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Spectrum of the Seas - 22DEC19 - Hong Kong B2B


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The Silk Road

This is one of two unique shows on Spectrum. It’s done in Two70, twice per night, every 2-3 nights on the cruise. That means if you’re on a short cruise you have less than a 50% chance of seeing it 😞 (Two70 holds about 350 people per showing, the ship holds around 5000.) One perk we didn’t even realize WAS a perk is that the Diamond concierge will book you for one of the showings on your trip. Unfortunately you’re unlikely to be able to change it, as the bookings fill up immediately (there is no advance booking). There is a standby line for each show but your chances are still slim. The first week of our trip, we were booked the last night, last show. The day we had rough seas. So no show for us!

Fortunately the magic gold SeaPass we have now got us in without a reservation to whatever show we wanted. Whew!

@Traveler, you asked for a plot synopsis. Um... yeah 😉 Here’s what we got: “The future Mrs. Marco Polo from the East, and Marco Polo from the West, adventure down the Silk Road and see lots of sights and dangers before they finally meet.” I will say that after we saw it we read the bit Royal has in the app about it, which starts with “many ages ago, Zeus, the king of all the gods, sent two eagles...” What?? I’m sticking with my interpretation! Haha! 

Regardless, it’s a terrific show and everyone should see it if they get a chance at all! I would see it again in a heartbeat, because there is A LOT going on the whole time and I’m certain I missed some great stuff. 

Here are the best pics we could come up with:










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On 12/30/2019 at 9:27 PM, Lovetocruise2002 said:

And keep those food pics coming, although they are slowly killing me because it all looks so good! 

Your wish is my command — here are the photos that had not yet made it into the blog!

Caramel Apple Blossom, Consecutive Cruiser Lunch


Chocolate Lava Cake, Gold dining


Dover Sole, Gold dining


Shrimp Cocktail, Gold dining


Baked Eggplant, Consecutive Cruiser lunch


Spicy Prawns, Silver dining


Crab Cake, Silver dining


Vegetable Tempura, Main dining room


Black Cod, Gold dining


Creme Brûlée, Gold dining (sorry about the missing bit!)


French Onion soup, Gold dining (not very photogenic, but delicious!)


Holiday Ham, Gold dining 


Oslo Bucco, Gold dining


Spice Cake with Rum Sauce, Gold dining


White and Dark Chocolate Mousse, Gold dining



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Day 9 - At Sea

We got up a bit late today, and just ate leftover cookies and fruit for breakfast. Heh.

Off to Skypad for our VR time slot, which was unfortunately canceled since everything was still soggy from the rain overnight. Rescheduled for the last sea day. On our way back we noticed that bumper cars were just starting up. We used our “go to the head of the line” pass to get right in. It was fun! Especially the little old Japanese ladies zipping around, smashing into things, and laughing their heads off 🙂 As a note, Spectrum was originally charging $5 for bumper cars in the Asian market, but they have dropped that fee.

Start your engines:


11am was the Suite reception in the Gold lounge. Very few people actually came, maybe 10 plus the folks having lunch in the Gold dining right next door. The snacks were delicious! Several officers came through and chatted a bit with everyone.

MisterZ was uninterested in lunch at that point, so we retired to the cabin for blogging. About 1pm I headed to the Windjammer for noodles, which I brought back to the cabin. The Windjammer on Spectrum is HUGE. More than double the size of Explorer (which, truth be told, doesn’t have enough space for the number of passengers she holds. But I digress.) They also play “thanks for coming, now get out” messages regularly to assist with turnover. Here are a few shots to give you an idea:




Next we went to Leaf & Bean to try the coffee and tea. All the items are an additional charge, but the prices are reasonable and the drinks tasty. Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of the beverages. Sorry!



Dinner was at Gold dining again. Same menu as the night before. MisterZ had Black Cod and I had the Sliced Chicken. Both were excellent.

After dinner we listened to more music in a couple of different venues and then turned in, trying to be good since Day 10 will be the first “up and at ‘em” port day of the whole trip.



