With the haze raging in Singapore, a short escape to get some fresh air and recharge will be so swell.
Consider going for a cruise with Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas:
The Mariner of the Seas is marketed by Royal Carribean as a ship built for “adventure, relaxation and everything in between”.
I brought my wife and 21-month-old son on board the ship for a 4D3N cruise to Port Klang in Kuala Lumpur during the June holidays.
For Rachel and Asher, this is the first time both of them are cruising with Royal Caribbean. For Asher, this is the first time in his life he went on a cruise.
Mariner was still exciting to me because it is TWICE the tonnage of Legend and is the sister ship of Voyager which I have briefly been on board, but did not travel on.
Mariner of the Seas is currently the largest cruise ship homeporting in Asia and has started her maiden Asian season from Singapore on June 1.
The ship has 15 passenger decks and can accommodate 3,807 guests. Activities and entertainment on board the ship include a 900-seater ice-skating rink, full-sized sports court, in-line skating track, rock-climbing wall, mini-golf course, a three-tier theatre and the Royal Promenade – a boulevard of shops and cafes, much like a shopping mall.
For family with children, Mariner of the Seas features the unique DreamWorks Animation entertainment programme. Guests of all ages can interact with ‘celebrity’ characters like Shrek and Fiona of “Shrek”, Alex of “Madagascar” and Po of “Kung Fu Panda” during parades in the Royal Promenade, character breakfasts in the main dining room and photo opportunities. Also new in Asia is the Barbie Premium Experience for girls to set sail in true Barbie fashion with staterooms decorated in true Barbie fashion and exclusive, themed activities such as tiaras and teacups party and fashion show.
I was really looking forward to this trip as it will be a good break for the three of us to spend some quality time together, without having to rush all over the place or do a lot of pre-trip planning. With meals and lodging all taken care of and itinerary planner provided every morning, a vacation cannot get easier than this!
Asher is growing up fast and getting very active. Sometimes, he runs so fast that Rachel and I find it hard to keep pace with him. On board a cruise ship, he can run all over the place, but we can be assured he will not be lost. Asher also likes playing in the pool and watching performances. There are many such activities for him on board.
Best of all, there will be Dreamworks animated characters on the ship!
When we sailed with Mariner of the Seas, the ship had 1,238 crew members on board and over 3,000 guests on board, represented by people from 56 nationalities. I find it a great opportunity to expose Asher to people of different culture and ethnicities.
If you are considering bringing a young child or infant on a cruise with Royal Caribbean, here are some tips I learned from this trip:
- Unlike flying in an airplane, you can pack as much stuff as you need for your child as there is no weight limit. I usually advocate traveling light when traveling with a child, but on a cruise ship, pack more!
- Bring your own kid-friendly utensils as the restaurants do not provide these. Baby chairs and booster seats are available though and the wait staff service standard is impeccable.
- Bring a thermos flask to store hot water. There is a kettle in the room.
- Bring sufficient diapers as I do not recall seeing any store selling them on board. In any case, it will save you the hassle of hunting for diapers on the ship if you run out.
- Bring your own child-friendly bath set.
- If your child can eat solid food, there is stuff to eat all day round at the various free restaurants. You do not have to pack any extra snacks or fruits.
- Bring a nice set of formal wear for your child to dress up on Captain’s Night. Trust me, you would not want your child to be the only one who is underdressed.
- Leave your cumbersome stroller at home and use a baby carrier or sling instead. The ship is big, but not that big that you will tire out walking from one point to another. We did not bring one and managed fine.
- If your child is between 3 to 11, you can sign him or her up for the complimentary Adventure Ocean Youth Program. This will give you some breather to do some exploring on your own while your child makes some new friends.
- If your child is under 3, there is also a paid nursery where you can leave your child in the safe hands of trained nursery staff.
- Young children are welcome to watch theatre performances and musicals as long as they accompanied by adults. Do bring your child to a few of these. My son loved them!
- Bring warm clothes for the ice-skating performance.
Asher made a few friends on the ship and was totally fascinated with the Dreamwork characters. He was always in tears when we have to leave the characters after taking a photo with them.
He had so much fun on the ship that even today, he kept asking me to bring him on a ship again.
“我要坐船!” – this is what he had been pestering me lately whenever he sees a pond or the sea or a swimming pool!
He still remembers the Royal Caribbean SeaPass card which was issued to each of us and would say “我们坐船!” whenever he sees the card.
Here are some photos I took during our first day of cruising:
We had dinner at Giovanni’s Table Italian restaurant on the first night. Dining at Giovanni’s requires a top-up of USD$15 for lunch and USD$20 for dinner per pax.
The restaurant is family-style and casual with both indoor and al fresco seating. Check out their sample menu.
Service was impeccable at the restaurant with the wait staff patiently going through each dishes and making the appropriate recommendations. You can order as much as you like from the menu as it is one fixed price.
Stay tuned to my blog for more updates on my experience on board Mariner of the Seas.
Mariner of the Seas’ maiden Asian season has lined up cruises from Singapore in early June of 3 and 4 nights to Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang) and Langkawi, and 10 nights to Vietnam, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Shanghai. She will sail North Asian cruises from Shanghai during the summer before returning to Singapore for more Southeast Asian cruises from November till next March. They include a variety of 3,4 and 5-night cruises to Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang), Langkawi, Penang and Phuket, a 7-night cruise to Bangkok (Laem Chabang) (overnight) and Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My), and an 8-night cruise to Shanghai with calls at Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My) and Xiamen and an overnight in Hong Kong. She is Royal Caribbean International’s fourth ship homeporting in Asia, following Rhapsody of the Seas, Legend of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas.
Royal Caribbean International is an award-winning global cruise brand with a 40-year legacy of innovation and introducing industry firsts never-before-seen at sea. The cruise line features an expansive and unmatched array of features and amenities only found on Royal Caribbean including, jaw-dropping, Broadway-style entertainment and industry-acclaimed programming that appeals to families and adventurous vacationers alike. Owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE/OSE: RCL), the cruise line sails 21 of the world’s most innovative cruise ships to the most popular destinations in the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska, South America, Asia and Australia and New Zealand. World renowned for its friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service, delivered 2 by every staff and crew member, Royal Caribbean has been voted “Best Cruise Line Overall” for 10 consecutive years in the Travel Weekly Reader’s Choice Awards.
To book a cruise with Royal Caribbeans, visit their official website to find out more. For Singaporean travelers, additional contact information are as below:
|Asia Pacific (Singapore Office)
Monday – Friday: 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
|• Tel: 65 6305 0033
• Fax: 65 6536 2282