5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Our China trip started in Beijing and ended in Shanghai, touring the sites in Beijing from the Forbidden City, Tienanmen square, The Great Wall etc. was amazing. On to Xian to see the Terracotta Warriors a dream come true, something I had ... Read More
Our China trip started in Beijing and ended in Shanghai, touring the sites in Beijing from the Forbidden City, Tienanmen square, The Great Wall etc. was amazing. On to Xian to see the Terracotta Warriors a dream come true, something I had wanted to see since first reading about them. We boarded the cruise ship in Chongquing. Facilities on board were very comfortable, the personnel professional and friendly. Sites on route interesting and wonderful views especially in the Three Gorges area. The food was excellent, well prepared and plenty of variety of both Chinese and Western fare. Our guide throughout - Joshua - from meeting the 'plane in Beijing to seeing us through security in Shanghai was delightful. Very knowledgeable and fun. He helped us understand Chinese culture, and history and was always careful for our safety and well being. Kudos to him for a job excellently done. This trip was a gift to ourselves for our 50th wedding anniversary and was everything we had hoped for and more, however more 'physical' than anticipated. This should be made clear in your brochures. We may have come better prepared for all the walking etc. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We joined the Mariner of the Seas in Taijing and the queues were awful, there was no organisation or control, it was complete and utter chaos. There was rumours that half of its staff had walked out on RCC including Senior Management.My ... Read More
We joined the Mariner of the Seas in Taijing and the queues were awful, there was no organisation or control, it was complete and utter chaos. There was rumours that half of its staff had walked out on RCC including Senior Management.My case with all my medicnes had been confiscated by RCC because it had 2 bottles of "contraband" which caused great distress but was released after one god almighty row. RCC were citing some International Law which made this legal (in their own made up law minds) but no such law exists.The reality was the confiscation of alcohol was to ensure sales on board of their very expensive booze packages which nearly all passengers boycotted. Passengers also boycotted a very hefty $20 per day wifi package . All these packages had to be purchased for the entire length of the cruise, even for my wife who didnt drink. The shortage of staff and shortages of ice cream, various types of beers at $5 a bottle and numerous other food shortages. This was more evident on board with queues for customer services always very lengthy and an average wait of 2-3 hours to be attended to. Excursions were very expensive and I would recommend anyone to book and plan their own.Also I complained that I had prepaid gratuities when booking only to find that because I boycotted their booze packages that I was charged 18.5% extra on all my on board purchases. Overall impression was of a business trying every trick on the book to get into the wallets of its customers. The food was generally poor with very small portions and the Windjammer was frequently a free for all. Again food was poor and catered for the Asian market. RCC also held onto our passports for the entire cruise and again massive queues for getting on and of the boat, again poor organisation and lack of staff who were not trained on what to do. We were on cabin 6912 which was good , clean but again queues and waiting for the on board lifts seemed to be a everyday theme.But I did get the impression thatmy cabin attendant was stalking me always shouting Hello Mr Bob...... The entrainment was patchy some excellent shows like the Aussie Beatles and juggling and other singers , but it very Butlins and Jamie always hyping how good it was . The Ice Show was excellent one of the very rare 10/10 items. As for other sideline trivia quizs etc poor, very poor with prizes fir the winners a RCC keyring.Also the lovely presenter from Malaysia who was good seemed to have disappeared after Japan and was replaced with Bonnie a Chinese girl who barely spoke English . We never did find out what happened her , last sightings of her was helping a blow op penguin get inflated while wearing a Pinoccanio nose. Overall the cruise was Poor and badly managed by RCC. Another real concern is , did RCC sail without its complete crew from China as the muster was chaotic and seemed to take forever with some passengers having to leave the muster and sit down in the lounges. Would I travel with RCC again ..a definite NO and this seemed to be the genreral consensus. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Please think very carefully before booking this cruise. This was our first ever cruise and all I can say is so very disappointed. As a part of our cruise we were given a tour before embarking the cruise to the forbidden city,and the Great ... Read More
Please think very carefully before booking this cruise. This was our first ever cruise and all I can say is so very disappointed. As a part of our cruise we were given a tour before embarking the cruise to the forbidden city,and the Great Wall of china. Yes fantastic experience seeing these places but being given the hard sell at a jade factory we were taken to then on route back to the hotel we were told we were being taken to a herbal Doctor. When all the coach refused we were taken against our will and locked on the coach. We were told they would take us back to the hotel if we payed 30 yuan each to the company. Eventually we escaped the coach feeling a little frightened. Embarking the ship was farcical, people pushing and shoving no organization. Cabin was clean but had a funny smell. We reported this and nothing was ever done. Cabin boy very very good !!!! Fine dining !!!! NOT. !!!! Food served cold and poor quality, catering for the Chinese, repetitive menu and service was very poor, waiting 