* We began our cruise in wonderful City of Hong Kong where we spent 4 wonderful days before our cruise. There was plenty to see and do with my family of three and 4 other couple making up a party of eleven. We undertook the get on get off ... Read More
* We began our cruise in wonderful City of Hong Kong where we spent 4 wonderful days before our cruise. There was plenty to see and do with my family of three and 4 other couple making up a party of eleven. We undertook the get on get off bus tours around the city which took us to most parts of Hong Kong and out to the small and quaint village of Russell. Disneyland, the Peak, shopping, riding the Tram to the Peak and sites and atmosphere of the ladies and temple street markets will stay in our memories for a lifetime.
*We looked forward to day 4 when we were to Board Voyager of the Seas for Two cruises which were from Hong Kong to Singapore and Singapore to Sydney.
*Check in- It took us nearly an hour and a half to get from the motel to the check in at the Ship - we could see the ship across the harbour from our motel (Which was less than 500 meters away) so we assumed that it would take us no time at all to get to our ship. How wrong were we. Although we were close we did not expect the long wait in traffic to get into the terminal. It was so bad and it cost us around $90 for the taxi fare from our Motel to the terminal. If we had a row boat or a raft to put our luggage on we could have swam to the ship in a quarter of the time it took us to get through all the traffic delays to the terminal. The area around the terminal is so congested with roadwork's and traffic all going to one area. Didn't help having two large ships being at the one terminal. (Mariner of the seas was also at the terminal) so you had over 7000 people trying to get to one area to board two ships, Our taxi driver kept apologising for the length of time but it was not his fault as everyone was in the same predicament trying to get to the terminal.
* Check-in at the terminal was ridiculous, the line up was so long and it took ages to get to the check-in counter. Once we got there we were told that we needed a photocopy of our passports so RCI took our passports to make photocopies and then we got back in line. This same episode was happening to most people who were boarding the ship, not just us. Maybe RCI should advise travel agents of this requirement so passengers take copies of their passports as they are required at check in.
* Once we proceeded to board our passports were taken from us at the entry onto the ship. We thought this strange as this has never before happened to any of our group nor a lot of other people we spoke that your passports are taken from you. They were not returned till we got Singapore. Our Passports were again taken from us when we continued on our second cruise from Singapore to Sydney. We got them back the day before we arrived in Darwin as Australian immigration were on board the ship and processed our arrival into Australia.
* We had dinner the first night in the Sapphire Dining Room (my time dining). There wasn't enough staff in the dining room so they brought staff up from the Windjammer restaurant who were not trained properly to serve guests. The table service was really bad and meals were being mixed up. As we were a large party of 11 people they provided our group with one table which was good but the waiters did not know how to take orders for drinks and meals properly. We had arranged to eat every night at 6.30 pm so we were concerned if we had done the right thing. We were swapping meals with our friends and having to eat meals we had not ordered so everyone could eat together. We ordered drinks and if they didn't have what you ordered, they just replaced them with something totally different, without asking us first. So we ended up with all these opened drinks on the table that no-one had ordered. We were not charged for them but you don't assume someone will drink something completely different to what you ordered. After that night (after complaining) they replaced the wait staff that looked after us and the new waiters who had been on the ship for a long time were extremely professional with the service of both food and alcohol.
We also went to Italian Restaurant one night for our wedding anniversary, Food was nice but nothing special. We had a great laugh listen to a group of oldies who travel quite frequently about their travels and experiences over many years.
We also ate at Johnny rockets one lunch time and food was also Ok and plenty of it. We walked away a full as boots eating Greasy Hotdogs, burgers and Fries but the atmosphere was good and we had a number of laughs and sing along with the staff.
* Guest Services - The guest services line up and wait time was ridiculous and there staff were very unhelpful. - If you were making enquiries or seeking information you had to stand in queue at times for up to 2 hours with many other passengers to try and source information. Many of the guest standing in line were missing out seeing some of the night activities and shows. I learnt to get up early and go down to guest services at 6.00am in the morning so that he could avoid the queues which formed everyday after about 8.00 am and would be there all day till approximately 11.00 pm. After a few days they had someone walking up and down the line trying to triage some of the questions that needed to be asked at guest services. Quite often though they could not answer a question and write down your question and advise you they would call you back and let you know the answer. This never happened and was quite disappointing after spending so long in the lines not to get a response. Shore excursions was also poor hence why we did not take a lot of tours. We asked about a tour in Singapore and placed on wait list. We were asked to come back several times and no one was able to advise us if we weer on the tour or not. Finally at 6.00 am on the morning of the tour we were told they did not believe there were any spots so we organised our own tour into the city to find out later there were spots available. I questioned the original staff member two days later when we had left Singapore as to why he had not got back to us and he simply said he forgot and was to bust which I don't believe shows good customer service. We were annoyed as we wasted all this time and Singapore was great place and we would have loved to seen more of it.
