About us: A couple with children (that were left at home with my parents) travelling on our first trip together post being married all those years ago, and celebrating my husbands 40th Birthday.
Boarding: We didn't have any issues at all with boarding, and heard loads of horror stories about other peoples experiences. We arrived at the terminal early, as I had emailed RCI earlier as initially I had been told boarding would take place from 12 noon, and then our paperwork all stated 2pm. I wanted to be on board earlier rather than later, so with no queues to worry about, we were on board by 12:30pm, and it was completely uneventful. That being said, I really feel for those that came later and had the multi-hour wait in the terminal tent. The air conditioning couldn't match the heat, so it was more a sweat box!
Disembarking: Ok, we were the first people to arrive at the new terminal in Singapore. Not having too many issues previously, I guess this was the most frustrating day for us. There were big delays getting off the ship. It was funny, as I had joked that by the time we did get off, all the entertainment and fun of being the first to arrive would have packed up, and it had. We were delayed by an hour and a half in a line that just didn't move as they were having technical issues. We received a token postcard for being the first to arrive in the terminal. It was a big building, but there was still work to be done on it to have it completed. Due to the volume of people getting off the boat at the one time, the taxi bay, was a nightmare, so they offered free buses over to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, where away from the congestion you could just jump straight into a taxi. We gladly took up this option.
Cabin: Initially I had booked an inside cabin. I am so glad we upgraded to the junior suite. It was perfect. There was so much room in it. Ok, so the destinations and weather was probably too hot to actually use the balcony the majority of the time, and we did under use it, but the extra space in the room we just adored. Our Room attendant Sihal Zong, was amazing. I'm not sure that he actually had any time off during the cruise, because I can't remember not seeing him in the hallway at least twice a day during the cruise. The first day he made the effort to learn our names and pronounce them correctly, and every time he saw us after that we were greeted personally. He kept our room very clean, shoes all lined up perfectly (in the end we tried doing as much as possible to spare him these little things), and the bathroom products continually replaced as we used them. You couldn't have asked for anything better than that!
Food: I think we only ate in the Main Dining Room four times during the cruise. First night I requested the Salmon, and the waiter kind of told me off, asking why I ordered that, and didn't I like the beef or the other options, and since salmon was on the menu 9 times during the cruise I should choose again ... So I guess I wasn't allowed Salmon and choose whatever else he wanted me to have. Needless to say, I never got my Salmon, which was a bit disappointing. Loved the formal night menus. In the end we ate mostly in the Windjammer, due to the fact we were able to choose what we wanted to eat without being "told off, or persuaded otherwise". We also liked the informality of the buffet, and the selection of food was really good. We never actually ordered room service, we kept meaning to, but were too much on cruise mode, and that seemed too much like planning. Range of food on board was really good, and we never went hungry. The dessert range in the Windjammer was at times a bit underwhelming, but I didn't mind that too much, as its not like I eat desserts for lunch and dinner daily back at home, so helped me not put on weight.
Entertainment: I guess being a mum, its sad to admit, but I loved the 3D movies they played as part of their entertainment package. I'm not sure starting them at 10:15pm however was really a good option all the time. Luckily there weren't many children onboard, especially as they were all kids movies that they played. Was just surprised that they didn't replay these movies during the daytime giving you two chances to go and watch them. The Cruise Director Gordon, I really liked, I didn't really go to many of the Headliner shows though, as they just weren't my thing. My husband did sit through most of them though. The Ice Skating show, definitely was the best entertainment onboard. I did have the misfortune of sitting in the wrong seat, so ended up being pulled out on the ice for what seemed an eternity. They really picked the wrong girl for that because I hated being out there, and for being the best show of the cruise, it did wreck it for me, and was so disappointed that I ended up missing alot of it, because my nerves were shot to pieces when they finally let me go back to my seat. I guess it wasn't their fault, but would have loved to have been able to have sat and just enjoyed the show. Everyone said it was amazing.
Staff: To the most part staff were really helpful and friendly. There were a few onboard that were either brand new to sailing or just wanted to be elsewhere, but you get that everywhere. Had a bad experience with the hairdressing service. I guess I might try it one further time, before writing off their service altogether. The girl who did my hair was just really rough, and it was hurting the way she pulled my hair about. I did have quite alot of hair come off when I washed it out the following morning. So it wasn't a good experience. I did go twice to the same girl and the second time, was also a very rough and she wanted to be elsewhere experience. I think she was being timed for how fast she could pull off a hair style because 15 minutes later I was out of there $70 something dollars poorer for the experience.
Ports: I chose to do my own thing in all the ports. Goa was definitely an experience. Probably the biggest cultural shock of the lot. We hired a taxi with another couple, and I think we were all eager in the end to get back onboard sooner rather than later. Cochin, we went on a group tour organised by someone on cruise critic. It was an amazing port, and we did so much. Was so much fun and a beautiful destination. Penang was another Taxi port, where we went about with another couple. I had pre-booked with Ocean Jupiter tours, and they were amazing. We saw so much of the city in the time we were there. It was a very well rounded trip. Kuala Lumpur, I had pre-organised a tour of the city for 16 of us. It ended up being a very full day and also alot of fun. Best food of the trip was in the KL Towers on their 4th floor food court. Was amazing, and so much fun!
Ship: There were renovations onboard during our cruise that we weren't informed of before boarding. We had been aware that there were to be some worked completed on the earlier legs, but we had no idea these were to continue for our leg. One of the shops was closed the majority of the trip, which wasn't too bad I guess, because when it opened, it just had all the things the other shops had. The souvenirs were all from their previous ports in the Caribbean. I dont understand why they didn't leave them there and pick up something a bit more relevant to our cruise? The main area they renovated on our leg was the children's area at the back of the ship behind Johnny Rockets. I believe they opened up the area two days before we got off. Honestly, that looked like the type of place I would have spent alot of time as it had a gorgeous view, was more sheltered from the sun and wind, and the kids pool was just too cute. Other than that, the ship looked in good condition. People complain about the hand rails not being polished and everything else, but didn't have a problem with any of it. The ship looked in really good condition.
Hopefully I haven't missed anything. We did have a ball on the cruise. We met amazing people, who I'm sure we will continue to remain in touch with. For a first cruise, apart from a small bout of sea sickness, which I didn't take medications with me for (how stupid am I), it was a really smooth cruise.