30/40 minutes between courses. Complaint made nothing done. Entertainment was rubbish, butlins not cruise ship. Constantly ping pong over the load speaker at a ridiculous high sound offering bingo it quiz. But to be honest it was very hard to understand them. Most staff tried but very broken English and the cruise entertainment director and Bonnie his double act were a pain. Couldn't sit round the pool some days for the shouting or her over the microphone speaking very poor English. Disaster!!!!!!! Windjammer poor was always a fight to the death for food and catering for the Chinese on board. Only holiday I have had were I have lost weight. !!!! My dress was stolen from around the pool area, I reported this to guest services, they said they would get back to me, hahahaa. No they didn't, what a surprise. Jacuzzis made awful noises going through cleaning process making it very hard to have a conversation with anyone unless they were on your knee. Tours with Royal Caribbean are a rip off and be careful as once you on the coach they try and take you somewhere else to hard sell you more stuff. !!!!! Thanks for reading. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We are first time cruisers on this type of boat, having done European river cruises and small boat cruising in Prince William Sound, Alaska. It is true the boarding experience in Tianjin was an absolute shambles. No information, queues ... Read More
We are first time cruisers on this type of boat, having done European river cruises and small boat cruising in Prince William Sound, Alaska. It is true the boarding experience in Tianjin was an absolute shambles. No information, queues going in every direction, everybody there at the one time as travel from Beijing was not co-ordinated. A really bad impression much commented on by regular cruise folk. Our disembarkation in Singapore was little better as we had contracted RCI to transport us to Changi Airport. Once in the terminal they left us for dead. Critical question , would we do another cruise, Only if it was to a different destination as we are not cruisers who love sea days, want to encourage skin cancers by becoming walruses by the pool or even refrigerate in the library or 'card room'. We had a D1 cabin 7356 which was quite adequate and serviced twice daily by Fabian with great courtesy and care. Our meals in the L3 Dining Room were pleasantly served by Harold and Tiu Lin, always ready with appropriate drinks and a friendly approach. Food quality was passable but not anything exciting. On one night the steak was not served to the second sitting! Prawns were always watery. Only did one formal night as our table companions deserted us. The alternatives, the Windjammer food hall crowded often and of poor quality (except the fries) or the paid venues were not that swish. We paid $105 US extra for half cooked lobster of good size on our only venture. We had bought the Ultimate Drinks Package as the only means to cover our wants. Converting US to AUD plus the 18.5% loading allowed the flexibility to cover anything we drank, within reason. Ellingtons or the Wig and Gavel were regular haunts. Wifi is a disaster, pricey and only worked on Deck 5, again at the Wig and Gavel. This was only established after more than one approach to Guest Services. Entertainment, liked the Ice Show. Watched one singer who was just a 'belter'. We chose half day tours, and were reasonably satisfied with our Asian sampler. It is in each individual's choice whether private touring is cheaper and more satisfying. To summarise, you make the most of what you get in life; our adventure on the Mariner had many good moments but as many when we felt let down. Overall it was a great experience but not something that would become habitual!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
This was my first cruise ever, after many years of my sisters trying to convince me they were brill.well not the case on r/c.never again. It started at the Beijing port with very long queues, so you think oh well just a queue, ,,,,, ... Read More
This was my first cruise ever, after many years of my sisters trying to convince me they were brill.well not the case on r/c.never again. It started at the Beijing port with very long queues, so you think oh well just a queue, ,,,,, But those queues continued right throughout the cruise and I'm talking about a couple of hours sometimes, with lot of frustration and arguing between passengers,,,, not good at all, even at reception the people who we're queuing with complaints stood for ages talking about there complaints and recurring problems. The entertainment was shocking',,,, you could see better at butlins, it was so embarrassing watching the theatre empty. There were about 2 good shows, we expected to be entertained not having to walk around the ship looking for seats in other bars which were full up. ( dressed up and no we're to go). But I have to say the ice show was fab. The food!!!!! Well that was shocking in the windjammer, no presention at all, it was presented worse than a car very and just in the same way,food dumped in stainless steel bowls,,,,and plastic plates what's that about, but the food was horrible, not a lot on for British. Also they kept running out of things like English tea bags, jam and cream for coffee also wine and cans of beer. I was looking forward to high tea in the afternoon which my sister said was always yummy on cruises, well not on this one, there was no such thing, oh there was sandwiches on deck 5 all day every day, but they never changed. The fine dinning was ok to me,but I am told that was not as it should have been. But the staff we had were fab. Oh there are loads of things I have not mentioned but I have to tell you about the queue for the free shuttle bus out of busan back to ship, well we stood over an hr and it was red hot no cover and the queue kept getting parted by cars crossing the pavement going into hotels, and the people kept fighting with each other, well when a bus did come a car had parked in its place so it was like a stamped (which would have happened any way cause people were so hot and fed up)people parted from who ever they were with and 2 young girls trying to control the queue.(never). It was just a shambles. This was my most expensive holiday ever, and I think we should all be compensated. A very disappointed passenger Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
