Two Days in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is very beautiful! It is the world’s fourth-most densely populated region, has many parks spread throughout, a spectacular waterfront along Victoria Harbour, a cruise port, Disneyland, and hosts the largest number of skyscrapers in the world. It is definitely a sight to behold. In this post, we will discuss our post-cruise two-day itinerary in the Hong Kong regions of Kowloon, Lantau Island, and Hong Kong Island.

Photo Credit: Discover Hong Kong

Mini History Lesson

Hong Kong is located on the eastern side of the Pearl River in southern China. It is not technically its own country but rather a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (HKSAR). Hong Kong was a colony of the British Empire from 1842 until 1997, when the territory was returned to China as a SAR. Hong Kong maintains a separate government and economic system from mainland China. They welcome a whopping 60+ million tourists annually.

Day One

We arrived in Hong Kong via cruise ship. Click here if you are interested in reading our Royal Caribbean Cruise Through Asia post. What a beautiful port!! Pulling in was so picturesque. You have a view of this futuristic customs building with a green roof, the city behind it, and mountains behind that. Total “WOW, welcome to Hong Kong” moment as we pulled into port. We departed the boat early at 7:00am because we wanted to maximize our short time in Hong Kong. Since there is no train right at the cruise terminal, we took a bus to the train station. From there, we took a train towards the area where our hotel was located. We walked a few minutes to the hotel. The block we walked down seemed like nearly every store was selling bathroom fixtures (sinks and toilets).

Photo Credit: Kai Tak Cruise Terminal

The Novotel Century Hotel (238 Jaffe Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong), located on Hong Kong Island, was worth the hour and a half public transit commute. We knew that we were arriving well before check-in, so we packed bathing suits, cover-ups, and flip flops in our carry-ons. The hotel stored our bags, and we went to the rooftop pool to cool down (it was sooo HOT outside) and lounge around. Not much of a view, but the pool was very nice and relaxing. There were only a few other people there with us. The reception desk ended up calling us to check in early. Our room was very spacious with a really nice bathroom. We only had two days in Hong Kong, so we knew that we would not be spending too much time in the room, but it was nice to have space to open our bags, hang clothes, and unpack a bit.

Photo Credit: Novotel

After we quickly settled in, we changed and headed out for our first day. First thing on the itinerary was to visit the Hong Kong Maritime Museum (11 Man Kwong St, Central, Hong Kong) located on Hong Kong Island right on Victoria Harbour. Entry was 30 HKD or $3.83 USD. This was the best maritime museum we had ever been to. They showcased a diverse set of artifacts ranging from art, ship models, diver gear, geographic renderings, and maps. They also had a large exhibit for children that explained where drinking water comes from and how water is cleaned after it is soiled. The museum has a cafe on the top floor if you had wanted to enjoy breakfast or lunch with a view over the water. For the price, this is a must-see!

After the museum, we strolled along the waterfront past The Hong Kong Observation Wheel and AIA Vitality Park (33 Man Kwong St, Central, Hong Kong). It was an incredibly hot day, so we stopped to get ice cream and did not end up riding the Ferris wheel. It did look awesome though. From the top, you probably have an incredible view during day or night. The wheel is covered in neon lights at night. Even if you don’t ride, it is still a great photo opportunity.

We walked to the bus stand near the piers with the intention of going to our next destination. Little did we know, you had to have exact change to ride the bus. We only had large bills from the bank. A really nice local could tell we were confused tourists. She offered to pay for our ride and even made sure we got off where we were supposed to.

We got off the bus at The Peak Tram Lower Terminus. Total price for the tram ride up the mountain to Victoria Peak and back down with 360° view from highest elevation was 99 HKD or $12.62 USD. The queue to buy tickets and get on a tram was really long. When we finally got on the tram, we were lucky enough to claim seats. It was a long ride up the mountain, and with the steep incline it would have been uncomfortable to stand. The optical illusion of tilted skyscrapers was really awesome. Buildings look like they are leaning a gradient of between 4 to 27 degrees. Total mind trip.

When we got to the top, there were many shops and restaurants. We didn’t eat at Burger King, but they have a balcony overlooking the skyline, so we went outside just to take daytime pictures of the skyline view.

Next, we went back inside and found an activity that was totally free: It was many wall murals with twisted perspectives. When you stand next to or on it, it makes it look like you are a part of that scene. We had so much fun in this area.

