Our planning for this cruise actually began last year when we sailed on the Mariners sister ship the Navigator of the Seas. My wife and I were planning on visiting her family and we were looking for an activity to rest off our jet lag for the long trip I mentioned that Royal Caribbean offer s cruises from Singapore to a variety of southeast Asian ports of call so we stopped by at the future cruise desk and the cruise sales manager found a four day cruise to Malaysia and Thailand bur the daters would not work with our planned travel dates so we did not book while on the Navigator. When we returned home and we had decided on our final travel dates we went on line to Royal Caribbean’s web site and found this cruise and booked it. Royal Caribbean’s web site includes a disclaimer that the cruise has been sold exclusively to the Asian market that that there would be some localization to the cruise. Since we were traveling halfway around the world for this vacation we decided to spend a couple of days in Singapore so we left our home in Maryland very early on the Morning of December 15 and arrived in Singapore very early on the Morning of December 18.
After spending a couple of days seeing the sites, visiting with some of my wife’s friends and catching up on our sleep. We checked out of our hotel on the Morning of December 20th at 10:30 AM we arrived at the pier at 10:45 AM and check in was under way after leaving our luggage with the porters we went through security, health screening again we had to answer a few questions about whether we had any of the symptoms of the norovirus. Since we were gold we had our own dedicated check in line and after getting our welcome aboard photo and going through passport control we found ourselves onboard and after surrendering our passport which was done to make it easier for the ship to clear customs and immigration at our port call in Malaysia.
Since the layout of the Mariner of the Seas was the same as on the Navigator we were able to find our way to the aft of the ship and to where our cabin was located but we were advised that our cabin would not be ready until after 1:00 PM so we made our way to Windjammer where we arrived at about 11:45 am for lunch. We found the food section to be a combination of Western and Asian foods. Around 12:30 PM an announcement was made to share your table or if you were not eating lunch to leave the Windjammer so my wife and I decided to take a walk. After leaving the Windjammer we were talking to one of the waiters and we found out the ship was sailing with a full load of passengers. We also noticed a Wall of awards welcoming the Mariner form ports going from the US to Europe to Asia as the ship was positioned by way of Europe and Eastern Asia. Many of the sings are in English, Chinese and Korean. While others were in just Chinese. Also throughout the ship by the elevators and stairs were large sign boards called wayfinders which were interactive and included the menus of all of the restaurants, the cruise compass schedule of activities and how to locate the nearest rest room and even your cabin. We decided to check out the royal promenade this where there were several changes were made to the Mariner to accommodate the Asian preferences. Two of the bar areas were converted to shops selling high end watches and sunglasses along with liquor and cigarettes. Since this cruise was stopping in Malaysia neither liquor or cigarettes were available.
I bought a soda package and we had desert in the Café Promenade and took some photos by the large Christmas tree on the royal promenade. At 1:00 pm our stateroom was ready and we found the room was the same as it was on the Navigator. We found our shore excursion tickets and since we were gold with Royal Caribbean found some special offers. Since our luggage was not delivered my wife decided to take a nap while I explored the ship while having a soda at one of the bars I found that liquor sales were not the big seller that they were on other ships we have traveled on but the big money makers were the Casino and the Shops.
Around three pm I returned to our cabin and shortly after three pm our cabin steward came by to introduce himself and to ask if we had any special needs. Also at that time we our luggage was delivered and we started to unpack. At 4:15 PM we made our way to our muster station for the mandatory lifeboat drill upon arrival at our location a crew member swiped our room key into a hand held computer as Royal Caribbean was making sure all guests attended the mandatory drill. After the drill it was time for sale away since it was raining the party was moved indoors. My wife and I then went up to the Viking Crown Lounge was almost empty to watch sailaway even though it was happy hour. Since the ship was stationed in Asia most of the crew was from Asia with some Europeans. As is the tradition with royal Caribbean the ships master was from Scandinavia. After we were out of the port and at sea we returned to our cabin where we finished unpacking. Since we were continuing on to spend an additional two weeks in the Philippines and had 5 pieces of luggage we were able to find room to store all of our bags.