This was our very first cruise and it was absolutely amazing. We were looked after so well from the minute we were picked up at the airport until the minute they left us at the other end of our holiday. Our tour guide was Joshua and he ... Read More
This was our very first cruise and it was absolutely amazing. We were looked after so well from the minute we were picked up at the airport until the minute they left us at the other end of our holiday. Our tour guide was Joshua and he was so knowledgeable. The entertainment on board ship was really good and the service we received was excellent. The staff even managed to remember our names! All of the excursions were amazing especially the Terracotta Army, which was my personal favourite. We are now saving hard for our next trip with Viking. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
This was my first Viking River Cruise and it was outstanding. I took this trip alone with no expectations and was pleased to have the time of my life. I enjoyed every minute of the trip and especially meeting some very nice people. That ... Read More
This was my first Viking River Cruise and it was outstanding. I took this trip alone with no expectations and was pleased to have the time of my life. I enjoyed every minute of the trip and especially meeting some very nice people. That is part of traveling. I was pleased that the trip was very well planned by Viking. The hotel accommodations were perfect and our tour guide Kobe was excellent. He made the trip so much fun and I know we learned a lot about China from Beijing to Shanghai. Service on board the ship was very good and the young people who were serving us were very friendly and helpful as was my cabin attendant. All of the staff aboard the ship were very good and very helpful. The shore excursions were well planned and very enjoyable and quite a learning experience. The food was very good as was presentation. The choices were amazing. The entertainment was beyond good it was excellent. Seeing the young servers perform was very special and they did a great job. I was so pleased to attend the Peking Opera, The Tang Dynasty Dinner and Show (I bought a DVD of the Tang Dynasty performance so I can always enjoy this great show), the Shanghai Museum and Bell performance and the Acrobat Show. I could go on and on - I have recommended this trip to friends and family. I look forward to my upcoming Viking River Cruise on the Elbe in May 2016. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
My wife and I have rececently returned from a 12 night cruise around Japan embarking from Tianjin in China. This was our first cruise and we did all the research and read the all reviews about this, and other big ships, along with Asian ... Read More
My wife and I have rececently returned from a 12 night cruise around Japan embarking from Tianjin in China. This was our first cruise and we did all the research and read the all reviews about this, and other big ships, along with Asian Cruising pros and cons. Before heading off we were excited and thought we were prepared for all we might encounter on this cruise. How wrong we were. Embarkation at Tianjin was realative seamless and we were on board and in our cabin by 1.00pm. Our Balcony Suite was spacious and well maintained for its age. Our cabin attendant Rodger was awsome. Invisible in his service but always available if we needed him, mainly for advice. Our first two sailing days were spent aquainting ouselves with the ship and its facilities and we were pleasantly surprised that the recreation facilities were mostly uncrowded. We chose My Time dining and our first meal in the dining room was below our expectations. Advertised options were not available and food quality was average at best. The next night we tried the Windjammer, but trying to find a seat was difficult and remained so for the remainder of the cruise. We had four more meals in the Dining Room (including formal nights) which did not improve with most of our meals served either cold, or dried out from spending an excessive amount of time under the heat lamps. Wait staff in the dining room were mostly overbearing in their attempts to seek our favour and upsell us for drinks. For docked days, we ate lunch at traditional Japanese restaurants so as not to rely on the ship for dinner. Often we left the dining room hungry and went to Johhny Rockets for a burger, or Cafe Promenade for a snack afterwards. Organisation at ports of call was non existant (unless your were booked on an RCCL Tour) . We requested exact port details from RCCL so we could plan to self explore. We docked at different ports in Toyama & Tokyo. The queues for Customs clearance, Guest Relations and Disembarkation were lenghty (often over an hour standing) as passengers largely disregarded crew instructions. Port transport options in Muroran and Busan were sadly lacking resulting in limited available time to explore these ports. The one shore excursion we did book with RCCL to Noribetsu Historical Village was overbooked, overcrowded and overpriced. Professional entertainment was average. Entertainment and shows by the crew singers and musicians was far better. Disembarkation at Tianjin at the end of the cruise was also chaotic. We waited for 2 hours at our designated muster point only to find out that the delays were not caused by customs clearance as advised by the crew, but again by wayward passengers disregarding crew instructions. Then a further 1 hour wait standing in a queue on deck to disembark. Our port transfer was subsequently 3 hours late. Numerous seasoned cruisers advised as not to be disillusioned by our experience on this cruise as it was not representative of a normal cruising experience. We are beginning to explore another cruise option for the future, but I don't think it will be on another large ship or with this cruise line, and certainly another experience like this will turn us off spending our holiday dollars on cruising in future. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
