Early December my family took a cruise from the new port at Marina Bay. The ship was the Mariner of the Seas (I think it’s the only large cruise ship stationed here?). It was a short trip, 4 or 5 nights, which we took cause we were kind of desperate to get out of the country. We called at 3 ports — Port Klang / KL, Penang and Phuket.
The ship was much bigger than Oceania’s Marina which I took last year from Barcelona. There were many more programmes onboard compared to on the Marina as well e.g. ice skating, performances etc. Pool deck in daytime. I took many midnight swims to avoid the crowd.The housekeeping staff folded our towels into a different animal every day. First night we had my mum’s birthday in the onboard steakhouse, Chops Grille. The food was pretty good. It had a more formal setting than Polo Grill which was more like an American country club restaurant.Day 2, we called at Port Klang and they bus-ed us to the city centre. Pavilion is apparently the newest and biggest mall there, & they had some brands I haven’t seen here. We got some stuff from there, including near-identical straw hats for my dad, sis and I. In other news the Starbucks there tasted strange — the milk taste was really heavy.The next day brought us to Penang. Honestly speaking, there wasn’t much to see, compared to KL — maybe because our port wasn’t near the busiest part of the city. Somehow though I still took a lot of photos. Upon landing at the port we were immediately mobbed by taxi drivers fighting for customers to take around for 4 or 5 hour stints. We ended up going with one driver who sold out the others by agreeing to use a metered fare instead of a flat rate. All the other drivers were cursing him as we left.Stopped by Starbucks again because we were severely WiFi-deprived. It took us quite long to communicate to the driver that we wanted Western coffee, not to be taken to a local coffeeshop. Above: a rather cute sign outside the store ft. my brother’s neon Skecher. Following that we visited a number of temples.Lunch was at a hawker street. It looked and felt very old-time Singapore (not that I would have first-hand knowledge of what that felt like). Following that we took a walk along some boardwalk.Day 3, we went to Phuket. The Mariner didn’t dock, just dropped an anchor, and we took a motorboat to shore. We took a day tour, & the first stop was a temple in a cave. It was dimly lit, eerie, & very impressive. It allowed me to understand what people mean when they say the entrance to a cave “yawns open”. Our tour guide was really good — knowledgeable, interesting and fab. He told us stuff about monkey schools and yelled at a group of Indian ladies in our tour group for being tardy. Our next stop was Phang Nga Bay — sheer, verdant limestone cliffs & sparkling turquoise water. The last day was open sailing. We spent most of our time playing cards & hanging out in the onboard cafe. At dinner the crew got together to sing some Christmas songs for everyone. All in all, the trip was relaxing and way more enjoyable than any of us had expected.