This was our first cruise – 5 days in Asia – long enough for us to find out if a shipboard holiday was for us. My husband had always wanted to do the cruising holiday, but I was unsure. After the first day I was very easily convinced
We checked in at the New Singapore Cruise Centre (fantastic site) and with over 3,000 passengers lining up to embark you would expect chaos... yet the whole thing went very smoothly.
On board, we had enough time to find our cabin, and check out the dining areas and a couple of bars before the Safety Briefing, then it was off to the Schooner Bar where we had arranged (through Cruise Critic) to meet up with others sailing on the same ship. Most had been on multiple cruises so they were happy to fill us in on what to do - and what not to do over the next few days.
Stateroom - We had booked an interior cabin - roomy enough for a couple - great bathroom set up - small wardrobe that fitted 5 days of clothes and luggage - and the total area was more than adequate for a couple. Next time we will probably upgrade to a Junior Suite with a door and balcony but if you fully enjoy the entertainment and shows, time spent in the cabin is minimal.
The only problem I had was getting lost. We were in the aft of the ship and with the corridor system I would lose my bearings, miss a connecting corridor or end up at a dead end and need to go back at the elevators and check the Compass screens for a map to our cabin.
The room stewards were all very polite, and readily available, attending to the room at least twice a day, cleaning / turning down the bed in the evening and making animal shapes from bath towels (clever).
Drinks Packages - I bought the Non – alcoholic Soda / Coffee / Juice package (not a great drinker) and the Virgin Cocktails bar staff concocted were delicious HINT - to those who try to stay away from the alcohol I would definitely recommend this package.
Husband chose the beer/wine package and was very happy.
Entertainment - We attended most of the shows – Ice Skating – Pianist – Juggling- The Caribbean Singers and dancers are amazing. Orchestra is a bit loud - In the evening there were entertainers at the bars and pools who kept the late nighters' happy with their beautiful music/voices.
One afternoon we put a couple of teams together and played scuttle board on the outside deck. Next day golf on the mini putt and table tennis on a sloping deck.
We danced and we sang, we played Bingo, Trivia and Majority Rules. We didn't play any of the tables in the Casino but enjoyed the lessons provided at the black-jack table (for next time??)
Dining –Easy Choices. The Windjammer, buffet restaurant, is open for breakfast and lunch, and the selection of food is extensive. Breakfast is well covered with every dish on the menu ranging from Asian to European.
Lunch – Fresh fruit, salads, cold cuts, breads, hot curries and rice, Chinese dishes, dessert cakes etc.
The only problem we had was finding a table to sit at as most groups were saving seats for their family/friends (who never arrived). After a day or two we just sat down if there were two vacant seats available. Stewards tried to move people on if they had finished their meal but there was little or no response from the majority of tables.
We could have used our assigned Restaurant but preferred buffet
Excursions - We did take a shore excursion to Pattaya – The port, Laem Chabang is 2.5hrs from Bangkok so we decided that a 45 min drive was preferable to sitting in a coach for 4 hours.
The excursion was well run with a delightful tour guide and we saw the floating market, gem factory and The Sanctuary of Truth– and got back to the ship in time to meet up with friends in the bar before dinner. Another good day
Altogether, a fun 5 days – we will definitely be taking another cruise in 2015.
Not sure where but I know now that it is not always about the destination – rather about the experience - the chance to meet new friends and enjoy an atmosphere that can't be emulated on land-based holidays. The size of the ship is daunting at the beginning but by day two you think of it as yours - to enjoy every inch and every moment – and we did just that.