We have just returned from the Apr. 4th Imperial Jewels in China. Wow. Before any other comments count - had hotels, food, sites all been awful, one element would have made it memorable anyway. Jin. He was our tour escort. He ... Read More
We have just returned from the Apr. 4th Imperial Jewels in China. Wow. Before any other comments count - had hotels, food, sites all been awful, one element would have made it memorable anyway. Jin. He was our tour escort. He endeared himself to us all. He not only had us laughing so often, always had our backs and filled our needs, seamlessly orchestrated all trip elements, but ALSO gave a 4 credit graduate course in the politics, history and economic development of China. Amazing. I actually feel truly sad each time I see his big full-faced squinting eyed smile in my mind's eye, when I realize I'll probably never see him again. He was the trip. Once beyond that, the highlights included a fabulous Ritz Carton in Beijing. Chef Nathan Brown made everyone so at ease and welcome with his constant presence in the lobby and dining room. The food and rooms were simply exceptional - along with the service of the restaurant wait staff. Top notch. The breakfasts and one buffet dinner were more than 5 star! Total treat. Also the trip sites (Wow, thanks Viking for the amazing 11 of 12 days of blue clear skies - we lucked out!!) were just as amazing as one might expect of China. The Great Wall, the Forbidden City - all the nationals visiting during grave sweeping - and being so sweet toward 'foreigners' - amazing. The Sacred Walk - OK, something minor after lunch. We didn't have a great Summer Palace tour - cold, crowded, and we didn't see a lot of it, not sure why. Then, the rickshaw, home visit, tea ceremony - all fantastic, especially with Jin's support. The 3 inter China flights were all on time and very nice, all airports clean and well run. Lunch boxes were always adequate, the Ritz one terrific, the next 2 OK, but good effort and decent. The Hilton in Xi'an was nice, totally comfortable. The Tang Dynasty Show was a winner, food and entertainment. The Warriors don't need our plaudits. Amazing, and local guide, Yale, was terrific. The time on the Emerald was perfect, beginning to end. The staff is above anything I can think of to say - every wait staff, room attendant - everyone was so sweet and there to make us happy. wow. The food was terrific. The ship is lovely, our cabin, 430, very nice. We loved the gorges, locks, learning to play Mahjong with Jin, carving vegetables, eating 1,000 yr old eggs Winking smile emoticon. The on-board tailor staff is incredible. Table service with Stan was incredible also. Also Debbie in the 5th deck lounge. It was all white glove service. The Chef is a keeper. Keep him. The school visit was my highlight - as a teacher I was delighted. Good for you for your sponsorship. Wonderful for me and my students to interact through postcards I brought and pictures I took away. Wuhan bells - beyond amazing. Shanghai Ritz is very nice, just more impersonal, with high service fees in their lounge, etc. Chef Brown in Beijing told us Stephen at Shanghai did a top - notch job - we'd say Chef Brown doesn't realize he and the Beijing RC is a cut above. The Acrobatic show, with Chinese family style dinner before were both just great! The few downsides were the jade factory and silk rug factory. The Jade factory had a really nice lunch. But prices are high for shopping - a too-rare chance on the trip. The silk rug factory was a major disappointment for us - we were so looking forward to the silk factory with the silk-pulling and shopping. It's a shame it was switched out from when we booked till we went, for the carpet site. The Mongolian BBQ is OK, but not worth loosing the silk factory. There are not enough chances to shop without being in a 'factory'. The one hour allotted at the end in Shanghai by the Gardens is NOT enough. We actually found the same objects at the airport upon leaving CHEAPER than the factory places we were taken to for 'lunches'. Ah, the BIG downside - Peking Duck dinner. I haven't read one review on Cruise Critic, or talked to one friend who's taken the trip from back to 2007 who's enjoyed the dinner. You can't mass produce Peking Duck. Why not offer suggestions and help in making local reservations for those who'd like them. The Opera separated and with some subtitles appears to be doing better. Also, the dinner for those who didn't go to Peking Duck was also 'yuk'. How about group Hot Pot? Heck, your Pecking Duck price per person is higher than Da Dong - and they provide a half duck for every 2 persons. Some of your guests got only one pancake with a slim slice of duck. Totally a bad choice. Luckily, we'd read enough on Cruise Critic to avoid that. We'd also read enough to learn about Black Sesame Kitchen in Beijing, which we visited for dinner on our own our first night in China. A full review of our night there is posted on Tripadvisor.com One thing that did surprise us and MANY - was the statement on website, etc. that wine and beer were available on all lunches and dinners, - only to find out it was ONLY on the ship. Come on, honest up. Wine is only available free on the ship. Your site is misleading on this issue, and many were unhappy with that. Over all - beginning to end - it was a trip of a lifetime. Well constructed, well executed. Thank you! Our only worry is we've done Viking's best - now what? Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2013
What a fantastic experience!  Flew Heathrow - Beijing on KLM, via Amsterdam - excellent service and comfortable-ish for long haul cattle class. In Beijing, stayed at the Marriott City walls, which was lovely, although the food was poor ... Read More
