Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Cruises - The ULTIMATE Holiday Experience

With our wedding only 3 weeks away, one question still loomed large in our minds - where to "Honeymoon? My Hubby 2B left the planning to me along with strict instructions - no fixed tour schedules (no forced early breakfasts and packed itineraries) - no compromise on hotels (I'm a budget / backpack traveller - he likes his luxuries) - and most importantly - must have meal options he is familiar with (he is a very fussy eater and has a queasy stomach ...unlike me, he doesn't experiment with food)

With less than 3 weeks to go, the only destination that seemed to fit within the parameters set up by my H2B, and something we could safely book at this last minute seemed to be the all familiar Sing-Thai-Malaysia Holiday.

With a heavy heart, I weighed the options - on the one hand, I was determined for our first holiday together to be a memorable trip overseas - on the other hand, I have been to all 3 countries before. Flipping through a travel magazine, I came across a Royal Caribbean Cruise Itinerary - and with great joy, realised that this was the solution to all my needs - a Unique Holiday Experience for BOTH of us, an all inclusive package with a variety of dining options, being able to visit various tourist destination without having to unpack and repack, without having to rush through breakfasts in order to catch the coach, no tight tour itineraries!

The cruise experience began for us, right from the time we entered the Cruise Terminal in Singapore. Luggage tagged and checked in, Key card in hand, we took the escalators and walkalators to the Aerobridge leading to the 'Legend of the Seas'. We were greeted by the Cruise team and lead to our Ocean facing Cabin, which was a replica of a regular hotel room, only more compact.

After the mandatory Safety & Evacuation drill on Deck 4, we took off to explore the 10 deck, 800 odd feet long ship with passenger capacity of around 2000 people. With a high ceiling starting from Deck 4 all the way to Deck 10, and the pleasant notes of the Grand Piano, the Lobby resembles that of a Luxurious hotel, with an added advantage - the ocean view.

Posh environs and service at Romeo & Juliet
The Luxurious setting of Romeo & Juliet  (Courtesy : http://www.camemberu.com/)

There are several dining options included in the Royal Caribbean Package, including unlimited Buffet meals in the Family Style Coffee Shop 'Windjammer Cafe' on Deck 9 or the more formal 3 course, 2 Level Fine Dining restaurant 'Romeo and Juliet' (Formal Dress only). There's even Room Service, if you're too tired to dress up and head out.

Lunches at Windjammer Café
Windjammer Cafe (Courtesy : http://www.camemberu.com/)
The experience doesn't stop there. There are a range of activities to keep you busy through the day like trying your hand at the Rock-climbing wall, at the on board Casino Royale, Themed bars and lounges, indoor & outdoor swimming pools and whirlpools, an open atrium featuring daily bargain sales starting from US $5 onwards, a 9 hole miniature golf course, Spa and Fitness Centre an open air jogging path on one of the highest decks of the ship and even a Youth Club for your kids.

And there's more - daily theme parties in the Centrum (Atrium), Broadway style shows and other Musical and Acrobatic Acts at the Theatre each evening, Rounds of BINGO, Dance & Cooking lessons, Art shows (where you can bid and purchase artwork).

Clockwise from top left : Evening show at the Theatre, Rock & Roll Theme Party in the Lobby, Farewell show at the Theatre, The Casino

A Cruise is truly the ULTIMATE Vacation Experience. Where else can you have such a smooth, hassle free Holiday? Once you check in, everything that you would ever want on a Holiday is within walking distance - from Romantic Dinners, Couple Massages at the Spa, an evening at the Disco and open air ocean view strolls for the Honeymooners, to Rock climbing, Miniature golf, and splashing in the pool with the kids for those on a Family Vacation.

From sipping complimentary champagne at the Art Show, Bargain Sales at the Shopping Arcade, Broadway Shows for the well seasoned traveller, to having extensive dining options to choose from - like the large and varied Buffet Spreads at Windjammer Cafe, or beautifully presented world cuisine at Romeo & Juliet - a dream come true for any Foodie. And the best reason ever - being able to visit several countries without having to pack and unpack, without having to rush for those bus and flight connections. And of course, the pampering 5 star service.

In the 5 days that we were on the Cruise, we barely had the time to partake in all the exciting activities that they had to offer. And then of course there were the excursions we took at each port. Royal Caribbean provides guided tours at each port at an additional cost, but you can also go on your own as there are always taxis lined up at the ports.

We organised a private day tour for ourselves in advance with a local tour agent in Phuket and at Port Klang we hired a taxi to take us to a few sites in Kuala Lumpur and back. In Langkawi we chose to just take a taxi to the popular Cenang beach to soak in the beautifully calm seas.

Here's a little slide show of our 5N cruise experience on Royal Caribbean's 'Legend of the Seas'

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