Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Cruising Along ( Part I )

Last week, I took a short cruise to Kuala Lumpur. The last cruise I went on was more than 10 years ago. Then, it was a company trip and on the Superstar Pisces, which was quite small. Although it was fun then, I was not hyper-excited about cruises from then on, as the impression it left me was basically eat, play and sleep onboard (the epitome of heaven?).

This time, it was on the Superstar Virgo which was way bigger with more facilities. If not for the incredibly great discount I got from a lobang, I actually would not  have thought of going on a cruise again. It was rather last minute, book-today-sail-tomorrow.

The ship was set to sail at midnight and I was supposed to check in by about 10pm.  The family sent me off at Harbourfront.  We had dinner at Han's. I had the good old fish & chips meal, while the rest ordered spaghetti and the famous Hainanese pork chop and stew chicken.

You wonder who would order American breakfast for dinner? Well, that's my niece, who likes her sausages, sandwiches and scrambled eggs anytime of the day. It was a relaxing leisurely dinner with reasonably priced food.

To our horror, by the time I was ready to check in, the queue was so long, probably thousands of people were there. Luckily I met our agent the big boss himself, who helped us queue and managed to get our boarding tickets faster. Caught a glimpse of  a model of the Superstar Virgo too. Yes it was huge. 

Still we needed to queue to board the ship, look at the snaking queue and it took about more than 30 minutes before I could finally get on the ship. I noticed the lady in front with henna painted on her entire arm and hand. Hehe nice actually. 

While on the way up the ship, was greeted by this pretty ala-cabaret lady who was to pose with each individual passenger for photo souvenirs. The deck was brightly painted at certain areas and I caught a glimpse of the dim night sea view. Was also given this "passport" when I surrendered my actual passport. This was the access card for everything onboard - room key, charge card, identification.

Finally found my cabin, after a long walk on the long corridor, with its bright red carpet and seashell theme. This was my door.

Inside, my tiny room was bigger than I expected with 2 small beds. A pity I did not manage to get those rooms with a view of the sea, or even better the bigger ones with a balcony!

It was really quite an ok room, just smaller than a typical hotel room. I was impressed with the bathroom. The previous one I had on Pisces was really damn small, just enough standing space for you to bathe, that's all, meaning the four enclosed walls almost touched your body!.... and I was slimmer then too! 

Close up of the portrait above my bed, a painting of the sea, a reminder to me that I did not have a view.  :S

By the time we settled down for supper, it was almost 11pm. My companions were famished.  We went to the chinese restaurant, Pavilion, which was serving dishes and porridge. There were 3 restaurants on the ship which were "free" you could choose from for your meals. The others like French, Japanese, Indian and another Chinese restaurants, you have to pay. I could not help snapping the beautiful peacock painting and those were our dishes beside it, waiting to be served. 

Close up of our supper. Taken with porridge, there were chinese sausages, stir fry cabbage, onion char sew eggs, mapo beancurd, braised pork with bittergourd and century eggs with pork floss and fermented cai sim. It was a nice filling supper. I liked the chinese sausages best.

The night was still young. After supper, we caught a performance, Maestro and Muse, at The Lido auditorium. It was a spectacular production featuring a combination of modern and classical dance as well as incorporating breathtaking acrobatic performances. The cast of performers were from Russia, Ukraine, Brazil and China. A pity we were not allowed to take photos.

We also caught a brief performance from a band by the pool side at the upper deck,  singing sentimental songs. Enjoyed the breeze and then continued to explore the ship......  (to be continued....).

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