What a fantastic experience!  Flew Heathrow - Beijing on KLM, via Amsterdam - excellent service and comfortable-ish for long haul cattle class. In Beijing, stayed at the Marriott City walls, which was lovely, although the food was poor value. Princess offered us several trips, which we took, as they seemed good value (I have reviewed the trips separately on Trip Advisor if you are interested.) Acrobatic show, Great Wall (foggy and cold, sadly), Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, all with great restaurants and local guides(especially the Peking Duck!. We had a 2hr drive to the port to meet the Diamond Princess.) She is beautiful and I can't fault her - service was great, public areas never crowded, shows excellent, and food good (we had anytime dining which gave us more freedom to eat where we liked)Our cabin on B deck was good (I wouldn't have liked lower decks, as they were overlooked, and not undercover from the downpours we had. Mind you, they were better for sunbathing) Catherine our steward was lovely, and when my husband said his back was stiff, she found us a comfortable topper for the mattress. We enjoyed our days at sea. Captain Bilton coped well with problems - an engine played up, a poorly crew member had to be airlifted off the ship at midnight, and Shanghai was too dangerous to dock in due to bad weather.(We had an extra day in Hong Kong instead - yippee!)The port talks by Elizabeth were excellent, and very funny Our first port of call was Busan, South Korea - beautiful city, with fantastic markets (and they don't hound you to buy either!). Nagasaki next, again beautiful and very welcoming - little children came on board to sing and dance. In Hong Kong we had to be tendered on the first day from Junk harbour, but everything was smoothly organised. Leaving Hong Kong, the ship sailed slowly through Victoria Harbour just as the 8pm laser show began - brilliant! In Vietnam, we had 2 port stops and again, we did the organised trips, which we thought were mostly good value, and more relaxed. Loved the country, very interesting -especially the CuChi tunnels, and War zone Singapore was beautiful, although we thought the Botanic Gardens trip would have been easier and a darn sight cheaper to do ourselves. Ended up in the Long Bar at Raffles. Time was wasted in Singapore due to the long immigration process. We disembarked in Bangkok (PhuMi), and did a city and temple tour on our way to the Four Seasons hotel, where we stayed for 3 nights - wonderful. Bangkok is easy to get around so we 'did it ourselves' - what a great city! In all. a fabulous experience - we have just booked for 2015 with Princess on their South America cruise (Rio to Santiago) - can't wait. The ONLY downside were the small groups of whingeing passengers who were vocal about the pettiest things (0ne woman had her passport on a string round her neck, and was reluctant to give it up, as she said she needed to know she would get home - dead or alive!), too little ice/too much, chopsticks in China and Japan - they even asked for forks!!), complained about missing out Shanghai (safety first!) and the very worst were rude and abrupt with the crew members, which is unforgiveable. Carpe Diem and stop moaning! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
Asia was our next destination after cruising/vacations to Europe/Mediterranean and Middle East. We chose Princess based on a successful Baltic cruise on the Crown Princess. We chose to use Princess Air, Princess Pre/Post ... Read More
Asia was our next destination after cruising/vacations to Europe/Mediterranean and Middle East. We chose Princess based on a successful Baltic cruise on the Crown Princess. We chose to use Princess Air, Princess Pre/Post Hotels/Tours/transfers except for and extra night on our own at the Beijing Marriott City Wall Hotel which we had to make on our own since Princess could not accommodate us with the extra pre-cruise hotel night. In retrospect, we'll go back and do independent air/hotel/tours on our next cruise. Pre-Cruise Travel: On the way to the airport from our home, the taxi driver (small women) could not get our luggage out of the trunk of her taxi. I twisted something in my right arm helping her which rendered my right arm somewhat useless as lifting anything caused discomfort for the next 25 days of the trip (What a way to start). Korean Air was an excellent airline with excellent food, service and comfort (US airlines can relearn from how Korean Air treats their passengers). Upon arrival in Beijing International Airport, we had made independent arrangements with the Beijing Marriott City Wall Hotel to send a driver to pick us up as Princess Cruises had told and written to us that our package would not include the airport-hotel pre-cruise transfer since we were arriving one day early. Not only were we greeted by a Marriott Hotel Meet/Greet limo driver in black suit, but we also saw our hand-written name on a piece of cardboard by a women in a sweater who turned out be the local travel agency Princess uses. We went with the Marriott Hotel limo driver and told the Princess rep we would not need their van (we told her what Princess had communicated with us and she apologized on behalf of Princess and left). The Beijing Marriot Hotel (City Wall location) was a relatively new hotel with excellent service staff, great food/buffet and large clean rooms. I was surprised the rooms were even larger than Marriott hotels in the US with a great view of the city (separate review on TRIPADVISOR.COM). We spent the first day on our own which in Beijing was very easy due to the location of the hotel and nice weather. The Beijing Chinese tour agency that Princess contracts with was excellent. Their organization and guides were well versed in English, very efficient, always on-time and informative/entertaining throughout the 3-day Princess tours. Our primary tour guide (a college professor) had to leave us on the first day due to a family death, but his protege stepped right in and took over. She was just as fluent in English and provided excellent commentaries mixed with some humor. The transfer to