Next, we had a tasty sunset sushi dinner overlooking the Harbour. We felt the prices were high at every restaurant at the Peak. Obviously, it’s a bit of a tourist trap, but being that you have to pay just to get up there, we didn’t mind spending a little more on food to extend our time. A quick note on sushi in Asia: Sometimes when you order shrimp, they are served totally raw. We don’t find that much in America, so we were a little “shell” shocked (pun intended).

After we finished dinner, we headed up to the Sky Terrace 428, the highest viewing platform in Hong Kong with 360° views of the city. Due to the time of day we picked for this activity, we were able to see the final transition from daytime to nighttime while up here. I think that was the best because we captured daytime and nighttime photos. At night, the city comes to life with every skyscraper lighting up. There is even a light show on several of the buildings. My tip is to pre-download the app so you can listen to the music while you watch. We hadn’t known there was music or an app. At the top of the Peak, cellphone signal was slow so we couldn’t download it. We still thoroughly enjoyed the show even without the music. We stayed upstairs to watch it twice! For the first show, we were a few rows back from the railing. Then, when people left, we took their spots in the front row. For the second show, we had a way better view. It is seriously crowded in the Sky Terrace, so if crowds aren’t your thing, then maybe visit earlier in the day. The nighttime show is the busiest time of day at the Peak.

After the show we waited in a very long queue to get back on the tram down the mountain. By that point, we were fed and got the photos we had wanted for the day, so we didn’t mind waiting in lines, but it was really long. If you can’t stand for long periods of time, then either wear comfortable shoes, or avoid the tram and ride a bus instead. It was really dark going down the mountain, and the view was not as good as during the day, so if you were to ride the tram only one way, then ride it up the Peak and during the daytime.

When we got off, we walked to the train and headed back to our hotel. That was a wrap on a jam-packed Day One!

Day Two

We started our day early because we were headed to Disneyland Hong Kong!! It is on my bucket list to visit every Disney theme park, so of course I couldn’t be in Hong Kong and miss this attraction.

Travel to the park was easy and enjoyable but lengthy. In total, the commute was about an hour from our hotel. We took the orange Tung Chung Line northwest till we arrived at Sunny Bay Station (before the Hong Kong Airport). Some of this trip was below and above ground, so the changing views helped time pass faster. From this stop, we transferred to the pink Disneyland Resort Line that took us directly to the Disney property. The Disneyland Resort Line train is not like the other MTR trains. This train was clearly paid for by Disney and branded adorably. The windows and hand supports are shaped like Mickey Mouse heads, there are bronze Disney character figurines displayed in each car, and the seating is comfortable and plush.

Hong Kong Disneyland is one park that includes seven themed lands: Adventureland, Toy Story Land, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Grizzly Gulch, Mystic Point, and Main Street USA. The iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle is the park’s centerpiece. If you have been to other “Disneyland” parks in the world, or Orlando’s Disney World, then you will note that this park has a similar vibe of lands surrounding a castle. The public areas in this park occupy 68 acres. There are 12 Disney Parks in the world, and Hong Kong Disneyland is ranked second- smallest just above Walt Disney Studios Paris.

Tickets were about 650 HKD, which was approximately $82 USD. We arrived at the Park just as gates were opening. It was a Thursday and didn’t seem as crowded as other Disney Parks we have visited. We didn’t ever wait more than 20 minutes in line for a ride, which was awesome. It was April, so the park was all dressed up for Easter with character eggs all over the park. In comparison to other Disney Parks we’d already visited around the world, Hong Kong Disneyland was very similar. I think the coolest rides for us were Mystic Manor (similar to Haunted Mansion but less scary and no ghosts), Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Car (similar to Thunder Mountain), It’s a Small World (see if you can spot the hidden Disney characters among the regular Small World characters), and the Toy Story RC Racer. Hubby also really liked the Iron Man Experience ride.

We stopped into the City Hall guest services building off of Main Street USA and asked if they gave away free celebratory pins (like they do in Orlando). We were on our honeymoon and brought our “Just Married” pins from Orlando. We figured we could show them just in case they hadn’t known what we were talking about, or if they didn’t give away pins we could wear the ones we already owned. Lucky for us, they did have pins! So the first souvenir we got from that park was totally free. The parks usually have a pin or sticker you can get for free to show staff you are celebrating something: first visit, birthday, anniversary, or wedding. All you have to do is go to guest services and ask.