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We are not big gamblers (I am currently the proud owner of 7 whole club points!), but I would be remiss in talking about a ship for the Asian market without at least a little about the casino. It’s a big one!8267A2C4-2ABB-4CAD-B494-9A8B3B395075.jpeg.4c3c88a129b0db8094d35b2f830cd33b.jpeg

Table games as far as the eye can see! Many of the tables were for Baccarat. Lowest limits I saw were $5:


Lots of slots as well, all digital. Many of them would do a variety of denominations, from one penny to one dollar. There were 4 sections this same size:


The ship regularly offers free intro to gaming sessions, almost every night.

There’s also a VIP Casino space on a totally different deck. I wasn’t ever able to get a peek inside, much less grab a photo. Rumor has it the price of entry is a minimum $10,000. Also, apparently you can have all your meals and drinks in there, in case you never want to leave!

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This ship has some terrific tucked-away seating spaces. I love how they use every nook and cranny. And I love that people used the spaces constantly!

The Silver/Diamond Lounge:


Outside of Two270 (that I apparently liked so much I photographed from two directions on two different days):



A hidden spot above the indoor pool:


Outside the Seaplex on both sides:


Deck 5 smoking area, one of the nicest smoking areas I’ve seen anywhere:



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Day 10 - Chan May, Vietnam

This was the first day we’ve had to set an alarm — waaa!


The ship docked before 7:30am, which was when we met for our shore excursion.


We were headed to Hoi An, a historic trading town with Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese influences. We knew in advance we had a long bus ride, so we were emotionally prepared for the hour and 45 minutes drive. Our tour guide was excellent and our bus driver competent. You could tell almost immediately that Vietnam has been in the tourism business for about a decade longer than the two new Philippines ports we were in last week.

Hoi An was an important temporary trading post for a hundred years or more until 1610 when the Japanese decided they should just set up permanent camp in the location. The Chinese soon joined them and the town of Hoi An what born. Currently the “old town” portion of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage site and there are restrictions on building or remodeling in the area. We saw several historic sites, had a fantastic lunch, and then had a bit of free time to roam the area. 

Japanese bridge circa 1600:


Scenes about town:







Incense spirals that will burn for a month:


The theme of the trip — weddings!


Free time found us in a cafe trying local tea and coffee and doing some people watching:


See the next post for food pics from lunch!

We were actually back on time to the ship so that we could enjoy a glass of wine at sail away - woohoo!


We saw The Effectors at 7:30pm. Whole separate post on that show! Stand by!

We failed to make a dinner reservation ahead of time for New Years’ Eve — the problem with normally being #TeamMDR 😮 This meant we had to wait until 8:30pm to eat in Gold dining. Ah well, it helped us stay up late! #caffeineisyourfriend

New Years’ menu:


New Years’ celebration options, choices for everyone:




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1 minute ago, twangster said:

Great blog!

What are the smoking areas on the ship?   Is the “bus stop” outdoor smoking area on deck 5 starboard?   I avoid low starboard balcony and suites to avoid smoke smell.  Just curious how much Spectrum is like her sisters in terms of smoking areas.  

Smoking is in the casino, on the port side of the outdoor pool, and on deck 5 starboard. The crew has mentioned that they have trouble the first night or two on each sailing out of Shanghai with people smoking on their balconies, but they feel like that will get better as the sailing public gets more educated. We smelled a tough of smoke outside the Music Hall a couple of nights (right next to the casino), but otherwise I’ve been impressed with how little it impacts other areas.

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Hoi An lunch

The lunch we had on our shore excursion deserved its own post. It was in a giant restaurant that also had a cooking school in it. The food was served family-style for 5 person groups. We also got a beer/soda/water included. Fantastic!

Local beer:


Spicy Clam Soup:


Crab Wontons:


Beef Salad:


Spicy Fried Chicken:


Fried Fish with Mango Salad:


Caramel Pork:


Stir-fried Green Beans:



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The Effectors

The second unique show to Spectrum is The Effectors. It plays in the Royal Theater for two shows on one night each cruise. Although it’s also a bit light on plot, it has a fun comic book vibe. It’s easy to see the good guys from the bad guys and the special effects are FANTASTIC. It’s a must-see if you end up sailing on this ship. We missed it our first leg (again due to high seas), but used our magic gold SeaPass cards to score perfect seats on Day 10.

Hard to photograph due to the low light, here’s a tiny sample of what you’ll see:







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Day 11 - At Sea, pt 1

Our last full day! Nooooo! Lots of plans though, in order to enjoy it to the fullest.