the ship went flawlessly and we were off the bus through customs/boarding in less than 10 minutes. Our luggage was waiting for us in the balcony cabin (Aloha 619). ON THE DIAMOND PRINCESS: Our balcony cabin had upgraded LCD Television and everything was what we expected including the older-type shower vinyl curtain, vacuum flush toilets, refrigerator, hairdryer, safe, plenty of storage space/shelves. We even got brand new beds and pillows that they had to unwrap as we watched from the side. Our stateroom attendant (Glennard) was there to greet us and we exchanged information on our dining schedules and requested ice schedule every night. Since the ship was built in 2004 in Nagasaki, Japan, it was still in great shape and we constantly saw crew members repainting metal/wood, floors, and hulls during the entire cruise. The carpets were a little worn, but we saw no spots/discoloration anywhere. We took daily walks on the Promenade (Deck 7) deck that went around the entire ship from the bow to the aft. The Vivaldi Dining Room staff was absolute fantastic. Our waiters Euncil and Fernando remembered our food and wine selections and made recommendations every night. The Diamond Princess Cruise Directors had an absolutely great Entertainment Director. The singers and dancers were top notch performers of a higher quality than what we had experienced on other cruises. We looked forward to the shows in the Diamond Princess Theater and we always got front-row seats. Disembarkation in Bangkok, Thailand was a different ordeal. Since we were on a Princess post-cruise hotel/tour package, for some reason Princess was not as organized and had little or no information on the itinerary. From the moment we walked off the ship, there was some confusion as our group seemed to be made of 130 to 140 people, half spoke English, 25% were Italians and 25% Brazilians/Spanish all directed to 4 buses with no indication of which bus to board. After waiting 55 minutes, we were told we would leave late as our bus had to wait for one couple who woke up late and were still in their cabin. We ultimately left without them. That threw our schedule off and we missed part of the tradition Thai folklore show at our first stop. After a long day hot, humid outdoor viewing of elephants and tropical plants in a sweltering sun, we had lunch and then started a 2.5 hour non-stop bus ride to the Shangri-La hotel in Bangkok. The hotel itself is a top-notch 5-star hotel on the river with its own boat dock. The Princess cruise passengers were directed to a ballroom for check-in where we were greeted by polite hotel staff offering water, a cool sweet ginger drink, and cool towels. It was all well organized as they gathered our passports to match up with welcome packages and hotel check-in documents. After about 75% of our bus was dispatched to their rooms, a crowd of loud, pushy and downright rude Italians and Brazilians barged into the ballroom and immediately swamped the hotel staff and ruined the tranquil atmosphere that hotel staff was trying to methodically maintain. After 45 minutes into the melee, our tour guide returned to the ballroom, saw what was going on jumped into the fray as well and started yelling at the hotel staff to get our rooms assigned. We finally got our room which we found out had a heavy smoking room which was unacceptable. Rather than go back to the ballroom, I went to the main lobby (I had noticed a number of Princess passengers returning to the ballroom complaining of wrong rooms, missing luggage, etc). The Shangri-La hotel main lobby was a sea of tranquility compared to the frenzy of the ballroom. I was greeted by the Resident Manager Marlon Hirsh who listened to our plight and immediately directed staff to get us a non-smoking room, find our luggage, and within 5 minutes we were taken care of and we settled into our non-smoking room with a great view of the river/city. The staff and service personnel of the Shangri-la Hotel are to be commended for getting everyone, including the loud, pushy, and rude passengers, processed. (See separate TRIPADVISOR.COM on Shangri-La Hotel review). The flight home went smoothly from the hotel to Bangkok Airport. We used United Airlines for the flight home with a connection in Narita (Tokyo), Japan. The (UA) airline attendants were very good but the food and entertainment program was a notch below Korean Airlines in terms of quality and selection. It was a wonderful and memorable experience, but we're glad to be home. Checked off several bucket-list sites to see and do. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
Asia was our next destination after cruising/vacations to Europe/Mediterranean and Middle East. We chose Princess based on a successful Baltic cruise on the Crown Princess. We chose to use Princess Air, Princess Pre/Post ... Read More
Asia was our next destination after cruising/vacations to Europe/Mediterranean and Middle East. We chose Princess based on a successful Baltic cruise on the Crown Princess. We chose to use Princess Air, Princess Pre/Post Hotels/Tours/transfers except for and extra night on our own at the Beijing Marriott City Wall Hotel which we had to make on our own since Princess could not accommodate us with the extra pre-cruise hotel night. In retrospect, we'll go back and do independent air/hotel/tours on our next cruise. Pre-Cruise Travel: On the way to the airport from our home, the taxi driver (small women) could not get our luggage out of the trunk of her taxi. I twisted something in my right arm helping her which rendered my right arm somewhat useless as lifting anything caused discomfort for the next 25 days of the trip (What a way to start). Korean Air was an excellent airline with excellent food, service and comfort (US airlines can relearn from how Korean Air treats their passengers). Upon arrival in Beijing International Airport, we had made independent arrangements with the Beijing Marriott City Wall Hotel to send a driver to pick us up as Princess Cruises had told and written to us that our package would not include the airport-hotel pre-cruise