Royal Caribbean 2014

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.IMG_4720 Pool deck in daytime. I took many midnight swims to avoid the crowd.IMG_4945The housekeeping staff folded our towels into a different animal every day. IMG_4740 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.IMG_4763Day 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.IMG_4774 copyThe 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.IMG_4795IMG_4799Stopped 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.IMG_4804IMG_4813IMG_4818IMG_4824 copyIMG_4830Lunch 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).IMG_4840 IMG_4843 IMG_4845Following that we took a walk along some boardwalk.IMG_4857IMG_4860Day 3, we went to Phuket. The Mariner didn’t dock, just dropped an anchor, and we took a motorboat to shore. IMG_4863 IMG_4865We 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. IMG_4875 IMG_4877 IMG_4884 Our next stop was Phang Nga Bay — sheer, verdant limestone cliffs & sparkling turquoise water. IMG_4913 IMG_4918 IMG_4919IMG_4930 IMG_4936 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. IMG_4959IMG_4960IMG_4977All in all, the trip was relaxing and way more enjoyable than any of us had expected.

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