We started at Gold dining for breakfast. This was actually our first time here at breakfast. How did that happen?? It was lovely and leisurely and tasty. The menu:


Waffles with a side of bacon:


Eggs Benedict:


Next we tried again for our Skypad VR experience. Sadly, the weather was not cooperating so we ended up canceling completely. Guess I’ll have to book another cruise to try it out!

After that we headed to Two70 to check out the VR experience they have set up in that space. There are 4 games you can play; 3 were doable and the 4th was too twitchy for our patience. Fun though! I like to see Royal pushing the tech envelope.

Lunch was The Hot Pot, the other Spectrum-only specialty restaurant. Interestingly, on our first cruise it wasn’t open for lunch at all, only dinner. On this leg it was open both sea days. Lucky for us!


The restaurant is in the back of the Windjammer with lots of lovely windows:


The menu:


They bring you both the meat and the seafood plate for each person, and then there are a few upcharge items. Then you go to the buffet to pick out your veggies and noodles:



You choose from three broths (up to two choices per pot with a divider). One (tomato) is not spicy, the green pepper one is decently spicy, and the spicy beef is quite hot! The server girl was hesitant to let us order the beef one, until we told her we lived in Japan — “oh, you’ll be ok then!” She wasn’t kidding though! I tried it a bit and that was enough (cooked all my stuff on the green pepper side); MisterZ thought it was great. You then cook your foods at your leisure, using various dipping sauces you choose or blend at the buffet. It is a very social meal, perfect for big groups. They also had desserts and fruit on the buffet, but we were too stuffed to even look at them. 

We were the only westerners in the place, but it was packed. I was pleased that Royal didn’t try to westernize this experience — it was way more fun as an authentic Shabu-Shabu restaurant.

After lunch we did the wine tasting at Vintages. I had booked it ahead and was glad I did — they turned away a number of people because they were full. The sommelier was Chinese and he did a great job. He was obviously used to answering newbie questions and was very patient and encouraging. The wines were nicely chosen too.







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Day 11 - At Sea, pt 2

We caught the Stowaway Piano Player again this afternoon. He was a different guy than the last sailing:


After the wine tasting, we retired to our cabin for a couple of hours of relaxing (otherwise known as nap time for MisterZ and blog time for me). Then off to our final dinner of the cruise, in Gold dining. It was delicious again, even though the menu was the same.

Sichuan Spare Ribs:


Duck Confit:


Sliced Spicy Chicken:


After dinner we reserved a private karaoke room at Star Moment, the karaoke venue onboard:


For $50, we got a drink and snack package plus an hour of singing time in our own room. It was a ton of fun! The karaoke system worked about as well as any karaoke place we’ve used (that is, it was a bit twitchy for song search/selection) but the ambiance was fun! It was also cheaper than Tokyo. By a lot.

When we entered, the staff said “the snacks are chicken feet. Would you like peanuts instead? We’ll get you peanuts.” 😮 I was perfectly happy to be profiled in this case! Hahaha!




Then back to the cabin to pack and put out our bags. Boo!!


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Day 12 - The End

We got up early enough to ensure we could have one last breakfast at Gold dining and then headed off the ship about 8:45am. By this time they had called all the numbers already. Since the ship is so large, though, there will still quite a few people in the various stages of disembarkation. Interestingly, we did not have to do anything for Hong Kong Immigration — we already had our return paper in our passports when we picked them up yesterday. The port was holding people inside the building and releasing them in batches out to the curb/taxi/bus/shuttle area. Part of this was how big Spectrum is, and part was due to construction. All told, the process took us 30 minutes from gangway to sitting in our taxi.

About 40 minutes later we were again waiting in line, this time to prove we had legit business in the airport before they would let us in the front door. This added security is due to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. It didn’t take us long, less than 10 minutes. Then off to drop our bags and head to the lounge. 

We just finished our survey for the first cruise of the trip. Sigh! Always a little bittersweet! I will jot down a few random thoughts after we get home tonight. Thanks for following along!

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Great job on the blog!

A Norwegian on my last cruise opened my eyes to sailing from Hong Kong.  Having sailed from Beijing he said he would never do a mainland China departure again but would have no issues with Hong Kong.  Your blog has helped me progress the notion of a Hong Kong departure.  Something to ponder for a future cruise.


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