sthelder -- Please explain. We spent a month on the Costa Victoria in November. The first leg, 17 days, had maybe a hundred passengers of Chinese descent, mostly from Canada. The next leg, 14 days, had more Asians, mostly from Singapore. Yes, they were of Chinese descent. Never saw a passenger from the PRC.
Everyone behaved, even the kids. There were quite a lot of preteens because of Costa's pricing practices.
So who are these Chinese you urge us to avoid? Is your advice based on a cruise experience or are you commenting on your overall societal perception?
Having lived this country for almost a decade, I believe I am quite well equippd with the way the society works/behaves. I am quite happy to say, despite some initial discomforts, it is a great place to live.
I truly believe there are wonderful cruisers regardless of their descent or ethinic groups. The two groups that you mentioned are, exposed to cruise markets. For decades, Star Cruises have been operating in Singapore (formerly set base in Hong Kong too, and most of the Canadian Chineses that I know of were migrated there in the 1990's, I am making a presumtion here).
Personally, I rate Star Cruises quite highly, for its unique Asian flavour. Had it not for the acquisition of NCL and shifted attention by its parent (Genting Group Malaysia), Star Cruises might have sailed to greater height and we would be discussing whether the bad reviews for Star Cruises are warranted.
My comments on the Chinese market mainly means those Costa cruises that set sails from mainland China (Tianjin/Beijing, Dalian, Shanghai, Sanya etc). China is rather new to cruising (may be river cruises, but those are also frequently marketed to foreigners), and at this stage, from the feedbacks, pictures and eyewitness reports, there are still a lot of teething problems. And
I will just quote some of these problems and may be you can judge whether they are valid issues to be concerned with:
1. Poorly trained/rude/lying staff
To cater for the mainland China market, many of the crew members are recruited locally. I believe their standard of service is actually above the average you would expect from the land tours, and some greeness in cruise-related questions is understandable.
But I am surprised to hear that the most vociferous complaints were from my personal friends and some other well-regarded and experienced local cruisers. Quite a number of local staff treated their countrymen in a very rude manner, and in one instance, a casino cashier even lied to his superior.
The reporter's mom wanted to exchange for some chips, but for unknown reason, he just ignoring the old lady who doesn't know how to speak in English. You would think he was hired specifically for the purpose of communicating with local guests? So when the old lady was ignored repeatedly, a supervisor noted of it and came over to enquire the staff what's happening. The staff lied (in English) about what had been going on and said the old lady was making unreasonable demands. Luckily the reporter was standing not far from her mom and she clarified the situation with the supervisor, the supervisor was shocked to say the least. He personally entertain the old lady's request and asked his staff to apologise. Guess what, the staff not only refused, and walked off.
Thus far, most of the reports of cold-shoulder treatment were from local cruisers. Apparently they are more inclined to serve Western guests than their own countrymen.
Some also claimed if you need to resolve on-board problem (minor) or get information, it is often easier to deal with supervisors or non-Chinese crew members, as they seem to be more willing to go the extra miles to help.
Of course, there are some great local staff too, but just that it might be useful to note an unusually high number of complaints.
2. Rude passengers
Not queuing is common problem in many places, not just on-board of a cruise ship. I have came to accept it as a way of life here.
I won't go into details on unruly smokers, door-bangers, kids in casino/adult zones etc., they are in many other cruiselines too.
However, when there's no order when disembarking, getting off for port visits and grabbing shuttle bus seats, it might become a safety hazard. Those reports when compared to the Costa/MSC reports, made me wonder whether Italians are actually very orderly.
3. Food wastages
When was the last time you heard a cruise director said (of course, in private conversation) the food is running out after the first two days (both were sea days, if I remember correctly)? It happened on Costa's maiden sail away from Shanghai.
There are other tales, such as the eventful cruise taken by Costa Classica (a widely reported ramming incident, luckily it's its on the way to disembarkation port and no one was seriously injured, also a less widely known incident, a group of mainland Chinese guests disappeared at a Japanese port...probably illegal immigrants, apparently it's not uncommon, just the year before, a HK mother also ran off ship with her child), but I already feeling too depressed to go on.
I would like to stress that the above is more like an interim observation. More and more mainland Chineses are taking to cruising, with exposure, I believe it will not be long those wonderful local cruisers and cruise staff that I met/knew off, will become the norm rather than exception.
On reflection, the lying casino cashier is probably an isolated case. Royal Caribbean also has regular summer cruises from China, and apparently they have a higher satisfactory rate.