Monday, December 10, 2012

All aboard!

Since this was post-PSLE for Andre, we figured we wouldn't have any energy left to plan for a holiday and wanted to just chill. For this, cruising is the perfect option (we also cruised after Lesley-Anne's PSLE). We find that cruising also makes for a cost-effective holiday as practically all charges are included in the package price. You don't have to spend a single extra cent if you don't want to.

Even though this would be our third cruise (having sailed in 2007 and 2009 on Star Cruises' SuperStar Virgo), this was our first time using Royal Caribbean. Since we had picked a similar itinerary as the previous two cruises, there would naturally be comparisons and I'll be assessing how the two ships match up in various areas, on this blog.

Instead of blogging by day as I normally do with our family vacations, I'll be blogging by theme. On a cruise, we tend to do similar activities each day so it makes more sense to do it this way.  Today's post is about the ship itself and its general facilities. I will be writing 3 more posts - on the food, onboard activities and our offshore excursion to Phuket.

This was also first time we boarded the ship at Marina Bay Cruise Centre and I credit this to the great start to our trip. Previously, we had boarded Virgo at Harbourfront Ferry Terminal and I hated it.  The layout was non-intuitive - we had to navigate past a maze of crushing crowds and poor signages to get to the right place and there were always snaking queues. It's a huge turnoff. The last time, I asked Kenneth, "why is this terminal so bad? They should just replicate Changi Airport, it can't be that hard." (Note: the terminal has since undergone a major overhaul so perhaps it's better now.)

Well, maybe somebody heard my whinging cos Marina Bay Cruise Centre IS like the airport. It's fantastic. The minute we got off the cab, our luggage was taken from us and tagged. You enter this comfortable, spacious hall where you check in, completely hassle-free.

There are even computer terminals for a last-minute dose of the virtual world. Well, I imagine some people would hyperventilate at the thought of 5 days without Internet. Lesley-Anne is covering her face cos she's ashamed to admit she has an addict for a mum.

When it's time to board, you simply take a short walk past immigration and onto the gangway to the ship. Fabulous!  Incidentally, even disembarkation was easy compared to Virgo's. No long waits in the ship's theatre, just proceed to the exit at your allocated time and stroll off the ship.

This photo shows the main area of the ship, ie the top two decks. Legend is slightly smaller than Virgo.


What I like about Legend is that they generously lined the open decks with deck chairs galore. This means you can always find a deck chair to relax in if you wish. On the whole, I found Legend to be less congested compared to Virgo, which seemed to be perpetually teeming with people. The only exception was in the dining areas, which I will address in the next post.

On to the cabins. Since we booked our package early, we received a free upgrade to the Ocean View Stateroom. This is a similar class to what we had previously booked on Virgo. The cabin on Legend is smaller, but (and this is a big BUT) for about the same price, we could get 2 cabins side by side on Legend whereas in Virgo, all 4 of us had to share one cabin, making it a bit of a squeeze and not so convenient cos we had to also share one bathroom. 

You can choose either a two single bed or king sized bed configuration. Here's Andre looking through the adjoining door.

Housekeeping service was generally excellent. The cabins were kept very clean and everyday, we'd return to our cabins to a new towel creation on the bed. Little touches like these are a great hit with the kids.

We even had our own personal bodyguard... Andre was trying to channel the Matrix but I thought it was more Gangnam style.

This is where the ship houses its Internet terminals.  It's empty maybe because access costs US$0.65 per minute and when you take into consideration that Internet on the open seas is slower than a tortoise on motion sickness pills, you would have spent a fortune by the time you logged onto Facebook and typed "I'm sailing on Legend of the Seas!"

There's also a card room, a library, a small arcade, a couple of pubs and of course, the requisite casino. No pictures as they didn't interest us.

During this trip, Lesley-Anne got to try out our newly-acquired Sony Nex 5n. She took most of the shots which suits me just fine as I dislike fiddling with the knobs and learning how to use the functions on a camera. Her interest in photography grew over the 5 days and for a novice, I think she did pretty well.

Scenes of the ship at night.

On a cruise, there's even time to admire a sunset or two. What bliss.

Up next, the all-important part of cruising - food.


Catherine said...

Dear Monica, thanks for this post. I am heading home for the exact same cruise and we did the same upgrade as you and have two adjoining room waiting for us! So this sharing comes in handy. Look forward to your coming posting...thank you..

monlim said...

Catherine: What a coincidence! I hope to get the rest of the posts out over the coming week. Hope they're in time for you :)