transfer since we were arriving one day early. Not only were we greeted by a Marriott Hotel Meet/Greet limo driver in black suit, but we also saw our hand-written name on a piece of cardboard by a women in a sweater who turned out be the local travel agency Princess uses. We went with the Marriott Hotel limo driver and told the Princess rep we would not need their van (we told her what Princess had communicated with us and she apologized on behalf of Princess and left). The Beijing Marriot Hotel (City Wall location) was a relatively new hotel with excellent service staff, great food/buffet and large clean rooms. I was surprised the rooms were even larger than Marriott hotels in the US with a great view of the city (separate review on TRIPADVISOR.COM). We spent the first day on our own which in Beijing was very easy due to the location of the hotel and nice weather. The Beijing Chinese tour agency that Princess contracts with was excellent. Their organization and guides were well versed in English, very efficient, always on-time and informative/entertaining throughout the 3-day Princess tours. Our primary tour guide (a college professor) had to leave us on the first day due to a family death, but his protege stepped right in and took over. She was just as fluent in English and provided excellent commentaries mixed with some humor. The transfer to the ship went flawlessly and we were off the bus through customs/boarding in less than 10 minutes. Our luggage was waiting for us in the balcony cabin (Aloha 619). ON THE DIAMOND PRINCESS: Our balcony cabin had upgraded LCD Television and everything was what we expected including the older-type shower vinyl curtain, vacuum flush toilets, refrigerator, hairdryer, safe, plenty of storage space/shelves. We even got brand new beds and pillows that they had to unwrap as we watched from the side. Our stateroom attendant (Glennard) was there to greet us and we exchanged information on our dining schedules and requested ice schedule every night. Since the ship was built in 2004 in Nagasaki, Japan, it was still in great shape and we constantly saw crew members repainting metal/wood, floors, and hulls during the entire cruise. The carpets were a little worn, but we saw no spots/discoloration anywhere. We took daily walks on the Promenade (Deck 7) deck that went around the entire ship from the bow to the aft. The Vivaldi Dining Room staff was absolute fantastic. Our waiters Euncil and Fernando remembered our food and wine selections and made recommendations every night. The Diamond Princess Cruise Directors had an absolutely great Entertainment Director. The singers and dancers were top notch performers of a higher quality than what we had experienced on other cruises. We looked forward to the shows in the Diamond Princess Theater and we always got front-row seats. Disembarkation in Bangkok, Thailand was a different ordeal. Since we were on a Princess post-cruise hotel/tour package, for some reason Princess was not as organized and had little or no information on the itinerary. From the moment we walked off the ship, there was some confusion as our group seemed to be made of 130 to 140 people, half spoke English, 25% were Italians and 25% Brazilians/Spanish all directed to 4 buses with no indication of which bus to board. After waiting 55 minutes, we were told we would leave late as our bus had to wait for one couple who woke up late and were still in their cabin. We ultimately left without them. That threw our schedule off and we missed part of the tradition Thai folklore show at our first stop. After a long day hot, humid outdoor viewing of elephants and tropical plants in a sweltering sun, we had lunch and then started a 2.5 hour non-stop bus ride to the Shangri-La hotel in Bangkok. The hotel itself is a top-notch 5-star hotel on the river with its own boat dock. The Princess cruise passengers were directed to a ballroom for check-in where we were greeted by polite hotel staff offering water, a cool sweet ginger drink, and cool towels. It was all well organized as they gathered our passports to match up with welcome packages and hotel check-in documents. After about 75% of our bus was dispatched to their rooms, a crowd of loud, pushy and downright rude Italians and Brazilians barged into the ballroom and immediately swamped the hotel staff and ruined the tranquil atmosphere that hotel staff was trying to methodically maintain. After 45 minutes into the melee, our tour guide returned to the ballroom, saw what was going on jumped into the fray as well and started yelling at the hotel staff to get our rooms assigned. We finally got our room which we found out had a heavy smoking room which was unacceptable. Rather than go back to the ballroom, I went to the main lobby (I had noticed a number of Princess passengers returning to the ballroom complaining of wrong rooms, missing luggage, etc). The Shangri-La Hotel main lobby was a sea of tranquility compared to the ballroom. I was greeted by the Resident Manager Marlon Hirsh who listened to our plight and immediately directed staff to get us a non-smoking room, find our luggage, and within 5 minutes we were taken care of and we settled into our non-smoking room with a great view of the river/city. The staff and service personnel of the Shangri-la Hotel are to be commended for getting everyone, including the loud, pushy, and rude passengers, processed. (See separate TRIPADVISOR.COM on Shangri-La Hotel review). The flight home went smoothly from the hotel to Bangkok Airport. We used United Airlines for the flight home with a connection in Narita (Tokyo), Japan. The (UA) airline attendants were very good but the food and entertainment program was a notch below Korean Airlines in terms of quality and selection. It was a wonderful and memorable experience, but we're glad to be home. Checked off several bucket-list sites to see and do. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
I was looking for Mediterranean cruise in April 2011. This cruise popped up and the price was irresistible, booked the cruise 10 days advance only. We had an ocean view cabin 244 on Plaza deck, or 5th floor. Check in at Xin ... Read More