We then went to the welcome aboard show which was preceded over by the Dan our cruise director who was from the US and Kitty the ships activity director. Kitty who was from China and was there to translate the monologue into Chinese. The cruse director went over the various nationalities that were on board the ship the majority were from Singapore, China, Korea, India and other Asian nations there were close to a hundred westerners onboard. He also thanked everyone for choosing Royal Caribbean and explained that the Mariner of the Seas was the largest ship to be deployed to Singapore. The featured act was Mr. Han and Miss Wu who are a pair of Chinese’s acrobats who were outstanding. After the show we had dinner in the dining room which was a combination of Asian and Western dishes. After dinner we went to bed as we had a long shore excuriosn planned in Malaysia the next morning.
The next morning we got up early headed to the Windjammer and had breakfast which was a combination of Asian and Western foods. As the place began to get crowded as Asians travel in much larger groups than Americans and like to sit at the table much longer. After getting our gear for our shore excursion we went up on deck to watch the ship dock at the Port Klang Cruise Centre. Port Klang is 73 Kilometers or 49 miles for Kuala Lumpur Malaysia largest city. After the ship was cleared and we were able to disembark we got off to look for souvenirs and to board the bus for our tour to Kuala Lumpur and the Batu Caves. During our ride to Kuala Lumpor or KL as the local call it out tour guide provided us with all of the information on the city and the country. Our first stop was a photo stop at Independence Square then it was off the to KL Tower ‘s observation deck which is the 4th largest communication tower in the world after getting our pictures we went back down to buy some souvenirs. After the KL tower is was a photo stop near the PETRONAS twin towers. After a buffet lunch at the Malaysia Tourism Center after lunch it was off to the Royal Selangor Visitor Centre which is the world’s largest Pewter factory and where we saw the world’s largest beer stein. Our last stop before returning to the ship was the Batu Caves which is a Hindu Shrine we were able to take some photos my wife waited for me as I tried to ascend some of the 273 step to the top cave. I got about 50 stairs up before I decied to come down. We then board the bus where my wife and I slept most of the way back to the ship. Since our exclusion left late we were the last group to return to the ship. We then changed for formal night headed to dinner which we left without having dinner so we could make the evenings show however David DiMuzio was not that entertaining we went back to our cabin to order desert from room service and to get some sleep.
The next morning we got up and have breakfast in what was a very crowded Windjammer deck. After breakfast we went to the photo shop to purchase our photos of which we ended up purchasing one.
We then did some more shopping on the royal promenade. At this point it was time for one of the highlights of sailing with Royal Caribbean that was the figure skating show which was outstanding. The show was a circus themed show called Ice under the big top. After the show we went and picked up our passports and had lunch at Johnny Rockets where I had a burger and with half onion rings and half fries. While my wife had Ramen as this was the only place on the ship to have Ramen. Ramen is only available at Johnny Rockets on cruises in Asia. After lunch we went and packed and got our bags ready to be place outside our doors. After packing I went and used the pool for about an hour. Before going to dinner we placed out bags in the hall for pick up. Since we were not pleased with the service in the main dining room nor that evening’s choice we decided to have dinner at the Windjammer which was good. After dinner we went to see the final production show Gallery of Dreams which was a full scale production show with a full trope of dancers and a live band. After the show it was off to bed as we would have to be up early for disembarkation in Singapore.
The next morning we got up early had breakfast on the Windjammer then returned to our cabin to complete packing. As the first of the zones were being called for disembarkation we headed to our lounge to wait being called for disembarkation around 9:00 AM all rimming zones were called for boarding. As were the only cabin in zone 32 we were able to find all of our bags. We then had to find a representive who assisted us with our airport transfer. As we were the only group who purchased a transfer from the cruise line we had a privet vat to ourselves. By 9:30 AM we were at the Singapore Airport reading to check in for our flight to Manila and the rest of our trip.
Overall, the cruise was outstanding but if we were to cruise again on Royal Caribbean we would opt for a cruse longer than three days. We definitely would recommend a cruise on Royal Caribbean in Asia but only if it is being done a part of a longer vacation as this would be a long way to go for a three or four day cruise.