* The shower recess in our room flooded for the first couple of days.. We did report it we assume that it was fixed as it stopped but we were not notified. Again I had to stand in line for quite some time to report this. Some of the things were trivial which could have been sorted out without very easily. Like a lot of people just needed a hole pinched in there Sea Pass card so they could attach it to a Lanyard. Why not supply a hole in the card to start with or provide a hole punch at the counter for people to use. I watched one day as a guy in front of me who stood with me for 1.5 hours to get his sea Pass card . He finally got near the front of the line and someone from RCI asked if any one else was in line to get there sea card punched where approximately 20 other people had the same issue all standing in the queue which reduced the line p by about 20 people for such a little thing.
* The first port of call was Sanya - what an absolute nightmare. We had to pay $25 for the Visa (each) - this was automatically deducted from your account unless you specifically went to guest services and told them that you were not going into port. I tried to fine out about this before I left and RCI told my travel agent that it was required before boarded. As we travelling with a number of other people who used another travel agent they were told a different story that we could get them on the ship. I spoke to other passengers on the ship and they were given the same advise as my family and got there visa which they paid hundreds of dollars for to find out they could have purchased them on the ship for $25.
No information was provided on the process for getting off the boat. When information was delivered it was different, depending on which member of staff you spoke to. Everyone ended up going to the La Scalia Theatre and were simply told to take a seat - no further information was provided at that stage. We sat in the theatre for about an hour and one of the other guests told us that we needed to line up and get a ticket to get off the Ship, which we did and this took about a hour. We had our tickets to get off the ship but we then had to take a seat and wait again until our number was called and we could then disembark. We then walked down a number of gangways in one continuous line which took approximately 30 minutes. It felt as though we were cattle be herded. Chinese Military stood around and it felt quite uncomfortable getting off the ship. So once we all lined up and got off the ship we were transported to immigration on a shuttle bus where we were processed. We the had to get back on another bus to get transported into Sanya. We sat on this bus in the heat in the car park for around 3/4 hour waiting, not being told anything at all. Then four of our friends including my son decided enough was enough and got off the bus because they were sick of waiting around and could not see any point going into Sanya as most of the day had gone, and returned to the Voyager. The rest of us waiting another 20 mins and we finally left the car park and were driven to an area of Sanya near the beach. We got to the beach expecting to be able to swim at the beach only to find that we were not allowed to swim as the beach was dangerous due to the undertow. We were also told that the bus would come back every hour on the hour and take passengers back to the ship, however at the last minute when we were dropped off the bus driver said he was instructed not to leave the area until 7.45 pm. So we were stuck there, nothing to do, nothing to see - we sat on some steps in front of a motel with some other passengers discussing the debacle of Sanya and basically just had to wait there until the bus driver was ready to go. In the end were able find a ready teller to get some money out and catch taxi's back to the Ship. But the taxi could only take us to the end of the shipping terminal where we then had to pay to catch a shuttle back to the Ship. By this time is was around 7.00 pm. There was not one person that we spoke to who was happy with the experience they had in Sanya. Some Guest/passengers that had paid for shore excursions missed them due to the time it took to get off the boat and get processed through Chinese immigration. They were afforded a refund but were extremely upset at the whole process as they booked the shore excursions in good faith to get priority to disembark..
*The next port of call was Nha Trang Vietnam - again we had the excessive time to wait to get off the ship by tender boats. You were told to get tender tickets when you were ready to leave. We had breakfast at 8.30 and went and got tickets around 9.15 am to get off, It took till around 11.00 am to get off the ship due to the turnaround times of the tenders. If you had a shore excursion booked through RCI you got priority than someone wanting to explore the City on there own. Once we got into Port We Hired mini van and driver for our group of 11 to drive around and have a look at some of the sites. This was reasonably in expensive and we paid only $18 US dollars per person to see most of the sites that other passengers that booked through RCI paid a lot more to see the same sites. When we came back we were lucky that the line up to get back on the Ship was only short, We had about a 100 people in front of us in the line but as we got to the front of the line more people came back and the Queue ended being around 500 m long with Passengers standing in the hot sun for up two hours with no shade. People were getting sick because of the extreme heat with no shade to stand under and several children and elderly people got heat stroke standing in the boiling heat with some children vomiting due to excessive heat.
* Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam - Two days stopover- the time to get off the Ship wasn't as bad this time as we could just walk off the boat when we were ready to leave, however, you had to catch a shuttle bus from the ship to the end of the pier and then walked 200 m up to the highway where there were taxis and some tour operators waiting on the highway to transport you into the City. Once we were there we hired a minivan with a driver who was going to take us in to Ho Chi Minh but we weren't aware that it would take us around 2 hours to get to Ho Chi Minh City from the boat till the guide explained this to us. This was not relayed to us on the ship also. This meant that we lost nearly 4 hours of sight seeing the first day travelling to and from Ho Chi Minh City and the ship. We saw some wonderful sites with the War museum, shopping, the Lacquer works and numerous temples the highlights. The second day we were in Ho Chi Minh we stayed on the ship as we didn't think it was worth the 4 hour round trip to go back in again. Passengers should be made aware of the amount of time it takes to get into the City - and how far away the ships docks. The Visa for Vietnam was only $6 not $50 as quoted by Royal Caribbean before we left for the cruise. it was a shame as the group really wanted to do a river cruise down the Saigon river on the second day and possibly visit the tunnels but as the boat was going to leave approximately 5.00 pm we did not have the time to undertake these trips.
*Singapore - what a great City - At this Port our Group separated and the 4 Couple who joined us on the first cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore left the Ship to spend 3 days visiting Singapore before flying back to Australia. As the rest of the group took off to check in to there motel my wife and son and I took a hop on hop off bus tour and looked at many of the landmarks around the City of Singapore. As we had limited time and had to be back on board by 4.00 pm we did not to explore much of the City but will return one day to spend more time in the City. Highlights was the Large Ferris wheel that looked over much of the city, the botanical gardens, the large shopping centres.
* Darwin - Good to be back in Australia - We were able to catch up on News and chat with some family as we had mobile service. We took a shore excursion in Darwin and went and seen the Jumping crocodiles. We were extremely lucky as we a number of crocodiles on our tours that swam out to the boat to be fed and got some very good shots of some large male crocodiles. The tour guide and bus driver were great and very informative. Again more time would have been great to look around Darwin itself as the Adelaide River where the Crocodiles are is approximately 80 km away and by the time you travel out and back did not allow time to explore the rest of the city before the ship departed.
* Port Douglas - We have been here before and decided to do our own thing. We were annoyed though it took us till nearly 1.00 pm before we could get on shore waiting for tender boats. By the time we had some lunch and walked around a few of the shops we then had to get on board to the tender again to get back out to the ship. A lot of people we complaining about the length of time it took to get off. With many of the guest from overseas it was shame they could not see a lot of Port Douglas and it did not present a good picture for Australian Tourism even though the Ship is American owned with people waiting hours to get on and off the ship.
* Cairns - Again we tendered out at Yorkey Knob. We did a shore excursion as it was cheaper to do this then to simply get the tender boat in and the shuttle to Cairns which you had to pay for. We at least got a trip up to Karunda Markets and then to the botanical gardens and into Cairns where we had a nice lunch near the promenade are in Cairns, As we have been to Cairns before and seen most of the sites there was not much more that we wanted o look at.
*Airley Beach - We visited here 2 years ago for 10 days so we knew all about Airley Beach. We contemplated whether to stay on board or go in given the poor tendering procedures that we had experienced. We opted to go in around lunch time and have a seafood lunch which was exceptional in a restaurant near the street markets. It turned out to be great day and we caught up on some supplies at the Woollies' supermarket whilst we were in town.
*Brisbane - We caught a with some friends who had recently moved to Brisbane. They picked my family and I up from the boat and dropped us back just before departure. I think we were one of the last to get back on the ship. We had a great time catching up and exploring parts of the City with them and are planning a trip back to Brisbane next year for a bit longer Stay. Our Son also picked up some supplies for Halloween night which was being featured on the boat that night.
* There were minimal amount activities and shows on during the first part of the cruise (compared to the Singapore to Sydney cruise). After talking to some of the Cruise Director's staff we were told that they had only a third of their staff on board for this cruise so they were not able to do as much as they would normally do. More crew came on board in Singapore which allowed the activities staff to have a rest and be able to spread themselves across the ship more evenly to undertake more activities. Some of the shows were quite good and others were appalling. The Activities staff were great with our son becoming great mates with Grace and Linda and the sports activities guys like Ippy (who was on the Rhapsody of the Seas when we cruised three years earlier).
* We were also told that the first cruise was a transitional cruise and there were a large number of new staff on board and apparently the first time that this cruise had been organised. We were not advised of this and may have not undertaken this leg if we had known this.
* When we got into Singapore we got a new Captain and he was amazing - so friendly and outgoing. He made an effort to come on deck nearly every day and introduce himself to passengers. Couldn't even tell you what the Captain looked like on the first cruise as we never seen him.
