We also had lectures on the "One Ocean" and physics, which left us all with something to think about. There were navigation lectures and many other things to do on this ship. The Volendam is a smaller older ship so people looking for lots to do and big flashy ships would not want to choose this one. But, if personal attention and well done dining appeal then this is the ship for you. There were 1360 passengers and 1000 of them were returning guests. We were served by 598 crew. This was an older crowd but very well traveled and very interesting. Different ships and cruise lines for different people and so this would not appeal to everyone. There were very few children on board so there was a great sense of peace and quiet. Food was excellent. The shows at night were wonderful and we often left the show lounge chuckling to ourselves. A really great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Returned yesterday from a Tokyo to Honolulu segment on Symphony. Overall, would rate this ship and the crew as excellent. We chose this cruise for a couple of reasons. First, we love sea days and it doesn't get any better than ... Read More
Returned yesterday from a Tokyo to Honolulu segment on Symphony. Overall, would rate this ship and the crew as excellent. We chose this cruise for a couple of reasons. First, we love sea days and it doesn't get any better than this. Second, we live in Honolulu and wanted the opportunity to leave the ship and be home in 10 minutes by cab. We have previously cruised on Silversea and Seabourn. I would give the Symphony a slight edge. It is a larger ship with more dining options and much better entertainment. Also, I found the crew to be a bit warmer and made us feel more comfortable. We opted for Dining by Reservation. It worked out for us very well. Found a table we liked with a great waiter. I would rate the food a little below Seabourn but not my much. The alternative dining options were very pleasant. Al-in-all a terrific cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017

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