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Singapore (Photo:Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating

By Cruise Critic Staff

Port of Singapore

In its own way, Singapore is an oasis in Southeast Asia. It enjoys a low crime rate, and its infrastructure -- from road and mass-transit systems to a state-of-the-art airport at Changi -- is highly sophisticated. The city also is clean -- so much so that, for years, people were forbidden by law to chew gum in its streets, and eating on the subway can result in a heavy fine. This modern and dynamic destination -- which ranks either as a pro or a con, depending on your sensibilities -- is to cities what Disney is to theme parks.

About Singapore


Pro

A thoroughly modern destination, Singapore boasts excellent shopping and interesting outdoor attractions

Con

The weather can be oppressively hot and humid, making it difficult to remain outdoors for long stretches

Bottom Line

Singapore is a city in the true sense of the word -- full of character, culture and plenty of diversions


Find a Cruise to Asia



Technically a city-state, Singapore, connected with manmade bridges to Malaysia, is made up of a main island and more than 60 surrounding islets. The mainland spans 42 kilometers east to west and 23 kilometers north to south. In the north, it shares a border with Malaysia; in the south, islands belonging to Indonesia can be visited via a short ferry ride. Singapore is located just north of the equator and is sultry, tropical and humid year-round.

Singapore is one of the world's biggest banking and transportation hubs. It's one of the most popular stopovers for folks traveling between Europe and Australia. Yet, Singapore is among the 20 smallest nations in the world -- though with 4 million people (6,430 per square kilometer), it's also the second most densely populated country. Despite busy streets, shopping areas and public transportation, it normally does not feel as crowded as large U.S. city centers. Its modern design helps eliminate any feeling of congestion.

Like Hong Kong, Singapore is a city with great cultural diversity, well-developed infrastructure and a very cosmopolitan feeling. Popular with cruise lines for day-long port calls, as well as embarkation, Singapore is easily navigable, with most tourist attractions concentrated in three areas: Orchard Road, the colonial district and Sentosa.

Where You're Docked

Since 2012, Singapore has had two separate cruise terminals. Previously, most ships docked at the Singapore Cruise Centre, which is part of the large Harbourfront Centre and VivoCity, about a 10- to 15-minute taxi drive from downtown. With the arrival of the larger mega-ships to Asia, Singapore has also constructed a new facility, Marina Bay Cruise Centre, which is located at the southernmost tip of the country.

Star Cruises uses Singapore Cruise Centre, as does Holland America and some other lines operating smaller ships. Cruise lines with mega-ships, such as Celebrity, Cunard, Princess and Royal Caribbean, have moved their port calls and occasional turnarounds to the new Marina Bay facility.

Good to Know

Singapore's tropical climate is hot, soupy and tiring, so don't plan too ambitious of a day, and balance outdoor activities with time inside.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

Local currency is the Singapore dollar; check for the most updated rates at Oando and XE, Major credit cards and traveler's checks are widely accepted. ATM's can be found easily, both in the airport and the Singapore Cruise Centre, which also houses a shopping centre. There are surcharges for using ATM's. Banks are normally open from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Language

With a large amount of expats from all over the world, it's no wonder the country has four official languages: English, Tamil, Chinese and Malay. English is the language of business and administration. Most Singaporeans, from taxi drivers to hotel staff, speak English.

Shopping

While Singapore is undoubtedly a shopping mecca with the most famous labels and brands from around the world, you can find more local buys at the Singapore Handicraft Center in Chinatown. Merchants sell jade carvings, bronze statues and other crafts in the five-floor complex. Less serious shoppers can find items like Merlion (a fictitious creature with a lion's head and a fish's body -- a symbol of Singapore) keychains, statues or Tiger balm in all souvenir shops.