* The standard of food in Main Dining room was not up to scratch compared to the previous cruise we had been on before some three years ago on Rhapsody of the seas. It seem to be repeated, was quite often cold, unappealing and not the variety. The Windjammer had plenty choose from but it was quite often hard to fond a table at breakfast and Lunchtime. A lot of the food was bland but as there was a lot to choose from you could quite often find something that was ok. We even ate here at night time on some occasions as we found the Main dining room was not that appealing and having to get dressed up to go there become a chore some nights when you just wanted to relax and unwind.
* We had mix ups with our account numerous times - being overcharged or incorrect amounts being put on our account, being charged for things we didn't purchase so it meant standing in lines at Guest services to sought out.
* Smoking was allowed in the Casino which was in the middle of the ship on the first leg of the tour from Hong Kong to Singapore and the smoke filtered into the bars and promenade area. Although I don't have a issue with people smoking I do have a issue when it filters into areas where other people are trying to get away from it. Once we got to Singapore smoking was not allowed in the Casino which made the trip more pleasant and most people agreed that the areas around the Casino were more pleasant to sit in and enjoy..
* Generally staff were not very experienced and unsure about what they had to do - this was probably because they were new to the Ship and didn't have enough trained staff to assist. Not saying all staff were but when you want information you expect people to know or least find out and get back to you with a response. Activities people were great and always tried to get people involved in activities.
* We asked to have a fold out bed (like a fold out lounge) in room but we got a Pullman bed which comes down from the ceiling - which our son who is 15 and 6 foot 2 didn't fit in and found it hard to sleep at night. Because of this we all took turns at having a uncomfortable night sleep clambering up onto the bunk style bed above the main bed with a rickety old ladder. We looked at the brochures it showed pull out type beds and when we asked for this this is what we expected as we had this on the previous cruise and instructed not to have the bed that came down from the ceiling. I had a recent knee replacement so it was pretty hard for me to get into the bunk beds some nights.
* I tried many times to find out about getting an upgrade to another room but no one ever got back to me about it. When he complained about the bed he was told that this was all there was yet in illustrations we have seen in brochures it shows that the you can get a sofa type bed for extra guest sleeping in the same room.
* This also happened with a shore excursion we tried to get onto in Singapore, we were put on a wait list and told that they would notify us by 8.00 pm the night before we got into Singapore. We didn't hear back from them so we went to guest services at 11.00 pm to ask and no one could help us, told us to come back at 5.30 the next morning to see if we were on the excursion. When Scott went back down early the next morning, they told us that we weren't booked in so we had to try and organise to get into Singapore on our own. We were on the waitlist for 2 days. We did speak to the shore excursions staff member the next day and asked him what happened, he said he got busy and forgot to contact us.
* We seem spend most of our time in queues or trying to source information about different things - inexperienced staff and lack of knowledge about the Ship processes were a big part of the problem.
We felt that we let our friends down because of the bad experience they had with Royal Caribbean - we were the ones who said how good Royal Caribbean was from previous cruise experience we had with them. So our friends won't be travelling on another Royal Caribbean Cruise any time in the future, they much preferred P&O.
Hong Kong, Singapore, Darwin and the other Australian ports were all great - except for the tendering process. We would love to go back to some of these places again one day especially Singapore which we only saw briefly.
Some of the activities people on both cruises were really good, but there was so much more to do on the second cruise.
Overall on both cruises the other passengers were great and were met some very interesting and great people..
The amount of money we spent on the trip, we felt the first part of the cruise was a let down and we were just really disappointed in the whole cruise due to the early problems and we will need to look more closely next time we travel which hope will be next year.
The cabin states person that we had was excellent as was some of the bar staff as well that we become friendly with.
Outdoor activities great, rock wall, flow rider, ice skating show, mini golf course, table tennis were great.
Some great bars with Schooner Bar and Tavern our favourites and trivia was great with seats taken up eagerly everyday by passengers wanting to play.
Our son had a good time as he mixed with many of the staff and some of the other passengers his own age group especially on the second cruise.
Royal Caribbean really need to pick their game up if they are to continue to get return customers back on their Ships. Many passengers that we spoke to who made written and verbal complaints on board were offered compensation for the poor delivery of service that they received during the course of the cruise. Many people said that they would never again travel with Royal Caribbean, even some passengers who were Crown and Anchor members said that it was the worse cruise they had ever been on.
We are also Crown and anchor members and felt that this overall cruise experience was not up to the expectation that we received on our previous cruise we had some three years ago with Rhapsody of the seas.
We thought that it would be beneficial to provide you with some feedback about our experiences - particularly on the first cruise.
We enjoy cruising but we will be looking more closely at other providers to see what they have to offer before going directly with Royal Caribbean, as we know the rest of the other people that came with us will not go with Royal Caribbean again due to the service and the product that they received. Read Less