One silly thing we noticed in every gift shop were character-branded nail clippers. Not sure what the infatuation with nail clippers is all about, but they had walls full, and not just in Disney—they were all over Hong Kong. They were even sold in family packs. How many nail clippers does one family need? haha

There was some construction throughout the park due to an upcoming expansion with additions of Frozen, Moana, and Marvel lands. Disney is also totally overhauling the central castle. It will no longer be the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle, but instead a larger newly-envisioned castle that features elements from many different Disney Princesses. The full expansion is set to be completed by 2023, although some elements will come online sooner than others. I may have to book my next Hong Kong trip for after the expansion is complete!☺

Due to the castle being under construction, there was no nightly fireworks display. We had arrived when gates opened, hardly waited in lines, and completed all the rides, so we decided to leave the park early just after lunchtime. We missed the Lion King show, because the next show was a three-hour wait away. We didn’t want to wait around for hours just to see one show. In hindsight, we should have planned out our timing better and known the show times so we didn’t miss it. I’ve read online that it’s spectacular.

We took the Disneyland Resort Line train back to the MTR Sunny Bay Station, then transferred to the MTR and headed back to the heart of Hong Kong. Since we still had half a day left, we went straight to the Hong Kong Space Museum. The museum was educational, included interactive activities, had several great photo ops, was fully indoors and air conditioned, but it was on the smaller side in comparison to other space museums we’ve been to. We didn’t add on the special exhibit, because there were many school groups in attendance that Thursday and we felt that portion of the museum would be too crowded. We probably spent over an hour in the museum.

After the museum, we took a stroll along the Victoria Harbour waterfront to Harbour City Shopping Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong. There was a wide array of stores, and most were high-end. We ate dinner nearby in McDonald’s. We love to eat McDonald’s once in every country we travel to so we can compare to American McD’s. We almost always feel the quality overseas is better. We also enjoyed McDonald’s in Asia in general, because they had really different menu options compared to North America and Europe.

When we left the mall, it was raining. We stumbled upon the Golden Harvest Grand Ocean Cinema which was close by the mall. The Avengers Infinity War movie had just come out while we were on vacation, and the theater was showing it in English, so we decided to spend the remainder of the evening watching that movie.

After the movie, we walked back to the train and went back to our hotel.

Our flight to Chiang Mai, Thailand, was at 12:15pm the next day. Due to the international flight, we wanted to be at the airport by 9:00am, so we woke up early, packed, checked out, and kissed Hong Kong goodbye.

If you have one extra day in Hong Kong, I would recommend booking a junk boat tour. Royal Caribbean offered this activity as one of their Hong Kong excursions, and we didn’t have the time to fit it into our crazy schedule. It looked nice though.

Overall, we had a short but incredible time in Hong Kong! We were able to fit so many activities into two short days because none of the activities lasted more than half a day. We also didn’t mind waking up early and going to bed late in order to add one more activity to each day. So… is it possible to see Hong Kong in two days? You bet it is!

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Ovation of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise Through Asia

As you may have gathered from an old post of mine, “Why a Cruise Should Be Your Next Vacation,” WE LOVE CRUISING!! Naturally, when hubby and I were deciding where to go on our honeymoon around the world, we knew that we wanted to cruise part of it.

This post will explore the next leg of our honeymoon on the Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas 6-night repositioning cruise through Asia. We began in Tianjin, China, the closest port to Beijing, spent two days at port in Okinawa, Japan, and ended in Hong Kong. We’ll discuss what a repositioning cruise is, the three ports of call, the service on the ship, and the ship itself. All aboard!

Repositioning Cruises

There are two kinds of cruises: traditional (or round-trip) and repositioning. A traditional cruise takes you from point A to B and back to A, so you start and end in the same port. A repositioning cruise moves you from point A to B, which allows you to start and end in different ports. If you are lucky enough to have your hometown also be a port of call, then you most likely would do traditional cruises to avoid paying extra airfare.

However, I think there is a time and place to consider a repositioning cruise. If you are adding a cruise onto a vacation like us, then a repositioning cruise may be a good idea! We needed to get from north China (Beijing) towards Thailand, and we had two options: pay for airfare or pay for a cruise. We looked up cruises and found the perfect option that gave us six nights of adventure, plus we had the opportunity to stop into Okinawa, Japan, and end in Hong Kong. For the price, it was a no-brainer. For the minimal day fee, we basically paid for hotel, food, and entertainment on the ship and completely avoided travel costs!