I was looking for Mediterranean cruise in April 2011. This cruise popped up and the price was irresistible, booked the cruise 10 days advance only. We had an ocean view cabin 244 on Plaza deck, or 5th floor. Check in at Xin Gang (Tian Jin) was smooth, nice and new passenger cruise port terminal. No shop, nothing to buy or shop, just coffee and tea counter provided by the ship. The new terminal is a bit far off, we took the High speed train from Beijing at around 13.30 pm. Got there in slightly over an hour. Beware, buy the train ticket in advance, or you may not have a seat. From the train station, we took a cab, they over charged us slightly, but no big deal, understandable because the port is middle of no where. Taxi fee was 100 Yuan. One bad point is no direction to port or terminal at Princess website, nor provided to us by Princess agent in Thailand. A bit difficult to find the port info from Google. The ship departed 2 hours late due to heavy fog and highway accident that clogged the traffic. Passengers were arriving late. The lounge is nice, 3 storey of shiny brasses, glasses and chandelier. The cabin is ok, slightly old. But for foul smell at the fridge. Cabin layout is ok , we liked it. Sheet, mattresses, blankets are ok. Bed cover a bit old. No bed bug. Our cabin attendent is Ronald, a Philippino, he provided good service throughout the cruise. Toilet and toiletries are ok. The toilet flush broke down once , but was repair in a jiffy after a phone call. Food in the buffet is not that good,choices are vary enough, but quality is barely passing. The morning eggs are terrible. Buffet is available 24/7, good point. Coffee is just barely passing, tea bags choices are great. Available 24 hours at the buffet cafe. Dining rooms are nicely decorated, food quality, food choices, service are great. Most dishes are good, but for few. Wine choices and price are OK with us. But fellow passengers complained about the wine price. I love the morning and afternoon waffle, afternoon burger, and soft ice cream. Shows are great, both the stage and performance. Gym and workout facility is OK. Spa is good. Port visits are well organized, courtesy buses at most ports. Except for very bare and dull Phumy port in Vietnam, otherwise all ports are good. We visited Pusan, Nagasaki, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Thang Long, Phumy, Koh Samui, Laem Chabang, Singapore. We are independent travelers,so we didn't buy any port excursion. I would say if you are experienced travelers, been to Asia, you don't need to buy any for these ports of call, but may be Phumy if you wished to visit Ho Chi Min. Or Laem Chabang if you wish to visit Bangkok. It is a bit far off. If you are not familiar with China, cannot communicate in Mandarin, I suggest shore excursion for Shanghai as well. Beware of Shanghai Taxi, very bad indeed. Disembarkation in Singapore is very slow, but not ship fault. Probably due to two ships calling at the same time, and the terminal is very crowded and congested. Taxi queuing line is long. Plenty of taxi though. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
Our first cruise ever it was on the Diamond Princess for our 16 day Asia trip, Before the cruised we stayed 4 nights in China at the Novotel Peace Hotel which was very central and easy to get around. We were not sure when we made the ... Read More
Our first cruise ever it was on the Diamond Princess for our 16 day Asia trip, Before the cruised we stayed 4 nights in China at the Novotel Peace Hotel which was very central and easy to get around. We were not sure when we made the booking if the 16 days would be too many for our first cruise but it turned out that we could have done with more days. The trip to ship took about 2 and a half hours we had a personal driver who was very good and took us to the port and helped with our luggage. The wait to board the ship was only about 1 hour and went very smoothly Princess also had food and drink for all of us while we waited to embark which was nice as I think most of us were hungry and thirsty we did not expect this it was a nice touch, we arrived to our state room the luggage was already there which was great all we had to do was unpack and then explore this beautiful ship, we did leave port later than expected as some people were arriving late but it was nice just to sit on our balcony and take it all in . The ports that we called to were great and we loved them, the weather proved to be a problem with us not staying over night in Hong Kong but we were not worried by this as it was some thing that was beyond any one's control.all the entertainment was really good,especially the shows in princess theatre. We had a good time also doing a lot of the trivia days. There was always something to do with all the on board activities. The staff on the ship were really great and could not do enough for us and all the other passengers nothing was too much trouble for them the bar stewards were amazing 1 in particular (Elleute)each time he saw us he would come strait over and would know what we both drank and this was only on the second meeting with him he had remembered from the first time we had got a drink from him ( not that we are big drinkers)there was not a thing i could find fault with the staff or the cruise itself, The diamond Princess is a beautiful ship, Large in size but never crowed with people,even though our particular cruise was full not a spare cabin to be had 2600 people. We will cruise again with Princess for sure they know how to treat people .Also the food was the best we have come across in a long time of traveling ,the ship was beautifully maintained and constantly being maintained,painted,cleaned. Our room was better than we expected.The disembark was as smooth as when we embarked, there was also a 2 hour drive by bus which we arranged with princess to our hotel in Thailand we stayed at the Siam @Siam hotel in Thailand which was nice. Read Less

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