Photo Credit: OzCruising


Tianjin, China: As far as travel goes, it takes a couple of trains and a taxi to get from Beijing proper to Tianjin, but it wasn’t too difficult or costly. RCL, other cruise lines, and tour groups offer shuttle services, but they can be costly and then you are on their schedule. We did it on our own, and even with the language barrier we got by without any issues. We were really impressed by the immaculate gardens in Beijing and the last long stretch of street leading to the cruise port was no exception. The port was located in an industrial area with nothing else around for miles, so the tree and flower lined streets helped to soften the look. The lines to get on the ship were insanely long. Not sure if RCL didn’t have enough people working that day, or if all the cruisers just showed up at the same time, but we waited hours standing in line to get on the ship. It was not the best first impression. Read my Beijing Part One and Part Two blog posts if you are interested in learning more on what Beijing has to offer. Some excursions at this port include Great Wall tours with lunch and shopping, followed by transportation to either the airport or to your hotel.

Photo Credit: China Highlights

Okinawa, Japan: The cruise was originally supposed to stop in Jeju Island, South Korea, as well as Okinawa, Japan. Unfortunately, RCL pulled Korea off of our itinerary the day after President Trump’s infamous “fire and fury” threat to the leader of North Korea. Totally speculation if both incidents were related, but it was curious timing. RCL ended up giving us two full days in Okinawa instead, with an overnight at port to make up for the change. That was really awesome, because they could have just kept us at sea for that day. There was plenty to do in Okinawa, so my next Amarvelous Honeymoon blog post will be on how to spend two days in Okinawa, Japan. Stay tuned! For now, I’ll just explain the port. The ships are a bus-ride away from town and shopping. There is literally nothing near the ship except other ships. RCL and other cruise lines coordinate charter buses to shuttle everyone into town and back. The system is easy enough—just make sure to get back on the right bus. Some excursions at this port include Shuri Castle, Gyokusendo Cave, Churaumi Aquarium, and Nami-no-ue Sea and Sky Snorkeling Park.

Hong Kong: What a beautiful port!! Pulling in was so picturesque. You have a view of this futuristic customs building with a green roof, the city behind it, and mountains behind that. Total “WOW, welcome to Hong Kong” moment as we pulled into port. Since there is no train right at the cruise terminal, we took a bus to the train station. From there, we took a train towards the area where our hotel was located. Some exciting excursions at this port include Disneyland, the evening light show at Victoria Peak, dim sum culinary classes, and iconic junk boat tours. Just like Okinawa, we’re going to dedicate a post to Hong Kong—stay tuned for that one too!

The Ship

Ship Overview: Ovation of the Seas is part of RCL’s Quantum-class. It made its maiden voyage on April 17, 2016, so the ship is still pretty new, and it shows! There are eighteen decks (sixteen are passenger-accessible). Maximum occupancy of the ship is 4,905 passenger-guests and 1,500 crew.

Photo Credit: Cruise Mapper

Art and Decor: Something we’ve observed on Carnival ships is how cheesy the decor can be. RCL’s Ovation of the Seas, however, was really nicely decorated. Maybe it’s because the ship is only a few years old, or maybe it’s because of the modern artwork around every turn. The color scheme and modern touch in the staterooms was appealing too.

Our Room: Our room was absolutely wonderful. This was our first time ever in a balcony room. We actually went from interior rooms straight to balcony and skipped window rooms, so we felt totally spoiled for our honeymoon and don’t feel like we could ever go back to a non-balcony room haha! It was nice tanning, watching the sunset, and having coffee in a robe from the privacy of your own room and balcony. Our favorite part, though, was keeping the door ajar and listening to the waves while we slept. Talk about peaceful. The room was so spacious too. We had a bathroom, king-sized bed, sofa, and desk. Not a complaint as much as an observation, but we really didn’t need that much space—I actually wish the ship was designed with smaller rooms and deeper balconies so that we could have laid flat on lounge chairs without tanning obstructions (shadows) from the railing.

Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean

Service: Before we left for our trip, RCL had sent us several emails to explain that this cruise was going to be “under the Culturally Enriching program.” At the time, I didn’t know what they meant. I get a lot of emails from RCL with random sales offers, so when receiving emails from this sender, and not asked to log in and do anything with my reservation, it just seemed like more junk mail. In hindsight, I see now they were trying to prepare the Westerners for the culture shock.

We did have an incident with someone trying to break into our luggage before it got to our room on day one. We dropped off our bags at the Tianjin port curbside, and by the time they were delivered to our room the lock had been busted on one of them. We waited in the Guest Services line for a long time to put in a complaint with security and file a full report. Unfortunately, there are no cameras at the Tianjin port, so there was no way to see who did it. Security on-board was nice, but our first day was awful due to this experience, and our brand new luggage that we received as a wedding gift was ruined.

The stateroom housekeeping was on point! We brought several branded “bride” and “groom” items (like sunglasses) on the honeymoon. Housekeeping dressed our towel animals with them daily, which was both clever and cute. Sometimes it’s in the small details that the guests can be wowed.

Dining: We found the dining to be underwhelming while onboard, but it wasn’t for lack of built-in restaurants or dining halls. In fact, the ship has six main dining areas (American Icon Grill, Chic, Silk, The Grande, Solarium Bistro, and Coastal Kitchen). It has six signature restaurants (Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine, Jamie’s Italian, Amber & Oak Pub, Chops Grille, Izumi Japanese Cuisine, and Chef’s Table). It also has eight laid back dining options (Windjammer Marketplace, The Café @ Two70, Seaplex Dog House, Kung Fu Panda Noodle Shop, Sorrento’s, Café Promenade, La Patisserie, and Vintages).

The problems we experienced were that RCL did not have every dining area open, they had limited hours, the restaurants for extra purchase were totally booked up, and everywhere else on the ship served the same food. Literally all four of the main dining restaurants served the exact same menu every night. So you weren’t going to American Icon Grill because you wanted American cuisine and Silk because you wanted Asian cuisine. The only reason you would have to choose one restaurant over another was because of ambiance. It was basically authentic Asian food everywhere you turned. Nothing against Asian food—but our dining experiences on cruise ships usually offer us incredible variety. There are often so many good options on a menu that we don’t know what to pick. However, on this cruise, there were some nights when we sat down for dinner and couldn’t even find one thing that we wanted.

Unfortunately, by the time we realized how terrible the food would be, all the extra cost restaurants were totally booked, and we had no other options. I will admit that we have never felt the need to pay extra to experience excellent food on a cruise ship. Usually, for the cost you pay to be on the boat, you eat like kings. I would recommend if you are interested in dining at one of the more exclusive pay-as-you-go restaurants, that you book before you get on the ship.

We met a few Australians on the ship, and they all complained about the food too. One “Diamond Plus” couple had been on the maiden voyage of Ovation and said that the experiences were night and day. As first-time RCL customers, we explained how surprised we had been with RCL’s low standards, and the couple urged us to give RCL another chance (in another part of the world). So perhaps the food situation is better when they sail through other regions?

We connected with the dining manager in one of the restaurants. I guess he had received many complaints from the Western guests. He told us if we were unsatisfied with the options, that we could put in a request for something. That night, we ordered steak (not on the menu), and he made it happen. Service was very good, and you could tell that they were trying to appease all parties. I still feel like there shouldn’t have been any moments when I felt hungry and unsatisfied, but I am definitely open to give them an opportunity to redeem themselves.

The food section is very important to me because it was the most negative aspect of the trip, so I’ll end it with a closing comparison. We both thought the food at the buffet was tastier and more variety than the offerings in the dining rooms. It’s definitely the opposite on other cruise lines. If comparing all other Carnival Cruise Line dining experiences we’ve had to this experience on RCL’s Ovation, we feel the dining rooms in Carnival are superior.

Included Activities: Below, I have outlined all of the free activities onboard the Ovation of the Seas. Something that irked me a bit was that a few of the BEST activities this ship has to offer were at an additional fee specifically when this ship is sailing in China (which we were). Not sure what that rubbish is about! We already paid a bunch to be on the boat in our balcony room… no way was I going to drop several hundred more on a few activities when the ship was loaded with other free things to do. And I am not exaggerating when I say hundreds. They wanted $600 for FlowRider®!!

Each night, an itinerary for the next day is delivered to your room. Some of the activities are reserved for special themes or party nights, while others are offered daily. Nevertheless, there is something for everyone, and I did feel that there were more offerings than on other ships. The only downfall on activities would be that while they tried to make the vacation inclusive to the Asian community, some activities were not listed as “Mandarin language only” (like other activities were) and I would show up to participate but they did not have an English translator for me. So I would just leave and go do a different activity. It would have saved me from walking from one side of the ship to the other, and not being late to the next activity, had I known in advance, but it was a minor inconvenience compared to other things.

  • North Star® 360º elevated view above the boat (Fees apply to China sailings)
  • FlowRider® surfing (Fees apply to China sailings) – In other regions, this activity is included but private session fees are: $69, $345, or $552
  • Ripcord® by iFLY® skydiving simulation experience (Fees apply to China sailings)
  • Adventure Ocean® children’s activity and babysitting program (After 10:00pm: $7/hour)
  • Splashaway Bay℠ waterpark
  • Rock climbing wall
  • SeaPlex – from skating rink to circus school to bumper cars, this is the largest sporting activity zone on the seas
  • Solarium adults only pool lounge with an incredible view at the front of the ship
  • Silent Disco party where everyone wears headphones and can tune in to the station they want to dance to
  • Fitness center
  • Running track, sports courts, table tennis, pool tables
  • Outdoor movie nights
  • Nightlife, Karaoke, Salsa dancing
  • Pools, Jacuzzis
  • Dance classes, Learn a language class, Towel folding class, Origami class, Scrapbooking class, Guest lectures, Wine tastings

Shows: Holy smokes, the shows were incredible!! The second we got on the ship, we received great advice from a crew member that we should reserve show tickets ASAP if we were interested. We went straight to the guest services counter and locked that down. Some theatres in the ship are large, but others are small and sell out. There were two shows in particular that required pre-reservation. We’re glad we didn’t miss out.

  • Live. Love. Legs. (Reservation Required)
  • Pixels (Reservation Required)
  • Original theatrical productions
  • Live bands
  • Game shows
  • Two70® lounge with daily and nightly entertainment

At-Cost Activities: And, of course, there are some more exclusive activities where you can pay to play. I am more a BINGO person myself, but (unless I missed it) this ship didn’t offer it. Sure, it would be fun to see behind the scenes, have a spa treatment, or win big in the casino, but don’t feel like you have to pay to enjoy yourself. Notice the disparity in pay for activities to free activities. There is so much to do onboard!

  • Sushi-making class
  • All-access tours
  • Spa
  • Casino
  • Shopping
  • Arcade

One thing Hubby and I each felt this RCL ship was missing:

Hubby: Hubby really enjoys the dining model where you sit with the same people every night, in the same dining room, at the same mealtime. RCL seems to be more freestyle and lets you go where you please. They also tend to only seat you with your party. So this party of two on our honeymoon sat alone for every meal. Yes, it’s our honeymoon, but we were vacationing for six weeks! It’s also nice to have a conversation with other people every now and then. We found ourselves talking across the table to folks that sat next to us almost every night haha. I’m sure freestyle is great for some people, but not us. We like the structure of knowing when to eat and where to go. We also enjoy meeting new people and hearing how they spent their day and what they enjoyed on land and at sea. On past cruises, we’ve even connected with our table buddies on social media and have remained in touch.

Me: I was really looking forward to laundry facilities. Who does laundry on vacation?? Haha THIS GIRL, when she’s on a six-week honeymoon around the world! We had avoided doing laundry on land, because we figured (incorrectly) that it was available on the ship, like Carnival Cruise Line offers. Ovation didn’t offer this DIY facility, so we had to pay A LOT to have housekeeping launder all our clothes. I should have looked this up in advance, but I just assumed it was like all other ships we’d been on. Since then, I’ve heard from friends and family that other RCL ships also don’t offer a laundry room.

One thing Hubby and I each loved on this RCL ship was:

Hubby: The shows! Quality, effects, lighting, props, and talent were all superior to other cruises. It was also impressive some shows were bilingual and inclusive of multiple languages. The cast was so talented. For a special performance, RCL brought onboard a group that was locally famous, and they were incredible. Special mention: Almost equally as important as the shows were the Belgian waffles with strawberry topping mmmmm. Actually, all breakfast options and the self-serve buffet-style restaurants were generally pretty good on this ship.

Me: Cruise ships often have photographers out each night so you can take photos dressed up before dinner. Most of the time, photographers are stationed in front of cheesy backdrops, which RCL does have, but they also have roaming photographers that take pictures in front of nice areas in the ship. If you like a particular fountain, then the photographer can shoot you there, for example. Hey, if you have a nice-looking ship, flaunt it! Only a ship that is attractive could afford to do this.

This “Culturally Enriching” cruise through Asia didn’t turn out exactly how we envisioned our first Royal Caribbean Cruise to be, but we still had a good time and love cruising. The staff on board alleviated the tensions by listening to what was making guests (usually fellow Westerners) unsatisfied and making accommodations. We were blown away by the ship itself, the entertainment, and the balcony stateroom. Even though the food was overall underwhelming, some dining options were still good. Everyone I know raves over RCL cruises. I can’t say that our first experience was how our friends say that theirs was, but I am really excited to cruise with Royal Caribbean again—just maybe not through Asia next time!

DISCLAIMER: Any brands listed above are not sponsors.